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Arowana -the fish from Jurasic-“Bony Tongued Fish”

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Arowanas are freshwater bony fish of the family Osteoglossidae, also known as bonytongues.
Genetic studies have confirmed this hypothesis, showing that the ancestor of the Asian arowanas diverged from the ancestor of the Australian arowanas, S. jardinii and S. leichardti, about 140 million years ago, during the Early Cretaceous period.
This divergence took place in the eastern margin of Gondwanaland, with the ancestors of Asian arowanas carried on the Indian subcontinent or smaller landmasses into Asia.
The morphological similarity of all Scleropages species shows that little evolutionary change has taken place recently for these ancient fish.



In this family of fishes, the head is bony and the elongate body is covered by large, heavy scales, with a mosaic pattern of canals.
The dorsal and the anal fins have soft rays and are long based, while the pectoral and ventral fins are small. The name “bonytongues” is derived from a toothed bone on the floor of the mouth, the “tongue”, equipped with teeth that bite against teeth on the roof of the mouth.
The fish can obtain oxygen from air by sucking it into the swim bladder, which is lined with capillaries like lung tissue. The arowana is an “obligatory air breather”.
Arowana Fish named as well "the dragon fish" from Chinese culture due to reseabling with a Chinese dragon is a specie of fish which can be found in Soth America especially Amazon area, Asia, Africa and North Australia.
Arowanas are freshwater bony fish of the family Osteoglossidae.
The head is bony and the elongate body is covered by large, heavy scales, with a mosaic pattern of canals. The dorsal and the anal fins have soft rays and are long based, while the pectoral and ventral fins are small.

Arowana Fish  can grow up to Four feet long (120cm). They can be feisty, though become tamer with age to the point of eating from your fingers, and not the fingers themselves.
The Arowana Fish comes from somewhat primitive origins (Jurassic Age), and some varieties are nicknamed “Bony Tongued Fish”.
Arowana fish are carnivores, though will generally eat nearly anything. Young Arowana Fish may be fed frozen or live brine shrimp, black worms, and even small fish. When older, some larger fish will do.
Baby Arowana Fish should be fed maybe 3 times a day, medium sized twice a day, and adults once a day, or even once every other day. Variety is important for a well balanced diet in Arowana Fish just like for most other fish. 



In tanks or aqauriums, arowana fish will produce a lot of waste and you should therefore, pay extra attention to water conditions (Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate) in your aquarium.
Changing 25% to 33% of the water weekly is advisable, or better yet, 20% twice a week. You should maintain the pH neutral.
Pay particular attention to the temperature and pH ranges suggested below on the various species, since if you have it too warm, it might cause them to age faster, look less Arowana, and even shorten their life.
A to cold temperature might on the other hand kill them.
Arowana fish will often swim in the top of the aquarium, and are capable of jumping from the aquarium. Keep the aquarium well covered to avoid coming home to a dead pet.
Silver Arowana Fish in the wild have been known to jump at insects in trees.


Do to wariety of species, arowana can be seen in different area's on Earth and therefore the habitat depends a lot on species.



There are species of Arowana that live on several different continents around the world.
A few live on the continent of South America, mainly in the Amazon river.
Some are from countries in Asia including Myanmar, Thailand, and Indonesia. One species is from Africa, where it can be found in several different rivers and lakes. A few are also from Australia.
Most arowanas live in rivers and swamps, although they can also be found in lakes and river drainages.
They especially like dark-water rivers that are slow moving. They usually stay in the open water sections, and usually near the surface of the water so that they are able to feed on their prey more easily.
They are always in freshwater. Some rivers that they can be commonly found in are the Amazon when it floods, and the drainage of the Nile.

Varieties of Arowana:

The Asian Arowana or Golden Arowana (Scleropages formosus) is considered an endangered species. Care should be taken to follow the law in purchasing and transporting them.
Asian Arowana fish generally can grow to about 36 inches, and are often much more expensive then the other Arowana species. These are well known and popular South East Asia where they are believed to bring luck.



The Spotted Arowana (Scleropages leichardti) is mostly found from Southern Australia. They can grow to around 36 inches/ 90 cm (they do however only seldom reach this length in an aquarium), and are less sought after then the Asian Arowana.
They are also called Dawson River Saratoga, Southern Saratoga, Spotted Barramundi, Australian Spotted Arowana, and Leichardti Saratoga. They tend to stay closer to the bottom than other Arowana fish species.

The Northern Arowana (Scleropages jardini) is found mostly in Northern Australia. They can grow to around 36 inches/ 90 cm. They are also called Northern Saratoga, Jardine Saratoga, Gulf Saratoga, Australian Gold or Pearl Arowana and Jardini Saratoga.
They eat similar food as the Spotted Arowana (Southern Australia), and are less likely to jump out of the tank than other species (though they might). This variety of Arowana Fish is best kept at a pH level of 6.0 - 7.5 and temperatures of 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (22-27 C).
While less aggressive then others, they are still predators and will likely eat anything that will fit in their mouths. They will eat Crayfish, Fish, Insects, and pellets with a little effort to get them started.



