Complete Silver Arowana Care Guide: Tank mates, Tank setups, Compatibility

Silver Arowana originated from the freshwater bodies found across South America. Dragon Fish and Monkey fish are other names of these fishes.

This iconic fish has many features that attract fishkeeping enthusiast and makes them one of the exotic fishes of aquaculture. The hunting ability and large size are a few qualities that will make them prized possession of many aquarists.

But we won’t recommend a beginner to start his fishkeeping hobby with Arowana fish. This fish best suits an experienced aquarist.

This Silver Arowana care guide will give insight into everything you need to know about this fish. Let’s first take a short peek at the table given below –

Category Rating
Family Osteoglossidae
Scientific Name Osteoglossum bicirrhosum
Temperament Semi-aggressive
Care Level Difficult
Diet Carnivore
Size Up to 3 Foot
Lifespan 10-15 Years
Color Form Silver
Compatibility Moderate

Overview of Silver Arowana

Silver Arowana is a native of South America, where you can find it dwelling in the Amazon River Basin. This bony, freshwater Arowana fish has other common names, including water Monkey fish and Silver Dragon fish.

They also have a few misspelled names such as Arawana, Silver Arrowana, Arrowanna, Arahuana, and Arijuana fish.

Aquarists around the world adore these fishes for their unusual appearance. But these predator fishes are quite powerful swimmers that can get incredibly aggressive at times.

Silver Arowana size can reach up to 4 feet with a weight exceeding around 6 kg. You can expect this fish to have a 10 to 15 years lifespan when kept in a home aquarium.

This fish is unique, and you can witness its efficient hunting skills in the wild. It can make a huge leap to hunt animals across the low-level branches. Arowana fish can also survive outside of water for a short period using the swim bladder.

In general, Arowanas are restricted for import. But the Silver Arowana variants are the least restricted ones, so they are the cheapest species available in the pet stores.

These fishes are the best addition to experienced aquarists’ tanks, given their large size, long lifespan, and uncertain nature.

Silver Arowana

The Appearance of Silver Arowana

Silver Arowana fish is the most sought-after species and act as a crowning jewel of any collection.

The full grown Silver Arowana can reach the size of up to 4 feet in the wild. But in the home aquariums, they will have a length of around 3 feet. You can expect your fish to have an average weight of about 4.6kg or 10lbs.

The most exceptional feature of this fish is its jawline, which is nearly vertical. Aquarists affectionately refer to it as ‘drawbridge.’ This fish’s body has sizeable pearl-like silver scales covering its entire body, which may have a bluish tint when they are juvenile.

They have a long sleek body that looks compressed when viewed from either side. The dorsal fin is fused with the caudal fin, which gives it a unique appearance.

The female Silver Arowana fish is comparatively thicker than the males with a slender body and larger anal fin.

These fishes will measure around 4 inches after leaving their egg sack. However, they will grow 2 inches per month in the first year, given the rapid Silver Arowana growth rate.

So, make sure you are adding enough food and space in the aquarium for their proper growth.

You may also find other Arowana types such as Platinum Arowana, Black Arowana, Golden Arowana, Red Arowana, etc., in the Aquaculture.

General Behavior

Surprisingly, the Silver Arowana fish is incredibly skittish despite its large size. You can easily scare them off by making sudden movements around the tank or switching on the lights.

The Arowana fish will also get startled easily every time you move past their aquarium. To avoid this, you can keep the tank in a low foot-traffic area.

You will notice that these Dragon fishes often swim closer to the water surface.

However, you must know that these fishes jump! Some aquarists have even claimed that they can jump as high as 3 meters. You can see this behavior, especially when they are new to the environment or in a small tank.

In an aquarium too small for them, this fish will continuously try to jump out of it for freedom. A lid may prevent their leap outside, but the fish will still try jumping and will get injured by bouncing off the cover.

Hence, it is necessary to keep Silver Arowana in a perfectly-sized aquarium.

Habitat and Tank Requirements

This South American Silver Arowana is a beautiful large fish and a strong swimmer, as we discussed above. The Arowana fish tank must measure around 250 gallons of capacity as this fish can quickly outgrow any hobby aquarist tank.

However, you can raise juvenile Arowana fish in a small tank with a capacity of around 60 gallons. But you will soon need a larger tank as they grow quite quickly.

If you didn’t move this fish in a suitably-sized tank on time, you would start facing health problems in your fish. Body deformation and reduced lifespan are a few common problems.

Silver Arowana Care

Silver Arowana Tank Size and Required Conditions

Water Conditions Parameters
Minimum Tank Size 250 Gallons
Tank Setup Freshwater: Rocks and Plants
Temperature 75-82°F
pH 6.5-7.5
Hardness 1 to 8 dKH

While setting up the Arrowana aquarium, make sure to add fine or small gravel-based substrate in the base. The tank should have moderately added plants to give them ample free-swimming area.

If you want to decorate your tank further, you can add rockwork, driftwood, and sturdy plants to it. Avoid any plants with weak roots that your Silver Arowana can dislodge.

Silver Arowana fish is a tropical freshwater fish with a high tolerance to change in water chemistry. Still, you must keep the water conditions in a given range to keep them healthy.

They need the tank temperature in a range between 75 and 82°F and will thrive in soft to moderately hard water. At the same time, a suitable pH for Arowana is 6.5 to 7.5.

These fishes will quickly get sick when kept in the low water quality. To avoid this, you must have a sound filtration system, and you must perform 25% of weekly water change.

Finally, as we discussed, Silver Arowanas are infamous for jumping, so you must keep a firm lid on top to prevent them from jumping outside of the aquarium. Also, it would work best if you keep the tank in a low traffic area.

Silver Arowana Tank Mates and Compatibility

Silver Arowanas are predator fishes, and you must keep this thing in your mind before choosing the right mate for them.

When looking for a compatible mate for a juvenile Arowanas, you must avoid keeping them with any aggressive mate that can bully your fish. Nonetheless, you can keep a group of juveniles and raise them together.

Hence, we will recommend you to keep at least 6 of them in the beginning. It will also prevent the larger Arowanas from bullying the smaller ones.

Now let’s take a look at who can become a compatible mate for the adult Arowana fish.

You won’t be surprised to know that finding a mate for an adult fish isn’t easy. You can’t keep any aggressive fish in the same tank; otherwise, your fish will become an easy target.

We won’t also recommend keeping any small fishes because Silver Arowana is a predator fish who will fondly feed on any smaller creature around them.

Silver Arowana Tank Mates

But it doesn’t mean that none fish can become good friends with your Arowana. Follow these three rules while finding the right mate for them.

  • The mate should be peaceful yet slightly aggressive to defend themselves.
  • The mate should be large enough not to get eaten by the Arowana.
  • Lastly, Arowana must be the first one to get introduced to the tank.

Green Terrors, Knifefish, Large PlecostomusOscarsAngelfish, Parrot Cichlid, and Catfish are excellent examples of the abovementioned points.

You must keep in mind that the temperament of the individual fish can vary significantly. You must have a backup plan like an extra tank to transfer one of the fishes if they didn’t get along well.

How many Arowana can live together?

Can two Arowanas be kept together? You must be very cautious while planning to keep multiple Silver Arowana in the same aquarium as they don’t do well together. If you still insist, we will advise you to get at least 6 of them to put them in a big natural pond or an aquarium (if you can arrange one of a similar size).

What Do Arowanas Eat?

People often confuse Silver Arowana fish to be carnivores, given their predatory nature. However, these fishes are occasionally omnivores.

Arowanas consume a huge variety of prey when in the wild. It includes snails, small fishes, large insects, frogs, and even rabbits or snakes! However, they mostly prefer eating crustaceans and small fish.

The hunting style of Arowanas is quite impressive. They swim below the water line before jumping out of the water and catching their prey. The position of their mouth makes this hunting technique easier for them.

They also catch a small fish by swimming beneath and then scooping them up.

It is necessary to replicate your fish’s feeding habits and diet as close to what they eat in the wild. These fishes prefer meat-based diets that include crabs, earthworms, beef heart, crickets, crustaceans, krill, and shrimp.

You can also put some feeder fish in the tank to let them use their hunting skills. This activity will be quite impressive to watch. However, if you want to include feeder fish in their diet, we recommend you breed them yourself.

It will ensure that the feeder fishes you are feeding your Arowana are healthy. You can’t guarantee the same while purchasing them from your local pet stores or online. Adding these feeder fish to your tank increases the risk of bringing diseases to your aquarium.

Feeding fresh meat can be an expensive option for you. But you can always opt for frozen foods to reduce the costs and keep your fish happy. Some aquarists claim to have trained their Arowana for eating pellet food, but it is rare.

You may find it challenging to feed baby Arowanas as they are fussy eaters.

The best silver Arowana food at this stage is fresh or live food. But as this fish matures or grows bigger than 8 to 9 inches, you can easily feed them frozen foods such as krill.

Arowana Breeding

In the wild, Silver Arowanas spawn at the beginning of the flood season, which is around December or January.

Before this, these fishes form a pair and start building their nest. Arowanas are mouthbrooders, and the males carry the eggs in their mouth after females have laid them in the nest.

If you got a chance, you would find orange/red eggs of reasonably large size.

For around 50 days, males carry these eggs in their mouths. During this time, they mature from an egg to larvae, and finally, to fry. Baby Arowanas will take around five weeks after hatching to leave their father’s mouth and find food.

Unfortunately, the breeding process isn’t easy to follow in the home aquarium, and only a few breeders have successfully bred them. These breeders had an aquarium or pond with around 500 gallons of capacity.

Due to this reason, we don’t recommend attempting the breeding of these fishes in home aquariums. Most Silver Arowanas you find in the aquarium trade originate from Asian fish farms.


Silver Arowana fish is undoubtedly an exceptional fish with quite an unusual appearance. But this fish is not advisable for beginners, given their predatory nature, long lifespan, and large size.

However, these qualities make them a suitable choice for an experienced aquarist.

Arowanas need an aquarium with at least 250 gallons of capacity to thrive, while finding a suitable mate for them is another challenge you will face.

These fishes are carnivores and will require a large quantity of meat in their diet. So, you must consider each factor before purchasing them. You can also opt for making your fish food to save money.

Silver Arowana is still the least expensive variant of their family, and you can buy Arowana fish by spending around $40 for a single small fish.

While buying these fishes, you must pay attention to their size. We will advise you to pick the one which is at least 8 inches long. During this time, the fish is mature and hardy enough to survive long in the home aquariums.

Have you ever kept Silver Arowana in your home aquarium? Let us know through your comments.