Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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statenfish 04-17-2010 11:27 PM

pacu afraid of the light
 
i have a red belly pacu in my 90 gallon and it wont come out with the lights on..its gotten to the point where i have to leave the light off at all times,, why is this?

Byron 04-18-2010 11:23 AM

There are a couple of possibilities. First, these fish occur in very dimly-lit waters; when placed in brightly-lit aquaria, such fish frequently become severely stressed. You mention it won't "come out" so presumably you have some sort of hiding spots for it which is good. Lessening the aquarium light is one suggestion; floating plants might help but the pacu is liable to eat them.

Second, these are characins and thus shoaling fish that prefer to be in groups. I have read of single fish being maintained in large aquaria with other suitable fish; do you have anything else in this tank?

Last comment, this is really not a suitable fish for the average home aquarium. It can grow to over 30 inches, requiring a tank of 200 gallons or more. While it may be a juvenile (?) now and seem OK in a 90g tank, it is a potentially large fish that requires a lot of space from early on if it is going to develop properly internally and be in good health.

Byron.

statenfish 04-18-2010 02:23 PM

this is his temporary home..he will be moved in to the 400 gallon when it is completed in a few weeks. there is a pleco wit him and and anither pacu added last week...the light is very dim and there are places to hide..the 400 hundred is basicaccy an exact replica of the pacu habitat so maybe after the move he will settle down a bit

Byron 04-18-2010 05:00 PM

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Originally Posted by statenfish (Post 364999)
this is his temporary home..he will be moved in to the 400 gallon when it is completed in a few weeks. there is a pleco wit him and and anither pacu added last week...the light is very dim and there are places to hide..the 400 hundred is basicaccy an exact replica of the pacu habitat so maybe after the move he will settle down a bit

That is music to my ears. I'm glad you have plans to provide what the fish requires, well done. In the interim, I suggest either leaving the light off (no plants presumably to worry about light for) or somehow reduce it and shade it as best you can.

A few weeks back I posted a couple photos of pacu in a floor-to-ceiling tank at the Vancouver Aquarium, it may interest you if you didn't see it previously, so I'm attaching it. The group of 4 (I think) pacu are in with two arapaima and a group of Leporinus. You can see how dim this tank is lit, notwithstanding my poor camera skills.

Byron.

herbwin 04-18-2010 07:45 PM

In general, young pacus are pretty skittish, alone or in groups. They do grow out of it with age, but can still startle easily. Try to avoid any sharp wood or rocks in the tank, they are very powerful and can injure themselves.

You might consider some smaller active schooling fish to make them feel a little more at ease, I like giant danios for this. If the pacus are smaller than 4-5 inches, you can use zebra danios instead.

I don't think light itself is the big issue unless it is very bright, they are prob just scared in general. However, if you want to darken the tank, a good trick with 2 piece fluor hoods is to insert cut to size pieces of thin cardboard between the light and glass wherever you want a darker area. They are easy to move/remove when you desire too.

I love pacus! I have raised several over the years, they get quite a personality when they get older. My last one was like a member of the family, it broke our hearts when we gave him up
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