Pacu Fish: Fish With Teeth Like Humans

Pacu fish

Last updated on August 19th, 2022 at 02:18 pm

Pacu fish are a type of freshwater fish that swims in the pacu river. They are native to South America, specifically Brazil, but they can also be found in parts of Africa. There are some interesting facts about pacu fish that you might not know! For example, pacu fish have been known to munch on nuts and seeds while swimming around- this is why they’re called nutcrackers!

They are a South American freshwater predatory fish. They are related to piranhas and were introduced into the wild in Papua New Guinea where they have become an invasive species.

The pacu is typically about four feet long (1.2 m) and weighs between 55-110 pounds (25-50 kg). It has a flat head similar to that of its cousin the piranha but it’s generally considered less aggressive than that infamous carnivore.

The pacu has been known to attack human testicles by mistake when trying to feed on other parts of the body because their teeth aren’t designed for ripping off chunks of flesh like those found on humans or other mammals with fur.

Origin and descriptions

Pacu fish

Pacu fish are originally from the Amazon river basin. They have a similar appearance to piranha, but they are more distantly related than it may appear at first glance. Pacus resemble their carnivorous counterparts in shape and size, however, unlike most other omnivores, pacus do not eat flesh – only vegetation. Also known as the vegetarian piranha, pacus are highly sought after as aquarium fish for their coloration and gentle nature.

Pacu fish have a varied diet that includes small invertebrates, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They have also been known to eat other fish in the wild – but only if they are smaller than themselves.

The average size of an adult pacu is around thirty inches – but they can grow up to five feet long. They are named after the Brazilian word for ‘intestines’ because their intestines contain air, allowing them to float above the riverbed and eat vegetation that grows on top of it. Their teeth resemble human molars, making them omnivores.

Pacus are commonly found in the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America, as well as rivers and lakes throughout much of Southern Asia including Borneo and Sumatra. They live most often at depths greater than 12 meters (40 feet). They can generally be kept with other pacus, but not with other fish that have sharp teeth or are omnivorous.

Brichardi Fish Care - Fairy Cichlid

Species profile

Pacu fish

The pacu fish, also known as the “ball cutter”, is a species of freshwater fish that is related to the piranha. They are omnivorous and typically feed on fruits, nuts, and seeds. They have been known to attack and bite humans, sometimes causing serious injuries.

They are a popular aquarium fish and can be found in many pet stores. They are typically sold as juveniles and can grow to be quite large, up to 30 inches in length. Because of their size, pacu fish require a large tank or pond when kept as pets.

Scientific name

The pacu fish’s scientific name is Piaractus brachypomus

Color and appearance

Pacu fish are typically bright silver with yellowish or pink tints on the belly and a greenish back. They have a large head and powerful, blunt jaws that contain molars similar to those of humans. These teeth allow them to crack nuts which they swallow whole after pulverizing them against their gums. Pacus also eat seeds, fruit, snails, and other smaller fish.

They are often described as looking similar to piranhas but they can be distinguished by their lack of red coloration on the fins, lips, and body. They also have rounder snouts than that of a piranha’s sharp edges.

Range and habitat

Pacu fish are native to the Amazon and Orinoco river basins in South America. They can also be found in parts of Southeast Asia, Africa, and Central America.

Pacus prefer slow-moving waters with plenty of vegetation where they can hide from predators. They are not typically found in fast-flowing rivers or lakes.

They feed mainly on plant matter, but they will also eat small fish, insects, and crustaceans.

Pacu fish size

Pacu fish can reach up to two meters in length and weigh up to 55 kg.

Pacu fish aquarium size

Pacus can grow up to 55 cm and should be housed in aquariums that are at least 150 gallons in capacity.

Life cycle

Pacu fish are freshwater fish that live in the Amazon River basin. They can reach up to two meters in length and weigh up to 45 kilograms. Pacu males and females mature at different ages; males typically mature at three years of age, while females usually do not mature until they are six years old.

Channa Limbata (Dwarf Snakehead) Care Guide

Spawning occurs during the wet season. Females lay between 300 and 500 eggs in the flooded forest, where they are fertilized by males at night while submerged, or on a bank during spawning upstream. The male guards his nest until larval development is complete after approximately 21 days of incubation.

Pacu juveniles live in small schools near the banks of rivers and feed on plant material, invertebrates, and smaller fish. Adults are typically solitary and territorial; they occupy a home range where they forage for food. Pacu has been known to eat other fish, as well as nuts, fruits, and vegetables.

Is pacu fish aggressive or peaceful?

