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Baby Piranha Loves to Float near Filter

ACVoss

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I have 2 40 G filters on my 35 G Aquarium to provide extra water circulation and current for my little gaffer. He’s still very small but has eaten half of the goldfish I got him from my local LFS. I’m just curious if anyone else whose raised piranhas from a juvenile stage has experienced this with theirs? They must have a very good swim bladder or strength to just chill in a spot in the aquarium where there’s a lot of current lol.

Yes, I’m aware it’s not ideal to keep RBPs by themselves and the tank is a bit small but I will be upgrading to a minimum of 55 gallon for him when he grows out of this one. Ialso got live plants in there and he has not touched them so far. He likes goldfish flakes, insects (flying ants) and anything that moves even if it’s much bigger than him.
 

Colin_T

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I don't recommend using goldfish as food for other fish because they are riddled in diseases like gill flukes and worms, and these can be passed on to the other fish in the tank. Goldfish are also low in nutritional value. By using goldfish as food, you are giving your fish cooty covered biscuits, and that isn't good for the fish.

Get some white bait, blue sardines, prawns/ shrimp and squid from your local fishing/ bait store. Buy it frozen and keep it in your freezer. Each day take out 1 bit of frozen fish or prawn, defrost it and cut it into pieces and offer one piece at a time to the fish. Let it eat the piece then offer another. Do this until the fish is full.

By feeding a variety of these marine organisms in conjunction with flake/ pellet foods and other types of fish food, you will give your fish the best diet and most nutrition.

Remove any uneaten food after feeding so it doesn't cause water quality problems.

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Change 75% of the water and gravel clean the substrate once or twice a week, depending on the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate reading. You want 0ppm ammonia and nitrite, and less than 20ppm of nitrate. Do a 75% water change any day there are readings above that.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

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Whilst piranha are a schooling fish when small, they tend to eat each other in aquariums and even if you start out with 10 fish, you usualy have one left at the end of the year. Just stay with the one fish and don't add anything else to the tank. When it gets bigger, move it into a bigger tank.
 

BoningKnife

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RBP's are much better with company. If you are planning on upgrading to the 55 why not get another three to grow out with the one you have? I'm aware 4 in a 55 isn't ideal, but I would suggest its better than 1 alone.
There's no real need to feed live foods to an RBP, they should be more than willing to take frozen and even pellets.
If you do insist on continuing with live, goldfish are about as bad as it gets nutritionally.
 
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ACVoss

ACVoss

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75 % ? Water change. That’s quite a bit, it’s a fairly new tank still but definitely want to keep the nitrates and waste down. I’m changing the water tomorrow. And ok I will stop with the goldfish. I will have to get some buckets from Wally World in the meantime..

Thanks for the advice, I have some frozen brine shrimp I can give him

if I were to feed him live, what would be the most nutritious fish for him ?
 
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JuiceBox52

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75% is fine. Especially for fish that create a lot of waste. The idea is to remove more waste than can accumulate in between. If you remove 30% you are still leaving 70% of the bad stuff behind and it would accumulate over time. If you remove 75% then you only leave a little water behind. There is no such thing as too clean of water!
 

ChefAlex

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I don't recommend using goldfish as food for other fish because they are riddled in diseases like gill flukes and worms, and these can be passed on to the other fish in the tank. Goldfish are also low in nutritional value. By using goldfish as food, you are giving your fish cooty covered biscuits, and that isn't good for the fish.

Get some white bait, blue sardines, prawns/ shrimp and squid from your local fishing/ bait store. Buy it frozen and keep it in your freezer. Each day take out 1 bit of frozen fish or prawn, defrost it and cut it into pieces and offer one piece at a time to the fish. Let it eat the piece then offer another. Do this until the fish is full.

By feeding a variety of these marine organisms in conjunction with flake/ pellet foods and other types of fish food, you will give your fish the best diet and most nutrition.

Remove any uneaten food after feeding so it doesn't cause water quality problems.

-----------------
Change 75% of the water and gravel clean the substrate once or twice a week, depending on the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate reading. You want 0ppm ammonia and nitrite, and less than 20ppm of nitrate. Do a 75% water change any day there are readings above that.
Make sure any new water is free of chlorine/ chloramine before it's added to the tank.

-----------------
Whilst piranha are a schooling fish when small, they tend to eat each other in aquariums and even if you start out with 10 fish, you usualy have one left at the end of the year. Just stay with the one fish and don't add anything else to the tank. When it gets bigger, move it into a bigger tank.
I strongly suggest not keeping a red belly by itself. They are shoaling species and need to be kept in groups of 6 or more, a single red belly piranha is very skittish and will hide all day. They don’t randomly cannibalize each other. Red bellies are
most often available as tank raised, this wouldn’t be viable if they all ate each other.

