Types of Arowana

David Roslynn May 18, 2013

Popular Types of Arowana

From its primitive origins, the arowana made its way as one of the most sought after aquarium fishes by both avid aquarists and collectors. There are a number of reasons why aquarium owners like to keep arowanas as pets. While some choose to have arowana as a pet for their long-lifespan and intriguing qualities, others revere such fish for its ‘mystical’ qualities which some believe, is able to bring good luck and a certain level of security to its owner. The most zealous collectors even keep arowanas, also known as dragon fish and bonytongues, as a status symbol.

arowana fishThere are various kinds of arowana found around the world, each with its own unique characteristics that differentiates one species from the other. The distribution of arowana species is as follows: 4 known kinds in Asia, 3 in South America, 2 species in Australia and 1 native species in Africa. As most aquarists know, each type of arowana has distinct physical attributes, eating habits and behavioral patterns. Discussed below are the most popular types of arowana and the several requirements needed in order to successfully keep them as pets.


Red Arowana

Known to inhabit the fresh waters of Indonesia, the Red Arowana (affiliate link) takes its name from the special red marks on its gills. Such species however, is not exclusively red as its color ranges from pink, orange, blood red and dark red.  The Red Arowana fish is most sought after for its beauty and rarity. This type of arowana develops its true color as it matures, so most hobbyists and collectors buy arowanas of this kind once they are fully grown. There are several techniques owners employ to bring out and enhance the color of the Red Arowana fish though some are not necessarily considered ethical.

Golden Arowana

The Golden Arowana is exclusively found in South East Asia, mostly in Malaysia and Indonesia. The Malaysian Golden Arowana, also known as the Malaysian Bonytongue bears a combination of gold and dark green scales though from afar, its whole body appears covered in golden scales. The Red Tail Golden Arowana found in Indonesia bears close resemblance to its cousin from Malaysia. Almost half of its individual scales are gold, while its back, together with its fins are usually dark green. Compared to other types of arowana, Golden Arowanas are considered to have poor breeding habits by nature that is why they are now considered as endangered species. Much care should be taken in buying Golden Arowana fish because there are several laws in place to protect the said species.

Silver Arowana

arowana_fish03This distinct breed of arowana comes from the tributaries and fresh water basins of the Amazon in South America. Mature Silver Arowanas bear an armory of big silver scales with a tinge of light pink and blue on its fins. The Silver Arowana fish has a noticeably flatter body and a bigger head and can grow as long as 48 inches (121.92 cm) in the wild. This type of arowana is considered the cheapest yet they require much care because silver arowanas have a hard time adjusting to frozen food and prefers a diet of small fish, shrimp and crabs. Aquarists and collectors should be knowledgeable of Silver Arowana fish care and feeding techniques in order to successfully keep them as pets.

Jardini Arowana

Also known as the Northern Arowana, Jardini Arowanas can be mostly found in Australia. They are considered one of the most ‘solitary’ types of arowana though they quite well-mannered. Aquarists are often mindful on keeping their arowana aquarium covered because they often tend to jump out. The Jardini Arowana however can be left in an aquarium without a lid because they are often less likely to jump out of their tanks. What makes Jardini Arowanas easy to take care of because of its ability to adjust its diet and eating habits. Unlike most arowana species, they are able to live on fish pellets and frozen food.

Other Popular Types of Arowana

Aside from the ones mentioned above, some other popular species of arowana include the Spotted Arowana, also found in Australia, the African Arowana which thrives in western and central Africa and the Black Arowana of South America.