Difference between Pacú and Piranha

Main difference

The main difference between Pacu and Piranha is that Pacu is primarily a freshwater herbivorous fish, while Piranha is primarily an omnivorous freshwater fish.

Pacu vs. Piranha

Pacu is a living freshwater creature that feeds only on plants, and that is why pacu is called herbivorous fish, while piranha lives on both plants and animals, it calls omnivorous fish. Pacu lives in the Amazon River, while piranhas live mainly in South America. The pacu depends on the aquatic vegetation. In rare cases, the pacu also eats snails and some insects. On the other hand, the piranha feeds on plants, snails and small insects.

Pacu is an incredibly peaceful creature compared to the piranha; on the other hand, the aggressive behavior of piranhas is observed mainly in starvation conditions. The pacu’s teeth are small and blunt, so they resemble human teeth; They are designed to crush seeds and nuts. On the other hand, piranha teeth are sharp and razor-shaped, strong enough to rip through meat. The pacu sting does not cause as much damage as the piranha sting.

When it comes to size, the pacu is large compared to the piranha. Pacu grows up to 28 inches and its weight can reach 50 pounds, on the other hand, the piranha grows up to 17 inches and can weigh around 7-8 pounds. One of the main behavioral characteristics of piranhas is the great care of their eggs; that is why about 90% of their eggs survive to hatch. Pacu allows their eggs to hatch on their own, conversely, piranhas stick to their eggs until they hatch.

Comparative chart

Pacu Piranha
The deep-bodied, herbivorous freshwater fish that lives in northern South America is called a pacu. The deep-bodied, omnivorous freshwater fish that live in South America are called piranhas.
Up to 28 inches Up to 17 inches
Almost 50 pounds Almost 7.5 pounds
Short, blunt and humane Small, triangular and razor-shaped
Nutrition mode
Freshwater herbivorous fish Omnivorous freshwater fish
Feed on
Aquatic vegetation, fruits and seeds Aquatic vegetation, fruits, seeds, snails, small insects
Live as one animal Live in meetings
Egg care
Allow the egg to hatch on its own. Stay close to their eggs
Less dangerous More dangerous
What is Pacu?

Pacu is a freshwater fish that is herbivorous, meaning that it lives on plants, including seedlings, seeds, and aquatic fruits. Pacu is less dangerous compared to piranhas and is exceptionally peaceful. Pacu’s teeth look more like humans. Their teeth are short, blunt, and less penetrating, as they only feed on aquatic plants. Therefore, the pacu bite is not that harmful or harmful.

Pacu is large compared to the piranha. Its size reaches almost 28 inches and its weight is almost 50 pounds. Pacu is a deep-bodied fish from northern South America and tends to live as a single animal, without forming colonies or groupings. Therefore, the pacu are also called “lone wolf.”

As for their eggs, the pacu are less cared for for their protection. Pacu lets the eggs grow, develop and hatch on their own. Therefore, the vulnerability of their eggs is greater than that of piranha eggs. Pacus (plural of pacu) lives mainly on vegetables, but in starvation conditions, they can devour meaty foods, and that is the case once on a blue moon. By feeding frantically, both the pacu and the piranha become extremely dangerous.

Guppies and tetras are the best tank mates for pacu fish, but as piranhas they associate with quality food, so they will not feed on tank mates. After mating, the pacu leave their eggs to feed themselves and eventually hatch by frying the eggs themselves. Pacu fish are not endangered species and are edible.

What is Piranha?

The piranha is a freshwater fish that lives in the rivers of North America. It is an omnivorous creature that feeds on plants, that is, aquatic vegetation, seeds, fruits, tubers, etc. but it also feeds on snails and small insects. Piranha has a reputation for feeding frenzy, which means that it becomes dangerous to prey in starvation conditions. Piranha’s teeth are smaller, triangular, and blade-shaped, which means they’re piercing enough to rip through meat and deal a lot of damage.

One of the inherent characteristics of the piranha is its extreme nature of caring for its eggs. Piranhas stick to their eggs until they hatch. Once hatched, they are fried and hidden under plant covers until they have developed enough to swim independently.

Piranhas are shoal fishes, which means they tend to stick together in groups or colonies when they are still young. However, some species of piranhas break away, becoming very regional. For the most part, they destroy the ecological balance due to their colony-forming nature. When they occur in a pond or stream, they reproduce in large numbers and feed on other fish, endangering the possibility of other species of fish.

Piranha rises up to 17 inches and weighs about 7.5 pounds. They have strong jaws with finely serrated teeth, making them more adept at tearing through meat. Piranhas are very predatory and feed mainly on other fish. Newly hatched piranhas feed on phytoplankton and zooplankton and eventually go from smaller to larger fish.

Key differences
  1. Pacu is primarily herbivore, while the piranha is primarily omnivore.
  2. Pacu lives in northern South America; on the other hand, the piranha lives in South America.
  3. Pacu’s teeth are short, blunt, and human-like; on the contrary, the teeth of piranhas are short, triangular and sharp.
  4. Pacu is based on aquatic vegetations, fruits, seeds, tubers and plant seedlings, etc., on the other hand, piranhas feed on plants and animals, including insects and snails.
  5. Pacu is more dangerous compared to the piranha; on the contrary, the piranha is more peaceful compared to the pacu.
  6. The pacu’s bite is not as sharp as that of a piranha; on the other hand, the piranha bite causes more damage due to its strong jaws and sharp teeth.
  7. Pacu’s size is approximately 28 inches; on the contrary, the size of the piranha is about 17 inches, which means that the pacu is larger than the piranha fish.
  8. Pacu’s weight is approximately 50 pounds; on the other hand, the weight of the piranha is only 7.5 pounds, which means that the pacu is a more substantial fish than the piranha.
  9. Pacu fish take less care of their eggs; on the other hand, piranha fish are more careful with their eggs.
  10. Pacus allows their eggs to hatch on their own, while piranhas adhere closely to their eggs.

Final Thought

The pacu is a herbivorous freshwater fish, while the piranha is a smaller freshwater omnivorous fish compared to the pacu. The main difference between pacu and piranha is the mode of nutrition and behavior.

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