Piranhas are unique creatures that have gained popularity not
just because of their appearance, but also due to the many myths
that are told about them. Unfortunately only a few species of
piranha have been bred, including Serrasalmus nattereri, S.
spilopleura, S. gibbus, S. rhombeus. Another that is considered
relatively easy to breed is S. maculatus.
Whichever of these species you choose, you should have an
aquarium of at least 100 gallons. A group of 5-6 piranhas is
quite appropriate; however if you want them breeding it is best
to keep a pair only, so that there are no other fish to bother
them. To find a mating pair select two adult piranhas, one thick
and the other 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. Although having
found a male and a female doesn't automatically mean success, it
is a step on the way.
The ideal temperature is between 73°-83°F. Standard fluorescent
bulbs are fine for the lighting. Piranhas also like some
protective cover, and you should also make the lighting of half
of the aquarium darker than the other. Piranhas are hardy fish
but it is a good idea to maintain the water clean and clear. In
their original Amazon River habitat, the rainy season is 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 are most helpful in getting the piranhas
into breeding condition.
When your piranhas lose all their color and turn almost
completely black, they are in breeding condition! Both of them
may start to protect a certain spot; chasing off other piranhas
that come too close. When they start picking up gravel in their
mouths as if digging, 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 responsible for guarding the nest and eggs. The number of
eggs laid varies from 700-4000. The eggs hatch in 2-3 days.
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 undergravel filter. Water should be from the parents'
tank. Be very, very careful when transferring the fry, as the
parents can be extremely protective and aggressive. The fry will
quickly absorb their yolk sacs and you can start feeding them
live baby brine shrimp as food.
One thing you should be aware of 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 piranhas.
Article by William Berg writer for Aquatic Community with more
then 20 years of aquarium experience. Find more of Williams
articles about Piranhas or an article about completely different
pet like Dogs