Arowana Information

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Matt created the topic: Arowana Information

Greetings,

The purpose of this thread is the specific discussion of Arowana and everything related to them. This is just my personal compilation based on experience raising the magnificent fish, and anyone with information to post is highly encouraged.

Basic information about arowana for those interested in keeping these fishes.

Size: These fish get big, seriously large for an aquarium on the order of 26-30” (61-76 cm), in the wild 40” (101 cm) is not unheard of.

Housing: As their size would indicate, these fish need a large tank. They are top level swimming predators and enjoy long stretches of swimming space. A tank of 250 US gallons (946L) would be my personal minimum recommendation. In addition to a large tank size, these fish are also nick named “water monkeys” as they are very acrobatic in the wild. They are famous jumpers and can easily launch themselves out of an aquarium with an improperly secured lid. A sturdy lid with weights, or strapping of some kind is required for the safety of the fish.

Care: Arowanas will adapt to most water supplies with ease, though they do need excellent water quality as in 0 ammonia & nitrite. Nitrates should be kept as low as possible, 20ppm of nitrate being ideal but lower is better. 50-75% water changes should be done at least once a week for these are large producers of high protein waste, more water changes are even better. Temperature should be between 80 and 84 degrees F. slightly higher will not harm them. Minimum tanks size for this fish (though very debatable) should be no less than 250 (6ftx3ftx2ft) gallons for a single arowana. For this fish to live comfortably, grow and live to its FULL potential however, A 478 gal (8ft x 4ft x2ft ) would be the ideal tank size for LIFE (this is of great debate as well). Silver Arowanas in particular are known to be quite "skittish" as far as fish go. They get scared very easily so a heavy tight fitting lid is a necessity. These fish are powerful jumpers, a sturdy lid made of materials such as acrylic should be used as arowana have been known to smash straight through glass lids, also a heavy object should be place over the lid as a large silver can knock a lid clear off the tank.

Diet: Arowana is a carnivorous fish. In wild, its food consist mainly insects, fishes, prawns, worms and small amphibians. Live food is preferred by arowana though they can be trained to accept other food. Variety in food is a MUST to avoid nutritional deficiency. Small arowana less than 6" (15cm) should be fed three times a day, medium arowana between 6" and 13.5" (15-35cm) twice a day and large arowana over 14"(35cm) once a day or alternate day. High fat food like feeder fish should only be used sparingly to avoid drop eye problem. If an arowana is overfed for a long period of time, it may lose its appetite and starve itself for a periods of a few days. Overfeeding can also shorten the lifespan of arowana and affect its breeding capability. Live food is generally more preferred then its counterpart; however the risk of introducing disease into the tank is increased when live food is used. This is especially true when the live food is waterborne (lives in water). Live food should be quarantined for at least a few days before feeding to the arowana. If you have doubts about certain food, the golden rule is "If in Doubt, Don't Use It". There are always other types of food available.

Species: There are 5 main types of arowana species, Asian, Australian, Silver, Black and African.


Silver Arowana: Cheap(in the US at least), docile, fairly hardy, and easy to find. Sounds good right? Not really, for one they reach a size that rivals that of a captive Ariapima. But thats why we love arowanas right? So whats really wrong with them? The fact that the majority offered for sale are captive bread thus creating an abundance of defects and disorders. Do not let this deter you from purchasing a silver Arowana as most of the defects tend to fall into the category of drop eye, which is discussed later.


Black Arowana: Similar to the Silver arowana, but without a lot of the common defects due to the fact they are wild caught, to the best of my knowledge and researching. The only problem with black arowana is they are becoming increasingly rare in the wild due to over fishing for them. This of course directly affects their price.


Jardini/Leichardti: Hailing from down-under these 2 fish are included together due to much debate as to if they are really a different fish at all. These fish are very attractive and quite the addition to a tank...... until they bring the demise of every fish that shares their tank. Keeping these fish in a community can be done but not without risk and sometimes proves impossible. If you can enjoy a tank with one resident then this fish is great for you. However if you enjoy a collection of impressive specimens and just one large, respected, and beautiful arowana then I suggest you look elsewhere.


African Arowana: Whats that giant minnow thing called? Its an African Arowana! Ok, so they aren't exactly beauty queens but they are an arowan. They get about as big as Aussies (slightly smaller than the South American varieties). The only problem is that they are filter feeders and need to be fed, even in adulthood, at least twice a day, not all of us have that time and capital rescorce to accomadate these feedings.


