Arowanas are stunning freshwater species known for their large and cylinder body shape. They natively live all over the tropical regions of the world. Depending on the region they are coming from, they’ve developed special characteristics and morphs.
These majestic fish are found in Asia, Australia, Africa, and South America. Arowana fish in each of these regions look slightly different. Even though they physically look the same they all share the same care requirements and needs.
You can find our comprehensive care guide for Arowanas here: Everything you need to know about Arowana.
The most famous varieties of Arowana are Asian and South American types. These fish are commonly available in pet stores around the world. The Australian and African Arowana might also become available in pet stores depending on the region you are living in.
These large predatory fish are known for their large cylinder-shaped body that makes them look very unique. Their body shape is the reason these fish are famous in China as they resemble a dragon. Chinese consider this fish to bring good luck and fortune.
This article will walk you through the different types of Arowanas available in the pet trade and what are the main characteristics each of them has. If you find this article helpful please share it with your friends on social media.
South American Arowana
There are two main varieties of these stunning South American monsters, which can be identified by their protracted dorsal and anal fins. In South America, Arowanas can be found in silver and black colorations. These two variants are known as Silver Arowana and Black Arowana.
Both fish have the same body shape but Black Arowana has a darker hue on their body and fins. The black color is particularly noticeable in young Arowana.
The adult black Arowanas are mainly silver but still have a noticeable amount of black coloration on their fins. The black coloration is mainly on the dorsal, anal, and caudal fins.
Locals refer to Arowanas as “water monkeys” because they jump and catch insects from the tree branches.
The Silver Arowana is the largest and most calm type of Arowana. This south American monster can reach a length of 3.5 feet; making it the largest Arowana in the world. As the name suggests, they are fully covered with metallic silver.
Due to their large size, silver Arowanas demand large tanks. So you’ll have to make sure you have a tank that is at least 250 gallons if you want to keep this fish. The decorations you place in their tank have to be soft to prevent damage to their body. We prefer keeping large types of plants as only decorations in the tank.
The cost varies widely depending on the area you live in, the fish size, and the grade of this fish. But, generally, Silver Arowanas are the cheapest type of Arowana. Especially if you are living in North America.
These fish are usually sold at around $40 when they are small and gradually become more expensive as they grow. The larger specimens of high grade might cost you as much as $1,000.
Black Arowana is native to the Negro River in South America. This Arowana has a blackish body color at its younger age. Their black coloration helps the young Arowanas to blend in with the black colors in Rio Negro.
As the fish grows and becomes mature, it will start to lose its black colors and develop a metallic silver color. But they might still have some black coloration on their fins in their adulthood as well.
Same as Silver Arowana, the Black Arowana can also reach 3.5 feet in length. They share the same body pattern and need a similar diet and care. However, the black Arowanas are a little more aggressive and territorial.
These Arowana are less available as they are hard to catch in the wild. This makes them slightly more expensive than the silver Arowana. They can range anywhere from US$ 250 to US$ 2,000 depending on their size and grade.
There is only one variety of Arowana on the African continent. It is a notable creature, of course. The African Arowana may reach a length of 3.3 feet when in captivity and has distinctive olive-green coloring.
They are slightly different from the South American Arowanas when it comes to body shape. The fins and their odd spherical head shape are the main points of difference.
The African Arowana is a large-scaled fish with long dorsal and anal fins. They have a more plumbed and round body in comparison to the south American Arowanas. It has been stated that it can grow to be up to 1 m (3.3 ft) long and weigh up to 10.2 kg (22 lb).
Unless you have enough experience keeping large fish, we do not recommend keeping this type of Arowana. They are challenging to maintain and generally not the best option for home aquariums.
They mainly eat meaty food but as they mature, they appear to enjoy an omnivorous diet. Same as all Arowanas they need an insect-based diet throughout their lifetime.
Here in North America, you should expect to spend anything from US$ 70 for imported fry and US$ 2,000 for adults if you want to own this fish. The shipping costs and availability are the main reasons these fish are more expensive than silver Arowana.
As the name suggests, this type of Arowana is native to Australia but can be found in New Guinea as well. They are commonly known as Jardinii Arowana in the aquarium trade.
