Silver Arowana

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Osteoglossum bicirrhosum - (Cuvier, 1829)
Silver Arowana

Growing to almost 120 cm (4 feet), this is an imposing fish for very large aquariums and dedicated keepers only.


The South American Arowana is a powerful, large—to almost 4 feet (120 cm)—swimmer that has no place in the average home aquarium. They are also accomplished jumpers and need appropriately large tanks with firmly seated covers.

Silver Arowana juvenile.

An arowana can make an incredible aquarium fish, but only for the aquarist prepared to house and feed it properly. The Silver Arowana is the least expensive and easiest species to obtain.

Family: Osteoglossidae

Other common name(s):

  • Arawana
  • South American Arawana
  • Aruana, Arrowana, Aro

Native range:

Habitat: Rivers and streams, often near shore under overhanging branches. Arowanas feed heavily on fishes, but are famous for athletic leaps out of the water to capture large insects as well as birds and bats. It is sometimes dubbed the "the water monkey" for its hunting prowess and contortions.

Maximum length: 120 cm (47 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 2400 L (634 gal)

Water: Freshwater 24 °C (75 °F) - 30 °C (86 °F)

General swimming level: Near surface.


Omnivore. Feeds on fishes and large insects.

Aquarium Compatibility

Prototypical "tankbusters," the arowanas are prized gamefish, known as fierce fighters. They will consume smaller fishes that fit into their large jaws.

Juveniles can be kept in home-scale aquariums, but they will need new homes as they grow.

Special Care

Never buy an arowana unless you have its next, larger, home pre-arranged.


Some arowana species are mouthbrooders and exhibit parental care of eggs and fry.


Asian arowanas/arawanas are grouped in the Genus Scleropages.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW