Leichardti Arowana (Scleropages leichardti): Ultimate Care Guide

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Common Name(s)Leichardti Arowana, Australian Arowana, Southern Saratoga, Spotted Bonytongue, Spotted Saratoga, Saratoga, dragon fish
Scientific NameScleropages leichardti
OriginSouthern Australia
Temperature75-86 F
Size48–49 cm in length
Minimum Tank Size250 gallons
Food & Dietfrozen food such as shrimp, prawns, shellfish, and other meaty fish.
LifespanUp to 20 years
Water pH7.0-7.7

Leichardti Arowana is a type of arowana fish that lives in cloudy bodies of fresh water in Southern Australia. They are primitive looking fish who like to congregate near the surface of the water. Leichardti Arowana seeks shelter under lily pads and fallen logs. Their backs are quite flat and their dorsal fin is set near their tail. Their body is long and covered in large scales.  Each scale has a pink or red dot on it.

The chin of Leichardti Arowana is pushed up from the bottom and gives this fish a sort of grumpy expression. There is a well defined set of fleshy barbells jutting from Leichardti Arowana’s lower jaw.

The scientific name for Leichardti Arowana is Scleropages leichardti.  Other coming names it goes by are Leichardti Arowana, Australian Arowana, Southern Saratoga, Spotted Bonytongue, Spotted Saratoga, Saratoga, and dragon fish.

Leichardti Arowana Care

Leichardti Arowana is considered a monster fish.  They require a large swimming area, they are strong jumpers and they’re very territorial. Because of their rapid growth, Leichardti Arowana needs to be fed often.  At least twice a day for juvenile fish.

Leichardti Arowana (Scleropages leichardti)
Leichardti Arowana (Scleropages leichardti). Edited. Viktor Kravtchenko, CC BY 3.0


The best temperature for Leichardti Arowana is between 75 degrees Fahrenheit and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water pH

7.0-7.7 is the optimum pH for Leichardti Arowana

Leichardti Arowana Size

Although they are often purchased as small, young fish Leichardti Arowana can grow to be very large. The average adult is 36 inches long.  They weigh about 8.8lbs when fully grown.  This is a very big fish for an aquarium.

Food and Diet

You will need to feed Leichardti Arowana multiple times a day. Even as immature small fish they require at least twice a day feeding. Young fish will eat fish smaller than they are, insects, and small earthworms. To ensure all health requirements are met in their diet also include a commercial food for Asian Arowana in their diet. 

As they get bigger you will want to transition your Leichardti Arowana to eat frozen food such as shrimp, prawns, shellfish, and other meaty fish.

Leichardti Arowana will not over eat.  They will disregard offered food if they’re not hungry.

Leichardti Arowana Lifespan

Leichardti Arowana can live up to 20 years. Of course, this is dependent on proper care and the environment.

Leichardti Arowana Tank Size

Younger, smaller Leichardti Arowana can be housed in a 55 gallon tank, but adults should be in a tank that is at least 250 gallons.

Tank Setup

The most important thing to remember when setting up your tank for Leichardti Arowana is that the lid needs to be tight fitting.  Leichardti Arowana are jumpers and it would be a tragedy to find that they have escaped the tank and died on the floor of your home.

Make sure your water quality is excellent. Have a high caliber filtration system and do a 25 percent water change on a regular basis.

It’s best to keep your tank in a low traffic area such as a bedroom or the way section of a living room. Leichardti Arowana can become stressed out if there is too much movement and injure themselves.

Keep the lighting dim, and don’t switch it on and off. 

Leichardti Arowana Breeding

It’s rare to successfully breed Leichardti Arowana in an aquarium.  They have been bred in ponds in captivity though.  Leichardti Arowana are mouth brooders.  This means that the female lays the eggs and after the male fertilizes them she scoops the eggs up in her mouth to incubate them.  Once they hatch, the fry stay nearby for a while.  They will venture a short distance to explore and look for food.  If there is a danger the baby fish will pick up a signal from their mother and return to her. Leichardti Arowana can be sexually mature when they are 19 inches long.

Leichardti Arowana Male or Female

There is a head size correlation that is 70 percent accurate for sexing Leichardti Arowana.  Also, males have bigger dorsal fins than females.

Leichardti Arowana Diseases

Barbells infection is caused when a Leichardti Arowana has been rubbing itself against the side of the tank. This can create a small abrasion that gets a secondary infection on the barbells.

To remedy this infection you need to quarantine your Leichardti Arowana and stop feeding for 8 hours.  Then sedate your fish and disinfect the infected area.  Using a sharp instrument cut off the infected area.

Treat the area and the water with a commercial antibiotic.

Fish lice are parasitic crustaceans.  They will attach themselves to the fins, tail, or abdomen of your Leichardti Arowana. Fish lice sustain themselves by sucking the blood of fish. They are most often introduced to a tank by new fish or live feeding.

To rid your tank of fish lice, use a commercial anchor worm and fish lice medication. Do a 30% water change and dose the tank every three days for a minimum of two weeks.

Leichardti Arowana Tank Mates

Up to 6 adult, Leichardti Arowana can share a tank. However, you must be careful because some may be more territorial and kill the others.

Other acceptable tank mates are large catfish, parrot fish, jaguar cichlids, large Oscars, knifefish, and silver dollar fish.

Incompatible tank mates include anything smaller than the Leichardti Arowana because they will kill and eat it.   Large cichlids can sometimes bully Leichardti Arowana so if you decide to put them together keep an eye on them for a while.

Where can I find Leichardti Arowana for sale?

Leichardti Arowana are available online and in specialty aquarium stores. Leichardti Arowana costs between $100 and $255 depending on the size.

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