Cariba piranha

Aye Cariba! That’s one sexy piranha!

This good looking specimen goes by many names. The scientific one being Pygocentrus Cariba, however the more common ones are:

  • Black Shoulder Piranha
  • Black Eared Piranha
  • Orinoco Piranha
  • Venuzuelan Red Belly Piranha
  • Capaburro (i.e.: Donkey Castrator… my favorite)

      Where Can It Be Found?

      This magnificent beast can be found in South America, usually in the Rio Orinoco lowland basin and the Llanos region in Venezuela. Have a gander at the following maps if you aren’t too sure where that is:
      Map of Venezuala, Rio Orinoco.
      Map of South America

      The Facts

      Here are some interesting tidbits about this aesthetically pleasing little creature:

      • The most unique features of the cariba are the clear eyes, but more importantly, the humeral spot. The what say you? The humeral spot is a marking on the body just above the pectoral-fin. As you can see by the picture above, it is generally darkish to black.
      • The upper part of their body is on the silvery side and their lower extremities are generally red to red-orange.
      • Their teeth are broad, serrated, and like most piranhas, they are razor sharp!
      • In captivity, their maximum size tends to stay around the 12 inch mark, however it the wild they tend to get a bit longer and can reach 14-15 inches.


      Want to see one in action?  Have a gander at this video:


      Aquarium Tips

      Here is some general information that might be useful for you if you plan on taking one home some day:

      • You will want to dedicate at least 20 gallons per cariba that you plan on keeping in your aquarium. If possible, try to give them even more breathing room because these tend to be more aggressive than your other average piranhas.
      • They are shoaling fish so they prefer to be kept in groups. It’s not always possible, but if you can, try to keep them in groups of 3-4.
      • The ideal temperature for these bad boys is between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius and a PH level between 5.5 and 7.5 will do just nice.
      • They basically eat the same thing as most piranhas, so have a look at my other post called “You really want a pet piranha? Part 4 – Dinner Time!” and that should get you off on the right foot.

      I hope this helps. If you have some information on these guys that you would like to share, please use my comment section.


      When you have a sec, check out our FUN STUFF section for other interesting piranha-related thingamajigs (or is the politically-correct word thingamabobs?) like merchandise, games, etc. I’ll keep adding more in the upcoming months. Also, you can sign up for our NEWSLETTER to keep up-to-date on the latest information about our friendly neighborhood tough guys. PiranhaGuy Out.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

five × 3 =