Jardini Arowana (Scleropages jardinii): Care Guide


Common Name(s)Jardini Arowana, Australian Arowana, Water Monkey
Scientific NameScleropages jardinii
OriginAustralia, New Guinea
Temperature75-82°F (24-28°C)
SizeUp to 24 inches in length
Minimum Tank Size180 gallons
Food & DietCarnivorous diet
LifespanApproximately 10-20 years. Up to 50 years.
Water pH6.0-7.0
Tank MatesSelecting tank mates for this aggressive fish may be a challenge.
BreedingMouth breeder
DiseaseMay be suseptible to drop eye, gill infection, and swim bladder disease.
Jardini Arowana
Jardini Arowana (Scleropages jardinii)

The Jardini Arowana, also known as the Australian Arowana, is a carnivorous, tropical, freshwater fish that is native to Australia and New Guinea. This species has a jaw lined with spikey teeth perfect for chomping on its prey. Scientifically known as Scleropages jardini, this fish has coined the nickname Water-Monkey due to its tendency to frequently hop out of the water to grab its prey or when startled. Jardini Arowana fossils have been discovered that show they lived during the Jurassic era. This makes them one of the most prehistoric fish found in aquariums today.

Jardini Arowana Facts

The lifespan of a Jardini Arowana in captivity can range from ten to twenty years; however, in their natural habitat, they can live up to 50 years depending on the species. Living in captivity these fish can grow up to two feet, and while living in their natural habitat can grow up to three feet. Jardini’s reach their maximum growth point in about a year and a half. When being fed a proper high protein diet they will grow around two inches per month. Within the Jardini Arowana species, you may come across black, silver, gold, and brassy colors all with a shine over the scales. Among other Arowana species, you may come across beautiful reds, blues, oranges, scales that look to be made of gold, and even coral-like patterns. When deciding to raise these fish be sure you are prepared. The Jardini Arowana is a beautifully desirable fish to raise, make sure you are prepared to care for this toddler-size friend for over a decade.

Jardini Arowana Care

 Jardini Arowana is an extremely sensitive fish to care for. Their habitat requires a temperature of 75-82°F (24-28°C) with a Ph level of 6.0 to 7.0, neutral to slightly acidic. Keeping pieces of driftwood in the tank will aid in keeping the water’s Ph level lower. Water filtration is crucial in your Jardini Arowana’s aquarium to prevent sickness. Water changes of 15 to 20 percent should be done once a week depending on how efficient the filtration system you are using is.

Since the Jardini Arowana is a carnivorous species they must stick to a diet rich in protein. They prefer to be fed a variety of living meals that they can hunt. This could include earthworms, crickets, frogs, shrimps, and crayfish. Since you will be raising your Jardini in captivity they will not be getting the nourishment they would in the wild, so they should be fed vitamin supplements as well. At first, this will not be appealing since they’re not living, but they will eventually conform to eating supplements. Once your Jardini has come around to the idea of eating supplements you can also integrate frozen meals into their diet every so often. If frozen meals are given they should be thawed before feeding time. Feeder fish should be avoided when feeding your Jardini Arowana. Feeder fish carry diseases your Jardini may be susceptible to. Any food with sharp shells or pinchers should also be avoided so that no internal injuries occur. Younger Jardini Arowana should be fed twice daily, and as they begin to mature feeding should decrease to once daily. When feeding your Arowana only what can be eaten in one to two minutes should be given to avoid decaying leftovers. This may take some trial and error depending on the appetite of your Jardini. Jardini Arowana must be closely cared for as they must inhabit a tank with a slightly acidic Ph, warm water temperature, and food they’ll be able to hunt.

Is your Jardini Arowana not eating? This can be completely normal as this species is very temperamental. It is very common when moving into a new environment that a Jardini may lose its appetite as it adjusts to its new home. This can also be caused by stress or sickness most likely caused by unusual water conditions. This is why water filtration is crucial when caring for a Jardini Arowana, they are extremely sensitive especially in their younger stage. Loss of appetite could also be caused by tank water being cleaned too frequently. Creating a strict cleaning schedule will help your Arowana adjust, and avoid this potential issue.

Jardini Arowana Tank Setup

Tank size is a critical aspect to think about when creating a space for your Jardini Arowana. An Arowana’s aquarium should be around 180 gallons. Thinking in terms of length and width is far more important than height since this species is a top dweller. Your fish will need room to twist and turn around in its tank, and since it will grow to about two feet long, a slim tank will not be a suitable choice for them. This species is known to be a high jumper so their enclosure must have a tight-fitting or weighted top, so they will not be able to jump out. Jumping out of their enclosure could cause much more serious injuries rather than bonking their head on the top. When an Arowana outgrows its tank you may notice it jumping more frequently. This is due to the stress of confined space, so the more open space the more comfortable they will be. Jardini Arowana takes their comfort very seriously, when feeling confined they can develop quite an attitude.

The layout of your Jardini’s habitat should give somewhat a feel of their natural living conditions. In the wild Jardini Arowana are found in flooded plains, woodlands, creeks, streams, and swamps meaning there is lots of vegetation surrounding them. Elaborate tank decorations and hiding spots are not necessary for the Jardini Arowana because of their surface-dwelling nature. The bottom of the tank can be layered with sand or rocky substrate. Include some pieces of driftwood and free-floating vegetation. This will soon cling onto the driftwood for a more natural environment essence. Surface floating vegetation is also a good choice for a swampy enclosure. Jardinis tend to swim against the current. A current can be made in their tank using filtration pumps. Jardini Arowana swimming against the current allows oxygenated water to flow through their gills which increases digestion and metabolism. The Jardini Arowana does not require an elaborately decorated tank all they need is some shrubbery, and they’re good to go.

