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View Full Version : Mike's 55G FW Piranha Retirement Home



kazinvan
10-26-2008, 01:00 AM
Chuck, the geriatric piranha, has been in the same 33G tank his whole life. He is currently about 17 years old, about 9" in length, and getting long in the tooth. One of my friends purchased him when he was in high school, gave him to his brother when we went off to university, and I got him about 3 or 4 years ago. I got a good deal on a 55G tank which was in excellent condition (good ol' Craigslist) and I decided Chuck should retire in a nice pad. The 55G gives him about 65% more space to roam around and be happy for whatever time he has left.

Since I can't keep other fish with the piranha, I decided I would get some snails. I have rams horns, zebra, and golden apple snails. It gives me something else to look at in the tank.

There seem to be conflicting reports on the net about how old a red belly piranha will get, but 20 years seems to be the high end so I'm not sure how much longer Chuck will be around. He seems to be able to catch goldfish despite what appears to be bad cataracts. Regardless, a quick overview of the setup.


Here is Chuck's old home, a 33G tank with gravel. All fake plants as I can't keep live plants in his tank. He uproots them and often rips them up.
http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z187/kazinvan/fish/oldtank2.jpg

This is the new 55G tank cleaned and ready to go.
http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z187/kazinvan/fish/clean.jpg

For the new tank I decided to give sand a try. After talking to the owner of LFS I decided to get the large grain sand. I know a lot of people on the forum love the very fine sand but this seems to give me a nice look plus it won't clog filters and I can still use a siphon on it when cleaning.

The dogs decided that I need some help
http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z187/kazinvan/fish/sandanddogs.jpg

The sand was actually very clean out of the bag. I didn't have to do much cleaning at all.
http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z187/kazinvan/fish/sandwash.jpg

kazinvan
10-26-2008, 01:01 AM
This is halfway through. All fish and snails out of the old tank and into buckets. I tried to save as much water out of the old tank as I could.
http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z187/kazinvan/fish/chaos.jpg

Finally, tank is set up and the fish/snails all in and adjusting to the new home. Chuck seems to be ok despite the disruption.
http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z187/kazinvan/fish/freshsetup.jpg

Tonight I plan to take a few readings to make sure all levels are ok. PH right after setup was right around 7 which is where I try to keep it. I'll post a few more photos once the water clears up.

kazinvan
10-26-2008, 01:04 AM
A closeup of Chuck before the big move. Note his eyes, they have white opaque spots in the middle. Looks like something in the lens of the eye. He seems to be able to see, at least partially. He can catch fish but that could be his other senses at work.
http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z187/kazinvan/fish/chuck.jpg

Northernguy
10-26-2008, 01:30 AM
Kudos to you for what you did for your large toothed buddy:thumb:
That is a beauty tank,It looks great.
Thanks for sharing the wonderful pics!thumbs2:

cocoa_pleco
10-26-2008, 01:34 AM
awesome fish!

honestly, you could have him until hes 25 or even 30 years old. as long as fish are kept in good conditions, its no oddity for them to live longer than their expected lifespan

kazinvan
10-26-2008, 07:36 AM
Thanks for the comments. He seems to be happy in his new home. Here is a photo a few hours later, things are starting to settle down. Tomorrow I'm going to try and give him his favorite tread, cheddar cheese. He loves it!
http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z187/kazinvan/fish/firstnight.jpg

dean30bb
10-26-2008, 09:21 AM
awsome set up looks good he looks very happy :19:

angelcakes
10-26-2008, 09:32 AM
he looks extremly happy well done:19: :19:

NickFish
10-26-2008, 10:29 AM
Chances are, him being a solitary fish, and being fed on feeders his whole life, he won't live a full 30 years.

Still, kudos for keeping him well this long. And very nice tank!

Nice dogs too.

Sharon
10-26-2008, 11:25 AM
It's really nice to see a well cared for fish! Good for you!!!

teach
10-26-2008, 01:53 PM
Looks good congrats.

Sir Tristen
10-26-2008, 02:05 PM
The tank looks like a great home for that great fish! :19: I love the sand you chose! Where did you get it? :18:

Red
10-26-2008, 02:24 PM
Good looking tank, i hope he lives long for you.

kazinvan
10-26-2008, 06:00 PM
Chances are, him being a solitary fish, and being fed on feeders his whole life, he won't live a full 30 years.

