Silver Arowana: Care, Size, Tank Mates & More!

The Silver Arowana is a stunning freshwater fish that has earned quite a reputation in the aquarium community. Some aquarists may feel a bit intimidated by this species, but for others, owning one is seen as an exciting and rewarding challenge.

You’ve come to the right place if you’re part of the latter group! This guide will teach you everything you need to know about caring for a Silver Arowana, so you can feel confident in taking on this responsibility.

This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about caring for Silver Arowanas so that you can provide the best possible care for these fascinating fish.

Key Takeaways

  •  Silver Arowanas are highly aggressive fish with demanding care requirements, making them unsuitable for beginners.
  • They require a minimum tank size of 250 gallons for adults and a heavily controlled environment with regular water testing.
  • Silver Arowanas are carnivorous and need a protein-rich diet, including live and frozen foods like feeder fish, shrimp, and crickets.
  • Finding suitable tank mates for Silver Arowanas is challenging, and they usually don’t do well with other Silver Arowanas. Large fish that are slightly aggressive can be compatible tank mates.

Species Summary

Originating from the Amazon River Basin in South America, the Silver Arowana is a fish that demands specialized care and attention. It’s aggressive behavior and unique requirements make it a challenging fish to keep, and not recommended for beginners.

Ensuring the good health and overall well-being of your Silver Arowana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) largely depends on providing a meticulously regulated habitat and a nourishing diet of top-notch food. While it may not be the easiest fish to care for, the rewards of keeping a Silver Arowana are truly remarkable and worth the effort.

Average Silver Arowana Size


On average, the size of a Silver Arowana in captivity can reach up to 3 feet long, requiring a minimum tank size of 250 gallons for an adult. This species is known for its long and slender body, which can grow rapidly with proper care and diet.

Here are some interesting facts about their growth rate:

  • Silver Arowanas can grow up to 1 to 2 inch per month when young and well-fed.
  • Their growth rate can slow down as they reach maturity, but they can still grow up to 4 feet long in the wild.
  • Water conditions, feeding behavior, and overall health can affect their growth rate, so it is essential to monitor their growth regularly.

They are predatory and require a large tank, making it challenging to breed them in captivity.


With proper care, the lifespan of a captive Silver Arowana can range from 10 to 15 years and can be extended with optimal living conditions. However, the lifespan of a Silver Arowana can be affected by several factors.

Poor water conditions, inadequate diet, and stressful environments can lead to health concerns, developmental issues, and decreased lifespan. Maintaining proper water parameters, providing a protein-rich diet, and ensuring a spacious and secure tank with hiding spots to reduce stress levels are crucial.

Silver Arowanas can live longer in the wild in the wild than in captivity, with some individuals living up to 20 years. The difference in lifespan is due to the availability of a natural diet, larger living space, and less exposure to stress.

Silver Arowanas have a relatively long lifespan compared to other aquarium fish, with some species living only a few years in captivity. Therefore, providing the right care, diet, and living conditions can significantly impact the longevity of a Silver Arowana in captivity.


Silver Arowanas are a type of fish that belong to the “band fishes” group. And if you’re wondering how they got this name, just look at their long, slender bodies resembling a band. Although their bodies taper off towards the tailfin, it’s not as dramatic as other species, allowing them to maintain their unique shape.

While Silver Arowanas look flat from the side, they have considerable girth when viewed from the front. But the most distinctive feature of these fish is their fins. The dorsal and anal fins extend down almost the entire body, leading to a surprisingly small tailfin. A closer look reveals a minute gap that separates it from the others.

Thin pelvic and pectoral fins and two distinct barbels at the mouth tip give Silver Arowanas their “Dragon Fish” nickname. Their mouth is almost vertical and works like a drawbridge, allowing them to catch prey quickly and efficiently.

These fish are silverish, with large scales covering their bodies, and have a pearlescent finish. As juveniles, their scales are slightly bluish but barely noticeable. Males and females look very similar, with only subtle differences in size and fin length to tell them apart.

Silver Arowanas are a fascinating and unique fish species with band-like bodies, distinctive fins, and a vertical mouth. Their silverish color and pearlescent scales make them a sight to behold, while their subtle differences in size and fin length help distinguish males from females.

