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Red Belly Piranha
2 likes Piranha
(Pygocentrus nattereri) Moderate Aggressive 12" 55 gallons 74-82° F, KH 10-20, pH 6.0-7.5 Omnivore South America Characidae Piranha Other-Monster-Fish The Red Belly Piranha (Pygocentrus nattereriRed) has been available within the aquarium hobby trade for decades. During this time it has developed quite a following among aquarium hobbyists and the general public. They can be found in the aquarium trade under a variety of names including: the Red Belly Piranha, Red Piranha, Red Bellied Piranha and simply Piranha. There are of course multiple species of Piranha, with the Red Belly Piranha (Pygocentrus nattereriRed) being one of the most popular amongst aquarium hobbyists due to its coloration and moderate size. While they can reach sizes upwards of 12 inches in the wild, Red Belly Piranha living in the aquarium environment tend to reach about 10 inches in length when fully grown. Contrary to popular belief, Piranha are typically very calm and will spend most of their time hiding amongst plants, rock work or other aquarium decor. They are also quite skittish when approached by humans at the aquarium glass or when disturbed by hobbyists working within the tank. However, they are very capable of inflicting serious damage with their razor sharp teeth to either tank mates or hobbyists working within the aquarium. Both their activity level and aggression goes up considerable during feedings and it is at this time that other tank mates or fingers in the aquarium are at danger from being bitten. When keeping Red Belly Piranha in the home aquarium, hobbyists should try their best to emulate their natural habitat and water conditions. A typical Amazonian biotope aquarium works best, with a sand substrate, driftwood or submerged wood root, areas with dense vegetation and open swimming areas. They will prefer either dim lighting or lighting that is diffused by lust plant growth within the aquarium. In regards to filtration requirements there is no other way to say it other than Piranha are very messy eaters. Strong mechanical and biological filtration is required along with water changes in order to maintain quality water and the build up of nitrates and other chemicals within the aquarium. While Red Belly Piranha are typically wary of humans and unlikely to attack a hobbyist working within the aquarium, the same cannot be said for their fish tank mates. With the exception of the most heavily armored catfish or extremely large and hardy fish species, it is simply a matter of time before tank mates will be attacked and eaten. Many hobbyists have successfully kept Piranha with tank mates for long periods of time, but the time inevitably comes when they turn on their hapless tank mates. In regards to their tank mates, it is recommended that hobbyists err on the side of caution and keep either a single Piranha, a group of Piranha (3 or more) or mixed with other larger fish species in a very large aquarium. The Red Belly Piranha is capable of attacking any size fish and will most often attack tank mates at some point unless well fed and kept in large aquariums with other large aggressive fish species. Most hobbyists keep Red Belly Piranha in groups of 3 to 10 individuals in species only aquariums as this is by far the most successful way to keep Piranha long term. Red Belly Piranha will consume a wide variety of meaty food items; however, not all meaty foods will provide them all the vitamins and minerals they require for a balanced diet and healthy immune system. Piranha will certainly consume live feeder fish just as they do in the wild. However, captive bred feeder fish bring some inherent issues that wild bait fish do not suffer from. Captive bred feeder fish are often kept in very poor water conditions and in severely overcrowded aquariums. This leads to widespread disease which can be transmitted to the Piranha who consume these feeder fish. For this reason it is generally recommended not to feed live feeder fish or to quarantine live feeder fish in good water conditions for 2 weeks in order to verify that they are disease free prior to feeding to predatory fish like Piranha. A good staple diet will consist of a variety of frozen, freeze-dried and live foods ranging from quality meaty frozen preparations, frozen silver sides, prawns, chopped fish, mussels, krill, insects, crustaceans, worms and other similar meaty items. While the stomachs of wild caught specimens have been shown to contain some plant material, captive Piranha rarely eat anything other than meaty foods. Hobbyists should vary the items they feed their Piranha and monitor the overall girth of the fish to determine proper feeding frequency. Begin by feeding them small amounts of food daily or every other day and adjust quantity and frequency according to the fishes growth rate and overall girth. Juvenile specimens should be fed twice per day, with feedings becoming less frequent as they mature into adult fish.
