How to keep Piranhas
Upon taking delivery of your fish
Your fish will arrive in an aerated bag and upon receipt float the bag in your pre-prepared tank for temperature adjustment and ensure all aquarium lights are switched off. If you intend adding the fish to an existing shoal you will first need to move the decor around within the tank this helps to confuse the existing shoal and thus allows the new fish to establish. After about 10 minutes allow some of the current tank water to enter the bag helping the new fish adjust to the ph and water condition before final release into the aquarium which can be done after at total of about 15 minutes. The fish will generally eat when ready probably taking some days before doing so, avoid trying to feed to soon as this will leave unnecessary waste food in your tank.
Float the bag containing your new fish in the tank. Switch aquarium lights off and allow bag to float for 10 minutes then allow tank water to enter the bag for ph adjustment before releasing your fish into the aquarium. These fish can be very sensitive to travel and new environments and may take up to 2 weeks to start feeding, so do not worry because your fish does not appear hungry, after the stress of travelling they need time to settle in and certainly do not attempt to feed before 5 days.
Caution should always be employed when maintaining the tank in which your fish live. They move quickly through the water you should be aware of the fish in the tank and their whereabouts at all times. Your Piranha will usually move to the opposite side of the aquarium whenever your hand/arm enters the tank but caution is the key word here. Usual procedure would be to maintain the tank with one hand whilst using a net in the other to provide a shield between the fish and your hand. Extreme caution should be employed when moving a fish from tank to tank as the fish is capable of eating its way through the net which can result in a fish thrashing around on the floor trying to bite anything that goes near it. Handled with caution Piranha cause no real threat as their environment is the aquarium. It is advisable to keep the tank covered to make it impossible to open for children, domestic pets and other animals from attempting to enter or play with the aquarium.
For groups of 3-4 fish, you will need a tank of at least 120x50x50 cm. (48x20x20") and for a single specimen 90x50x50 (36x20x20). Each extra fish would require an additional 6-8" in tank length, with 6 fish or more a tank depth of 60 cm (24") is recommended. Juvenile fish can be temporarily kept in smaller tanks.
Plants, rocks or drift wood to provide hiding places, the tank lights should be dimmed. Heavy filtration is required to deal with the large amounts of waste this fish produces. A powerhead can be added to provide currents. Care is required in handling, extremely dangerous to hands.
It is important to give them space but also try to replicate the environment from which they have come. The Amazon River is full of tree trunks from which piranhas will dart in and out of along with other general river vegetation. Maybe look around for underwater photo shots of fish from the Amazon to get an idea of how to recreate the most natural environment for your own fish when setting up your tank. Piranha are very territorial and will settle into their own places in a tank, normally the largest being the "Alpha" fish (leader).
24-29 degrees Celsius (76-84 degrees Fahrenheit).
Extremely dangerous to others. Will shoal with same species.
Fish (whole, fillet or feeders*), shrimp, cockles, mussels, squid, insects, earth worms, pellets. Food items such as poultry, mammal meat and organ meat should be fed sparsely once or twice a month at the most. Meat needs to be unseasoned and trimmed of any fat.
*Live fish need to be quarantined first, so they are safe to feed (containing no diseases or parasites). Goldfish, minnows and other members of the Cyprinid family (Carp-like fish) should be avoided, as these fish contain growth-inhibiting hormones (Thaiminase/Vitamine B1 inhibitors) that could negatively affect the fish's health and development.