Pacu Fish Teeth
Care & Breeding

Understanding Pacu Fish Teeth, Appearance, and More

Introduction to Pacu Fish

Before we dive into Pacu Fish Teeth let’s discuss Pacu fish first. Many omnivorous species of South American freshwater sea are referred to as Pacu because they are related to the piranha. The main feature of Pacu fish is their teeth which resemble human teeth. Yes, you heard it right!! If you look at their teeth carefully, you will notice how similar they are to human teeth. In this article, we will see many features and characteristics of pacu fish and Pacu Fish Teeth.

Pacu and piranha are not similar and some of the differences between them are mentioned below

Pacu is omnivorous Piranha is carnivorous 
Pacu have straight square shape teeth which resembles a lot to human teethPiranha has pointed and sharp teeth 

Origin of Pacu fish 

The Scientific name of the Pacu fish is Piaractus brachyurous. Pacu fish originates from the Amazon River basin. They have a lifespan of almost 20 years when they are in captivity. They kind of look like piranha but they do have differences and are not much similar. Pacu fish can be usually found in the Amazon or Orinoco basins of South America. They can be also found in rivers and lakes throughout Southern Asia places like Borneo and Sumatra.

The diet of pacu fish consists of small invertebrates, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They can easily crack nuts because they have square-shaped teeth which make it easy for them to crack nuts. They also eat other fishes when they are in the wild.

They do have a unique and interesting name. If you are curious about their name then let me tell you their name comes from the Brazilian word which is “Intestines” 

They are given this name because their intestines have air inside them which allows Pacu fish to float above the riverbed.

Pacu Fish Teeth
Pacu Fish Teeth

The natural habitat of Pacu Fish

Pacu fish basically originates from the Amazon River basin which is in South America. Pacu fish can now be found easily worldwide. Pacu fish prefer warm temperatures, and water which is slow moving. Also pacu fish can live in both fresh and salty water. 

Since they prefer warm temperatures so it’s best to keep the temperature of your tank warm if you are keeping pacu fish as your pet.

The appearance of Pacu Fish

They have a bright silver skin with yellow and pink tints on its belly and they have a greenish back. Pacu fish have a large head and most importantly they have powerful blunt jaws which contain molars that resemble human teeth. Their teeth are their most unique features which absolutely look like human teeth. Their teeth are quite strong and they can easily crack nuts with their teeth 

Also, they look slightly the same as piranhas but there are many differences between them. 

Common types of Pacu fish

  • Black pacu
  • Red-bellied pacu
  • Parrot pacu

Size of Pacu fish

Adult pacu fish can be around 30 inches and they can grow up to five feet in length. They can weigh up to 55kg

Fun Facts about Pacu fish

  • Pacu fish have teeth that resemble human teeth.
  • Pacu fish can easily crack nuts with their teeth and due to this reason, they are also called nut-crackers. 
  • Pacu fish are not really aggressive like piranha but their jaw is very strong and they can attack you and your bone can even get broken because of their strong jaw.
  • Pacu fish can be 7-42 inches long 
  • They can weigh up to 2-97 pounds, I know it’s a big range but it totally depends upon their breed. 

Do Pacu fish teeth resemble human teeth?

Yes, they do resemble human teeth!! They have straight square-shaped teeth which resemble a lot to human teeth. They use their teeth to crack nuts since their teeth are stronger so it’s easy for them to crack nuts with their teeth. 

They are actually dangerous because, in Papua New Guinea, they attacked and castrated local fishermen. So this shows they have strong jaw and teeth and they can actually attack humans with them. 

Pacu Fish Teeth
Pacu Fish Teeth

Tank size of Pacu fish

Pacu fish is a large fish so make sure your tank is large enough so the fish can swim freely inside it. Pacu fish usually grow up to 55 cm so you should have a tank of at least 150 gallons so Pacu can swim easily and freely inside your tank.

Tank water requirements 

As I have mentioned above they live in warm temperatures so make sure the water and tank are warm. I suggest you keep 75 degrees Fahrenheit water temperature for them as this is good for them. 

Pacu fish like to swim in soft and acidic water which has a pH of 6 or less. Another important thing is to keep the tank clean at all times to avoid any bacteria occurring in the tank. If you fulfill these conditions your pacu fish will stay healthy and happy in your tank.

Care requirements of Pacu Fish

It’s not much difficult to take care of them. Only there are some needs that should be fulfilled so your pacu fish can live easily inside your tank. Make sure you have a large enough tank for your pacu to swim easily. Add plenty of plants inside the tank. 

Pacu fish literally eat anything that comes in their way so make sure you provide them with a balanced diet. Their diet consists of live and frozen foods, as well as vegetables. Keep your Pacu fish in warm temperatures. The temperature should be in a range between 72 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit.

Points to be noted

  • Provide them with a balanced diet.
  • Don’t overfeed your pacu fish.
  • Have a large tank for them.
  • Add plants to the tank.
  • Keep the temperature of their tank warm.

Is Pacu Fish aggressive?

They are not really aggressive like piranha but they can be dangerous because they have strong jaws from which they can attack humans. One of my fish aquarist friends told me that in Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World which is a zoo in Scotland, a Pacu fish attacked the finger of a toddler and the poor kid had to undergo surgery due to it. 

So now you can imagine how pacu fish can be dangerous. Also, many people say that pacu fish can literally eat anything even if it’s a human finger!! 

Can you keep Pacu fish as your pet?

Yes, it is possible but personally, I don’t recommend it. Since Pacu fish can grow really long up to 4 feet and many fish aquarists don’t know about this and their tank basically is smaller for Pacu fish. Also pacu fish is really long or large for a home aquarium so I don’t really recommend you to keep them as your Pet fish. Also, they can be dangerous as we already talked about it above. So they are not considered as ideal pets and honestly, I have never seen any fish aquarist keeping pacu fish as their pet. 

Best tank mates for Pacu Fish

acu fish are peaceful and not that aggressive. But they are large fish so make sure to choose large tank mates for them. Don’t keep small fish with them as pacu fish can attack them. The best tank mate for Pacu fish is the Oscars

Parasites and disease

Like other fishes, pacu fish can also get sick due to several reasons. They are also prone to several environmental issues like algal blooms, low oxygen levels, pH fluctuations, or temperature fluctuations. They can also get infected by many types of parasites or diseases. 

Some of the common diseases are


This is basically a bacterial infection that can cause lesions on pacu fish skin. This disease can also affect the central nervous system.


This disease can cause inflammation in pacu fish.


This is a parasite that can cause red blotches on the body and fins of pacu fish

For avoiding bacteria and parasites to occur in the tank, make sure to keep the tank clean at all times. Another important thing is to maintain the water temperature up to pacu fish’s liking.


Pacu fish are definitely unique and fascinating. But they can be a little tricky and it’s important to take good care of them. They can be a little dangerous as there are cases when pacu fish bite humans and poor people had to undergo surgeries so it is important to deal cautiously with pacu fish.

Their human-like teeth are the main feature that differentiates them from other fish. Personally, I don’t suggest my readers keep pacu fish as pets because I don’t find them ideal pets. 

Understanding Pacu Fish Teeth, Appearance, and More
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