Rescued Shoal of Piranhas at Deep Sea World

Piranhas at Deep Sea World

A shoal of rescued red-bellied piranhas is settling in to a spacious new home at Deep Sea World, Scotland’s national aquarium.

The 13-strong shoal were facing an uncertain future until the North Queensferry attraction stepped in to save them.  They were being kept in a 5ft home aquarium but the owner, who was moving house, could not take them with him.

Deep Sea World’s Chris Smith said: “Apparently he had been keeping them for around six months, however a change of circumstances meant he could no longer look after them. We are not usually able to accept donations but fortunately we have a large piranha display here at Deep Sea World which is around seven times larger than their old tank and can comfortably accommodate them.

“The fish, which measure 10 to 12 centimetres in length, spent two weeks in quarantine before being introduced to the main display which is home to a group of around 40 other piranhas ranging from captive-bred juveniles to fully grown adults,” he added.

Found throughout the Amazon, the piranha is among the most famous and most feared inhabitants of the mighty river.

In the wild piranhas help to keep rivers fresh and healthy by eating animal carcasses. The name piranha comes from the Tupi Indian words ‘pira’ fish and ‘ranha’ teeth.

 “Here at the aquarium we try and mimic conditions in the wild so their main feed is a large rainbow trout which is lowered into the tank on steel wire,” said Chris. “This allows each piranha to take it in turns to feed, mimicking their natural feeding patterns as best we can.

“The smaller fish will swim in very fast take small mouthful and then swim away from the food – so that they themselves do not become a meal of a larger piranha by mistake!” he added.

Only around half of the 35 species of piranha are carnivores, but when trapped in pools and lakes formed by drying rivers in drought periods, meat eating piranhas will attack and eat all that they can find, even resorting to cannibalism if necessary.

Piranha Fish Close Up

Piranha at Deep Sea World


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