The Fish Guru

Enchanting Silver Arowana: Natural Habitat Tank Requirements and Behavior

Silver Arowana: The Enchanting Fish of the Amazon

Have you ever heard of a fish that looks like it’s been plucked straight out of a mythical world? The Silver Arowana, also known as arahuana, monkey fish, and dragon fish, is a unique and fascinating creature that inspires awe wherever it is seen.

It is a part of the Osteoglossidae family, also known as boney tongues, which are distinctive for having toothed tongues. In this article, we will delve into the intriguing world of the Silver Arowana, exploring its natural habitat, appearance and identification, size, lifespan, legalities, and cost.

Natural Habitat

The Silver Arowana is primarily found in the Essequibo, Oyapock, and Amazon river basins. It prefers blackwater conditions with a low pH, which makes the water tannin-rich and acidic.

Silver Arowanas are facultative air-breathers, meaning that they have the ability to take in oxygen from the air above water. They also have a migration pattern that is partly facilitated by their ability to breathe air.

During the rainy season, they swim upstream to lay their eggs and feed in the flooded forests, and during the dry season, they swim downstream to find new feeding grounds. As one of the most popular aquarium fish, Silver Arowanas are often bred in captivity and are exported to different parts of the world.

Appearance and Identification

The Silver Arowana is a large fish that can grow up to three feet in length, or 36 cm, within the first year. They can live up to 15 years.

Their silver scales, which are highly reflective, give them an almost ethereal, almost mythical appearance. Their long, slender bodies are shaped like arrows, with an elongated head and a tapered tail.

They swim near the surface of the water to catch their prey, which includes smaller fish, insects and crustaceans, such as shrimp. When hunting, they can leap out of the water to grab their prey with their sharp teeth.

The Silver Arowana is also known for its exquisite orientation, thanks to its big eyes, which are positioned on the top of its head.Can you imagine having a fish tank with this creature in it? Size, Lifespan, and Legalities

In terms of size, the Silver Arowana has a fascinating growth rate.

Within the first year, it can grow up to three feet, or 36 cm, in length. By the time it reaches two years, it can grow up to four feet, or 48 cm, in length.

While it is legal to own a Silver Arowana in some parts of the world, including the United States, obtaining a permit can be a challenge due to its status as an endangered species. It is advisable to check the regulations in your locality before acquiring a Silver Arowana.

It is also important to note that while Asian Arowanas are often more popular in the aquarium trade, they are highly endangered, and owning them is prohibited in many countries. The populations of Silver Arowanas have also declined over the years due to habitat destruction, overfishing, and pollution.


The price of a Silver Arowana can range widely, depending on factors such as size, quality, and color variations. On average, a juvenile Silver Arowana can cost anywhere from $50 to $500, while larger, high-quality specimens can go for several thousand dollars.

When purchasing a Silver Arowana, it is important to ensure that it is healthy and has been bred in captivity, rather than caught in the wild. In conclusion, the Silver Arowana is a unique and enchanting creature that is truly fascinating to behold.

Its natural habitat, appearance, and identification, lifespan, legalities, and cost are all aspects that make this fish so captivating. While it is important to check the regulations in your area before purchasing a Silver Arowana, owning one can be a rewarding experience, provided you have the resources and expertise to care for them properly.

Whether you are a seasoned aquarium enthusiast or looking to add some excitement to your home or office, the Silver Arowana offers an exquisite and memorable sight to behold.

3) Silver Arowana Tank Requirements

As beautiful and fascinating as Silver Arowanas can be, they require a specific set of tank requirements to thrive in captivity. Let’s take a closer look at their ideal tank size and setup, water parameters, and suitable tank mates.

Tank Size and Setup

Silver Arowanas are large fish that require a lot of space to swim around freely. Ideally, they should be kept in a tank that holds at least 250 gallons of water.

This allows them to move freely and exercise regularly. In terms of dimensions, the tank should be at least six feet long and at least two feet deep to give them plenty of room to glide back and forth.

When it comes to substrate, Silver Arowanas prefer a smooth, sandy bottom. Avoid using sharp or abrasive substrate as they might scratch the fish’s skin.

Decorations such as driftwood, rocks, and plants can be added to simulate their natural environment and create hiding places. However, keep in mind that Silver Arowanas are surface swimmers, so the decorations should be placed towards the back and sides of the tank to make the center open for swimming.

Since Silver Arowanas can jump out of the water, it is crucial to have protective netting or secure tank lids to prevent them from escaping.

