View Full Version : thinking of buying 2 piranha's

04-15-2009, 04:33 AM
Hey, iam looking into getting two red belly piranhas, the set up i have for them is,

55 Gallon aquarium, 48 inches long, 13 inches wide, 21 inches high
200 Watt heater,
Aqueon power filter 55

is this setup okay? can someone give me some more information about these fish? do they just eat live food? how often would you feed 2 piranahs? how often do you do water changes? and can any kind of pleco live with them?

04-15-2009, 05:59 AM
when i kept red bellies i had a bit bigger tank, and a bigger school. Piranhas are schooling fish, and they tend to be a bit shy IME. I would do a bit more filtration wise, but I overfilter all my tanks by at least twice.Two piranhas isn't going to be too heavy of a bioload, but it is still up there when they grow. They don't need to eat live foods all the time, they can and will eat bigger flake and pellets, but most people keep piranhas to watch them destroy feeders. They won't eat feeders whole like an oscar usually, they rip them apart, and I would not give them many feeder goldies.

I would feed them every 2 days or so and do a mixture of flake, feeders, and believe it or not they will eat some veggies! Feeding time still gets crazy!

As for plecos with piranhas, I'd be careful, IME red bellies tend to fin nip and test other fish a lot to see if they can take em out, I've seen a couple skeletonized Plecos, and then I had one that lived with my piranhas for 3 years.
They aren't the fish they are made out to be, but from what I've seen they are territorial and nasty pack hunters, cool fish, but i kept my pack that got down to 5 in a 125 gallon, they will be much more peaceful with adequate space.

and as for WC's do them like any other tank, weekly, or even more often if possible, especially with predatory fish, they leave a lot of waste.

I'm not claiming to be an expert, as usual I'm a novice, that's just my take on keeping piranhas.

04-15-2009, 06:48 AM
thanks alot for the help.

04-15-2009, 01:13 PM
Piranhas are schooling fish! There is a little fish called exodons that can live with them.I beleive they are also called vampire tetras!
Here is some info for you!

Lady Hobbs
04-15-2009, 03:18 PM
Keep thinking about it.............and then get something different.


04-15-2009, 04:00 PM
I would recommend 3 or more piranhas, but the problem is, your tank will be way too small for three adults, 2 is even going to be a tight fit. These fish can really motor and will need lots of space.

Filtration looks like a bit of a problem here too. You will need to do weekly water changes in this tank with that filter.

Everyone will tell you a 100 different things to feed a RB piranha but for me, all I could get them to eat was live food. This means lots of waste in the tank and a very smelly tank if you do not keep up with the water changes.

As for how often to feed, I would buy a dozen minnows from my local bait shop and acclimate them like any other fish. I would put them into the tank and the piranha would eat when they were hungry. It was VERY rare, but occasionaly the piranha would kill all the minnows within an hour of putting them in so you may want to keep a small feeder tank if you go this route.

As you will learn, not every member here agrees with piranhas or other "live eaters" and will tell you to think about something else. That is an argument you can make, as I'll get in trouble again! I doubt those anti-piranha people have a tank of "rescued" feeder goldfish in their living rooms.

04-15-2009, 05:11 PM
thanks alot people very helpfull information:)

04-15-2009, 05:16 PM
Sorry im a fish noob, trying to get into the hobby these forums have been very helpful so far:) what about using 2 filters? is that a good idea?

04-15-2009, 06:21 PM
Most of us do! You can never have too much filtration,just too much current!

04-15-2009, 06:23 PM
hi mate,

Im looking to eventually set up a piranha species tank and , this is the setup, conditioning and habits ill be using. This is after 6 months of studying, research and good quality reading into these fish as youve got to remember, these are really a specialist fish, adn should be treat so.


At least a 100g plus tank, 2 filters giving filtration at least twice the capacity of the tank (Personally, id set these up to be 3 stage filters). Good quality bogwood, hardy quality plants. Personal choice would be to have all the tank decoration to fairly accurately emulate their habitat, dont ahve to, butthats just how I set up al lmy tanks so far. 2 heaters of excellent quality.


Soft to neutral, PH to be 6.8 to 7.0 max. Temp is the usual for tropics, 24 to 27. The usual setup for slightly sensetive fish such as discus..


Personally, I prefer species feeding for all species tanks, but thats just me... Most of the info on the web recommends, dried food, 2 days on 2 days off, and occasionally meat products. Dont let them get obese. Watch your hands when they are hungry.


Im sure youve researched this, but here it is anyways.

schooling fish, at least 5-7 is a good number, fairly intelligent fish indeed, so be careful. you can get most fo thsi stuff from the web.

Generally, keeping fish like this is like keeping discus, Exotic Cichlids or any other sensitive tropical fish... If your inexperienced or not sure, dont bother. Ive researched red bellys, am semi experienced in tropical fish, and keep a number pf established species tanks, and im still looking into the prospect of these baby's, so you might want to look at something else first with a view to keeping RB's.

If your really set on these bad boys. Them take your time, research and have patience!!!

Good luck...


04-15-2009, 08:31 PM
You can keep piranha in a 55G...just not Pygros, they are shoaling fish and need a 6ft+ setup for sure. Now you could keep a smaller species of Sarasalmus in that tank for life, Seras are loner ambush style hunters. You could even grow out a baby Rhom in that tank for heck several years. Larger Rhoms in the 8"+ plus range fetch high prices because they grow very slowly. Choose species of Sera that stick to 9" or less fully grown if you dont wish to part with the fish or dont plan to upgrade....have big filtration and dim lighting. Do not Seras are usually more aggressive towards food than Pygros but are more shy species of fish until they are mature. I almost imported a 14" Diamond Rhom for my 150G they are just that impressive but I would have literally had to wear a chain mail glove to safetly do maintenance. I would get an additional filter just like the one you have these fish are bulky and their diet is messy you just cant have enough filtration. I would not feed live food as it is very poor in nutrition and introduces disease into your tank. Instead choose fresh raw seafood, and piranha will eat prepared foods as well Hikari Massivore, Carnivore and Carnivore sticks are fabulous staple foods in addition to the seafood. Feed growing piranhas twice per day, young adults once per day and fully grown adults 3-4 times per week. Feed as much as the fish will eat in a minute, for seafood you can get some small latching hooks to attach the chunks of fish meat to and a line and drop into your tank and play with your fish while they eat. Piranha are triggered to feed by irratic movements of "prey" so wiggling the dead fish around will intice your fish to feed plus its pretty entertaining to watch and any left overs can be easily removed.

04-16-2009, 04:37 AM
So if i get piranhas can they just live off of pellet food? i heard they can and its much healthier? iam not a big fan of keeping live food around seems like a hassel

04-16-2009, 08:23 AM
Look mate,

If youre not prepared to work with the fish natural feeding habits and habitats, like keeping and preparing live food, the having the housework afterwords in the tank, then you might as well look at something else.

All too aften peeps think "Ohh wow, theyd be cool to keep..." then find out afterwords the amount of work entailed.

If youre not prepared to put the work in, then dont bother. Get something eaiser. Fish like pirahnas are beautiful to watch and keep. But like all exotic species, you have to put the work in to maintain the enjoyment.

Dont mean to stick a spike in your side, or dig my heels in here, but these are my thoughts on the matter.


04-16-2009, 10:18 AM
I wouldnt do a sole pellet based diet, you will need to add meat to the diet. But there is no reason IMO to ever feed Piranhas live food, it actually does more harm than good if by life food you mean live fish or mammal flesh. I include mammals because alot of people throw live rodents into their Piranha tank which isnt only unnecessary its also somewhat cruel. Live earth worms and insects are another story they would be fine to give to them. Seafood should definatly be included into the diet, now that doesnt mean you have to spend a fortune...Special of the day tilapia works out just fine and you can cut it up and freeze feeding size amounts so its easy to give to them. Raw shrimp is an excellent food source as well.

04-16-2009, 02:51 PM
ok thanks:)

08-21-2009, 11:42 PM
I was told that if you want more than one Piranha that you should have 4 or more as it shares the aggression better among all the fish. Two would fight and nip a lot making one of the fish more week than the other and eventually it will be killed.
not sure if you got enough room on your tank?????
Maybe with enough places to hide and good arrangements two might do okay but don't hold your breath....
Good Luck man, once it all gets up and running its awesome and spectacular.
Don't worry about other peoples opinions on your fish either, some people just grow up thinking nothing ever dies and that Santa Claus is real

08-21-2009, 11:50 PM
I give mine small frozen shrimp from the grocery store, just thaw out a few and throw them in, mix that with your pellets and occasional live food and you got a pretty good diet to work with.
If you get the shrimp get the tails with the shells, they are supposed to be higher in protein......

08-23-2009, 08:21 AM
some general rules of keeping pirahnas.

(Coming from experience)

1. Keep 5 or more, but 5 is good.

2. Minimum of 30G-40G of SWIMMING ROOM per fish. Not total tank space as you lose 5% with filters, plants, and sand.

3. Filtration needs to be at least twice the size of the tank. 2 filters would be good.

4. Air circulation is a must, 2 venturi filters or an air wall is advised.

5. Feeding menus and regimens. 2 feed days on 1off, 1 on, 2 off, 1 on. Thats the adviseable weekly feed cycle... feed on smelt, chopped fish, basically meaty prepared foods. rich red meat such as steak or beef heart too often will make the fish obese, and lead to disease and problems... Pirahnas are not gorgers, they are systematic feeders and will eat enough for themselves, then let the shoal have what it needs, so enough for the shoal, then no more as itll go to waste and pollute your tank..

6. Habitat. pirahnas are from the amazon basin, so live plants, washed sand, good current, CLEAN healthy water, wood, and a secure lid as they jump.

7. The shoal. If even one of them is in poor health, or damaged or weak, theyll devour him or her. if you plan or trying to keep all of them alive, if you notice this, then get the weaker one out.

8. Handling and housekeeping. Most peeps think that these guys will devour your hand as soon as you put it in there. WRONG. (Unless its a starve two days, then you ll get nipped.) A pirahna thats cornered will bite his way out of any situation so be careful. Remove food with a net, dont stress then out, and work slowly, they are slow aggressive fish until feeding.

9. Buying. One rule. Buy healthy, and look for nips, bite marks, chunks missing, and dominance. Its a clear sign of problems to come and long health. its liek any fish, if you notice something strange or worng, it usually is.. Also, MAKE SURE THEY ARE NOT BLACK BELLYS!!!!!! As the red and black belly are similar in appearance, they are nto similar when older and, as the red coloring only shows in maturation, you cant be sure. If you get black bellys, your in for trouble. as they are bad tempered, aggressive, and will eat you given less than half a chance!!!!! (Im not joking...)

10. Enjoy them. Watch the tank, learn about their nuances and habits, youll be able to spot things wrong easily when your a seasoned keeper.

They are nice fish to keep, very receptive, enjoyable and cool to watch and when you get it right after your homework is done, then youll have a great experience.

Hoep this helps..


08-23-2009, 11:57 AM
Those were some very good words of wisdom!
I originally wanted to stock 5 RBP, but the guy at the LFS through in an extra for all the money i was dropping!
thumbs2: :19: thumbs2: :19:

08-23-2009, 02:07 PM
two's a bad number...I would do a bare minimum of 3, but 5 would be your ideal minimum (rule of thumb is to keep them in odd numbers). If these numbers are unable to be housed in your tank sufficiently, then maybe they arent the best choice?

You do not need to offer live food. Offer them various fresh seafoods and they will be very content and healthy. Pellets are great as well...mixed with the above.