A Piranha Aquarium set up

The Piranha Tank Setup – A Beginners Guide


A Piranha belongs to a household of predatory and omnivorous freshwater fish which are indigenous to the South American rivers and lakes. Numerous people associate Piranhas with sharp teeth and an aggressive hunger for meat due to the fact that these fish typically spend their time looking for victim.

While not completely docile, the Piranha is not the unthinking killer that it has been portrayed as by the media and Hollywood. Piranhas are not likely to assault people or big animals unless they feel threatened, they are protecting their eggs, or are starving. By establishing an aquarium tank and tending to the fish correctly, you can take care of and delight in Piranha’s as family pets.

Despite Piranha’s have a bad track record of being mad, savage killers, they are rather popular ‘family pets’ and an ever increasing number of people keep them in the house in their fish tanks.

Piranha’s, not being a difficult and tough fish, are without a doubt not the most hard and even unsafe fish to look after, as long as you keep in mind of a couple of easy fundamental guidelines, which will be laid out in this article.

They are not poisonous and correctly fed, aren’t a danger to the owner either.

The most typical and common species, which the majority of us have actually seen in either in an fish pet shop, public aquarium or zoo, is the Red-Bellied Piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri).

Rather paradoxically, this species is among the members of a Piranha family which is thought about possibly hazardous to humans (it’s one of the 3 species (possibly 4) of ‘True’ Piranha’s, that in the wild reside in big shoals of up to 20 or so, but can be more).

In comparison to lots of home aquarium fish, people need to be aware  that the Piranha species can grow to quite decent sizes, particularly when one compares them with popular and more recognized freshwater fish such as Tetras or Guppies.

This gap in understanding is even more made complex by the reality that a lot of the Piranha’s offered in shops are juvenile Red-Bellied Piranha, which are typically a couple of inches in length. Buyers need to be aware that these fish can grow to quite a size, so aquarium tank size is an important consideration.

New Piranha owners can typically ignore the consequences of size, and any prospective owner needs to get a tank that is suitable to the needs of a fully grown fish.

Most species can reach a size of a minimum of 8-10″, however the biggest species (Pygocentrus piraya and Serrasalmus manueli) might mature to as much 24 inches, so a huge tank is an outright need despite what species you mean to keep! The Red Bellied is thus a common Piranha for respectful owners.

The specific size of the tank for Piranha is the cause of much deliberation and largely depends upon the species. A typical general rule is at least 20 gallon (80 liter) per adult fish for Pygocentrus species, and for the smaller sized singular Serrasalmus species a minimum of a 40-48″ (100-120cm.) long tank.

Many people suggest a 60 gallon tank for as little as two Red-Bellied Piranha.

All the Pygocentrus species are shoaling fish by nature, so they ought to be kept with more than one in a tank. It’s not ideal to keep certain species as lone fish.

Many knowledgeable Piranha keepers of shoaling species will verify that a single Piranha will not be an enjoyable experience. Typically being a shoaling species, it is probable that they will stay reclusive and shy throughout its whole life and will conceal all the time other than when you feed them.

Two fish will likewise lead to failure the majority of the time, due to the fact that ultimately they will turn on one another, each attempting to develop supremacy over the other. Although there are exceptions to this, many Piranha keepers will advise three or more Pygocentrus.

There are no strict requirements when it comes to keeping Piranha’s, which is shown by different reports from owners. It’s not uncommon for some to suggest more than 100 liters per fish, and others keep 8 or 10 healthy adult Red-Bellies in a 100 gallon (400 liter) tank … although keeping them away from hunger is a must.

Keep this in mind though – if your tank is confined with respect to the Piranha, you can anticipate unhealthy and stressed out fish, and as like it as not, some casualties as well, due to illness, tension, hostility and territorial disagreements.

The more tank area your fish have, the more room they have to move around, the more vibrant and comfy they will be. And Piranha’s, no matter what size or species, look finest in a natural and extremely big looking tank to start with.

Setting Up An Aquarium

Getting an aquarium

An appropriate environment, whilst important for all fish, is essential to taking care of your Piranha. There is a need to develop a habitat as near the fish’s natural environment as possible. This reduces stress and complications.

Lots of Ichthyologists (fish experts) recommend getting a tank big enough for 4 Piranhas to simulate their natural surroundings. You might desire less, and only want two or three Piranha for your tank. Get an aquarium of a minimum of 60 gallons for 4 Piranhas to effectively house them.

A good rule of thumb might be 60 gallons for two fish and an extra 20 gallons for each additional fish.

  • Buy a tank that reflects the variety of Piranhas you’ll own. If just desire 2 animals, a 60 gallon tank must be sufficient area for them. As a guideline of thumb, you desire about 20 gallons of water per animal or 60 gallons for 2-4 Piranhas. Make certain to the greatest tank you can pay for so that your Piranhas can thrive. Think about a 2nd hand tank if you’re attempting to conserve cash. Wash any tanks prior to presenting your Piranhas to them.
  • Consider getting an optional tank screen for the top. If they’re starving, Piranhas can dart and hurt their owners. You will likewise wish to make sure that family pets or kids do not fall in the tank.

Find a Suitable Area For the Tank

Piranhas are untidy animals that are uncharacteristically rather shy. In addition, direct sunshine or heat can motivate the development of germs that can hurt and distress your Piranha. Putting the tank in an area that is not exposed to severe heat or great deals of traffic can keep your Piranha healthy, both mentally and physically. They need a peaceful environment.

  • Put the tank in a location with a reasonably constant temperature level of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 25 Celsius). Connect a thermometer to the aquarium to keep track of the temperature level. You should not put the tank anywhere it might get direct sunshine or be exposed to radiators or heating gadgets.
  • Consider putting the tank in an area with low light. In the wild, Piranhas reside in dirty water that is under the canopy of the tropical rainforest, so their eyes have actually adjusted to dimmer lighting.
  • Find a low-traffic area in which to put the tank. Piranhas are rather shy and have many predators in the wild. They shy away from large animals. Piranhas might be more aggressive if there are too numerous individuals strolling by the tank.

Piranha in a home aquarium

Fill the Tank With Water

Piranhas are remarkably hearty fish and can adjust to various water conditions. In basic, they reside in warm, fresh water in between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They likewise flourish at a pH of 5.5-8.0.

You can fill the tank with warm faucet water as long as you’re utilizing numerous filters in the water. In addition, you ought to keep a stable temperature level of the water to guarantee that your Piranhas flourish.

  • Consider getting a heating unit for the water to keep the water a constant temperature level.
  • Add a number of little filters to the water or one extremely effective external filter to keep the water tidy.

Include Hiding Areas

They like to hide due to the fact that Piranhas are shy. Putting some sort of decoration in the tank can assist keep your Piranhas healthy, as they will hide behind it when feeling under pressure. Remember, you should be trying to replicate their natural habitat.

  • Decorate the tank with plastic and live plants in addition to a smooth gravel, and pieces of wood. Know that Piranhas might ruin live plants. If they feel stressed out, giving them a location to conceal themselves becomes a must. Sometimes a sterilized piece of PVC piping can suffice. They will swim into it and feel protected.
  • Choose designs that you like. You can utilize plastic or live plants or a mix. If you’re utilizing live plants, think about durable, low-light choices such as hornwort, java moss, or fern. Any kind of plastic plant you like will work.
  • Use smooth rocks and gravel that just hardly cover the bottom of the aquarium. You can securely utilize granite, basalt, quartz, gneiss, and slate. Do not use the more water soluble rocks such as limestone, marble, dolomite, and calcareous sandstones, in addition to corals and sea shells. All of these can distress the pH of the tank.
  • Soak any wood or driftwood in a tub or bin up until it turns a brownish color. Get the harmful dyes out of the wood. Piranhas like a dark color of water, even though it might be hard to see your fish. Ensure the driftwood suits the tank and offers your Piranhas a lot of area to swim easily.
  • Place as many interesting things in the tank as you feel like, however keep in mind that your Piranhas ought to have the ability to swim easily without restrictions or having to constantly navigate obstacles. An excellent guideline is 50-75% protection in the tank to make your Piranhas feel comfy. A lot of decoration can likewise more quickly reduce the water quality.

