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The Fascinating World of Arowana Fish: A Comprehensive Guide

The Fascinating World of Arowana Fish: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you captivated by the beauty and allure of exotic fish? Look no further than the magnificent Arowana fish. Known for their vibrant colors, graceful movements, and ancient origins, Arowanas have become highly sought-after aquatic pets among fish enthusiasts. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the fascinating world of Arowana fish, exploring their characteristics, care requirements, and the joy they bring to their owners.

Introduction to Arowana Fish

The Arowana fish, also known as the dragon fish or bonytongue, is a group of freshwater fish that belongs to the family Osteoglossidae. These remarkable fish are native to various regions around the world, including South America, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Arowanas have a long and rich history, dating back millions of years, which adds to their allure and mystique.

One of the distinguishing features of Arowana fish is their elongated bodies, which are streamlined and built for swift swimming. They have large scales, often displaying intricate patterns and vibrant colors that make them truly captivating to behold. Arowanas also possess a unique set of sensory organs, known as barbels, located near their mouths, which aid in their ability to detect prey.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Arowana fish is their behavior. They are known for their exceptional jumping ability, which they use to catch insects, birds, and other small animals that may be present near the water’s surface. In the wild, Arowanas inhabit rivers, lakes, and flooded forests, where they navigate through dense vegetation and rely on their acute senses to survive.

Due to their striking appearance and cultural significance, Arowana fish hold a special place in various mythologies and folklore. In many Asian cultures, Arowanas are believed to bring good luck, prosperity, and ward off evil spirits. As a result, they are highly prized and considered valuable symbols of wealth and fortune.

It’s worth noting that Arowanas have become sought-after aquarium fish worldwide. Their beauty, elegance, and impressive size make them a popular choice for dedicated fish keepers. However, it’s essential to understand that caring for Arowanas requires specific knowledge and commitment to their unique requirements.

Characteristics of Arowana Fish

Arowanas exhibit several unique characteristics that make them stand out among other fish species:

  1. Territorial Behavior: Arowanas are known to be territorial fish. They establish their territory and can become aggressive towards other fish that enter their space. It’s important to provide them with enough room in the aquarium to establish their territory and minimize aggression.
  2. Excellent Jumpers: Arowanas are remarkable jumpers and can leap out of the water to catch prey or escape perceived threats. It’s crucial to have a securely covered aquarium to prevent them from jumping out and potentially injuring themselves.
  3. Keen Eyesight: Arowanas have excellent eyesight and can spot movement and objects outside the water. They are known to be curious fish and will often investigate their surroundings and the people observing them.
  4. Intelligent and Interactive: Arowanas are considered intelligent fish and can recognize their owners. They may even respond to hand gestures or the presence of their owners near the aquarium. Some owners have reported that their Arowanas can be trained to perform simple tricks or recognize specific feeding routines.
  5. Lung-Like Swim Bladder: Arowanas possess a unique lung-like swim bladder that allows them to gulp air from the water’s surface. This adaptation enables them to survive in low-oxygen environments or stagnant waters where other fish may struggle to thrive.
  6. Slow Growth Rate: While Arowanas have long lifespans, they also exhibit a slow growth rate compared to other fish species. It may take several years for them to reach their maximum size, and during this time, proper nutrition and care are essential to ensure healthy growth.
  7. Variety of Scale Patterns: Arowanas display a wide range of scale patterns, including crosshatch, mosaic, and pearl scales. These patterns contribute to their overall beauty and uniqueness, making each individual fish visually distinct.
  8. Mouthbrooders: Some Arowana species, such as the Asian Arowana, are mouthbrooders. This means that the males will hold fertilized eggs in their mouths until they hatch. It’s a fascinating reproductive behavior that enhances the survival rate of the offspring.

Understanding these characteristics will help you appreciate the incredible nature of Arowana fish and provide them with the care and environment they need to thrive in captivity.

