• Group: Freshwater
  • Size: Very Large
  • Temperament: Aggressive
  • Swimming Region(s): Surface
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Knifefish, Pacus, Oscars, Plecostomus, Jaguar Cichlids, Green Terrors, Gars, Tinfoil Barbs, Siamese Tigerfish
  • Difficulty Of Care: Daily care – suited for the experienced aquarist

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Sometimes referred to as the dragon fish, arowanas are one of the most beautiful and most fascinating species of fish in the aquarium trade. They are considered a Jurassic era species and have been around for over a 100 million years. The arowana has a bony head and a long, powerful body. Their bodies are also covered in large, heavy scales with a mosaic pattern of canals. They are sometimes referred to as “bonytounges” because of the toothed bone at the bottom of their mouth which bites against the roof of their mouth. Arowana are also characterized by two, darkly colored, barbells that extend from its bottom lips. These barbells are often delicate, and can easily be damaged by rough handling.

Due to their demanding nature and sheer size, the task of raising this fish should only be attempted by dedicated and experienced aquarist. They are also one of the most expensive species of aquarium fish, with some adult specimens commanding tens of thousands of dollars.

Sometimes referred to as the dragon fish, arowanas are one of the most beautiful and most fascinating species of fish in the aquarium trade.

There are ten different species originating from different parts of the world – three from South America, one from Africa, four from Asia and two from Australia.

Arowanas are usually vibrantly colored and come in shades of red, gold, silver and black.

arowana-1Arowana are one of the largest growing species of aquarium fish and can sometimes reach lengths of over 4 feet. For this reason it is recommended that they are raised in extremely large tanks of over 150 gallons or large outdoor ponds. Arowanas prefer aquariums with both large open swimming spaces and sufficient hiding spots. They mostly swim near the surface region of the aquarium and are incredibly powerful jumpers. Arowanas in the wild have been spotted jumping 10 feet or more to capture insects and birds. For this reason it is crucial that the arowana’s aquarium be tightly covered with a heavy lid.

Arowana are extremely heavy eaters and tend to produce a lot of waste. Therefore it is crucial that aquarists pay careful attention to their water conditions and not let the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate content of the arowana aquarium reach hazardous levels. Water changes of up to 20% are recommended twice a week. A well cared for arowana will often live for up to 15 to 20 years.

While younger arowana prefer to be kept in fairly large groups of 6 or more, they can turn extremely territorial and aggressive towards one other when reaching maturity. For this reason most arowana keepers prefer to keep arowanas alone. However, adult arowanas can be kept in large groups of 6 or more when raised in a large aquarium or pond with sufficient room.

Arowanas are extremely predatory and should not be kept with smaller sized fish. They can be kept in community tanks with large, non-aggressive species like knifefish, pacus, oscarss, plecostomus, jaguar cichlids, green terrors, gars, tinfoil barbs, siamese tigerfishs and other large species of catfish.

Feeding arowanas can sometimes be a challenge because some adults only accept live foods. Arowanas are carnivores and have strong predatory instincts. They can be fed on a diet of feeder goldfish, frogs and shrimp.

Arowana are one of the largest growing species of aquarium fish and can sometimes reach lengths of over 4 feet.

Breeding arowanas in an aquarium is virtually impossible and most arowana are bred in large fish farms in Asia. Arowana are mouth brooders and the males of the species carry the eggs in their mouths until the fry are hatched and their yolk sacks are fully absorbed. Arowana eggs are bright orange in color and the fry look like tiny marbles during the first few weeks of their lives. In most breeding farms, breeders “harvest” arowana fry by capturing the brooding males and forcing their mouths open, causing them to drop their broods of eggs or fry.

Red Arowana, Golden Arowana, Silver Arowana, Jardini Arowana, Spotted Arowana, etc.

Photo credit: Qwertzy2/Wikimedia; Karelj/Wikimedia

Other Fish

Go to Pacu


  • Group: Freshwater
  • Size: Large
  • Temperament: Non-aggressive
  • Swimming Region(s): Middle
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Giant gouramis, Large species of cichlids and large species of catfish
Go to Danios


  • Group: Freshwater
  • Size: Small
  • Temperament: Non-aggressive
  • Swimming Region(s): Surface and middle
  • Suitable Tank Mates: Guppies, Mollies, Platys, Swordtails, White Cloud Minnows, Barbs, Rummy-nose Tetra, Cardinal Tetra, Glow Light Tetra and other small species of tetra.
  • Difficulty Of Care: Monthly care- suited for the beginner aquarist