Bala Shark Has White Spots? (Reasons, Treatment, Prevention)

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You’re looking at all the wonderful, stark markings on your Bala Shark and notice something odd. There are several white spots all over its body and you didn’t see this last time. At this point you’re probably asking, “Why does my Bala Shark have white spots?”

Many things could cause white spots to appear. However, it’s likely the Bala Shark might be stressed and doesn’t like it’s current living conditions. As a result, it’s succumbing to something like Ich, Dropsy or other parasites. But, it could also be due to an injury that led to a fungal or bacterial infection.


Regardless of the cause, you must be logical and rational while acting with quick decisiveness. Until you can figure out what’s wrong, you are on a timer. If the spots stay too long on the fish, especially around the gills, the Bala Shark may end up dying.

How Do You Evaluate the Problem of White Spots on a Bala Shark?

When you notice unsightly white spots on your Bala Shark, you first have to evaluate the situation. Go through this checklist and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do other fish in the tank also have white spots?
  2. Is there white visible on the tank walls or other decorations?
  3. Did you recently introduce any new plants or decorations?
  4. Did you introduce any new fish?
  5. Do you have more than one Bala Shark?
  6. Are the present water parameters appropriate for the Bala Shark?
  7. Is your aquarium overstocked with plants, decorations and substrate?
  8. When did you last clean the tank?
  9. Is there only one or are there many white spots on the Bala Shark?
  10. Does the surface of the white spot(s) move on its own?
  11. When did you first notice the white spot(s) and how long has it been there?

It’s important you observe and take notes on what you see. If other fish have white spots, there may be a parasite, such as Ich, running rife throughout the aquarium. But, if it’s just on one Bala Shark, then it could have an injury or it doesn’t prefer the conditions of the tank.

What Can Cause White Spots on a Bala Shark?

Many things could cause white spots on a Bala Shark. So, you will have to do a little investigation and rule out the possibilities by the process of elimination. Consider the most common issues below to see if any of these are what is afflicting your beautiful Bala Shark.

In the event none is the cause, contact your local vet specializing in aquatic life for help and suggestions. The white spots shouldn’t last for more than a week, regardless of the cause. If they do, the fish’s immune system will lower and can cause premature death.


If you notice little white spots all over a Bala Shark, chances are it’s Ich. Otherwise known as “white spot disease,” this parasitic infestation appears on the fins, gills and body. When you have a freshwater aquarium, this parasite is ever-present simply because you have a tank.

When afflicted, it will force the fish to scratch and flick itself against decorations, plants and substrate to try to rid itself of them. If a Bala Shark scratches itself hard enough, it can break the skin and cause injury on top an infestation.

Read: How Long Can Ich Survive Without Fish?


Injury can also cause white spots on the surface of a Bala Shark’s fins and body. This could be from trying to treat Ich on its own. But, it could be from aggressive battles with other fish or because the tank not large enough.

Fungal Infection

If you notice fluffy, textured and large white spots on the head, body or fins, this is a sure sign of a fungal infection. It can be the result of an infected wound but it can also indicate inadequate aquarium conditions or a dirty tank.

Bacterial Infection

Bala Sharks can have white spots as a result of bacteria. This develops in response to an injury but it can also happen due to poor filtration in combination with weakness or stress. However, there will be red along with the white spots.


Bala Sharks are very prone to contracting dropsy and it can kill the fish if not treated immediately. This is a type of bacterial infection that attacks fish already ill and in poor condition. There will be lesions on the fish’s skin and they sometimes can appear white. But this will also accompany symptoms such as:

  • Protruding scales
  • Swollen and bloated belly
  • Appears almost like a pinecone

Other Parasites

If you’ve recently introduced new plants, live food or roommates, they may have brought some undesirable travelers with them. It’s not uncommon for these to have anchor worms, fish lice or flukes, which quickly proliferate in a healthy tank. 

These can come in a range of colors, sometimes white. But one thing is certain: you’ll see them all over the Bala Shark’s body and gills. They will move on their own and they will bother all fish in the aquarium. 

Poor Tank Conditions

Bala Sharks are particular about their tank mates and environment. If they don’t have exactly what they need, it can affect their health and appear as one or several white spots anywhere on their bodies. It’s usually a result of stress and this made the fish susceptible to infection.  

This can come from drops in temperature, environmental shifts, changes in tank mates, not enough of their own kind to school with, an overstocked tank and dirty water.

How Do You Treat White Spots on a Bala Shark?

The moment you notice white spots on your Bala Shark, you must take immediate action. Even if it does end up being benign, it’s better to be cautious than to leave anything to chance. As long as you take care of the problem right away, it will usually clear up. Follow the steps below:

  1. Test the water to ensure the conditions are ideal and that there’s enough open space for the shark to swim around freely.
  2. If everything is good and white spots are only affecting one Bala Shark, then setup a quarantine tank. Remove the affected fish from the main tank.
  3. In the case of Ich, there are several kinds of over-the-counter medications, such as antibiotics. During the quarantine period, check the main tank regularly to ensure spots aren’t developing on any other fish or surfaces.
  4. For injuries, add a little aquarium salt into the quarantine tank. You don’t want to use too much, no more than ½ teaspoon per gallon. But this will help keep the quarantine tank sanitary and disinfected while the fish heals.
  5. Keep the Bala Shark in quarantine for an extra day or two after the white spots clear to guarantee optimal health.

How Do You Prevent White Spots from Appearing on a Bala Shark?

The best cure for white spots is to prevent them from appearing in the first place. Taking care of every detail about the Bala Shark’s environment and mimicking its native habitat will be essential. This means it needs a couple of buddies from its own species to school with.

School ; Tank Size

They should be in a group of at least five or more in a tank that’s at least 150 gallons or larger. Remember, even if your Bala Shark is small now, it will grow exponentially. So there has to be enough room to accommodate the growth. Figure about 45 gallons per Bala Shark to ensure their happiness.

New Plants, Decorations ; Tank Mates

Whenever you introduce new fish to the tank, put them in quarantine for a week to 10 days. Do whatever treatments you have to for killing parasites, potential bacterial and any fungal issues. When you know they’re healthy, add them to the main tank.

New decorations and plants should soak in an antibacterial solution for 24 to 48 hours before adding them to the main tank. Don’t use soap, bleach or hydrogen peroxide, these will be impossible to thoroughly wash off and will introduce new water parameter problems.

Final Thoughts

While Bala Sharks are a very hardy and healthy type of fish, they can succumb to certain things when their conditions are poor or if you aren’t careful with introducing things into the tank. So, when white spots show up on your Bala Shark, it’s important you take care of the problem ASAP.

Recommended Read: Why Do Bala Sharks Twitch?