Arowana Tank Mates

Best Arowana Tank Mates – Top 20 Fishes Revealed

Keeping an Arowana in your aquarium is a rewarding experience for its beauty, grandeur, and the challenge of maintaining a harmonious tank environment. One of the key factors to ensure the well-being of your Arowana is selecting appropriate Arowana tank mates. This article will guide you through the various considerations and potential tank mates that can coexist peacefully with your Arowana.

Understanding the Arowana

The Arowana, also known as the “Dragon Fish”, is a diverse group of fish species found worldwide, each with unique environmental attributes and needs. We must deeply understand these magnificent fish species to truly appreciate the Arowana and choose the most suitable tank mates.

Arowana Origins: A Global Presence

The Arowana originates from various regions worldwide. The South American Arowana includes two main types, the Silver Arowana and the Black Arowana. Both species are large, requiring at least 250 gallons of water volume, and prefer heavily planted tanks with lots of rocky hiding places. The African Arowana, known for its olive-green colors and round-shaped head, can be challenging to keep in home aquariums due to its diet changes as it matures.

In Australia, we find the Jardinii Arowana and the Spotted Arowana, also known as the Southern Saratoga. Jardinii Arowanas have metallic bodies with reddish or pink scales at the ends and can live happily in 180-gallon tanks. The Spotted Arowana, less researched, can grow up to around 1.5 feet and has a lifespan of about 10 years.

The Asian Arowana, known for its stunning appearance, includes the Green Arowana and the Red Arowana. The Green Arowana features a silverish coloration that becomes fluorescent green under certain lighting conditions. They are picky eaters and often reject food unsuitable to their mood, making them susceptible to various diseases. Red Arowanas, as they age, develop a flame-red coloration over their bodies, making them one of the most beautiful aquatic creatures. Also, there’s the Golden Arowana, a bright, shimmery golden color species that is incredibly pricey due to its unique coloration and shorter lifespan compared to other species.

Arowana Appearance: A Majestic Spectacle

Arowanas are known for their distinctive and striking appearance, boasting elongated bodies, large pectoral fins, and an upturned jawline, enabling them to prey on animals on the water’s surface. Their scales exhibit a metallic sheen, with color variations depending on the species. This fascinating aesthetic, coupled with their large dorsal fins and bony tongues, makes them popular among aquarium enthusiasts.

Behavioral Traits: Understanding the Arowana Mindset

Arowanas are agile and strong, often leaping out of the water to catch prey, necessitating a secure aquarium cover to prevent escape attempts. They are also territorial creatures, particularly the males, during breeding periods. While they are solitary by nature, with the right tank mates and sufficient space, they can coexist harmoniously in a shared environment. Careful attention must be paid to their behavior to ensure all tank inhabitants thrive.

Arowana Diet: The Feeding Habits of a Predator

Arowanas are carnivorous, with a diet primarily consisting of fish, insects, and occasionally small birds and mammals. However, their dietary needs can vary, with some species like the African Arowana, transitioning to an omnivorous diet as they mature. Uneaten food should be monitored closely as it can lead to poor water quality and potential health issues for the Arowana and other tank inhabitants.

Their carnivorous diet demands high protein food, either in the form of live prey, dried fish feed like Amzey, or high-quality pellets like Northfin Arowana. Understanding their dietary needs is essential for maintaining a healthy Arowana and setting up a balanced aquarium ecosystem.

By understanding the Arowana’s origins, appearance, behavior, diet, and even diseases, we can decide on the best tank mates for this majestic creature. With such knowledge, we can create a harmonious aquarium environment that meets the needs of the Arowana and its fellow tank inhabitants.

Key Considerations when Selecting Arowana Tank Mates

Selecting perfect tank mates for your Arowana, a popular aquarium fish, involves careful thought. Given the Arowana’s size, temperament, and specific water requirements, some elements should be considered:

Size of the Tank Mate

Arowanas, especially the Silver Arowana (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum), are large fish, typically reaching lengths up to 90 centimeters. This necessitates large tanks, typically a minimum tank size of 250 gallons. Smaller fish, such as schooling fish, are not recommended as Arowana tank mates. They can risk becoming live food for the Arowana. A good rule of thumb is avoiding fish small enough to fit in an Arowana’s mouth. Larger, hardy fish like the Green Terror Cichlid or Pacu Fish are better suited as tank mates.

