Forex Basic Strategies

Heard Of The ‘Piranha’ Forex Trading Strategy?


The forex market is mostly seen to move in a trend or a range. In the previous article, we discussed the rapid-fire strategy, which works best in a trend. The piranha strategy that we are going to discuss is used in a ranging market.

Everyone would have heard of piranhas. They typically take small bites frequently off their prey until it is totally devoured. A single bite may not cause much harm, but it is the frequency of bites that causes the attack to be deadly. In the same way, the piranha strategy was developed to allow scalpers to bite the market and chew off small profits each time.

This strategy is specifically designed for the GBP/USD currency pair, where it is applied to the 5-minutes time frame chart. On average, one can find over 15 trades in a day using the piranha strategy.

Time Frame

The piranha strategy is useful for trading on the 5-minutes time frame. This means each candlestick on the chart represents 5 minutes of price movement.


For this strategy, we use the Bollinger band technical indicator with the following settings.

  1. Period 12, Shift 0
  2. Deviation 2

When prices approach the upper band, the market is considered to be overbought, and when prices approach the lower band, markets tend to consolidate. By setting a higher deviation value, the price volatility will be magnified, and we geta a Bollinger band with wider upper and lower bands.

Currency Pairs

The strategy is designed for the GBP/USD currency pair, which is also referred to as The Cable. However, some other currency pairs in which the strategy can be used include EUR/USD, USD/JPY, and GBP/JPY. Since the strategy takes place in short timeframes it is advisable on highly liquid pairs.

Strategy Concept

We will use the Bollinger band indicator to identify the trading range of GBP/USD, after which we will mimic the nature of the piranhas by defining objective entries for long and short positions. Long trades are initiated when market prices touch the bottom of the band, and short trades are taken when prices touch the upper band.

Piranhas are active in rivers and ponds but not in the rough seas with strong currents and waves. In a somewhat similar way, we avoid trading this strategy at times of major news announcements during the U.S. or London sessions, as such environments reflect rough seas with strong currents and waves. We will analyze the GBP/USD currency pair on the 5-minutes chart to look for long and short trades.

Trade Setup

Step 1

The first step of the strategy is to first look for a range on the chart of GBP/USD. The range can be identified using the Bollinger band strategy. However, we need to apply the concepts of price action for the identification of the range. The essential criterion for a range is that the price should respect the support and resistance levels at least twice. After we have identified the range, we will apply our strategy at the extreme ends of the range to take a suitable position in the pair.

The below image shows an example of the kind range that is required for the strategy.

Step 2

The next step is to wait for the market to hit the lower band of the indicator or upper band of the indicator. At the lower band, we will look for buy opportunities, and likewise, if the price at the upper band, we will look for sell trades.

In this example, we see that the price has approached the lower band, which means there is a high chance that buyers will take the price higher from this point.

Step 3

One should not enter the market soon after the price touches the lower or upper band, which carries a huge risk. We need confirmation from the market before we can take a suitable position. In this step, we look for that confirmation. Once the price closes above the middle line of the Bollinger band indicator, it is a confirmation that the support is respected this time and that the price is heading at least till the range’s resistance.

Step 4

In this step, we determine the take-profit and stop-loss levels for the strategy. We have two take-profit levels – the first take-profit is set at the upper side of the range, a typical place for booking profits. Another method is to hold on to the trades until the market shows signs of reversals, which is when the price falls below the middle line of the Bollinger band.

The stop-loss for this strategy is placed below the support of the range or below the lower band. The trade offers a risk to reward ratio of around 1 to 1.5, which is not bad.

Strategy roundup

In the beginning, we mentioned that the piranhas hunt their prey until it is completely devoured. In a similar way, once the trade hits our stop loss, it means there is nothing left, and we need to look for a new setup.

The triggering of stop loss is an indication that the market is no longer trading in that band, and it has started a new trend. In such cases, wait until the market halts and starts moving in a range. The only difference will be that we will be looking for a trade in the opposite direction with the same rules.

This is an important point and a trick that one can use to navigate themselves in trending markets. As the strategy is developed to trade in a range, one will find few opportunities when the market goes into a strong trend.