An In-Depth Overview Of Arowana Fish & How To Care For Them

Arowana fish, also referred to as dragon fish, can be an excellent choice for anyone who thinks big. Some varieties can grow up to 4 feet or 120 cm long. They tend to be feisty but with as they age they become tamer to the point that you may feed them from your fingers. The Arowana fish comes from the Osteoglossidae family of fish, and therefore, some varieties have the nickname “bony tongued fish.”

What Are Arowanas?

Arowanas are basically bony freshwater fish with a bony head and an elongated body covered by heavy, large scales. Their anal and dorsal fins are long based and have soft rays, while they have small pectoral and ventral fins too. Arowanas are known as bony tongued fish because the floor of their mouth has a toothed bone, which is referred to as their “tongue.” Arowanas suck air to obtain oxygen from it, by sucking it into their swim bladder, which has capillaries such as lung tissue lining it.


Arowanas happen to be carnivorous fishes, and are often regarded as surface feeders. They are splendid jumpers, reportedly capable of leaping over 6 feet in the air to pick off birds and insects from overhanging branches. In captivity, arowana species usually grow anywhere between 2 and 3 feet. Arowanas may exhibit parent care, such as building nests and protecting the young after they have hatched. They also happen to moutbrooders, i.e. they hold their eggs and their young in their mouth, at times hundreds of them. Before the young leave permanently, they may investigate the surroundings by making tentative trips outside of their parent’s mouth.

In The Aquarium

While arowanas are young, they do not mind company, but since they happen to be solitary fish by nature, adults may show aggression and dominance. Clown knifefish, gar, green terrors, jaguar cichlids, pacu, oscars, siamese tigerfish, and tinfoil barb are some compatible fish species that can be partnered with arowanas. It is best to keep these fishes with frozen or live feed and after 8 to 10 months of their lifespan they are likely to easily outgrow the tank they are being kept in. It is recommended to keep arowanas in a large-sized aquarium that can hold at least 150 gallons of water.


By nature, Arowana fish happen to be carnivores, but generally you can feed them nearly anything. You may have to feed young Arowana fish black worms, frozen or live brine shrimp, and even small fish. When they get older, you can feed them larger fish. You should feed baby Arowana fishes perhaps thrice a day, medium sized ones twice a day, and adults once a day. As with most other fishes, to maintain a well balanced diet, variety is important when feeding Arowana fishes as well.

As a result of their eating habits, a lot of waste is produced and therefore, extra attention should be paid to water conditions in the aquarium. It is recommended that at least 25% to 35% of the water should be changed every week. A neutral pH should be maintained, and particular attention should be paid to the pH ranges and the temperature. If the water in the aquarium is too warm, they might age faster, and their life might even get shortened. If the temperature is too cold, they might end up dying.


Arowana fishes often tend to swim at the surface of the water, and since they are capable of jumping, they can even jump out of the aquarium. This can be avoided by keeping arowanas in a covered aquarium. As long as they are well cared for, arowanas may continue living captivity for more than 20 years. If the temperature is kept lower, they may appear younger for a longer time.


Typically, arowanas are aquarium fish, and some arowana species like the Asian Arowana are prized by hobbyists. Like several other bony fish, arowana is edible and not harmful or poisonous in any way at all. In fact, arowanas are popular edible fish in their native land, and the fishermen there are fond of catching arowanas for dinner. Considering how arowanas are somewhat prized fishes, hobbyists avoid cooking and eating their arowanas even after they have died. However, some hobbyists who have cooked and eaten their dead arowana fish claim that its meat tends to be very sweat and tasty.

In conclusion, when keeping Arowana Fish it must kept in mind that they do not make good community fish, and can be aggressive. Considering their size, keeping smaller fish with them in the aquarium is definitely not recommended since the arowanas will most likely eat them. Nonetheless, as long as you take good care of arowana fish, and allow them to grow under your care; they are also likely to become tamer as well. Several species of arowanas have also been endangered, so be wary of which species of arowana fish you are buying.