Arowana Secrets - Revealed

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The Asian Arowana (Scleropages Formosus) signifies luck, fortune and well-being by the Chinese in South- east Asia. Entirely carnivorous, it is a cultural icon that represents grace and longevity while also respected for its aggression and stature - earning it the title of Dragon Fish. To the Chinese, the Arowana is one of the few "fengshui" fishes. If the fish is well taken care of, they believe it brings them good fortune in return and wards off unpleasant events. Auspicious fishes like the Arowana are thought to infuse life-giving "yang" energy to water.
The Asian Arowana is currently an endangered species and is bred under license and close monitoring by the Asian agricultural authorities. Each fish exported outside of Asia is microchipped and certified for transport. Because of overfishing, gold, green, red and yellow Asian Arowanas are highly sought after and are endangered. They are protected under the Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (C.I.T.I.E.S.).
Relatives of the Asian Arowana like the New Guinea Spotted Arowana (Scleropages Leichardti) and the Australian Pearl Arowana (Scleropages Jardini) are not endangered and are priced more affordably. But it is important to highlight that in general, Arowana enthusiasts only go after the Asian Arowana due to its exclusivity. Other types of Arowanas that are classified as non-endangered includes Silver Arowana and the Black Arowana. Both originate from South America and are often found in the wild.
In our next section, I'm going to explain and show the different types of Asian Arowanas and how you can differentiate the valuable Asian Arowana from the common Australian or South American Arowanas.
GOLD VARIETY Cross back golden Red tail golden Arowana
RED VARIETY • Super red
Each of these varieties has developed completely independently from the others, with each color originating from a different location in Asia.
Green Arowana - found in Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
• Banjar Red - Banjar Nasin
• Red Tail Golden - Sumatra
Tong Yang - Hybrid between Golden Crossback and Red Grade 1
Asian arowana or Dragon fish or Asian bonytongue refers to several varieties of freshwater fish in the genus Scleropages.
Native to Southeast Asia, Asian Arowanas inhabit blackwater rivers, slow-moving waters flowing through forested swamps and wetlands. Adults feed on other fish, while juveniles feed on insects.
These popular aquarium fish have special cultural significance in areas influenced by Chinese culture. The name dragon fish stems from their resemblance to the Chinese dragon.
Asian arowana scales are large (most over 2 cm in length) and have a delicate net pattem. Asian arowanas grow up to 90 cm (35 in) total length. Like all Scleropages, Asian arowanas have long bodies; large, elongate pectoral fins; dorsal and anal fins located far back on the body; and a much larger caudal fin than that of their South American relative, the silver arowana, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum. The mouth is oblique with a very wide gap. The prominent lower jaw has two barbels at its tip. The gill rakers are stout. Asian arowanas bear teeth on the jaws, vomer, palatines, pterygoids, parasphenoid, and tongue.
Asian arowana scales are large, cycloid, and, in some species, metallic coloured, with a distinctive mosaic pattern of raised ribs. The lateral scales are arranged in horizontal rows numbered from the most ventral (first level) to the most dorsal (fifth level), with dorsal scales designated the sixth leveL
RED-TAIL GOLDEN AROWANAS This is found in Pekanbaru of Indonesia. The scales are copper-gold in color with some purplish shine. The back of the fish are dark in color, ranging grey, and brown to black. The tail color have 1/3 to 2/3 divisions, the top 1/3 are dark in color and the bottom 2/3 have purplish-red to brownish-red color. The dorsal(back) fin and the anac(near the anus) fin color follow the 1/3 and 2/3 of the tail color respectively.
Size 4" to 6" fetches $488 to $588.
I CROSSBACK GOLDEN AROWANAS This is found in Malaysia and sometime called Malayan Bonytongue, Taiping Golden, Malaysian Gold or the Pahang Gold. The Golden Crossback Arowanas originate in various regions in Malaysia:
Perak Trengganu Bukit Merah Lake Johor
I It has golden scales to the fourth column and pinkish abdomen when young. When the fish grow up, the golden scales will escalate to the fifth column (hence the term cross-back) and the pink abdomen disappear. The scales may have different base colors such ^ as gold, silver or blue - with blue being the rarest. The ^ scales can also be divided into thin or thick golden frame. Thin frame scales bluebase crossback gold are one of the most demanded arowana and hence often the most expensive. A , heightened demand for the Gold Arowana / is due to an ever increasing —-••^ market demand and declining number of eggs per spawn.
The Golden Crossback Arowana has a larger head and a shorter more stout-looking body as compared to the rest of the Asian Arowanas, making it look stiffer and more rigid when in motion. Once it matures, the Gold Arowana develops a vibrant rim of gold around each scale. It is not uncommon to find enthusiasts nicknaming it the "24K Gold". As the Chinese believe that gold is a prosperous color, this adds to the Gold Arowana's popularity.
Exposure to the sun outdoors will give the Golden Crossback Arowana a darker top row of scales so for first time owners to have positioned their fish tanks near a window or at a spot with sunlight, this is usually a concern when the color of their Arowana changes. However, it is as important to note that this is only temporary and that the color can return after 3-4 months after the fish is removed from sunlight and is in a tank with dark surroundings.
Golden Crossback Arowanas can also be further sub-categorized into a few classes based on the core color of its scales (aka Scale Base). When viewed from far, the scale base is more prominent as it covers a larger surface area of the Arowana. The scales of young crossbacks (roughly 12-20cm) have a purple base so differentiating them when they are young is difficult. A minority will have blue, green or gold base. Gold base younglings are very valuable as the color intensifies as they mature into a solid gold.
Bluish-Green - "Emerald Blue"
Deep Blue - "Bukit Merah Blue"
Look out for Golden Crossback Arowanas with a lighter colored fins and scales. Whem you are looking at the Arowana from far, it should look gold rather than blue or purple. The rim outside of the black area of its eye will be usually yellowish. If a crossback has a red eye, there is a high chance that it will not be a golden Arowana.
Arowanas are usually graded by their breeders according to their color intensity and the speed at which their color saturates to the 5th level scales.
WILD VERSUS BRED AROWANAS Some wild crossbacks interbreed to give rise to offsprings that have the color of neither parent. Wild Arowa- nas tend to have more rounded heads and longer barbels compared to farmed Arowanas
PRICING A standard Gold Crossback Arowana costs 4-5 times more than the red tail. The Platinum Crossback, how­ ever, costs twice as much as a standard Golden CrossbackArowana due to its rarity and uniqueness. Size 4° to 6" fetches $2288 to $4888.
Adults fetch from $10,000 to $50,000.
There is no sure way to get a good Arowana but even the experts have a few tips up their sleeves to make their decision easier. We've talked to a couple of champion Arowana breeders and got previous morsels of tips to make your choice a whole lot painless.
Let's begin with the basics. Firstly, make sure that the Arowana you have your eyes on is indeed a crossback. When the Arowana is between 15-20cm long, it should have already begun to display coloration near its dorsal fin. The dorsal fin is the 5th row of scales counting bottom up from its belly. Secondly, the fins near its tail must be clearly defined. Any Arowana over the length of 20cm and does not display any of the above two features is probably not a crossback.
