From Microcosm Aquarium Explorer

Jump to: navigation , search
Colossoma macropomum - (Cuvier, 1816)

A eminently likeable fish, but one growing to tankbuster proportions.


Pacus are lovable “Vegetarian Piranhas” that grow to humongous sizes (up to 60 pounds; 27.5 kilograms). Most public aquariums do not have room for yet another one of these unfortunate imports; many wind up grilled “on the barbie.”
Younger Pacu in a large aquarium. Aaron Norman photo.

Family: Characidae

Other common name(s):

  • Tambaqui

Native range:

Habitat: Jungle rivers, streams and "flooded forests" in the water beneath fruit-bearing trees.

Maximum length: 108 cm (43 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 1135 L (300 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: All levels.


Omnivore. Juveniles feed on insects, snails, zooplankton and vegetation. Adults feed heavily on fruits and other vegetable matter while living in flooded forests for several months each year.

Aquarium Compatibility

Peaceful, but a fish whose adult scale does not fit most home aquariums.

Special Care

Very disease resistant, tolerant of poor water quality and easy to keep in aquaculture conditions. Large pacu can inflict a bruising bite.


Widely propagated in South America for table fare.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW