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Red-Bellied Piranha



Picture of Red-Bellied Piranha Picture of young Red-Bellied Piranha

A wild-caught adult, and juvenile red-bellied piranhas.

Photos taken at Wharf Aquatics
Photos © Sean Evans

Common name:Red-Bellied Piranha, Red Piranha, Natterer's Piranha
Scientific name:Pygocentrus nattereri
Synonyms:Serrasalmus nattereri (not valid)
Size:Up to 12" (30cm)
Origin:South America - large areas of the Amazon and its major tributaries.
Tank setup:A large tank with bogwood, and a few robust or plastic plants for decor. A shoal of adults will require a tank of 100 gallons (450 litres) plus. Heavy-duty filtration is essential.
Compatibility:A highly predatory carnivore, best kept in a shoal in a species tank.
Temperature:24-27oC (75-81oF)
Water chemistry:Fairly soft, acidic water (pH 5.8-6.8) prefered, but not essential, as harder and more alkaline water is well tolerated.
Feeding:Carnivore: Live or dead meaty foods. There is no particular need to feed live fish, as they can easily be weaned onto thawed mussel, prawn, etc - some even take pellets which can help to provide a varied diet. The use of "feeder fish" carries a strong risk of introducing disease.
Sexing:No clear sexual differences. Breeding females may appear more robust in shape.
Breeding:Eggs are laid among plants or in a pit in the substrate and defended by the parents. Hatching takes around 2-3 days.
Comments: This fish is infamous as a highly dangerous carnivore. Although its reputation is somewhat exaggerated, it is wise to take precautions when carrying out tank maintenance. The fish may actually appear rather timid if kept in a brightly lit aquarium with little cover.
This species may be confused with P. cariba, which occurs in the Orinoco river, rather than the Amazon.

 

 

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