The Ultimate Arowana Care Guide: From Tank Setup to Feeding

arowana care

Introduction: Unlocking the Art of Arowana Care

Arowana fish, with their majestic presence and captivating allure, have emerged as one of the most fascinating species in the world of aquarium hobbyists. The journey of caring for these magnificent creatures goes beyond mere admiration – it requires dedication, knowledge, and a commitment to their well-being. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of arowana care, empowering you to provide the optimal environment and attention necessary for their thriving existence.

Arowana Fish: Beauty and Elegance in Aquatic Form

From the depths of their native habitats to the tanks of enthusiastic aquarists, arowana fish have enthralled and inspired awe. These aquatic marvels boast unique physical characteristics and behaviors that set them apart. With their elongated bodies, vividly colored scales, and graceful movements, arowanas are true works of art in the underwater realm. Understanding their distinct attributes is the first step towards ensuring their health and happiness.

The Importance of Proper Arowana Care

As guardians of these extraordinary creatures, we bear the responsibility of providing them with the utmost care and attention. The well-being of arowana fish hinges on the knowledge and dedication we invest in their care. By embarking on this journey, you are taking a proactive role in safeguarding the health and longevity of these remarkable beings. Together, let us unravel the secrets of arowana care and unlock the art of nurturing them in captivity.

Setting Up the Ideal Tank for Arowana Care

Importance of a Suitable Tank Size for Arowana Fish

Providing a spacious and comfortable habitat is essential when setting up a tank for your arowana fish. These magnificent creatures require ample swimming space to exhibit their natural behaviors and thrive in captivity. Arowanas are known for their impressive size and energetic nature, so selecting an appropriately sized tank is of utmost importance.

Providing a larger tank allows them to swim freely, reducing stress and promoting overall health. It is crucial to understand the specific tank capacity requirements based on the size and species of your arowana. Generally, juvenile arowanas thrive in tanks with capacities of at least 100 gallons, while adult specimens require larger tanks, such as 200 gallons or more, to accommodate their size and movements comfortably.

Necessary Equipment and Accessories for an Arowana Tank

To create an optimal environment for your arowana fish, certain equipment and accessories are vital for their well-being.

Filtration System

A robust filtration system plays a pivotal role in maintaining excellent water quality. It helps remove impurities, toxins, and waste, ensuring a clean and healthy environment for your arowanas. Choose a filtration system suitable for the size of your tank, considering both mechanical and biological filtration to effectively eliminate debris and maintain a stable nitrogen cycle.


Adequate lighting is crucial for arowana health and well-being. Ambient lighting mimics their natural habitat, providing a sense of comfort and normalcy. Additionally, UV lighting is essential for the synthesis of vitamin D, which aids in calcium absorption and promotes strong bone development. Ensure you provide appropriate lighting conditions to support the overall vitality of your arowanas.


Arowanas are tropical fish, sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Maintaining a stable and suitable temperature range is imperative for their health. Use high-quality aquarium heaters with accurate temperature control to maintain the optimal temperature range of 75-82°F (24-28°C) for most arowana species.

Glass Thickness

When selecting a tank, prioritize using thick and sturdy glass. Arowanas are powerful swimmers and can exert substantial pressure on the tank walls. Thicker glass helps prevent any potential damage or risk of breakage, ensuring the safety and longevity of your arowana habitat.

Stand Selection

Choosing a strong and stable stand is essential to support the weight of your tank and arowana fish. Opt for stands made of robust materials such as steel or solid wood, designed specifically to handle the weight and size of your tank. Ensure the stand provides even support along the entire base of the tank, minimizing any stress points.

Tank Lid

A properly fitted tank lid is crucial to prevent arowanas from jumping out of the tank. Ensure there are no gaps or openings that would allow them to escape. A secure lid also helps maintain stable humidity levels and prevents unwanted debris from entering the tank.

Creating a Comfortable and Stimulating Environment

In addition to essential equipment, creating a comfortable and stimulating environment enhances the well-being of your arowana fish.

