Arowanas are carnivorous, long-bodied fishes with large eyes, extended pelvic fins, large scales, and a shiny or metallic appearance. They are primitive in form, dating back in the fossil record to over 100 million years. Today there are 10 known species which can be found in South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. A unique feature of these fishes is that they are “obligatory” air breathers and can gulp in air from the water’s surface to get oxygen. They are also excellent jumpers. Some species can leap from the water more than 6 feet to pick insects off of overhanging plants and even birds perched on branches above the water. It is rumored that large Arowanas in South America have been observed catching and eating low-flying bats! Some species can attain lengths of over 8 feet, though most Arowanas do not grow over 3-4 feet long in captivity.
Aquarium Care & Feeding
Because Arowanas are great jumpers, ensure that the aquarium is properly covered. Smaller individuals will usually accept frozen items like bloodworms and brine shrimp. Adult Arowanas will require live foods or large pieces of frozen, meaty foods. It is not atypical for an Arowana to go several days without eating. As long as these fishes are showing no additional signs of stress, this is considered normal behavior. It is possible to keep other semi-aggressive to non-aggressive fishes with Arowanas, provided that they: a.) are not small enough for the Arowana to eat, and b.) do not swim near the surface, since Arowanas can be territorial.