As a pet, the piranha is prized mostly for its reputation. As supposed, “man eaters” (no human has been devoured by a piranha), they can lend an exotic and dangerous air to your tank. Be warned, though, that the fish actually need a fairly great deal of care.
An owner that is not prepared for an aggressive, temperamental, and somewhat messy fish may want to opt for a different breed.
Piranhas are naturally social – but only towards their own kind and only during the early stages of their maturity. Despite the myth of the killer schools, most of the older fish can actually become aggressive towards their own breed. The only way to truly curb this behavior is with proper maintenance. The fish require a fairly specific temperature range (around seventy-eight degrees) and a neutral acidity level in the water. One must also be sure to keep a number of different “hiding” areas in the tank, as it can help reduce the overall level of ferocity.
If you wish to breed piranha, the process will be a bit tricky. First, you will need to ensure that you have a male and female (look for one fish that is thinner than the other to assure you have both genders). Make sure that the tank is relatively free of competition, and nature should take its course. In this case, it is a necessity to have gravel at the bottom of your tank – piranha will hide their eggs in the gravel, and when both become protective of a certain spot it is a relatively good indicator of a fruitful union. After breeding, the young should be transferred to a different tank (be careful, the parents are quite protective!).
Piranha can be wonderful pets, but care must be taken. Though aggressive and a bit messy, they can adapt to life in your tank.