The scales should be reflective and brightly colored. In the eyes of enthusiasts, this reflects quality and aesthetics. A good quality blue-based crossback will have a deep blue shine on the surface area of the scales. This should include the full surface area of the scale and not just around the rims. Golden Crossback Arowanas generally have a lighter overall color and a distinctive golden rim when it is young.
A good quality crossback should have a long and broad body that looks muscular. Arowanas are prized for their aggressive nature and their grand stance and this explains why top tier Arowanas must look broad and thick. It should also have balanced and large fins that suit the size of its body. The Arowana's 3 fins should also be large and constantly fanned out with dark and broad black markings on them.
Fins should be either orange or black with the gill plates and scales smooth and brightly colored. Also look out for possible bands of gold markings at the mouth and above the eyes. An adolescent Arowana (20cm and above) may have rare gold markings on its lower jaw.
There is also the existence of the Red-Tailed Golden Arowana. Known as the Sumatra or Indonesian Golden, the difference with the Red Tail Golden Arowana is that its gold scales only reaches up to its 4th row. The 5th and 6th row will tend to have a dark top. This generally makes the Red Tail Golden Arowana less valuable compared to its Golden Crossback counterpart. They are also called High Backs in certain circles. It is important to take note of this differentiation so that you don't end up paying for a Crossback that ends up being a High Back. A High Back will usually not have its coloration reach its 5th or 6th level.
The best Red Tail Goldens in terms of value to enthusiasts would be one with a deep golden base color which extends to the 5th row. The fins should also be dark red in color and evenly saturated.
When young, it is often more difficult to spot a Red Tail Golden from a Golden Crossback but as the Arowana matures, it becomes more prominent. The red Tail has a smaller head and a longer body. The overall size is also often larger than a matured Crossback. The gold color on a Red Tail Golden is also duller and less saturated compared to a Golden Crossback. Its scales are less neatly defined and less reflective. The dorsal, anal and tail fins, however, are similarly colored for both Red Tail Golden and Golden Crossback Arowanas. Usually, the dorsal fins are usually dark green or black and the top one-third of the tail fin and the rest of the fins are orange-red in color.
Generally, it is only possible to accurately differentiate between the Red Tail Golden and the Golden Crossback only when the Arowana is between 12-15cm long. At this stage of maturity, a good quality Crossback will begin to exhibit coloration at the base of its dorsal fin.
The Red Tail Golden is the more aggressive of the two and is more difficult to breed in an Arowana com­ munity tank.
Depending on the river that the Arowana originates from, they may show slight diffferences in color. Red Tail Golden Arowanas from the Tapung and Siak rivers near Pekanbaru, Sumatra, have a dark top area that is smaller compared to those from the Kanpar River. These have a larger dark top. Arowanas from the Rokan and Bangko rivers usually have redder fins compared to the rest.
Captive breeding and inter-species mixing have also gave rise to a 1.5 grade. The difference between a full-fledge Red Tail Golden and the 1.5 grade is that unlike the red Tail Golden, the 1.5 grade will not have any golden tinge on its scale rim and part of its gill cover. In the long run, most Arowana enthusiasts usually recommend forking out that extra bit of cash to buy the Red Tail Golden.
The Red Arowana is found in Kalimantan and Sumatra of Indonesia, it originates from various parts of West­ ern Kalimantan and among these areas are the River Kapuas and Lake Sentarum. Lake Santarum is often regarded as the home of the Super Red. Although not the most expensive, the Super Red is often regarded as the most popular type of Asian Arowana kept by most Arowana enthusrasts Its value is greater increased among Chinese Arowana owners because red is considered an auspicious color n the Chinese culture. It is also very popular because the Red Arowana is considerably cheaper than the Golden Crossback so more households and businesses tend to invest in one for luck and prosperity.
From young to adult, pure bred Red Arowanas go through a few stages in color development to achieve their eventual color. In the first stage, small yellow dots will appear on the scale rims. These will saturate into orange dots and subsequently, they will expand and join together, covering the whole outline of the scales. This stage of orange scales may last a few years before it eventually deepens in color and changes into red. Finally, the color of the gill cover will develop into patches of red, gold or silver.
To help bring out the deepest red in the Red Arowana, a diet rich in red beta-carotene will greatly contribute to achieve this goal. Live feed such as shrimps and prawns contains beta-carotene that will encourage color development. Other important factors include bloodline, water quality and sunlight. Arowanas that are kept indoors away from direct sunlight should be exposed to a few hours of indoor light each day.
In recent years, the Red Arowana has been crossbred with the red tail golden, the green or yellow tail to achieve the 1.5 grade Red. The 1.5 grade looks like a green or yellow tail except for the fact that it has red fins. 1.5 grade Reds are usually valued lesser than the Red Arowanas for two reasons. Firstly, crossbreeding begins at three years for the 1.5 grade Red but for the Red Tail Arowana, this takes five years instead. They cost less but the red color in their fins tend to fade away over time, leaving the owner with an Arowana that looks very similar to a Green or Yellow Tail.
They can be divided into 1st grade red and 2nd grade red. 1st grade red can have different color intensity ranging from yellow to orange to red to blood-red and chili-red. The higher intensity red is more desirable and often commands a very high price. It is often difficult to differentiate 1st grade red from 2nd grade red when the fish is young.
Young 1 st grade red's tail and anal fin have intense red color and their scales are shiny gold in color with some green at the base.
Super Reds are usually called the 1st grade reds because its gill cover, back fins and scales become a solid uniform red when it has matured. This usually takes up to 6 years so that's why Super Reds are of great value. The long maturity wait and the auspicious color of the fish explain the high price it fetches. In recent years, however, there has been an oversupply of Super Reds and its market price has dropped drastically.
Arowana enthusiasts and aquarium owners have started to further classify the Super Red into two catego­ ries - the Blood Red and Chili Red. This classification is not recognized by everyone but is steadily gaining acceptance. Here's how you can differentiate between the two:
The Blood Red is very common and fetches a lower price compared to the Chili Red because it fully devel­ ops its red color as early as 3 years old. The Blood Red has a smaller head and mouth with smaller eyes. The tail is wide open and fan shaped. When it is young, the Bloody Red has a shine that resembles a Crossback Golden.
The Chili Red has a broader shape, more pointed head and mouth and larger eyes and fins. Its scales also have a more obvious green core and metallic shine. The tail fin is usually outward pointing and is diamond shaped. Some Chili Reds may have a hump or spoon head on their back. The Chili Red commands a higher price tag because it takes 2 years more to reach its full color potential, compared to the blood red. However, the color it is able to develop is very often richer and more saturated. Its red-framed scales are also thinner than the bloody red's.
Size 4" to 6" fetches $1388 to $2800. Adults fetch from $10,000 to $88,888.
