10 Arowana Buying Tips: Choosing the Perfect Arowana with Confidence

arowana buying tips


Are you planning to join the club of elite Arowana enthusiasts but don’t know where to start? Known as the “Four-Feet Dragon of Water,” Arowanas are some of the most fascinating and sought-after freshwater fish in the world.

Our comprehensive guide will illuminate key aspects such as understanding different speciesselecting a healthy fishsetting up an ideal tank environment, plus tips for diet and cohabitation with other aquatic life.

Dive into this treasure trove of Arowana buying tips; your journey to becoming an accomplished Arowana hobbyist starts here!

Key Takeaways

  • Thorough research and understanding of Arowana species and care requirements are crucial before buying an Arowana fish.
  • Research reputable breeders and sellers to ensure you purchase a healthy Arowana from a trusted source.
  • Consider tank setup and maintenance requirements, including adequate tank size, water conditions, filtration system, and cleaning schedule.
  • Tips for selecting a healthy Arowana include observing behavior and color vibrancy, checking fin condition and movement, evaluating whisker and scale health, examining eye and gill cover appearance, and considering body shape and head structure.

Research And Learn Before Buying An Arowana

Before purchasing an Arowana, it is important to conduct thorough research to understand the various species of Arowanas and their care requirements, as well as to find reputable breeders and sellers.

Understand Arowana Species And Care Requirements

Delving into the world of Arowana is an adventure in itself, offering an array of species each more majestic than the last. The meticulously selected Arowana should be treated as a prized possession, particularly because this “Four-feet Dragon of Water” is globally recognized for its unique beauty.

However, it’s imperative to comprehend that not all Arowanas are created equal. Variations exist among various breeds, from their vibrant colors and patterns to their distinct characteristics and behavior.

Caring for your aquatic jewel goes beyond mere aesthetics—it requires practical knowledge about its needs and habits. This starts with the right environment where these gorgeous creatures can thrive.

The minimum recommended tank size for any beginner hobbyist should be at least 125 gallons — large enough to accommodate the adult-sized fish which can grow up to four feet long! Additionally, maintaining water clarity is non-negotiable as it directly affects the health of your pet fish.

Feeding routines also need special attention: remember that Arowanas are carnivorous by nature with hearty appetites to boot—offering live or frozen foods like crickets or shrimp will keep your beloved fish satisfied and healthy.

Above all else, consistent care—and a devoted hobbyist—are both prerequisites when you embark on this exciting journey towards becoming a successful Arowana owner.

arowana buying tips
Photo Credit: Jeffry Surianto

Research Reputable Breeders And Sellers

Knowing where to buy your Arowana fish can greatly impact the quality and health of your new aquatic addition. One crucial step in buying an Arowana is seeking out reputable breeders and sellers.

These professionals raise their fish in optimal conditions, ensuring they have access to a clean environment, adequate diet, and proper healthcare.

Reputable breeders prioritize ethical practices over large-scale profit, breeding only healthy specimens with good genes – leading to healthier offspring more likely to thrive in your care. An essential part of researching breeders involves looking into their history within the aquarist community.

Check for consistently positive reviews from past customers who’ve purchased a quality Arowana fish from them.

Equally important is avoiding backwater operations or online scams offering low-cost Arowanas as these often lead to heartache down the line due to poor health or unlawful sourcing of these “Four-Feet Dragon of Water.” Your ideal scenario involves finding a certified breeder committed to raising strong, vibrant Arowanas that could be a proud addition to any aquarium!

A commitment at this stage will surely influence your subsequent care instructions significantly making “Researching reputable breeders and sellers” one of the vital factors you should consider when on an Arowana selection guide.

Consider Tank Setup And Maintenance Requirements

Setting up the right environment for your Arowana and maintaining it is crucial for the fish’s health. Key considerations include:

  1. Ensuring an adequate tank size. An adult Arowana needs a tank of at least 250 gallons due to their large size and active nature.
  2. Providing proper water conditions. Arowanas prefer pH levels between 6-7 and temperatures around 77-85°F.
  3. Installing a powerful filtration system to maintain clean water quality, vital for the long-term health of Arowana as mentioned in our ‘Arowana care guide’.
  4. Utilizing a heating system to keep the water temperature stable, given Arowanas are tropical freshwater fish.
  5. Designing tank layout with ample swimming space, bearing in mind that Arowanas are agile swimmers and require room to maneuver.
  6. Monitoring ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels regularly – imbalance can lead to distressful conditions for the fish.
  7. Incorporating dimmed lights since bright lightings can stress your four – feet dragon of water.
  8. Following a consistent cleaning schedule to prevent buildup of harmful toxins or bacteria in your Arowana setup.

