Silver Arowana is a freshwater fish native to South America, mainly found in Amazon, Essequibo, and Oyapock basins. They are also known as monkey fish due to their ability to jump out of the water and catch prey; in fact, even bats, birds, and mice have been found in their stomachs!

Experts find it a challenge to care for these enormous fish, but it can be pretty rewarding as well. Get to know if you are capable of taking care of the Platinum Arowana and how to do it properly in this article.

Silver Arowana Stats

This section contains the basic knowledge about these predatory fish, so you know what you are getting into by adopting them. More details on these stats will be provided in other sections.

Care level Very difficult
Maximum Size Around 36 inches
Minimum Tank Size 250 gallons
Average lifespan 10 to 15 years
Diet Carnivore
Breeding Type Mouthbrooders
pH 5.0 to 7.5
Hardness 1 to 8 dKH
Temperature 75 F to 82 F
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Order Osteoglossiformes
Family Osteoglossidae
Genus Osteoglossum
Species O.Bicirrhosum

Silver Arowana Appearance: Body and Coloration

They are a real beauty in the world of aquarium trade for their size and look. They catch the eye whenever they go due to many reasons. Having them is no easy job, but their beauty tempts a lot of people. They look a lot like Asian Arowana, so make sure not to confuse the two.

As the name suggests, Silver Arowana or Platinum Arowana are silver in color and are huge in size with shiny scales and two distinct barbells on the head that resemble a dragon. These “band fish” are literally shaped like a band. They have a long and slender body that tapers off towards the end but not as dramatically as other fish, making them look like bands. Their jawline is the most noticeable as it is nearly vertical! Moreover, their mouths are filled with teeth from the jaw, palate, pharynx, and tongue. This helps them grab the prey properly.

Another noticeable feature that they have is their fins. Their dorsal and anal fins stretch all the way to the tailfin, which is very small for its size. The dorsal and anal fins almost fuse with the caudal fins, and it is very hard to separate them. Besides that, they have large silver fins that cover the whole body of the fish. The juvenile is said to have a bluish tint to these scales that disappears as they grow older.

– Silver Arowana Sex Difference

Just like other fish, sexing these fish is quite difficult as both female and male fish look almost similar. The best way to know the difference is by having fish to compare against, making the small differences more noticeable.

Like most other fish, the female silver Arowana has a bigger body, while the male Arowana has a more slender body. Moreover, the male fish have a larger anal fin compared to the female fish. During the breeding session, the male will seem to have a wider mouth to store the eggs, but then again, this is a slight difference. It is almost impossible to understand the gender of the fish when they are juvenile, though.

Silver Arowana Care

The care of this fish is not that easy, but it is not very difficult if you have some experience and know what you are doing. Just remember that these fish are strong swimmers that need plenty of space to be comfortable.

Maintaining the right conditions like parameters and diet will ensure that they are disease and stress-free. Just like all other fish, Silver Arowana is susceptible to diseases that can be deadly. One of the most common freshwater fish diseases is ICH that they are also susceptible to.

Along with ICH, they can also get a variety of fungal and parasitic infections like fin rot and dropsy. The good news is that most of these problems can be avoided by having a good water quality that is maintained properly.

Along with infections, this fish can get injuries as well due to sharp objects in the water. They also like jumping, so if the tank is too small, they might jump and hit themselves against the lid, which can cause injury as well. The best way to prevent this is by removing harmful objects and having a large enough tank.

Let’s look at more things that the fish requires to stay healthy and active. Make sure you know all you need to care for the fish before you decide to buy it, as it is a huge commitment.

– Silver Arowana Diet

These are carnivores that have a pretty standard diet. It is very important to give them plenty of food for their size and maintain a balanced diet to make sure they grow to their potential size and weight.

As you know, these are carnivores, so they need protein to survive. Although you can give some plant-based food, their diet should mainly consist of meat. In the wild, these fish were known to eat anything and everything, from snakes to mice. Anything that they could catch, they would eat. It would be best to give them a mixture of live and frozen food to keep things exciting and nutritious in captivity. Here are some suitable food items:

  • Feeder fish
  • Fish food pellets (not the main food course)
  • Earthworms
  • Shrimp
  • Beef heart
  • Crabmeat
  • Blood worms
  • Daphnia
  • Brine shrimps
  • Crickets
  • Krill

It is pretty uncommon for the fish to accept fish food pellets; however, they can be trained to eat these by incorporating these pellets with their usual food. A healthy diet should have more meat, though. Remember, these are surface feeders, so they finish the food very quickly. Ensure to feed an adult fish once a day and a juvenile fish two to three times a day but only keep the food for two to three minutes in the tank and scoop the rest up. This is to prevent any build-up of waste in the water.

Feeder fish is something that the Silver Arowana will love, but it is important to breed your own. This is because the one you find in the pet shops will be full of diseases, so better safe than sorry!

– Silver Arowana Lifespan

These are fish that will be a long-term commitment as they have a longer lifespan. This long lifespan and their size make them such a big commitment that should be pondered upon. If you buy this fish without much research, it could end up being life-threatening for the fish.

The Silver Arowana life span ranges from 10 to 15 years, but it could also be around 20 years with the proper care. Of course, water parameters and condition affects all fish, but it is essential for the platinum Arowana because they are very sensitive to these changes. Even slight fluctuations can end up becoming deadly for their size and lifespan.

This is one of the factors that makes this fish only suitable for very experienced aquarists as hobbyists will not be able to fulfill all the needs of the fish to give it the best life possible. Needless to say, make sure to be ready for a long commitment with the silver Arowana!

– Silver Arowana Maximum Size

Interestingly, there has been a lot of dispute regarding the maximum size of this fish. This is because different regions have different sizes of fish. Regardless, one thing that they all have in common is that they are enormous in size.

The Silver Arowana’s maximum size is said to be three feet to four feet long when fully grown. The largest Silver Arowana full grown size is four feet, while there are also fish with a maximum size of about two feet. It depends on the fish you get. But, expect it to get huge because it will. Furthermore, in the wild, these fish are known to grow even more.

If you buy a young Silver Arowana, you will be surprised to see that it is pretty small in size. Don’t be deterred, though, as they have a pretty fast-growing rate. Expect them to grow two inches every month. This is why even the juvenile should be kept in a large tank if you don’t want to keep changing tanks each month, which will cost you much more!

This is one of the biggest obstacles that deter aquarists from purchasing the fish. If you think you can overcome this problem, you should buy this unique and exciting freshwater species.

Silver Arowana Tank

We have mentioned before how important the size and tank decoration are for these fish. It is one thing you have to consider the price of and also where to keep it. All these small factors will end up becoming very important after you buy a Silver Arowana.

For water parameters, make sure to follow their wild habitat strictly. They are found in warm water in both blackwaters as well as whitewater environments. To replicate this habitat, have water temperature between 75 F to 82 F, a pH of 5.0 to 7.5 which is almost neutral, and water hardness of between 1 to 8 dKH.

Although the fish can withstand small fluctuations temporarily, they are still quite sensitive. This is why we recommend that you have a water testing kit before having silver Arowana in your house. The kit will help you maintain perfect water conditions for the fish and also in catching any water parameter fluctuations immediately. Make sure to check the water conditions daily. It is very important to be careful regarding the Silver Carovana Arowana tank setup.

– Silver Arowana Tank Size

As mentioned above, the tank size of this fish needs to be enormous. A hobbyist tank will be very small for them. This is not a feature you can skimp on either, as it affects their health a lot. A small water tank will make them feel congested, which can shorten their lifespan dramatically.

The smallest water tank in which these fish can live comfortably is 250 gallons. Anything less will be very bad for their health. In fact, you can even keep them in ponds as housing such a large tank will require a lot of space. If the tank is smaller, they will get depressed and try to jump out! They already have the nickname for being able to jump pretty high. Although these fish can survive for a little while without water, they will eventually die or get seriously injured.

This is why you should also have a tank with a fitted lid to make sure they can’t jump out to catch prey. In addition to that, although these fish are huge, they are still very jumpy and get scared easily. Therefore, the tank should always be kept in a place with little to no human activity. Even someone passing them or the lights being turned on can scare them!