Decor and Substrate

Incorporate suitable decor such as rocks, driftwood, and caves to create hiding spots and territorial boundaries within the tank. Arowanas appreciate a sense of security and enjoy exploring their surroundings. Utilize materials that are safe and do not leach harmful substances into the water. Choose a substrate that suits their natural habitat, such as fine gravel or sand, providing a natural and aesthetic appeal.


Live or artificial plants offer numerous benefits in an arowana tank. They provide shelter, mimic natural habitats, and contribute to water quality by absorbing nitrates and enhancing oxygenation. If using live plants, ensure they are compatible with arowana care requirements and that they can withstand the arowana’s potential nibbling or uprooting behavior.

Water Flow

Arowanas are naturally drawn to flowing water, as it mimics their natural habitats and supports their well-being. Consider incorporating a water circulation system or carefully positioned water outlets to create gentle currents within the tank. This not only enhances oxygenation but also stimulates the arowanas’ natural instincts, keeping them active and engaged.

Optimal Tank Placement in Your Home

The placement of your arowana tank within your home plays a crucial role in their overall well-being.

Placement Considerations

Choose a location that minimizes external stressors and disturbances. Avoid placing the tank near sources of excessive noise, such as loud appliances or high foot traffic areas. Additionally, consider temperature fluctuations caused by direct sunlight exposure or drafts from windows or doors. Maintaining a stable and suitable temperature range is essential for the health of your arowanas.

Stability and Safety

Ensure the tank is placed on a stable surface capable of supporting the weight of the tank, water, and equipment. Uneven surfaces can cause stress on the tank glass, potentially leading to cracks or breakage. Avoid placing the tank near edges or areas prone to accidental bumps. A stable and secure location minimizes the risk of accidents and ensures the longevity of your tank setup.


Leveling the tank is essential to distribute the weight evenly across the tank’s base and prevent undue stress on the glass. Use a leveling tool or adjust the stand or tank feet to achieve a perfectly level position. This promotes proper weight distribution, enhances the overall stability of the tank, and reduces the risk of glass damage.

Water Conditions and Quality

Ideal Water Parameters for Arowana Care

Maintaining optimal water parameters is crucial for the health and well-being of your arowana fish. These magnificent creatures have specific requirements when it comes to temperature, pH, and water hardness.


Arowanas thrive in tropical environments, requiring a consistent water temperature range of 75-82°F (24-28°C) to ensure their physiological functions operate optimally. Using a reliable aquarium heater with precise temperature control is essential in achieving and maintaining the ideal temperature for your arowanas.

pH Level

The pH level of the water plays a significant role in the overall health of your arowana fish. Aim to keep the pH within the slightly acidic to neutral range of 6.5-7.5. Monitoring and adjusting the pH using appropriate buffering agents or pH stabilizers help create a stable and suitable environment for your arowanas.

Water Hardness

Arowanas are generally adaptable to a range of water hardness, but it’s essential to aim for a moderate level to mimic their natural habitat. The ideal water hardness for arowana care falls within the range of 5-15 dGH (degrees of General Hardness). Testing your water source and making necessary adjustments using water conditioners or mineral supplements ensures the optimal hardness level for your arowanas.

Importance of Clean and Well-Oxygenated Water

Maintaining clean and well-oxygenated water is vital for the overall health and vitality of your arowana fish. These measures contribute to creating a thriving aquatic environment.

Regular Water Changes

Performing regular water changes helps remove accumulated toxins, waste, and pollutants from the tank. Aim for weekly or bi-weekly water changes of approximately 25-30% of the tank volume. This practice promotes water quality and reduces the risk of ammonia and nitrate buildup, ensuring a healthy and pristine environment for your arowanas.

Filtration System

A robust filtration system plays a key role in removing debris, excess food, and biological waste, effectively maintaining water quality. Consider a high-quality filtration system that combines mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration methods. Regularly clean and maintain the filtration media to ensure optimal performance.


Arowanas require well-oxygenated water to support their respiratory needs. Ensure adequate water circulation and surface agitation to facilitate oxygen exchange. This can be achieved through the use of air stones, water pumps, or powerheads strategically placed in the tank. Additionally, live plants contribute to oxygenation during daylight hours through the process of photosynthesis.