The temperament of the Tank Mates

Arowanas, including the Black Arowana and South American Arowanas, are known to be aggressive fish. Particularly during feeding times, they may show dominance. Hence, it’s a good idea to choose tank mates that can withstand an Arowana’s temperament without being constantly aggressive. Jack Dempsey Cichlid, for instance, is a resilient species that can coexist with Arowanas.

The Tank Mate’s Water Requirements

Arowanas thrive in certain water conditions, reflecting their natural habitat, like the Amazon River Basin. This includes water temperature around 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, pH between 6.0 and 7.0, and moderate water hardness. Therefore, their tank mates’ water requirements should be compatible. For instance, Silver Dollars and Bala Sharks, freshwater fish, can adapt to similar water conditions as the Arowana.

Ensuring Proper Care

Proper care for your Arowana and its tank mates involves maintaining water quality through regular water changes, feeding a varied diet, including large insects, brine shrimp, and small animals, and keeping a close eye on common diseases such as fungal infections.

Arowanas, with their large scales covering the entire body, beautiful fish appearance, and unique dorsal and caudal fins, is a sight to behold. They are considered a symbol of good luck in many cultures. But remember, whether you’re keeping a Silver, Red, or Jardini Arowana, selecting the best Arowana tank mates requires understanding their needs and providing plenty of space for all inhabitants of the large aquarium.

Choosing Tank Mates for Arowanas: A Delicate Balance

Selecting suitable tank mates for Arowanas requires careful consideration. While some Arowana species, like the Silver Arowanas, often called “Dragon Fish,” are large predatory fish originating from various regions worldwide, including South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. Each region hosts different types of Arowanas with distinctive characteristics and needs.

South American Arowanas are characterized by prolonged dorsal and anal fins. This group includes Silver and Black Arowanas. Silver Arowanas can grow up to 3.5 feet, have a metallic silver color, and are considered the most peaceful among Arowana types. Black Arowanas start with a blackish body color during their juvenile phase, which fades to almost silver as they grow. They usually grow up to 3 feet in length and tend to be slightly more territorially aggressive towards tank mates.

The African Arowana features classic olive-green colors, can grow up to 3.3 feet, and has an omnivorous diet, especially during its adult phase. However, they are not ideal for home aquariums unless the keeper has lots of experience.

Two species of Arowanas call Australia home: the Jardinii and Spotted Arowanas. Jardinii Arowanas grow to around 2 feet in captivity, feature reddish or pink scales at the ends, and are not particularly sociable with other fish species. Spotted Arowanas, or Southern Saratogas, can grow up to 1.5 feet and have less slim bodies than other Arowanas.

Asian Arowanas are considered the most stunning species. This group includes Green, Red, and Golden Arowanas. Green Arowanas can grow around 3 feet in captivity and feature a visibly silverish coloration that turns fluorescent green under certain lighting conditions. Red Arowanas develop a flame-red coloration all over their bodies once they reach 3 years of life. Golden Arowanas are bright, shimmery golden in color. Red and Golden Arowanas are among the most expensive aquatic creatures, primarily due to their beauty and rarity.

Arowanas are known for their predatory behavior, often leaping out of the water to catch prey, which makes them well-suited to large aquariums. They require a meat-rich diet, and uneaten food should be removed promptly to maintain water quality. It is also important to pay close attention to their behavior and health, as they can be susceptible to certain diseases.

Regarding tank mates, Arowanas can be territorial, especially with their species. While their natural environment in the wild has shaped their dietary preferences to include small birds and fish, in an aquarium setting, they can coexist with other large fish species, given enough space. However, they may not be the best choice for a small tank due to their large size and active behavior.

20 Top Arowana Tank Mates

Most of Arowana’s tank mates should be of the same size as itself, and most are also aggressive. Fishes like Oscars, Cichlids, Plecos, and Datnoids are recommended tank mates.

Now that we have covered the important considerations, let’s delve into the potential tank mates for your Arowana:

1. Oscar Fish (Astronotus ocellatus)

Arowana tank mates - Oscar Fish

Native to South America, Oscars are vibrantly colored and can grow up to 35 cm. Their size and temperament make them less susceptible to Arowana aggression. However, their aggression might require careful monitoring. Most of the time, Oscars make perfect Arowana tank mates.

2. Green Terror Cichlids (Andinoacara rivulatus)

Arowana Tank Mates - Green Terror Cichlid

Green Terrors, with their striking metallic hues, hail from South America. They can reach up to 20 cm and are resilient. Their aggression could require a spacious tank.

