Maybe it is their edgy little faces. Or perhaps, it is their dangerous reputation. Whatever the reasons, piranha are increasing in popularity for home aquariums. With proper preparation, even a novice can successfully keep healthy piranha.
Two Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Piranha
The first and most important thing to consider is whether keeping piranha is legal in your area. In some areas of the world, keeping, selling or trading piranhas is illegal. Check your local laws. The second thing to consider is that piranha live from four to fourteen years. This is a long-term commitment.
Setting Up the Tank
Piranha’s require about 2 gallons of water per inch of mature fish. Most reputable fish dealers recommend a minimum of a 25 -gallon tank. The water temperature is critical to a healthy piranha. For optimum health, water temperature should remain between 76?° and 83?°F. Overheating the tank can cause oxygen deprivation. In contrast, under-heating the tank stresses the piranha and damages the fish’s immune system.
Because piranhas are messy eaters, piranha tanks should have a double-filtration system. Some experts recommend an interior and exterior filtration system. While other experts, recommend multiple small filters placed throughout the tank. In addition, an aquarium powerhead (a submersible water pump) can aid in keeping the water clean and well circulated.
In the wild piranha require a lot of cover. A good rule of thumb for the piranha tank is 50 to 75% cover in the form of plants and hiding places. Sufficient cover reduces stress and improves the piranha’s over-all health.
How Many Fish
As young fish, piranhas travel in schools. As they mature, they become more solitary. As a general rule you can keep one adult piranha in a 20 gallon tank and two or three piranha in a 55 gallon tank. Piranha can live peaceably with other fish in tank, provided that the tank is large enough and piranha is well-fed and not stressed.
Feeding the Piranha
Piranhas are omnivores: they eat anything. Their best source of nutrition comes from foods such as: whitebait, prawns, lance fish, smelt, lean chicken slice, beef heart pieces. Occasionally, you can feed your piranha small chunks of zucchini and pieces of raw potato. Never feed your piranha live goldfish. Not only is it illegal, but it has little nutritional value and can spread disease.
Piranha’s will usually finish eating within two minutes. So if you are providing more than two minutes worth of food each day, you are probably over-feeding your piranha.
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