Piranhas have bad reputations, but their aggressiveness only happens when they feel threatened, trapped, or starving. They maybe vicious kind of fish but many aquarists take interest in keeping them in tanks. However, selling and possessing of piranhas is illegal in some countries so be sure to check on the legality of raising piranhas in your area before considering keeping them.
One of the difficult aspects in having piranhas as pet is feeding. There are simply no ready-made piranha foods that we can buy over the market. So what do piranhas eat? How do we feed them? What are the things to consider in feeding them?
In feeding piranhas raised in aquariums, here are some points to remember:
- Contrary to common beliefs, piranhas are not only carnivorous. They are actually omnivorous or that they eat both meat and fiber. In the wild, piranhas primarily eat the scales and fins of other fishes and occasionally large quantities of plant fibers. Hence, it is best to emulate this practice and provide piranhas in tanks with a varied diet of both meat and fiber.
- Piranhas feed on live fish when in the wild. In tanks, they can be taught to eat dead food. To do this, simply splash or move the food around a bit to duplicate live behavior. This will attract the piranha’s attention and then feed on the food.
- It is not a good idea to feed piranhas with live goldfish. Goldfish are not really nutritious and may even carry and cause the spread of disease to your piranhas. Besides, some areas consider doing this as illegal.
- When feeding piranhas with live food like small shrimps or pinkie mice, be sure that these “food” are of great quality. Like the case of goldfish, live food may risk the health of your piranhas.
- Here are some food that you may feed to piranhas: beef, blood worms, chicken, crayfish, cod, eel, earthworms, krill, mosquito larvae, pellets, salmon, shall feeders (minnows, pinkies, frogs, etc.) shrimp, small insects, squid, smelt, sprats, trout, and tuna.
- Piranhas are not really picky eaters and will just feed on anything given to them. However, think twice about any food before feeding them to the piranhas.
- When piranhas are newly purchased, it might take a long while before they start eating. Give them time to accustom to their new environment, and they will sooner be comfortable and begin to feed normally.
- Feed piranhas only once a day. Feeding more than once will increase the waste your fishes are producing, and consequently, will pollute the water more. Piranhas are very messy fish and so the water must always be cleaned. Exceed food will also remain in the tank and rot. If there is leftover food in water, be sure to remove them with a net. Always perform 10-15% water changes every week so that the wastes not processed by the aquarium filter will be removed.