Aquarium Fish

Silver Arowana

posted: 05/15/12
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Silver Arowana
Courtesy of Drs. Foster and Smith
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The Silver Arowana, or Arahuana, is known by many alternate names, sometimes making identification tricky. Scientifically, it is most often called Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, but one may also hear reference to O. vandelli, or Ischnosoma bicirrhosum. Among the group known as band fishes, the Silver Arowana is considered a true bony fish. Indigenous to the flood plains of the Amazon River Basin in South America, the Arowana can reach an intimidating 47 inches in the wild, and is often too much for all but the advanced freshwater aquarist to manage. It can survive short times out of the water by breathing air by utilizing its swim bladder.

The Silver Arowana prefers a 125-gallon tank with a fine gravel bottom, loosely planted, and soft, peaty water with lots of open space above for swimming. The aquarium must be fitted with a tight, heavy cover because the Arowana will jump, particularly when after prey.

After breeding, the male Silver Arowana is responsible for carrying the large eggs in his mouth where they mature in 50 to 60 days. When young, these fish are easily harassed by more aggressive species such as Cichlids. Knifefish, large Plecostomus, Catfish, and Ornate Bichirs make good tank mates for the Silver Arowana.

A carnivore, the Silver Arowana will eat other smaller fish, water fleas, mosquito larvae, and occasionally flaked and pellet foods.

Ideal tank mates include: Similar sized, miscellaneous fish, Plecos, and larger Scavenger Catfish.

Fish Facts

Name: Silver Arowana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum)

Family: Osteoglossidae

Range: South America — Amazon flood plains

Size: Up to 47 inches

Diet: Carnivore

Tank Set-up: Freshwater: Sparsely planted, plenty of open space, fine gravel bottom

Tank Conditions: 75-82°F; pH 6.0-7.0; dH to 8

Minimum Tank Capacity: 125 gallons

Light: Low

Temperament: Semi-aggressive

Swimming Level: Top

Care Level: Moderate

Reproduction: Mouth Brooder

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