GREEN AROWANAS Green Arowanas are found in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. Generally, the Green Arowana looks best when it is young. The scales are not bright and often translucent with some grey or green color. The coloj; is even throughout the body (i.e. no dark-top). The tail can be grey, purplish-grey or green in color. The best quality ones are those who exhibit a - - —
dark purplish tinge at the core of its scales. This fish is generally shorter than its Asian relatives. This is also the most affordable Asian arowana due to its widespread availability and least - ^ ^ B attractive colors.
The Green Arowana is easily distinguished from the other types by a few unique features: it has translucent scales, and a larger and rounder head and mouth. Its back fins are brownish and it has a more prominent lateral line set.
Because the Green Arowana is relatively tame, many owners have had success in breeding them. If you are intending To"CTi^ e Green Arowana, its tame nature also helps to increase the success rate since you will be able to place them in groups of 8 to 20 The Green Arowana comes highly recommended for any owners looking for an afforda""' community tank of Asian Arowanas.
Size 4" to 6" fetches $138 to $188.
Asian arowanas are distinguished from Australian congenencs S. jardinii and S. leichardti by having fewer (21-26) lateral line scales (versus 32-36 for the Australian species), longer pectoral and pelvic fins, and a longer anterior snout.
Although the red Arowana is divided to 1st and 2nd grade based on the eventual color of the scales, they are still the same fish. The last situation you want to find yourself in is one where you end up thinking you have paid for a 1st grade red Arowana, but got a 2nd grade instead. There have been cases where some buyers were cheated over their purchase of a red Arowana. This is generally not a problem if you are buying an adult red Arowana because the actual color of the scales would have been fully determined by then but when the Red Arowana is young and still in its growth stage, it is hard to tell the difference.
But I will give a few small points to look out when buying a Red Arowana.
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SPOTTING A 1 ST GRADE RED AROWANA The 1st Grade Arowana, when matured, will turn to red or chili-red with shiny scales. The challenge in telling apart a 1st and 2nd grade red Arowana when young ( 4 - 5 inches) is that the color of the scales are not fully developed and predicting the eventual color is almost impossible. The 1st grade red Arowana's mouth is longer and sharper than a 2nd Grade. Its scales are shinier and the head is sharper and pointed. The black-colored scales at the 6th column are in line and straight. The tail and fin are also more reddish. When matured to roughly over 10 inches, the scales will start to transform to a deeper red.
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SPOTTING A 2ND GRADE RED AROWANA In contrast, the 2nd grade red Arowana is cheaper but less valued due to its color. Arowanas, in general, are more prized if the color of the scales is richer and deeply saturated. When it matures, the body will turn to orange-red or pinkish-red with its scales having less shine. Its mouth is shorter and less outward curving like the 1st grade red Arowana. Its scales when it is young is dull-colored and uneven. Its head is not as sharp and pointed. The black-color scales on its back are not as straight and sometimes, will be out of place. When it has finally matured to over 10 inches, the whole body will turn orange to orange-red or even worse, remain colorless. Its tail and fin portion will stay orange-red.
Arowanas are by nature, a territorial and aggressive species of fishes. There are only a few types of fishes that can be left together with Arowanas and even so, co-existence depends highly on the character of the Arowana.
If you're looking at keeping multiple Arowanas in the same tank, there are a few things you'll need to know before you start on one. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as just pour them into the same tank with your fingers crossed. There is some knowledge you can empower yourself with before embarking on this endeavor.
Firstly, make sure you are getting Arowanas that are about the same age. When happens when you put a larger Arowana with a smaller one is that the smaller Arowana will be at a disadvantage and may not be able to defend itself, leading to a higher chance the larger Arowana will "bully" it. You'll want to start them on equal ground so that no aggressive behavior is encouraged.
The Golden Arowana and its sub-categories, the Red Tail Golden and the Crossback Golden , are notori­ ous for being very aggressive compared to the rest. Avoid putting them together as there will be a high probably that they will fight to the death. And this is something you'll want to avoid from a financial point of view because they are among the costliest Arowanas to buy.
Unlike the Golden Arowana varieties, the Red, Green and Yellow tail Arowanas are friendlier and have a higher chance of peacefully living together. This is especially so if you have a tank big enough to keep 8 to 10 of them together.
Arowanas also exhibit a strong character in each individual. So fishes with similar characteristics will be able to live together peacefully, even among the more aggressive Golden Arowana varieties. There is no way to be able to predict the personalities of the Arowanas which is why owners who intend to keep an Arowana community tank will usually get them when they are younger and then continue to observe the Arowanas for "character clashes". The troublemaking Arowana is then removed from the tank. Such clashes can be deadly so immediately action to remove the Arowana is highly recommended.
KEEPING AROWANAS WITH OTHER FISHES As a guideline, any fish that measures 50 to 60cm is suitable to be reared with an Arowana. However, the said fish cannot be too docile else it would be at the risk of being bullied by the Arowana. Such fishes include the Kio, Goldfish and the Angel Fish. Because the Arowana is a surface dweller and a carnivore, bottom dwellers and herbivores will be great additions to the tank that complements the Arowana. These includes the Catfish, Giant Gouramis, Knife Fish, Oscars, Parrotfish and Lungfish. This way, unnecessary competition for space and food can be avoided.
1 Opening its mouth to yawn or gasping for air near water surface.
Relaxing and loosening its jaw muscles. Possible reasons for doing so will include:
1) Insufficient dissolved oxygen in the water 2) Gill fluke 3) Gill rot 4) water contamination caused by bacteria buildup 5) High chlorine level in the water
Such behavior is normal. Increase air circulation and change 1/3 of the water every 3 days to a week. Also clean the filter thoroughly and then apply the necessary medication to the fish in the event of gill fluke or gill rot
2 Darting around in the water.
3 Tries to jump out of the water.
Exploring and adapting to its new environment.
Extremely poor water quality
Keep the aquarium light on con­ tinuously for a few days or keep it off until the fish is used to its new environment and starts feeding.
Change the water regularly and maintain an efficient filtration system. Alternatively, add black water extract.
4 Tail-biting.
6 Scrubbing itself against the aquarium wall.
7 Swimming in an awkward position (e.g. with its head or tail down.)
8 Taking deep breaths, show­ ing excessive mouth move­ ment and signs of lethargy.
Could be caused by a combination of the following: 1) Drooping eyes 2) Reflection of light 3) Bacterial attack 4) Hunger
Possible parasite attack. Cloudy eyes or mucus discharge may indi­ cate the presence of body slime.
Skin irritation such as ulcer, velvet disease, fish lice or white spots caused by parasites and fungi.
Swim bladder disease caused by bacteria.
Gill infection of attack by internal parasites.
Turn all lights off or add black water extract. Immediate treat­ ment is important. In severe cases, the fish may refuse to feed and starve itself to death.
Apply the appropriate parasitic or fungal medication.
In Chinese culture, the dragon represents good luck, strength and power. Especially in the Southern region of China, people believe that a dragon can ward off evil and brings good luck.