Silver Arowana Care

Taking care of a Silver Arowana is a challenging feat. These fish can be quite demanding due to their size and temperament. On top of that, they’re sensitive to poor water conditions.

In order to maintain the well-being of your Silver Arowana, it is crucial to recreate its natural habitat and closely monitor its surroundings. Your fish will thrive if you maintain a healthy range of conditions.

Remember, keeping a Silver Arowana happy and healthy requires effort and dedication. But with a little care, you can provide your fish a comfortable and enjoyable life.

Tank Size

It’s important to know that they require a large tank to stay healthy. For adults, the minimum tank size should be 250 gallons!

Although juveniles can survive in tanks as small as 60 gallons, they grow extremely quickly – up to 2 inches per month in their first year alone! Starting them off in a larger tank is best to support their rapid growth.

They can face various issues if you fail to provide your Silver Arowana with the right tank size. They may feel crowded, stressed, and aggressive and even try jumping out of the tank. In the worst-case scenario, they can experience developmental issues and deformities, ultimately reducing their lifespan.

So, if you’re ready to own a Silver Arowana, provide them with a tank to help them thrive!

Water Parameters

Maintaining appropriate water parameters is crucial for the health and well-being of Silver Arowanas in captivity. These fish are sensitive to poor water conditions, and their care requirements are demanding. Water testing should be done regularly to monitor pH levels, water temperature, and water hardness.

The ideal water temperature for Silver Arowanas is between 75°F to 82°F, with pH levels ranging from 6.5 to 7.5. Water hardness should be kept between 1 to 8 dKH, and any fluctuations in these parameters should be avoided to prevent stress and aggression in these fish.

For Silver Arowanas to thrive, it’s crucial to maintain high-quality living conditions by having a dependable filtration system and monitoring nitrate levels. Powerful filtration is necessary to keep nitrate levels low, which can cause stress and health issues for these fish.

A well-maintained tank will ensure that Silver Arowanas thrive in captivity. Thus, monitoring water conditions regularly is crucial, maintaining proper temperature control and ensuring the filtration system works efficiently. These steps will help Silver Arowanas remain healthy and happy in their tank.

Setting Up Their Tank

Taking care of Silver Arowanas is a unique task that requires specific attention. These fish prefer open swimming spaces rather than heavily planted environments, so leave the middle of the tank open for swimming. For hiding spots, utilize strong-rooted plants, driftwood, and rocks.

To ensure the health of your Silver Arowanas, powerful filtration is essential. We highly recommend the Fluval FX4 for efficient cycling and low nitrate levels. It’s also crucial to replace 25% of the water weekly to maintain acceptable levels of ammonia and nitrates.

Keeping these fish in their tank is critical, so a secure lid is a must. Silver Arowanas are known to jump up to 3 meters high, so a weighted lid that can be secured onto the tank can prevent any escape attempts.

If your Silver Arowana escapes, don’t presume it’s dead if you locate it outside the tank. These fish can survive out of the water briefly using their swim bladder. Get them back into the water as soon as possible.

Potential Diseases

One of the challenges of keeping the Silver Arowana in a home aquarium is its susceptibility to various freshwater diseases. Common diseases that affect this species include fin rot, Dropsy, and Ich.

Fin rot is a bacterial infection that can cause the fins to deteriorate and turn black. Dropsy is a condition that causes the fish to swell, and Ich is a parasitic infection that causes white spots on the body and fins.

Prevention measures for these diseases include maintaining excellent water quality, providing a healthy and balanced diet, and avoiding overcrowding in the tank. Regular water changes, proper filtration, and avoiding overfeeding can also help prevent disease.

In case of illness, prompt treatment is necessary. Treatment options vary depending on the disease and may include environmental changes, medication options, or a combination. It is essential to consult with a veterinarian or experienced fish keeper for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Food & Diet

Carnivorous in nature, the Silver Arowana requires a protein-rich diet consisting of live and frozen foods such as feeder fish, shrimp, and crickets to thrive in a home aquarium. These fish are predatory and can eat any fish that fits into their mouth, making them unsuitable for a community tank.

Monitoring their feeding habits and nutritional requirements is essential o maintain their health and prevent developmental issues.

