An Arowana, also known as bony-tongues or Dragon Fish, is a carnivorous freshwater fish. It is characterized by a bony head and long body with large, heavy scales. Arowanas can live up to 25 years. They are pretty easy to look after but you do need to understand some of their ‘peculiar’ behavior. A dedicated fish owner will not find it hard to take care of arowanas.
What’s in a Crowd?
Arowanas are usually solitary creatures. Several arowanas can be placed together in a tank in groups BUT ONLY IF they are put together since young. (I personally recommend odd numbers.) If you try to put adult arowanas together in a tank, they will fight and this can be fatal. BE WARNED!!!
They also have tendencies to become aggressive and dominant over other fishes. Should you decide to give your arowana some non-arowana tank mates, do not put in fishes that are small enough to fit easily into its mouth. It is also better to add fishes that are semi-aggressive. Stingrays, oscars, clown knifefish, and parrotfish are good company for your arowanas.
In the Tank
The size of your fish tank must be able to accommodate territorial needs of your arowana. I would recommend a tank size of at least 4x2x2feet to start off with. This would probably be able to accommodate 2-3 fishes for at least 3 years. You should keep your tank covered as arowanas are known to jump up to 6.6 feet high. This fish needs to live in a well-filtered and clean tank. Being meat-eaters, they tend to excrete a lot of wastes. Poor maintenance of tank could lead to nitrate and ammonia toxicity.
Also at least 20% water change is desirable once a week. Clear water does not mean the water quality is good!!! Water pH level is ideally kept from pH6.5 to pH7.0. You should also keep your tank away from direct sunlight as algae grows easily in such condition and will cause oxygen levels to drop in the water.
Sudden rise or drop of water temperature can be harmful and can lead to shock. Maintain your tank’s water temperature to 26 to 30 degree Celsius. Investing in an aquarium temperature checker will do your fishes well. You may put some fine gravel on your tank’s bottom surface but bear in mind that cleaning can be a hassle if you have this. You can also add some rocks or plants to create a natural looking environment for your fish. Be careful not to put anything inside the tank that has sharp edges.
Moving Your Fish to a Larger Tank
This can be stressful for you (and the fish) but you will probably have to do this once or twice when your arowana grows in size. Remember to cycle the water in your new tank for at least 2 weeks. Catch your arowana from the old tank using plastic bags and bring the entire bag into the new tank. Open the bag and mix the water in it with the water in the new tank. This will help to ensure that the water temperature does not change too much as arowanas gets stressed when water temperature changes too drastic too suddenly. Let this bag float for about 20 minutes and then add more water into it. Do this about 3 times and then release your arowana into the new tank. It will usually take your arowana 2-3 weeks to adapt to the new tank and environment. It is also common for them to stay off food during this period.
You can check out this post as I show you first hand how I moved my new arowanas home.
Bringing Your Arowana Home