Arowana Fish – A Complete Care Guide

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You likely have seen a long serpent-like silver fish swimming at a local fish or seen a buddy’s tank and have been fascinated by it. This unique silver fish is none other than the Arowana fish. It’s a trademark fish that have put many fish keepers into the journey of keeping aggressive fish and monster fish tanks.

These long fish are one of the most popular (and have some of the most exotic and expensive varieties available). However, the most exotic is only available in Asia as they are illegal to import. These fish are excellent showcase fish and oftentimes are kept solo in display tanks. However, they can be housed with tankmates if selected carefully.

Let’s learn all we can about this majestic fish in our post today. We will cover where they come from, the types, and what they need to thrive. So let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Arowana fish get very large and require an 8 foot long tank to house a full grown adult
  • While Asian Arowanas are the most beautiful type of Arowana, they are illegal to import into the US
  • They are aggressive fish that pair up best with Oscars and freshwater Sting Rays

An Overview

Scientific NameScleropages formosus
Common NamesAsian bony tongue, dragon fish, bony tongued fish, monkey fish
OriginAmazon drainage system and the western Orinoco, Rupununi, and Essequibo systems of the Guianas.
Care LevelAdvanced
Lifespan10 to 15 years
Tank LevelMiddle and top Dweller
Minimum Tank Size8 feet long tank, 250 gallons
Temperature Range75 F° to 82 F°
Water Hardness10 – 20DH
pH Range6.5 to 7.5
Filtration/Water FlowSlow-moving water
Water TypeFreshwater
BreedingEgg layer
Difficulty to BreedDifficult
CompatibilityAggressive Tanks or Solo
OK, for Planted Tanks?Yes

What is it?

Arowana is a type of freshwater fish native to South America. They are also known as bony tongue fish or dragon fish. Arowana fish are popular in the aquarium trade for their unique appearance. They can grow to over three feet long and have long, slender bodies with scales resembling armor. Arowana fish are predators, and their diet consists mainly of small mammals, reptiles, and other fish. 

Arowanas are predatory fish that have giant mouths with sharp teeth. They are considered good luck in many cultures and are often kept as pets. They are known for jumping out of the water and catching prey in the wild. Arowanas are also used in Chinese medicine. There are many different species of Arowana fish. The most common ones kept as pets are the Asian Arowana (not legal in the US), Australian Arowana, and African Arowana. These fish can grow quite large, so they must have plenty of space in their tank. 

Types of them (Osteoglossum Bicirrhosum)

Here are the different types of Silver Arowana fish.

The Silver type

The silver Arowana is native to Australia and is one of the most popular types of Arowana.

The Australian type

The Australian arowana is also quite popular in various parts of Australia.

The Black type (Osteglossum ferreiral)

The black Arowana is native to Africa and is considered one of the rarest types of Arowana. The Black Arowana fish love to feast on live fish, large insects, spiders, Tubifex worms, pellets, and flakes.

The African (Heterotis niloticus)

The African Arowana is also quite rare and can be found in various parts of Africa.

The Southern Saratoga (Scleropages leichardti)

The southern saratoga is located in South America and is one of the less common types of Arowana.

Each type of Arowana has its distinct coloration and patterns, making them all highly sought-after by aquarium enthusiasts.

Origin Of This Fish species

Arowana fish are tropical fish that are believed to have originated in the Amazon rainforest. The Arowana is freshwater fish native to South America and can be found in Brazil, Guyana, Peru, and Venezuela. Their common name derives from the Old Tupi word for “silverfish.” Arowana is a predatory fish that mainly eats other fish. They have long bodies and giant mouths and can grow up to 1 m (3 ft) in length.


Arowanas inhabit slow-moving waters in rivers and lakes, often near the surface, where they can gulp down insects and small mammals. Arowanas are also known as “bony tongues” because of their long, bony tongues. Arowanas prefer slow-moving waters and can often be found near the surface of rivers and streams. They are carnivores and eat smaller fish, insects, and crustaceans.

