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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This post was originally written on the Pfish board, as a response to people asking me the secret to getting my former ternetzi (now Jbolin's) to grow.

I have been asked by a few individuals what my current care and feeding regimen is for my ternetzi. I decided to post this to share with some of you what my experience has been, but by no means am suggesting that this is the only way to achieve maximum growth. For the record, my ternetzi was about 12.5" when I got him a year ago, and is now just a little over 14".

My ternetzi is on a feeding program in which he eats every other day. I rotate the following foods, and usually offer two different foods at each feeding. His menu consists of earthworms, fresh beefheart strips, smelt or catfish, and live feeders. I believe that those foods give him a superior balance of nutrition for health, as well as providing a high amount and quality of usable protein for growth. I usually will start out a feeding session with the food that he least likes (for my fish that would be earthworms), and then finish the feeding with any of the remaining foods. The next feeding would be live goldfish (recently fed with a high quality flake food to spike the vitamin and nutrient content of the feeder), followed by whatever food that was not present in the last feeding.

There are a couple of things I would like to note. First, my ternetzi is currently staying in a tank my himself, and that is one of the main reasons why I feed him as frequently as I do. When he was in with a shoal of other large mixed pygos, I only fed him every third day, but actually got just as much growth (if not more) than I am currently getting. The reasons for this are simple. A shoal environment encourages each individual in the group to compete for food, and therefore sometimes eat more than they would if kept alone. Unfortunately though, it also increases the amount of waste in the tank, which in turn has a negative effect on the water conditions. Since it has been a proven fact that superior water is actually more condusive to growth in a fish than frequent feedings, it is IMPERATIVE to remember that overfeeding fish can actually slow down growth! You are far better off to cut down on the frequency of your feedings and promote cleaner water, than to try and give your fish more food and sacrafice water quality. Keep in mind also that a fish in poor water usually will have less of an appetite, so even though you may offering food to your fish more often, he (or they) may actually be eating less on average per week.

Since my ternetzi is alone is his tank and is the only large fish producing any waste, and my filtration system and water change schedule allows me to have consistantly premium water quality, I can get away with feeding him every other day. However, if any of these factors were different and I felt that my water quality was in any way being compromised, I would not hesitate to put him on an every third day feeding schedule. Note also that by doing so, I do not feel I would be losing potential growth from my ternetzi, but actually aiding growth by improving the water quality in his tank.

Always remember that if your ternetzi are babies in the 4" and under size range, or if they are in a shoal where you need to consider the possibilty of cannibalism, you need to feed your fish more frequently. Even at that size however you should be able to get by with feeding them every other day, but if you notice too much aggression you can bump it up to once (and NEVER more than once) daily. Once the ternetzi hits a size between 4-9", every other day at the most is fine. Fish at 9" or larger are fine with being fed every two to three days, with the water quality as described above as being the governing factor determining the frequency of the feedings.

A few final points. All of my tanks are set up with my returns from my wet/dry filter on one side of the tank, and pointing back toward a single overflow. After doing much research and talking to the experts I am told that this filtration design is the most effecient, and also simulates a river effect by creating an upstream and downstream current flow. This gives the fish a somewhat slack water area towards the overflow end of the tank for resting, and a high current exercise area underneath the discharge returns at the upstream area. It has been my experience that piranha routinely use these areas at regular times throughout their lives according to their daily needs and desires, so having your tank set up this way can actually reduce stress. A stress free fish eats more, and if water quality is good, grows more.

My water change schedule for my ternetzi is weekly, and I change about 30% each time. My pH stays somewhere around 6.8, but I believe that anywhere between 6.5 - 7.5 is just as good.

I hope this information is useful for somebody. Again, these my own personal opinions which are based on my research and experience, and I am in no means suggesting that this is the ONLY way to promote good growth. However, I have had excellent success with not only my ternetzi, but also a number of piranha that I currently own or have owned in the past.

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Nice post, also how is your shoal currently doing... havent noticed you mentioning any more deaths etc.. the shoal finally getting along very well? Is it true with multiple piraya in a tank that they really don't shoal like natts or ternetzi's?
 

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wow thanks knife!appreciated.thats is some good info.i was always wondering about different feeding habit of p owners.another thing how big of a tank did you have him in?
 

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joey'd is da man
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this should be in the tutorial or saved topics section.
Nice post!
 

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Nice post
When the Ternetzi was in the shoal with Pygos, you think he got more growth since they were competing for food, and do you think the Pygos didnt grow as big, as fast as they could have?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Outie...my shoal is down to 11 now. I lost one to natural causes, two to cannibalism, and sold one aggressor that I believe was a male and the main culprit behind my cannibalism deaths.

I believe piraya can be the most difficult pygo to shoal, but am building on a theory that will hopefully shed some light on this. I think I posted on this theory a while back on Pfish, and if I can locate it I will post it here as well.

Pack...my shoal is in a 350, which measures 8' x 30" x 28".

Phantom...typically I believe that you will get better growth from a piranha if it is forced to compete with others for food. However, in the case of some fish with an unusually high feeding drive (which both my ternetzi and my current rhombeus possess), I do not feel that competition for food is a big factor in growth potential.
 

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Knifeman said:
Phantom...typically I believe that you will get better growth from a piranha if it is forced to compete with others for food. However, in the case of some fish with an unusually high feeding drive (which both my ternetzi and my current rhombeus possess), I do not feel that competition for food is a big factor in growth potential.
ah interested.never thought of it that way.thanks knife.
 

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Great post man. I don't have a wet dry yet, but today added a 650gph powerhead to create the river effect. They seam like they group up closer than ever and aren't as aggressive towards each other. I think that is an important part of the growth process myself. An active fish eats more and therefore grows faster providing you stay on top of the water quality. Thanks for the info.

-Kevin-
 

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joey'd is da man
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have you got any pics of the Ternetzi?
 

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Man, I've seen Bubba's pictures more than once, but every time I see it again I deeply impressed! That's one of the most beautiful piranha's I've ever seen, that's for sure!
Good job, John

And keep us updated...
 
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