The dragon is a significant icon in Chinese and other Asian cultures. During Chinese New Year and other auspicious occasion, people celebrate with dragon-dancing and if you are born in the Year of the dragon, you are considered to have a head start in life. The Arowana, also known as the Dragon fish because of its slender body and its distinct and reflective scales makes it resemble the mythical and mighty dragon. Business man started keeping the Arowana, especially the Asian Arowana to maintain a prosperous and growing business. Geomancer often would encourage their clients to keep a Blood Red Arowana at home or office to bring good luck and ward off evil.
1. BODY SHAPE A good shape in arowana implies a broad body with proportionate fins and a pointed mouth along with a slope between the head and back. Red Arowanas may have a more pronounced "spoon-shaped" shape. The broad look is preferred because it corresponds to the Arowana's aggressive and powerful nature and image.
The ideal shape is one that is proportionate, neither too fat nor too thin. It is essential to look after its envi­ ronment and the food that it takes. Compared to the other Asian Arowanas, the Gold Arowana may have a slightly different proportion. A large number of Gold Arowanas have slightly shorter bodies and fins; and a larger head and eyes.
The space (size of tank) directly affects the growth and progress of the body. A limited space may result in its stunted size, or rounded, hunched shape. Basically the length of the tank should be 3 times the average length Dragon Fish during the growing stage.
Food should be nutritious. Besides fish and prawns, other types of food may be fed. Do not allow the Dragon Fish to be inclined to one type or eat too much. Feeding should be well controlled.
2. COLOR All species of arowana should be brightly colored and should look lustrous. One of the most important criteria when choosing an Arowana is its color of the fish because it is often the color that first attracts the hobbyist. Even if the body shape is attractive but the color is not, it cannot be considered perfect. According to the dif­ ferent types of Dragon Fish, the standard colors differ. ou AHUWANAS
One way of preventing this is to get your fish from a CITES registered farm and make sure that the farm has a good sales record.
3. SWIMMING POSTURE Most people are attracted to arowana because of the way it swims. A fish with a good posture will swim without effort and will make graceful moderately slow turns in the tank. Its body will be straight, horizontal and the fish will swim in the upper level of the tank, close to the surface. At no point should the fish appear to be stiff or jerky. The arowana should look majestic when swimming.
In addition to its body shape, pay attention to the swimming posture of the Arowana. A healthy Arowana will swim with a sort of graceful ease. There should be no sudden, jerky movements at any one point while it is swimming. When the Arowana makes a turn at the end of the tank, pay attention to its motion. It should be fairly slow and graceful.
Here's a tip that separates an average and a good Arowana - look out for one that keeps its head and body fairly stationary while only using its tail to maneuver around the tank. This results in a majestic appearance that adds value to the Arowana. Besides appearance, an Arowana that swims with its head moving all the time is very often a sick fish. If the Arowana swims with its body angled, there is a good chance there is a problem with its swimming bladder. So in addition to aesthetic reasons, the heath of the Arowana is at stake.
The style of movement is important in enhancing its beauty. A beautiful fish that does not swim gracefully can affect its aesthetic value. Correct posture is to swim vertically in water, spreading out all its fins. The mandibular barbels must be straight. It must be able to turn swiftly. Moving up and down or diagonally is not ideal.
Always avoid prolonged clamped fins in arowana. Fins should be proportion­ ate to the body and must be fully open when the fish swims. The color should be strong and smooth. Make sure that the fins are supported by hard fin rays. The fins of the Arowana are like its limbs. Any damaged fin can affect the Arowana's graceful movement and ultimately the beauty of the whole fish. A beautiful fin should be smooth and outstretched, with all its hard rays straight and smooth. There should be no tear.
The tail and fins must be proportionate to the body. Large fins are preferred as it adds to grace. When swimming, the pectoral fins should be wide open. Avoid buying a fish that keeps its pectoral fins closed for extended lengths of time. Take note that if you are in the market for a gold crossback, its fins are usually smaller than those of other species.
Care should begin with the baby Arowana. At this stage, it should not be given too much space. The fish is easily frightened as it feels insecure in a spacious environment. In dashing about at every slightest disturbance, often suffers injuries.
A smaller space which gives the fish a feeling of security will also enable the fish to be more active, thereby strengthening its fins.
When it is at the adolescent stage and more stable, it can then be transferred into a larger aquarium. To avoid hurting the fins, these points should be noted:
• Do not install ornamental displays such as rocks and other decorations. • Do not rear with other fishes in the same tank. • To lift the young, fine net should be used. When it reaches 15 cm, net should not be used. Hold in plastic bag instead.
If a piece of the hard ray of the fin is injured, it could be gently removed at the base and a new ray will grow in its place. In case of more rays, then the Arowana needs to be given anesthesia before operation to remove the broken rays with a pair of scissors.
When fin-rays are broken, they need to be treated immediately, especially tail fins, as the Arowana depends largely on its tail fin to move about. Although fins may recover by themselves, they may be disfigured when they do. After surgery, a replaced fin can be almost perfect, except it may be a little wavy. It is best to get a specialist to perform the operation.
5. BARBELS The color of barbels should be similar to the body color. Strong, long barbells indicate good health. In addition, they should be of equal length and point upwards.
Many fish lovers have high regard for the Arowana's whiskers because they resemble the dragon's horns - a sign of blessing.
Mandibular barbels must be equally long, straight and the color similar to its body-color. These act as an extension of the Arowana's aesthetic power. Any broken, shortened or bent whiskers may mean a reduction to its majestic appearanc
How then can these whiskers be preserved and maintained?
First of all, one must prepare ample space for free activity and to prevent the whiskers from getting damaged. Without this ample space, the Arowana's whiskers cannot grow properly and the tips may rub against the sides of the aquarium and get damaged.
Points to consider: • Do not decorate aquarium with furnishings such as rocks and other decorations. Do not drop food in a comer. They should be put in the Centre of the aquarium. Do not knock against the aquarium to cause the Arowana to be shocked or frightened.
• Cover the aquarium with a thick glass, the edges of which should be smoothened and rounded.
The above 4 points can help to prevent the Arowana's whiskers from getting damaged in its excitement or when it is frightened.
Should the whiskers be broken or damaged, the recovery period varies according to the age of the Arowana. Normally a young Arowana recovers faster than an older fish.
Whiskers may be damaged in 2 ways:
1. At the root when this occurs, recovery may be difficult even for a young Arowana.
2. Along the barbel it is necessary to decide whether to leave it to grow the root back naturally, or to use a needle to help speed the growth. Even if the whisker is bent but not broken, it is best to cut it off so that it will not be out of shape when it re-grows.
6. EYES Avoid fish with overly protruding eyes. Eyes should be proportionate to the body, clear and both eyes should be of the same size and shape.
In the natural environment, the eyes are focused above water-level to search for live food. However, when the fish is reared in a fish tank which is transparent all around, the eyes tend to focus downwards due to distractions around and as food are readily found and at the bottom of the tank.
You need not be unduly worried about the fish's health although the value of the fish is affected by this phenomenon. This is only a natural adaptation to its environment.
A good quality fish's eyes must be centralized, compact and focused, not droopy or protruding. They must revolve naturally and be shaped evenly, sparkle brightly and clear.
In the aquanum, the Arowana s eyes tend to focus downwards sometimes because:
1. When it is kept in an aquarium, its fet but are at the bottom of the aquarium.
changes because its prey are no longer floating above
2. It gets distracted by movement outside the glass panels of its aquarium.
3. It does not exercise enough, so fat is accumulated to bulge or protrude within the socket of the eyes causing the eyes to protrude or droop.
7. MOUTH AND LIPS The Arowana's mouth should be large and pointing upwards. I would go as bold as to say the Arowana should have a slightly arrogant look with its upward pointing mouth. However, avoid choosing Arowanas with a protruding upper or lower lip. The mouth and lips of arowana should close tightly without a gap.
When close the upper and lower lips must not protrude. The lower jaw should not be loose. In the fish tank, the fish often rubs against the glass wall resulting in the loosening of the jaw muscles. To avoid this, the space must be increased or i nstall a water jet to increase the speed flow of the water.
8. SCALES Fish scales should not be crooked and should be bright. They should be large and distinctive from each other. The larger the scales, the better.
Scales are the Arowana's distinctive feature. Neatly layered and slippery scales are comparable to the good complexion of a person. The scales should be even and radiant. They should not have dark spots, although red spots are welcome as they are considered auspicious.
Many people have a misconception about the scales. They think that when the scales drop off, they may not be replaced naturally. The only point to note is in replacement, it has an itchy sensation causing it to rub its body against the side of the aquarium. This may cause the fish to be damaged. To prevent this, it is advisable to remove anything that may cause injury in the aquarium. If there is loss of scales, they can grow back after 3 to 5 weeks.
9. GILL COVER The gill edge should be circular and when breathing, the motion should not be too obvious. The gill cover is smooth and flat to the fish body. Radiance of gills in fish is indicative of good health.
Normal gill covers should be smooth and flat with no scratches or wrinkles. The following points should be noted:
• Do not install ornamental displays in the aquarium.
• Maintain the right temperature. Gill covers and head tissues may wrinkle if temperature is too high. A vast change in temperature may cause the fish to suffer tilted gill covers.
• Change water regularly and maintain cleanliness and the best water condition.
• Raise oxygen content in the water.
If there is any injury in the gill region, fish-treatment medication should be put into the water to prevent bacteria infecting wound.
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10. TEETH Arowana teeth should be arranged neatly and should be in line with the jaw line. A healthy arowana will look like that. Watch out for signs of fatigue lethargy and avoid fish that doesn't look in its element. Remem­ ber that arowana is a slightly aggressive fish that jumps out of water for its food. The fish you select should exhibit the power and arrogance of the species and all healthy arowana will.
Generally, fish hobbyists do not pay much attention to its teeth. However, its teeth are quite important. If the teeth of the fish are not healthy, they will affect the fish's health.
11. VENT A healthy fish's vent should be horizontally located at the pelvic region. It should not be easily seen. If the vent protrudes it means the fish has a stomach problem- revealing the unhealthy state of the fish. Exception is when the fish is due to deliver eggs or after it has delivered.
Arowanas can range in price from a few hundred dollars up to in excess of $350,000. The value of the fish is deter­ mined by a number of factors:
COLOR The definition and contrast of the color increases the value, the more unusual combination and the more striking the colors the greater the value.
DEPTH OF COLOR The more of the body that is colored the greater the value.
DIMENSIONS As always the proportions and size of the fish affect the value.
BLEMISHES Sunburns, marks, cuts, bites etc reduce the price of
UNIQUENESS This takes many forms, if it is through deformity but a completely unique event, the price of the fish can be hugely elevated. Missing tail sections or deformed jaws that occur in a visually appealing way can make the fish very valuable
he connection a potential buyer PERSONALITY Due to the uniqueness of each fish and how they interact, theii has with the fish can set the value.
Although this does not directly affect the price, many of the above cannot be d wied until the fish is 24 months old. This means that although juvenile fish are significantly cheaper, they are a gamble as to the older fish you are purchasing. To guarantee elements the fish must be much older, by which time a higher price will be set. (Even
" red fish, one can not necessarily say if it will be red or orange if purchased below 12 inches).
No doubt good pedigree does play an important part in determining the beauty of an arowana, but it is only the foundation. To build on the foundation, the fish requires good water quality and the right type of food for it to achieve its full potential. Good water quality can be achieved by an effective biological filtration system, frequent water changes, and daily removal of fish waste, pH and nitrite checks. The Arowana requires caro­ tene for its pigmentation and shining scales. Hence, feeding prawns with shell is good for enhancing the color of the Arowana. On the other hand, feeding small, whole fishes will ensure that the Arowana gets all the minerals, vitamins and proteins it requires.
LIVING CONDITIONS Often there is concern from potential Arowana owners about the investment involved and the risks associ­ ated with it. The reality of the situation is that Arowana (with a life expectancy of 20+ years) can be a long term aquatic companion with one of the lowest requirements of care of any tropical species. Well filtered, soft and slightly acidic water at roughly 28C is preferable, however, Arowana are known in captivity to be kept in a wide variety of conditions ranging from a PH4 to PH8 and KH2 to KH20. This will be reflected by the specific fish and its tolerance to the environment but Arowana themselves are very hardy.
Ideal conditions are based around sensitivity to PH and we always recommend owners keep their tanks as close to PH6.4 to PH6.8 as possible.
Arowana are exceedingly tolerant of poor conditions, they are not however tolerant at all to changing conditions. The greatest risk youi Arowana will face is a change in environment such as changing the filter, or overfeeding in a tank that has too weak a filter. This can cause a spike in ammonia or nitrites. It is not the conditions t hemselves that can be harmful but the change which may result in losing your fish.
A clear example of this is a tank that has been poorly kept foi several months. The owner decides to perform a 60%
water change with the purest, most perfectly conditioned and correct water. As a result the Arowana becomes unable to swim correctly, starts to rotate in the water and over a week dies. The issue is not the condition of the water b unexpected change. This same change could be achieved with 10% water changes per week, or even a reduction of the water level and a drip fed increase over several weeks.
An arowana is a very majestic fish, steadily gliding through the water, ever curious, ever alert. Along with the reputation of being able to bring good luck to the owner, many have turned to keeping Arowanas, the Dragon Fish in their homes.
Not only that, Arowanas have are also known to recognize its owner and it is this unique relationship between the owner and the fish that makes it one of the most appealing fish in Asia.
Here we explore certain points of consideration to take note of when setting up the aquarium best suited for the arowana.
CHOICE OF A FISH TANK The arowana is a fish that can grow to be very large (anything from 1-2 feet given the proper conditions). As such you will need a tank big enough to properly house the arowana in order to let it grow to its full potential size and swim around comfortably. Also for an aquarium for the arowana, the width and length of the tank is more important than the height as they are typically surface dwellers, staying at the upper portion of the tank space.
As a general guide, the minimum size recommended for an adult arowana would be an aquarium of the following dimensions: 4 ft length 2 ft width 2ft height
Of course if space and budget allows, settle for something larger to ensure that they have ample space to swim in.
Thickness of the glass is also another consideration to take. Typically as the tank dimensions get bigger, it would be wise to settle for thicker glass for the tank. Arowanas are powerful fishes and they have been known to break glass tanks when they are frightened.
Standard thicknesses include 6mm, 10mm, 12mm, 16mm. For anything above a 4x2x2ft tank, a thickness of 10mm glass is recommended to withstand the pressure of the volume of water in the tank that is exerted onto the glass.
A cover is also VERY important in a setup for the arowana. Arowanas are famed jumpers. Covers used must be sturdy and heavy enough with no small gaps to ensure your arowana stays in the tank and not on the floor of your room. As for what the aquarium is placed upon, whether it is on a metal stand or on a wooden cabinet, it boils down to personal preference, though a larger tank always looks good sitting on a cabinet as compared to a metal stand.
TANK LOCATION Place the tank away from direct sunlight as that would encourage prolific algae growth. A point to note is that a tank which is this large to house an arowana when full is very heavy and precautions must be taken to ensure the weight is evenly distributed and can be supported well.
Placement of the tank near a beam/pillar is a good idea in this case. Placement against a wall is another viable option. Also try to position the tank away from a place where there will be a lot of movement and away from any door - this is to avoid frightening the Arowana. Proximity to the toilet and/or a water source would come in extremely useful during the performance of water changes and tank maintenance. Also a nearby electrical socket is a must to power the necessary electrical equipment for the tank like the air pump, filter etc.
In general, choose a place where you can best enjoy viewing your arowana in its full glory whilst taking into consideration the above factors.
• Length of the tank should be at least 3 times the length of the fish and the width should be 1.2 times the length of the fish.
Tank should be placed in a quiet area of the house where the fish will not be startled owing to much human movements around it. This can stress the fish and has an impact on the base color, particularly for the Malaysia Golden.
Exposure to some natural or evening sunlight ensures good color development but too much sunlight leads to problems such as algae and change in water temperature.
* The tank light should not be switched on first when it is dark as the sudden light will startle the fish causing it to panic and it may injure itself. The room light should be switched on first and after a few minutes, switch on the tank light.
• Tank cover needs to be secured properly for Arowana. Arowana are remarkable jumpers and most Arowana deaths are due to jumps out of the tank because the owners have been careless. Light tank covers are not recommended as Arowana have been known to knock them off and jump out of the tank.
FILTRATION One of the most important factors in any home aquarium, be it for Arowanas or other fish, is filtration. Filtration is crucial in ensuring that the health of your fish is not compromised. Waste products produced by the fish quickly degrade the water quality and could harm your fish.
Never stinge on a good filter. Remember that over filtration is always way better than under filtration for any setup.
External filters take up no space in the tank and are easy to maintain and run. Some of the preferred brands include the Eheim canister filters and the Rena canister filters. These filters typically come in a minimum 2 step filtration. This 2 step filtration starts with mechanical and biological filtration with the additional option of chemical filtration (via the addition of compounds like activated granular carbon or zeolite as the filter medium).
Other filtration methods can be utilized too. A popular form of filtration would be the internal overflow which has to be custom designed into the tank. One major disadvantage of this method of filtration is that maintenance wise is not as convenient as an external filter. However it can take care of the filtration needs of the tank if setup properly.
External filters Remember always, filtration is very important to any tank setup. NEVER neglect this aspect for whatever reason.
AERATION All fish need oxygen to survive. Providing good aeration produces lots of dissolved oxygen content in the water which the arowana can absorb through its gills. A small air pump can be used to provide aeration by causing water turbulence as well as creating surface movement to allow for the exchange of oxygen with the water column. An air stone or air strip can be used to break up the bubbles into finer bubbles
DECORATIONS Lighting is also a key area in order to highlight your arowana in its full glory. Good lighting accentuates the colors of your arowana. Red or pinkish lighting is normally preferred as it brings out the redness of the arowana better.
Try to avoid too strong lighting for an arowana setup as it would encourage algae growth. A simple fluores­ cent light would suffice for most arowana tank setups.
A background picture can be stuck onto the back of the tank to look more natural instead of a bare back see through tank. Most arowana keepers typically use plain black backgrounds and stick it to the back of the aquarium using sticky tape. A black background provides very good contrast to the colors of the arowana and allows for the color to show up prominently However, this again boils down to personal preference. There is a wide selection of different kinds of backgrounds available at most local fish stores.
Gravel can also be used on the base of the aquarium to create a more natural look instead of a bare tank look (again personal preference comes into play). Gravel reduces the reflection from the base glass of the aquarium and makes the fish less jumpy and more comfortable in its environment. If gravel is used, weekly maintenance should include cleaning the gravel bed to ensure that waste products are not accumulating in the gravel bed and rotting away
Other items that can be included as decorations in the tank include driftwood, bogwood, rocks, slate, real and artificial plants. It is up to the owner to try to create as eye pleasing and natural environment for the arowana as possible. Just ensure that any large decorations used should not be sharp and cause injury to the arowana. Also remember to thoroughly wash and clean any decorations before placing into the aquarium.
FUNGUS In Arowanas, the barbels are very prone to fungal or parasitic attacks. Body fungus usually develops from physical injuries like when the fish knocks against the aquarium wall or struggles during transportation. Eye fungus exhibits itself as a layer of translucent film over the fish's eye.
This film, however, becomes opaque, in very serious cases. In such cases, it can affect the fish's feeding habit and vision. If left untreated, it may even lead to blindness. Such eye infections can be caused by tank water that is too cold or that is contaminated by the decomposing remains of live feed. The infected eye can be treated by a lens removal operation but this may weaken the fish's ability to detect food visually in the future.
PARASITES Some common parasites include:
1) Anchor worms, intestine parasites and fish lice. These originate from external sources suchas diseased live feed.
2) Velvet disease and gill fluke originate from poor water quality. Barbels damaged by parasites generally recover from the gungal or parasitic attack if the damage is marginal. This recovery period ranges from six to 24 months, depending on the age of the fish and its heath condition.
LOSS OF APPETITE This is a very common problem of all arowana owners as they will experience at one point or another. There are many causes for its occurrence. If your arowana doesn't want to eat, it could either be of a stressful environment of poor water conditions in the tank. Once there are high ammonia, nitrate or nitrite levels and a subnormal range in temperature or PH, it is time to do a water change. A
large water change means 30-50% conditioned water change. Make sure all parameters of the new water are adjusted identical to the tank water, especially the temperature and pH. This is then followed by 30% water change every 2-3 days until the Arowana's condition or the water quality has improved. Also don't forget to put at least 2-5 tablespoons of salt actually it depends on the size of the tank. Another cure is by putting a black background such as a black cartolina on the back of your aquarium in order for the arowana to somehow camouflage and blend in its surroundings.
