Home » Fish Guides » How Much Do Piranhas Cost? | 30 Things You Should Know

How Much Do Piranhas Cost? | 30 Things You Should Know

Piranha is a shoaling fish related to pacu, silver dollars, and tetras. There are around 20 to 50 species of Piranhas in the world. The most common Piranha famous in aquariums is Pygocentrus Nattereri, a silver-grey fish with bright red-orange in the throat, breast, and stomach area. Serrasalmus rhombeus and wimpel piranha are also popular in aquarium trade. How Much Do Piranhas Cost?

How Much Do Piranhas Cost

Although Piranhas are known as beasts in the water, most of their species are not aggressive. Many Piranhas are omnivores that consume plants, seeds, and fruit in their diet. Piranhas need special care, and if kept well, they are exciting and beautiful fish for your aquarium.

How Much Do Piranhas Cost?

The ideal size for a Piranha to be introduced into an Aquarium is between 2 to 2.5 inches. A 2- 2.5 inches piranha’s average cost is around $30. However, you can buy a Piranha for low as $5 when it is smaller than 2 inches long.

Piranha’s cost varies depending on their species, age, and size, and there are legal issues in certain areas when keeping and trading Piranhas.

how much do piranhas cost the UK

Piranhas are not widespread as aquarium pets in the UK. There are around ten species of Piranhas commonly kept by fishkeepers in the UK. Because of this reason, Piranhas’ cost in the UK is high.

The most common species, “red belly piranha,” cost around £18 for a small-sized Piranha. Other exotic Piranha species are more expensive than Red Bellies.

Can you legally own piranhas?

You can legally own Piranhas in some states in the USA. In some states, it is legally prohibited or heavily regulated.

Michigan, New Hampshire, Delaware, New Jersey, North and South Dakota, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming, and Wisconsin

Banned or Heavily Regulated States to Own Piranha

Alabama, Alaska, California, New York, Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, Florida, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Mississippi, Utah, Texas, Washington, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio (some cities and counties), Virginia, Idaho, Connecticut, and Massachusetts

What states are red belly piranhas illegal in?

According to Bennet et al. 1997, Red Belly Piranhas’ sale, possession, or transport within the states are prohibited in the below states.

Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington

Do You Need A License To Own A Piranha?

You don’t need a license to own a piranha in legally allowed states. In some prohibited states, you can own a Piranha with a Licence (Eg: California). So some states, it is totally forbidden to possess, sell or transport Piranhas. In these states, you can not get a license to own Piranhas.

Can you Own Piranhas in California?

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, “All species of piranha are on California’s list of restricted animals and cannot be imported, transported, or possessed without a permit.”

You can, however, apply for a permit to own Piranhas in California. But, be cautioned that the price for the license is not slight.

Can you buy a piranha as a pet?

You can buy some species of Piranhas as pets. They are actually interesting because of their full set of sharp teeth and fast and furious attack skills. However, you should be extra careful while feeding them as they may choose to taste your finger for their dinner.

They are not killers as the movies publicize but still can harm you to an extent when they are hungry. When you feed them constantly enough amount of food, they won’t harm you.

What do piranhas eat?

Although Piranhas are famous as carnivores that are hungry most of the time and try to eat humans and other live animals, in the real world, they are not. Most Piranhas are omnivore species that can eat both plants and small animals.

There are even herbivorous Piranhas that only eat plant matters. Piranhas are Naturally Scavengers that like to eat dead and decayed meat and plant. The Red Belly Piranha is the most aggressive and popular Piranha kept in aquariums around the world.

Even Red-Bellied Piranha will survive on both meat and plants. Let’s discuss what do Piranhas eat in different circumstances.


In addition to dead and live plants, Piranhas eat Small fish, Mollusks, Insects, Crustaceans, Worms, Birds, Amphibians, and Rodents in the wild. Piranha school indeed has a huge appetite for flesh when hungry, but they rarely attack large animals alive. However, they can tear a whole cow to the bones within minutes only if it is dead.

They also consume fallen fruits, seeds, algae, and seaweeds in the wild. Though they have muscular jaws and sharp chiseled teeth perfect for catching prey, Piranhas generally like vegetation as much as they like meat.


Piranhas consume mainly fish pellets and flakes in captivity. You can also feed mealworms, Earthworms, krill, and some other feeder fishes to Piranhas in captivity.

So you should choose fish food especially rich in animal components, to feed Piranhas. You can also provide them with thaw frozen food, fruits, and vegetables if they are omnivores or herbivores (which most of them are).


