Piranha Fish Facts And Care

piranha fish

Last updated on July 15th, 2022 at 02:29 am

The piranha fish has long been considered one of the most dangerous species of fish in the world. They are thought to be vicious, flesh-eating predators with razor-sharp teeth and an insatiable appetite for blood and flesh, whether from humans or other animals. While this reputation may be overblown, it’s true that they can cause serious damage to their prey if they have the opportunity.

If you’re considering adding piranha fish to your freshwater aquarium, it’s important to understand that there are different types of piranha, and each needs specialized care requirements.

While some species of piranha may make good tank mates with other types of fish, most are considered too aggressive and will attack anything they come across in the tank.

Piranhas are carnivorous freshwater fish belonging to the subfamily Serrasalmidae, which includes other species of piranhas, for example, the red-bellied piranha, Pygocentrus nattereri, also known as the red piranha or red belly, originates from the Amazon River in Brazil and other South American countries, and pacus (pacu fish). They have sharp teeth that are used to tear prey into bite-sized pieces before consumption, making them dangerous to humans if they get out of control.

Before adding any type of piranha to your tank, it’s important to do your research and know what you’re getting into ahead of time.

Origin and descriptions

piranha fish

The piranha fish are from South America. These freshwater fish are native to Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Columbia. Piranhas have about 24 different species that are all kept in aquariums around the world. Many of these species have been developed into popular aquarium pets.

The red-bellied piranha has become very popular in recent years, partly due to its striking coloration and overall look, but also because they aren’t as aggressive as other species such as Pacu or silver dollar. After hatching, baby piranhas eat their siblings to survive! If you have ever seen a group of baby piranhas eating their dinner, you will know how scary it can be.

Most species of fish keep their young at bay until they grow large enough for everyone to survive. Piranhas don’t share food with each other – not even with family members!

Heckel Discus (Symphysodon Discus)

Species profile

piranha fish

Piranhas belong to family Characidae and order Characiformes. There are 32 species of piranhas, which are divided into two groups—the red-bellied piranhas (Pygocentrus nattereri) and black piranhas (Serrasalmus). Piranha fish have been known to eat other fish when they are young, insects, crustaceans, frogs, and carrion.

Black piranhas are generally larger than red-bellied piranhas, and both types live in South American rivers. In fact, black piranha fish facts indicate that only one species lives outside of South America: Pygocentrus nattereri was introduced to Australia in 1971; it is now common in Queensland’s Mary River and has spread through New South Wales’ Lachlan River system as well as Victoria’s Yarra River system.


Piranhas are a species of freshwater fish belonging to Serrasalmidae subfamily of the Characidae family. They typically inhabit tropical rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs, and flooded savannas in South America. Piranhas have an infamous reputation due to their carnivorous feeding habits. They have razor-sharp teeth designed for tearing apart flesh.

Piranha fish size

Most piranha fish do not grow more than 24 inches (61 cm) in length, for example, the red-bellied piranha grow to about 20 inches (51 cm) in length.

Piranha fish tank size

Due to their big size, the minimum recommended tank size for an adult piranha fish is 100 gallons (379 liters), although baby piranha can be kept in an aquarium as little as 20 gallons (76 liters).

Tank requirements

Piranhas have a wide variety of tank requirements, depending on their species. The minimum size for most baby piranha species is 20 gallons, with many requiring 40 gallons or more. In addition to providing sufficient space, tanks need to be well-filtered and maintained at room temperature (68° to 77°F).

Be sure not to overcrowd your piranha tank; one fish per 10 or 20 gallons is usually recommended, though a few species may do better in groups of two or three. Finally, keep in mind that piranhas are predatory animals by nature, they will eat anything they can fit into their mouths! This means you should never keep them with any other types of fish.

Opsarius pulchellus (Butterfly Danio)

Tank mates

You’ll need to be extra careful when choosing tank mates for your piranhas. Not only are they highly territorial, but piranhas are known to attack anything that moves in their line of sight, including other fish. In fact, they have such a reputation for devouring everything within their reach that some people call them monster fish.

Some good tank mates are angels, tetras, gouramis, catfish, loaches, rainbowfish. Avoid goldfish and cichlids.


piranha fish

The piranha fish (and its close cousins, pacu and red-bellied pacu) have been known to breed in captivity, but many experts still consider it an extremely difficult task. When young piranhas are raised by hand, for example, they will usually remain aggressive towards other species of fish even after many years in captivity.

