Scientific Name:
Pygopristis denticulata (Müller and Troschel, 1844)

Common Names:
Denticulata Piranha, Lobetoothed Piranha, Big-Toothed Piranha, Gold Piranha, "Caribito", "Palometa Caribe".

South America: Brazil, Venezuela, French Guiana, Surinam, Guyana.

Maximum Size:
The maximum size of the Five-cusped Piranha is around 20cm. (8"), although in it rarely exceeds 15cm. (6") in size.

Body Characteristics:
The Five-cusped Piranha is a silver bodied fish with lemon-trimmings on fins and oversized adipose fin. Resembles a Pacu or Silver Dollar but it has a pugnose and semi-slung lower jaw (to suit the more predatory lifestyle).
The body is similar in shape to P. nattereri, except the fins are oversized including the adipose fin. A pattern of elongated bars and even dark speckled spots may be present on the body. Adults may turn dark brown in color. Juveniles bare a striking resemble to species found in Metynnis. Fish posseses a unique tooth structure. It is crenulated (penticuspid) making it fairly easy to identify from other species of piranha.
The colors of this species are variable, but normally the upper part of the body is blue, the lower part well as the base of the caudal fin yellow, or orange, and the rest of the body bright red (eye, cheeks, and fins, in their distal part for the dorsal and caudal fins). The the dorsal, anal and tail fins have a greyish-white margin at the ends.

Distinctive/unique features:
• Clear eyes.
• Laterally compressed body.
• Unique shape of the tooth.
• Yellowish to red fins with grey base.
• Convex, somewhat Pygocentrus-shaped head.

Adult fish need a tank of at least 40x16" (100x40cm.), while younger specimen can temporarily be kept in smaller tanks, the minimum being a tank of 24x12x12" (60x30cm.) Due to its relatively mild temperament, this species, unlike many other piranha species, can be kept in a group: the minimum tank size for a group of 3 fish is 48x20" (120x50cm.)
The aquarium needs to be decorated with plants, (drift)wood and rocks to provide hiding places for this often somewhat shy and skittish fish (especially during the first weeks/months). But an open area to swim should also be offered. A powerhead can be used to add a little extra water currents, to mimic its natural habitat.

15°C 24-28°C 35°C

5.0 5.5-7.5 9.0
 Ideal conditions
 Suitable conditions
 Unsuitable conditions

Compatible Species:
The Five-cusped Piranha is blessed with a relatively peaceful character compared to many of its relatives, but it still remains a parasitic fin nipper and scale eater, as well as a predator by nature. Because of this, it's best kept either on its own, or, if the size of the tank allows it, in a small group.
If the tank is decorated with enough hiding places and secluded area's, a Pleco, Raphael Catfish or other heavily armed catfish may be able to cohabit with this species.

Fish (fillets, frozen fish and live feeders *), shrimp, krill and other crustaceans, earth worms, insects, frozen/freezedried food, tubifex, blood worms, mosquito larvae, pellets, flakes, fruits, nuts, seeds.

* Live fish need to be quarantained first, so they are safe to feed (containing no disases or parasites). Goldfish, minnows and other members of the Cyprinid family (Carp-like fish) should be avoided, as these fish contain growth-inhibiting hormones (Thiaminase/Vitamine B1 inhibitors) that could negatively affect the fish's health and development.


Some pictures of Pygopristis denticulata

Foto: Matt Galich

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