I had kept red belly piranhas for over 10 years and have never seen or heard of a school of red bellies eating each other. That certainly is not a common or likely event, as either juveniles or adults. Every red belly piranha keeper (there’s an entire forum dedicated to them) advocates for keeping them in a school for the same reasons we keep schools of tetras. There might be cases where a particularly small or injured specimen might be picked off in a school. There is a dominance and pecking order that forms, aggression needs to be spread out, so again that’s why a group of 6 or more is needed.

AquascapeOnline is a specialist piranha dealer in New Jersey, the owner is extremely knowledgeable. You should reach out to him
If you have any questions.
 
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ACVoss

ACVoss

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I strongly suggest not keeping a red belly by itself. They are shoaling species and need to be kept in groups of 6 or more, a single red belly piranha is very skittish and will hide all day. They don’t randomly cannibalize each other. Red bellies are
most often available as tank raised, this wouldn’t be viable if they all ate each other.

I had kept red belly piranhas for over 10 years and have never seen or heard of a school of red bellies eating each other. That certainly is not a common or likely event, as either juveniles or adults. Every red belly piranha keeper (there’s an entire forum dedicated to them) advocates for keeping them in a school for the same reasons we keep schools of tetras. There might be cases where a particularly small or injured specimen might be picked off in a school. There is a dominance and pecking order that forms, aggression needs to be spread out, so again that’s why a group of 6 or more is needed.

AquascapeOnline is a specialist piranha dealer in New Jersey, the owner is extremely knowledgeable. You should reach out to him
If you have any questions.
Keeping 6 RBP’s sounds great but also needs a really big tank. 80 Gallon ? I only plan on upgrading to a 55-60 gallon in which I plan on transferring my baby piranha to eventually. My RBP loves shrimp pellets and spends a majority of his time under the filter where there’s alot of current in a stationary position, waiting ...

Thanks for the info
 
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ChefAlex

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Keeping 6 RBP’s sounds great but also needs a really big tank. 80 Gallon ? I only plan on upgrading to a 55-60 gallon in which I plan on transferring my baby piranha to eventually. My RBP loves shrimp pellets and spends a majority of his time under the filter where there’s alot of current in a stationary position, waiting ...

Thanks for the info
Red bellies can get really large, up to 16” in some cases. They’ll typically max out around 12”. The minimum I’d do for a school is a 135, and if they get really large probably a 180.

Red bellies don’t typically wait in one position, they slowly move around in the open.
 
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ACVoss

ACVoss

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Red bellies can get really large, up to 16” in some cases. They’ll typically max out around 12”. The minimum I’d do for a school is a 135, and if they get really large probably a 180.

Red bellies don’t typically wait in one position, they slowly move around in the open.

Thank you for the response - I decided to do some reading on shoals and the reason behind that behaviour and I’m finding varied results. You may be well aware of it already but I’m still learning ..

One site says they “coordinate” to take out larger prey while other sites say they stay in groups out of fear from being eaten by larger predators.

...a recent investigation of the red-bellied piranha found no support for cooperative hunting and suggested that an important function of shoaling behaviour in the species is defence against predation”..

(Magurran & Queiroz 2003)

Maybe both reasons are true ? However to support that claim - the piranha has quite a few predators ranging from river dolphins, caimans, birds of prey, and fish like the Payara aka Vampire fish. Experiments using wild-caught piranhas supported the hypothesis that individual perception of risk, as revealed by elevated ventilatory frequency (opercular rate), is greater in small shoals.” (Magurran & Queiroz 2003). In other words Piranhas in a small shoalare more “nervous” in their behaviour, breathing much faster than those in a large shoal – just like scared humans hyperventilating.

ChefAlex quote “I had kept red belly piranhas for over 10 years and have never seen or heard of a school of red bellies eating each other.”

I find this to be fascinating as further reading reported that tests conducted in the flooded waters of the Brazilian Amazon revealed that the sexually mature RBP’s would occupy the central zone of the polygon connecting to the edges and the non-reproductive individuals showed more motivation to feed. No evidence of intraspecific aggression occurred during this time that the test was conducted. (Anne E. Magurran and Helder L. Queiroz)

Piranha Behaviour - Supporting your claim that you mentioned in a previous post about RPB’s are unlikely to prey on each other despite their portrayals of being known for their cannibalism.

