Often there is concern from potential Arowana owners about the investment involved and the risks associated with it. The reality of the situation is that Arowana (with a life expectancy of 20+ years) can be a long term aquatic companion with one of the lowest requirements of care of any tropical species. Well filtered, soft and slightly acidic water at roughly 28C is preferable, however, Arowana are known in captivity to be kept in a wide variety of conditions ranging from a PH4 to PH8 and KH2 to KH20. This will be reflected by the specific fish and its tolerance to the environment but Arowana themselves are very hardy.
Ideal conditions are based around sensitivity to PH and we always recommend owners keep their tanks as close to PH6.4 to PH6.8 as possible.
Arowana are exceedingly tolerant of poor conditions, they are not however tolerant at all to changing conditions. The greatest risk your Arowana will face is a change in environment such as changing the filter, or overfeeding a tank that has too weak a filter. This can cause a spike in ammonia, nitrates or nitrites. It is not the conditions themselves that can be harmful but the change which may result in losing your fish.
A clear example of this is a tank that has been poorly kept for several months. The owner decides to perform a 60% water change with the purest, most perfectly conditioned and correct water. As a result the Arowana becomes unable to swim correctly, starts to rotate in the water and over a week dies. The issue is not the condition of the water but the unexpected change. This same change could be achieved with 10% water changes per week, or even a reduction of the water level and a drip fed increase over several weeks.
Can I keep Arowana with other fish?
Arowana are also highly territorial but establish good relationships with other fish such as Barbs, Parrot Fish and Stingrays. If you desire to keep a number then as a general rule they can only be kept with other Arowana if in groups of 6 or above. As a testament to their individual personalities it is often possible to keep smaller groups of Arowana together if they are individually more sociable.
Always keep watch over your tank and fish to understand the relationship that are forming. Also remember the Arowana’s primary territory is within 16 inches of the surface of the water. If you have fish that regularly swim in this zone they are prime targets for Arowana to pick on. If your tank is not deeper than 16 inches you may find keeping any other fish will be a problem.
I have heard about Droop Eye, is my Arowana at Risk?
Droop Eye is NOT caused by Arowana looking down or feeding off the bottom of the tank!
The scientific cause of Droop Eye is a fatty deposit build up behind the eyes of the fish, this is caused by over exposure to light, high stress levels, poor diet or any combination of these. To avoid droop eye, make sure you keep the fish in good condition, calm and balanced nutrition. Some fish are genetically more susceptible than others.Please see Feeding Information below for specific feeding tips.