Asian Arowana
Arowana Fish

Asian Arowana

The Asian Arowana (Scleropages formosus), are a bony-tongued fish that are closer to prehistoric times then many other fish. Like other Arowana the Asian Arowana can become fairly large, upwards to 36 inches. They are also called Dragon Fish, and Asian Bonytongue.

The Asian Arowana originate as the name suggest in Asia. They are found in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Asian Arowana are an endangered species, and hard to come by as the trade is regulated. If you decide to acquiring one you should make sure that you follow all laws involved, to help protect this species.

The Asian Arowana, like other Arowana can become large. They may become upwards of 35” long (90cm). It is important to remember this when buying one and choosing an aquarium for an Asian Arowana since even if the specimen you buy might be only one feet long (30cm) when you buy it, it grows fast and will require a large aquarium in a short amount of time.

Asian Arowana are as earlier mentioned also called Dragon Fish in the orient, not so much cause they look like dragons even if this is an aspect of it but rather because they feel it is an incarnation of the dragon itself. It is believed they bring good luck, deters evil, and keeps the family together, while bringing happiness and health.

They actually come in a few different variants, and some believe each may be distinct sub species. Asian Arowana variants include Cross Back Golden, Super Red, Red Tail, Golden, and Green Arowana.

The Cross Back Golden Asian Arowana originates in West Malaysia. These are in the highest demand, as it is believed they bring extra good fortune. Cross Back Golden Asian Arowana have been called Pahang Gold, Malayan Bonytongue, Bukit Merah Blue, Taiping Golden and the Malaysian Gold. They are quite rare and the demand is always high which brings the prices of these fish up to high levels. Cross-Back fins can be found in other color forms to like Purples, Blues, Red, varying Gold, Green, and Silver.

The Super Red Asian Arowana originated in Indonesia (Western Kalimantan Province). They can mainly be found in the waters of Lake Sentarum and the River Kapuas, and are one of the most popular Asian Arowana due to their beautiful red colors. Super Red Asian Arowana is much more common than the Cross Back Golden Asian Arowana. There are 4 varieties of red Arowana, Blood Red, Orange Red, Chili Red, and Golden Red Arowana. The red color is first visible in the fins in young specimens and gradually moves onto their entire body as they mature.

The Red Tail Golden Asian Arowana is found in Indonesia (Pekan Baru). They are more common and more affordable than Cross-Back Gold Asian Arowana since they are more abundant in the wild, as well as the fact that they are not as “Gold” as the Cross-Back Golden Asian Arowana. They are also a little more aggressive Cross-Back Golden Arowana which they otherwise have many of the same traits as.

The Green Tail Asian Arowana is usually found in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Cambodia. Due to the large coverage, there can be a lot more difference in these than in other Asian Arowana. Most are grayish green, and have a head that is larger and rounder then other varieties. These are one of the cheapest forms of all Asian Arowana.

Keeping Asian Arowana can be enjoyable, though remember, they need big tanks by the time they grow up.

As with any fish, keeping the tank in a location where they are safe from being bumped into, or stirred up unnecessarily, is wise. You need to keep the top covered and held down as well, since they are excellent jumpers and otherwise may wind up outside the tank. 55 gallon might be sufficient for juveniles, though 150 gallon+ would be advisable as they mature and grow larger. Remember, moving the tank is not going to be easy at all, so better planning now will save a lot of time later and spare the Asian Arowana a shocking experience

Asian Arowana – Scleropages formosus
Asian Arowana - Scleropages formosus. Copyright

Asian Arowana prefers to live in water with a temperature of about 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (24-30 C). The pH level is best kept between 7.0 and 7.5. It is recommendable to use several water heaters to make sure that there is a backup if one fails since they can be sensitive to lower temperatures.

Lighting plays a larger role when keeping an Asian Arowana than it does with many other fish. Good lighting is required to get your fish to develop good coloration and sunlight is beneficial to this end. You should however never place the aquarium in direct sunlight since the fish are sensitive to rapid changes in the temperature. To much sunlight can also cause sever algae problems. The lighting in an aquarium dedicated to keeping Arowana fish should preferable increase and degrees the light levels slowly since the fish otherwise might become very stressed and injure themselves against the decoration, aquarium glass etc.

Effective Biological, Chemical, and Mechanical filtration should be deemed necessary when keeping Asian Arowana. They are carnivores will create a lot of waste material with put a large stress on the filters. One suggested means of filtration would be a Bio-Wheel type system. Bio-Wheel type systems not only helps clean the aquarium but also help oxygenate the water to a small degree, which is especially good when keeping larger fish. Combined with a good carbon element, this and good gravel at the bottom of the tank should help keep the Ammonia, Ammonium, and Nitrites down. It is necessary to change out about 25% of the tank’s water each week.

Asian Arowana is not too picky when it comes to food and there is a lot they will eat. Young should be fed a mix of Live and Frozen Brine Shrimp, black worms, and small fish. As they get older, Frogs, Fish, and Shrimp makes good food. There are many other food sources that can be used to feed your fish and a quick search on the internet should give you a lot of tips of other food sources.

Often if your water quality is bad, or your Asian Arowana is sick, it may not be eating. It is therefore wise to monitor your fish for quietness, loss of aggressiveness, or change in patterns of their daily routine and take step to remedy the a problem if one is discovered.

Asian Arowana – Scleropages formosus
Closeup of an Asian Arowana - Scleropages formosus.


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