Red Bellied Piranha in a home aquarium

Cleaning Up The Tank

A Weekly Cleaning Schedule

Clean and fresh water is an outright necessity to your Piranha’s health. Changing 10-20% of the water each week and cleansing tank walls and gravel can avoid jeopardizing your Piranha’s immune system. Weekly upkeep should not take more than 10 minutes of your time

  • Write a schedule on your own to clean up the water at the exact same time each week so that you do not forget. If you discover excess waste, and keep in mind Piranhas are untidy, clean the aquarium more frequently. Likewise if the water smells a little foul.
  • You will need to lessen the danger of your Piranha being aggressive with you. Carefully, and I mean carefully, catch each Piranha and put them in a different holding tank while you clean. Due to the fact that the Piranhas can get stressed out, you will have to clean up the tank without worrying for your fish or getting hurt yourself, because they do.
  • If it is at all possible, you should not relocate your Piranhas from the main tank. When they feel threatened or are starving, keep in mind that Piranhas normally can be quick to attack. When cleansing, safeguard your hands with a set of heavy gloves.
  • While utilizing a water altering gadget or when the tank water is low and no Piranhas are in the tank, vacuum the gravel and get rid of any waste.

Keep High Water Quality For Your Piranhas

The health and life expectancy of your Piranha ultimately depends on a high water quality. Guarantee the correct pH and oxygenation by evaluating the tank water after every cleansing.

Test tank water with a ‘test kit’ that you can get at pet shops or online. Test to determine prospective issues like low oxygen, high ammonia levels, or the level of acidity.

Use a thermometer to ensure the temperature level is in between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Turn up the heating system till you reach the optimum temperature level, and vary it slightly if necessary.

Fix any issues with the water immediately. The pH level can vary from 5.5-8.0. If they are off, utilize a chemical neutralizer to bring back the pH levels. Oxygen saturation ought to go beyond 70%. You might be required to change your filter or filters if it does not.

Red Bellied Piranha in a home aquarium

Examine the filters

Piranhas produce a great deal of waste, which can likewise impact the water quality. As well as the more normal fish waste their is also the probability of fish remains from prey. Ensure you have a really strong filter or numerous little filters to stagger upkeep. Think about changing your filters if tank water gets unclean rapidly.

  • Smell the water to see if it has a nasty or repugnant smell. This is a great indication you are required to alter the filters. Do so immediately if you detect a rank odor.

Taking Care of Your Piranhas

Feeding Your Piranhas

Regardless of what many individuals believe, Piranhas are omnivores that consume a variety of different foodstuffs, not simply meat. In the wild they eat insects, plant matter, crustaceans, fruits, worms and fish.

Providing your Piranhas a varied diet plan can increase their life and improve their immunity. You need to replicate their natural diet to achieve this.

  • Feed your Piranhas once a day. Feeding them several times can cause overfeeding and increases the quantity of waste in the tank. Very young Piranha can be fed more often. The Piranhas needs to consume whatever is offered to them within a few minutes or this can add to the bad water quality and increase vulnerability to illness. Essentially remove uneaten food, The only exception is vegetable matter. Vegetables can be left for a couple of hours.
  • You can give your Piranhas processed, frozen, and freeze dried foods consisting of fish, crabs, prawns, rainworms and shed snakeskin. You should feed them green veggies such as raw zucchini, spinach, or potato. Prevent providing Piranhas dry market feed, flakes, or granules.
  • Avoid feeding Piranhas live animals. This is prevent illness and fatalities amongst your Piranha. Live animals can contribute substantially to a messy tank, and you will be cleaning and changing the water more frequently, which ultimately is more stressful for the fish.

Red Bellied Piranha in a home aquarium

Keep An Eye Out For Signs of Unhealthy Piranha

Although Piranhas are hearty animals, they can get ill. Not keeping clean tank water and aggressive other fish can result in disease and death. Piranhas must be active, alert, and not succumb to body damage. Small nipped fins are regular for a Piranha that are not fed regularly, where there are more than one Piranha present. It’s a known Piranha problem.

When you feed Piranha, they should ‘dine’, if that is the right word, easily and rapidly. View each of your Piranhas for any of the following indications of disease:

  • Lethargy or inert Piranha
  • An unwillingness to feed
  • Slow, shallow and difficult breathing
  • Visible parasites on the outside of the body
  • Severe body damage such as bites or pieces of missing flesh
  • Missing or cloudy eyes (Piranha attack here as a preference)

Acknowledging Typical Piranha Traits – What Can You Expect?

Piranhas are complicated animals that can display a range of habits that might not appear typical to you. They are much maligned in media, but they have a range of traits. It’s good for you to ‘keep an eye’ on your Piranhas to assist you in understanding their habits.  

The following are typical Piranha habits that you might see during your Piranha ownership:

  • The tilting of the the tail and aiming towards the gravel, both of which are indications of aggressiveness to keep other fish away, or make any unknown entity aware they need their space. They also bark, but you may not be able to detect this without specialized equipment.
  • When they are stressed they get paler looking, which will be due to the colors not coming out.
  • Circling the tank consistently is an indication of annoyance with something in the tank. They are trying to dominate the area and display their attitude to other fish.
  • Their colors intensifying suggest your Piranha are mad or extremely pleased
  • Tilting onto their sides and rubbing an itch by scraping the gravel can indicate bad water quality or infection. They may just be requiring a scratch but keep an eye out for them repeatedly doing this.
  • When a Piranha holds their mouth open and swaying strongly, this signifies the Piranha being prepared to attack. They usually bark as a warning, but it is preparing for conflict.
  • When they are hungry they open and close their mouths consistently. It’s a kind of chomping motion. It’s a practice bite, so to speak.
  • A study was done years ago, and found that Piranha preferentially attack by biting each other’s fins as an alert to desist. They go for eyes and fins in other fish as a survival strategy.
  • When they are ready to breed, a Piranha will turn black
  • Wagging tails and getting side by side to one another, is an indication that Piranhas are reproducing, getting ready to breed or are preparing for combat as a pair.

Red Bellied Piranha in a home aquarium

A Guide To Starting a Piranha Tank

Tank Size

Prior to purchasing Piranha think about the size of the tank required for them. The larger the tank the better. I would advise just keeping 2 Piranhas per 60 gallon tank (depending upon species), and a minimum of 20 gallons additional for each extra fish. The very best formula possible is not to include more fish, however if you desire more Piranhas they may not live as easy as you think. Don’t go fancy with the tanks either, a normal aquarium proportion is fine, you don’t want to  get any sort of ‘high’ tank or hexagon design tank for them. They are for show, and NOT conducive to keeping Piranha.

Tank Location

A location where it does not get direct sunshine ought to be where you put your Piranha tank, due to the fact that the sunshine can trigger the tank to get algae flourishing, or simply get too hot. You ought to likewise think about a low-traffic location to put them in (ie NOT a hallway), due to the fact that a lot of people strolling by all the time can give tensions and stress to them.

Water Conditions

Piranhas are extremely strong fish and can adjust to a wide variety of water conditions, however it is much better and healthier to target the perfect conditions for them. Perfect conditions replicate the Amazon basin. Piranhas do great in a temperature level from 75 ° to 80 °, with a requisite PH of between 5.5 and 8.0.

Aquarium Lights

Piranhas in their natural environment normally reside in dirty water or around forest bottoms or the oxbow lake systems throughout the rainy season. During these times very little light can permeate through the forest canopy and the waters Piranha swim in can be extremely murky. This keeps them away from predators as well.

The Piranha’s eyes have actually adjusted to these conditions, they have a big pupil (black part of the eye) that is developed to soak up light so that they can see much better. Unlike a human eyes their pupils can not contract to manage the quantity of light getting in the optic nerve. This is why you see your Piranhas go insane when you turn on the aquarium lights. It injures their eyes. It is both unnatural and unnerving.

As their pupils do not respond to the light, the Piranhas can not manage the quantity of light entering their optic nerve, and undoubtedly they do not have eyelids, so they could not simply shut their eyes if light is too brilliant. This is why it is suggested you don’t use aquarium lights.

Piranhas will end up getting used to aquarium lights if you do use them, however they will constantly be very anxious and will scatter quickly. Constantly direct exposure can likewise potentially trigger damage to their vision, burning the optic nerves. If you must use them make sure they are a very low level.

If you do use lights, provide a dark area where they can retreat to. Placing plants and floating debris can provide natural cover. Natural room light doesn’t seem to worry them, so placing them in a room is OK., even if it gets sunlight. Just make sure the aquarium lights aren’t like a nearby sun.

Red Bellied Piranha in a home aquarium

Plants, Both Genuine and Plastic

If you select genuine plants the very best kinds would be sturdy low-light plants, such as hornwort, java moss/fern, and so on or some kinds of drifting plants. If you select plastic, you can utilize whatever types you prefer, because they are not live plants they do not need any care. There are no real rules here, so mix of live and plastic plants is fine.

Tank Furnishings

When keeping Piranhas it’s a great concept to utilize some kind of tank home furnishings to make them feel safe and secure in the aquarium. Try to replicate what they might come across in the wild, so plants, whether plastic or genuine, driftwood, little and larger rocks, as well as gravel. When your Piranha get scared they produce a natural look and locations for them to conceal themselves in.


Driftwood, as such, is just a floating piece of wood designed to give cover for your Piranha. It has natural instincts that allay fear and stress. A piece of driftwood is protection from predators above.

Soaking the wood in water to get all the tannic acid out is advisable. Using a separate collection of water, such as a bucket, place the wood you intend to use and soak it in this container of water till all the tannic acid seeps out of it.

You’ll understand this is occurring when the water in the container begins turning a brown tea color (although some Piranhas, such as the Black Piranha in their natural surroundings like this kind of water, it tends to have an unattractive appearance in the aquarium).

When the water turns a brownish color empty it and re-fill it again with with fresh, clean water till it stops turning brown. In essence repeat the leaching process until your proposed piece of driftwood has no tannic acid in it.

After the water stops turning a brownish color this would suggest that all the tannic acids have actually seeped out of the driftwood. You can now use it in the aquarium.

Rocks For The Aquarium

When picking rocks choose ones that are not too rugged or your Piranhas might injure themselves on them, and constantly clean the rocks prior to putting them in your aquarium. Choose smooth rocks for Piranhas.

Some rocks can raise the PH of the water which can be bad for your Piranhas. The following rocks are okay for your Piranhas and will not impact your water chemistry: Granite, Basalt, Gneiss, Slate, and Quartz.

The following rocks are bad for your Piranhas that can turn the water hard, and alkaline: Limestone, Marble, Dolomite, Calcareous sandstones, and any soft, milky rocks. Basically, all the carbonate forms of rock structure.

Other tank home furnishings that ought to be prevented: dead coral, crushed coral, and sea shells. These will raise the PH of the water even greater.


Choose natural colored kinds, however you can pick whatever you desire as long as its produced for aquarium usage, and keep in mind cleaning prior to utilizing it in your aquarium. It is OK to use just enough gravel to cover the bottom of the tank.

Other Furnishings

No hard and fast rules here, but is OK to put things in that are not natural as the Piranha will not know. Putting in rock structures with hiding spots, as well as plant pots that have ‘swim through’ zones as well as piping are all OK/

The idea is to give hiding places for the Piranha.

a single Black Piranha in a home aquarium

Filtering and Other Equipment

When you decide you want to own Piranha and begin an aquarium you will require an excellent mechanical and biological filtering system, as well as other tank devices. Here is a list of filters you can select from, and a list of other devices you might require.

Canister Filters

These are a good solution for maintaining an aquarium for Piranha, as they are good for large aquariums and provide more room for the Piranha inside the tank. You get a good water current and a high level of filtration. They perform enhanced mechanical filtration and a better breakdown of ammonia waste. The water pump is integral and the water is forced to flow through all of the media.

Power Filters

These are typically the hanging style models that withdraw and circulate to the water before returning it to the tank. They use a ‘lift tube’ to suck the water up and through a filter chamber and how it filter, vary my model type.

These filters typically have a high GPH (Gallons Per Hour) rate and are generally low-cost and need regular cleaning.

Under Gravel

At its core, these filters are plates that cover the floor of the aquarium. With either slots or holes for the water pass through, the appearance can vary from model to model but all work on the same principle.

Water is drawn up through a lift tube via a motor that pulls water through the plate The flow of water in the aquarium is down.

Supposedly they need an air pump, or powerhead to run and a minimum of 2″ layer of gravel on top. These filters are low-cost and best utilized for the fry of Piranha.

Sponge Filters

These filters have excellent mechanical filtering with good biological filtering depending upon the model. They need an air pump, or powerhead to run. These filters are inexpensive and best utilized for best utilized for the fry of Piranha.

Inside Box Filters

While needing an air pump to run, these filters offer satisfying biological, mechanical, and chemical filtering. They are also low-cost filters.

Wet/Dry Filters

While they do not require regular cleansing, which is good for those who want low maintenance filters, these filters are normally the more expensive of the options. However, these filters are the very best all-around filter. They supply outstanding biological, mechanical, and chemical filtering.

Heating systems

You will require a heating unit to keep your tank temperature level constant, at a level of 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit for your Piranha. There are two kinds of heating system, submersible, and ones that hang outside the tank. Most choose the submersible ones since they can be put anywhere inside the tank, however these designs are a bit more pricey than the hangover types.


You’ll require a thermometer to track the temperature level and make sure that your Piranha are comfortable. Some thermometers stick on the exterior of the glass, and some are connected by a suction cup on the interior of the aquarium.

The advantage of choosing the suction cup ones, is that you can remove it from one tank and utilize it in another. The stick on types are irreversible and permanent. Some heating units come with a built-in thermometer, so you might not be required to purchase one.

Air Pump

Should your filtration system create surface movement, you might not need an air pump, but air pumps are there to keep the water oxygenated, or run particular filters.

Power Heads

These are useful for keeping the water distributed throughout the tank. The majority of Piranhas like to swim in the current produced by the power head, however you do not actually need one if your filter delivers enough circulation. These can likewise be fitted with a “pre-filter” to assist with mechanical filtering.

piranhas swimming

Choosing a Healthy Piranha

Before you choose to buy Piranha it is first worth considering if you can appropriately care for the fish and fulfill its biological and habitual needs. If you can’t, or are not ready to supply the appropriate conditions for the fish, then you ought to reassess your option in purchasing a Piranha. These are a hardy fish, but due to the size of the tank, much knowledge is needed,

They are not considered a beginner fish to keep, but it is not difficult to keep them if you are prepared to learn.

Due to their infamous popularity, unfortunately, Piranha are among the most mistreated of tropical fish. Many customers purchase them on an impulse without even understanding how to look after the fish. Please, do not purchase any unless you are prepared to offer the appropriate care for them.

Prior to acquiring Piranha(s) initially observe them. Piranhas are typically kept under congested conditions in pet shops and it can often be hard to discover a healthy specimen. Here is what to search for and what to sidestep:

What To Search For

The Piranha ought to be alert and really active of its environments. It should look relaxed if possible and not making small dart-like movement continuously. No extreme body damage (small nipped fins, are okay), both eyes should be undamaged, brilliant and clear. It should eat and consume without difficulty. Respiration must be typical, with no indications of external parasites.

What to Sidestep

Unsurprisingly, the exact opposite are not considered the best to purchase. Sluggish, slow Piranha, those not consuming food, those exhibiting extreme body damage (bites, portions of flesh missing out on), cloudy eyes, lost eyes, labored respiration (might be an indication of gill issues), or obvious parasites on the body.

Regular Maintenance for Piranha

Changes of Water

You ought to change the aquarium water a minimum of 20% weekly. There are some items that make this extremely simple. They’re called “Pythons”, they link to your kitchen/bathroom sink, and are a huge aid when draining pipes and re-filling tank water.


Regular aquarium upkeep is important for the health of your Piranha(s). This typically just takes about 10 minutes of your time each week.

Filter Cleansing

Various filters mean the length of time to clean can vary enormously. Sponge, or any biological media type filter must be soaked and cleaned up in a little container of water taken from the aquarium. Cleaning them under tap water can be harmful.

Canister filters should be cleaned up in every 4 to 6 week period. Power Filters ought to be cleaned up about every 2 weeks. Sponge filters, under gravel filters, and Inside box filters ought to be cleaned on a weekly basis.

Aquarium Cleaning

It’s recommended that ‘vacuuming’ the gravel is done on a weekly basis to eliminate all the remaining food and fish waste. A “Python” (water altering gadget) device can vacuum the gravel while altering the water. Alternatively, to make life a little easier you can purchase a ‘gravel vacuuming’ gadget that connects to an air pump for use.

Rather than on a particular schedule, whenever necessary you can scrub the sides of the tank to eliminate algae. Not easy in a Piranha tank. There are a range of scrubbing gadgets produced solely for this function. The very best kinds would be the magnetic ones, due to the fact that you can clean up the sides without sticking your hands into the tank. Again, that’s important for a Piranha tank.

It’s OK if you just scrub algae off the front of the tank (so you can still see the fish), and let algae grow on the other sides. Algae is simply safe primitive plant life and does not harm the fish..

Sole Red Bellied Piranha

Red-Belly Piranha Tank Concepts

By far the most common Piranha kept in aquariums are the Red-Bellied Piranha. They are the most famous, probably because they are said to be the most aggressive. An attractive quality for prospective Piranha owners apparently.

Red-Belly Piranhas need specific care in a house tank. This covers their living environment, which requires to accommodate their bigger size. Many people discover the concept of keeping Piranhas unique enough from the normal fishkeeping world so as to attend to their specialized requirements.

The Aquarium

You will require a big aquarium (certainly bigger than for normal fishkeeping purposes) to house Red-Bellied Piranhas, because they can grow to 12 inches or more in length.

Red-Bellied Piranhas school in the wild for defense and require to be in groups of 6 fish or so to feel safe and secure. A group of juveniles can school together in a 60-gallon aquarium.

