Red Belly PIRANHA Care!

Written by flyinry on May 26, 2011

Red Belly Piranhas (Pygocentrus nattereri)
Piranhas: The legend, myth, and PIRANHA CARE.

Red Belly Piranha

Here you will find some information on Piranha Care. You should read many sources on Piranha Care before buying your Piranhas. Below I have a few bullets points to help you get started with your Piranha Care!
I have owned Red-Belly Piranhas and learned a lot about their behaviors. You can check them out on my YouTube channel (weareallwet).

The Facts about my Red-Bellies: (Piranha Care)

  • Very calm, almost all day long, rarely swim around and mostly hide behind rocks or plants.
  • Skittish fish that get scared easily. When I clean the tank with my hand right next to them they usually move away from me.
  • They will attack almost all fish in size.
  • They have razor sharp teeth that can rip through frozen foods and feeder fish.
  • Will make your tank very messy! I used 2 filters and cleaned the tank out once a week.

Tank Size for the Red Belly Piranha:

Piranhas should be kept as singles or in groups, never have 2 in one tank as they may attack each other. So, if you are going for 3 Piranhas I would recommend at least a 55 gallon tank. If you would just like to keep 1 Piranha, you could start off with at least a 30 gallon tank. Bigger the better though, it’s nice to give your fish a lot of swimming room!
*Try not to use bright lighting, Piranhas like a dimly lite tank. The amazon river is murky!!

Design for your Red Belly Piranha Aquarium:

Piranhas are very quick are will likely rearrange your tank. It’s nice to go with a dark substrate, I used black gravel to bring out their red bellies. I wouldn’t recommend using sand since you will be cleaning your tank weekly (gravel makes it easier). Also, Piranhas will end up eating or killing your live plants if you have any. I found out the hard way by losing all of the live aquarium plants that I bought. So I switched to fake plants, but they still got rearranged. The best thing I found to do is created caves with different types of rocks. You can usually find all types of rock work at your local fish store.
Be sure to provide a lot of hiding places for your Piranhas! They will be hiding most of the day. Also provide some swimming room so when they search for food, or come out at night, they have room to swim without hurting themselves.

Red Belly Piranha Tank Mates:

I kept a Pleco Catfish with my Red Belly Piranhas for over a year and it never bothered it. This is a great fish to have to help keep your Piranha Aquarium clean. Also, I’ve heard that Neon Tetra’s and other very small fish can be kept with Piranha’s. Seems weird, but I guess the Piranhas don’t see a need in eating such a small fish.
I actually had guppy fry in my Piranha tank for months and the Piranhas never touched them!

Red Belly Piranha

Red Belly Piranha Care:

  • Weekly water changes, 10-15%
  • Clean filter every 2 months
  • Clean substrate every week, Can be done with your water changes.

Red Belly Piranha Feeding:

  • Frozen Foods, I used San Fransisco Bay Brand
  • Feeder Fish- Livebearers, Goldfish, Minnows, Guppies.

I fed my Red Belly Piranhas Frozen Food everyday, and then gave them about a dozen or so Feeder Fish once per week. I had 3 Piranhas, and they usually ate about 12 medium size feeder Goldfish in one night.

ENJOY Your Red Belly Piranhas!


So, all in all, most of the myths about Piranhas are false! They are actually very nice fish to keep in your home aquarium. The reason that they are illegal in almost half of the United States is because of people dumping them in lakes and rivers. It is not because they are so dangerous that they will bite your finger off. They do not want local fish populations to become extinct because Piranhas do in fact eat almost all fish they come across.
Piranhas are very fun fish to watch when they are eating. They present an amazing strike as they attack their food. You can find many Piranha videos on YouTube of people feeding them. But, other than that they are actually quite boring, I had my Red Bellies for over a year in a 55 gallon tank and then I sold them back to my local fish store and started another aquarium instead.

Adult Red Belly Piranha