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MY FIRST AROWANA

Choosing Your First Arowana

Buying an Arowana for the first time can be both exciting and yet overwhelming for the new hobbyists, as they are presented with a wealth of choices. This guide to choosing your first Arowana is written with those new to the hobby in mind . As one’s experience, knowledge and expectations grows, factors like an Arowanas potential and bloodline comes into consideration. Enjoy the hobby and the pride that comes with owning the legendary Dragon Fish!


Before Buying

  1. Understand. Read up to learn as much as you can before buying your first Arowana. It will prevent you from unnecessary headaches and heartaches. Especially important is the knowledge of the Nitrogen Cycle and considering the type of filtration that you’ll be using, e.g. OF® Hydra.

  2. Preparation. Prepare your aquarium tank water at least 3-4 days before bringing your new Arowana back to minimize any problems caused by water quality. It is recommended to cycle your tank before adding the Arowana.

  3. 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).


Things to Consider

  1. Size. It is recommended to purchase juvenile Arowanas that are around 15-20cm (6-9 inches), as this is the best size to groom your Arowana. Of course you can purchase adult fishes if it fits your taste and budget.

  2. Active and 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.

  3. Background Check. Try to know the history of the fish before purchasing, e.g when it arrives to 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).

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

  5. Diet. Check with the owner the diet that the Arowana is being fed on (e.g. 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.

  6. Authentication. Once you decide to buy the fish, scan the fish for the chip and verify with the farm on the authenticity of the strains that you are buying. Click here to check the authenticity of your Qian Hu Arowana.


Arowana Health Checklist

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and one person’s definition of beauty might defer with another. Hence in this checklist, we will be focusing on the signs of a healthy Arowana.

Body Parts Things to Look Out For

1)Scales 1.1)Arowana Scales should be shining/radiant and complete.

1.2)The coloration of the scales should be even and clear.

1.3)There should be no decaying scales.


2)Head 2.1)The head should be free of any holes/injuries.

2.2)Ratio of its head to its body should be 1:3.


3)Mouth 3.1)The mouth should close properly with the ends of the top jaw and bottom jaw meeting.

3.2)There should be no protrusions, bleeding or pus.


4)Barbel 4.1)Both barbels should be of equal length, straight and pointing upwards.

4.2)Barbels should not have any granule-like particles on them.


5)Fins 5.1)All fins should be fully stretched without damages.

5.2)Appears translucent without signs of blood clotting at the base.


6)Gills 6.1)The colour of the gills should be clear and fresh red.

6.2)Breathing should be regular, not irregular/rapid.


7)Operculum 7.1)Operculum should be close to its body and not curled.

(Gill Flap) 7.2)Operculum of matured RTG and Crossbacks should appear shiny instead of dull coloured. 

7.3)Matured red Arowanas should have bright orangey-red, orange or red colours, etc.


8)Eyes 8.1)Both eyes should be of same sizes and full, not dented or bulging.

8.2)Cornea should be bright and clear, not cloudy.


9)Vent 9.1)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 –Download Arowana Health Checklist here.

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