Overfeeding can also be another reason. When your arowana is overfed continuously for weeks or months and in some occasions, even days, it will start to lose its appetite and refuse to eat. Cut down on feeding immediately like by not feeding it at least a week.
When an arowana is frightened, it is not uncommon for it to lose its appetite, sometimes days or even weeks. A newly moved in fish or a recent change in environment can cause this as well. Observe if the arowana becomes nervous or jumpy, or that it is constantly darting around the tank. When this happens, cover the back and the sides of the tank and dim the lights. Add blackwater and 0.1% salt to the tank. Make sure to restrict traffic around the tank. Stay in front of the tank often to make your fish get used to you and adapt to the environment faster.
HEAD-ROT SYNDROME As the name suggests, this is when a film of white covering forms over the cornea of the eye. This can be due to several reasons like physical abrasion, poor water conditions, and sudden changes in water or infection. The majority of cases are mild and do not require antibiotics. However, this condition must be treated seriously, as there is a high mortality rate should the condition worsens. Physical abrasion usually results from post- transportation, with scratch marks or injuries present on the fish. Do a 50% water change and add 0.3% salt, then observe carefully.
Poor water conditions from a high ammonia, nitrate, nitrite or pH level can be solved by adjusting the pH gradually and going through a large water change. But be careful, as making a sudden water change that is high in chlorine can also cause cloudy eye. Add 0.3% salt and water conditioner and observer further. If your arowana gets an infection with worsened cloudiness, proceed to add tetracycline, then raise water temperature gradually to 32 degree celsius and add 0.3% salt. Cloudy eyes usually take days to heal, except the infectious causes, which can take weeks or months, with the possibility of permanent damage.
DROOP EYE Droop eye is not a disease but it is a common problem in Arowanas most probably caused by a change of natural environment to a captive one. It encourages the fish to look sideways, and down rather than up. The second most popular reason is because of overfeeding. Prevention is better than cure. The downward and lateral gaze is affected by a high glass tank with low moving objects around it (e.g. pets, children etc.). You can avoid this by transferring your arowana to a pond or cover all sides of the tank. Overfeeding also causes fat accumulation behind the eye. Reduce overfeeding and encourage your fish to exercise by introducing a slow current or getting a larger tank. Most importantly, do not buy a fish if you suspect it has droop eye. Arowanas fed with large, tough chunks of feed are also more likely to develop droop eye.
GILL CURL With this condition, the gill cover of the arowana curls outward, initially involving only the softer part of the cover, then later, the hard gill cover. If the problem is not treated, the condition will worsen and the gill will get exposed - causing breathing difficulty and making the gill prone to infection. The end result could be fatal.
A small swimming space in a tank with a length and width shorter than 2.5x and 1x the length of the arowana can cause gill curl, as the fish has to reverse when turning. Move your fish into a larger tank immediately. Poor water conditions with high level of ammonia, nitrite or nitrate also contribute to gill curl. Do a water change and increase the water current and increase dissolved 02 (by adding an airstone). If possible massage the gill cover if the fish allows it.
If all else fails you might have to operate. When only the soft potion of the gill cover is involved and the problem is noticed early, conservative management might be possible. However when the hard portion of the gill is affected, the condition is only reversible through surgery. With surgery, the curled portion of the gill is either trimmed off or multiple perpendicular cuts are made on it. There is a third hypothesis on the cause of gill curl. Infection of the inner membrane is believed to be the cause. The infection causes the inner membrane to swell and push the gill to curl outward.
HEAD-ROT SYNDROME This unique syndrome affects Asian Arowanas more than their Australian and south American counterparts. It is also more common in younger Arowanas. The head of the fish starts to swell, followed by a layer peeling off from the skin, starting from the front of the head and moving backwards. Activated carbon is believed to be the cause, due to its close association with the syndrome. It is thought that activated carbon removes vital elements in the water; hence it disallows head tissue to form normally. It is also believed that microscopic carbon particles deposited in the fish head irritate the fish. Healing usually begins within days after carbon is removed. Zeolite products could cause a similar problem too, but less severe and less common. Large Arowanas are less sensitive to Head rot Syndrome.
FIN MEMBRANE TEAR This is quite common and benign, Unlike Tail-drop syndrome; the tear is between the fin rays and runs parallel to the rays. A possible cause could be due to injury, followed by violent behav­ ior and other signs of injury. Provide good food and water. Also add 0.3% salt and acraflavine. A fin membrane tear heals fast, sometimes within days.
FIN ROT The symptoms of fin rot begin when the edges of the fins become pale and start to rot. It is caused by bacterial infection of the fins due to poor water quality or by a diseased fish introduced in the tank. When symptoms occur, immediately change the water and provide more aeration to add more air to increase the level of dis­ solved oxygen in the water. Change the filter element and raise the water temperature to 34 degree Celsius gradually - 1 degree over 2 hours. Add salt and commercially available fin rot solutions but follow the dosage carefully. Change 20-30% water daily for 3-6 days.
ITCH This is caused by parasites which will weaken the fish, resulting in a lower resistance and loss of appetite. Poor water conditions, introduction of a diseased fish or a sudden change of temperature are the causes of itch. The symptoms are white spots all over the body, and the fish will often be seen rubbing itself against the sides or the bottom of the tank. The advanced stages will see the parasites attack the gills. Survival will be slim if it reaches this stage. There are many commercial treatments available but it is best to follow the prescription carefully. Do a 20% water change and add 3 tablespoons of salt twice a week to the tank.
WATER TEMPERATURE For the rearing of Arowanas, water temperature is best maintained at 26 to 30 degree Celsius. This is the average temperature in tropical countries where the Asian Arowana originates. However, if your fish is sick and you want to keep diseases away and accelerate the healing process, a heater can be used to raise the temperature slightly to 29 to 31 degree Celsius. This will increase metabolic rate and promote frequent feeding and rapid growth.
Be careful not to raise the temperature of the water too much as this would cause the soft tissues around the head to wrinkle faster. At the same time, be careful not to let the temperature drop too low as this will cause the Arowana to become inactive and sickly.
It is higher recommended that if you are living in a cold country or an area with fluctuations in temperature, do invest in a heater. Water temperature must remain constant throughout the day. Any extreme fluctuations can cause harm or even kill the fish.
PH VALUE OF WATER A pH level of six to seven is ideal for the Arowana. This is especially important if you have intentions to breed them. The Arowana prefers soft water and it shows off its best color in water with a pH value that is kept slightly low with black water extract. Monitoring the pH value of your tank's water is crucial. A sudden spike in pH values may result in the death of your Arowana.
AMMONIA AND NITRATE LEVELS Nitrate and ammonia is generated from the waste matter and urine of the Arowana. This is harmful to the fish in large concentrations. High levels of ammonia and nitrates encourage common -__' diseases such as gill-turning, appetite loss, cloudy eye and fin rot. Both should be kept as low as possible.