Tips For Selecting A Healthy Arowana

When selecting a healthy Arowana, observe their behavior and color vibrancy, check the condition and movement of their fins, evaluate the health of their whiskers and scales, examine the appearance of their eyes and gill covers, and consider their body shape and head structure.

Color vibrancyVibrant colors indicate a healthy fish.
Swimming postureThe Arowana should glide up and down the tank effortlessly with smooth and graceful turns. Its body should be horizontally level.
Tail Fins, Pectoral FinsWatch for spread tail fins and widespread pectoral fins. Avoid fish with pectoral fins too close together.
BarbelsThe whiskers (barbels) should be straight, undamaged, and of equal length. Check for damage around the base.
EyesExamine the eyes closely for clarity, absence of cloudiness, and proportionate size to the fish’s body.
Body shapeLook for a broad and deep shape with a pointed head. Preferably, select a fish with a slight incline from head to back.
ScalesSeek an Arowana with large, well-defined scales aligned straight along the body, without any crooked scales.
Gill coverThe gill cover should be flat and circular, and observe small, subtle gill movements to ensure correct breathing.
Tips for selecting a healthy Arowana.

(a) Color Vibrancy

Vibrant colors indicate a healthy fish, with distinct patterns and markings that are characteristic of the particular species or variety. Keep in mind that stress or poor health can cause dull colors or lethargic behavior, so it’s crucial to choose an Arowana that displays signs of vitality and liveliness.

(b) Swimming Posture: The Way Arowana Glides

Arowana swimming posture is a crucial factor to consider when purchasing this majestic fish. Watch how effortlessly it glides up and down the tank, and observe the smooth and graceful turns. The body should be level horizontally while swimming, indicating a healthy swim bladder. Arowanas are typically found in the top 16 inches of the tank, so ensure they stay in this area. Pay close attention to the fish’s movement, with only the back half of the body in motion while the head remains still. Any jerky or stiff swimming could indicate illness and should be avoided.

(c) Tail Fins and Pectoral Fins: Indicators of Health

The condition and movement of the tail and pectoral fins are crucial indicators of an Arowana’s health. Observe if the tail fins are spread open and if the front fins are widespread. Arowanas with pectoral fins too close together at the front should be avoided. When examining the fins, ensure that the color is even and the fin rays are straight. Don’t be deterred by smaller fins in certain Arowana species, as this is natural for some varieties.

(d) Barbels: Whiskers as a Reflection of Health

The barbels, or whiskers, of an Arowana should also be carefully evaluated. These whiskers play a vital role in the fish’s navigation and should be straight and of equal length. Examine the base of the whiskers for any signs of damage, as this is where it is most likely to occur. The color of the whiskers should match the rest of the fish’s body. A fish with long and strong whiskers is indicative of good overall health.

(e) Eyes: Windows to the Arowana’s Well-being

The eyes of an Arowana can provide valuable insight into its health. Take a close look and ensure that the eyes are clear and free from any cloudiness. The size of the eyes should be proportionate to the fish’s body and should not protrude excessively from the head. Clear and healthy eyes are indicative of a fish in good overall health.

(f) Body Shape: A Strong and Graceful Presence

The body shape of an Arowana is an important factor to consider when making a purchase. Look for a broad and deep body with a pointed head. Ideally, there should be a slight incline between the head and back. The broadness and powerful appearance of the Arowana’s body contribute to its beauty and can impact its price. A fish with a strong and well-proportioned body is an indication of good genetics and overall health.

(g) Scales: A Mark of Quality

When examining an Arowana, pay close attention to the scales. Look for large scales that are well-defined and aligned along the body in a straight manner. Avoid fish with crooked or damaged scales, as this could be a sign of poor health or previous injuries. Healthy scales should be smooth, intact, and vibrant in color. The quality of the scales is an important aspect to consider when selecting a high-quality Arowana.