Lighting and the Day-Night Cycle for Arowana Fish

Proper lighting and the establishment of a day-night cycle are essential aspects of arowana care. These factors simulate their natural environment and contribute to their overall well-being.

Lighting Duration

Arowanas thrive in environments with a consistent day-night cycle. Aim for a lighting duration of 10-12 hours per day to replicate their natural habitat. Use a timer to automate the lighting schedule and ensure a consistent cycle.

Lighting Intensity

While arowanas appreciate well-lit environments, it’s important to strike a balance. Provide sufficient lighting intensity to mimic natural daylight, but avoid excessive brightness that may cause stress or discomfort. Use aquarium-specific lighting fixtures designed to provide appropriate illumination levels for aquatic plants, if present.

Sunlight Exposure for Arowana Fish

Direct sunlight exposure can have both positive and negative impacts on arowana fish. While natural sunlight offers certain benefits, caution should be exercised.

Sunlight provides a natural source of full-spectrum light, which can enhance the coloration and overall vibrancy of your arowanas. Additionally, exposure to natural sunlight may stimulate natural behaviors and support vitamin D synthesis.

Direct sunlight can also lead to excessive heat buildup and temperature fluctuations within the tank. This can be detrimental to the health of your arowanas, potentially causing stress and affecting water parameters. If you choose to expose your tank to sunlight, carefully monitor temperature levels and take necessary measures to prevent overheating, such as using shades or window films to diffuse sunlight.

Arowana Fish Diet for Arowana Care

Providing proper arowana care includes meeting their specific dietary needs to promote their optimal health and well-being. It is crucial to understand the dietary preferences of arowana fish and ensure they receive a varied and balanced diet. This focused attention to their diet contributes significantly to their overall vitality and ensures their care is well-rounded.

Arowana love live food.
Arowana love live food.

Dietary Preferences and the Love for Live Food

Arowana fish are renowned for their preference for live food. In their natural habitat, they thrive on a diet primarily consisting of small fish, insects, crustaceans, and even small reptiles. This predatory instinct drives their feeding behavior, and offering live food can stimulate their natural hunting instincts, promoting their physical and mental well-being.

For instance, arowana fish are known to exhibit an enthusiastic response when presented with live feeder fish such as guppies, goldfish, or small minnows. Watching them chase and capture their prey provides not only a source of nourishment but also an enriching and engaging activity for the arowanas.

In addition to live fish, arowanas relish the opportunity to hunt and devour live insects such as crickets, mealworms, or small grasshoppers. The wriggling movements and the challenge of capturing their prey offer a stimulating feeding experience that mimics their natural hunting instincts.

Some arowana keepers also provide live crustaceans like shrimp, prawns, or crayfish as occasional treats. These small aquatic creatures not only fulfill the arowanas’ nutritional needs but also provide a unique feeding opportunity that encourages them to exhibit their natural feeding behaviors.

By offering live food to your arowana fish, you not only cater to their dietary preferences but also provide them with an opportunity to engage in natural behaviors, promoting their physical and mental well-being. However, it’s important to note that live food should be sourced from reputable suppliers to ensure their quality and prevent the introduction of diseases into the aquarium environment.

Importance of a Varied and Balanced Diet

While live food is favored by arowana fish, it is crucial to provide a varied and balanced diet to meet their nutritional requirements. A diet solely comprised of live food may lack essential nutrients and lead to nutritional deficiencies over time. Introducing a variety of food types ensures a well-rounded nutritional profile, promoting optimal growth, vibrant colors, and overall health.

Incorporate a combination of live, frozen, and pellet food to ensure a balanced diet. Frozen food options include brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia, which retain high nutritional value and offer convenience. High-quality pellet food formulated specifically for arowanas should also be included as a staple part of their diet. These pellets are nutritionally balanced, providing essential vitamins, minerals, and proteins.

Feeding Frequency, Portion Sizes, and Food Options

Determining the appropriate feeding frequency and portion sizes for your arowana fish is essential to prevent overfeeding or undernourishment. As a general guideline, feed adult arowanas once a day, offering an amount they can consume within 2-3 minutes. It’s important to avoid overfeeding, as excess food can contribute to poor water quality.

For juvenile arowanas, increase the feeding frequency to two or three times a day, providing smaller portions to accommodate their growth and higher metabolic rate. Adjust the portion sizes as needed to ensure they consume the food within a few minutes.

When selecting food options, prioritize high-quality live or frozen food that mimic their natural diet. Consider nutrient-rich options such as small feeder fish, brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia. Introduce pellet food as a staple, using reputable brands that offer a well-balanced nutritional profile.

Identifying Hunger Signs in Arowana Fish

Monitoring your arowana fish for hunger signs is essential to ensure they receive adequate nutrition. Common hunger signs in arowanas include increased activity and swimming near the surface, showing heightened interest in food during feeding time, and displaying alert and attentive behavior.

It is important to strike a balance between feeding frequency and portion sizes to prevent overfeeding and associated health issues. Observing their behavior during feeding and adjusting the portion sizes accordingly helps maintain their optimal body condition and overall health.

Remember, each arowana fish may have slightly different feeding preferences and requirements. Regular observation and understanding their individual needs will guide you in providing the best feeding regimen for your arowana fish.

Arowana Fish Behavior, Health, and Common Diseases

Arowana fish exhibit fascinating behavior patterns and have unique social tendencies that contribute to their allure as captivating aquarium pets. Understanding their behavior, identifying signs of a healthy arowana, recognizing stress indicators, and being aware of common diseases are essential aspects of arowana care.

Behavior Patterns and Social Tendencies

Arowana fish are known for their majestic swimming style and graceful movements. These active and curious fish are often observed exploring their surroundings and patrolling their territory. They possess remarkable jumping abilities, allowing them to leap out of the water to catch prey or escape potential threats. Arowanas are predominantly solitary creatures, preferring their own space and displaying territorial behavior. However, they may tolerate tank mates of similar size and temperament, especially when provided with ample swimming space and appropriate tank decorations that offer hiding spots and territorial boundaries.

Signs of a Healthy Arowana

A happy and healthy arowana exhibits distinct characteristics that indicate its well-being. Active swimming is a clear sign of vitality, as these fish are naturally agile and constantly on the move. A robust appetite and enthusiastic feeding behavior demonstrate a strong and healthy metabolism. Arowanas with vibrant and lustrous colors, specific to their species, signify optimal health. These radiant hues are a result of good nutrition, excellent water quality, and suitable lighting conditions. Additionally, an attentive and alert demeanor, along with clear and bright eyes, are indicative of a thriving arowana.

Recognizing Signs of Stress

Stress can adversely affect the overall health of arowanas. Being able to identify stress indicators is crucial for promptly addressing and mitigating their causes. Common signs of stress include reduced appetite, sluggish or abnormal swimming patterns, unusual color changes (such as darkening or fading), frayed or clamped fins, and increased aggression or skittishness. Stress in arowanas can be caused by factors such as improper water conditions, overcrowding, incompatible tank mates, inadequate hiding spots, excessive noise or disturbance, and changes in their environment. It is important to create a serene and secure habitat that minimizes stressors to promote the well-being of your arowanas.

Specific Behaviors and Their Potential Causes

Arowanas may exhibit specific behaviors that can be indicative of underlying issues or environmental factors. Sitting at the bottom of the tank for extended periods may suggest health problems, such as swim bladder disorder or poor water quality. Staying in one corner can indicate stress, territorial disputes, or the need for additional hiding spots. Jerking movements, especially accompanied by scratching against tank surfaces, may signify the presence of parasites or skin irritations. It is crucial to observe these behaviors closely and take appropriate action to address their potential causes promptly.

Common Diseases in Arowana: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Despite being generally hardy, arowanas can be susceptible to certain diseases. Prompt recognition and treatment are essential for preventing further complications. Here are some common diseases, their symptoms, causes, and potential treatment options:

1. Dropsy (Edema)

  • Symptoms: Swollen abdomen, raised scales, loss of appetite, lethargy.
  • Causes: Bacterial infection, poor water quality, organ dysfunction.
  • Treatment: Isolate the affected fish, improve water quality, administer appropriate antibacterial medications, and address any underlying causes such as organ disorders or improper nutrition.