There have been reports of some small success with breeding in larger, cooler tanks with plenty of hiding places for juvenile fish. It’s important to note that when these fish do successfully breed, there is a high mortality rate among their offspring; thus, there is no reason to try to introduce new individuals into your tank once you’ve managed to get a few of them reproducing.

As long as you can maintain good water quality and feed them regularly, your group should be able find all of their nutritional needs from each other.

How to breed

While some species of piranhas are known to be difficult to breed in captivity, those such as Pygocentrus nattereri (the red-bellied piranha) reproduce readily. They spawn around a month after mating, usually during warm weather when water temperatures are between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Breeding can also occur in more temperate waters when a sudden rise in temperature causes mature females to release eggs.

To induce spawning, it is necessary to provide both ample cover for fish to hide behind and adequate space so that there is not too much competition for food or territory. Piranhas typically prefer a pH level between 6.5 and 7.0 with moderately soft water; however, breeding can occur in hard water with neutral pH levels as well.

Lepomis macrochirus (Bluegill)

The male will build a nest out of any available material, including plants, twigs, leaves and even fecal matter. He will then attract several females by performing an elaborate dance involving swimming quickly back and forth while flashing his fins. The female piranha lays up to 3,000 eggs which she deposits into the nest created by her mate.

When she has finished laying her eggs, she swims away and leaves them in his care. At first, he guards them jealously from other males who may attempt to fertilize them; however, once they hatch he becomes completely uninterested in their welfare.

Are piranha fish aggressive or peaceful?

Piranhas tend to be particularly aggressive in captivity, which may be because they don’t have much fear of humans. That said, wild piranhas are not inherently violent. As long as they’re left alone and have an appropriate place to live, they won’t bother people or other animals. The image of them tearing apart living creatures is likely a myth.

Piranha fish care

piranha fish

The piranha fish is an omnivore that needs a variety of plant and animal material in its diet. These fish have been bred in captivity for use as pets, so they can survive on commercial feed designed specifically for goldfish or tropical community fish tanks. These frozen pellets are available online or at pet stores, usually only in small aquarium starter kits.

Some hobbyists make their own homemade food by chopping up vegetables like carrots and feeding them to their piranha fish. Be sure to remove any leftover food from your tank when you clean it because these creatures will eat nearly anything they can fit into their mouths.

Piranha fish food

Piranha fish are predominantly carnivorous. In their natural environment, they typically eat fish, crustaceans, reptiles, and small mammals. Their prey can range in size from 1 centimeter to 30 centimeters long; anything smaller than 1 centimeter is considered a nipping bite for a piranha. They also have been known to eat fruits such as bananas that have fallen into the water. Piranhas are often described as omnivores because they will eat almost anything edible.

Dojo Loach Care Tips (aka Weather Loach Or Pond Loach)


The average lifespan of a piranha fish is 10 years, although some species have been reported to live as long as 20 years in their natural habitat.

Parasites and diseases

piranha fish

Piranhas are also susceptible to parasites, as well as a number of diseases. Goldfish disease is one common ailment that affects piranhas. Like many other fish, they can be affected by ich (ick), or ickthyodorosis. Ich causes small white spots on their body and scales, which spread rapidly if not treated. To treat it, remove any diseased fish from your tank immediately. You may be able to save them with salt baths, but only if you catch it in time.


Piranha fish have few natural predators, but fishermen sometimes catch them for food. They also occasionally fall prey to larger fish species, such as pacu. Their sharp teeth can be very dangerous.

Do piranha fish make good pets?

Whether or not you can own a piranha fish depends on where you live. If you’re a casual aquarist, they’re not for you, these carnivorous fish are aggressive eaters and require very specific living conditions. They can grow to more than a foot long, too, so there’s no point in getting one if you have a 20-gallon tank.

It is not easy to own a piranha fish. These are aggressive species that can live in a large tank with other fishes or alone, but that is not enough for them. They must be handled at least twice per day to avoid aggression in your fish tank, or they will consider their owners’ enemies. For all of these reasons, it is hard to imagine that people can own one without having some experience in fish care.