Big, rare and predatory: Piranhas at Wharf Aquatics

In September `19 the Preston Aquarist Society invited me over for their yearly Convention, an event I was really looking forward to and which I had attended in 2017 for the first time.

Besides meeting friends, our hosts (BSSW-member Stanislav KISLYUK was also invited to speak) John and Liz Dean as well as Ray Blackburn always made sure to entertain us with visits at shops, keepers and breeders. This time they took us to Wharf Aquatics in Pinxton, within Robin Hoods former work environment Nottingham, a shop I had not been before; and they stocked many interesting species especially of those that grow larger than the typical species in the hobby.

The shop is large, labyrinthine and offering plenty hidden gems. But what really caught my eye was a wall full of Piranhas, a good dozen tanks, each stocked with a single individual. Dimensions that exceed some regulars shop total display. They can see, but not interact with each other, resulting in good-looking fish and healthy fins. That time three species were on display: Serrasalmus manueli, Serrasalmus rhombeus and Pygocentrus piraya. Most measured between 20 to 25 cm, one of the P. piraya almost reached 30 cm, a stunning specimen.

The latter is the biggest known Piranha species and almost exclusively known from the lower Rio São Francisco basin in Brazil. Its orange-red colouration on the lower part of the body make it a nice to look at species. P. piraya can be kept in groups in contrast to most other Piranhas like S. manueli and S. rhombeus for example. Despite one of its common names “Man Eating Piranha” it is a great species for large tanks and thanks to its southern distribution does not need to be kept at high and therefore costly water temperatures. Maybe an idea worth to think about when setting up a big tank.

Interesting literature to deepen the topic:

Leave a Reply