Piranhas acting weird after relocation

Suggie

Feeder Fish
Jan 12, 2022
4
2
3
16
Recently I had to move my piranhas to a 165 gallon tank because their previous 55 gallon tank had a broken center beam and was beginning to cave outward. As we moved them, they began to slowly start to play dead. When we put them in the new tank, they sank straight to the bottom. The fish were still breathing and would move if we tried to pick them up to put them in the tank. This may be because the water of the new tank is too cold, but I am not sure because it has at least more than room temperature water. Some people say piranhas don't play dead and others do so I wanna know if their behavior is normal. Additionally, I won't be able to return to the tank until a few days from now so I am a little nervous for them. Is this behavior similar to what other piranha owners experience?
 

jjohnwm

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Mar 29, 2019
1,637
3,955
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Manitoba, Canada
Do you not own a thermometer?

Yes, plunging fish into water that is more than a few degrees colder can have this effect, and others as well. That's why one of the basics of fishkeeping is to prevent abrupt changes in temperature. Even if you can't measure the exact temperature, it is fairly easy to discern a significant difference simply by feeling the water. If you can feel a difference...it's too much of a difference and should be mitigated by slowly equalizing the temperatures before transferring the fish.
 

Deadeye

Goliath Tigerfish
MFK Member
Aug 31, 2020
6,628
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178
My piranha would ply dead every time I cleaned his tank. And I’ve had pacu do the same upon introduction due to poor acclimation.
Likely they are stressed form the move and the temp difference, they should be fine. Piranhas are extremely tough.
 

FJB

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Dec 15, 2017
1,278
2,207
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Philadelphia, PA
Silver dollars (same family) also often play dead when in conditions they deem stressful. The temperature issue is not good and needs to be improved asap but gradually. Good luck!
 

Deadeye

Goliath Tigerfish
MFK Member
Aug 31, 2020
6,628
8,293
178
Silver dollars (same family) also often play dead when in conditions they deem stressful. The temperature issue is not good and needs to be improved asap but gradually. Good luck!
Funny, silvers are the only ones I haven’t seen play dead. If anything they get more lively when stressed…even during tank transfers.
 

ativa01

Feeder Fish
MFK Member
Jan 21, 2021
24
23
8
Big fish in small pond
+1 on getting a thermometer and heater. Most piranha want to be at around 78-82.

When you move fish to a new home, float them in the tank for 10 or so minutes. Then slowly add in some of the tank water and float them a little more. Release after 30 min or so. And it goes without saying but make sure the tank is cycled and your parameters are within range for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH.
 
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