2. Ichthyophthiriasis (Ich)

  • Symptoms: White spots resembling grains of salt on the fish’s body, increased mucus production, flashing against tank surfaces.
  • Causes: Parasitic infection caused by Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, commonly present in aquarium environments.
  • Treatment: Increase water temperature to accelerate the parasite’s life cycle, administer appropriate medications like malachite green or copper-based treatments, and maintain optimal water conditions.

3. Fin Rot

  • Symptoms: Deterioration and discoloration of fins, frayed or ragged edges, lethargy.
  • Causes: Bacterial infection, poor water quality, injuries, or stress.
  • Treatment: Isolate affected fish, improve water conditions through regular water changes and filtration system maintenance, administer antibacterial treatments, and address underlying causes of stress or injuries.

Water Flow, Plants, and Water Quality for Arowana Care

Arowana fish, known for their majestic beauty and captivating presence, require specific environmental conditions to thrive in captivity. In this section, we will delve into various aspects of water quality and environmental enhancements that play a crucial role in providing optimal arowana care.

Flowing Water: Arowana’s Aquatic Preference and Benefits

Arowanas exhibit a natural affinity for flowing water, reminiscent of their native habitats. The preference for flowing water is deeply ingrained in their instincts and serves several essential benefits. By simulating their natural environment, flowing water provides a stimulating and enriching experience for arowanas, promoting their overall well-being. The gentle currents contribute to oxygenation, ensuring a constant supply of fresh air for the fish, while aiding in waste removal and maintaining water quality.

The Role of Live Plants in an Arowana Tank

Incorporating live plants into an arowana tank offers numerous advantages, both aesthetically and functionally. Live plants serve as natural decor, recreating a slice of nature within the aquarium. Beyond their visual appeal, live plants play a vital role in enhancing water quality. They act as natural filters, absorbing nitrates and other toxins, thereby helping to maintain a healthy and balanced ecosystem for arowanas. Additionally, live plants provide shelter, hiding spots, and territorial boundaries, reducing stress and creating a more natural and comfortable environment for the fish.

Maintaining Optimal Water Quality: Testing and Water Changes

Ensuring optimal water quality is paramount for the health and well-being of arowanas. Regular testing of water parameters such as temperature, pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels is crucial. This helps monitor any fluctuations or imbalances that could impact the fish’s overall health. Through regular testing, potential issues can be identified and promptly addressed. Additionally, regular water changes are essential to remove accumulated pollutants, refresh the water, and maintain stable water conditions. By adhering to a consistent water change schedule, you provide a clean and healthy environment, reducing the risk of waterborne diseases and promoting the longevity of your arowanas.

Oxygen Levels and Aeration Requirements

Arowanas, being highly active and energetic fish, require ample oxygen levels to support their metabolism and well-being. Adequate oxygenation is crucial for their respiratory functions and overall vitality. Proper aeration or the use of oxygen pumps ensures a steady supply of dissolved oxygen in the water. By maintaining optimal oxygen levels, you create an environment that promotes active swimming, vibrant colors, and overall good health for your arowanas.

Tap Water and Water Conditioning for Arowana Tanks

Tap water, commonly used as a source for aquariums, may contain chlorine, chloramines, heavy metals, or other harmful substances that can negatively impact arowanas. Therefore, it is essential to condition tap water before introducing it to the tank. Water conditioners, specifically designed for aquarium use, help neutralize chlorine and detoxify harmful elements, making the water safe for your arowanas. Investing in a reliable water conditioner is a vital step in providing a conducive and healthy aquatic environment for your prized fish.

Understanding Sleep Patterns for Arowana Care

In this section, we will explore the sleep patterns of arowanas and how they can serve as indicators of their physical and mental state.

Arowana Sleep Patterns

Arowanas are diurnal fish, meaning they are primarily active during the day and rest during the night. During their sleep cycles, arowanas may exhibit different behaviors, such as reduced movement, slower breathing, and a tendency to stay close to the bottom or within the cover of plants or structures in the tank. These sleep patterns indicate that the fish is in a state of rest and relaxation, allowing their bodies to recharge and recover.

