Black Pacu (Colossoma macropomum)
The Black Pacu, also known as the Tambaqui, is a large freshwater fish native to the Rio Orinoco and Amazon basins in South America. The Black Pacu is characterized by its black pelvic, anal, and small pectoral fins. The main body, while predominantly black, can exhibit shades of grey or olive, varying based on the specific geographic origin of the species. This "gentle giant," adorned with striking markings, is suitable exclusively for expansive private aquariums, indoor ponds, or public exhibits. Despite often being mistaken for piranhas, the Black Pacu's dental structure is distinct due to its unique dietary needs. Its teeth, bearing a striking resemblance to human teeth, are adapted to crack open hard-shelled nuts.
They are the second-largest scaled fish in the Amazon basin, reaching lengths of over 3 feet and weighing over 44 pounds. Captive Pacu's tend to be a bit smaller, but expect them to reach at least 24 inches. Due to its size, Pacu's requires a spacious tank of at least 600 to 1000 gallons, preferably larger. Due to their large size and appetite, many Black Pacus have been irresponsibly released into rivers and lakes or left at public aquariums.
Black Pacus are peaceful fish that can coexist with other large and peaceful species. However, they can intimidate smaller fish due to their size and active behavior. Suitable tankmates include Arowana, other large characins, big cichlids, and large catfish from the Pimelodid, Doradid, and Loricariid groups.
These fish are primarily herbivores, feeding on fruits, nuts, and seeds in the wild. In the aquarium, they appreciate a varied diet of floating pellets or sticks, Koi pellets, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Spinach, lettuce, fruit, and vegetables such as apple, banana, peach, grapes, zucchini, peas, cabbage, and carrot.
Black Pacus are active swimmers and do not require specific decor in their tank. However, if you wish to add decor, opt for large water-worn boulders and large chunks of driftwood. Ensure any decor is either too heavy to be moved or securely attached.
Black Pacus thrive in well-oxygenated water with a degree of flow. They are intolerant to the accumulation of organic wastes and require pristine water conditions. Regular water changes of 30-50% of the tank volume should be considered routine.
Black Pacus require a spacious aquarium of at least 600 to 1000 gallons. Their ideal water parameters are a pH of 6.5-7.5, hardness of 0-1 dGH, and a temperature of 71-82°F (22-28°C).
Black Pacus are not suitable for every aquarist due to their size and specific care requirements. However, for those who can provide the necessary care and environment, owning a Black Pacu can be a rewarding experience.
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.