Taking care of Arowanas is an expensive hobby, and because of that, choosing the right Arowana is very important.

Dr. Glenn Angeles of the Big Fish Place provided Animal Scene with a checklist of what one should look out for when it comes to choosing your own Arowana.

COLOR: 

Even though the Arowana may have a good body shape in the eyes of the owner, what is important is the
color. In this matter, it is important to consider the genetic line of the fish. It is important to do the proper research, so you can get one from a reputable source.

BODY SHAPE:

The ideal Arowana should be neither too fat nor too thin, with pleasing proportions. It is important to remember that the size of the tank will affect the growth of the Arowana’s body. A good rule of
thumb would be to have a tank that is three times the average length of the Arowana as it is growing.

FOOD:

A varied diet is important. Aside from fish and prawns, one should do the research on what else an Arowana can eat. These include insects and other additional food. In addition, one should control the amount being fed to the Arowana.

SCALES:

The scales are the showstoppers for the Arowana, and they should look even and radiant, with no dark spots. Red spots, however, are seen as lucky by some owners. You shouldn’t be too worried when some scales drop off, as the scales will be replaced naturally in three to five weeks. You should also be careful with the quality and parameters of the water in the tank, to prevent bacterial infections.

WHISKERS/BARBELS:

Many Arowana owners value the Arowana’s whiskers or ‘barbels’, as they resemble the horns of a
dragon. They should be long and of equal length, with color similar to that of the body. The aesthetic appearance of the Arowana is diminished if the barbels are broken, shortened, or are bent.

MOUTH AND TEETH:

When closed, the upper and lower lips should not protrude, and the teeth should remain healthy, for the general health of the fish is affected when there are problems with the teeth.

GILL COVERS:

The gill covers should be smooth and flat. There should be no wrinkles or scratches.

VENT:

In a healthy Arowana, the vent should be horizontally located at the pelvic area. It shouldn’t be easily seen. A protruding vent may be a sigh of health issues for the fish, unless the Arowana is about to deliver eggs, or has just delivered them.

SWIMMING: 

Arowanas are known for graceful movements, so it is important to note that it can swim diagonally up and down are not ideal for most hobbyists. Arowanas should swim vertically, with all its fins spread out. The fins
themselves should be large and of proportional size. 
Information taken from “Choosing your Beloved Arowana,” by Dr. Glenn Angeles. 

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s July 2017 issue.