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Sanchez's Piranha

Scientific name:

Serrasalmus sanchezi


Géry, 1964



Common namen:

Sanchezi Piranha.


South America: Ucayali River basin.

For a map of the distribution of this species, click here.
For a detailed interactive map showing the distribution of all piranha species, visit the Interactive Piranha Map.


Morphology (Body Characteristics)

Color of Life

A quick visual reference to identify this fish
· Red eyes
· Clearly visible belly scutes (small teeth-like protrusions along the belly line)
· Concave headshape

Maximum Size
Approx. 13 cm. (6") TL.

Not sexually dimorphic: males and females look similar.


Minimum tank size
Recommended tank size for an adult specimen is at least 80x40x40 cm. (32x16x16").
Juvenile specimen can be kept in a smaller tank: minimum 60x30x30 cm. (24x12x12").
The Sanchezi Piranha is one of the few Serrasalmus species that have succesfully been kept in a group for a while: minimum recommended size to attempt this is 150x50x60 cm. (60x20x24") - only to be attempted by very experienced piranha keepers that know exactly what they are doing, and know what risks are involved!

Tank Requirements
Plants, drift wood or rocks provide hiding places, the tank lights should be dimmed.
Heavy filtration required to deal with the large amounts of waste this fish produces. A powerhead can be added to provide currents.
Dangerous to hands and other extremities. Care is required in handling.

Water temperature
24-29 degrees Celsius (76-84 degrees Fahrenheit).

Water chemistry
pH should be between 6.0 - 8.0, ideal is slightly acidic to neutral water: pH 6.5 - 7.2
Soft water is preferred.

Compatible Species
Although this species has succesfully been kept in a group, it is highly recommended to keep the Sanchezi Piranha as a solitary fish: it remains a parasitic and highly agressive species.

Few instances of captive breeding. Probably one of the more prolific species of piranha, especially if tank raised.

Fish (whole, fillet or feeders *), shrimp, cockles, mussels, squid, insects, earth worms, pellets.
Food items such as poultry, mamal meat and organ meat should be fed sparcely: once or twice a month at most. Meat needs to be unseasoned and trimmed of any fat.
On rare occasions this species accepts vegetables, nuts seeds or fruit as well.

* Live fish need to be quarantained first, so they are safe to feed (containing no disases or parasites). Goldfish, minnows and other members of the Cyprinid family (Carp-like fish) should be avoided, as these fish contain growth-inhibiting hormones (Thaiminase/Vitamine B1 inhibitors) that could negatively affect the fish's health and development.


Pictures of Serrasalmus sanchezi

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