They have dark-colored bodies covered with thick scales that can have reddish or pinkish spots on them. This Arowana is very similar to Asian Arowana but has larger pectoral fins and duller coloration.
This Arowana grows to about 35 inches in length and can weigh more than 38 lb. They are readily available in Australia, but they rarely become available in North America.
This is the ideal type of Arowana if you want to have a single-species tank! These fish are very aggressive and will fight over territory. If you still want to keep this fish with other Arowanas or other tank mates, we recommend reading the Tank mates section of our Arowana care guide.
You can find our comprehensive care guide for Arowanas here: Arowana Care Guide.
In captivity, Jardinii Arowanas grow to about 24 inches. However, there are reports that this fish can grow up to 35 inches in the wild. This means you will need a tank that is at least 180 gallons or more.
They are certainly a lovely species since the very ends of the silver scales on their bodies are typically reddish or pink. The price of this fish can range from US$250 to $3,000. They can also live for about 20 years.
Spotted Arowana (Southern Saratoga)
Southern Saratoga is a type of boney mouth fish living in the same region as Jardinii Arowana. This fish is very similar to Jardinii Arowana and needs similar water parameters and care.
They grow to about 36 inches and can weigh up to 9 lb. This species of Australian Arowana is not very common in North America. But if they become available, you should expect to pay between US$300 and $600 for a specimen.
The Asian Arowana is the most colorful and beautiful type of Arowana money can buy. This species is thick and slender and has multiple different colors available. They’re basically the king of the Arowana world.
In terms of body shape, they are very similar to the Australian Jardinii Arowana. Some even believe that Asian Arowanas are descendants of Australian Arowanas that continued to grow in Asia.
They are available in a variety of colors, including green, silver, orange, and red. The species can grow to be three feet long, but in captivity, they tend to stay much smaller.
Asian Arowanas are very well sought-after species in many parts of the world. But unfortunately here in the United States, they are banned. This fish, however, is freely imported into Canada.
The green Arowana has a silver-colored body that can glow green under lighting. These magnificent fish are very aggressive and can grow to about 3 feet long.
They are giant fish that need enough space to be able to grow naturally. They also need proper care and diet that puts them in the realm of advanced aquarium fish. So if you don’t have a large tank or never kept Arowana you should not attempt to keep this fish.
If you want to have a Green Asian Arowana, it might cost you anything from US$400 up to US$ 2,500 depending on the size of the fish.
The Red Arowana or Super Red Arowana is one of the most expensive and gorgeous of all Asian Arowanas. Red Arowana juveniles will have only faintly reddish patches around their heads. But as they grow they become red.
At around three years of age, you can expect your red Arowana to begin to develop a fiery red color all over its body.
When fully matured, these creatures can develop beautiful uniformed red colors throughout their body. If you take good care of them, you could have a fantastic companion for more than 20 years.
Super red Arowanas are very expensive and can easily go for thousands of dollars. At a young age, you can expect them to be at around $1,000 and $3,000.
The Platinum Arowana is a rare mutation of Asian Arowana that is sold at extremely high prices. This fish is the most sought-after Arowana in the world and can go for thousands of dollars.
The unique looks and coloration of this fish make it look very similar to white Asian dragons. This is why many people believe this fish can bring luck to their homes and businesses.
Its glittering, white scales make this fish the most expensive Arowana in the world.
Finally, we have the most exceptional and unique-looking Arowana fish of all time. The Golden Arowana has a bright shimmering golden color throughout its body. They look like a giant gold bar moving in a tank.
They have a rather short lifespan when compared to other species. They can only live between 10 to 15 years.
This short lifespan is due to many years of line breeding and intense tanning techniques used to create the golden coloration on this fish. But they are well worth the work and money for those who truly admire them.
While these fish are not always available for sale, they can go for up to US$ 30,000 for a highly-graded adult.
The Arowana fish are absolutely beautiful fish every monster fish enthusiast should have. These beautiful creatures can grow to a substantial size and have unique personality traits that make them super fun to own. Their long lifespan makes them great pets to own and enjoy for many years.
If you have an Arowana or are thinking of buying one, we highly recommend reading our Arowana Care Guide to fully understand these magnificent fish.