As in the case of other members of the subfamily Serrasalminae, such as the Silver Dollars (e.g. Metynnis and Myleus spp.), piranha taxonomy is currently somewhat unsettled. The former subgeneric name Pygocentrus, for example, is now becoming more widely accepted as a full generic name for some types of piranha. Despite its formidable reputation, the Red-bellied Piranha is not quite the indiscriminate killer it is made out to be. It is, nevertheless, a potentially dangerous species, and even small specimens must be treated with due caution, particularly when cleaning their aquaria. This species may be illegal or restricted in some U. S. states; it is best to seek advice locally before purchase.
- Serrasalmus nattereri, Pygocentrus a Itus
- Amazon and Orinoco basins.
- Up to 12in (30cm).
- Aggressive, often toward tankmates of their own species.
- Meat/fish-based diet and large livefoods. Live fish also eaten, but the ethics of this practice need to be considered before providing such a diet.
- Large, deep, well filtered, with large pieces of bogwood laid out for shelter. Only robust and/or artificial plants suitable. Avoid bright lighting. Soft, slightly acid water preferred. Temperature range: 73-81 F (23-27 C).
- Infrequent in aquaria. Eggs have been laid among the feathery roots of large floating plants, but usually they are laid inside a depression dug in the substratum. Both parents, or one (usually the male), will defend the eggs until they hatch about 2-3 days later.