Now in Aquariums, RBP do not need to worry about swooping aquatic birds, caiman, or river dolphins, at least I hope not - but I can understand the importance of shoaling as it makes them feel safer in a group and perhaps less stressed as explained further by Helder Queiroz and Anne E Magurran - “.. exposure to a simulated predator attack by a model cormorant demonstrated that resting opercular rates are regained more quickly by piranhas in shoals of eight than they are in shoals of two. Together, these results show that shoaling has a cover-seeking function in this species.”

And finally to respond to your last post about schools and aquarium sizes as large as 180 - unfortunately that would not be feasible for me at this time as the cost for a setup like that and an adequate filtration system to support that would run to about 3 grand after taxes, (in my countries currency.) Not including heaters, decor etc I appreciate the advice but that’s something I’m going to have to weigh and consider. And I only live in a basement apartment right now..

I learned a lot on these forums so far, and I want to personally thank you all for responding, and being kind, yet forthright on my setup. I assure you that I will be making some changes.

Cheers.
 
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ChefAlex

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Thank you for the response - I decided to do some reading on shoals and the reason behind that behaviour and I’m finding varied results. You may be well aware of it already but I’m still learning ..

One site says they “coordinate” to take out larger prey while other sites say they stay in groups out of fear from being eaten by larger predators.

...a recent investigation of the red-bellied piranha found no support for cooperative hunting and suggested that an important function of shoaling behaviour in the species is defence against predation”..

(Magurran & Queiroz 2003)

Maybe both reasons are true ? However to support that claim - the piranha has quite a few predators ranging from river dolphins, caimans, birds of prey, and fish like the Payara aka Vampire fish. Experiments using wild-caught piranhas supported the hypothesis that individual perception of risk, as revealed by elevated ventilatory frequency (opercular rate), is greater in small shoals.” (Magurran & Queiroz 2003). In other words Piranhas in a small shoalare more “nervous” in their behaviour, breathing much faster than those in a large shoal – just like scared humans hyperventilating.

Chefalex quote “I had kept red belly piranhas for over 10 years and have never seen or heard of a school of red bellies eating each other.”

I find this to be fascinating as further reading reported that tests conducted in the flooded waters of the Brazilian Amazon revealed that the sexually mature RBP’s would occupy the central zone of the polygon connecting to the edges and the non-reproductive individuals showed more motivation to feed. No evidence of intraspecific aggression occurred during this time that the test was conducted. (Anne E. Magurran and Helder L. Queiroz)

Piranha Behaviour - Supporting your claim that you mentioned in a previous post about RPB’s are unlikely to prey on each other despite their portrayals of being known for their cannibalism.

Now in Aquariums, RBP do not need to worry about swooping aquatic birds, caiman, or river dolphins, at least I hope not - but I can understand the importance of shoaling as it makes them feel safer in a group and perhaps less stressed as explained further by Helder Queiroz and Anne E Magurran - “.. exposure to a simulated predator attack by a model cormorant demonstrated that resting opercular rates are regained more quickly by piranhas in shoals of eight than they are in shoals of two. Together, these results show that shoaling has a cover-seeking function in this species.”

And finally to respond to your last post about schools and aquarium sizes as large as 180 - unfortunately that would not be feasible for me at this time as the cost for a setup like that and a filtration system to support that would run to about 3 grand after taxes, (in my countries currency.) I appreciate the advice but that’s something I’m going to have to weigh and consider. And I only live in a basement apartment right now..

I learned a lot on these forums so far, and I want to personally thank you all for responding, and being kind, yet forthright on my setup. I assure you that I will be making some changes.

Cheers.
The “pack” behavior in some canids parallels some piranha species as one collector said years ago to me, interesting stuff.

As far as your own situation goes, clearly housing a single red belly in 80G tank isn’t ideal as you’ve said. There are other piranha options for your particular situation though.

Below are some species are that solitary and/or could be kept in an 80G aquarium:
Serrasalmus geryi - Beautiful, maxes out around 8-10”, aggressive and interesting, fairly inactive and prefers being near the substrate
Serrasalmus compressus - Nice spotted pattern, stays 7-9”, very nippy, likes some current
Serrasalmus sanchezi- 6-7” adult size, aggressive, can have some nice deep red coloration around the upper belly
Serrasalmus altuvei- 5-7”, shimmering scales, fairly active
Serrasalmus hollandi- 5-7”, unique shape, gets black dots and outlines as it ages

That list is nowhere near complete. Wimple piranahas and exodons also come to mind.

Piranha-Info.com and Opefe.com have some interesting factoids for piranhas in aquaria.

I’m not sure where you reside or what sourcing piranhas is like for you, but like I said here in the states there is a specialist online piranha dealer in AquaScapeOnline. There might exist a similar dealer in your country.
 

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