The piranha fish is an amazing creature that has received the role of an unceremonious predatory fish that eats living flesh in a matter of minutes. There are many different videos where these piranhas gnaw the carcasses of animals with their teeth, leaving only skeletons from them. Such a spectacle is mesmerizing and makes many people think about purchasing a specific breed for decorative maintenance in the aquariums.
Despite their eccentric temperament, aquarium piranhas require special care and attention. An important condition for good maintenance is proper feeding, thanks to which the popular fish of the Haracin family can feel comfortable and stay in shape. If you overlook some of the features of keeping these animals, then pets may begin to refuse diet and die. In this article, we will look at what food piranhas prefer and what to feed them.
Nutrition in the natural environment
Piranha is a predator, but their lifestyle is somewhat different from that shown in the movies. These are timid, sensitive, and even shy exotic animals that have a very varied diet. More precisely, they feed on everything in the wild – it can be mollusks, small fish, invertebrates, plants, and even seeds floating on the surface of the water.
Piranhas are dangerous only when they gather in large flocks, forming schools of more than 100 individuals. In such situations, you can expect an attack from a flock even on a large animal, for example, a heron or capybara. However, an attempt on living amphibians or marine life is very rare for piranhas. They are more scavengers in the aquatic world than hunters.
Aggression is shown in case of prolonged drought and severe hunger, provided that the flock is large enough. They form flocks not to search for prey, but, on the contrary, to protect their family from predators. Piranhas are the danger only for insects and sick, exhausted animals that cannot fully resist. Most often, certain types are chosen for aquarium maintenance:
- Red Natterera or common piranha (Pygocentrus Rooseveltiella Nattereri);
- serrasalmus elongatus;
- flag piranha;
- red river pacu or Amazonian broad body (Colossoma Brachypomum or Bidens);
- dwarf piranhas (serrasalmus hollandi).
Feeding a piranha living in an aquarium
The aquarium piranha is not whimsical in food, it happily eats almost everything that gets into the aquarium. Vegan food is not used for predators, they prefer live food. For piranhas, food is not just food – it is sacrifice, for this reason, you should not check what happens if you put your finger in the aquarium that how they bite you with their sharp teeth. There are also enough situations when the owners of these predatory fish suffered in the process of unsuccessful feeding.
There are several rules for feeder regarding piranhas:
- they should not be overfed, as this can lead to obesity and discoloration of pets;
- it is not allowed to underfeed the piranhas – because of this, piranha attacks one of its flock members;
- the water in the aquarium must be constantly cleaned and filtered, as these inhabitants eating very carelessly, tear food, leaving a lot of dirt. If, after feeding, the remnants of food are not removed in time, then it begins to spread poison in the water as it rots. In this regard, experts recommend limiting the mealtime to two minutes. After feeding, the remnants must be removed from the aquarium.
There is a debate about how often such pets should be fed. Pet lovers say that one feeding a day is enough, while others argue that for good health, predators need to be given food every two days. According to ichthyologists’ study recommendations, piranhas should not be left hungry, they should be fed every day by placing fresh food in the aquarium for a few minutes. Every week it is necessary to carry out a fasting day when they should not be eating anything, but only swim, getting rid of excess fat.
The meal should be varied and properly served which gives the benefit, the inhabitants of the aquarium do not have health problems. The diet should include the following foods:
- frozen fish fillets (pink salmon, gobies, cod);
- finely chopped beef tenderloin.
Naturally, dry food is not a favorite food for predators, so it is often ignored. Meat alone should not be offered, as this can lead to significant discoloration. Individuals that eat only flesh have a dull color on the scales. You should not often regale the aquarium inhabitants with non-waterfowl food (poultry, pork, rabbit), it is very difficult for the digestive system to process.
To prevent bacterial and parasitic infections can be challenging, they should not be fed freshwater fish. Piranha fry can be offered to earthworms, tubifex, and bloodworms. Gradually, predators begin to feed with meat and fish, and after 3 months when they grow, they are completely transferred to an adult diet, which includes refined seafood and beef.
Feeding herbivorous piranhas
In addition to carnivorous species, there are also herbivorous “analogs”, which are popularly called dollar fish. In this case, the question of what to feed a piranha that does not eat meat requires separate consideration. The diet of vegetarian piranhas may include vegan for large fish that is high in vegetable protein. These aquarium dwellers are not particularly flavorful about their food and do a great job with lettuce, oatmeal, dried dandelions, and nettles. However, the best food option is offering dry tasty green food for aquarium herbivorous fish, which can be purchased at almost every pet store supply.
Reasons for refusing food
There are many conditions under which piranha does not eat food. This is most often the result of a violation of the conditions for keeping this breed, or diseases of waterfowl pets. Let’s consider the most common reasons for refuse to eat:
- too few piranhas in the aquarium. Piranhas are animals that live in flocks, where a clear chain of command is observed. In the school, there is one main fish (female), which establishes the order of feeding of the “subordinates” in the school. If the school is not formed (at least 5 fish), then the pets may refuse to eat, which leads to the death of all inhabitants of the aquarium;
- the small amount of water. For a minimum flock, an aquarium with a volume of at least 350 liters is required, if you fill the containerless, animals can destroy each other;
- poor sanitary conditions of the aquarium. These are very “dirty” fish that tear their prey, because of which pieces of flesh scatter throughout the entire reservoir with water, it becomes clogged and becomes covered with a greasy film. If the water is not changed in time, food debris will start to rot and poison the environment. In this case, the inhabitants become lethargic, refuse food, and change color;
- unsuitable food. If the piranhas are fed only with meat, then this leads to the obesity of individuals and the development of intestinal diseases in them.