What and When To Feed Your Pet Piranha

What should you feed your pet piranhas?

To some that might seem obvious, feed them anything right? Not quite. Just like humans, you have to make sure that your piranhas eat a balanced diet to make sure they stay healthy. Feeding them table scrapes (which happens often) is not recommended.

Piranha feeding is not extremely complicated. The red belly piranha for example is a meat eater, so meat-like products should be a huge part of their diet. But, you can’t just feed them meat all the time. It’s important to switch with other types of food. Here is a list of piranha foods that have worked for me in the past and other popular suggestions that I found on different forums:

* Frozen fish/seafood like cod, salmon, tuna, catfish, shrimps, krill, mussels and squid. You can buy these in pre-made cubes that you keep in your freezer, or make your own.
* Pellet food such as Hikari Gold or Hikari Cichlid Bio Gold.
* Small pieces of vegetable like celery, cucumbers and peas (some prefer the shell off, others on) can be a good addition to their diet.
* Pinkie mice.
* Live feeders.

Important – Please keep in mind that there is a lot of debate around the last one. Many people believe that it is OK to feed live fish (minnows, tetras, etc.) to piranhas, while others believe that you should never do it. The main reason is that live feeders are prone to disease which can then be transferred to your piranhas. One way to help with this issue is to quarantine the live feeders in a separate aquarium for a few weeks before introducing them to your piranhas. This will not completely eliminate the risk of diseases, however it will help.

How often do I feed them?

This is a very good question. The general rule of thumb is that juvenile piranhas should be fed 2-3 times per day, while adult piranhas should be fed once every other day. It is highly recommended that you clean up the leftovers 4-5 hours after you are done eating. If you don’t, the food will rot and pollute the water, making your job at maintaining the aquarium that much harder. Doing this will make sure you aren’t constantly doing water changes.

One more thing to keep in mind is that when you first get your piranhas, they may refuse to eat. This is common. Sometimes they just need a few days, even a week or so, to adjust to their new environment. The same goes when introducing new food.

Please make sure you visit my Web site for more information about piranhas!

Ten Steps to Making Your Aquarium Algae-Free

Are you battling algae problems? In your aquarium or pond?

Algae can turn a pristine aquascape into a horrible eye-sore in a matter of days. In ponds, algae can suffocate the fish overnight or kill fish when the bloom crashes. Algal overgrowth can be due to a variety of reasons. It could be from poor environmental conditions (too many fish in the tank, over feeding, infrequent water changes, excessive fertilising) or incorrect lighting (too much of/or the wrong spectrum). Each sort of algae tells a different story on how they became established. Control methods will depend on the type of algae and it may be as simple as performing water changes more frequently, using a suitable lighting type, altering the photoperiod, decreasing the amount fed or introducing more aquatic plants to altering the pH, water hardness, using anti-algal chemicals and installing a UV-clarifier. The combinations are enormous!

So how can you fix this problem? If you follow these basic steps, you’ll solve the problem.

1. Carry out very regular partial water changes (30%) every 14 days.

2. Reduce the stocking density of your aquarium.

3. Don’t over-feed

4. As a rule of thumb, the stomach of a fish is approximately the size of its eye and so this is about as much as they should be fed.

5. Use white daylight bulbs:

Light that peaks at the blue and red spectrum are best for photosynthesis, but does not differentiate between algae and plant. By using plain white light, you are making it more difficult for the algae (and plants) to make their food.

6. Decrease the photoperiod:

*Having light available for a shorter period will make it more difficult for algae to make their food and multiply.

7. If the tank receives sunlight, reposition the tank or shade it.

*Warning, it is dangerous to move a filled tank.

8. Add some water plants to your aquarium:

*Aquatic plants will compete with the algae for nutrients and light;

9. Introduce an algae eating fish that is suitable for your set-up:

*Examples would include: bristle nose catfish, Chinese algae eater.

10. You may wish to install a UV-clarifier or proceed with chemical or other biological treatments.

*Note that chemicals should never be the sole treatment. They should be used only after or in conjunction with management strategies as outlined.

So, are we full bottle on the ways to combat algal problems? Then you had better get to it!

Dr Richmond Loh
BSc BVMS MPhil (Vet Path) MANZCVS (Aquatics & Pathobiology) CertAqV
Veterinarian / Adjunct Lecturer Murdoch University / Secretary Aquatic Animal Health Chapter ANZCVS / 2014 President WAVMA
The Fish Vet, Perth, Western Australia. Mobile Veterinary Service for fish and other aquatic creatures.