Water Parameters

Silver Arowanas are sensitive to changes in water chemistry and water quality, so it is essential to maintain stable water parameters for their wellbeing. They prefer neutral pH levels that range from 6.5-7.5, and moderate water flow.

A high-quality filtration system and regular water changes are also necessary to keep the water clean and healthy for the fish.

Suitable Tank Mates

Due to their aggressive nature and predatory instincts, Silver Arowanas are best kept with other large, predatory fish. Gars, giant gourami, freshwater stingrays, dinosaur bichir, clown knifefish, and clown loaches are all suitable tank mates for Silver Arowanas, given that they are similar in size and temperament.

It is essential to avoid keeping smaller fish with Silver Arowanas, as they may be perceived as food and eaten.

4) Silver Arowana Behavior

Silver Arowanas have unique behavioral tendencies that set them apart from other aquarium fish. They exhibit varied behaviors as adults, juveniles, and when it comes to their feeding habits.

Adult Behavior

Adult Silver Arowanas are solitary fish that do not enjoy the company of other members of their own species. They are surface swimmers and will spend most of their time cruising and gliding back and forth along the water surface.

These fish tend to be aggressive, and they will defend their territory from intruders. It is important to provide enough space for them to establish their territories and avoid overcrowding.

Juvenile Behavior

Juvenile Silver Arowanas are delicate and vulnerable, and they can be easily bullied by other fish. It is essential to provide plenty of hiding places and ample swimming space for them.

As they grow older, they will become less fragile and more aggressive towards their tank mates.

Feeding Habits

Silver Arowanas are carnivores, and they require a protein-rich diet to maintain their health and wellbeing. They can be picky eaters, and it is essential to offer them a varied diet that includes live and frozen foods like shrimp, krill, and small fish.

Silver Arowanas usually prefer food that moves within the water, so try to mimic the movement of live prey as much as possible. It is important to note that Silver Arowanas require prey that is appropriately sized.

Offering prey that is too small may not be entirely satisfying, while prey that is too large can cause digestive problems, leading to health issues such as constipation. The prey should be a little bit bigger than the girth of the fish’s mouth for a fair and enjoyable feeding experience.

In conclusion, keeping a Silver Arowana in your aquarium is a unique and exciting experience. Taking care of them requires time, effort, and attention, but it is always worth the effort.

By providing the correct tank setup and water parameters, suitable tank mates, and a varied diet, you can ensure that your Silver Arowana will live a long and healthy life. Understanding their behavior and feeding habits is also crucial for ensuring that they are happy and comfortable in their environment.

5) Breeding Silver Arowanas

Breeding Silver Arowanas can be a rewarding experience for experienced aquarium enthusiasts. However, it is important to note that breeding them in captivity is not possible due to their size and territoriality.

Therefore, in this segment, we will discuss their natural breeding behavior in the wild.

In the Wild

In the wild, Silver Arowanas breed during the rainy season when the rivers start to flood. During this time, the water temperature rises and the fish become more active.

They spawn by depositing their eggs in shallow water or flooded forest areas. The male will then take the fertilized eggs in his mouth to protect them from predators and incubate them.

The male holds the eggs in his mouth for about 50-60 days, during which time the eggs develop into fry. They will still rely on their yolk sacs for nourishment during this time, and the male will go without food, surviving off his stored energy reserves.

When the fry are ready to be released, the male will carefully spit them out into safe waters. The fry are usually only a few millimeters long, and their survival rate is low.

The brood size is typically small, with only a few hundred fry hatching at a time.

6) Conclusion

In conclusion, the Silver Arowana is a magnificent species that requires specific care to ensure that it lives a long, healthy life. Providing them with an adequate home, suitable tank mates, and a varied diet is essential for their well-being.

While breeding Silver Arowanas in captivity is not possible, understanding their natural breeding behavior in the wild can provide insights into their unique and fascinating life cycle. If you have any further questions about the care and maintenance of Silver Arowanas, consult with a qualified aquarium professional or experienced hobbyist.

With the right knowledge and experience, keeping Silver Arowanas can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience that offers a glimpse into the wonders of the aquatic world. In conclusion, Silver Arowanas are fascinating and unique fish that require specific care to thrive in captivity.

Maintaining suitable tank size and setup, proper water parameters, and appropriate tank mates is essential. While breeding Silver Arowanas in captivity is not possible, understanding their natural breeding behavior can provide insights into their unique life cycle.

Overall, providing Silver Arowanas with a proper home and a varied diet can be a rewarding experience for aquarium enthusiasts. It is crucial to ensure that aquarium enthusiasts have the knowledge and experience to take good care of these fish, and that they understand that they should not be acquired just for decorative purposes.

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