Osteoglossum bicirrhossum
Osteoglossum ferreirai



    One of the giants of the home aquarium, the Arowana cannot be a casual purchase. Their size and dietary requirements make them a choice for only those willing to meet their needs. This profile concentrates on the South american species, but the needs of the Asian species are similar.

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: Up to 48 inches in the wild.(120 cm)
Tank: 72 inches
Strata: Top, middle
PH: 6.0 to 6.5
Hardness: Soft to medium, or dH to 8°
Temperature: 75° to 86° f  (24 to 30°C)


Order: Osteoglossiformes
Suborder: Osteoglossidei
Family: Osteoglossidae
Genera: Osteoglossum

Common name:


    Silver Arowana, Black Arowana


Silver Arowana

    1. , Found in Guyana, and the Amazon River basin

Black Arowana, Found in the Rio Negro River basin.


General Body Form:

    The body is very flat from side to side and if you look at if from above the fish looks very thin, its’ up and down profile is very deep, however. The Anal and dorsal fins are very long and low and run from the center of the body almost to the caudal fin. They have very large mouths which open like a trap door from the bottom hinges. They have two forked Barbels that extend from the lower lip and in the male these extend above the upper jaw. Mature females are much larger in circumference and the anal fin is not as long as the males.

Coloration:Silver Arowana

    1. , The sides appear quite dull, grayish silver to a pale Greenish Yellow. Each of the individual scales on the sides have a bright Red spot. In mature specimens, the throat is a Golden orange to Red color and the barbels have a Blue to Green tint to them. The fins overall appear Greenish or Yellow, but if you look closely you can see patterns of Red or Brown markings.

Black Arowana, A very beautiful fish. The sides are generally Black in color with a White stripe running down the entire length. The Anal and Dorsal fins are also Black with an edge of White on the top. The upper part of the head area is Black with the bottom being Silver. There is a very attractive Black stripe or bar running through a Silver Eye. The Barbels are also Black and Silver.


Osteoglossum ferreirai
Black Arowana


    The average hobbyist will be satisfied with the younger specimens, but these will soon outgrow all but the largest of tanks. The Aquarium must be well covered as these fish can jump! While it obvious that you must provide plenty of open space for swimming it’s also require places to hide, such as plant thickets or driftwood. The Water should be soft and the addition of peat filtration, or Tetras’ “Black Water Extract” will benefit the fish. Temperature should be on the higher side with 77° f (25° C) being a happy medium. Feeding the Arowana is where the real challenge (or fun) comes in. The Arowana will eat only live food so you must find the right food for the size fish you have. Brine shrimp, baby Livebearers and the such for the small ones and moving all the way up to nightcrawlers and full size Goldfish. I have read that some small specimens have been trained to accept non live food. As with most of the Predators you will need a good filtration system to help with the clean up. I feel a Canister filter with the intake and outflow at opposite ends of the tank would be ideal. These are very interesting fish that seem to develop their own personality and to recognize their keeper and genuinely get excited about seeing them. Another Fact about the Arowana is that in their native habitat they are an important food resource for the native peoples. Given the proper tank size and conditions the Arowana would be a fine addition to a species tank that will provide years of pleasure and conversation.


Silver Arowana juveniles


    Slow moving shallow waters with dense vegetation, typical of an Amazonian setup.


    They are Mouthbrooders, with the male incubating the eggs and young for about sixty days. The fry would stay in the parents care until they are about three or four inches long. Many times the only ones we see available at the shops still have the egg sac attached and have been forcibly removed from the father and can be very difficult to raise due to their young age and rough removal. This is very sad to me and I see it more with the Black Arowana, which I believe is rarer than the silver. I would not buy one with the sac unless you are very patient and experienced and if you see them like this, please let your store know your disappointment. End of Badmans ranting.


Silver Arowana

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