Jardini Arowana Tank Mates

Do you want to get your Jardini Arowana some tank mates? This should be very carefully thought out. The Jardini is one of the more aggressive species of Arowana. They are solitary predatory fish, so keeping them separate is ideal. Though, there are some exceptions to this. It boils down to the temperament of your Arowana. If your fish is not generally aggressive, pairing it with other fish that are large enough to not be swallowed may be achievable. Bottom-dwelling species are a great option to pair with your Arowana so that they will not have to share much space. Choosing compatible tank mates can be tough. Smaller species are likely to become a snack, and aggressive species can potentially be harmful to your Arowana. Various Arowana species are not typically compatible together since the Jardini species tends to be more aggressive, but it all depends on temperament. You may get lucky and acquire a more laid-back Jardini. Choosing tank mates for your Jardini Arowana should be determined by the temperament of your fish, and if you feel they may be compatible with others.

Common Pleco Fish, also known as armored catfish, is usually a compatible species to pair with your Arowana. They are bottom dwellers, so they will not interfere in your Jardini’s personal space. Pleco Fish munch on algae, driftwood, and plants. They can be fed leafy greens and peas as well. The non-carnivorous nature of armored catfish is a viable tank mate to the Arowana since feeding time will not be a debacle.

Clown Loaches are also compatible tank mates with the Jardini Arowana as they are bottom dwellers and will keep away from the Arowana. When pairing Clown Loaches with an Arowana it is always smart to keep four or more in one tank to enable their nature of schooling. They love good spaces for hiding, so driftwood and a large rocky substrate are ideal.

Jardini Arowana Common Diseases

Some common diseases seen in Jardini Arowana include drop eye, gill rot or infection, and swim bladder disease. All species of Arowana are prone to develop drop eye at some point in their lifetime. It is a very common disease found in Arowana due to their common jumping behavior. The Jardini Arowana often suffers head injuries caused by hitting their heads on the lid of their enclosure which causes drop eye. This can easily be corrected by covering the side glass panels of the tank. Doing so will make the lid the only point of visibility keeping the affected Jardini constantly looking up. The constant motion of looking up will soon correct the dropping appearance of the eyes. 

Gill rot is common in Jardini Arowana due to their sensitivity to the environment they live in. This is commonly caused by poor water conditions where fungal spores will enter through the gills which can cause infection. Gill infections can be prevented by maintaining pristine tank cleanliness. Take priority in removing any leftovers once your Arowana is done feeding and performing regular water changes. Gill rot can be treated by a deep tank cleaning and water change. Adding one tablespoon of salt per ten gallons in the tank will aid in healing your Arowana’s gills much like a salt rinse soothes a sore mouth in humans.

Swim bladder disease is common in Jardini Arowana due to their carnivorous diet. This disease causes tail up, head down floating in fish. It is usually caused by constipation or possibly an internal infection. Swim bladder disease can be prevented by not overfeeding and avoiding feeding hard-to-digest food. Treating this disease can be done by replacing your Jardini’s normal diet with pellet supplements until the condition improves. Since the Jardini Arowana is easily susceptible to environmentally induced diseases, keeping their habitat extremely clean is of utmost importance.

Breeding Jardini Arowana

The Arowana species are mouth breeders. The female Jardini will incubate about 50 eggs within her mouth for an average of 60 days. Once they hatch the fry will stay with their mother for about four to five weeks until the sac has dissolved, and they can survive on their own. During these weeks the mother Jardini will even allow her fry to take shelter in her mouth when a threat arises. Breeding Jardini Arowana in captivity can be extremely difficult due to the space required. Doing so requires a large enclosure of about 600 or more gallons. Breeding Arowana usually takes place in a small pond. Determining the sex of a Jardini Arowana is quite difficult until a female is carrying her eggs. Some slightly noticeable differences are that males usually have a longer anal fin, lower pectoral fins, and longer whiskers than a female Arowana. Breeding Jardini Arowana in captivity can be extremely difficult, but with a large enough space, it is not impossible.

Where to Find Jardini Arowana for Sale?

When picking a species of Arowana, especially purchasing online, you must be extremely cautious. The Jardini Arowana, Scleropages jardini, is legal to own in the U.S. according to the IUCN Red List.

This species is rated as least concern; however, other species of Arowana, unfortunately, are not, such as the Asian Arowana. According to the IUCN Red List Asian Arowana, Scleropages formosus, are categorized as an endangered species making them illegal to own in the U.S. 

Jardini Arowana is a tough fish to come across, but not the rarest. They are commonly purchased from online aquarium shops. These fish and their fry can also be found in some fishery stores around the U.S. Purchasing a Jardini Arowana is a big investment. Excluding their required large tank, substrate, and free-floating plants these fish run from about $100 even up to $1,000 USD depending on the size and color you desire. 

The Jardini Arowana will be a wonderful addition to your aquarium. This species of fish is perfect for lovers of the Jurassic era. This species is an advanced-level aquarist fish due to its high attention demand. To maintain your Arowana, you will need to pay close attention to its water conditions, provide the best quality food, and living conditions to maintain good health, and give your fish the best quality of life.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

Recent Posts