Black piranhas, also called redeye piranhas, are carnivorous sea dwellers mostly found in South America (Amazon and Orinoco basins). Hobbyist and enthusiasts are really keen to tame this species due to its unique temperament and physical characteristics. In case you are one such enthusiast, PetPonder’s got some tips for you on black piranha care. Take a look!
Piranhas grow more aggressive with age. Therefore, precaution should be taken during tank maintenance or while feeding them.
Black piranhas, scientifically termed as Serrasalmus rhombeus, are somewhat shy and solitary fish. However, don’t expect them to be shy when preying for food. These piranhas being meat-eaters feed mostly on smaller fish and invertebrates.
They have a powerful body, really strong jaws, and several sharp teeth. So in case you plan to have one of these in your aquarium, it’s probably a good idea to not dunk your hand in the tank.
Below given are some facts and figures about this species, followed by the caring tips. Check them out.
|Common Name:||Black Piranha|
|Binomial Name:||Serrasalmus Rhombeus|
|Tank Size:||75-100 Gallons|
|Ideal Water Temp:||74-84°F|
|Ideal Water pH:||4.5-7.5|
|Maximum Growth:||Up to 17″|
How to Care for a Black Piranha
Setting Up a Tank
❖ As these fish grow up to 17 inches in length, a 75- to 100-gallon tank is perfect. Also, being freshwater fish, they require highly oxygenated and clean water. To ensure the water conditions remain suitable, it’s ideal to use canister filtration and wet/dry sump-based filtration. One should also ensure ample internal water-flow that would maintain oxygen levels. This can be achieved by using a spray bar or additional power heads.
❖ Weekly water changes are also required in order to get rid of accumulated nitrates (as a result of decayed food). When changing water, replace approximately 25% of the existing water with new water. Doing this would help maintain the best water quality.
❖ Lastly, maintaining proper water temperature is crucial too. Use a heater to maintain the water temperature somewhere between 75 to 80°F. Also, ensure that the water pH levels are in the range of 4.5 to 7.5.
Tank Decoration and Safety
❖ When setting up the tank, safety comes first, especially from fish that could prove detrimental to humans. Try to keep wires of filters and power heads outside the tank, this is because, in case any loose wires hang around in the tank, the piranha might chew on them. This could prove harmful to the fish and to you too.
❖ Secondly, keep the lid of the tank closed at all times, and keep the tank at a considerable height if you have kids. Piranhas do not spare humans, they would bite upon seeing a finger or hand submerged in the water considering it to be food. Also, piranhas have a tendency to leap, so it’s always a good idea to keep the lid closed in order to avoid mishaps.
❖ Coming to decoration, as piranhas are freshwater fish, introducing a sandy substrate, some aquatic plants, and some smooth rocks or bog-wood would do the trick. Also, when illuminating the tank, keep in mind that piranhas hate bright lighting; hence, use a low-intensity bulb or tube.
Mating and Tankmates
❖ In case you plan to add one more piranha to the tank, don’t do so. Piranhas are solitary fish, they do not enjoy company of other fish, even if they are fellow piranhas. Introducing fish bigger than the piranhas would make the atmosphere more tense, whereas smaller fish would be preyed upon by piranhas.
❖ If you plan to breed them, take the female out after the process of spawning. The male is known to look after the eggs, but the young ones should be transferred to another tank after they hatch.
❖ What’s for food? Not veggies for sure! For food, piranhas like crustaceans, smaller fish, and invertebrates. Juveniles must be fed 2-4 times a day, whereas the older ones can be fed 1-2 times.
❖ Feed fish flesh, insects, bloodworms, tubifex worms, crustaceans (flesh) like prawns, shrimp, barnacles, etc. Occasionally, you could also feed portions of white fish and feeder fish. Do not feed mammal meat (chicken, beef, etc.) to the piranha as such meat contains a lot of fat which could affect the health of the piranha.
❖ You could also consider feeding frozen fish in case you fail to get live fish. Dried worms too are a good alternative to live food.
As is evident from the points mentioned above, black piranhas are extremely aggressive and solitary sea creatures. They are fairly hardy and ideally not suited to be owned by children or inexperienced handlers. One thing is for sure though, owning a black piranha is like owning a really unique fish like no other on this earth.