Why Do Arowana Jump Out of Tanks? Delve into the Mystery

why do arowana jump


Arowanas, often referred to as “living fossils,” are fascinating and beautiful fish that can captivate the hearts of many aquarists. However, their mysterious jumping behavior has puzzled both experienced hobbyists and beginners alike.

Why do Arowana jump? In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind arowana’s tendency to leap out of tanks, delving into factors like tank conditionswater qualitynatural instincts, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Arowanas jump out of tanks due to various reasons, including poor water qualityovercrowdinglack of hiding places, and aggression from other fish.
  • Providing suitable tank conditions like ample swimming space, and appropriate decorations creating natural hideaways for your Arowanas to reduce stress levels; contributing factors can be achieved through proper filtration systems and adequate oxygenation in the tank.
  • Understanding your Arowana’s behavior pattern and meeting their dietary needs while avoiding overfeeding could help minimize jumping behaviors related to hunger or boredom.

Understanding Arowana Fish

Arowana fish have distinct physical characteristics, such as elongated bodies, large scales, and a unique tongue structure that allows them to catch prey easily.

Physical Characteristics

Arowanas, often referred to as “living fossils,” are large and visually striking freshwater fish that can grow up to three feet in length. Their elongated bodies resemble those of ancient fish, with thick scales featuring attractive colors ranging from silver and gold to green or red.

These magnificent creatures have a distinctive feature known as an “upturned” mouth, enabling them to efficiently feed on insects, crustaceans, and small fish that dwell near the water surface.

This adaptation also contributes to their impressive jumping abilities; Arowanas are capable of leaping over six feet out of the water when hunting for food or attempting escape from predators.

Behavioral Traits

Arowana fish are known for their unique behavioral traits, which can make them a fascinating addition to any aquarium. One notable characteristic of these fish is their natural instinct to jump out of the water.

Arowanas are highly active swimmers and require ample space in their tanks to move around freely.

Another behavior that sets arowanas apart from other fish is their hunting style. These predatory fish have sharp teeth and powerful jaws that enable them to catch small prey like insects and crustaceans.

They also have an excellent sense of sight, thanks to their specialized vision that allows them to see above the water’s surface effectively.

fish swimming rapidly trying to jump

Reasons Why Arowana Jump Out Of Tanks

Arowanas may jump out of tanks due to poor tank conditions, such as overcrowding or lack of hiding places, and poor water quality, such as high levels of ammonia or nitrites; read on to explore additional reasons behind this behavior.

Poor Tank Conditions (e.g. Small Size, Overcrowding)

Arowanas are known for requiring a large amount of space to swim and thrive. If they are kept in tanks that are too small or overcrowded, it can cause stress and agitation, leading to jumping behavior.

When a tank is overcrowded, there may be insufficient swimming space for the fish. This can lead to fighting among the fish as they compete for territory and resources such as food.

In addition, an inadequate tank size can also limit their ability to move around freely, causing frustration in the fish. As a result of this stress and discomfort, arowanas may resort to jumping out of the tank in an effort to escape their cramped conditions.

Poor Water Quality (e.g. High Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate Levels, Improper PH Balance, Water Temperature)

Maintaining a clean and healthy environment in your tank is crucial for the well-being of your arowanas. High levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrateimproper pH balance, or water temperature can cause fish stress and lead to jumping behavior.

Fish excrete waste that produces ammonia; if not removed promptly through filtration and regular water changes, it can build up to toxic levels that affect the health of your fish.

Nitrites are produced by beneficial bacteria breaking down ammonia into less harmful substances; however, high levels of nitrites can cause breathing difficulties in fish, leading to them jumping out of their tanks in search of oxygen-rich air.

Nitrates accumulate as a result of bacterial breakdowns of organic matter within the aquarium; elevated levels may have hazardous effects on fish’s health over time.

Lack Of Hiding Places

lack of hiding places in an arowana tank can lead to stress and anxiety for the fish, causing them to jump out of their tanks. Arowanas are naturally shy and prefer hiding spots where they feel comfortable and safe.

To avoid this issue, it is essential to provide your arowanas with enough hiding spaces that suit their size. Adding plants or rocks can create natural hideaways that allow them to retreat from view when feeling threatened or stressed.

In conclusion, offering suitable hiding places will reduce aggression levels within your arowana tank and minimize the risk of any jumping out-of-the-tank episodes caused by anxiety or discomfort because of inadequate cover.

Water Temperature

Maintaining the ideal water temperature is vital for a healthy Arowana and can also play a role in preventing jumping behavior. Water that is too hot or cold can cause immense stress to your fish, resulting in erratic swimming patterns or even illness.

Arowanas prefer warmer waters between 75-82°F, so investing in a good aquarium heater with a thermostat function may be necessary to keep the water consistently at the right temperature.

Additionally, changes in water temperature can affect dissolved oxygen levels, which are essential for your fish’s survival. When temperatures rise, dissolved oxygen decreases significantly, leading to low levels of oxygen which can trigger Arowanas’ natural instinct to jump out of their tanks.

Low Oxygen Levels

Low oxygen levels can be a significant factor in causing arowanas to jump out of their tanks. Fish need an adequate supply of oxygen to survive, and if the tank has low oxygen levels, it can cause them to become stressed and seek ways to escape.

One way to ensure proper oxygen levels is by adding air stones or filters that increase surface agitation, which will help break up the water’s surface tension that prevents air from entering the water.

Another effective method is having live plants in the aquarium as they release oxygen during photosynthesis. It’s essential also not overstocking your tank as this can lead to low dissolved oxygen concentrations due to high respiration rates by fish leading an increased demand for more high-quality dissolved oxygen content in the water.

Overall, ensuring proper levels of dissolved oxygen is crucial in maintaining healthy living conditions for arowana fish while preventing jumping behavior.

Aggression From Other Fish

Arowanas are known to be aggressive fish, and aggression from other fish is one of the reasons why they may jump out of tanks. When kept with incompatible tank mates or overcrowded in a small tank, arowanas can become stressed and exhibit aggressive behavior towards each other.

This can lead to jumping behavior as they try to escape from their aggressors. It’s important to make sure that your tank has enough space for all its inhabitants and that you select compatible species when choosing tank mates for your Arowana.

Keeping peaceful species like Discus Fish alongside your Arowana can also help curb any aggression issues.

Inconsistent Feeding Schedule

Maintaining a consistent feeding schedule is crucial in keeping arowanas healthy and happy. Inconsistent feeding can cause fish to become stressed and jump out of their tanks, as they may become agitated when they are hungry or unsure about when their next meal will arrive.

To avoid this problem, it’s important to establish a regular feeding routine for your arowanas. Typically, adult arowanas should be fed once or twice per day with high-quality food that meets their nutritional needs.

It’s also essential to monitor the amount of food you give them and remove any uneaten portions after 15-20 minutes to prevent overfeeding and maintain water quality.

why do arowana jump
Asian Arowana by J.Huei Lee

Exploring Arowana Behavior

Arowanas have a natural instinct to jump, and while it may be due to poor tank conditions, they may also jump in search of food or to escape from predators; read on to learn more about how their behavior plays a role in this unique fish.

Natural Instinct To Jump

Arowanas have a natural instinct to jump, which can be traced back to their natural habitat in the wild. In the wild, these fish inhabit shallow waters and are known for leaping out of the water to catch prey or escape predators.

It is important to keep this behavior in mind when setting up an aquarium for arowanas. Providing sufficient swimming space and adding floating aquatic plants that mimic their natural environment can help satisfy this innate jumping urge while reducing stress and anxiety levels.

Search For Food

Arowanas are known for their unique hunting behavior, which involves leaping out of the water to catch their prey. This natural instinct could also cause them to jump out of tanks in search of food, especially if they are not being fed regularly or do not have access to live foods.

Aquarists should ensure that they are feeding their arowanas a balanced diet and providing an adequate amount of food each day.

To prevent jumping related to feeding habits, aquarists should maintain a consistent feeding schedule and feed small portions at regular intervals throughout the day instead of one large meal.

Live insect larvae or small fish can be used as treats or “chase” stimuli during feeding times for healthy exercise.

Escape From Predators

Arowanas have a natural instinct to jump out of their tanks in response to perceived threats from predators. In the wild, arowanas are preyed upon by birds, snakes, and other large fish.

If an arowana feels threatened or stressed in its tank due to aggressive tank mates or poor water quality, it may try to escape by jumping out of the water.

As such, it is important for aquarists to provide adequate hiding places where the fish can retreat and feel safe.

Tips For Preventing Arowana Jumping Out Of Tanks

To prevent arowanas from jumping out of their tanks, aquarists should ensure proper tank set up and maintenance, including providing sufficient space, decorations and hiding spots, increasing oxygen levels and maintaining the water quality.

Providing Adequate Space

Adequate space is crucial for arowanas to thrive in their tanks, and the lack of it can be a major factor leading to jumping behavior. Each arowana needs ample space to swim comfortably without feeling cramped or stressed.

A general rule of thumb is to provide at least 150 gallons of water for one arowana fish, with an additional 100 gallons per additional fish.

Furthermore, providing sufficient swimming area is also essential in preventing jumping behavior. A long tank (at least six feet) with plenty of width offers enough room for these large fishes to move around freely and avoid collisions with other objects in the tank that might cause injury or discomfort.

Maintaining Water Quality

One of the most critical factors in preventing arowana from jumping out of tanks is maintaining high water quality. Poor water quality can cause stress and sickness in fish, leading to erratic behavior such as jumping out of tanks.

Factors such as high ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels can be detrimental to arowanas’ health and well-being.

