Cultivating Elegance: The Ultimate Guide to Arowana Care

Cultivating Elegance: The Ultimate Guide to Arowana Care

Arowanas, often hailed as the “dragons of the aquarium world” for their majestic appearance and powerful grace, symbolize wealth and prosperity in many cultures. Originating from the freshwater rivers and basins of South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia, these ancient fish captivate enthusiasts with their shimmering scales and unique hunting prowess. This comprehensive guide dives into the essentials of Arowana care, offering insights into creating the perfect habitat, dietary needs, and overcoming challenges to ensure your Arowana thrives.

Understanding Arowanas

Arowanas are large, surface-dwelling fish known for their elongated bodies, large scales, and the ability to leap from water to catch prey. They possess a unique, bony tongue equipped with teeth, an adaptation for their carnivorous diet. Their natural habitats are often shaded by overhanging vegetation, which influences their need for a similarly structured aquarium environment.

Tank Requirements

  1. Size Matters: Given their potential size, reaching up to 3 feet in captivity, Arowanas require spacious tanks. A minimum of 250 gallons is recommended for a single fish to ensure adequate swimming space.
  2. Water Conditions: Arowanas prefer slightly acidic to neutral water (pH 6.5-7.5) with temperatures between 75-86°F (24-30°C). Regular water changes and a powerful filtration system are crucial to maintain water quality and remove toxins.
  3. Secure Lid: Due to their jumping nature, a sturdy, weighted lid is essential to prevent escape and potential injury.
  4. Decor and Lighting: Include hiding spots and moderate lighting to mimic their natural habitat and reduce stress.

Diet and Nutrition

Arowanas are carnivorous, requiring a diet rich in protein. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of foods, including:

  • Live insects
  • Small fish
  • Shrimp
  • Specially formulated pellets

Feeding juvenile Arowanas 2-3 times a day and adults once a day is generally sufficient. Avoid overfeeding to maintain water quality and prevent health issues.

Health and Well-being

Regular monitoring for signs of stress or illness, such as listlessness, loss of appetite, or discoloration, is vital. Common health issues include:

  • Drop-Eye Syndrome: Often occurs in less spacious tanks and may require veterinary attention.
  • Parasites and Fungal Infections: Maintain water quality and use quarantine tanks for new fish to prevent outbreaks.

Social Behavior and Tank Mates

Arowanas can exhibit territorial behavior, so careful consideration is required when selecting tank mates. Compatible species include larger, peaceful fish that occupy different tank levels, such as:

  • Clown loaches
  • Plecos
  • Large catfish

Avoid overcrowding and ensure sufficient space for each species.

Legal Considerations

It’s essential to note that some Arowana species are protected under CITES due to overfishing and habitat loss. Always ensure your Arowana is sourced ethically and complies with local wildlife regulations.


Raising an Arowana is both a privilege and a challenge, requiring dedication and an understanding of their natural behavior and needs. By providing the right environment, diet, and care, your Arowana can become a breathtaking centerpiece of your aquatic collection, embodying the mystical qualities that have fascinated humans for centuries.