3. Giant Gourami (Osphronemus goramy)

Arowana Tank Mates - Giant Gourami

Giant Gouramis, exhibiting muted colors and large bodies, originating from Southeast Asia. They can grow up to 70 cm. Their peaceful nature and size make them good Arowana tank mates.

4. Bichir (Polypterus)


Bichirs, with their elongated bodies and finlets, are native to Africa. They can grow up to 75 cm. Their bottom-dwelling habits avoid conflicts with Arowanas. Their slow growth rate might initially make them vulnerable, so consider the size of your Arowana.

5. Jaguar Cichlid (Parachromis managuensis)

Jaguar Cichlid

Jaguar Cichlids, displaying jaguar-like patterns, come from Central America. They can grow up to 35 cm. Their size and aggression help them be great Arowana tank mates and provide sufficient space.

6. Jack Dempsey Fish (Rocio octofasciata)

Jack Dempsey Fish

Jack Dempsey Fish, with their iridescent scales, originate from Central America. They can reach up to 25 cm. Their robust nature allows them to hold their own against an Arowana, but their aggression might cause conflicts.

7. Plecostomus (Hypostomus plecostomus)


Plecostomus, or Plecos, with their unique flattened bodies, hail from South America. They can grow up to 50 cm. Their bottom-dwelling habits generally steer clear of the Arowana’s territory, so they are great Arowana tank mates.

8. Clown Loach (Chromobotia macracanthus)

Arowana Tank Mate - Clown Loach

With their bright bodies and black stripes, Clown Loaches are native to Indonesia. They can reach up to 30 cm. They are peaceful but active, which may disturb the Arowana’s territory.

9. Black Pacu (Colossoma macropomum)

Black Pacu

Black Pacu, bearing a resemblance to Piranhas, are from South America. They can grow over 100 cm and can be ideal Arowana tank mates. They are peaceful, but their large size might necessitate a larger tank. They have sharp teeth and may bite on wires, so double-insulate them in the water.

10. Silver Dollar Fish (Metynnis argenteus)

Silver Dollar Fish

Silver Dollar Fish, round and silvery like the coin they’re named after, originate from South America. They can reach up to 15 cm. They are relatively small in size and might be a target for Arowana. However, being fast swimmers (and they are FAST!), they are less likely to be eaten by an Arowana.

11. Datnoid (Datnioides microlepis)

Arowana Best Tank Mate - Datnoid

Datnoids, known as “Tiger Fish” for their tiger-like stripes, hail from Southeast Asia. They can grow up to 40 cm. They are peaceful and large enough to be Arowana tank mates. They are slow growers and may require protection early on. Otherwise, you should get a bigger size to suit the size of your Arowana.

12. Parrot Cichlid (Hybrid Cichlasoma)

Parrot Cichlid

Parrot Cichlids, showcasing vibrant colors and a unique body shape, are hybrid species from Central America. They can reach up to 25 cm. They are peaceful and large enough not to be threatened by the Arowana, so they are a great choice as Arowana tank mates. There are instances where Arowana lived with a group of baby parrot cichlids.

13. Knifefish (Apteronotus albifrons)

Arowana Best Tank Mates - Knifefish

Knifefish, native to South America, display long, flat bodies and distinctive anal fins. They can grow quite fast and can grow up to 80 cm. They are generally peaceful and hide daily, keeping them out of the Arowana’s way. They are great as Arowana tank mates. However, the younger Knifefish tend to look for hiding places, so cater for some hiding places for the fish initially.

14. Fire Eel (Mastacembelus erythrotaenia)

Fire Eel

Fire Eels from Southeast Asia are characterized by elongated bodies and red lateral lines. They can grow up to 100 cm. These are peaceful bottom dwellers, so they can be great Arowana tank mates, but they prefer a tank with hiding spots.

15. Blue Acara (Andinoacara pulcher)

Blue Acara

Blue Acaras, with their attractive blue-green bodies, hail from South America. They can reach up to 20 cm. They are peaceful and resilient, but their smaller size might require careful observation when paired with an Arowana.

16. Convict Cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata)

Convict Cichlid

Convict Cichlids, native to Central America, display distinct black stripes. They can grow up to 15 cm. These sturdy fish can stand up to an Arowana, but their breeding aggression may cause conflicts.