Asian Arowana: The coup de grâce of arowanas. Problem is its illegal in the US. Still it’s the most beautiful arowana to about anyone you ask. Too bad, maybe someday we could keep these fish without having nightmares about prison. To those of you outside of the U.S you better have one of these, they are in many ways the perfect arowana, not as big as the others, not picky, very personable, and just plain pretty, this is THE FISH man!

Drop Eye: An ailment common in many arowana species. There is much speculation about what exactly causes the condition, from over breeding to fat content in their diets. From my experience with DE, it doesn't seem to even phase the fish. Two of my three aro's have DE and are unaffected by it. So if yours develops drop eye, don't be alarmed, there probably wasn't anything you could do about it anyway.


Tankmates: Arowana being top level swimmers, that rarely visit the bottom of the tank and swim almost nonstop can be annoying to some fish. That being said there are several species that can coexist with arowana successfully. These are a few examples from my personal experience and by no means a definitive tell all list, every fish is different and some will react differently towards others. Oscars, silver dollars (caution, must be large silver dollars, or they will be eaten), bottom dwelling fish like, catfish (mine live with two lima shovelnoses and two featherfin), bichirs, eels, stingrays, knife fish, pleco's. As I said, not a comprehensive list, and above all, tankmates should be of a size large enough not to fit into the arowanas mouth, which is quite large when they actually open it fully.

If there's anything I've over looked, this will be a constantly evolving post so feel free to add information and opinions and they will be incorporated as necessary.

TL's Arowana Video, Excellent stuff, and a very nice guy I've spoken to a few times.


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Nina_W replied the topic: Re: Arowana Information

Really nice post!
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Matt replied the topic: Re: Arowana Information

Edit tracking:

5/14/12:
Fixed tank volume discrepancy
Added Photos of various species
Added drop eye information
Added Tankmate suggestions

cebosound wrote: Waterchange, Waterchange, waterchange... till your knuckles are bleeding. ;) :lol:

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seanjohn25 replied the topic: Re: Arowana Information

Good info! This should be stickied so its available for anyone who is interested in arowanas. Also I think you should add something in about tank mates.

Quick question: on overfeeding, do you feed juveniles until their belly is slightly plump like an oscar, or is it better to feed them small quantity to avoid hunger strikes? I ask because my aro has been getting lazy at eating every last pellet, and thought it could be caused by over feeding.

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ehall67 replied the topic: Re: Arowana Information

nice thread ... makes me think about getting one (but only if i can get that bad ass asian) !!! def need to add tank mates... also got any picture of yours eating? or maybe a video of it ? add that to the main part but like it man...

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Matt replied the topic: Re: Arowana Information

@SeanJohn - It will depend on the size of your aro how much you need to feed him and how often. Juvies under 6" need smaller, but frequent feedings, so I would put in as much as he'll eat in a couple minutes, 3x per day. Once he's over 6" and up until about 13" or so, you can scale back to 2x per day. Once over about 14" then cutting down to once a day is fine.

Tankmates are so varied by species, I think that's a subject in itself almost, but I can sure add a few suggestions based on personal experience and some researching.

@ehall Thanks, I'll have to get my wife to film me hand feeding tilapia to the big boy one of these days, something mundane like that never crosses my mind to film lol.

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Rocksor replied the topic: Re: Arowana Information

What's the physical difference between the australian (jardini) and the silver of black arrowana? Is it just color?

I saw a arrowana labelelled jardinia at the LFS $199 at about 30+". Nice looking, with a dark coloring, maybe black.
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Matt replied the topic: Re: Arowana Information

Tail structure is the biggest distinguishing characteristic. The black Aro has a tail structure more like the silver, while the Jardini tends to look more like the Asian Aro.

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seanjohn25 replied the topic: Re: Arowana Information

Right on. Yeah he is about 7.5" already (grown about .75" in 2 weeks) and I feed him twice a day with 7 or so carnivore sticks, and he'll eat about 4-5 and lose interest. Adding tilapia and other variations into the mix as well.

Yeah I don't mean like exact tank mates, but at least a bit of your personal advice on what tank mate are good like size, aggressiveness etc. From my 2 weeks of aro experience, highly aggressive fish are annoyed with aros (such as my jack dempsey which I got rid of once the aro was introduced) and they will attack over food or whatnot.

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Rocksor replied the topic: Re: Arowana Information

So a jardini has a bigger fan tail versus the black and silver?

Also, do all the various types max out at the same size?
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