The term black piranha is a term used by native Indians in the Amazon area to describe a large number of different piranha species. When used in regards to in aquarium kept piranhas does the term however most often refer to the species Serrasalmus rhombeus (black piranha) even if it still can refer to a number of other species.
They are best kept in a large aquarium without any other species present and one adult fish requires an aquarium of at least 450L/ 100 gallon. This might sound much but isn’t much considering that the species grows to be 40cm / 16 inches. A considerable larger aquarium is necessary if you want to keep several black piranhas since this species is extremely aggressive towards other fish within the same species as well as towards other species. If you can’t provide an aquarium that is considerable larger than 450L / 100 gallon you should dedicated that aquarium to keeping a single black piranha in it without any other fish present.
The aquarium is best decorated with some hardy plants and large pieces of bogwood. This gives the aquarium a nice look and makes the piranhas feel like home. The aquarium will need to be well filtered since these large fish can produce waste quantities of waste matter. Black piranhas have like all other piranhas a bad reputation for being dangerous. This reputation is highly overstated and well feed piranhas only seldom bite. None the less it is a good idea to be careful when dealing with large black piranhas as they can give nasty bites.
They are best feed feeder fish, other live food and a variety of dead meaty food which they if not immediately, accept after a little training. A varied diet is important to provide black piranha with all the nutrients they require. They should never be kept on just feeder fish and especially not on goldfish since they has very poor nutritional value.
A black piranha. Copyright www.jjphoto.dk
Breeding black Piranha
The black piranha (S. rhombeus) is hard to breed in captivity due to their aggressiveness towards each other. The species has been breed in public and private aquariums that are large enough to house several adult specimens without them causing damage to each other due to the aggression. Black piranhas can be breed in home aquariums but will most likely require an aquarium of at least 2000 L / 500 gallon and perhaps twice that size.
The black piranha breeding aquarium should be densely planted with plants such as Vallisneria, Cryptocoryn., Aponogeton and Echinodorus. You will need to give your black piranhas a varied diet to get them into spawning condition. Recommended water values are in some degree related to which river in the Amazon your black piranhas originate from but pH 6 and 24-28C / 75-82 F can be used to breed most strains. The water should be very soft to breed this species. Rain season simulation helps trigger the fish to spawn. The eggs are laid in pits in the sand and are protected by the parents. Black piranha eggs hatch after approximately 2-3 days. The fry is best feed very small food such as infusoria during the first days and then newly hatched brine shrimp.
Picture of a black piranha showing a lighter coloration. Copyright www.jjphoto.dk
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