Scientific Name:
Serrasalmus medinai (Ramírez 1965)

Common Names:
Medinai Piranha, Red Throat Piranha.

Deeper waters in Venezuela.

Maximum Size:
At least 20cm. (8").

Body Characteristics:
Juvenile have a silverish coloration, with a little red on the gill plates. The body is covered with small black spots, and the head shape is pointed (concave). The dark spots fade with age and are replaced by iredescent, silverish scales. Red coloration expands over the gill plates and belly, sometimes all up to the anal fin area. Other adult specimen have hardly any red coloration, however. The anal and pectoral fins are red, the ventral fins transparant with sometimes a hint of red, and the dorsal and adipose fins transparant grey to more dark tints. The tail fin is lightly colored, with a dark terminal band and base. The eyes are yellow.

Distinctive/unique features:
• Yellow eyes.
• No clear terminal band (hyaline edge) on tail fin.
Locality map

Juveniles and sub-adults can be kept in a tank measuring 24x12". When they reach a size of 4-6", a 32" long, 12-14" deep tank is more suitable to provide enough space to move and turn freely. Adult fish need a tank of at least 40x16x16".

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 very aggressive towards tank mates, and should be kept alone in a species tank.

This species will accept all common food items, like 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. It can be very hard to 'learn' this fish to eat non-live food items, and some specimen will refuse non-living foods their entire live.

* 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.

In the wild, S. Medinai is a parasitic fin-nipper and scale eater when young, and a full blown predatory carnivore when adult. A remarkable feature is that in the wild, it often lives together with large shoals of P. Cariba. Due to its similar coloration (mimicry), it often remains unharmed, and profits from the protection and easy meals a large shoal provides.

In pet stores, this species is often mislabelled and sold as Serrasalmus spilopleura CF (Complex Form) or Serrasalmus rhombeus, because juveniles of both species look very similar. But in actuality, this species is extremely rare in home aquariums, because Venezuela, where this species is mainly found, prohibited the export of this species.

Some pictures of Serrasalmus medinai

Serrasalmus medinai
Photo by: WorldBelow07

One of the few true, confirmed S. medinai in a home aquarium
Photo by: Daniel Caballero

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