– Silver Arowana Tank Decorations

Again, make sure to follow their natural habitat as much as possible while keeping the tank water clean for swimming. These small things can influence this fish a lot.

The most important part of decorating their tank is giving them plenty of space to swim. This means not overdoing it with decorative items. The substrate should be fine gravel or aquarium-safe sand and have some plants, rocks, and driftwood. The plants you choose for the tank should have strong roots so that the fish can’t uproot them. As you know, the silver Arowana is a top dwelling fish, so these decorations won’t matter as much as an appropriate swimming space.

Although not much is needed for their tanks, there still should be hiding places for them. As you know, these fish get scared easily, so they might need to hide when they feel skittish. Therefore, have large caves and driftwood in some places that can act as hiding places when required.

One of the most important things needed is powerful filters. A canister filter is absolutely important to handle the tank size and the waste these huge fish make. The silver Arowana is more sensitive to nitrates than other fish, so filtration has to be top-notch. Along with that, 25 percent water changes should be done weekly to keep nitrate and ammonia levels at bay, which is no easy task considering the tank size.

Silver Arowana Tank Mates

Taking care of one of these fish is a difficult task but caring for it with other tank mates is even more difficult. They may have some suitable tank mates, but it is very tough to find one. We recommend not having any tank mates, but a community tank with live Arowana can look mesmerizing, so we understand.

Funnily enough, even with their huge size, they are susceptible to bullying from other aggressive fish, especially juvenile ones. Also, smaller fish can become food for the silver Arowana, so size is important.

The fish you choose as tank mates should be large, semi-aggressive, and middle or bottom dwellers. Not to mention, they should be able to survive in similar water conditions as silver Arowana. The following fish can work as tank mates sometimes.

  • Similar Sized Plecos
  • Similar Sized Catfish
  • Similar Sized Bichiris
  • Eartheater Cichlid
  • Parrotfish
  • Jaguar Cichlid
  • Pacu
  • Silver Dollar Fish
  • Green Terror Cichlid
  • Black Ghost Knife Fish

It is best to have these fish alone, even with the list of fish provided above; it is a hit or miss situation. Sometimes these tank mates can work, and sometimes it won’t. It is very important to observe any new tank mate. Also, the two to three silver Arowana are kept together from a young age; they can coexist peacefully most of the time.

Silver Arowana Breeding

For their size alone, breeding them is pretty difficult. There have been rare cases of them breeding successfully in captivity, but they have been in a pond and not a tank. Therefore, it is tough to breed them in home tanks.

They breed in the rainy season, which is around July, but some people also that they breed during November and December. Basically, they breed when the temperature drops. In the wild, they breed when the pair bonds and the female fish lays eggs after the parents build nests for the fry.

After this, the male parent puts the eggs in his mouth to fertilize them. Don’t worry; he will not eat them. This type of breeding is called mouthbrooding. The male fish will keep the eggs for about 50 days, after which they will hatch.

First of all, to make sure that they breed, you have to form pairs, and that can only happen if the silver Arowana grows together. Not to mention, the hatched fry will grow up pretty fast, making it difficult to house them in one tank. As mentioned, the only successful breeding has taken place in a pond or a tank that is 500 gallons or bigger, which is impossible to have in a house.


Keeping these fish is pretty tricky, but they are beautiful and fun to observe. Here are some points to remember from the article:

  • Silver Arowana are freshwater fish native to South America, mainly found in Amazon, Essequibo, and Oyapock basins.
  • These are huge fish that can grow up to three to four feet and have around 10 to 15 years.
  • They are carnivores, so Silver Arowana eats protein-filled food to stay healthy and sometimes eats fish pellets.
  • A tank of about 250 gallons is essential to house them.
  • The fish jumps pretty high to catch predators in the wild, so a secure lid is essential for a tank.
  • It is best to keep them alone, but some tank mates can work.
  •  It is almost impossible to breed them in a house tank due to their aggressive nature and size.

Growing a Silver Arowana is a rewarding experience in itself so we wish you all the best!

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