Black Piranha
2 likes Piranha
(Serrasalmus rhombeus) Expert Aggressive 17" 90 gallons 74-84° F, KH 1-20, pH 4.5-7.5 Carnivore Northern Amazon, Venezuela, Guyana, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil Characidae Piranha Other-Monster-Fish The Black Piranha (Serrasalmus rhombeus) is truly impressive predatory fish specimen, with its large powerful body and many sharp teeth. For many hobbyists looking to keep a species aquarium containing aggressive predatory fish, the Black Piranha is the ideal fish. Black Piranha grow upwards of 17 inches in length and have powerful muscular bodies to match their impressive length and of course plenty of sharp teeth. Juvenile Black Piranha have a more silver body, darker spots on their sides and bright red eyes. As they grow into adults they lose their spots and develop a dark overall body coloration ranging between dark grey and black. With age and size typically comes aggression, with adult Black Piranha often being too aggressive to keep in anything but a large aquarium in a conspecific group. However, for hobbyists looking for seriously aggressive fish the Black Piranha is the ideal specimen. Black Piranha originate from larger and deeper rivers of the northern Amazon, where they are accustomed to very clean and highly oxygenated water. They require aquarium environments that have excellent water quality, plenty of dissolved oxygen and internal water flow. Quality water conditions combined with a proper diet is essential to maintain the proper long term health of the fish. Suitable filtration systems for Black Piranha aquariums include high-end canister filtration and wet/dry sump based filtration. Strong water flow via a spray bar or additional power heads is also recommended to insure that there is adequate dissolved oxygen in the water. Being a messy eater that also requires pristine water conditions means that even hobbyists who have aquarium setups with excellent filtration will need to perform partial water changes to avoid the build up of nitrates and other dissolved solids. Properly sized aquariums with quality canister or wet/dry systems will generally require weekly 25% partial water changes in order to maintain the highest water quality. While intolerant of poor water conditions, the Black Piranha is actually accepting of a fairly wide range of water pH and temperature as long as the changes are not sudden. Due to their size and sharp teeth, it is recommended that aquarium equipment like heaters and equipment wires be located outside of the aquarium or neatly tied off in the corner of the aquarium to avoid the Piranha from chewing on them. It is also important to cover the aquarium in order to prevent jumping and accidental contact between the Black Piranha and peoples fingers and hands. It is recommended that hobbyists design the aquarium after their natural habitat, which includes: sandy substrate, driftwood or root, aquatic plants and smooth rocks or rock piles. While this type of setup is not specifically required, it is essential the Black Piranha have some aquarium decor to provide them places to hide. Bare tanks or tanks with minimal decor and bright lighting will stress the fish and can cause illness or shorten their life span. In terms of suitable tank mates for the Black Piranha the list is rather short. Black Piranha should essentially be kept in species only aquariums, with the few exceptions being possibly armored catfish or larger plecos. Even conspecific groups can be problematic in smaller aquariums as Black Piranha will often fight amongst themselves when the aquarium or water conditions are not suitable. In addition to excellent water conditions Black Piranha require ample space within the aquarium or they will become very aggressive towards all other tank mates including other conspecifics. A single specimen can live comfortably in a 75 gallon aquarium, with groups of Piranha requiring larger tanks of 150 gallons or more. Wild Black Piranha consume a wide variety of available foods ranging from the fins of other fish to decaying carcases and even seeds and fruits that have fallen from the jungle canopy. The bulk of their diet consists of smaller fishes, crustaceans and insects. However, as an opportunistic feeder the Black Piranha will scavenge decaying meaty items like dead animal, bird or larger fish carcases that it comes across. Hobbyists should feed meaty foods that are present in the fishes natural diet like fish flesh, crustacean flesh, insects, worms and other similar items. Feeding mammal meat like chicken, beef, etc. is not recommended because the Black Piranha have difficulty fully digesting these types of food and will over time build fatty deposits of undigested fats. Feeder fish like goldfish are also not recommended for a daily staple diet because they are high in fat and offer little nutrition for the Black Piranha. Young Black Piranha will do best with bloodworms, tubifex worms, chopped crustacean flesh (prawns, cockles, shrimp), chopped whitefish or earthworms. Adult Black Piranha should be fed the same types of items only in larger pieces and larger quantities. Feeder fish, chicken livers, beef hearts, etc. are suitable for occasional feedings, but should not make up a significant portion of the fishes diet.