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  • Source: JJ Photo

    Species: Pygopristis denticulatus (Fruit Eating Piranha)

  • Source: JJ PHOTO

    Species: Mastacembelus frenatus

TF2YD: Fruit-Eating Piranha and Longtail Spiny Eel

07 August 2020

The Fruit Eating Piranha (Pygopristis denticulatus) and Longtail Spiny Eel (Mastacembelus frenatus) are both sought after and rarely available species.

The Fruit Eating Piranha is a medium-sized piranha with a rounded body form that becomes increasingly disc-like as it matures. Juveniles have weak vertical banding on the flanks, but the adults are largely silver. The pectoral fins are orange as is the leading edge of the anal fin. The caudal peduncle and the leading edge of the tail fin are distinctly dark grey to black. Otherwise the fish is mostly silver.

It is a superb piranha for the aquarist looking for something a bit unique and different. Wild fish feed principally on fruits, seeds, and to some degree the fins and scales of larger fish. Bird seeds and dried fruit can be used as food for captive specimens, along with frozen bloodworms, tinned peas, flake and pellets. Chopped seafood and whitebait can also be given.

In the aquarium they are best kept as a group in their own tank or alongside other large, omnivorous characins such as Metynnis spp. Larger specimens can and will eat very small tank mates, so they are not good community fish in the general sense, despite their relatively placid, easy-going nature.

Basic care advice is similar to other large characins: good water quality, lots of swimming space, and ideally real or plastic plants to provide some shade.

The Longtail Spiny Eel is a very beautiful species of eel from Lake Tanganyika, Africa. A typical spiny eel, marked with dark squiggles that form loops and circles on the flanks.

This species is a territorial, predatory species, not really known to be bred in captivity. As with all spiny eels, this fish is a good escape artist, so any tank with these fish in it must have a secure hood.

Feeding time will consist of various small animals, including fish, small earthworms and river shrimps. Bear in mind, they also tend to be retiring and nocturnal.

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