Black Arowana (Osteoglossum ferreirai): Ultimate Care Guide

You may have seen a Black Arowana, or any species of Arowana, in a local aquarium or maybe even online. You may even want to add one to a tank that you own. But that may not be the best choice. Every species of Arowanas, including the Black Arowana, can grow to impressive sizes. They must also be cared for properly and contained in a tank large enough to grow. Continue reading for more information about the Black Arowana and how to care for it.

Black Arowanas and most other species of Arowana are native to freshwater ponds in South America. They can also be found in flooded forests, lakes, and other freshwater bodies in Asia, Australia, and Africa. Arowanas are also sometimes known as “bony tongue fish.” That name comes from one of their defining characteristics; a tooth-like bone that sticks out of the lower part of their jaw. Arowanas come in various colors, although we will mainly focus on the Black Arowana.

Black Arowana (Osteoglossum ferreirai)
Black Arowana (Osteoglossum ferreirai)

Black Arowana Care

When it comes to caring for Black Arowanas, there are a few things that you need to be aware of. They tend to start small, usually around 4 inches. But they won’t stay that small; adult black arowanas can grow to be over 30 inches in length. Their impressive size means you’ll need a tank large enough to accommodate them. A tank of at least 200 gallons is the smallest size that most recommend for housing Black Arowanas.

Black Arowana Temperature

The origins of Black Arowanas trace them back to tropical waters such as those in Africa and Australia. That means their tanks need to emulate those warm waters. The average temperature recommended for Black Arowanas is between 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 24 – 27 degrees Celcius. A water heater can easily achieve and maintain Those seemingly high temperatures. You should ensure that you maintain those temperatures as any slight fluctuations in them could cause distress to the species contained in your tank.

Black Arowana pH

pH levels or the water’s acidic levels are critical to the health of the species in your tank. Black Arowanas are no exception to that. They need the pH level of their tank to be between 6.7 to 7.5. The water levels must be checked regularly to ensure they do not fluctuate. Fluctuations in pH levels can be detrimental to your tank’s species. Any changes can cause illness or infections that can drastically reduce the expected lifespan of your fish.

Black Arowana Size

Black Arowanas do not start their lives very large. Most young members of the species average around 4 inches, but they don’t stay that size for very long. Black Arowanas typically reach a total size of about 3 feet in length. There are reports of some Black Arowanas eclipsing that size and reaching nearly 4 feet in length. They tend to reach a larger size when in the wild as opposed to captivity.

What is the World Record for the largest Black Arowana?

The largest reported Black Arowana was nearly 4 feet in length. The exact measurement of 3.9 feet or 1.2 meters. That large size is abnormal for Black Arowana. On average, Black Arowanas reach around 3 feet or 0.9 meters. That is more likely to be the size you experience if you add one to your tank. They don’t tend to reach their larger sizes in captivity, only in the wild.

How fast do Black Arowana Grow?

Black Arowana can reach a very impressive size of nearly 3 feet in length. They don’t reach their max size too quickly; it’ll likely take a few years. That is because Black Arowana have a growth rate of around 2 inches a month during their juvenile stage. That growth rate means you’ll need to have tanks large enough to accommodate them and their changes in size. Making sure you can accommodate the growth rate of the Black Arowana is one of the most important aspects to consider before purchasing one.

Black Arowana Food & Diet

Black Arowanas tend to feed on other, smaller fish in the wild. That means they’re carnivores and must be provided as such. You should feed your Black Arowana a varied diet. They’ll eat live or frozen food such as shrimp, krill, and various worms. Black Arowana can also be fed bugs like crickets and smaller fish or frogs. You could also provide them pellets or flakes, but if you do, you should supplement them with some vitamins to ensure they have a balanced diet.

Black Arowana Lifespan

The lifespan of any pet, fish included, depends entirely on the care they receive. Their lifespan will drastically drop should you neglect and not care for them. An improper diet can also negatively affect their lifespan. Another thing that can negatively affect an expected lifespan is too much stress in their home environment. In good conditions, if well cared for, Black Arowana can have been known to reach 20 years of age. That means that Black Arowanas are a long-term commitment, and you should ensure that you are committed before purchasing one.

Black Arowana Tank Size

Black Arowana start small, but they grow pretty steadily. A fully grown Black Arowana will likely need a tank of at least 200 gallons. That massive tank size is required because Black Arowana can reach nearly 3 feet long. So they need a tank large enough to fit them and give them room to swim around comfortably. Most aquarists will likely start them in a small tank and rehome them as they grow out of it. They’ll keep doing that until they reach their final home tank.

Black Arowana Breeding

Black Arowana breeding in captivity are extremely rare. They likely won’t breed in your tank; they tend to only reproduce in massive tanks of over 1000 gallons that also simulate weather and seasonal conditions. Black Arowana will pair up and make a nest during the flood season. The female will lay several eggs that the male will fertilize. Once the eggs have been fertilized, the male will take them into his mouth and keep them safe until they are ready to hatch.

Black Arowana Disease

Arowana Eye Drop Syndrome is one of the most common afflictions that can befall a Black Arowana. This syndrome has varying severities, with the most severe drooping so much that the top of the eyeball is exposed. It tends to only occur in one eye, with the other seemingly ordinary. It can easily be diagnosed by the appearance of one of its eyeballs tilted downward, making it look like it is always looking down.

Black Arowana Tank Mates

Due to the larger size of Black Arowana, they won’t mesh well with many other fish species. With enough research, you can find compatible tank mates and those incompatible. Anything smaller than it will likely just end up as a snack. Continue reading on, and we’ll highlight some potential tankmates for the Black Arowana and some you should avoid.

Examples of Compatible Tank Mates

Black Arowana are large carnivores, which means they will not hesitate to eat anything that fits into their mouths. But there are some species that Black Arowana have been known to live comfortably with. Some of those species are large Oscars and Lima Shovelnose catfish. Black Arowana also tend to be able to live with other South American species as long as they are similar in size.

Examples of Incompatible Tank Mates

Plenty of species are incompatible with Black Arowana, such as any species smaller than them. A significant example of species not compatible with Black Arowana is more Black Arowana. Black Arowana are aggressive towards each other, so they should not be kept in the same tank together. They are not known to be very aggressive, but that changes with their own species. You should also avoid aggressive species as they will not live peacefully with a Black Arowana.

Where can I find Black Arowana for Sale and Price?

Black Arowana can be purchased online, but not legally. They have been banned in the United States since 1975. They are protected by the Endangered Species Act and are recognized as endangered by 183 countries. Because of this, they tend to draw a hefty price online. Some online sites sell them for around $84, but there are also reports of them costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In 1975, Arowanas were deemed endangered and, ever since, have been banned from purchase in 183 countries, including America and Australia. Some loopholes allow you to import them, which is still considered illegal.

Black Arowana vs Silver Arowana

Black Arowana are darker than Silver Arowana. They also grow smaller and tend to be more aggressive, and they can survive in colder temperatures. Silver Arowana are brighter than their black counterparts. Silver Arowana grow larger and tend to be less aggressive. Unfortunately, Silver Arowana are also more susceptible to Arowana Eye Drop Syndrome.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *