Okay, let’s face it. Most of the depiction of Piranhas in Hollywood movies is purely exaggerated; like they could strike you even out of the water. Wait, what? Although we can all agree that they can be pretty vicious in water especially when hungry.
But contrary to what you may believe or perceive, piranhas tend to be tamed or shy when contained in an aquarium. The only time you would see them in their “beast mode” is during feeding. So be sure to really want them as a pet because you want to take care of them. If you are after the action the way they are portrayed in movies, you are in for a big disappointment.
Average Cost of Piranha
Typically, the pet piranha price widely ranges as low as $4 up to as high as $500+ each depending on the size, the species, and the source. The most common variety is said to be the red belly piranha which can be bought at around $5 to $20 depending on size.
Some of the listed variety and their price found in different pet shops and sources are the following as compiled by HowMuchIsIt.org:
Variety Cost (each)
- Altuvei $175 to $225
- Blue Diamond (less than 4 inches) $150 to $250
- Caribe $150 to $250
- Denticulatus $70 to $100
- Eigenmanni $30 to $50
- Elongatus $80 to $150
- Gibbus $150 to $225
- Gold $300 to $500
- Gold Diamond $25 to $35
- Hollandi $20 to $40
- Humeralis $200 to $300
- Irritans $250 to $325
- Manuelli $225 to $250
- Medinai $225 to $300
- Muda $50 to $75
- Peru Black $175 to $250
- Piraya (4 to 6 inches) $200 to $300
- Piraya (larger than 13 inches) $1,500
- Purple Spilo $65 to $95
- Red Belly $10 to $20
- Red Diamond/Red Throat $40 to $50
- Scapularis $50 to $75
- Ternetzi $50 to $75
- Violet Line $175 to $250
- Violet Lined Geryl $450 to $550
- Wimple $30 to $50
The piranhas are intrinsically dangerous animals and pets that is why you have to think twice before deciding to have it at home. But just because they are dangerous does not mean you can neglect it all you want. Like any other pets, owning a piranha has a responsibility that comes with it.
Having said that, you need to be prepared for the additional costs that come with owning one. These include the following:
- Shipping cost – buying on a pet shop nearby can be convenient in terms of bringing the piranha home. But if you purchased online, prepare to include a budget for the shipping fee. This starts at $5 and can go up depending on how far the location of the source is.
- Aquarium – the aquarium can range anywhere between $500 up to $2,000 depending on the materials and the size if you have to store plenty. But the cost could go as high as $5,000 for a customized tank.
- Food – most piranhas are known to be carnivorous although some species are omnivorous, so your budget for its food can be a lot more expensive than the regular aquarium pets. For starter, their diet would mostly include blood worms, shrimp, or if you are short on the budget, dried meat pellets would suffice. When they grow a little older, they can eat fish or even chunks of beef. The budget: around $25 to $75 per month for each piranha.
- Additional piranhas – seldom do people buy and nurture a single pet fish unless they are too big, like the case of arowanas. So if you really are decided to own a piranha, buy around three to five of them.
- Permits and licenses – you must be aware first that not all states are allowing the possession of piranhas at home as pets. And for most of those which allow, certain permits and licenses are needed to be secured before you can proceed.
Shopping for Piranha
Prior to deciding whether to buy piranhas or not, be sure that your area allows you to own one as there are states allowing ownership of these pets but some of its counties or cities have restrictions. You can also have an idea if it is allowed in your place when you see pet shops and breeders around selling them.
Once you are certain that you will be allowed, these online sources can be a better way to start your search:
Factors That Matters
- The species –The red belly variety is said to be the most common and the cheapest whereas the most expensive on our list is the Piraya variety which can cost up to $1,500 each when it becomes larger than 13 inches.
- Size – the bigger the piranhas, the more they tend to be more pricey.
- The source – Legitimate breeders tend to sell them cheaper compared to the pet shops.
- Quantity – as suggested, it is wise to buy in three to five piranhas as they tend to do well in groups. Add to the fact that most sources give discounts when you buy in volume
The average size of piranhas is about five to seven inches but can grow as large as 18 inches depending on the species.
Their average lifespan is around seven years but can even live up to 15 years for the larger varieties depending on the quality of care given by the owner.
Lastly, piranhas have an undeserved bad reputation as they are said to only attack humans and large animals if they feel threatened, trapped, or starved. As we said, we can blame the movies. Or blame it on Theodore Roosevelt. Why? That might be a nice topic for a completely different story.