Still, kudos for keeping him well this long. And very nice tank!

Nice dogs too.

Thanks, appreciate the comments.

I tried to give him some other foods but he doesn't eat most things. I think he is just too used to getting feeders. I do give him small pieces of cheddar cheese every few weeks, both previous owners did that so I just stayed with it. He likes it, though it seems like an odd thing to feed to a fish. If anyone has suggestions on what may work let me know.

Red
10-26-2008, 06:01 PM
Maybe try some shrimp or beef heart if you havent all ready.

Northernguy
10-26-2008, 06:11 PM
Thats the first time I hear about cheese being fed to fish!
That is sure different.
Do you raise your own feeders?

kazinvan
10-26-2008, 06:22 PM
The tank looks like a great home for that great fish! :19: I love the sand you chose! Where did you get it? :18:

I purchased it at a fish store in Vancouver, BC. They use it in all of their tanks and I thought it looked very nice. It's a coarse grain sand that very quickly falls back if disturbed. I like it, looks nice and still easy to clean and manage. I don't think it will trap air like the fine grain sand.

kazinvan
10-26-2008, 06:26 PM
Maybe try some shrimp or beef heart if you havent all ready.

I haven't tried beef heart, will see if I can find some. He didn't eat the shrimp I gave him a while back, I may give it another try.

kazinvan
10-26-2008, 06:26 PM
Thats the first time I hear about cheese being fed to fish!
That is sure different.
Do you raise your own feeders?

Never raised my own feeders, don't have another tank I can use for that. I have never had any problems with disease (knock on wood) from any of the feeders I have purchased over the years.

Northernguy
10-26-2008, 06:30 PM
He looks real healthy. He sure does look happy in grumpy way:19:

kazinvan
10-26-2008, 08:56 PM
Added a bag of gravel from the old tank, hopefully this helps seed the new tank and get everything sorted out. I'm using the uncleaned filter (AC30) from the old tank on the new one, and took one filter element out of and placed it into the new AC70.

Here is Chuck checking out the new addition. Looks like a sea cucumber :)
http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z187/kazinvan/fish/chucksock.jpg

Northernguy
10-26-2008, 08:58 PM
Can you use the filter off your old tank for awhile?

kazinvan
10-26-2008, 10:01 PM
Yes, and I am. I have both the AC70 and AC30 on the new 55G tank.

kazinvan
10-28-2008, 04:56 AM
Looks like things are ok in the new tank. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 50mg/L nitrate.

kazinvan
11-12-2008, 01:43 AM
Got a new light, didn't like the pink hue of the full spectrum light that came with the tank. Also decided to try Chuck with a few live plants. In the past he has destroyed them but I'm hoping he doesn't do so in the bigger tank.

Wild Turkey
11-12-2008, 02:22 AM
Major Improvement, looking great! :thumb:

AquaBANG
11-12-2008, 03:21 AM
wow great fish, good story, may him love long! :)

kazinvan
11-12-2008, 03:53 AM
Thanks! Wild Turkey, I noticed you have apple snails (or something close to it) in your photos. Do you have those in your planted tanks? How do they do with the plants? I'm going to keep an eye on my plants, if the snails start to eat them I may have to get rid of them.

I try and put lettuce and other veggies in the tank to feed them, hopefully they eat that instead of the plants.

MCHRKiller
12-19-2008, 03:52 PM
Very nice :)

Redbellies of this age are rare to see in the hobby, I kept a shoal of 5 myself for over 12 years until various things happend to them one jumped out, 2 died. I was left with 2 and gave those to a friend last year that was building up a 180G pygro tank...theyre still alive and doing fine:)

kazinvan
02-02-2009, 07:01 PM
Update: I decided to get a better light and try to grow some plants. I have 5 types of plants and they seem to be doing well. I think the tank looks a lot better with this light and there is no substitute for live plants. I also added a moonlight which is on for a few hours after the main lights go off. Chuck seems to like the low ligh and is usually more active.

http://i191.photobucket.com/albums/z187/kazinvan/fish/chuck2.jpg

NickFish
02-02-2009, 08:46 PM
Piranhas loooooove floating plants.

Try to cover as much of the surface area of the tank where there are no substrate plants as possible with floating plants. It will really make the fish feel more comfortable and he may even color up a bit.

Nice tank!

Rue
02-02-2009, 08:55 PM
I am so impressed! What a great thing to do!:19: