Pet Health And Care >>  Fish Species >>  Pacu  

Pacu Fish Species:

The name pacu is used to refer to a number of South American fresh water species that are related to the piranha variety.

Both species are kept in aquariums although the pacu are thought of as herbivorous as opposed to the piranha. Their teeth are similar to the carnivorous piranha and are used to cut through vegetation as well as crush the seeds that happen to fall into water.

The jaw lines of both species are slightly different and the pacu is a much larger fish, capable of growing up to thirty kilograms in the wild.

Pacu is alternatively called a ‘vegetarian piranha’ and are known to make responsive pets with proper and committed attention and care.

However, several pet owners have reservations about the species as their enormous size will not be restricted to the size of the aquarium and the fish is reported to have bitten its owners in several instances. Pacu can only be raised in large aquariums as they have a high growth rate and can grow as long as 30 inches requiring sufficient space to move about and live healthily. Owners overwhelmed by their size are known to have let them out to wild water ways but this can kill the fish as it is not used to the climate or it can alternatively out compete other native species for food and resources. They may also introduce exotic infections and diseases killing off other fish and thereby affecting the ecosystem in the particular pond or lake.

The pacu is acutely aware of its status as prey and in case you wish to keep it as a pet it would be advisable to furnish the aquarium with plenty of hiding places so that it feels secure. The species need proper care and have to be given clean and warm water on a daily basis. It would be useful to purchase a thermometer and a heater as the temperature of water should be between 76 and 82 F. The aquarium should not have any rough or sharp surfaces and edges against which it may cut itself especially since the space to manoeuvre itself is negligible when compared to the wild. Since pacu is a carnivorous fish, contrary to popular opinion, it can be fed a varied diet including plant based food, high quality products available in the market as well as frozen food. It would be advisable to keep in touch with other pacu owners and breeders to keep track of the kind of food to be given and for other advice.

  Submitted on February 5, 2010