Importance of a Quiet and Dark Environment for Sleep

Providing a tranquil and dimly lit environment during arowana sleep hours is crucial for their well-being. Just like humans, arowanas require a peaceful setting to achieve deep and restful sleep. Excessive noise, bright lights, or disturbances can disrupt their sleep cycles and cause stress. Therefore, it is essential to create a calm atmosphere in the surroundings of the tank, minimizing external disruptions that could disturb their sleep.

Nighttime Lighting: Do Arowana Fish Need Light?

A common question among arowana enthusiasts is whether these fish require light at night. While arowanas benefit from a dark and quiet sleep environment, some minimal lighting may be necessary for safety and navigation purposes. Installing a dim moonlight or using a night light can help maintain a low level of illumination without disturbing their sleep. However, it is crucial to strike a balance and ensure that the lighting is not excessive or disruptive to their sleep patterns.

Frequently Asked Questions

Arowanas can reach impressive sizes, with some species growing over three feet long, depending on factors like species, genetics, and care provided. For example, the Asian Arowana (Scleropages formosus) and the Silver Arowana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) are known to grow to lengths of 2 to 3 feet. The Jardini Arowana (Scleropages jardini) and the Black Arowana (Osteoglossum ferreirai) are also sizable species, reaching similar lengths.

The lifespan of Arowana varies, but in captivity, they generally live for around 15 to 20 years when provided with proper care, including suitable habitat, nutrition, and health maintenance.

Arowana are known for their rapid growth rate, and under optimal conditions, some species can grow several inches within a few months. However, growth rates may vary based on genetics, diet, water quality, and environmental factors.

Arowana are carnivorous fish, and their diet primarily consists of live food such as insects, small fish, and crustaceans. Providing a varied diet is essential to ensure their nutritional needs are met.

To encourage Arowana to eat pellets, it is recommended to gradually introduce them to the new food by offering a mix of pellets and their preferred live or frozen food. Soaking the pellets in water or fish vitamin supplements can enhance their appeal. Patience and persistence are key, as some Arowana may take time to adapt to the new food.

Baby Arowana can be fed a diet consisting of small live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia. As they grow, their diet can be gradually transitioned to larger prey items such as small fish or pellets, ensuring they receive proper nutrition for healthy development.

Arowana can survive for a few weeks without food, but prolonged periods of fasting can weaken their immune system and overall health. It is essential to provide regular and appropriate feeding to maintain their well-being.

Arowanas are highly valued and sought after by collectors and enthusiasts, which contributes to their high price in the market. Factors like their rarity, unique coloration, specific traits, and the demand for certain species or variants all influence their elevated price.

The most expensive Arowana species is the Asian or Asian Dragon Arowana (Scleropages formosus). It is highly valued for its vibrant colors, distinct scales, and graceful appearance. Within the Asian Arowana species, the Red Arowana is considered the most expensive due to its deep red coloration and association with good luck and prosperity. The rarity and limited availability of high-quality specimens, coupled with the cultural significance placed on these fish, contribute to their exceptionally high price in the market, often reaching tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single fish.

Choosing tank mates for arowana requires careful consideration, as they can be aggressive towards smaller fish or those with long fins. Compatible tank mates can include larger, robust fish with similar water parameter requirements and a temperament that can withstand the presence of an arowana.

In Feng Shui, the placement of an arowana tank is believed to bring prosperity and luck. It is recommended to place the tank in the wealth or abundance sector of the home or business, typically the southeast area.

In some cultures, different colors of arowana are associated with different types of luck. For example, red or gold arowana are believed to bring prosperity and good fortune, while other colors like silver or green may symbolize different aspects of luck.

Arowana fish are believed to bring luck and prosperity in Feng Shui. They are considered symbols of wealth and abundance, believed to attract positive energy and financial success. Placing an arowana in a specific area of your home or business is thought to enhance luck and promote prosperity.

Breeding Arowana can be a complex process that requires careful management of water conditions, and temperature, and providing suitable spawning conditions. Typically, it involves pairing compatible male and female arowana in a separate breeding tank and creating appropriate environmental cues to stimulate spawning behavior.

Certain species of arowana are prohibited or regulated in the United States due to concerns related to their conservation status and potential ecological impact if released into the wild. The import and possession of these species may be restricted to protect native ecosystems.

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