Piranhas are well known and also feared exotic animals. These fish belong to the Characidae family, like anchovies or palometas. They are freshwater animals that inhabit the waters of South America and can measure, both in the wild and in captivity, up to 30 centimeters. Many people are attracted to aquarium piranhas as pets. However, this species requires specific care.
Piranhas as pets
Piranhas are not as aggressive fish as people think. However, within the different types there are some more dangerous ones. One of them is the red-bellied piranha. This type of piranha has neurotransmitters in its brain that make it attack the first thing it sees when it is hungry. However, when it has food and water, it poses no threat to humans. The colors of piranhas are very varied, including red, yellow, silver or orange. In addition, as they age, the shades fade and darken.
Regarding their morphology, aquarium piranhas have a large head with a robust skull. Males are usually indistinguishable from females, although the latter have a smaller skull and change color when laying eggs. This species has a very strong and powerful jaw composed of 4,500 teeth distributed in several rows. Each tooth is about 3 millimeters long and they are used to tear flesh while feeding.
As for their diet, they follow an omnivorous diet, feeding on fish, crustaceans, aquatic plants, insects, seeds, carrion and fruit. They are very sociable fish that usually stay in groups, in large schools. However, they are somewhat shy with other species and do not tend to get too close.
Due to their nature, it is not advisable to mix aquarium piranhas with other fish. If you plan to keep several piranhas together, it is advisable to have a maximum of 5 piranhas per 100 liters of water. This is because they are fish that reach a large size and attack in confined spaces or when they feel threatened. The average lifespan of piranhas is five years. However, there have been some cases of captive piranhas that have lived as long as 30 years.
Aquarium and fish tank piranhas
Piranhas need special and specific care for their maintenance.
These fish need fresh, high quality water. As for the temperature, it should be between 22 and 28 °C. In addition, they prefer dark and hard water. It is necessary to have a filter that constantly purifies and cleans the water, as this species requires a clean environment.
Feeding of piranhas in fish tanks
Piranhas feed mainly on other fish. However, they follow a very varied diet. Therefore, aquarium piranhas can be fed worms, raw meat without additives and lettuce and fruit occasionally. There is a type of prepared food for this species, but frequent use of this food is not recommended. Finally, it is very important to clean any food residue left in the water, as it will decompose and dirty the tank.
Reproduction of piranhas
In the case of having several piranhas in the same tank, it is very important to know the behavior of this fish when it comes to reproduction. These fish reproduce very easily in aquariums. They can lay between 1,000 and 5,000 eggs, which hatch after 36 hours. They are yellowish in color and barely reach two millimeters in diameter. Females lay their eggs during the night and the male takes care of them and protects them until the young hatch. To avoid problems of cannibalism among newborns, it is important to provide them with live food. In addition, it is advisable to separate them by size.
All these recommendations are very important when keeping a piranha in an aquarium. Being exotic fish, they need this specific care to remain healthy. Although its fame does not reflect the true reality of this species, it may not be the ideal fish to put in an aquarium. In any case, if you decide to do so, be well informed about everything they require and dedicate the necessary time to your new pet.