Red Bellied Piranha

The notorious Red Bellied Piranha is well known to everyone not just fish keepers. Many films have been made about them, including the recent Piranha 3D. The most common type is the Red Bellied Piranha, but there are many other lesser know types. They have reputation of being dangerous man eating fish. However when kept in the aquarium they are inactive and shy. In the wild they can be found in the Amazon.


Behaviour and Tanks Mates

This fish is surprisingly shy and will hide while in the aquarium. In the wild they would live and hunt in groups. Space permitting should aim to keep a group of 4 together, being kept in a group should help to reduce their shyness.

They will eat most fish including large cichlids such as Oscars. Some people have managed to keep other fish with them, but in most cases the other fish will get eaten. Sometimes they live happily together for years before being eaten. One possible tank mate is a Pleco, they are armour plated so stand a slightly higher chance of survival, but it still very risky. I would not recommend it.

Many keepers find these fish disappointing, they don’t move around a lot, other than when they are feeding.

PiranhaGroup of Piranhas

Tank Requirements

These fish grow to a maximum of 12 inches. They are best kept in groups of 4 and for this many fish you will need an aquarium of 250 litres or above. They require a temperature of between 24 and 27 C and a natural pH. They produce a lot of waste due their diet, so a strong filter is recommended.

Due to their shy nature you should create some hiding place for them in the aquarium. You can create little caves using rocks and drift wood.


As will probably be aware these fish like meat. Scientists believe in the wild they also eat plants, but they do not accept plants when living in the aquarium. They will eat most other fish which are put in the aquarium with them. While some people choose to feed their Piranha live food, with practice they will accept dead food, such as bits of chicken.

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