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FishDeals.com | Characins | Pacu Species
Characins - Pacu Species
(Pacu species)

Pacu Eating a Brazil Nut

Pacu Species > Quick Stats
Food: Omnivore, will eat most larger foods. Vegetarians and will accept flakes, lettuce, spinach, even chopped zucchini. 
Breeding: Unlikely in aquaria, due to size. 
Tank Conditions: Not critical, huge tank: acidic to slightly alkaline pH (5.5-7.5), soft to fairly hard.

This site was created to get straight to the point. Below are some tips on keeping Pacus. Send any additional information or questions to Ask An Expert

Pacu Species

Acceptable tank mates to try are rosy Tetra, black banded Leporinus, severum, butterfly fish and rasbora. Pacus will eat small fish that they can catch, but Zebra Danios swim fast and can often avoid being eaten.

Pacu Species: Key Points, Tips & Tricks - Pacu Q/A

  1. Huge, Huge, Huge. These fish can grow to be very big, even in confined areas.
  2. A huge tank (e.g. 500 gallons), even this may be too small for adult pacu.
  3. Pacus are more sensitive to nitrogen waste products than other fish from their geographical region.
  4. More frequent water changes or additional filtration is required.
  5. Pacu (IPA: [pa'ku]) is a common name used to refer to several species of South American freshwater fish that are closely related to the piranha.
  6. Full-grown pacu are much larger than piranha.

Pacu Species: DO'S - Pacu Q/A

  1. Make sure you have a large enough tank to keep these fish.
  2. Feed them lettuce, spinach, and even chopped zucchini.
  3. However, the fish are a poor choice for the typical hobbyist. While they are not aggressive carnivores like the piranha, their crushing jaw system, used primarily for eating seeds and nuts, can be hazardous.

Pacu Species: DONT'S - Pacu Q/A

  1. Don't let them around small kids, or put your fingers in the tank. "Pacus will eat anything, even children’s wiggling fingers."
  2. Don't keep them with their cousin's the piranha, the piranhas will rip the pacu to shreds.
  3. Buy 10 Red-Bellied Pacu's from walmart at 1.5 inches each and put them in a 15 gallon aquarium. Try 2000 gallons.
  4. Don't try to keep live plants with Pacus they will get eaten.
  5. These fish need a roomy tank as they do not thrive well in cramped quarters.

Species of Pacu

  • Colossoma brachypomum - Red-bellyed Pacu, Common Pacu or Red Pacu
  • Colossoma macropomum - Tambaqui, Black Pacu, Black-finned Pacu, or Gamitana
  • Colossoma oculus
  • Colossoma orbignyanum
  • Acnodon normani - Sheep pacu
  • Acnodon oligacanthus
  • Ossubtus xinguensi - Parrot pacu

Follow the above recommendations and you should have a joyful Pacu experience. Send any questions, comments or pictures to Ask An Expert If you are interested in helping out visit our contributions page.

 Piranha species
 Pacu species
 Tetra species
 Hatchetfish species
 Silver Dollars species
 Gar / Pike species
The Essentials Related Web Links
Photo Image Gallery of Characins Photo Gallery of Characins
Catfish Forum Discussion Characin Forum Discussion
External Web Resources
 Characins @ Aquabid.com

References/Further Reading

Berra, T. M. 2001. Freshwater Fish Distribution. Academic Press. San Diego, CA
Gery, J. 1977 Characoids of the World. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ. 672 pp.
Hubbs, C. L. and K. F. Lagler. 1947 (and other editions). Fishes of the Great Lakes Region. Cranbrook Institute of Science, Bulletin No. 26.
Moyle, P.B. and J. J. Cech, Jr. 2000. Fishes: An Introduction To Ichthyology, 4th Edition. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Myers, G.S. 1972 The Piranha Book: an account of the ill-famed piranha fishes of the rivers of tropical South America. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ. 128 pp.
Nelson, J. S. 1994. Fishes of the World, 3rd edition. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, New York.
Page, L. M. and B. M. Burr. 1991. Peterson Field Guides: Freshwater Fishes. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Mass.
Paxton, J. R. and W. N. Eschmeyer. 1998. Encyclopedia of Fishes. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
Shulte, W. 1988 Piranhas in the Aquarium. T.F.H. Publications, Neptune City, NJ. 128 pp.

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