are a freshwater species of bony fish belonging to the Osteoglossidae family. Their referred to as bony tongues or bonytonuges. These beautiful and very large fish are easily recognizable with the most sought after ones being red.
A unique and noticeable feature of Arowana, are their bony heads with massive heavy scales forming a beautiful mosaic pattern. They call them bony tongues due to the toothed bone on the base of their mouth that is outfitted with teeth that press against teeth located on the roof of their mouth.
There are some ten known living species of Arowana which can be found in South American, Africa, Australia and Asia. These fish can reach sizes of three feet in captivity and are specialized surface feeders. Known for the impressive jumping abilities it’s not unknown to see bricks or heavy weights on tops of aquarium to prevent jumping.
Osteoglossids or arowanas are carnivorous feeders and have been known to pick off insects and small birds from overhanging branches in South American where their nick named water monkeys. Arowana fish have been spawned in captivity so check out the Arowana breeding videos below. Interestingly these large freshwater fish are mouthbrooders.
Maintenance of the bony tongue species will require large aquariums and something in the order of 150 gallons or larger is preferable to accommodate their growth. Many specimens are kept as solitary pets and are also seen in a community tank environment where they are mixed with other large fish of equal temperament. Arowana can be successfully housed with Siamese tigerfish
and other similar fish of Asia. Interesting cichlid keepers mix Arowana with large cichlids like Oscars and Jaguar cichlids
. It’s really about the correct tank space and ratio of fish and fish temperament than mixing fish based on similar geographic regions.
Arowana fish are also called Good Luck Fish and Feng Shui Fish
. They are purported to represent good luck, wealth, strength and prosperity in Asian culture. The Chinese call Arowana Kam Lung Yue which translates to Golden Dragon Fish and represent an element of Feng Shui. The Golden Dragon Fish are marked as endangered on the IUCN Redlist
as a species with very low densities throughout its range following significant declines in the past. This makes them a highly valued species in the international aquarium trade and hobby.
Arowana spawning videos
Other South American fish and related links