Popular Species of Arowana

Several species of Arowana are highly sought-after by fish enthusiasts. Here are a few popular ones:

  1. Red Arowana: The Red Arowana, also known as the Super Red Arowana, is highly sought after for its vibrant red coloration. It is considered one of the most visually stunning species among Arowanas.
  2. Green Arowana: The Green Arowana, as the name suggests, displays beautiful shades of green on its scales. It is known for its graceful swimming style and is often favored for its unique coloration.
  3. Golden Arowana: The Golden Arowana is prized for its bright golden scales, resembling the color of 24-karat gold. It is regarded as a symbol of wealth and prosperity in some cultures.
  4. Banjar Red Arowana: The Banjar Red Arowana originates from the Indonesian island of Kalimantan (Borneo). It is admired for its deep red coloration and is highly regarded by Arowana enthusiasts.
  5. Crossback Golden Arowana: The Crossback Golden Arowana is distinguished by its metallic gold scales and a prominent cross-shaped pattern on its back. It is considered one of the most desirable and valuable Arowana species.
  6. Jardini Arowana: The Jardini Arowana, also known as the Gulf Saratoga, is native to Australia. It features a beautiful silver body with black markings and is appreciated for its elegant appearance.

Remember, each Arowana species has its own unique characteristics, colors, and patterns, making them fascinating additions to any aquarium. When choosing an Arowana, consider factors such as personal preference, availability, and the specific care requirements of the species you’re interested in.

Caring for Arowana Fish

To ensure the well-being of your Arowana fish, it is essential to provide them with proper care and a suitable environment. Here are some key considerations:

  1. Aquarium Setup: Arowanas require spacious tanks with ample swimming space. A tank of at least 150 gallons is recommended for juvenile Arowanas, while larger adults may need tanks exceeding 250 gallons.
  2. Water Conditions: Arowanas prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5. Regular water testing and maintenance are necessary to keep the water quality optimal.
  3. Dietary Needs: Arowanas are carnivorous and primarily feed on live food such as insects, small fish, and crustaceans. A balanced diet that includes a variety of high-quality pellets, frozen foods, and occasional live feedings is essential for their health.
  4. Tankmates and Compatibility: Due to their predatory nature and large size, Arowanas are best kept in solitary tanks or with carefully selected tankmates that can coexist peacefully.

Legal Considerations

Legal considerations regarding Arowana fish are important to ensure that their trade and ownership align with conservation efforts and regulations. Here are some additional details:

  1. CITES Protection: The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) lists several species of Arowana fish under its Appendix I or II. This means that international trade of these species is regulated, and permits may be required for their import or export.
  2. Restricted Species: Certain species of Arowana, such as the Asian Arowana (Scleropages formosus), are protected and strictly regulated due to their endangered status in the wild. It is crucial to research and understand the specific regulations in your country regarding the ownership and trade of these protected species.
  3. Permit Requirements: Depending on your location, obtaining permits or licenses may be necessary to legally own and trade Arowana fish. These permits ensure that the fish being traded are legally obtained and not sourced from illegal or unsustainable practices.
  4. Microchipping and Certification: Some countries require Arowanas to be microchipped and certified to ensure traceability and authenticity. These measures help prevent illegal trading and protect the integrity of the species.
  5. Local Laws and Regulations: In addition to international regulations, it is essential to be aware of local laws and regulations regarding the ownership, import, and sale of Arowana fish. These regulations can vary from region to region and may include restrictions on certain species or specific requirements for housing and care.

It is crucial to research and comply with all legal requirements when considering the acquisition of Arowana fish. This helps support conservation efforts, prevent illegal trade, and ensure the welfare of these magnificent creatures.

Always consult with local authorities, fishkeeping organizations, or reputable experts to stay informed about the specific legal considerations and requirements related to Arowana fish in your area.


Arowana fish are captivating creatures that bring beauty and elegance to any aquarium. Their vibrant colors, unique characteristics, and long lifespans make them a favorite among fish enthusiasts. By understanding their needs and providing proper care, you can create a thriving environment for these majestic fish. However, always remember to adhere to legal regulations to protect the conservation of these magnificent species.

Now that you’ve gained insight into the fascinating world of Arowana fish, why not consider adding these captivating creatures to your aquarium? Explore the mesmerizing world of Arowanas and embark on an aquatic adventure like no other!

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice. Consult with experts and reputable sources for specific guidance on caring for Arowana fish.

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