Proper pH balance is also vital for a healthy aquatic environment because significant fluctuations can lead to stress and aggression among tank inhabitants. Aquarists should aim for a pH level between 6.5-7.5 for optimum health conditions for arowanas.

Proper Tank Set Up

Proper tank setup is crucial in preventing arowanas from jumping out of the tank. A tight-fitting lid or covering is essential to ensure that they don’t escape.

It’s also important to provide ample swimming space, especially for larger fish like silver arowanas, as well as hiding places and decorations that simulate their natural habitat.

You should also avoid placing your aquarium in direct sunlight or near air conditioning units, which can cause rapid temperature changes and harm your fish.

Adding Appropriate Tank Decorations And Plants

Including appropriate tank decorations and plants can improve the overall well-being of your arowanas by providing them with hiding places, reducing their stress levels, and creating an aesthetically pleasing environment.

By adding live or artificial plants to your aquarium, you can mimic the natural habitat of arowanas in the wild and create areas for them to hide when they feel threatened.

Driftwood is an excellent option for both decoration and utility as it provides a natural look to the aquarium while also serving as an anchor point for plant growth. It’s important not to overcrowd your aquarium with dense vegetation as this could limit space for swimming which is necessary as Arowanas require ample room.

Providing Sufficient Hiding Spots

Arowanas are known to be shy and territorial fish, which means that they require hiding places in their tanks. Lack of hiding spots can make the fish feel vulnerable and stressed, leading them to jump out of the tank.

Providing shelters such as plants or decorations can create a sense of security for arowanas, reducing stress levels significantly.

It’s essential to ensure that there are enough hiding spots for every fish in the aquarium since overcrowding can lead to aggressive behavior and jumping tendencies.

The right balance between plants, rocks, caves, and other decorations should be considered when setting up an Arowana tank.

Increasing Oxygen Levels

A crucial factor to consider when preventing arowana jumping behavior is ensuring adequate oxygen levels in the tank. Low oxygen levels can cause fish stress and affect their ability to breathe, leading them to jump out of the water.

To increase oxygen levels, you can use an air pump or aerator to circulate and agitate the water’s surface, allowing more oxygen to enter.

It’s essential not to overcrowd your aquarium as this reduces the amount of available oxygen for each fish. A general rule of thumb is that each arowana requires at least ten gallons of water.

Also, avoid overfeeding your fish, which contributes to increased waste production and depletes available dissolved oxygen further.

What Should I Do if Arowana Jumped Out of Tank?

If an Arowana has jumped out of its tank, here are a few things you can do to help:

  1. Handle with Care: Wet your hands before handling the fish to avoid removing its protective slime coat. Try to avoid touching the gills and eyes.
  2. Act quickly: Arowanas can’t survive long out of water. Pick up the fish gently but quickly with a cloth or paper towel. Avoid picking up your Arowana with bare hands because they have slimy bodies and will easily slide from your hands and fall to the floor again. If cloth or paper towel is not available, hold the top of the Arowana’s body with your hands firmly beneath the pectoral fins.
  3. Check for Injuries: Look for any visible injuries. If you see any, you should consult with a vet or a fish care professional.
  4. Return to Tank: Gently place the Arowana back into the tank. Minimize stress by dimming the tank lights and reducing noise.
  5. Monitor the Fish: Keep a close eye on the Arowana for the next few days. Look for any changes in behavior or signs of stress.

Arowanas are known to jump out of tanks, so it is important to have a secure lid or cover on the tank to prevent this from happening.


In conclusion, Arowana fish jumping behavior can be attributed to many factors, including poor water qualityovercrowded tanks, and lack of hiding places.

As responsible aquarists, it is important to provide optimal tank conditions for our aquatic pets to prevent them from jumping out of their tanks. Maintaining good water quality and providing proper tank set up will go a long way in ensuring the health and happiness of your Arowana fish.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are several reasons why an Arowana may jump out of its tank, including stress, poor water quality, lack of space or boredom. It is important to identify the root cause and take measures to address it in order to prevent this dangerous behavior from occurring.

To prevent your Arowana from jumping out of its tank, make sure the tank is properly covered with a secure lid or screen. Additionally, provide adequate space for the fish to swim and ensure proper water conditions are maintained through regular cleaning and maintenance.

Yes, jumping out of a tank can be harmful or even fatal for an Arowana if they land on hard surfaces or become injured during the fall. Additionally, they may experience shock from being removed from their natural environment which could further impact their health.

No, not all types of fish exhibit this behavior as each species has unique characteristics and behaviors that contribute to their natural tendencies in captivity. It’s important for pet owners familiarize themselves with specific requirements necessary for successful keeping various species before purchasing them as pets.

If your Arowana jumped out of its tank, act quickly by picking it up with a piece of cloth or paper towel to avoid it sliding from your hands onto the floor again. Monitor the fish for any signs of stress or injury in the following days. To prevent future incidents, ensure your tank has a secure lid as Arowanas are known to jump.

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