Pacu fish are typically considered to be peaceful, but they have been known to attack humans when they feel threatened. As omnivores, pacus will eat anything that is available to them, so it is important to keep an eye on your pets if you have a pond with pacu in it.

Pacu fish care

Pacu fish

Pacu fish are not difficult to care for, but they do require a large tank or pond with plenty of plants. Pacus will eat just about anything, so it is important to provide them with a varied diet that includes live and frozen foods, as well as vegetables. They should be kept in water temperatures between 72 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

What do pacu fish eat (pacu fish nutrition)

Pacu fish eat a variety of foods, including pellets and flakes. However, they require some live or frozen food as well. They will also accept crickets and worms if offered to them!

What do pacu fish look like (pacu pictures)

Pacu fish

Pacus can grow up to about 150 pounds but are usually between 20 and 50 pounds. They have a deep body and are typically silver with black markings.

Where do pacu fish live (pacu habitat)

Pacus originate from the Amazon River basin in South America, but they can now be found in many parts of the world. They prefer warm, slow-moving water and can live in both fresh and salt water.

What is the lifespan of a pacu (pacu life expectancy)

Pacus have a lifespan of about 20 years in captivity.

Are pacu fish dangerous to people?

Pacus are not typically considered dangerous to people, but they can bite if they feel threatened. They have been known to bite fingers and toes, so it is important to be aware of their presence when in the water.

Black Orchid Betta Fish Care Guide

Tank mates for pacu fish

Pacu are generally peaceful fish and can be kept with other community fish. However, they can grow quite large, so it is important to choose tank mates that will be able to live peacefully together. Some good choices include other large fish like Oscars or even freshwater sharks. Be sure to avoid small fish that could become a meal for them.

Water conditions

Pacu requires a moderate to warm water temperature of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. They also need soft, acidic water conditions with a pH of around six or less. Be sure to test your water parameters regularly and make adjustments as needed to keep your fish healthy and happy.


The breeding process for pacu fish is a little unusual. The male will build a bubble nest and then attempt to entice females into the nest by fanning his fins, flashing colors, and releasing hormones from his anal fin. If he does attract a female, she will lay her eggs inside of the bubble nest where they are fertilized before being incubated. The male will then care for the eggs until they hatch, which can take up to two weeks.


Pacu have a very long lifespan of about 20 years, so it is important to plan ahead when choosing tank mates.

Parasites and diseases

Pacu fish can be infected with a variety of parasites and diseases. Some of these include:

  • Mycobacteriosis, a bacterial infection that can cause skin lesions and affect the central nervous system
  • Chilodonella, a protozoan parasite that causes red blotches on the body and fins
  • Trichodiniasis, a parasitic infection that causes skin lesions and inflammation
  • Ichthyophonus hoferi, a fungus that can cause extensive damage to the internal organs

Pacu fish are also susceptible to various environmental threats, such as:

  • Algal blooms, which can release toxins that can be harmful or fatal to fish
  • pH fluctuations, which can cause the fish to become stressed and susceptible to disease
  • Low oxygen levels, which can lead to suffocation
  • Temperature fluctuations, which can cause the fish to die from shock or exposure


Pacu fish are preyed upon by a variety of predators, including:

  • Birds, such as herons and egrets
  • Mammals, such as otters and raccoons
  • Other fish, such as bass and catfish
Sunburst Platy (Xiphophorus maculatus) Care

Are pacu fish good pets?

Pacu fish are not good pets. They require a lot of care and attention, which makes them difficult to maintain for most people.

Pacu fish teeth

Pacu fish

Pacu fish have very unique teeth that are different from those of other fish. Their teeth are shaped like human incisors, which is why they are sometimes referred to as “vegetarian piranhas.” This makes them well-suited for consuming fruits and vegetables.

Is pacu fish dangerous to humans?

Pacu fish are not considered dangerous to humans. However, they have been known to bite people on occasion, usually out of curiosity or when being handled. They have also been known to bite swimmers who get too close to them in the water. So, while they are not typically seen as a danger to humans, it is always best to be cautious.

Do Pacu fish eat human?

Pacu fish are not the same as piranha, so they do not typically eat humans. However, if there is nothing else to eat in their environment, these types of fish may become desperate and be willing to bite or even swallow a human being’s flesh.


Pacu fish can be fascinating pets to own, but it is important to remember that they are not domesticated. They should always be handled with care and caution. While these types of fish may never pose a threat to humans if maintained properly by their owners, there have been incidents where people have needed medical attention after being bitten or hurt by them.