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Piranhas – Myth and Mystery Part 3 – Elongated Piranha

Elongated Piranha DrawingCraig here with another blog about yet another species of piranha. We have looked at the Red Belly and the Black piranha, now it is time to take a look at one of the most aggressive and predatory of all piranha species – the Elongated Piranha.

While many species have a similar and classic look to them, this species is physically unique. Serrasalmus elongatus, also known as the Slender or Pike Piranha, is a sleek predator from the waters of Venezuela and Brazil. Like many other piranha species, it has a shiny silver body with fearsome teeth. It is a highly active and highly motivated predator of other fish from the region. While the coloration and eating habits are similar to other piranha, it is the elongated shape of this fish that separates it from its cousins.

At 10 inches long, the Elongated Piranha has a very shallow vertical profile, whereas most piranha species have a robust, rounded profile. Looking at this fish one can easily see that it is fast, agile, streaking through the water and taking prey fish on the move. While many piranha like to hide out and ambush their prey, the Elongated Piranha will certainly actively pursue fish. While most other piranhas are timid, this species is not shy in the least.  Individuals may snap at the glass and rush from one side of the tank to the other in hopes of being fed when they see people approach. This makes keeping the Elongated Piranha a bit more interactive for the hobbyist. The negative side to the Elongated Piranha’s high activity level is that they tend to not be afraid of a hand in the aquarium – extra care should be taken when cleaning the aquariumto avoid nasty nips.

These fish will, of course, want a meaty diet. Getting an Elongated Piranha to accept anything other than a moving target can be tricky. Some success has been had by adding feeder fish and pellets at the same time. We have had them accept a floating pellet diet within 2 weeks using this approach. Eventually, the pellets alone will be taken as food. 

When keeping this fish, it is always wise to keep a single individual alone in the aquarium. They are highly intolerant of other fish and will attempt to eat just about anything that is in the tank with them. Because of their highly active nature, the Elongated Piranha will need at least 100 gallons per individual. They will need the open space to move without injuring themselves. Keeping a couple pieces of driftwood in the aquarium is never a bad idea, but don’t expect to see the fish using it as a hiding spot. Serrasalmus elongatus is, just like its cousins, a messy eater, so be sure to perform frequent water changes and invest in an efficient and capable bio-filter for the aquarium.

If you are looking for a piranha, there are many species to choose from. Whether you have a small school of common Red Bellies or a more uncommon species, there can be no denying the appeal and mystique of the legendary piranha.

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