Arowana Tankmates

Remember that not all tankmates are suitable for your Arowana! These tankmates might look nice but...



Tank mates pose a unique challenge for Arowana keepers. On the one hand, tanks are generally large enough to keep more than just one large fish. On the other hand, Arowanas are territorial and aggressive. The majority enjoy feeding on live food, including tank mates.

There are some guidelines you can use to increase your chances of success with
Arowana tank mates. Even so, no guarantees can be made for tank mates’ short or long-term survival.

Characteristics of Contenders

An Arowana will swallow practically anything that fits comfortably in its mouth. Fish that compete for their swimming space are most likely to end up as snacks. Arowanas are surface swimmers and focus much of their attention towards the top of the tank. Large, bottom-dwelling tank mates and fast, mid-tank swimmers will have the highest chance of survival.

It is in your Arowana’s best interest to avoid aggressive, surface swimming tank mates. Fights can erupt at any time, and the results can be detrimental. Usually your arowana would be the more aggressive one but you never know. (So be warned.. Keep aggressive surface swimming tank mates at your own risk.) Torn fins and tails, bites and other wounds are unsightly to say the least. Even a small cut or injury can quickly become the site of an infection.

Can you keep two or more arowanas together in the same tank? Yes but they must have grown up together from young. Will they still fight? Probably yes but at least it will not be fatal.

Suitable Arowana Tank Mates

There are several species that are good candidates for successful housing with Arowanas. Consider one or two options from each category for the highest likelihood of success.

1. Bottom-dwellers

• Large catfish such as Lima or Tiger Shovelnoses.
• Large loaches, including Clown Loaches
• Plecostomus, ideally over 8 inches.
• Fresh Water Rays

Although many bottom-dwellers are shy, they do still add interest to the tank. In addition, they provide the benefit of helping to keep the tank clean. Many bottom-dwellers consume excess food scraps and keep surfaces free of algae.

Freshwater rays are an interesting possibility for an Arowana tank mate. Large, flat, and bottom-dwelling, they tend to go undisturbed by Arowanas.

2. Fast-moving Fish

• Tinfoil barbs
• Severums
• Parrot fish
• Gouramies

3. Large Shy, Non-aggressive Fish

• Knife fish
• Silver Dollars

Additional Considerations

Always keep the health and well-being of your Arowana in mind when choosing tank mates. Although tank mates may prefer hiding places and live plants, consider whether these are in the best interest of your Arowana.

I would recommend that you quarantine new arrivals for a few days before adding them to your tank, and refrain from adding more than one tank mate at a time. Observe the behavior of your Arowana for signs of stress the first few days following a tank addition. Finally, have a plan in place for fast removal of the tank mate should a chase or attack occur.

To your success,



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