As most aquarium-safe Piranhas are omnivore species, you can feed them with anything safe for fish. From fish meat, worms, and larvae to fruits and vegetables, they will eat anything natural, including dead and decayed plants and animals.

You can also feed any fish pellet or flake to Piranhas as a pet. The key is not to let them starve for long, as if they starve, they become aggressive and try to eat anything they will find.

How much do piranhas eat

A Piranha usually eats about 2.5 grams per day. That is one-eighth of its average body mass. As they are scavengers, they will eat as much as you feed them. But, overfeeding Piranhas will lead to problems like too much fish waste, too many Nitrates, and other harmful minerals leaving more cleaning work for you.

Piranhas Natural Habitats

Piranhas’ native habitats are situated in South America. They can be found in the Amazon Basin, Rio Paraguay, Rio Paraná, and several other river systems and lakes in South America.

how long do piranhas live

Usually, any species of Piranha live up to 8 years. But, Red-bellied Piranhas can live for more than ten years.

Size of Piranhas

The maximum size for any species of Piranha is 2 feet head to tail. However, red-bellied Piranha can grow up to 20 inches long during low water in the Amazon river.

How many piranhas should be kept together?

Experts say that keeping Piranhas individually or in a set of 5 will avoid cannibalism. Piranhas aren’t schooling fish. They are loosely shoaling fish that stay with the group for protection and feeding advantages. Naturally, they are solitary fish. Hence keeping them alone is okay.

Can piranhas and Oscars live together?

Both Piranhas and Oscars are found in the same native waters so that they can live together peacefully. However, be sure to keep the Oscars bigger than the Piranhas as Piranhas don’t attack larger animals than their size.

How many piranhas can you have in a tank?

If you have other fish types in your fish tank, you shouldn’t keep more than 5 Piranhas in your tank. If you own more Piranhas, they will attack other fish and will try to eat them.

Can you keep a single piranha?

Although Piranha is a shoaling fish, it likes solitary when it feels no danger from predators. Some Piranhas are a bit shy and skittish when kept singly or introduced into a new aquarium. So, yes. You can keep a single Piranha in your fish tank, and it is safer for you and your other fish.

piranha tank mates

In a fish tank, Piranha’s tank mates should be larger than Piranhas’s size. Otherwise, Piranhas tend to prey on other fish which are same-sized or smaller. Some suitable tankmates are black pacu, striped Raphael catfish, sailfin pleco, common pleco, and Bristlenose pleco.

how big can a red belly piranha get

The typical size for red belly piranha is about 12 inches maximum in captivity. However, they can be as long as 20 inches when they live in the wild.

red belly piranha tank size

If you keep a single Piranha in your tank, a 30-gallon tank would be fine. But it is recommended to keep at least 4 Piranhas in a tank as they are shoaling fish.

Each additional Piranha needs an extra 10 gallon as Piranha swims in all water layers and needs more room to be happy. So, for a school of 4 Piranhas, you’ll need at least 60 Gallon tank.

red belly piranha tank setup

Red Belly Piranha needs plenty of space to move to keep healthy. Experts recommend at least 2 gallons per 1 inch of the fish length. As a red belly piranha grows up to 14 inches, it will need at least a 30-gallon tank when fully grown up.

And also, Red Belly Piranhas grows fast. They usually grow at a rate of 1 inch per month for about eight months. And then the growth rate slows down. So, it’s always better to buy a tank suitable for a fully grown-up Piranha.

Piranhas need a temperature between 75° and 80° F, a Ph level between 6.5 and 7.8, and alkalinity between 3° and 8° (50 ppm to 140 ppm).

If you keep your aquarium too warm, it may destroy their nervous system. If you keep your aquarium too cold, they will stop eating, lose equilibrium, lay on their side, and die.

Piranhas prefer to stay hidden, so you will need to keep plenty of hiding places such as plants, rocks, and other decorations in your aquarium. At least half of your tank should be covered for Piranhas to feel safe.

Piranhas are very messy, so you may need to keep more than one filter in your tank to filtrate water so that the water doesn’t get toxic. You also need to change about 10 to 15 percent of water weekly to remove debris and other waste.

Piranhas naturally live inflowing rivers, so it’s essential to provide their natural habitat by making natural current inside your tank.

How Much Do Piranhas Cost

Can I keep Piranhas with other Fish?

It depends on the species you intend to keep in your tank. If the piranha species is herbivorous or omnivorous and less aggressive, they may not attack other fish in your tank if they are well fed.

