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www.theurbanfoodforest.com is our home on the web. We have multiple aquaponic systems installed throughout Florida in schools and residences and enjoy teaching anyone that will listen about aquaponics. Great thing is that so many folks out there want to learn more.
For those who are interested in raising Red Bellied Pacu, here are a few pointers that will help (hence my mistakes and what you should do to avoid my mistakes). 1. Never ever ever mix Pacu with any type of fish breed, I don't care how aggressive the other fish is the Pacu's will kill it. 2. Expect Pacu's to grow a lot. Example, mine started off as 1 inch fingerlings and three weeks later they are 6 inches in length. 3. Pacu's need high protein food (48%protein), also as they get older they tend to eat more vegetables. Expect to feed them a lot ( 2-3 times a day) monitor the amount of food given and gradually increase it weekly. These fish need tons of nutrients, and will pack on weight very fast! 4. Pacu from my observations and keeping do well with other pacu, as long as the pacu are of or near the same size. 5. Never ever stick your hands near or in the water. These guys once they get larger, will bite your finger off ( in the wild they crush brazilian nuts in their mouths). 6. When considering buying pacu, be responsible for it. People will not take them back (dealers), so expect to follow through in taking care and providing for the fish. 7. Harvest size varies to feeding amount, normally 9 months around 1.5lbs, and one year to a year and a half 3-5lbs. Fast growers, super lean meat. 8. Ways to cook pacu? There are recipes on the web pertaining to cooking pacu ribs, it will show you how to fillet and cook the meat. From what my brazilian friends say, it is better than tilapia and has the texture of catfish so be prepared for a large tasty meal. 9. Pacu's do well out in open ponds and lakes, even outdoor systems. I've recorded weekley water temps of up to 92F and the fish are super active. Although as for a pet i'd recommend 72-84F because warm waters will shorten the pacu's lifespan (about 60yrs in the wild and anywhere to 40-60lbs). But for commercial aspects this shouldn't be a problem if you are just using them as produce to sell ( based on a yearly cycle). Just make sure that your breeding pair are well taken care water temp's wise to decrease genetic defects in their offspring. 10. Males do not hit sexual maturity till 3yrs and females 3-4yrs. Red bellied females have to be placed into hormone induced water in order for her to release the eggs to be fertilized by the male. Other pacu such as the Black Pacu do not need hormones to release eggs. Well I hope this helps people, i've learned a lot through my mistakes, but i'm definately going to continue raising pacu. They are definitely the fish breed that demands patience.