Piranhas are a unique creature that has won its so popularity, not only because of its appearance, but also due to the many myths they are told in. Unfortunately only a few species having been breed, some of the species that have commonly bred include Serrasalmus nattereri, S. spilopleura, S. gibbus, S. rhombeus. Another species that is considered relatively easy to breed is S. maculatus.
Whichever you choose, you should have an aquarium that is at least 100 gallons. A group of 5-6 piranhas is quite appropriate, however if you want them breeding, the best is to keep them in pairs so that there are no other fishes to bother them. To find ae mating pair, you can pick two adult Piranhas, one is thick and the other is 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. Though having found males and females doesn’t automatically mean success, it is however a step on the way.
The ideal temperature is between 73-83F. Standard fluorescent bulbs are fine for the lighting. Notice that they also like some protective cover. You should also make the lighting of half of the aquarium darker than the other. Piranhas are hardy fish but it iss a good idea to maintain the water clean and clear. In their original habitat, Amazon River, rainy season is the time 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 most likely getting the piranhas into breeding condition.
When your piranhas lose all their color and turn almost completely black, you can expect that they are in breeding condition! Both of them may start to protect a certain spot and chasing off other piranha that come too close. If they start picking up gravel in their mouth like digging for something, 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 the one that is responsible of guarding the nest and eggs. The number of eggs laid is variable from 700-4000. The eggs hatch in 2-3 days.
Picture of a black piranha - S. rhombeus. Copyright www.jjphoto.dk
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 under gravel filter for the fry to be moved into. Water should be from the parents’ tank. Be very, very careful when doing this, as the parents can be extremely protective and aggressive. The fry will quickly absorb their yolk sac and you will have to start feeding them live baby brine shrimp as food.
One thing you should carefully notice 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 piranha.
Serrasalmus gibbus. Copyright www.jjphoto.dk
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