(not from the net!)
I was naive and bought one of these beautiful fish for my 200 liter tank. In 5 months it grew from about 8 cm months to about 23 cm. Once it was about 18 cm, my Oscar saw it as a threat and started attacking it. By the time it got to about 35 cm, the Pacu attacked the Oscar as much as it got attacked. By that time, I woke up and realized that this beauty was getting much too big and had to go. I asked some of the local pet stores and they told me that I can either put him in the lake by my house (apparently many people do), which would have killed him in the winter, or I could send him to the aquarium about 40 km from my house. I was also told that the aquarium wouldn't take him, because many like me needed to get rid of them, not realizing how big they get. New York State is considering banning Pacu sales because of this. This shouldn't happen, instead the stores that sell them should explain to the customer the full implications. Anyway, I was able to give mine to a co-worker that had a 1000 liter tank. [Editor's Note: NEVER release captive fish into a lake! - MA]
I put 8 of this fish inside a tank along with a water lily plant, but these guys munched all the water lily leaves until it was left with nearly no leaves at all. If you wish to place this fish along with some water plants, make sure the plants are not favored by them or else you will end up buying new ones.
I have a 45 cm red belly pacu that I bought from a family that could no longer take care of them. He's only in an 320 liter tank with a Penguin 300 filter with ten other fish. I know this is tight quarter's for a fish this size. I have to clean this tank daily to avoid any diseases. I'm upgrading the filter very soon, and tank size as soon as I can. This fish is really awesome though, easy to feed and care for. I feed him algae pellets for staple food, which is really bringing out his color. I also feed him various fresh foods as well as a frozen smoothie that I make myself. He's so tame he eats right out of my hand. Pacu's are awesome fish and all my friends are wowed by the size.
I had a red belly for a little over a year. I loved him. He was the size of a coin when I bought him, and at about a year old he was about 60 cm long and 40 or so tall. I recently lost him because he spazzed out and bashed his head. I was gone overnight but he held on until I got home. I have many fish, but he was my favorite. I don't think I can replace him, but I do plan to get another one.
I've had my red belly pacu, Mowgli as we call him, for 3 years now. He was only 12 cm at first, but now he's 50 cm. I've raised him on Purina small chunk dog food, and it's still fascinating to hear him crunch it up. As he has aged, he has gotten less skittish with movement around the 300 L tank, and he loves to be petted by hand when it's tank cleaning time. Five months ago I had to take the water level down to 20% because of a sudden disease in the tank. I realized the large net I had for him was no longer adequate, so to transport him to the hospital tank, I had no choice but to pick him up with my bare hands! Nervously and cautiously, I cradled him out and into the other tank, and later back in his home the same way. I was astounded at how he did not even squirm, as if he knew he was safe in my hands, that is until going back into his home tank...he flipped his tail fast and hard, once he was in the water, and proceeded to drench me, the couch, the carpet, the wall, etc. I reached in to calm him, and he relaxed against my hand like nothing happened. My wife proclaimed him to be the only fish with a sense of humor! Currently we are on the lookout for a good price on a 1000 L tank for him. Pacus are well worth the expense and time to care for.
I've had 2 red-bellied pacus now for over a year. In that time they've grown from about 6 cm each to 22 cm each now. They are very easily frightened, and used to knock things/plants in the tank over all the time...I've removed many of the rocks/ornaments from the tank now so that there's some more open swimming area. Since their introduction, they've eaten my zebra danios, a pictus catfish, 3 snails, and my dinosaur eel (Polypterus senegalus) who was my favorite fish in the tank! I'm afraid to add any new tank mates as they would probably get eaten as well. Recently one of the pacus has been beating up daily on the other. I think I might have to donate one to the fish store so that I don't end up with a dead pacu. Overall a nice fish to keep, but be careful as they may eat other fish in the tank.
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