The Black Piranha originates from the Amazon and Orinoco river basins in South America. It is also known as the Redeye Piranha, the
White Piranha and the Spotted Piranha. The scientific name is serrasalmus rhombeus, but it is also referred to by the scientific name
serrasalmus niger. The young are light colored with dark spots, which gives rise to the name White Piranha. As they mature, the dark
spots disappear, the background color turns black and the eyes turn red. The anal fin has a red coloring and the edges of this fin are
very dark when young. The young are more slender, while adults have the typical piranha shape. Black Piranha grow very slowly at 1 – 2 inches per year.
The Black Piranha does not swarm in large schools like the Red Bellied Piranha does.
It can be rather timid, but its bite is still very dangerous. The tank should be about 100 gallons with bogwood and dim lighting.
Soft, acidic water preferred. The Black Piranha is strictly a meat eater and should be kept alone. Care should be taken to ensure
feeder fish are free of disease.
Males are more golden, with red in the belly, while females are more yellow. This species can be bred in captivity. They are
known to have survived in the wild in Hawaii and Florida. Eggs are laid in plants in pits in the substrate. The male guards the
eggs, which hatch in 2 – 3 days. Fry must be separated and fed live foods.
The piranha is banned in more than 20 US states, due to concerns over the
possibility that they will survive in the wild and threaten other living
populations, including humans. For more information, visit
Law and Piranhas by Frank Magallanes
||23 - 27 C; 73 - 81 F
||5.8 - 7.0
||40 cm; 16 inches