If you are the owner of a really big aquarium, you might want to consider keeping the fascination Arowanas. Arowanas should however only be kept by experienced and dedicated aquarists, for several reasons. They are big and boisterous, they require a really large and expensive aquarium, they are aggressive and you must be careful if you wish to combine them with other fish, they require a lot of food that you might have to cultivate yourself unless you have a very big food budget, and certain Arowana species are illegal to keep.
The largest types of Arowana can grow up to 120 centimeters (48 inches) in length, and is hard to keep by most hobby aquarists. Even more modest Arowanas can easily reach a size of 75 centimetres (30 inches) and require a very large aquarium to do well. In addition to being big, the Arowana is also an aggressive predator that usually requires its very own aquarium since pretty much anything is considered food to the Arowana. It is however possible to keep an Arowana with other large and similarly aggressive fish species that will defend themselves. If you take well care of your Arowana, it can become 20 years old or more.
One important factor to consider before you go out and purchase an Arowana is your budget. How much are you prepared to spend your hobby? Most Arowanas are expensive to obtain, and even if you manage to find a cheap Arowana, it will cost a lot of money to keep since they will eat a lot of expensive food. Producing your own feeder fish is usually the best way of keeping an Arowana happy and healthy.
One of the most frequently kept Arowana species is the Silver Arowana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) and this is also one of the easiest and least expensive ones to obtain. The Silver Arowana is usually sold when it is still quite small, and it can be hard to image how fast this species actually will grow. Getting a small Silver Arowana thinking that you will take care of the housing problem “some day in the future” is not a good idea, since this species can grow 5 centimeters (2 inches) a month. The Silver Arowana is prone to a health problem known as “Drop Eye”.
Another popular Arowana species is the Asian Arowana (Scleropages formosus). This species is however endangered in many parts of the world, and getting a wild caught specimen is therefore not recommended. (It is illegal in most countries.) If you manage to find a captive bred Asian Arowana, or an Asian Arowana that was caught before the ban was enforced, you should expect some paper work before you can purchase it. There exist several different forms of Asian Arowana, including the Green Arowana, the Golden Arowana, the Red Tail Arowana and the Super Red Arowana. In South East Asia, the Asian Arowana is associated with luck and happiness and is usually referred to as “Dragon Fish”. Owning an Asian Arowana is a way of keeping evil forces away from the home.