If you’re an aquarium enthusiast, or heck, even if you aren’t, you’ve likely thought about what it would be like to have an aquarium filled with the most aggressive fish known to man—the piranha. Piranha tanks are not for most people (especially those who like to stick their hands in the tank…), because they require some special considerations:

You’ll need a big tank. Piranhas travel in schools when they’re young, but they grow to like having some space. You’ll want to do at least a 40 gallon tank if you plan to keep these guys happy.

Kill the lights. Piranhas are used to living in murky water and have large, human-like pupils. Intense aquarium lights will hurt their eyes, so you’ll have to live without that cool backlighting you were hoping for.

Be ready of a long term commitment. Piranhas can live between 4 and 15 years, so be ready to keep that tank around for a long time.

Commit to regular maintenance. Piranhas are messy fish. That means you have to stick to your weekly partial water changes, or your tank is going to get clogged with all kinds of debris.

Don’t feed them live fish. If you like piranhas, you probably think it would be cool to feed them live fish and watch the piranhas do what they do best, but that will just turn things messy in a hurry, because (see above: piranhas are messy!) you’ll just have chunks of fish floating around everywhere.

But feed them frequently. If you plan to keep piranhas with other types of fish in the same tank, make sure they’re well fed, or they may start considering the other inhabitants (even other piranhas) as a viable snack.

As you can see, keeping a piranha aquarium requires a lot of special considerations. But for those looking for a unique thrill, a piranha aquarium may still be the right choice.

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