FILTRATION LEVEL AND FREQUENCY OF WATER CHANGE It's best to measure ammonia, pH and dissolved oxygen levels in the late morning to take into account the rise in pH levels from photosynthesizing, , plants. If your Arowana is not in a planted tank, then taking measurements' -^ • " at any time of the day is fine. The following equipment is often needed to get a complete breakdown of the elements in your tank's water
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These 3 alone will help you safely monitor the components in the water that will affect the Arowana the most. However, if cost is a concern, the dissolved oxygen meter can be omitted because as long as you have a proper aeration system, there is usually no danger with a lack of oxygen for your Arowana.
An effective way to balance the nitrogen cycle is to have a biological or mechanical filter. A biological filter is a natural filtering system consisting of helpful bacterial colonies that, through a cycling process, convert pollutants in water to harmless nitrate. Nitrate is nitrogen, therefore this cycling process is also referred to as the nitrogen cycle, or cycling a tank.
Mechanical aquarium filtration is accomplished by moving water through some kind of material that acts like a sieve, catching the solids and removing them from the water. Ideally, the most effective mechanical filter removes particles down to very small sizes.
The easiest way to maintain the amount of nitrates and ammonia in your water is really nothing more than changing the water more frequently. The frequency of water change would really depend on the number of Arowanas you want to keep in the tank - the more fishes, the more often you should change the water. If you've got a smaller tank, then the same applies - change the water in your tank frequently. How much water and how often you need to change the water also is dependent on the nitrate and ammonia level. the quality of the fish, the performance of the filtration system and the type of food you feed your Arowana.
Live food such as frogs and crickets will pollute the water and thus, you will need to carry out more frequent water changes. Frogs also have a tendency of leaving a greasy layer on the water surface. Each water change should not exceed more than 40% of the water replaced. This helps to keep the water condition familiar to the Arowana and not cause stress to the fish because of a sudden change in the quality of the water. In general, every water change should involve 20% of the water in the tank.
Tap water these days have chemicals added to them to make them safe for human consumption but these tend to have a negative impact on Arowanas because such chemicals are absent in their natural habitat. It is a strongly recommended practice to add anti-chlorine and metal substance remover to treat new tap water. Most tap water have a pH of above 7 so it is advisable to add black water extract to soften the water after each water change.
Adding ketapang leaves to the aquarium in an attempt to simulate the natural "black water" environment of tropical helps to release organic acids into the water. This helps to lower the pH of the water, absorb harmful chemicals and create a soothing and natural environment for*L "
Most enthusiasts keep their Arowanas in four feet tanks that are kept indoors, but if you have the luxury of rearing your Arowana in a pond, you might want to consider the addition of water plants to your setup.
Water plants serves several functions for an outdoor pond:
1) Convert carbon dioxide into oxygen in sunlight 2) Convert ammonia, nitrates and urea into food. 3) Provide shade from afternoon sunlight. 4) Decoration for the pond.
Generally, you do not want to have water plants covering more than half your pond. Good options for water plants include the water lily and the water hyacinth.
Being a carnivorous fish in the wild, the Arowana feeds on a relatively wide selection of fishes, insects, shellfish and amphibians. Arowana prefer live food or at the very least floating food. Live food is generally more nutritious so Arowana owners generally do not feed dried food to their pets. They will not generally eat from the bottom of the tank. To this end keeping your arowana with a suitable bottom feeder may be a good idea to prevent the buildup of detritus in the tank.
The risk of live food is that there's a possibility of introducing diseases into your tank. The good news is that like the organic food movement, farm-raised crickets and cockroaches can be used to avoid any potentially fatal contamination by insecticides or diseases. Some Arowana owners even take the extra step of quaran­ tining the live food for a week before they are fed to the Arowana. This additional step prevents parasites such as fish louse, anchor works and threadworms from infecting the fish. Appropriate feeders can range from:
Mealworms, crickets, grasshoppers, locus, garden worms, fly, small frogs, small fish, shrimps, beef heart, etc.
The food your Arowana will like is very personal to the fish, so try lots of different things and see how they respond.
Some food helps to promote color in your fish. Any food that contains ceratanoids will help develop red and gold coloring in your fish. However, it is recommended to always maintain a varied diet in your fish. You can also feed live food on material high in ceratanoids, i.e. feed carrots or shrimp to mealworms and then the mealworms to the Arowana. The diet of the Red Arowana especially should be rich in red beta-carotene to help bring out its color saturation. Recommended live food include bee shrimps, prawns as well as crickets and mealworms fed with carrots. Sunlight, bloodline and water quality all have an influence on the color saturation. If sunlight is unavailable, even a couple of hours of indoor lighting daily can help enhance your Arowana's color.
Feeding patterns affect both the size and color of your Arowana. Feeding should be done in the morning or early evening and try to drop the food into the tank at the same location every time. This helps to train your Arowana to feed at the same spot.
How often you should feed your Arowana would depend on their age. You might have heard Arowana owners debating between once or twice daily but this frequency is completely dependent on the age of your Arowana. As Arowanas grow rapidly when they are younger, they will naturally require more food and more frequently fed. To help them achieve their maximum size, live food should form 70% of their diet. If your Arowana is between 12cm to 20cm, it would be recommended that you feed it twice daily. These young Arowanas are still in a stage of growth and will not develop to their full potential and in some cases, even survive, on a single feed daily.
Older Arowanas between 21 cm to 40cm will be able to last on a single feed daily; and Arowanas that mea­ sures over 40cm can be fed every alternate days.
Shrimps and Prawns: These should be kept in a tank with sufficient oxygen supply. A small air pump with an air stone at its end will suffice. Make sure they are not overcrowded as that will encourage them to kill one another for food. Tiny PVC tubes can be placed at the bottom of the tank to give them individual space. If necessary, the water has to be changed daily to keep it cool.
For frozen prawns, the ideal ones are those between 5cm to 8cm. Make sure to break off the pincers at the prawn's head and tail. Then, cut the remaining parts into smaller pieces. For young Arowanas below 20cm, make sure to remove the shells of the prawns before feeding.
Crickets: Crickets are very popular among Arowanas. Most breeders and enthusiasts will agree that this is the Arowanas' favorite food. Crickets are a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Make sure you feed the crickets with carrots first before you feed them to the Arowana. It is highly encouraged to keep a cycle of crickets so that you do not end up having to immediately feed freshly bought crickets. Make sure you have a buffer period to give the crick­ ets time to feed on carrots. Avoid storing too many crickets as their average lifespan is between 40 to 49 days.
Mealworms: An alternative source for great protein are from mealworms. Mealworms are easy to breed since all they require is a dry place and food. Again, food like carrots are recommended for their high beta-carotene con­ tent. It is important to keep the mealworms dry as dampness can kill them.
Young Frogs: Small non-poisonous frogs are also great, nutritious food for a young growing Arowana. Frogs can survive for days without food and sunlight, needing only daily water change.
TIME TO HEAD OUT AND GET YOURS! We've covered a fair bit of ground with Arowanas and you are now armed with the knowledge to start on your journey. Drop by your local aquarium and check out the various options available to you and make sure you enquire about any additional or special requirements there may be for rearing an Arowana in your area.
Have fun and the best of luck!