Pacu Growth rate?

  • #1
Exactly what is the growth rate? How big, how fast? I'm just curious as to my timeline.....I too made the mistake of getting 2 pacu's, only to find this website when I got home.....They are such a neat fish. I'm tryin to decide whether to try to return them or tough it out until I can afford a 125......and that will have to do. But if someone could inform me on the timeline of growth.....that would be great!

  • #2
They will outgrow a 125 in less than 2 years.
Full size is almost 4 feet in length and over 60 pounds.
  • #3
Growth of Pacu

My son brought home a 2" red-bellied Pacu four years ago. Felix is now 16" long and from what I have read, will reach a maximum length of 30" - 34" with a life expectancy of 20 years. This fish will continue growing regardless of the size of tank - unlike other varieties which won't grow if there is not enough room.

I've threatened my son numerous times that I will fry Felix up one day and feed a family of four on him. (just kidding) Actually, Felix has an amazing personality. Once I got over him devouring everything in our community tank, and my son's subsequent lack of interest in him, I have developed quite a fondness for Felix.

He now resides in a 55 gallon tank with an 8" Albino Oscar...they are quite a comical pair. They've done the mouth sucking, body rubbing, and other mating rituals - all to my amusement and delight.

I am in the process of finding a 180 gallon tank for their continued enjoyment and health. Fun fish that I hope to have for a very long time.
  • #4

Dino is correct. Red bellied pacu get over 4 feet in length. But ontop of getting 4ft in length they are a schooling fish, so unless you have a 2500 gallon body of water to keep 6 of them in it is irresponsible to keep them at all.
  • #5

Heading off to Safeway to buy some tarter sauce.


So why do pet stores sell them and not tell people how big these fish grow? Now that is irresponsible.
  • #6
Because people buy them for their pretty red belly color. Sadly most stores see the money and not the well-being of the product. People like that should be given a dose of their own medicine. Buy them a crib at birth, and make them live in that crib their entire life, never leaving.
  • Thread Starter
  • #7
Returned my Pacu's

Well, I did it. I returned my Pacu's. I really hated doing it. They were such a neat fish. I almost feel bad about it. I took the 2 I had out of my(their) personal 29 gal tank and took them back to the store and put them back into the 10 gal with 10 other pacu's to wait for someone else to buy them and stuff them into another small tank. (regardless the size of the tank it will be too small, unless you have the space and the money for a HUGE tank for 2 fish, which I doubt.) So, I really didnt help the fish, but I guess helped myself by not having to deal with them. I hope someday they can figure out how make a hybrid dwarf pacu. lol.
  • #8
You didn't help that particular fish, but you helped the species as a whole. If the sale of pacu becomes increasingly scarce, and in turn less profitable (if # of sales go down the business logic is to lower the price, which results in a downturn in the profit margin) the stores would carry less and less of them.

  • #9
Did you explain why you returned them ? for example: they will get huge and need a very large tank?
Good for you for returning the Pacu instead of trying to keep it in a small tank. they are very personable fish and soon learn their owners. It would have been harder later to give them away
  • #10
By the way, if I haven't before, WELCOME TO FISHLORE!!! :;z

YOU are a HERO! So many people get themselves into trouble and can't see what it would mean down the way.

It is nice to have people join us who are interested in learning, and it just means in the end you will enjoy your tank and keep healthy fish. Stick around, post often, and when you do set that tank up, post pictures!!!
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
Yes, I did explain myself. The little girl that was the resident "Professional" on shift that night looked at me like I was ****, and stated....."Oh, they don't get that big" I just kinda laughed and handed them to her and picked out some new fish......
  • #12
Incredibly wise choice. Pacus are amazingly huge fish. Insanely large even.. I am a fellow purchaser of fish that are to big to keep at home. I have Iridescent Sharks that I never should have bought. I didn't research them until it was really to late to give them back. I hope I can accomidate them as they grow, but it is increasingly difficult. They have 150 now and are out growing it. You saved yourself a tremendous headache in the future. Believe me.
  • Thread Starter
  • #13
Well, I solved the Pacu problem, But I started a new problem. The two new fish I picked sent my tank in a entirely new direction.......Which is O.K.

I got a sm Tiger Oscar and a sm Jack Dempsey....which is too much for my 29gal. But they will be O.K. in the 55 Gal. that ill have to buy for them..... needed leverage on the wife in order to get her blessing. lol.

