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Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > Miscellaneous species > Arowana
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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the


South America

 

silver Arowana

Osteoglossum bicirrhossum
Osteoglossum ferreirai

 

Overview:

    One of the giants of the home aquarium, the Arowana cannot be a casual purchase. Their size and dietary requirements make them a choice for only those willing to meet their needs. This profile concentrates on the South american species, but the needs of the Asian species are similar.

Quick stats:


    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 48 inches in the wild.(120 cm)
    Tank: 72 inches
    Strata: Top, middle
    PH: 6.0 to 6.5
    Hardness: Soft to medium, or dH to 8°
    Temperature: 75° to 86° f  (24 to 30°C)

Classification:

    Order: Osteoglossiformes
    Suborder: Osteoglossidei
    Family: Osteoglossidae
    Genera: Osteoglossum

Common name:

    Silver Arowana, Black Arowana

Image gallery:

Discuss:

    Badmans' Forum

Distribution

    Silver Arowana, Found in Guyana, and the Amazon River basin

    Black Arowana, Found in the Rio Negro River basin.


General Body Form:
    The body is very flat from side to side and if you look at if from above the fish looks very thin, its' up and down profile is very deep, however. The Anal and dorsal fins are very long and low and run from the center of the body almost to the caudal fin. They have very large mouths which open like a trap door from the bottom hinges. They have two forked Barbels that extend from the lower lip and in the male these extend above the upper jaw. Mature females are much larger in circumference and the anal fin is not as long as the males.


Coloration:
    Silver Arowana, The sides appear quite dull, grayish silver to a pale Greenish Yellow. Each of the individual scales on the sides have a bright Red spot. In mature specimens, the throat is a Golden orange to Red color and the barbels have a Blue to Green tint to them. The fins overall appear Greenish or Yellow, but if you look closely you can see patterns of Red or Brown markings.

    Black Arowana, A very beautiful fish. The sides are generally Black in color with a White stripe running down the entire length. The Anal and Dorsal fins are also Black with an edge of White on the top. The upper part of the head area is Black with the bottom being Silver. There is a very attractive Black stripe or bar running through a Silver Eye. The Barbels are also Black and Silver.



black Arowana
Osteoglossum ferreirai
Black Arowana


Maintenance:
    The average hobbyist will be satisfied with the younger specimens, but these will soon outgrow all but the largest of tanks. The Aquarium must be well covered as these fish can jump! While it obvious that you must provide plenty of open space for swimming it's also require places to hide, such as plant thickets or driftwood. The Water should be soft and the addition of peat filtration, or Tetras' "Black Water Extract" will benefit the fish. Temperature should be on the higher side with 77° f (25° C) being a happy medium. Feeding the Arowana is where the real challenge (or fun) comes in. The Arowana will eat only live food so you must find the right food for the size fish you have. Brine shrimp, baby Livebearers and the such for the small ones and moving all the way up to nightcrawlers and full size Goldfish. I have read that some small specimens have been trained to accept non live food. As with most of the Predators you will need a good filtration system to help with the clean up. I feel a Canister filter with the intake and outflow at opposite ends of the tank would be ideal. These are very interesting fish that seem to develop their own personality and to recognize their keeper and genuinely get excited about seeing them. Another Fact about the Arowana is that in their native habitat they are an important food resource for the native peoples. Given the proper tank size and conditions the Arowana would be a fine addition to a species tank that will provide years of pleasure and conversation.


Silver Arowana
Silver Arowana juveniles


Biotope:
    Slow moving shallow waters with dense vegetation, typical of an Amazonian setup.


Breeding:
    They are Mouthbrooders, with the male incubating the eggs and young for about sixty days. The fry would stay in the parents care until they are about three or four inches long. Many times the only ones we see available at the shops still have the egg sac attached and have been forcibly removed from the father and can be very difficult to raise due to their young age and rough removal. This is very sad to me and I see it more with the Black Arowana, which I believe is rarer than the silver. I would not buy one with the sac unless you are very patient and experienced and if you see them like this, please let your store know your disappointment. End of Badmans ranting.


Arowana
Silver Arowana



Your comments:

 

Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.

 


From: Dustin
Date:7/30/2008
Though the silver arowana is a beautiful fish, and its size is beautiful they are very difficult, and expensive to house as adults. I've heard many people say that their arowana stopped growing, and is happy with it's 90, 100, 150 gallon aquarium, but few people understand that though the fish stops growing its internal organs do not stop growing, and this is unhealthy for the fish. It's not recommended to own these fish if you can't afford to eventually house these fish in a 220, or even better a 300 gallon aquarium. Also they are big jumpers. I've seen many returns on arowanas ( I don't condone the sale ) who jumped from an uncovered aquarium.
From: Nick
Date:3/31/2008
Amazing fish, 150 gallon minimum for blacks, Asians and jardinis and 250 gallons minimum for silvers, and they need intense filtration. You should stay clear of feeder fish, for almost all feeder fish contain internal parasites that will be passed into the arowana when eaten. Pellets and monthly fish fillets are the best option, but I have heard of fruits and crickets being fed before. Most arowanas can tolerate larger tank mates, but jardinis must be kept alone, because sooner or later you are going to end up with one fish.
From: anonymous
Date:4/26/2007
Have a 4-5 inch Jardini Arowana. I did not feed him for 3 days when I bought him. And then put pellets in the tank. Now I have him eating medium sized pellets. I try to steer clear of live food. Because of the many parasites that may be transmitted.
Date:2/12/2007
Had the fish for about 5 years, when he was about 5 inches long. Now, kept him in a 8x5x5ft aquarium. Beautiful fish, graceful swimmer. Fed him goldfishes once a month (about 5-6 of them), juvenile koi (once a month), Specially formulated pellets for Arowanas. Keep the temperature steady at about 27 degree Celcius. Some live shrimps also helps but try to keep it down at about once every two months. The extra cholesterol would keep the shines on the scales. I named him Carlos and it seems that he understands me, everytime I called out his name, he would be excited. I could be watching him for hours.
From: n.c
Date:12/15/2006
I made a big mistake, so I'm here to warn any others from doing the same. I purchased a Jardini(about 5-6 inches) and had him for about a month. I figured he needed some friends and put in an Oscar and a Pleco. Big mistake. By the morning he all but terminated the oscar and even started in on the pleco. All day long he would just swim around the oscar and back him into the corner. Pure intimidation. When he would attack... it was vicious. I've never seen any fish that can do that type of damage. I thought that The Jardini had the same temperament as the Silver, which I previously owned years ago. Not! I would not suggest putting this fish (Jardini) in with anything else. Outside of that I love the fish. He is ten times meaner than he looks. By the way, the Pleco is still hanging in there. I think he'll be o.k...AS LONG AS HE NEVER MOVES 8-)

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