Many live food options are available for Silver Arowanas, including earthworms, mealworms, and crickets, which can be purchased at most pet stores. If feeder fish are not an option, substitutes such as frozen shrimp, krill, and bloodworms can be used to supplement their diet.

It is crucial to avoid overfeeding and to provide a balanced diet for these fish to prevent obesity and other health issues.

Overall, a well-balanced and varied diet is necessary to maintain their health and keep these fish thriving in a home aquarium.

Behavior & Temperament

These fish are notorious predators and will gobble up any smaller fish in the tank. So, if you plan on adding some new fishy friends to your aquarium, exercise caution!

But don’t let their tough exterior fool you – Silver Arowanas can be quite skittish. They’re always on the lookout for danger, and if you approach their tank too suddenly, they’re likely to dart off and hide.

These fish will eventually learn to recognize and trust you with some patience. Just keep their tank in a low-traffic area so they don’t get spooked every time you walk by.

Tank Mates

Finding suitable tank mates for the highly territorial Silver Arowana can be challenging, as they are known for their aggressive behavior towards their kind. Choosing companions that can tolerate their aggressive nature and size is important.

Large, slightly aggressive fish, such as catfish and parrotfish, can be compatible tank mates. However, it is important to consider the size of the tank, as Silver Arowanas require plenty of room to swim comfortably. A minimum tank size of 250 gallons is necessary for an adult, and it is essential to provide hiding spots to reduce stress.

For those who prefer a more peaceful community tank, it is best to avoid adding fish that can fit in the Silver Arowana’s mouth, as they are predatory and can eat any fish that fits into their mouth.

Choosing suitable tank mates for Silver Arowanas requires careful consideration of tank size, feeding requirements, and aggressive companions.



Breeding Silver Arowanas in captivity is rare. They only do it during the flood season, which is around July. They are not very social creatures, so finding a pair that gets along can be tricky.

But the process is fascinating if you are lucky enough to have a bonded pair that chooses to breed. The female lays her eggs after the two fish build a nest. Once all the eggs are laid, the male will scoop them up in his mouth. Don’t worry; he’s not eating them! Silver Arowanas are mouthbrooders, which means the male will keep the eggs in his mouth for up to 50 days until they hatch.

And when the fry finally hatch, they stick around for 5 weeks. At this point, the fish fry is pretty large, and you can eat small feeder fish or brine shrimp without any issues. It’s incredible how these fish care for their young, ensuring they are well-fed and safe until they are big enough to fend for themselves.

In conclusion, breeding Silver Arowanas is no easy feat but fascinating to observe. From the finicky nature of finding a bonded pair to the male’s mouthbrooding behavior, this species has unique characteristics that make them stand out. And with their exceptional care for their young, these fish are truly remarkable creatures.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Silver Arowanas cost?

The cost of a Silver Arowana can vary depending on factors such as size, age, and location. Breeding habits, feeding schedule, tank setup, and growth rate can also impact the overall cost of owning and maintaining this species.

Can Silver Arowanas live with other species of fish?

Silver Arowanas are highly aggressive fish and may not be compatible with other species due to their predatory nature. Tank size, feeding habits, and behavioral patterns are important factors when introducing tank mates.

Do Silver Arowanas require any special lighting in their tank?

Silver Arowanas do not require special lighting, but LED lighting can enhance their colors. You can use natural sunlight or fluorescent bulbs for sterilization, but it’s best to avoid UV sterilizers. The recommended lighting duration is 8-12 hours.

Are there any specific water additives that should be used when caring for Silver Arowanas?

Maintaining water quality is crucial when caring for Silver Arowanas. Filtration methods should be strong, and water additives can be used to maintain pH levels. Feeding habits should include protein-rich live and frozen foods. Breeding techniques require a large tank.


In conclusion, caring for Silver Arowanas requires specific attention to their tank size, water conditions, and feeding habits.

These fish are not suitable for beginners due to their demanding care requirements. With the right environment and diet, they can live up to 10-15 years in captivity.

It is important to note that Silver Arowanas are known for their aggressive behavior and should be housed with caution. Suitable tank mates include other large, peaceful fish, such as catfish and larger tetras.

Breeding Silver Arowanas can be challenging, but it is possible to raise a successful brood with the right conditions.

Overall, these fascinating fish make a rewarding addition to a well-maintained aquarium.