Red-Breasted Piranha (Pygocentrus nattereri) 3-4cm

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Red Breasted Piranha

(Pygocentrus nattereri)


Preferred Water Parameters

Temperature: 72 – 82°F/22.2 – 27.8°C

pH: 4.5 – 7.5

Hardness: 1 – 20°H

Wild fish are opportunistic, feeding on the fins and flesh of other species as well as smaller fishes, insects and crustaceans. They have also been recorded scavenging the carcasses of dead animals including humans although reports of this species attacking live people are mostly attributed to increased aggression during the breeding season.
Some Serrasalmus have been shown to eat nuts, fruits and seeds and small amounts of plant material it has been found in the gut of S. maculatus during laboratory analyses.

In the aquarium, most individuals can be weaned onto dead foods over time although some seem to find it trickier to adjust than others and may refuse to feed initially.

A period of starvation may be necessary, eventually giving the fish little choice but to accept what is offered. This is especially true of larger or recently-transported specimens.

This species should not be fed large amounts of mammalian/avian meat such as beef heart or chicken. Some of the lipids contained in these meats cannot be properly metabolised by the fish and can cause excess deposits of fat and even organ degeneration.

Similarly, there is no benefit in the use of ‘feeder’ fish such as livebearers or small goldfish which carry with them the risk of parasite or disease introduction and at any rate tend not have a high nutritional value unless properly conditioned beforehand.

Once acclimatised juveniles relish live or frozen bloodworm, Tubifex, Artemia, chopped prawns and similar foods. Adults should be fed correspondingly larger items, such as whole mussels, cockles, prawns, chopped squid, whitebait and earthworms. Once the fish reaches adult size it need only be fed two or three times a week.


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