Pacu fish is a very large freshwater fish that can grow to monstrous sizes in excess of 2 feet and weighing more than 50 pounds.
The Pacu fish is well known for several things. They have a nickname called the “vegetarian” piranha because juveniles of Pacu fish look almost like Piranhas, especially to the common man. However, the Pacu fish is actually almost vegetarian; feeding mainly on nuts and fruits that drop into the river, although a hungry Pacu fish will eat almost anything, including other fishes.
Unlike their piranha relatives, Pacu fish has a less protruding lower jaw, giving them less of an underbite. They also do not have rows of razor sharp teeth like the Piranha, but instead, they have teeth that appear more like those of a human. This is why it is also known as the fish with human teeth.
The human like teeth of the Pacu fish is suitable for grinding and chewing, making it possible for the Pacu fish to be able to crack very hard nuts and other fruits with hard shells. So while they aren’t blood thirsty like Piranhas, they can still cause serious injuries to fingers with a bite of their power jaws.
Piranhas rarely exceed 6 inches in length, but the Pacu fish can grow up to 3 feet or more, and they grow extremely fast. Any similarity the Pacu fish might have with the Piranha cease to be observable after the first 6 months.
The Pacu fish is reared by fish hobbyists who value it as their trophy fish mainly for its weight and size. Similarly, because of the Pacu fish’s large size and fast growing rate, they are now cultivated in fish farms worldwide as a food fish. The particular species of Pacu fish that was cultivated by the Brazilian government for food is the red bellied Pacu fish.
The Pacu fish farms were so successful in breeding the red Pacu fish that the red Pacu has flooded other fish farms worldwide, so much so that other Pacu fish species are relatively uncommon and unheard of even in Pacu fish rearing circles.
Common fish rearing hobbyists like you or me are much less interested in their role as food fish; instead, most of us are more interested in who rears the biggest Pacu fish. Incidentally, food fish farmers are just as interested as us in rearing the biggest fish.
Unfortunately, not all fish owners understand the implications of rearing a huge Pacu fish. While all of us strive to grow the biggest fish, not all of us have the means to provide and care for fishes as large as the Pacu fish.
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