Piranhas in an aquarium - what they look like, how long they live, the main types, features of the content

Ordinary small fish in an apartment can no longer surprise anyone, so many lovers of aquatic fauna keep piranhas in their aquarium. Despite the many legends and myths around this fish, it is quite possible to arrange their maintenance in a private house next to other inhabitants of the decorative aquatic environment.

What do aquarium piranhas look like?

Not a single movie has been made about how bloodthirsty fish deal with mammals or even people with lightning speed. Ichthyologists argue that the predatory nature of these inhabitants of the waters of South America of the Kharacin family is somewhat exaggerated. An aquarium piranha fish can be completely peaceful, resembling its wild relative only in appearance. In captivity, they look and behave as follows:

  1. The body length is about 20 cm. Rare specimens in captivity grow up to 25 cm.
  2. A powerful lower jaw, equipped with large sharp teeth, moves forward, exposing the “weapon” of the fish.
  3. The scales are predominantly steely, fading to red on the belly, throat, and near the anal fin.
  4. One by one, the fish are shy, they try to hide or lie to the bottom at the slightest suspicion of danger.
  5. Gathering in flocks of 10 individuals, predators become more cocky. They can get into fights with each other. Often a dominant individual is revealed. In the wild, they live in flocks of 20 fish, hunting together.

what do aquarium piranhas look like

How long do piranhas live in an aquarium?

When purchasing exotic pets, many aquarium lovers do not know how long piranhas live at home in an aquarium. After all, they began to keep fish in captivity only about half a century ago. Experienced experts say that with proper care and maintenance, you can surprise guests with unusual fish for about 10-15 years. Some pets live up to the age of 17-18, although this is rather an exception to the rule. The officially recorded longest lifespan was 28 years for the red pacu variety.

Types of piranhas for the aquarium

The family of these fish includes about 16 genera and more than 100 species. Most of them can only live in the wild fresh or salt waters of South America. The whole variety of domesticated varieties can be divided into two large groups:

  1. Predatory species that can only live in a separate territory or in the vicinity of large fish, for which they will not pose a danger. It can be, for example, large catfish.
  2. herbivore piranha fish in an aquarium is not entirely harmless, because it can quickly destroy all vegetation. But it can coexist with other representatives of the fauna, for example, shark barbs.

Predatory piranhas in the aquarium

If you want to settle in predators, you should choose pets of one of the following varieties:

  1. Piranha flag fish in the aquarium does not grow more than 14 cm and has a body flattened from the sides. Color with a silvery and green tint, on the gills there is a characteristic red spot. You can also recognize the flag piranha in the aquarium by its double tail. This small pet has a very predatory disposition. Smaller fish will become prey for her, and in large species, a pet may have scales and fins.
  2. predatory piranhas in the aquarium

  3. Slim variety got its name because of the elongated body up to 35 cm long. It is recognizable by its silvery color with small pockmarks and a black border on the tail, a red belly. The character is very aggressive, it can be difficult to care for.
  4. predatory piranhas in the aquarium

  5. Natterera. The species is named after the Australian scientist Johann Natterer. Fish at a young age have a remarkable silver-blue color with red ventral and anal fins. Females are somewhat larger than males.
  6. predatory piranhas in naterrera aquarium

Herbivorous piranhas in the aquarium

Contrary to common myths, piranhas in an aquarium can have a calm disposition, get along peacefully with other fish and eat exclusively vegetation. These types include:

  1. brown pacu. Named for gray, black or brown color. The fish has sharp teeth with which it pierces prey through and through, tearing off pieces. Adults are predominantly herbivorous, but are often kept alone in aquariums.
  2. herbivorous piranhas in the aquarium brown pacu

  3. Lunar methinnis – a broad-bodied silver fish with a red spot on the gills. Grows up to 25 cm in length. She enjoys eating lettuce and cabbage leaves.
  4. herbivorous piranhas in the aquarium lunar methinnis

  5. red pacu. The variety has a large number of names: red-bellied or red-breasted pacu, vegetarian piranha or two-toothed colossom. It grows up to 60 cm. It can get along with other fish of its size or live alone.
  6. herbivorous piranhas in a red pacu aquarium

  7. Mileus redfin. Silver aquarium herbivorous piranha fish with a bright red anal fin and a translucent tail. May have red-gold spots on the body. It has a calm disposition and gets along well with other representatives of the aquatic fauna.
  8. herbivorous piranhas in the aquarium

Piranhas in the aquarium – content

Not every beginner and even an experienced lover of underwater fauna is suitable for aquarium piranhas, the maintenance of which requires certain knowledge and significant financial costs. They need proper arrangement of the territory of residence, neighborhood and high-quality live food. In addition, it is worth considering how much piranhas cost for an aquarium. Depending on the species, age and size, the price for one fish can vary from $6 to $50 and more.

