How to Feed a Piranha

Updated November 21, 2016

Piranhas subsist on a meaty diet in the wild. Their food can include rodents, insects, fish and crustaceans. When you keep piranhas as pets, sticking as closely as possible to their natural diet will help avoid potential health issues. While it's acceptable to feed your piranha feeder (live) fish and pellet food, these forms of foods shouldn't make up your piranha's diet alone. It is important to quarantine feeder fish to monitor for disease before feeding them to your piranha.

Offer young piranha cubed brine shrimp, as recommended by the University of Michigan. You also can use blood worms. These foods are found in the fish department of local pet stores and must be kept frozen.

Fill a bucket with water to allow for algae growth. After female mosquitoes lay their eggs in the bucket, you can scoop out the larvae with an aquarium net to feed to your juvenile fish as an additional nutritional source.

Feed a juvenile piranha up to four times a day. Depending on how your piranha feeds, you can lessen feedings to twice a day if it doesn't have a voracious appetite.

Scoop out any remaining food with an aquarium net within one to two hours, according to Piranha-Info. Leaving food in the aquarium can lead to overeating. Leftover food also can contribute to bacterial development in your aquarium.

Watch feeder fish, such as guppies, at a local pet store. Observe the more lively ones. Those that congregate together and avoid sickly feeder fish will be suitable for your piranha, according to Michigan State University.

Select a few feeder fish and place them into their own tank. A 5 gallon tank can hold a few feeder fish at a time. Administer medication designed for getting rid of parasites and ich. After one week, you can offer a feeder fish to your piranha.

Feed your piranha a pinky mouse, which is a baby mouse. Mice with fur can pose a potential digestive issue with your pet.

Offer additional foods, such as worms, which you can purchase at bait shops. You also can feed frozen shrimp and fish to your piranha. Ensure that you cut pieces into small cubes before feeding.

Feed adult piranha one time a day, every two to four days, according to Piranha-Info.


Meat items should be frozen feeding your piranha to kill any bacteria. Remove the head and tail of shrimp before feeding. Piranhas have a hard time digesting these parts.


Avoid feeding piranhas insects caught around your home, as they may have been exposed to pesticides, which can make your piranha sick. Never feed your piranha processed meats, such as hot dogs and lunch meat, or any food containing spices. This can harm your fish and be potentially lethal.

Things You'll Need

  • Brine shrimp cubes
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Aquarium net
  • Cichlid gold pellets
  • Feeder fish
  • 5 gallon fish tank
  • Fish medication
  • Pinky mice
  • Worms
  • Frozen shrimp
  • Frozen fish
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