17. Synodontis Catfish (Synodontis eupterus)

Synodontis Catfish

Native to Africa, Synodontis Catfish are large, peaceful bottom dwellers. They can reach up to 30 cm. They can be great Arowana tank mates, but their nocturnal activity might disturb the Arowana at night, so you will need to observe the activities of this fish initially.

18. Giant Danio (Devario aequipinnatus)

Giant Danio

Giant Danios from South Asia are large, active fish with bright colors. They can grow up to 15 cm. They can coexist with Arowanas, but their fast swimming may disturb the Arowana’s territory.

19. Flowerhorn Cichlid (Hybrid Cichlasoma)

Flowerhorn Cichlid

Flowerhorn Cichlids, a vibrant hybrid breed from Malaysia, can reach up to 30 cm. They can hold their own against an Arowana, but their aggressive nature may necessitate careful monitoring.

20. Iridescent Shark (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus)

Arowana Tank Mate - Iridescent Shark

Yes, SHARKS. The Iridescent Sharks from Southeast Asia resemble catfish and can grow up to 130 cm. They can coexist with Arowana, but active swimming requires a spacious tank to prevent stress. The Iridescent sharks are great Arowana tank mates if your tank is big.

Remember, while these species are generally suitable to live with Arowana, the specific interactions can vary depending on the individual temperaments of the fish. Regular monitoring and adjustments are necessary to ensure all aquarium inhabitants are thriving.


Choosing the right tank mates for your Arowana can be challenging, but with the right knowledge and considerations, you can create a harmonious and fascinating aquarium environment. It’s important to remember that each Arowana and potential tank mate is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Regular monitoring and adjustments are necessary to ensure all inhabitants of your aquarium are thriving.


What fish can be kept with Arowana?

Several types of fish can be kept with Arowanas, given they’re of similar size and compatible temperament. Some of these include Oscar Fish (Astronotus ocellatus), Green Terror Cichlids (Andinoacara rivulatus), Giant Gourami (Osphronemus goramy), Bichir (Polypterus), Jaguar Cichlid (Parachromis managuensis), and Plecostomus (Hypostomus plecostomus), among others.

Can Arowana live with Oscar?

Yes, Arowanas can live with the Oscars. Oscars are large and robust fish, making them less susceptible to Arowana aggression. However, Oscars can be aggressive, so careful monitoring and a spacious tank are recommended to prevent potential conflicts.

What are the feng shui tank mates for Arowana?

In Feng Shui, Arowanas are believed to bring prosperity and good luck, and their tank mates should ideally contribute to a harmonious environment. Suitable Feng Shui tank mates include the Plecostomus for its peaceful nature and the Silver Dollar Fish for its auspicious name and fast, energetic movement.

Can arowana and parrot fish live together?

Yes, Arowanas can live with Parrot Cichlids. Parrot Cichlids are relatively peaceful and large enough not to be considered prey by the Arowana. However, as with any tank mates, monitoring their behavior and ensuring both species have enough space to avoid territorial disputes is crucial.

What are the best tank mates for different Arowana species?

Each Arowana species may have slightly different tank mate preferences, from Silver to Red and Australian Arowanas. However, robust, larger fish like Freshwater Stingrays, Peacock Bass, and Blood Parrot Cichlids are generally good options. Tropical fish that can adapt to similar water conditions can also be considered. It’s best to avoid small fish, as they can easily become prey for the Arowana.

What size tank do I need to keep Arowanas with other fish?

Keeping Arowanas with other fish requires a large tank. Given the size of Arowanas and the need for their tank mates to be similar, a minimum of a 250-gallon tank is recommended. A spacious environment is crucial to minimize territorial disputes and ensure a healthy living environment for all inhabitants.

Are there any tank mates I should avoid for Arowanas?

Yes, small and feeder fish should be avoided as Arowanas could view them as food due to their predatory nature. Similarly, overly aggressive fish that could provoke the Arowana should be avoided. It’s also best to avoid species that require significantly different water conditions than Arowanas.

What’s the best way to introduce new tank mates to an Arowana?

Introducing new tank mates to an Arowana should be done carefully to minimize stress. Start by ensuring the tank is large enough for the new additions. Then, add the new fish to the tank while the Arowana is well-fed and less likely to show aggression. Monitor closely to ensure that the new tank mates adapt well and that there are no signs of aggression or distress.

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