Can you believe there are still people in this world that have never heard of
Piranha fish? Well, I met some of them. Still, most of us have knowledge about this fish especially
from horror movies and some from documentaries they have seen.
Always when described, Piranha’s ferocity tends to be exaggerated since our population is keener
on shocking behaviors.
Piranha fish also represent the source of nurture for many other species and also for human
beings. They may not be the most ferocious Amazonian fish but they surely are no little angels either. All in all
they represent a very important part of the Amazonian ecosystem. You can find them in Amazons adjacent rivers
together with the scalar fish and neon fish, and they usually feed with other dead or sick fish, making sure this
way, that the rivers/lakes stay clean.
There are still some areas where survival becomes rough, so hungry Piranhas will attack
anything, they could even devour a cow if it crosses their lake at the wrong time. In other places you can swim
next to them without any kind of threat.
No death among people has been declared so far due to this fish but there have been some serious
mutilations created by Piranhas to human kind. Locals consider Piranhas as a delicacy so they fish them, but
they never touch them before hitting them strongly in the head.
Piranha’s head is considered to be aphrodisiac and its teeth can be used even for hair
Red Belly Piranha (Pygocentrus natterei species) are the most spread Piranha Fish and also the
smaller sized ones (30 cm). They are not extremely friendly but they can adjust pretty well to aquarium life, as
long as they have enough space and quiet.
Another extremely attractive fish from the same species is called Super Red and can be
differentiated by their completely red belly.
Piraya (Pygocentrus piraya species), compared to Red Belly, have their swimming part radial
shaped. Also their belly is yellow-orange coloured and they are bigger than the Red Belly. They are also more
aggressive and can not propagate in captivity.
Black Piranha (Serrasalmus rhombeus species) are considered to be the kings of this species. The
bigger they are, the more aggressive they behave. In a 400-600l aquarium you can not breed more then one adult of
this type. When they are adults they usually are black coloured but in some special cases they can also turn silver
or even white. It is impossible for them to propagate in captivity as
well. You can only procure them from Sothern America and they are also highly expensive.
If you intend breeding Piranhas in your
aquarium you must know:
Temperature: 24-29 Celsius degrees/ best recommended 26-27 C degrees.
Ph : 6.0 – 8.0/ recommended 6.5 – 7.2.
Roughness : they prefer less rough water but they can adjust to any type.
Compatibility with other fish : it is recommended to breed Piranhas with no other fish species
around them. There are still some aquarium cases in which Piranhas live next to Oscar fish, Red Belly fish, or Pacu
Sometimes even Neon fish can adjust to such a mixed aquarium.
Aquarium’s size : according to recommendations an aquarium must contain at least 3-3 mature
Piranhas and the perfect size for that would be at least 120x50x50cm.
Make sure you don’t forget that Piranha fish are bank fish so when they are young you need to
keep at least 6 of them in one tank. When they are mature they become more solitary but still you need to have at
Your aquarium must be extremely well filtered since they produce a lot of dirt. Piranhas love a
strong water flow but once in a while they like resting in peaceful places with no flows.
They need to as many hiding places as one can get, plants, rocks, roots, any will do. You need
to make sure that the plants grow slowly so that you won’t need to interfere too often in the aquarium.
Also the plants must be able to develop with little light since Piranhas prefer darker
environments (0.2 – 0.3W/l is enough for them). The plants we would recommend for this type of aquariums are
Anubias and Echinodorus.