Arowanas are freshwater, bony fish known for their slender bodies, large scales and wide variety of colors. They are highly sought by avid aquarists and collectors. Popular arowanas include the red, golden, silver, Jardini, and Leichardti arowanas.
Red arowanas are from the freshwaters of Indonesia. When they are young, they are known for their red lips and gills, but true color does not occur until the fish mature. Red arowanas are not exclusively red; they range between pink, orange, blood red and dark red. Red arowanas are thought to bring prosperity and wealth to the owner.
Golden arowanas are from the freshwaters of Malaysia and Indonesia. They're commonly called Malaysian golden arowanas or Malaysian "bonytongues." They have a combination of gold and dark green scales, but from a distance, the fish look like they are completely covered in golden scales. Golden arowanas are highly sought after, but because of their poor breeding habits, they are an endangered species. Under the CITIES Convention and Fisheries Department, fisheries must ensure that each transaction of golden arowanas in Malaysia meet the CITES permit of ownership, marketing, breeding and trafficking of the fish.
Silver arowanas are from the freshwater basins and tributaries of the Amazons in South America. As adults, they have big silver scales that have a tinge of light pink and blue on the fins; they are also much flatter than other arowanas with larger heads. In the wild, the species can grow up to 4 feet long. Silver arowanas are among the cheaper arowana to buy, but they are among the harder to keep. Silver arowanas have a hard time adjusting to frozen food; they prefer a diet of small fish and shrimp.
Jardini arowanas are from Northern Australia and New Guinea. They're commonly called the Northern arowana or the pearl arowana. Hobbyist who keep Jardini arowanas do not have to be as careful about keeping a lid on the aquarium because this species are less likely to jump out of the tank. As young fish, they are mild; as they age, the fish can become semi-aggressive, making them better as solitary fish. Jardini arowanas adapt better to captivity, adjusting diet and feeding habits to pellets and frozen foods.
Leichardti arowanas are from Southern Australia. They are commonly called Australian spotted arowanas and spotted barramundi. Like Jardini arowanas, fish of this species do well in captivity and have adapted to feeding on pellets and frozen foods. They tend to stay at the bottom of the aquarium, whereas other arowanas tend to stay at the surface of the tank. Leichardti arowanas are not popular aquarium fish.
- Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images