The arowana fish or dragon fish is a fascinating species in the aquarium hobby. It has been around for hundreds of years, with its native habitats in Australia, Southeast Asia, and South America.
The fish are sometimes called “bonytongues” because they have a toothed bone on the lower part of their mouth that bites against the roof of their mouth. The long body of the arowana fish is lined with large scales and there are two dark and fragile barbells extending from its bottom lips.
The arowana is a monster species, and it is quite expensive to raise. They can live for up to 20 years and they need the specialized care of an experienced aquarist.
You can start the juveniles in a 60-gallon aquarium, but you will need to upgrade as they mature. If kept in a small tank, the arowanas can get stunted and have a reduced lifespan.
Keep in mind that the fish are gifted jumpers, and your aquarium should be covered at all times. They can injure their delicate barbells if they manage to jump.
Are Arowanas Aggressive Fish?
The arowana is a predating carnivore. In the wild, the fish can jump over six feet from the water’s surface to catch birds and insects from overhanging branches.
The fish bring this aggressive nature to the aquarium, and they will eat anything that can fit in their mouths. Not only will they attack other species, but they will get into fights with their kind as well. They will typically be territorial around arowanas of another species.
All arowanas are territorial, except for the black and silver arowanas. This aggression becomes more pronounced as the arowanas grows in size. It is challenging to keep more than one arowana in one tank.
Some aquarists have, however, paired the arowana with species like stingrays, peacock bass, clown knifefish, Siamese tigerfish, and jaguar cichlids. The ideal tank mates should not bully the arowana and they should be too big to be eaten.
Which Arowana is the Most Aggressive?
The Australian arowana is the most aggressive arowana in the aquarium trade. It is one of two arowana species that originate from South Central New Guinea and Australia. It has adapted to clear pools, the gentle parts of streams, and billabongs.
In the wild, the Australian arowana can reach lengths of 36 inches, although it will only attain about 24 inches in captivity. It is among the smaller arowana species and will need a minimum of 100-150 gallons.
The Australian arowana has a pearly appearance thanks to the reddish or pinkish spots that trail around the edges of its scales. It needs a lot of swimming space, and you can also add driftwood, although decorations should be kept at a minimum.
The Australian arowana is fiercely aggressive, and it will especially not tolerate other arowanas. Some individuals will not tolerate any tank mate at all after reaching 12-14 inches.
It is possible to keep the Australian arowana in an arowana tank, provided you keep 6-10 individuals in a huge aquarium. Most aquarists lack such resources and it is safer to keep them singly.
If you intend to house the Australian arowana in a community set up, consider similarly-sized fish that will not be preyed on. Some possible tank mates include Giant gouramis, Bagrid Catfish, Clown Knifefish, and Tinfoil Barbs.
How to Deal with Aggressive Arowana?
An arowana can get more aggressive when stressed. Check if the water quality has reduced or if the water conditions are less than ideal. The arowana can also get aggressive if it is not feeding enough. Some individuals develop aggressive temperaments as they grow, and you may have to keep them alone.
Can Arowanas Bite You?
Some aquarists have been bitten by arowanas, especially during feeding and cleaning time.
The risks are higher when they are being fed one pellet after the other or if they are competing for food in a community tank. You can use dividers like a net to prevent an arowana bite.
Are Arowanas Aggressive When Breeding?
Breeding arowanas in aquariums is almost impossible, and most of them are bred in extensive fish farms in South America and Southeast Asia. Arowanas breed in hot regions, and supplemental heating is necessary if they are going to reproduce in North America.
Arowanas get aggressive at various stages of the breeding process. The process begins with the natural pairing of two arowanas in a pond.
Experts have a hard time breeding arowanas because they do not always respond to the potential mate chosen for them. Aquatic farmers will keep 6-10 arowanas to raise the chances of a successful pairing.
The courtship period between two arowanas can take even up to two months. They can be seen displaying their fins, circling each other, and nipping at one another to encourage the release of sex hormones and eggs.
The male arowana is the more attentive and protective parent. He scoops up the eggs in his mouth after fertilization prompting the female to chase and bite him.
The male is fiercely aggressive during this time, and he won’t let any fish close to him to protect his young. He will not feed until the eggs hatch, and he relies on his fat reserves to survive the 6-8 weeks.
Can You Keep Two Arowanas Together?
Keeping arowanas together is a complicated affair. Depending on the species you keep, younger arowanas are successfully kept in groups of 6 or more.
As they approach maturity, however, they get territorial and aggressive, and you will have to separate them.
If you want to rear adult arowanas, you will require a large pond or farm. You can keep around six adults in large setup and use dividers to provide territories.
The arowana is considered to be a prehistoric species, given that it has been in existence for more than 100 million years. Wild arowanas are formidable predators, and they prey on small fish and insects from the surface of the water.
Australian arowanas are the most aggressive species, and it is best to house them alone. Arowanas have been known to bite their owners, especially during feeding, and you should experiment with various techniques that will protect your fingers from arowana bites.