Red Belly Pacu

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Species group:

Other common names: Red Bellied Pacu; Blackfin Pacu; Cachama; Pacú; Pacu; Red Bellied Dace; Red Bellied Pacu; Tambaquí; Tambaqui; Freshwater Pompano

Scientific name: Piaractus brachypomus

The basics:
The Red Belly Pacu is native to the Amazon and Orinoco River basins in South America. Piaractus brachypomus is related to the Piranha, but unlike the Piranha, Pacus are omnivores, and their diet consists mainly of insects, fruits and nuts. The Red Belly Pacu is an unusual aquarium fish, mostly because of the huge size it can reach. In the wild Red Belly Pacu can reach 35 inches in length at adulthood. For this reason, Red Belly Pacu bought for home tanks have often ended up released into the wild when they get too large, and the fish is considered an invasive species in the United States and many other nations. Although known to be a peaceful and hardy fish, its size makes home aquarium care a challenge. Considered omnivorous, the Red Belly Pacu preys on small fish, insects, and snails and will also eat plants and vegetables such as lettuce, peas, spinach, oatmeal, and fruits. The Red Bellied Pacu is a cousin of the pirannah.

Red Belly Pacus are laterally compressed and disk shaped with a slightly arched back. The body color is gray with irregular spots of dark gray to black. The belly is red, hence the common name, as well as the pectoral and pelvic fins. The tips of the caudal fin rays are black. The eyes are small relative to the size of the body.

24-36 inches

Keeping other fishes with the Pacu requires a very large aquarium, but if available, compatible fishes include similarly large and peaceful tankmates like Silver Dollars, some Cichlids, Plecostomus, and Arowanas.

Due to the large adult size of the Red Belly Pacu, they are best kept in large tanks from 200 to 1200 gallons in capacity. Filtration should be very strong to handle the bio-load of this large fish as well as the strong current it prefers. Live plants are not recommended because Red Belly Pacus are herbivorous. Large hiding places are recommended such as driftwood and rock caves. Due to the enormous habitat requirement of the adult Red Belly Pacu, they are not recommended for home aquarium hobbyists.

75.00-80.00 °F


50.000-300.000 mg/L

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