For the arrangement of the habitat you will need:

  1. An aquarium of the required volume, which is calculated based on the number and size of future residents.
  2. High-quality powerful water filter, because predators leave waste. It is important to change the water by about one third to a quarter every week.
  3. Compressor for filling water with oxygen.
  4. Heater and thermometer to keep the water temperature around +23℃. With colder water, the fish will experience discomfort and even die.

Piranha Aquarium

Proper maintenance of piranhas in a home aquarium involves the correct choice of capacity:

  1. It is important to pay attention to the selection of the desired volume. Some experts advise buying a 150-liter aquarium for two young individuals. For each adult predator, depending on the size, there should be approximately 120 liters. The volume of the aquarium directly affects the behavior of piranhas – the smaller it is, the angrier they are.
  2. In the dwelling itself, it is necessary to build shelters and caves. They and plants should make up 2/3 of the area of ​​the tank. Indeed, in caves, even such aggressive predators with a timid disposition will hide from harsh sounds. Vegetation is planted densely at the bottom, similar to what grows in the reservoirs of the usual habitat. For example, Javanese moss, fern, cinema, anubias.

Piranha in the aquarium – care

To ensure the quality and long life of exotic pets, keeping piranhas in an aquarium must comply with strict rules:

  1. Maintaining the optimum water temperature in the range of +22…27℃
  2. Tracking the level of acidity (6.5-7 Ph) and hardness (4-15 dGh).
  3. Creating moderate lighting. It is better to place the aquarium no closer than 1.5 m from the window and use special lamps.
  4. Change 20 to 50% of the water weekly. Some aquarists change about 10% of the volume daily, even with a good filter.
  5. Ornamental piranhas in an aquarium should receive one serving of quality food daily.

piranha in aquarium care

What to feed piranhas in an aquarium?

The basic rules for feeding piranhas in an aquarium are as follows:

  1. The volume of food should be absorbed in a few minutes so that the reservoir does not become contaminated with its remains.
  2. Pieces should be commensurate with the jaw of the fish. Pets will not pick up too small food from the bottom.
  3. Fish need to be fed according to their type: herbivores or predators. Sometimes the first one needs high-quality animal protein, and the second one needs greens.

Predatory species are offered:

  • small fish;
  • squid;
  • earthworms;
  • shrimp;
  • frogs;
  • mice;
  • occasionally beef heart.

Herbivores can be fed:

  • lettuce, spinach, nettle;
  • cucumbers and zucchini;
  • aquarium plants.

Reproduction of piranhas in an aquarium

With proper care, 2-3 years after reaching puberty, spawning may begin in fish. For this you need:

  1. Selected “familiar” pairs are resettled in a separate spawning area. It maintains a temperature of about +25…27℃. A quarter of the water is changed daily.
  2. The male prepares a nest in which the female lays eggs, and then guards it intensely.
  3. After 6 days, fry appear, which must be carefully resettled in a separate container. It is important to be prepared for the fact that the male will attack any approaching object.
  4. Small piranhas in a home aquarium are fed 2 times a day with cyclops, brine shrimp and bloodworms for three months, and then transferred to an adult diet.

Diseases of aquarium piranhas

Like any other freshwater and saltwater fish, piranhas in an aquarium can get sick due to a large number of different reasons, the definition of which is best left to a professional:

  1. Strong stress and aggressive neighbors.
  2. Non-compliance with the conditions of detention: a close reservoir, low aeration or lighting levels.
  3. Types of pollution with nitrates, nitrites and ammonia, for the determination of which there are special tests sold in specialized stores.
  4. Parasitic infestations such as ichthyophthyriasis, oodinosis, costiasis.