Arowanas are also known for their unique ability to “jump” out of the water to catch prey (see the video above from Nat Geo Wild). Due to their beauty and rarity, Arowanas have become a popular choice for aquariums. However, they can be challenging to care for due to their large size and specialized diet requirements.

Habitats In The Wild

Osteoglossidae family members are commonly found across most continental areas, including Australia. Probably due to an old fish species. In the Jurassic Period Arowana’s predecessors lived in Gondwana, the supercontinent, which has divided into several continents over the course of the Earth’s history. 

The fish originates in the southern hemisphere and includes the amazon rivers Rupununis, Orinoco, and Essequibo.


The appearance of the Arowana fish can be pretty variable. Most Arowana has long and slender bodies with ample heads and mouths. They are covered in large, shiny scales, which may be green, blue, red, or silver. They have long, flowing fins and a protruding lower jaw. Arowanas use their powerful jaws to snatch up prey whole.

Many aquarium enthusiasts prize Arowanas due to their unique appearance and interesting behavior. These fish can be aggressive towards other tank mates, so they should be kept with caution. Some species of Arowana can grow to over three feet in length. Arowana is native to the tropical waters of South America and Asia.

Arowana Fish

In the wild, they inhabit slow-moving rivers and lakes. Some species of Arowana are also found in brackish water habitats, such as estuaries and mangrove swamps.


Arowana fish have a lifespan of up to 15 years in captivity, though their life expectancy in the wild is unknown. These fish grow relatively slowly, reaching a maximum length of around three feet.

Average size 

Arowana fish typically grow to be about 2-3 feet long. However, some Arowana species can grow up to 4 feet in length. The average weight of an Arowana is around 10 pounds, but some individuals can weigh up to 15 pounds or more. 

Arowana Care

Arowanas are relatively easy to care for, but there are a few things you will need to keep in mind. First, they need an aquarium 8 feet long and at least 250 gallons to house a full-grown adult. You will need an even larger aquarium and more if you plan on keeping multiple Arowanas!

Second, they must have plenty of hiding places and cover in their tank because these fish like to hide, so plants or rocks can be used to create some hiding spots. Some aquarists opt for dark backgrounds with tanks to give the large Arowanas piece of mind. It is also essential to have good filtration in the tank as these fish produce a lot of waste. Arowanas are shy fish and will stress easily if they do not feel safe.

Finally, Arowanas are messy eaters, so you must do regular water changes and frequently clean your filter. Arowanas are carnivores and require a diet of live or frozen food, such as insects, shrimp, and crickets. These fish should be fed 2-3 times per day, and it is best to provide them with small amounts at once.

Overfeeding can lead to health problems such as obesity and swim bladder disease.

Tank Setup

The Arowana fish is one of the most popular fish in the aquarium trade. They are native to South America and have a rapid growth rate. Arowanas are carnivorous and need a diet primarily consisting of live food, such as insects, small mammals, and other fish.

Setting up an aquarium for an Arowana fish requires some specific considerations. First, you will need an aquarium of at least eight feet because they can grow quite large. Second, arowanas are carnivores and will require a diet that consists primarily of live food.

Therefore, you will need to set up your Silver Arowana tank with plenty of hiding places where live food can be found so your Arowana can hunt them down. Arowanas are also tropical fish, which makes their ideal temperature in the range of 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Due to their large size, it’s recommended you either have a canister filter with an inline heater or opt for titanium heaters, which are designed to handle the abuse of large fish.

Arowanas are native to slow-moving rivers and flooded forests in Asia, so their tanks should be set up accordingly. Include plenty of hiding places among driftwood, rocks, and plants.

Ideal Tank Size

The average Arowana fish will need at least an 8-foot-long tank. However, the bigger the Silver Arowana tank, the better. If you’re planning on keeping more than one Arowana fish, you’ll need to increase the size of your tank accordingly. Arowana fish are active swimmers and will require plenty of space to move around.