(h) Gill Cover: A Sign of Proper Breathing

The gill cover, or operculum, should be flat against the body of the fish and have a circular shape. Observe the movement of the gills to ensure that the Arowana is breathing correctly. The gill movement should be small and barely visible. This indicates that the fish is obtaining the necessary oxygen. Properly functioning gill covers are indicative of a healthy Arowana.

Considerations For Tank Setup And Maintenance

When setting up a tank for your Arowana, it is important to provide the appropriate size and water conditions. Use suitable filtration systems to maintain clean water quality and ensure proper feeding and diet requirements are met to keep your Arowana healthy and thriving.

Provide Appropriate Tank Size And Water Conditions

To ensure the health and well-being of your Arowana fish, it’s crucial to provide them with the appropriate tank size and water conditions. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Tank size: Arowanas can grow quite large, so it’s essential to provide them with a spacious tank. Ideally, a tank that is at least 250 gallons or more is recommended for adult Arowanas. This will give them enough space to swim freely and prevent stunted growth or stress-related problems.
  2. Water temperature: Arowanas thrive in tropical freshwater environments with temperatures ranging from 75°F to 86°F (24°C to 30°C). Use a reliable aquarium heater to maintain a stable temperature within this range.
  3. Water pH level: Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH level, ideally between 6.5 and 7.5. Regularly test the water’s pH level using an aquarium test kit and make necessary adjustments if needed.
  4. Water hardness: Arowanas prefer slightly soft to moderately hard water with a hardness range of 5-12 dGH (degrees of general hardness). You can use additives or filtration systems specifically designed for adjusting water hardness.
  5. Filtration system: Invest in a high-quality filtration system capable of handling the waste produced by an Arowana fish. A combination of mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration will help keep the water clean and free from harmful substances.
  6. Water circulation and oxygenation: Arowanas require good water circulation and sufficient oxygen levels for their well-being. Consider using a strong aquarium pump or powerhead to create gentle water movement, as well as an air pump or diffuser for adequate oxygenation.
  7. Lighting: Provide your Arowana with appropriate lighting conditions simulating their natural habitat. Use LED lights that offer both intensity control and color customization options.

Use Suitable Filtration Systems

To maintain a healthy and thriving Arowana fish, it is crucial to invest in suitable filtration systems for your tank. Arowanas are large and produce a significant amount of waste, so efficient filtration is necessary to keep the water clean and free from harmful substances.

By using high-quality filters that can handle the size of your tank and provide adequate mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration, you can create an optimal environment for your Arowana.

This will help remove debris, excess food, and toxins from the water, ensuring that your fish stay healthy and happy. Clean water quality is essential for the overall well-being of your Arowana fish by reducing stress levels, preventing diseases, promoting growth, and enhancing their vibrant colors.

Ensure Proper Feeding And Diet Requirements

Proper feeding and diet are crucial for the health and well-being of your Arowana fish. Here are some essential tips to ensure you meet their dietary needs:

  1. Provide a balanced diet: Feed your Arowana a variety of foods to meet its nutritional requirements. Include high-quality pellets, frozen or live foods such as shrimp, worms, and small fish in their diet.
  2. Feed appropriate portions: Avoid overfeeding your Arowana as it can lead to obesity and other health issues. Offer an amount that they can consume within a few minutes, removing any uneaten food afterward.
  3. Feed multiple times a day: Arowanas have big appetites and prefer smaller meals throughout the day. Split their daily food portion into two or three feedings to prevent them from gulping down large amounts at once.
  4. Supplement with vitamins and minerals: Consider adding vitamin and mineral supplements to your Arowana’s diet to enhance their overall health. Consult with a veterinarian or knowledgeable aquatic specialist for recommended supplements.
  5. Offer live foods occasionally: In addition to regular pellet or frozen food feedings, provide occasional live foods like feeder fish or insects to simulate natural hunting behavior and add variety to their diet.
  6. Monitor water quality during feeding: Uneaten food can quickly degrade water quality, leading to ammonia spikes and other potential problems. Make sure any uneaten food is promptly removed from the tank after each feeding.
  7. Adjust diet for growth stages: Young Arowanas require more protein-rich foods for optimal growth while adult specimens should be transitioned towards a more varied diet with fewer protein sources.
  8. Consider dietary preferences: Some Arowanas may have specific preferences when it comes to food. Pay attention to what they readily accept and adjust their diet accordingly while still ensuring nutritional balance.
  9. Introduce natural options: Besides commercial fish foods, consider offering fresh fruits or vegetables as occasional treats for added variety. Examples include blanched spinach, peas, or even small pieces of fruits like melon.
  10. Observe and adapt: Regularly monitor your Arowana’s health and behavior to ensure they are thriving on their current diet. If you notice any signs of poor appetite or abnormal behavior, consult with an aquatic specialist for guidance.

