top of page

Arowana Fish Care Tips

Arowana, the truly majestic dragon fish has been around us for so many years. With facial barbs and coin-like metallic scales, and because it resembles a Chinese New Year dragon, the Asian Arowana is thought to bring prosperity and luck to Asian cultures.

I have introduced to Arowana 8 years ago and was amazed by the sheer beauty of this magnificent creature. A little more insight into this majestic fin dragon revealed to me its secret as to why this beautiful creature is the costliest fish in the Aquarium business.

Arowana has become a new status symbol for its owner to show off its prized collection to his neighbors.

It is important to know a few pointers before buying your first healthy Arowana:-


  • For a beginner, the size of an Arowana recommended for purchase is 15-20cm (6-9 inches), as this is the best size to groom your Arowana. But you can purchase a larger one if you have the correct housing and the budget to look after it.

  • Find an Arowana which is active, alert, and actively swimming as it will be less timid when it goes back to your home tank.

  • Do a Background Check. For more serious buyers, it is recommended that you try to know the history of the fish from the country of origin. 

  • Here is the most important aspect to consider, is to check on the Diet that the Arowana is being fed on ( e.g live feed or pellets) MAke sure that the Arowana is eating well and its fecal matter should be dark brown in Colour.

  • If you decide to buy the Expensive Arowana, check for its authenticity with the Farm. This can only be done if its


Other  Important Tips to consider when buying an Arowana

Scales:- The body should be radiant and shining and not dull or some scale decayed.

Eyes:- Should be the same size and not one small and the other Large.

Mouth:- The mouth should close properly with the ends of the top jaw and bottom jaw meeting.

Barbels:- Should be pointed upwards.

Fins:- Should not have any blood clotting.

Gills:- Should be clear and red.

Size of the Aquarium 

Arowana should never be kept in a smaller aquarium, if you can not afford to buy a bigger aquarium please do not even think of buying this magnificent creature. This fish can grow to the size of tanks3-4 feet in the wild and in captivity can grow up to 3 ft. The Depth of the tank is very important. As the Arowana is the free-flowing swimmer it will be cruel to keep it at a 1-foot breadth (distance between behind and front of the Glass)  as it obstructs its movement. The minimum size of the fish tank recommended should be at least 4ft in length for a Juvenile Arowana of 6 inches.

Water Condition and Temperature for Arowana

Asian Arowana lives in soft, acidic water in the wild, at a temperature of 30°C/86°F so this should be replicated to provide them with optimum conditions — which may result in better coloration and more readiness to breed.

Pearl Arowana like similar hot, acid conditions, whereas Spotted Arowana is hardier about water hardness, tolerating conditions up to 8.3 — so neutral to hard, alkaline, and cooler water will be fine.

Fish Food for Arowana

Arowana is a finicky eater at the start and takes time to adapt to its new environment. before purchasing your favorite Arowana, it is imperative to know from the seller about the dietary requirement of the fish.

Consider a wide range of foods normally sold for reptiles, such as crickets, locusts, and giant mealworms. Earthworms would also be suitable.

There’s also a wide range of proprietary Arowana foods on the market providing all the necessary vitamins, nutrients, and supplements they may need. Many will also contain color enhancers that can heighten red coloration. 

I had an Arowana refusing to eat Arowana food sticks, so to get over it,  I use to insert the food stick into the prawn and feed them.


Fish Disease in an Arowana


Stress plays a very important role in the death of an Arowana. Bad water quality and poor maintenance of the aquarium lead to stress and eventually death.

We will look at some of the Diseases in an Arowana:-

Tilted Gill Covers:- This occurs when the space given to the dragon becomes smaller as time passes on, it's not only important to provide nutritional food but also space. The temperature of the water should always be maintained. It should not be too cold or too hot. Also, check on the rotten food lying somewhere in the tank it can increase the nitrate levels in the tank leading to the poisoning of the fish. Lack of oxygen can kill any fish.

Treatment:- When you see these indications first thing to do is to change the water from 20% to 30% every  2-3 days. Also, air bubble stones can be added to the water so that extra oxygen levels can be increased. This can help in 50% of the health of the Fish. If it still does not respond the best thing is to cut the tilted portion near the Gill of the fish. Make sure that the fish is promptly put in the tank after this minor surgery. Proper medication and antibodies should be provided to the fish in a separate tank for it to recover. 


Cloudy  Eyes:- This happens due to contaminated water or an Eye Injury. At least 1/3rd of the water needs to be changed and the temperature needs to be increased from at least 30 degrees celsius to 33 degrees celsius. Salt can also be added to the water during the treatment of cloudy eyes.

Protruding scales disease:- It can happen to the dragon fish when it's small in size. This happens due to bad water condition and also change in the temperature. Change the water every 3 to 4 days. Increase the temperature of the water from 32 degrees celsius to 34degree celsius. Add copper sulfate medications to the water.


Rotting Gill Disease:- Happens due to not changing the water for a long time. It affects the breathing of the fish.

Stomach Ailments:- An injury caused by the sharp pincer of the prawns affecting the internal wall of the stomach to be infected with bacteria, resulting in a swollen belly. Even Stale food can affect stomach the. Commercially available medications are the only source of the cure. The temperature should be increased to 25 to 30 degrees celsius.

Parasites are mainly introduced through live food. Fish lice and the Anchor worms are the common parasites that affect the fish.  The use of medicine containing copper sulfate is recommended for the treatment of the Fish. Also during the treatment, the increase of oxygen is very important. ​

Head Rot:- Usually caused by using an active carbon filter. Head rot will start with a patch of a white spot on the head. As time pass by, the white spot will start to rot and produce dents on the Arowana's head. The only known cure is to add some aquarium salt until Arowana recovers. Allow 2 to 3 weeks for recovery.

Barbels:- The barbels are very prone to fungus or parasite attacks. Fungus attacks usually start because of an injury to the barbels. Injuries may occur when the Arowana knocks itself against the aquarium wall, or when it struggles during transportation. If an open wound results, it may lead to a fungus attack. Hobbyist is advised to be receptive to such behavior as it is a clear indication that there is trouble. The recovery time depends on the age of the Fish.






Red Arowana

Cloudy Eyes
bottom of page