Ive always wanted a few big fish that eat other fish.....
  • #14
Oscars are great fish. Your's should be fine in a 55 for awhile. 100 is better as they can get pretty big. No where near Pacu big though. I'm not familiar with much on the Jack Dempsey. Like I said 55 will work for awhile. Expect to be setting one up fairly quick though. Oscars grow insanely fast. Like notably overnight. Sometimes I think you could watch them get bigger. After their first year they'll slow down though. You will be sooooo much better off. Watch those feeder fish. It's a good idea to quaratine them for awhile before feeding them to your fish. Feeder tanks can be little disease factories, plus you can "gutload" your feeders by giving them a good healthy diet before feeding them to your bigger fish. I've pretty well given up on live feeder fish with my Oscar. I still feed him pet store crickets. Insects are a natural food source for Oscars. Though they'll eat whatever fits in there mouth and smells like it might be food. Mine has decided he needs the whole pack of food and has been trying to knock it out of my hand. Smart fish too.

Well good luck with the new inhabitants.
  • Thread Starter
  • #15
I thought about setting up a small 10 gallon tank and getting some livebearer fish and letting them do their thing.....that way I know what they have been fed, and that they are healthy along with all that I'm sure my wife and kid would love to watch little fishies. Then daddy can watch em get eaten. lol

I dunno. what are your thoughts on that?
  • #16
If you're willing to keep the extra tank space and setup then guppies can be a great gravy train.
  • #17
You could save money and use your 29 gallon for that after you get the 55g, plus you could fit more livebearers in the 29g, more fish = more fry production.
  • Thread Starter
  • #18
This is true. I need to study up on livebearer keeping.....Are they like rabbits? Will they just do their thing or will I have to have another tank setup to let the fry grow? seems like ive heard that the parents will eat them? I said. I need to study up. lol
  • #19
The parents will usually eat them if they can catch them, but if you heavily plant the tank with things such as java moss, guppy grass, some dense floating plants, etc you should have some survive. The key to survival of livebearers, if you do not want to have a secondary tank for them, is hiding places and plants. Use live plants if you can, the fry can nibble on them for vitamins and snacks between feedings.
  • Thread Starter
  • #20
Roger that. How many fry will a single livebearer produce and how often?
  • #21

Guppies, platies, and mollies can have anywhere from 10-40 on normal spawns, and those are the three I would choose from if needing fry for feeders.

I would not use swordtails for feeders, they tend to have fewer numbers of fry that are larger than the smaller fry in more numbers, but also because swordtails aren't quite as numerous in the hobby as are guppies, platies, and mollies.
  • #22

Guppies, platies, and mollies can have anywhere from 10-40 on normal spawns, and those are the three I would choose from if needing fry for feeders.

I was dumb founded the first time I saw a guppy spit out 35 babies. Holy baby fish Batman! 35 from one little guppy. She was even a small female. It was her first spawn. Before I knew it I had WAY to many guppies and my GF at the time was dead set against feeding them to my "sharks".
"They're my babies", she'd say.
I'd say, "50 guppies is too many for a 10 gallon tank".
"They're fine"
"Ok, whatever"
"Hey all my baby guppies are dropping like flies"
"I told you there were too many"
"You didn't tell me they would all die"
"You wouldn't have believed me"
"Can we go to the store and buy more guppies?"
"Can I feed babies to my Sharks?"
"If you have to"
"Victory is mine!"

So yes guppies are like rabbits except rabbits don't eat their babies. I don't think they do anyway.

Thought you might appreciate this photo. It's not a red belly but it's a Pacu at the National Zoo. You can see my thumb for a size reference.
  • Thread Starter
  • #23
Wow, those a huge. I actually made a trip to our actual professional lfs that deals in just fish. rather than the high school kids working at petsmart. They have a tank which has Oscars, Irr. Sharks, and Pacus that people have given to them because of their size. It was amazing to see a large pacu in person. It is just such a neat fish.....thanks for the picture!
  • #24

The guy who lives in the back of my house has a gigantic Pacu. We want to release it humanely back into the wild- or give it to an aquarium- with the knowledge that it will not be killed to feed other fish.

Does anyone know of a habitat for fish or a place where we could take Artie- so that he'll be safe- but much happier than he is in his tank.

By the way, we live in Dallas, Texas


  • #25
Aquarium fish should never be let loose in the wild. Most of them don't know how to hunt for food and those that do wind up eating native fish or out reproducing native species. It is also against the law.
Aquariums have so many people trying to give them fish they can't keep most of them won't even talk to you about it. Try and see if a LFS will take Artie.
  • #26
These people I know bought a 30 gallon tall and bought a common pleco, a red belly pacu, and some other tetra's

needless to say they knew absolutely NOTHING about this fish, they didnt even know it was a pacu. They were clueless as to why it was eating all the other tetra...

amazing.. I'm glad you did the right thing as well (just to add to what everyone else is saying! )

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