Compatibility With Other Fish In Your Tank

Choosing compatible tank mates for your Arowana is crucial to maintaining a peaceful and stress-free aquarium environment. As an aggressive predator, the Arowana may see smaller fish as potential snacks, so it’s important to select suitable companions that can coexist peacefully.

Avoid keeping any fish that could fit in the Arowana’s mouth or have long trailing fins.

One popular option for tank mates are bottom-dwelling species like clown loaches, catfish or plecos. These fish tend to stay out of the Arowana’s way and occupy a different area of the tank, reducing the chances of conflict.

Additionally, large cichlids such as Oscars or Flowerhorns can withstand the assertive nature of an Arowana.

When considering tank mates, keep in mind that each individual fish has its own temperament. Some may be more aggressive than others, even within species known for their compatibility with Arowanas.

It’s essential to monitor interactions closely when introducing new fish into your tank and be prepared to make adjustments if needed.

Remember, always research each potential tank mate thoroughly before adding them to your aquarium. Understanding their size requirements, activity levels, diet preferences, and aggression levels will help you make informed decisions about compatibility.

By creating a harmonious community within your aquarium, you’ll be able to enjoy both your majestic Arowana and its companions thriving together in a beautiful underwater world.

Legalities And Regulations Of Arowana Ownership

Legalities and regulations surrounding Arowana ownership are crucial for new hobbyists to understand before purchasing this prized fish. It is important to note that Arowanas are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which means that there are strict rules regarding their import, export, and ownership.

To legally own an Arowana, you need to ensure that it has been bred in captivity rather than caught from the wild. This is because wild-caught Arowanas contribute to their declining numbers in natural habitats.

Reputable breeders will provide necessary documentation to prove the captive breeding origin of their fish.

In addition, some countries have specific regulations when it comes to owning certain species of Arowanas. For example, the Asian or Golden Arowana (Scleropages formosus) is restricted or prohibited in many places due to its endangered status.

Always check with local authorities and research any potential legal restrictions before making a purchase.

Understanding and adhering to these legalities and regulations not only ensures that you are acting responsibly as an aquarist but also helps protect the sustainability of these magnificent fishes’ populations in their native environments.

Check out our blog post “Are Arowana Illegal in the US?” to help with your due diligence!


In conclusion, purchasing an Arowana fish can be an exciting and rewarding experience for new hobbyists. By following these 10 essential buying tips, you can ensure that you select a healthy and thriving Arowana for your aquarium.

Remember to do thorough research, carefully observe the fish’s condition, consider tank setup requirements, and understand compatibility with other tank mates. With proper care and attention, your Arowana will grace your aquarium with its beauty and elegance for years to come.

Happy fishkeeping!

Frequently Asked Questions

When buying an Arowana fish, it’s important to choose a healthy specimen. Look for bright and vibrant colors, straight barbels, clear eyes, intact fins, large and well-defined scales, flat and circular gill covers, and active swimming behavior. Avoid fish that appear lethargic or have any signs of disease.

Arowana fish can grow quite large, reaching up to 36 inches in length depending on the species. It’s crucial to provide them with a spacious tank that is at least three times their body length to ensure they have enough room to swim and thrive comfortably.

Yes, Arowanas prefer warm tropical waters with temperatures between 76-86°F (24-30°C). They also require clean water with proper filtration as they are sensitive to poor water quality. Maintaining appropriate pH levels and providing regular partial water changes are essential for their well-being.

While not absolutely necessary, certain equipment such as a sturdy lid or cover is essential as Arowanas are known to be skilled jumpers. Additionally, providing hiding places like rocks or driftwood can create a more natural environment for your fish while adding some visual interest to the tank setup.

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