Piranha- caught by fisherman
Pacus & Piranha in aquariums, ponds and lakes?
-MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. - A fisherman looking to catch a catfish for dinner instead reeled in a fish that flashed its teeth and bit his knife. Jerry Melton, 46, was fishing in the Catawba River last week when he caught what state wildlife officials later identified as a piranha, a South American carnivorous fish that lives in freshwater.
A lot of news attention is always given to these South American Fish and their cousins the Pacu. Both are TROPICAL and will not survive most USA winters (Hawaii and South Florida are the exceptions), yet try convincing some persons, especially politicians with too much time on their hands and not enough brains in their heads.
I have maintained Aquariums and Ponds in Southern California from 1978 to 2002 where I had many a customer dump their over grown Pacu or Piranha in their outdoor pond to give it "more room".
Not a one survived the winter where the ponds dipped well below 65 F, and you know what harsh winters So. Cal has, LOL (Sarcasm)!!
Also studies have shown the Piranha not to be as vicious as once thought, this article "Vicious" piranhas are really wimps dispels that myth as well.
Personally I am not a big fan of Piranha or the reasons many keep these fish, however I am also even less of a fan of misinformation. The aquarium hobby is full of poor information. I have tried to present Aquarium Information and articles that have more practical experience and research behind the articles. I have also tried to update when new, or better information becomes available (or I find new research proves me just plain wrong!)
Finally, often what is often re-posted as a piranha is actually a Pacu (as may be in this case and the accompanying photo from the above news article).
Pacus make much better pets in my opinion provided you have the space (I recommend a 250 gallon + aquarium). I have kept many Pacus in at the Bahooka Restaurant in California where my company maintained over 100 aquariums at this location.
These fish are quite hardy, and very curious (one in particular was a favorite of restaurant patrons as it would come up to the glass and "beg", usually for carrot sticks.
Pacus need a lot of space (as stated earlier) and need filters not easily upset. They will also chew up most decorations, including live AND artificial plants (so a freshwater planted aquarium, even with the best of aquarium lighting is not going to work for Pacus or Piranha).
I also recommend protecting the heater as I have had many heaters broken by large Pacus (Titanium Heaters are often a good choice with Pacus and other large fish).
I also have had several of my more healthy customers with large ponds as well as their larger aquariums get bored with their Pacus (& occasional Piranha) then dump them in the pond.
Unfortunately these fish have NEVER survived past November/early December, and this was in Southern California where the ponds and lakes generally dip into the low 50s and upper 40s in the winter. My point in bringing this up is that Pacus are often suggested as a pond fish, yet with the possible exception of extreme Southern Florida or Hawaii (maybe Brownsville Texas area as well), these fish cannot survive the winter in the USA (and definitely Canada) unless there is some sort of warm water source (Geothermal, etc.).
Below is a picture comparison of a Pacu and Piranha (click to enlarge)
Here is a map of legal and illegal Piranha States (USA) from my Basic Aquarium Principles and Information Article (click to enlarge)
As I suspected, this fish turned out to be a Pacu
Other Articles I have written that may be of Interest:
*Aquarium Silicone Applications, Tank Repair, Glass Top Hinge Repair DIY Aquarium
*RO (REVERSE OSMOSIS), DI (DI-IONIZED or DISTILLED), RAINWATER IN AQUARIUMS, OR WATER SOFTENER WATER
*PUR and Reef Aquarium Lighting
Copyright; Carl Strohmeyer