If you are given a chance to take a refreshing dip into the cool Amazon basin to beat the summer heat, I am sure you will want to enjoy it to the fullest, unless you do not have to play the role of a chewing toy for a school of Piranha. The infamous piranha fish has a good deal of reputation of nibbling live or dead animals. Though this might sound a bit too awkward, but the fact is that a school Piranha can strip flesh off a full sized cow in just a few minutes. Truth be told… Piranha prefers to scavenge on dead animals, and if there's not an option like that, they'll surely move on to tales and scales of other mates in the vicinity.
My personal experience with just one Piranha in my tank had really been bad… probably the worst one, I could ever share! I had a medium-large tank, where I intended to keep a Piranha along with the other aggressive tank mates of Chiclids family, including two Tiger Oscars, one Red Oscar, two Albino Oscars and one gray-black spotted Plecostomus cat fish of around 6” - 7” long… none of them were full grown. I had to shift my Red Scatophagus argus and Green Argus to a separate salty tank. I still remember, it was Monday evening sometimes around mid Autumn, when I brought my long desired Piranha and released it with the Oscars. Let me hide and seek… I wasn’t really aware of the fact that Prinaha could eat up the world, until (the next morning) I found two of my Oscars head without the body and one of the Albinos was still live with its tail nibbled off! Strangely it did not harm my cat fish, which proved that Piranhas can be kept with Plecostomus cat fishes. The Piranha wasn’t a full grown one, but obviously a bit older than all of its other tank mates. I started digging more into the world of Piranha; never kept another, but collected some really researched information from varied sources, a bit of which, I thought, you guys would like to read about.
The piranha is a member of Characidae ( also called Characin) family. Characin is a large family of over around 1200 species of aggressive fishes, of which some have earned a great deal of admiration as very popular aquarium fishes, like all the common discuss and butterfly fishes. Although importing and trading Piranha is illegal in many states in the US, including the state of California, the law is not that stringent in other parts of the world. They are easily traded in many parts of the world. Amongst many varieties of Piranha fishes, the Red Belly Piranha (Pygocentrus Ntereri) is the most common as aquarium fishes. Reports of Piranhas nibbling people in their habitat to dead, has hardly been heard, but it will definitely bite your finger hard if you dip it in a tank of Piranhas. That happens probably because they turn out to be more aggressive in captivity.
Many of my peeps ask me if Piranhas can be kept with other fishes. Yes, but not with all kind of fishes, as the case holds good for many aggressive and semi-aggressive communal fishes too! I will recommend Piranhas with Plecostomus cat fishes, provided they (cat fishes) are not too small in size. Better not to release new Plecostomus cats in the tank full of Piranhas; rather you can release new Piranhas with already existing cats. You can keep Piranhas safely with large sized Green Spot Texas Cichlids, Wimple Piranha (which is not actually a true Piranha), large Red Belly Pacu and Black Pacu etc. Better to keep at least three Piranhas in a tank. Pacu mingles well Piranhas and thrive along well.