How to Care for Arowanas

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Known as one of the most exotic and expensive fish you will find in a tank. This species is definitely not suited for those who are just starting out with the aquarium hobby.

Arowanas require a great amount of care and are a huge investment. Considering the fact that they may live up to twenty years, it is a long-term gamble that will pay off in the end.

Arowana Origin

They can be found in many different places and these places have different conditions so did they start to differ between each other.

As one could imagine, they can be found all over the place. The rarest and most precious ones being the Asian Arowanas. Quite coincidentally, they are also the one with the biggest chance to go extinct as their number decrease every year. This has to do with the many myths surrounding this fish. The most prominent one being that it has lucky properties!

The first thing you will notice when you take a look at an Arowana is that they can get very long. Some of them reaching up to 36 inches. This means that if you want to keep an Arowana, you will have to ensure that it is accommodated in a large aquarium of at least 180 gallons when it’s fully grown.

If one had to comment on the way they interact with their environments, I would describe them as moderately aggressive. They mark their territories and don’t appreciate any sort of infringement on it, becoming really aggravated if a breach were to occur. This can also become a problem once you – their care giver – try and put your hand into the aquarium to clean. They aren’t appreciative of foreign objects entering their home.

Different Arowana Species

  • Silver Arowanas
  • Black Arowana
  • Asian Arowanas
  • African Arowanas
  • Jardini Arowana
  • Leichardti

Arowana Tank Setup

Tank Size

If one is serious about keeping an Arowana fish, I would heartily recommend buying aquariums that are at least 75 gallons, and that’s just temporary!

Later on, as it grows bigger, you should seriously consider expanding to an aquarium to at least 180 gallons as these fish grow long. If you plan on keeping multiple arowanas, a larger tank is a must, we’re talking 300+ gallons.

A lack of space may cause a stunt in their growth, but if they happen to grow regardless of their tank size they may be unable to turn within the aquarium.

Water Conditions for Arowanas

A good thing about Arowanas is that they are naturally resilient creatures. They tend to do well in all sorts of conditions and refuse to falter even after sustained exposure to poor tank conditions.

This doesn’t mean you can have no filter. Arowanas are MESSY eaters. We recommend using the best canister filter you can find. They provide excellent filtration for large aquariums not only by sucking up uneaten food and debris but by adding volume and adding flow.

If I had to give a definite pH amount, it would be 6, but some of them are kept at ranges that go as low as 4 and as high as 8. They prefer pH of 6.7 to 7.5.

In regards to temperature, they like it warm and ideally they would prefer it to be 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (24-30 degrees Celsius). Just keep in mind not to deviate that much and use this information with care in mind.

Look into investing into a powerhead to provide flow. The water should be constant and ‘aggressive’, just like the Arowana fish is. That will allow them to move and play around the aquarium, just how they like it best!

Decorations?

Your aquarium should be a task that is approached very carefully.They are known to be very protective of their environment and they like to snoop around the aquarium.

This means that any sort of props with sharp objects should be strongly avoided as they could potentially bruise themselves if startled, or worse – jump.

You should also keep in mind that Arowanas like to jump around and that they are well versed in it, so one should always keep the tank covered AND weighted. You don’t want your priced fishes to become land-bound!

Lighting for Arowanas

Most Arowana owners want their pets to be a certain color. That’s how they decide on the different light products they would want to use. I would recommend any aquarium LED light, not too much light but it should definitely bring out the colors of your arowana.

Remember to keep the lights out while the Arowana is sleeping.

Arowana Diet and Feeding

Arowanas are predators. Of course, one should provide them with a balanced and varied diet but let’s not forget that they like other animals the most when it comes to food.

The best food for monster fish are pellets. They rid the chance of parasites or diseases of being passed over. Also vegetables may be apart of the pellet, perfect balance!

For treats I would suggest feeding crickets, small frogs, and centipedes, as this will ensure a nice and balanced diet. These may pass on diseases if they were previously housed in poor living conditions. If you find them outside of your home make sure to give them a wash in case of harmful pesticides they may carry.

You can also feed smaller fish but DON’T do this often as Arowanas have been known to have problems with their eyes as a result of fat building up in their eye tissue!

This condition, named Drop-Eye has a lot of myths surrounding it. Some believe that it is caused by the Arowana’s constantly looking down but the truth is much more different. If you overexpose it to light, feed it poorly, or create an environment that stresses out the Arowana, Drop-Eye is bound to appear!

Arowana Tank Mates

  • Bichirs
  • Datnoids
  • Flagtail
  • Plecos
  • Large Cichlids
  • Clown Loaches
  • Peacock Bass
  • Silver Dollars

arowana-tank-mates

Tankmates are always a hit or miss as each fish has their own personality. When choosing a tankmate for an arowana you should pick fish(es) that won’t fit in it’s mouth and can compete with it, and handle their self. This keeps your Arowana from getting bored as it needs to “compete” for survival.

If you plan on housing multiple Arowanas, it’s possible but they CAN get very vindictive and territorial over each other if there isn’t a sufficient amount of space.

Another huge factor would have to be the size of the tank, if all species have enough territory under their control, disputes should be rare.

Breeding Arowanas

Getting two Arowana’s to mate is hard. Fhis fact is only exacerbated by them being in captivity.

There is a reason why they are a dying species, one of them being their slow matters of reproduction. In the wild, it may take weeks or months for two Arowanas to bond. They do so by biting each other’s tail and chasing each other around the water, which could be labeled as their mating ritual.

If you are a casual, there is not much that one can do to get them to breed. Even professionals have problems doing so, the best solution they came up with being held in ponds.

Considering the fact that most don’t own them. They can only hope that their Arowanas will breed on their own but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Final Thoughts

Arowanas are very exotic, expensive fish that require a lot of care. I’m sorry to say that I wouldn’t recommend this to the average hobbyist.

If this guide helped you care for an Arowana, drop a comment below! If you still have questions please feel free to contact us.

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