Water Parameters

The ideal water parameters for keeping Arowana are:

  • pH range 6.5-7.5
  • Water hardness: 10-20DH
  • Water temperature: 75-82F 

These fish are also susceptible to changes in water quality and are hard on a bioload. Regular testing and maintenance of the aquarium are necessary.

Filtration And Aeration

Filtration is essential in keeping your Arowana healthy and free from harmful toxins. A large filtration system will remove debris, waste, and other unwanted particles from the water. This will help to keep the water clean and clear and also help to improve the quality of the air within the tank.

Aeration is also an essential part of fish care. Aeration helps to keep dissolved oxygen levels high in the water, which is necessary for fish health. It also helps to circulate the water within the tank, which can improve overall water quality. Both factors are essential for keeping your Arowana fish healthy and happy. It helps to keep the water oxygenated and fresh, which is necessary for the health of your fish.

These fish require monster filters. Consider either an aquarium sump or specialized canister filter like a Fluval FX series when attempting to keep these fish.

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Fluval FX Series

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They are known for their bright colors and long bodies. When it comes to lighting for arowana fish, there are a few things you need to take into consideration. 

The first is the color of the light. Arowanas are very sensitive to light, so you want to ensure the light you choose is not too bright or too dim. You also want to make sure the light does not have any blue or green in it, as this can be harmful to their eyes.

The second thing you need to consider is the intensity of the light. Arowanas like moderate lighting, so you don’t want to go too overboard with it. Too much light can stress them out and cause them health problems.

Finally, you need to think about how long the light should be on each day. Arowanas need 12–14 hours of daylight each day, so you will need to find a light that provides this amount of time without being too harsh on their eyes. An aquarium background will also enhance the look of Arowana and provide comfort to your fish. A dark background is preferable for them.

Aquatic Plants and Decoration

Aquatic plants are difficult to choose for Arowanas. Given their size, they can uproot or knock down many types of plants. Consider picking plants that can be attached to rocks or driftwood, like Anubias.

Floating plants may not be the best choice for Arowanas as they like to eat from the surface and will jump out of the tank to get food. While it can lessen the light intensity, it’s best to avoid floating plants in general.

For rocks, a good option would be lava rocks since they can house bacteria and help with filtration in the aquarium. Large pieces of driftwood can also be used to decorate the aquarium. However, Arowana purists often opt for a bare-bottom, large aquarium with a dark background when choosing to house these fish.

Tank Maintenance

One of the most important things to remember when caring for Silver Arowanas is to maintain a clean tank. Arowanas are sensitive to water quality and can develop health problems if their tank is not maintained correctly.

Remove all the decorations and gravel to clean your Arowana’s tank. Rinse the decorations and gravel with fresh water to remove dirt or debris. Then, scrub the inside of the tank with mild detergent to remove any algae or buildup.

Rinse the tank thoroughly with fresh water before adding the decorations and gravel. It’s essential to do regular water changes and keep an eye on your filtration system to ensure it’s working correctly.

If you’re considering getting an Arowana fish, be prepared to take the time and effort to care for it properly. With proper tank maintenance and a nutritious diet, your Arowana will thrive and bring you years of enjoyment. 


The substrate you choose for your Arowana fish is important not only for the health of your fish but also for the aesthetic appeal of your aquarium. There are many different types of substrates available on the market, so it is important to do some research to find the one that is best suited for your Arowana fish.

One type of substrate that is often used in Arowana tanks is sand. Sand provides a natural look and feel to the aquarium and can help maintain water quality. However, sand can be difficult to clean and may need to be replaced more frequently than other substrates. Gravel is another popular option for Arowana tanks. 

Gravel comes in a variety of colors and sizes, so you can create an appealing aquascape. Gravel is also easy to clean and does not need to be replaced as often as sand. If you are looking for a low-maintenance substrate option, consider using artificial plants or rocks. 

These options are easy to care for and will not impact water quality. Artificial plants and rocks can also provide hiding places for your Arowana fish, which can help reduce stress levels.

Fish Tank Mates

Arowanas are beautiful and unique but not good community fish. They make lovely additions to any aquarium. While they can be kept alone, many aquarists choose to keep them with other fish. 

