Photo: Qian Hu Corp

The Asian Arowana (Scleropages Formosus), also affectionately known as Dragon Fish in Asia, is a geomantic and majestic fish. Often regarded as a symbol of luck, wealth and prosperity, Arowana owners believe that if it is treated well, it will protect them from misfortunes and bless them with good fortune and good luck.

To enjoy the hobby and the pride that comes with owning the legendary Dragon Fish, read up to learn as much as you can before purchasing one. Your efforts will pay off as it will prevent unnecessary headaches and heartaches later on. 

Things To Consider

Arowana fry with yolk sac

When looking for a fish to acquire, bear in mind the following:

Research: Do your research and purchase your micro-chipped Arowana only from licensed reputable Arowana farms (the local fish shops will have the Authentication Certificates from the farms).

Background Check: Try to know the history of the fish before purchasing, eg: when it arrives at the shop (would prefer to have settled in a few days before you buy it) and which country is it from (in case you have any preferences).

Size: It is recommended to purchase juvenile Arowanas that are around 15 - 20cm, as this is the best size to groom your Arowana. Of course, you can purchase adult fishes if it fits your taste and budget.

Active & Alert: Look for an Arowana that is actively swimming, full of vitality, and more responsive to you, as it will be less timid when it goes back to your home tank.

Diet: Check with the owner the diet that the Arowana is being fed on (eg:  live feed or pellets). And if possible, let the owner show you that the fish is eating well. Observe the fecal matter in the tank; it should be dark brown in colour and in small crumbles.

Authentication: Once you decide to buy the fish, scan the fish for the chip and verify with the farm on the authenticity of the strain that you are buying.  
Preparation: Prepare your aquarium tank water at least three to four days before bringing your new Arowana back to minimise any problems caused by water quality. It is recommended to cycle your tank before adding the Arowana.

Health & Condition: Make sure it fits as much to the criteria set in the checklist below.

Arowana Health Checklist

Credit: Yi Ji Fish Farm Trading
Body Parts Things to Look Out For
Scales ❑ Arowana Scales should be shining/radiant and complete.
❑ The coloration of the scales should be even and clear.
❑ There should be no decaying scales.
Head ❑ The head should be free of any holes/injuries.
❑ Ratio of its head to its body should be 1:3.
Mouth ❑ The mouth should close properly with the ends of the top jaw and bottom jaw meeting.
❑ There should be no protrusions, bleeding or pus.
Barbel  ❑ Both barbels should be of equal length, straight and pointing upwards.
❑ Barbels should not have any granule-like particles on them.
Fins ❑ All fins should be fully stretched without damages.
❑ Appears translucent without signs of blood clotting at the base.
Gills ❑ The colour of the gills should be clear and fresh red.
❑ Breathing should be regular, not irregular/rapid.
Operculum (Gill Flap)  ❑ Operculum should be close to its body and not curled.
❑ Operculum of matured RTG and Crossbacks should appear shiny instead of dull coloured.
❑ Matured red Arowanas should have bright orangey-red, orange or red colours, etc.
Eyes ❑ Both eyes should be of same sizes and full, not dented or bulging.
❑ Cornea should be bright and clear, not cloudy.
Vent ❑ Its vent should be tight, not protruded/swollen or bloody red.

You may want to bring this checklist along when shopping for your first Arowana

After the initial acquisition, care for these fishes include: regular water change, proper filtration, and the required nutrition to ensure that their aquatic friends stay healthy.

By Yap Kim Choon | Photos: Qian Hu Corp

About The Author… 

Yap Kim Choon,  Division Head of Wan Hu division, Qian Hu Corp Ltd

Mr Yap Kim Choon is the Division Head of Wan Hu division, Qian Hu Corp Ltd. Qian Hu is an integrated ornamental fish service provider with business activities ranging from the breeding of Dragon Fish to farming, importing, exporting and distributing of over 1,000 species and varieties of ornamental fish from all over the world. 

Qian Hu currently exports to over 80 countries, securing Singapore’s reputation as The Ornamental Fish Capital of the World. For more information: Yi Hu Fish Farm