Scientific Name:
Serrasalmus elongatus (Kner 1859)

Common Names:
Elongated Piranha, Pike Piranha, S. Pingke.

Lakes, ponds and rivers in the Llanos (Venezuela/Colombia), and Amazonian Brazil.

Adult Size:
Probably up to 25-30cm. (10-12").

Body Characteristics:
The most remarkable feature of this species is its elongated body, setting it apart from all of its relatives. It's torpedo-like body shape is a clue to its behaviour: this species is a very active and agile swimmer and hunter.
There appear to be at least two different color variants of S. elongatus: one with a silvery body, a dark tail fin, humeral spot and facial markings, and greyish dorsal and anal fins. The other variant has a darker coloration of the head and fins, orange to red pectoral fins, and traces of red in the lower face and gill plates. These variants live in habitats ranging from fast-flowing rivers to ponds and lakes with little water movement. This may suggest the existence of two or more seperate (sub-)species, but it still has to be validated scientifically. The differences in appearance may also be caused be differences in habitat, the water chemistry (black water vs. white water), or by differences in the prey items the animals eat in different habitats.

Distinctive/unique features:
• Salmon-like, elongated body.
Locality map

This active species is a very fast swimmer, and therefore needs a spaceous tank, even though it doesn't grow to very large sizes. Juveniles and sub-adults can be kept in a tank measuring 40x16". Adult fish need a tank of at least 48x18x18", but preferably 60x20x20" or more.
Because S. elongatus is such an active species, the tank should have enough space for it to swim freely (length and width are much more important than height) and should not contain too many obstacles. Strong currents, produced by a powerhead, pump or power filter are be appreciated, since it simulates its natural habitat.

15°C 24-30°C 35°C

5.0 5.5-7.5 9.0
 Ideal conditions
 Suitable conditions
 Unsuitable conditions

Compatible Species:
This species is considered to be extremely aggressive and very intolerant towards other fish in its tank (and also to its owner: many Elongatus owners are 'attacked' through the tank glass by their 'pet'...), although multiple specimen have been kept in the same tank for a while.

Fish (fillets, frozen fish and live feeders *), shrimp, prawns, mussel, squid and other sea fruits, earth worms, meal worms and other insects, flakes, pellets, granules.

* 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.

It can be really hard to 'teach' this fish to eat non-live foods, and some specimen will refuse to eat prepared food items alltogether.


Some pictures of Serrasalmus elongatus

S. elongatus
Photo by: Ambrose from the Piranha Club UK

One species, diffent colorations?
Photo by: George Fear

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