Pygocentrus nattereri


    1. This and other species of the genus


    1.  known as Piranhas are aggressive predators with extremely powerful teeth, although rare they have been shown to attack and overpower humans. Piranhas in nature act as the sanitary police as they attack and consume any weak or sick animal. Their aggressive instincts are stimulated by blood or open wounds and the accounts of animals being reduced to bones are basically true. If you would like to see some photos of Piranha breeders and fry

Click Here.
Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: Up to 12″ (30cm)
Tank: 48 inches
Strata: Bottom-middle
PH: 6.0 to 7.5
Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 5-18
Temperature: 75°F to 84°F (24-29°C)


Order: Cypriniformes
Suborder: Characoidei
Family: Serrasalmidae
Genera: Pygocentrus

Common name

    Red-Bellied Piranha


    South America, Widely distributed throughout the Amazon and Orinoco river basins.

General Body Form

    1. Similar to the more common Silver Dollar, but more elongated. The body height is about one half the body length. Their predatory nature is reflected by their powerful teeth and fleshy lips. The


    fin is distinctly forked, the Adipose fin is lobed shaped and fringed and the Ventral fin is ragged like a saw. They get quite large and can reach up to thirteen inches in length.


    The color can vary depending on location and age. The sides are pale Brown to slightly Olive. Some of the small scales can produce an intense Golden Yellow reflection. The body can have some variable dark markings across it in no particular pattern. The back is Blue- Gray to Brownish and the throat and belly areas are blood Red in healthy specimens. The Ventral, Pectoral and Anal fins are also bright Red. The Caudal and Dorsal fins are gray.


    Although they appear quite robust, they are not an easy specimen to keep. Even in a very large aquarium an acclimated fish can suddenly become aggressive. The tails of their own species and of larger fish will be bitten off, causing possible disease threats. They can be fed worms and young specimens will take other live food as well. Their water should be soft and Acidic, with a good amount of water movement in the tank. The temperature should be in the range of 75 to 80 °F. Due to their large size and specialized requirements I do not believe that they have been bred in the home Aquaria.

BreedingI found this on the net for free use:

Piranhas are unique creatures that have gained popularity not just because of their appearance, but also due to the many myths that are told about them. Unfortunately only a few species of piranha have been bred, including Serrasalmus nattereri, S. spilopleura, S. gibbus, S. rhombeus. Another that is considered relatively easy to breed is S. maculatus.

Whichever of these species you choose, you should have an aquarium of at least 100 gallons. A group of 5-6 piranhas is quite appropriate; however if you want them breeding it is best to keep a pair only, so that there are no other fish to bother them. To find a mating pair select two adult piranhas, one thick and the other thinner – in most cases thick piranhas represent females and thinner piranhas represent males. Just make sure you are not looking at them after they have been fed. Although having found a male and a female doesn’t automatically mean success, it is a step on the way.

The ideal temperature is between 73°-83°F. Standard fluorescent bulbs are fine for the lighting. Piranhas also like some protective cover, and you should also make the lighting of half of the aquarium darker than the other. Piranhas are hardy fish but it is a good idea to maintain the water clean and clear. In their original Amazon River habitat, the rainy season is when most fish spawn. Frequent and bigger water changes seem to have an immense effect on the success of breeding (as they simulate the rainy season) and are most helpful in getting the piranhas into breeding condition.

When your piranhas lose all their colour and turn almost completely black, they are in breeding condition! Both of them may start to protect a certain spot; chasing off other piranhas that come too close. When they start picking up gravel in their mouths as if digging, it usually means they have already begun the mating process. Be careful not to disturb your piranhas during this time! The female will release eggs into the pit, and then leave the nest (but might stay close by it). The male is usually responsible for guarding the nest and eggs. The number of eggs laid varies from 700-4000. The eggs hatch in 2-3 days.

If you are lucky enough to have reached this stage, then it’s time to take care of the fry. Prepare a 10 to 15 gallon tank with heater and undergravel filter. Water should be from the parents’ tank. Be very, very careful when transferring the fry, as the parents can be extremely protective and aggressive. The fry will quickly absorb their yolk sacs and you can start feeding them live baby brine shrimp as food.

One thing you should be aware of is the legal issues. Some states do not allow the sell or ownership of piranhas at all. Other states require that you obtain a permit to sell or own a piranha. Be sure to check to see if any local restrictions apply before purchasing your piranhas.

About The Author

Article by William Berg writer for Aquatic Community with more then 20 years of aquarium experience. Find more of Williams articles about Piranhas or an article about completely different pet like Dogs

Article may be reproduce as long as it is not edited and this resource box is included “as is with live links” on the bottom of the page.

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