If the other fish are more prominent than Piranhas, they will not harm the other fish. But, they will occasionally try to bite their fins. Piranhas usually attack others when they feel threatened, or they are really hungry.

So, if you want a calm piranha in your tank, you have to provide plenty of food and hiding places in your tank.

How much is it to buy a piranha?

A tiny 2-2.5 inch Piranha will cost you around $30. A well-grown Piranha will cost you about $300.

The best size to introduce a Piranha into an aquarium is approximately 2 inches. So, buy them when they are small to avoid hassles.

Can piranhas eat you alive?

Piranhas( Especially Red-Bellied Piranhas) will eat you alive if you are immobile.

Otherwise, they don’t harm humans or any larger animals. Piranhas typically do not represent any serious risk to humans, and there are only a few cases that caused death because of Piranha attacks.

However, that doesn’t mean that Piranhas don’t attack humans. They attack humans and other large animals when they starve, but those attacks cause primarily minor injuries, typically to hands or feet.

Can a piranha kill you?

Piranha can not kill you directly, but you may die because of an infection if you get a severe infection because of a Piranha attack.

But that is unlikely unless you live in an area where medical help is not available. However, people kill Piranhas to consume them, and they are considered salty fish that tastes very fishy.

Which Piranha is the Most Aggressive?

Although Piranhas are known as aggressive ferocious species, not all Piranhas are aggressive. There are some Piranhas who are docile and shy, and afraid of even small changes. However, popular species sold in exotic pet stores are known to be aggressive and ferocious.

The most aggressive species are black Piranha and the Red-bellied Piranha (Pygogcentrus Nattereri). When these species get mature, you may not be able to keep more than one Piranha in a fish tank.

Otherwise, they will attack each other and eat the dead Piranha. At last, you’ll end up with only one Piranha in your tank.

Smallest Piranha Species

Red-bellied Piranha is considered the smallest Piranha globally as Wimpled Piranha is not considered a true Piranha. The standard size for Red Bellied Piranha is 20 inches, and the standard size for Wimpled Piranha is 6.5 inches. However, a red-bellied Piranha rarely surpasses 14 inches.

Red belly piranha tank size /minimum tank size for red belly piranha

A single red belly piranha needs at least 30 gallons tank. But experts recommend keeping at least 4 Piranhas together, so; you’ll need at least a 60-gallon tank for a school of 4 Piranhas.

Red belly piranha tank mates

Red Belly Piranha is the most aggressive species of Piranhas. It is most likely that red-bellied piranhas attack other fish than other Piranha species. Because of that, you have to keep tank mates of Red-Bellied Piranha more giant than red-bellied Piranhas.

Suitable tankmates are Oscar, black pacu, striped Raphael catfish, sailfin pleco, common pleco, and Bristlenose pleco. However, you have to introduce any tank mates to your red belly piranhas when they are babies, or else they will attack other tank mates.

Moreover, you will have to separate any tank mate (including other Piranhas) from Red-bellied piranhas when they mature. Otherwise, they will attack other fish no matter the species.

Can piranhas live in a 10-gallon tank?

No. Even a baby Piranha needs at least a 20-gallon tank to live in temporarily. Piranha is a fast-growing species, so; a temporary tank will not be enough for a baby piranha for long.

Are piranhas dangerous?

Yes. Piranhas are dangerous as they are aggressive. Black Piranha and Red Belly Piranha are considered the most hazardous and aggressive toward humans. Piranhas usually attack humans when they feel threatened or starving. However, a piranha attack doesn’t cause any significant injuries that cause immobilization or dead.

What types of Piranhas Can I Buy?

Among 50 species of Piranhas, you can buy around ten types of Piranhas for aquarium use. Some of them are:

  • Red-bellied Piranha
  • Caribe
  • Ternetzi
  • Piraya
  • Rhombus
  • Brandt
  • Elongatus
  • Spilopleura
  • Geryi
  • Manueli

Most of these Piranhas are aggressive and need to be kept alone or with the same species. Piranhas usually attack other smaller fish and eat them. So, so it’s not a good idea to introduce Piranhas to an aquarium with non-aggressive small fish unless you want to get rid of them.

Read more Alien Betta Care Full Guide | 11 Facts Must Know

Sharing is caring!

About Dr.Chamika

Hello, I'm Dr. Chamika. I am a Researcher in Water quality, Aquatic organisms, and Environmental chemistry. I am a passionate fish keeper, with10 years of experience. My mission is to help other aquarists experience the joy of fish keeping.