When selecting suitable tank mates for your Arowana, it is essential to consider the size and temperament of the fish. Arowanas are predatory fish and can reach lengths of up to three feet, so they should not be kept with smaller fish that they may view as potential prey.

It is also important to avoid keeping very aggressive fish with your Arowana, as they may stress the fish out or even injure them. Some good tank mates for arowanas include other large, milder-mannered fish like Oscarfish and the Plecostomus catfish. 

These fish are all similar in size to arowanas and have mellow personalities that won’t bother them. Other possible tank mates include certain species of turtles like Fly River Turtles, which can help keep the tank clean but should not be housed with arowanas long-term since they will eventually outgrow their quarters.

All of these fish get along because they share similar habitats and have comparable sizes. They also have high levels of compatibility regarding aggression and feeding habits. If you want to keep your Arowana happy and healthy, include at least one or two of these community mates in their tank. If you’re looking for something different, some people have even had success keeping arowanas with freshwater rays. 


Arowana fish are oviparous, meaning they lay eggs. The female will lay anywhere from 20 to 100 eggs at a time, and the male will fertilize them. Once the eggs are laid, the parents will generally abandon them. The eggs will hatch anywhere from 6 to 10 days later, and the fry will be free swimming soon after that. Once the eggs have hatched, the fry (baby fish) must be removed from the main tank as their parents will eat them.

The fry can be raised in a separate tank and should be fed on live foods such as brine shrimp or bloodworms. As they grow, the Arowanas should be moved into progressively larger tanks until they reach adulthood, at which point they can be moved into a final display tank. 

Arowanas can be bred in captivity, and many different strains have been developed. Some of the more popular strains include the green Arowana, blue Arowana, and red Arowana.

Arowanas are relatively easy to breed if you have a large enough tank and good water quality. They are not picky eaters and will readily accept most types of food. 

Setting Up A Separate Breeding Tank For Them

Arowana fish are beautiful and majestic creatures that can make great additions to any home aquarium. 

However, these fish can also be quite difficult to breed in captivity. Suppose you’re interested in breeding Arowana fish. In that case, it’s essential to set up a separate breeding tank to meet these fish’s specific needs.

  • When setting up a breeding tank for Arowana fish, choosing a size that will be large enough to accommodate the adult fish is essential.
  • These fish can grow quite large, so you’ll need a tank that is at least 100 gallons in size. 
  • You’ll also need to ensure the tank has plenty of hiding places and caves for the Arowana fry to hide in when they are born.
  • It’s essential to maintain high water quality in the breeding tank, as Arowana fry are very sensitive to changes in water quality.
  • Be sure to do regular water changes and carefully monitor ammonia and nitrite levels.
  • It’s also a good idea to provide plenty of live food for the fry, as they will have difficulty feeding on dry pellets or flakes. 

With proper care and attention, breeding Arowana fish in captivity can be a rewarding experience. 

By having a dedicated breeding tank, you can control the environment more efficiently and ensure the water temperature is high enough for the arowana to breed successfully. In addition, having a separate breeding tank allows you to keep an eye on the Arowana fry without worrying about them being eaten by other fish in the tank.

Food and Diet

Arowana fish are carnivores and will eat just about anything that fits in their mouths. In the wild, their diet consists of small mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects. 

They have even been known to eat smaller arowana fish. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of foods, including pellets, live food, and frozen food. It is important to supplement their diet with live food as well, such as worms or crickets, to ensure that they get all the nutrients they need. 

Arowana fish are generally not picky eaters, but there are a few things you should keep in mind when feeding them. First of all, their diet should be high in protein as this is what helps them grow and stay healthy. Secondly, you should avoid giving them too much fat, as this can lead to health problems such as obesity. 

It is important to remember that arowanas must always be offered food that is appropriate for their size; offering too large of a food item can result in serious injury or even death. Lastly, make sure they always have access to clean water, as they need it to stay hydrated. 

How Often Should You Feed Them?