As they mature and grow to adult status, you will require an aquarium with at least 15 to 20 gallons of aquarium volume per fish to accommodate their size. A 60 gallon tank is recommended as a minimum.

Don’t go ‘interesting’ with the tank. A standard rectangular shape is fine. Convoluted and confined tanks will cause problems for the Piranha.

Water Chemistry

Piranhas are indigenous to the Amazon basin and as such you need to replicate the water conditions that the Piranha flourish in. The Amazon basin is considered tropical, soft, acidic water.

You will be required to keep their water in between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit,  and as soft as possible for them to prosper. The pH ought to stay in between 6 and 7, but a range of 5-5 to 8.0 is considered OK.


Red-Bellied Piranha, regardless of their bigger size, are best served be having comparable decor to smaller sized fish. A Piranha aquarium requires both thick thickets of aquarium plants to make the fish feel safe, and open cruising locations for them to swim freely.

You can likewise include some driftwood to assist in keeping a low water pH like the waters of their natural environment. Ensure you have hiding locations, because Piranhas could get aggressive with each other, and hiding locations are often required for lower-ranking fish to relocate to and hide.

Tank Mates – Piranha Companionship

You might think that when you have an aggressive omnivorous fish with teeth, picking tank mates might be a risky proposition.

Beyond a school of their own kind, you have couple of choices. Piranhas will school together with members of their own species. Red-Bellied will swim with other Red-Bellied Piranhas, and may indeed swim with different breeds, such as a black Piranha.

Always make sure you have as large a tank as you can afford to restrict the repercussions of violence from Piranha. Even moderate hostility with fish that posses razor-sharp teeth can result in severe maiming, if not outright fatalities.

Some enthusiasts have actually had luck with plecos, given that these catfish are all but armored. Furthermore, big Piranhas in some cases disregard really little fish, it’s as if they are too small to be considered a threat or a meal.

Any fish you put into an aquarium with Piranhas is at threat of being consumed, so keep that in mind if you desire to attempt. Best not try it with really expensive fish.

Piranha have odd friendship requirements, with particulars that you need to be aware of. As juvenile fry, Piranhas will be a schooling fish, and ought to be kept in groups. As they grow into young adults, many Piranhas end up being more singular and solitary in thinking, and are more prone to assaulting others of the very same species.

A confined tank is the primary cause of this, which is why the largest tank you can afford, especially for Piranha is advised.

Often, Piranhas can be kept with little, serene fish such as neon Tetras and guppies, and if the Piranha are big enough it’s advised that they are kept well fed so as not to be worried about food.

In a big adequate aquarium, Piranhas can be kept with other bigger fish, and the Piranhas will sometimes take a bite of a fin, however ought to leave the other fish alone.

The key is to keep the Piranha well fed. Piranhas will only attack other fish if they are threatened or are starved. You have control over the feeding of your Piranha, so keep their minds off being hungry.

the piranha bark

Keeping Piranhas in An Aquarium? It’s Not So Difficult

In spite of their character being portrayed as an unsafe exotic fish, Piranhas are really quite popular. Even a beginner aquarist can keep a healthy Piranha aquarium quite easily, and not lose any fingers at the same time. Or loose the cat.

Given that Piranhas are a quite unique fish, and authorities for some reason are concerned with them escaping into local ecosystems, you might be required to get a permit to be able to keep Piranhas at your home.

Stay up to date with the laws in your part of the world, consult your local authorities and be prepared for a dedication that can last in between 5 to 15 years.

Tank Size for Piranhas and Other Requirements

Piranhas are a fairly big fish, o at least can grow to quite a size. With the smaller sized family members reaching around 10cm long, and the bigger ones can grow to as much as 12 cm in length.

Piranhas are not comfortable with a little tank. It produces stress due to the confined space. In an aggressive fish with teeth, this isn’t the best scenario.

Be prepared to purchase at least a 60 gallon tank which must be kept in between 24.5 and 28.4 C (75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Too high temperature level might trigger issues breathing, however Piranhas need a warm tank and are bad at handling a tank that is too cold.

Some individuals choose to utilize two heating systems in their Piranha tank, so a hardware breakdown, or any maintenance issues does not wind up with dead or ill fish because the water temperature drops too far,.

Wild captured Piranhas are happy with slightly acidic environments with soft  river water. The Piranhas most aquarists keep as family pets are reproduced in captivity  and as such are much more durable, and able to live in water with a pH of about 7.5 as long as the carbonate hardness rate is not too high.

With regards to filtering, you will be better to buy double-filtration system with both an inside and an outside water filter. Piranhas are very dirty eaters, which produces a great deal of waste that can increase the opportunity and collection of bacterial infections and algae.

A water pump to increase water flow, such as the powerheads that are so popular in marine fish tanks, can likewise assist keep your Piranhas in the best condition.

School of Piranha

Offering the Right Environment for Piranhas

High powered aquarium lights are not advised as Piranhas are rather light sensitive, and they can suffer damage if they are exposed to strong aquarium lights. In their natural habitat the water can be rather murky and their eyes have evolved with this in mind.

Their big pupils can’t contract like a human, and they have no eyelids to minimize the quantity of light entering the eye, and they will attempt to conceal themselves in shaded areas if you use high powered lights on them.

This is why you should offer dark areas for your Piranhas to retreat to.

You can either keep your aquarium utilizing just the roomlight available, without extra light, or utilize low output fluorescents and drifting plants to filter the light even more. If you have live plants, it’s advisable to pick species that do not need a great deal of light: a poorly lit aquarium is the very best environment for family pet Piranhas.

With regards to aquascaping, Piranhas need a great deal of cover and in their natural environment they generally hide on the bottom of the river or lake, amongst dirty waters and foliage, that are even darker, due to the forest canopy filtering it out.

To reproduce this, go for a 50% to 75% cover utilizing caverns and plants. Do not fret about never ever seeing your family pet Piranha with a lot cover: Most Piranha fish will be swimming around quite freely as long as they understand there is a location to hide when required. Inadequate cover can harm your Piranha’s health due to tension.

The Number of Piranhas to Keep?

They have a track record of being really aggressive, certainly if you get your information from Hollywood, but they are extremely friendly shy fish living in schools in the wild. Adult Red-Bellied Piranhas tend to eat worms, pests and other fish mainly in the evening and dawn, while juvenile feed throughout the day.

As juveniles, they more than happy to school and are required to be kept in groups however as they grow larger they can end up being territorial and extremely independent. If you keep a group of about 4 of them they are not likely to get so aggressive and they will not bully and eliminate the weaker ones of the group as they grow. A group of 4 will require a 80 to 100 gallon tank.

Keeping other fish with your Piranhas simply as live food is a bad concept, as they can generate illness to your aquarium. It is likewise quite vicious and has no advantage whatsoever to anyone in the tank. On the other hand, if you have fish you actually truly wish to keep, like an expensive guppy, you must not put them in the very same tank as the Piranha so as to prevent mishaps.

Keeping Piranha separated from other species is fine.

Ultimately it’s up to you. Red-Bellied Piranha, the most commonly kept Piranha are a schooling fish so it’s not advisable to keep them on their own. Companionship is advised. The Black Piranha though is a solo fish, in the wild it operates alone, so you can keep a singular Black Piranha just fine.

Just remember the rough rule of thumb. A 60 gallon tank for 1 to 2 fish and then an additional 20 gallons per additional fish. Keep 10 Red-Bellied Piranha if you like, just be prepared for a 200 gallon tank.

Aquarium of Piranha

Pet Piranha Food and Care

Although naively known as a vicious killer, Piranhas are extremely versatile and are actually omnivorous. Certainly the Red-Bellied Piranha is. Choosing good quality food is a good idea, and despite fears, they are quite shy of things larger than themselves so nipped hands are often not a problem.

Probably best not to tempt fate though and keep them well fed.

Movies have actually done a great deal of damage to the track record of this gorgeous fish (thank you James Bond) who primarily consumes vegetable matter, insects, worms and fruits.

The primary products on your Piranha’s diet plan need to be regular processed, frozen and freeze dried foods, offered one time in a day in quantities no bigger than what your fish can consume in about 2 minutes.

They are really dirty eaters, and excess food will lead to an increased upkeep, which can be quite tiresome and time consuming. Once in awhile they will like some fresh raw veggies (spinach, zucchini and raw potato being incredibly popular) and if your aquarium has live plants they will probably graze on them. Make your plants edible.

Piranhas are an active fish that are much enjoyed by aquarists and will constantly be a subject of discussion amongst your visitors. Trust me, visitors to your home will mention it.

If you wonder about this typically misunderstood animal, learn yourself how to keep them and provide yourself with the informational ammo for their survival. They do not kill people, they are not venomous and they can be rather lovely, in spite of all their teeth.


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