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Red Pacu (Piaractus brachypomus), or red-bellied pacu, are closely related to piranha and are often mistaken for piranha, especially within the pet trade. In fact these fish are pretty peaceful and prefer eating fruit!

These pacu are fruit eaters, and often watch monkeys in overhead trees so they can collect any fruit and seeds that are dropped from above. They will also eat some meat if the opportunity arises including insects and small fish. These fish have incredibly strong jaws and are even able to crack nuts, including the tough Brazil nuts. This makes the pacu one of only a few fish that have jaws strong enough to do this. For this reason it is strongly recommended to avoid putting fingers close to them, in case it is mistaken for something tasty!

These fish prefer shallower, slowing moving rivers with overhanging vegetation. During the wet seasons when the forest floods, they will move into these shallower waters. The juvenile fish prefer these areas as there is more protection from predators.

Males and females are very similar, the only notable difference is that the mature females have rounder bellies compared to the males.

Pacus do not make good pets. Juvenile pacus are small and easy to keep, which leads them to be sold often in the pet trade. The problem is these fish grow very big and will quickly outgrow even the bigger home tanks.



What do they eat?

Plant matters, insects, fruit, nuts, worms, fish and zooplankton



Water Type

Tropical and Temperate Fresh

Where are we?

South America

Think before you buy an animal…

Forever Homes

It’s always best to thoroughly research a species before purchasing them for your home aquaria – many aquariums are unable to re-home unwanted Red Pacu due to their size and regularity of donation.

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