South American Cichlids • South American Cichlid and Piranha?

Discussion regarding only South American Cichlid species. (Oscars, Geophagines, Discus, Apistogramma, Green Terrors, Angels, Severums, Pikes, etc.)

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South American Cichlid and Piranha?

Postby Remedy944 » Mon Apr 27, 2020 6:44 pm

Hey guys,
I just purchased a new 75 gallon tank. I currently also have a 55 gallon tank with a Green Severum. I have probably had her about 4 years and she is doing well. I mention this as I am not completely new to the hobby. My question is regarding stocking my new tank. If I purchase a juvenile Green Terror and a juvenile Piranha, could they grow and co-exist in my 75 gallon tank? If not a green terror, would an Oscar and Piranha be more likely to grow and co-exist? If it's too risky I don't want to stress the fish out. Thank you for your time!
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Re: South American Cichlid and Piranha?

Postby ken31cay » Mon Apr 27, 2020 10:48 pm

I used to keep a school of Red-Belly Piranhas in a 125gal, Black Piranhas in a 55gal, and Oscars & other SA & CA cichlids in various other tanks. What type of Piranha were you thinking of getting?

RE: Green Terror with Piranha: IMO it really depends on the individual personalities of the fish you wind up with. But if they grow up together from small, you keep the fish well fed, and it's just a single Piranha, then I'd say they stand an ok chance of growing together without the Green Terror bullying the Piranha to death or the Piranha eating the Green Terror.

RE: Oscar with Piranhas: I don't think this mix is as good.

Having said that, Piranhas are not compatible with any other fish besides other Piranhas. I personally wouldn't mix Piranhas with any other fish besides feeder goldfish :wink:
450gal Frontosa (blue Zaire Moba) & haps
180gal school of Red Rainbowfish
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Re: South American Cichlid and Piranha?

Postby Remedy944 » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:31 pm

Thank you for your reply and advice. And I would go with a red bellied Piranha.
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Re: South American Cichlid and Piranha?

Postby ken31cay » Tue Apr 28, 2020 1:32 am

I think the red belly is the best choice as a single piranha in your tank.

IMO a Green Terror and a Piranha won't make for a very satisfying tank due to the fish having very different behavior & demeanor. There probably won't be any meaningful interaction between the two beside maybe the Green Terror bullying the Piranha or the Piranha nipping the fins of the Green Terror. But most likely it'll be the Green Terror showing aggression toward the Piranha.
450gal Frontosa (blue Zaire Moba) & haps
180gal school of Red Rainbowfish
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Re: South American Cichlid and Piranha?

Postby Ichthys » Wed Apr 29, 2020 7:18 am

Red Piranha is a shoaling species that needs to be in a group. Are you going to ignore the fish’s needs?
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Re: South American Cichlid and Piranha?

Postby BC in SK » Wed Apr 29, 2020 8:21 am

Ichthys wrote:Red Piranha is a shoaling species that needs to be in a group. Are you going to ignore the fish’s needs?

That is simply not true. In the wild, Red Belly Piranha comes together in a group when they are starving. Otherwise they are solitary most of the time. It's not even a true shoaling species. There is nothing about NEED to be in groups.
A lot of fish will school/ live in a shoal at some point. Even many cichlids will do that. Doesn't mean they NEED to be in large groups. Its a natural behavior to form a school in captivity because large numbers are being stuck together in a small glass cage; essentially the fish are being forced into it. Cichlids generally won't form a school in captivity, because being stuck in one place is conducive to staking out a territory and reproducing.
There are a lot of fish where the claim that they NEED to be in schools/shoals, especially as large adults is straight BS. A group of Bala Sarks I seen in a 1200 gal. tank do not school at all. Not one bit. A large group shoved into a 55 gal. tank will have no choice but to school. I kept a single Bala shark in my 180 gal. and it did very well. Lived well over 10 years and grew to 16", the largest Bala shark I've ever seen. You wouldn't want to house any more then one of these large, very active swimmers in a 180 gal tank. Many, many fish will school/form shoals occasionally, but it doesn't mean they live this way 24/7, 365 days a year. Large groups stuck in a small glass cage will force the shoaling/schooling behavior out, but it really has nothing to do with need.
That said, a lot of fish will certainly do well in groups in captivity, even cichlids. Not arguing against keeping fish in groups, other then the idea that they NEED to be in groups.
Now, getting back to the question at hand, I think a 75 gal. is much too small to attempt this kind of mix.I also think more then just 2 fish is needed to try and make it work. Altogether, I have kept RBP with cichlids for over 15 years. I do not recommend it. :lol: I kept RBP as a single, and in a group of 2,3 and 4 with aggressive cichlids. In a span of over 15 years they did very well....and very poorly at times and everything in between. By the way, RBP are not always so timid, especially when they have grown up in a cichlid tank. One person on the internet described them as bipolar; I look at them as Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. Absolute nasty on fins and lips. What ever they get there little mouth around will come right off including bone, though dead smack onto the body of a big fish rarely does much damage as they have to get their mouth around it. Aggressive Cichlids will push and push them....basically forcing them into fights. Pecking order is not so rigid with RBP. Amongst RBP, often a subordinate that starts something, will prevail at that moment, as they are all sort of even in the weapon they carry. This can cause real problems with cichlids as the RBP are subordinate at one moment and then just hours later it's as if a previous encounter never took place! Never kept them with GT or Oscar but I would speculate that an Oscar would have a better temperament to get along with an RBP. Bold enough but not too aggressive like a CA cichlid that will push it's aggression all the time. Of coarse what works for a little while, might not end well over the span of many years. Having done this kind of mix twice over a span of 15+ years altogether, I wouldn't do it again. I tried it, but I've never recommended it.
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Re: South American Cichlid and Piranha?

Postby Oscar6 » Wed Apr 29, 2020 6:42 pm

I have kept Oscar and RBP together, it was a single Oscar and 3 RBP. It was ok, with the Oscar being the tank boss. The key there I believe was a 6ft 220 g tank. 75g is just no way to keep an Oscar long term, never mind tankmates. Cant say what else may or may not work, but 75g isnt much space to house territorial/aggressive fish together.
1500 gallons of South and Central American cichlids. Some with a "wee" bit of attitude.
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