The African Arowana (Heterotis niloticus) comes from western and central Africa. They grow up to around 40 inches/100 cm. They are more rare than other Arowana Fish species. They are predators known to eat small fish.
This Arowana Fish prefers temperatures between 75 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (24-30 C) and a pH level of 6.7 to 7.5 (7.0 preferred). They eat shrimp, fish, live worms, and insects in captivity.
The Black Arowana fish (Osteoglossum ferreirai) comes from South America in the Rio Negro basin. They grow up to around 40 inches / 100 com, though they seldom reach this length in captivity.
The Black Arowana fish eat live fish, large insects, spiders, Tubifex worms, and may also eat pellets and flakes (not all specimens accept pellets and flakes). Young Arowana fish of this species tend to be delicate, though older fish tend to be more hardy.

Several distinct, naturally occurring colour varieties are recognised, each found in a specific geographic region. They include the following:

    The green is the most common variety, found in Indonesia (Kalimantan and Sumatra), Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Malaysia.
    The silver Asian (not to be confused with the silver arowana, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) is considered part of the green variety by some.
    It has two subvarieties, the "grey tail silver" or "Pinoh arowana," and the "yellow tail silver," each found in a different part of the island of Borneo in Indonesia.
    The red-tailed golden is found in northern Sumatra, Indonesia.
    The gold crossback, blue Malayan, or Bukit Merah blue is native to the state of Pahang and the Bukit Merah area in Perak, Peninsular Malaysia.
    The red, super red, blood red, or chili red is known only from the upper part of the Kapuas River and nearby lakes in western Borneo, Indonesia.

The silver arowana can be found from the Amazon River basin and in the Rupununi and Oyapock Rivers till South America as well as in still waters in Guyana.


Is quite hard to distinguesh the Sex of an arowana.
There really isn't any significant difference in coloration or size, sometimes, but not consistantly, the male will be slightly larger though.
Females tend to have a smaller head then the male, and considering the male is the carrier of the eggs and fry, as these fish are mouth brooders, that tends to make sense.



In the wild, Arowana pair by natural selection spending weeks courting. A pair of Arowana will chase and bite each other's tail while courting, eventually together side by side and chasing off other fish before they finally breed. When the females is ready she will lay eggs on slow stream riverbeds, which will be up to 1/2" in diameter and are then fertilized by the male. The eggs are then scooped up by male Arowana and hatched in his mouth. The fry will begin to briefly leave the father's mouth slowly increasing their exposure to the outside world. 




Tank Breeding
There were FEW records that Asian Arowana has been successfully bred in aquariums. Commercial breeders of Arowana usually use large earthen ponds. When breeding in earthen ponds, ten or more mature Arowana (half males, half females) are put into the pond and natural selection is allowed to take its course. The Arowana are observed carefully. When a pair is formed, they will chase the others away and started laying eggs. A net is then put in to segregate the pair from the other Arowana. When the fry are free swimming, they are netted and kept in rearing tanks. However, most aquarist do not have an earthen pond at home or live in a climate suitable to leaving them outside for several months.


Arowana fish is a carnivore speacies,though will eat nearly anything. Young Arowana Fish may be fed with  black worms,frozen or live brine shrimp,or even small fishes. Small young Arowana Fish typical feeding schedule is 3 times a day , while medium sized twice a day and adults once a day or even once every other day. Variety is important for a well balanced diet in Arowana Fish just like for most other fish.
Adults feed on other fish, while juveniles feed on insects.


Silver arowana may be offered meaty foods such as insects, shrimp, fish, frogs, pellet foods, etc., though it is best to feed arowana a brand of floating pellet food that has been specifically processed for fish of this type
In the wild, the arowana spends most of its life scanning the water surface for prey, but it will learn in an aquarium environment to look downwards for food that sinks to the bottom of its tank.

Interesting facts

  • Some varieties can grow up to Four feet long (120cm).
  • They can be feisty, though become tamer with age to the point of eating from your fingersThe Arowana Fish comes from somewhat primitive origins (Jurassic Age), and some varieties are nicknamed “Bony Tongued Fish”.
  • Arowana fish are carnivores.
  • Arowana Fish may live for many years, and if well cared for Arowana fish may live longer than 20 years in captivity.

The Dragon Fish in Feng Sui

  • The Fish itself has a number of characteristics that fit within the principals of Feng Sui. The large scales and their colouring of Red or Golden demonstrate the existence of wealth and success. Being such a noble and dominant fish it also presents the character of strength and success which can be reflected on the owner. The large mouth that only collects food from the surface show how the fish can engulf success from above and draw it in for the owner.
  • Water is a place where chi gathers, it is naturally a source of yin energy containing an "auspicious" fish such as an Arowana e balances the yang and helps to dispel any negative energy in the household or office. Also because the fish is so naturally effected by magnetic fields it is in keeping with the feng sui principals also based around the world's magnetism and polarities. 
  • The origin of Arowana fish come back from the Cretaceous and at least five extinct genera, known only from fossils, are classified as Osteoglossids.
  • Other fossils from as far back as the Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous are widely considered to belong to the arowana superorder Osteoglossomorpha.
  • Osteoglossomorph fossils have been found on all continents except Antarctica.These fossil genera include Brychaetus, Joffrichthys, and Phareodus.


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