Arowana fish should be fed once or twice a day, depending on their size and appetite. It is important to not overfeed them, as this can lead to health problems.


How Much Do They Cost?

Arowana fish are among the most expensive freshwater fish in the world. Some of the rarer varieties can cost anywhere from $500 to $5,000. The price depends on the size, color, and rarity of the fish. Arowanas are popular pets, so they can be found at many pet stores. Some arowanas are more rare and large fish than others, which drives up the price. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, you can try looking for arowanas at online auctions or in classified ads.

What is the biggest type (Dragon fish)?

The Asian arowana is the largest endangered species of all the arowanas and can grow up to three feet long. They are native to Southeast Asia and can be found in countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. 

Asian arowanas are popular aquarium fish because of their bright colors and interesting patterns. They come in many different color morphs, including green, red, blue, and gold. Asian arowanas are carnivores and prefer live food, such as large insects, small mammals, and other species of fish. However, they are illegal to import into the US.

In the wild, they use their powerful tails to stun their prey before swallowing it whole. If you’re thinking about getting an Asian arowana for your aquarium, be prepared to provide plenty of space for them to swim and hide. These fish are active predators and need room to roam. 

Are they good for beginners?

Arowana is a good choice for beginner fish keepers because they are relatively easy to care for. Arowana requires a large tank and does best in water that is warm and slightly acidic.

They are carnivores, so their diet should consist of live or frozen food such as insects, shrimp, and small fish. 

Arowana is known to be jumpers, so it is important to have a lid on their tank. Arowanas are very active and have a high metabolism, so they need a lot of space and a lot of food. They also produce a lot of waste, so you’ll need to do frequent water changes. If you’re up for the challenge, an Arowana can be a fun and rewarding pet.

Is this fish good for your home?

Most Arowana fish are good for home use, but there are some exceptions. Arowanas are known to be aggressive, and they can grow to be quite large. As such, they may not be the best choice for a home with small children or other pets.

Additionally, arowanas require special care and attention, so they may not be suitable for everyone. If you’re considering an Arowana fish for your home, be sure to do your research and make sure you’re prepared to provide the necessary care. 

They are hardy and can live in a variety of water conditions. Arowanas are also known to be good jumpers, so it is important to have a lid on your aquarium.

Are they friendly?

Arowana fish are not typically considered to be friendly, as they are known to be quite aggressive. However, if you have a peaceful tank-mate community already established, an Arowana may be a good addition as it can help keep the tank clean. 

Arowanas are also known to jump out of tanks, so it is important to have a secure lid. Arowana fish are territorial and will often fight with other fish for space. If you have an Arowana fish, it is important to provide it with plenty of space to avoid aggression.

Which one of them is lucky?

There is a lot of debate over which arowana is the luckiest. Some people believe that it is the golden arowana, as it is associated with wealth and prosperity. 

Others believe that the Green arowana is the luckiest, as it is associated with growth and good fortune. Ultimately, it is up to the individual to decide which arowana they believe to be the luckiest. 

How many can be kept together?

Arowana is a fairly territorial fish, so it is generally not recommended to keep more than one in the same tank. Arowana is social species and does best when kept in groups. 

A minimum of three arowana should be kept together, but five or more is ideal. If you do decide to keep multiple arowana together, make sure the tank is large enough to accommodate their needs and that there are plenty of hiding places for them to retreat to if necessary.

How many types of Silver ones are there?

There are three types of silver Arowana: South American, Asian, and African. The South American Silver Arowana is the most common type found in pet stores. 

They can grow up to 3 feet long and live for about 10–15 years. The Asian Silver Arowana is slightly smaller, growing to about 2 feet long.

They have a shorter lifespan of 5–10 years. The African Silver Arowana is the largest of the three, reaching up to 4 feet in length. They have a lifespan of 20 years or more. 

Final Thoughts

Whew, went through a lot of information today 😅. Thank you for sticking around until the end. Have you kept these fish before? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I love starting a conversation with my readers. We can all learn from each other and become better aquarists for it. Thank you for stopping by, and see you next time when we post new content.

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