Aquarium Fish Facts: Silver Arowana

The silver arowana is exceptionally fascinating fish among the pet fish keepers due to its splendid silver hue and delightful body shape. It is a freshwater Actinopterygian fish under Osteoglossidae family of order Osteoglossiformes. It was first uncovered by French naturalist and zoologist, Georges Cuvier in 1829 and introduced into aquarium hobby in 1912.

Systematic Position

  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Sub-phylum: Vertebrata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Osteoglossiformes
  • Family: Osteoglossidae
  • Subfamily: Osteoglossinae
  • Genus: Osteoglossum  
  • Species: Osteoglossum bicirrhosum

Distribution and Habitat

In nature, it is found in Rupununi and Oyapock Rivers and Amazon River basin of South America. It is also found in waters of Guyana. It occurs in shallow water of swamps and flooded land. It generally prefers to swim close to the surface of water during the period of feeding.

Common Names

It has a few normal names, for example. monkey fish, Dragon fish, Two barbels bony tongue, Silver Aruana, Water monkey, Bony-tongued Fish and so on.

Body Shape and Colors

Body is extended with the huge upward mouth. It has brilliant body shading with long dorsal and anal fins. The fin is pink in shading. The Caudal fin is little and rounded which is blended with both dorsal and anal fins. The tip of the lower jaw bears forked barbells which are utilized as a sensory organ during the detection of water movement.

Size and Lifespan

It is hardy fish and it can grow up to 120 cm long and 5 kg in weight. It can live up to 20 years if appropriate care is taken.

Quick Silver Arowana Facts

  • Scientific Name:Osteoglossum bicirrhosum
  • Origin: Colombia, Peru
  • Grown-up Size: 47.2 inches (119.99 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size:   250 gallons
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive
  • Tank level: Middle to surface level of the tank
  • Water Temperature:  75.0 to 86.0° F (23.9 to 30.0° C)
  • Water pH: 6.5-7.0
  • Water Hardness: 8-12 dGH
  • Breeding: Egg-layer
  • Water Movement: Weak
  • Lighting Needs: Moderate – normal lighting
  • Substrate Type: Small and dark gravel
  • Care Level: Moderate
  • Lifespan: 10-20 years or more

Feeding Behavior 

It is carnivorous fish and in wild condition, its food comprises of crustaceans, aquatic insects and its hatchlings, small fishes that are found close to the water surface. In captivity, it accepts small fish, artemia, tadpole larva, earthworms. It also takes prawn/shrimps, mussels, fish flesh, pellets feeds, and other meaty foods. It should not be fed with chicken or beef hearts. Feed should be offered one time every day.

Housing and Care Facts

It is extremely tough fish which requires no less than 220 gallons tank or bigger is suggested. The tank should have fine and delicate rock base with a lot of free space for swimming. The tank should also have great filtration system with adequate water movement. For this reason, external filter, powerheads or airstones do well to keep nitrogen low. To keep your tank condition sound, 20-25% water changes should be done on regular basis. This fish is the brilliant jumper and safely fitted cover is required to prevent bouncing out of the aquarium.


It is a social and community fish and 5 to 10 fish can be kept together. Appropriate tank mates incorporate large Oscars, Catfish, Ornate Bichirs and large Plecostomus. It should not be kept with large sized pike cichlids to prevent any harassment from pike cichlids.

Breeding Behavior

Silver Arowana is an egg-layer and for the most part, it doesn’t breed in aquarium condition. In wild condition, it breeds in monsoon season. During the breeding period, guardians make circular homes on the sloppy base of the water. The mature female lays 100-300 eggs each breeding season. The male arowana takes all the eggs in his mouth where it remains for 50-60 days. After hatching, the fry becomes 60-75 mm in length. The fry should be fed with newly hatched brine shrimp and rotifers. During young stages, appropriate care should be taken to keep your baby arowana healthy.

Male and Female Differances

It is hard to make the contrast between the male and female arowana. After development, the male body is generally rounded in shape than the female. The male also bears somewhat short anal fin than the female.

Disease and Preventive Measures

It is very delicate and sensitive fish. Sometimes it is susceptible to itch, parasitic infestations, bacterial infections or other diseases due to improper tank management. To make your fish healthy or disease free, all the decorative items such as aquarium plants, substrate or other tank management instruments should be properly cleaned and made quarantine before adding to aquarium. Great water quality with appropriate eating regime should also be kept up to keep your fish upbeat.

Concluding Remarks

Silver Arowana is exceptionally appealing and prominent fish among the accomplished fish managers due to their excellent and interesting body appearance. Now a day, it is available in nearby fish store and online merchant at a sensible cost. For making your aquarium more appealing, we prescribe you to keep this fish in your aquarium.

As a fish lover, you may also like to read: Beautiful Glass Catfish Info

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