The Jardini Arowana, also known as the Australian Arowana or Water Monkey, is a captivating and unique freshwater fish that poses a significant challenge even for seasoned aquarists. Their large size, aggressive nature, and specific care requirements make them a demanding species to keep in captivity. However, for those who have the necessary experience, resources, and dedication, Jardini Arowanas can be incredibly rewarding to own.
In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about this fascinating species, including their appearance, lifespan, ideal tank size, feeding requirements, behavior, tank mates, breeding, and much more. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of the Jardini Arowana!
Jardini Arowana is a fascinating freshwater fish native to Australia and New Guinea. With its striking appearance and unique behaviors, it is no wonder that this species has captured the interest of many aquarists. However, before you decide to take on the challenge of caring for Jardini Arowana, it’s essential to know what you’re getting into. This fish requires a high level of knowledge and commitment from its owner, making it unsuitable for beginners or those without adequate space or experience.
The Jardini Arowana, also known as the Australian Arowana or the Water Monkey, belongs to the Scleropages genus. These fish are found in various bodies of water, including slow-moving streams, flooded plains, and swamps in Australia and New Guinea.
Caring for Jardini Arowana in captivity can be quite challenging due to their size, predatory nature, and specific requirements. As such, only experienced fish-keepers with a deep understanding of their needs should attempt to keep them.
Arowanas, in general, possess a distinct appearance that sets them apart from other fish species. The Jardini Arowana is no exception, with a long, slender body and rayed dorsal and anal fins positioned far back on the body. These features, combined with its pointed face and upturned mouth, often lead people to mistake them for small eels.
One of the most defining characteristics of this species is its large, beady eyes and barbs on the tip of its mouth. These whisker-like appendages play a crucial role in the fish’s hunting habits. Inside the jaw, Jardini Arowana has a row of sharp teeth, perfect for catching prey but potentially dangerous if your fish mistakes your finger for food!
Sexual dimorphism is subtle in this species, with males typically having longer anal fins, lower-set pectoral fins, and more extended whiskers than females. Colors in Jardini Arowanas are generally muted, with silver-gray or slightly beige tones being the most common. However, some individuals may exhibit black, brassy, or even rare coral coloration.
The average lifespan of a Jardini Arowana in captivity ranges between 10 and 20 years, provided they receive proper care and a suitable environment. It’s worth noting that in the wild, this species has been known to live for up to 50 years! However, there are no guarantees when it comes to the lifespan of any fish, as they may fall victim to illness or other factors.
One of the main challenges in caring for Jardini Arowanas is their impressive size. While they may only be a few inches long when you first purchase them as juveniles, they grow quickly and can reach their full size within a year and a half. The average size of a Jardini Arowana in captivity is 24 inches, but some individuals may grow up to 36 inches in length in the wild.
Caring for Jardini Arowana is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart, but if you’re up for the challenge, these fish can be incredibly rewarding to own. They are often the centerpiece of an aquarist’s collection due to their beauty and unique behavior. To ensure your fish live long, healthy lives, it’s essential to adhere to the following care guidelines.
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Jardini Arowana requires a large tank to accommodate their size and lifestyle. A tank of at least 180 gallons is necessary to keep these fish healthy, and larger tanks of 200 gallons or more are even better. Some aquarists choose to house their Jardini Arowana in outdoor ponds of 500 gallons or more for optimal space and natural conditions.
During the juvenile stage, a smaller tank of around 75 gallons may be suitable, but keep in mind that they will quickly outgrow this size, and an upgrade will be necessary.
Jardini Arowana comes from unique environments, such as shallow streams and marshes, which are often slightly acidic and possess a small amount of acidity. To mimic their natural habitat, it’s essential to maintain specific water parameters in your aquarium.
Before introducing your Jardini Arowana, allow your tank to cycle for up to eight weeks. These fish are sensitive to changes in water parameters, so a well-established tank is crucial for their well-being. Regular water checks and frequent partial water changes are necessary to maintain stability.
The following water parameters should be maintained in your Jardini Arowana tank:
- Water temperature: 75 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (Ideal: around 82 degrees)
- pH levels: 6.0 to 7.5 (Slight acidity)
- Water hardness: up to 16 DH
When setting up your Jardini Arowana tank, simplicity is key. These fish prefer a more natural environment, so a layer of sand or rock substrate is recommended. Add a large piece of driftwood for decoration and a natural feel, and ensure plenty of floating plants are available for cover.
A powerful filter is essential for maintaining water quality in a Jardini Arowana tank, as these large fish produce significant waste. A moderate current created by the filter pump will also be appreciated by your fish, as they enjoy swimming against the current in the wild.
Lastly, secure your tank with a tight lid to prevent your Jardini Arowana from jumping out, as they are known to leap out of the water to catch prey.
Jardini Arowanas are susceptible to various diseases, particularly if their environment is not well-maintained. Some of the most common illnesses affecting this species include gill rot, swim bladder disease, and drop eye.
Gill rot is typically caused by poor water conditions, which can be prevented by maintaining your tank and performing regular water changes. Swim bladder disease is often the result of dietary issues and can be avoided by providing a balanced diet and not overfeeding your fish. Drop eye, a condition in which the fish’s eyes appear to be drooping, can be corrected by covering the sides of the tank to encourage the fish to look upwards.
Food & Diet
Jardini Arowana are carnivorous predators that require a high-protein diet. Live insects such as earthworms, bloodworms, and crickets are popular food choices, as well as live frogs, minnows, and shrimp. However, avoid feeding your fish live feeder goldfish, as they may introduce parasites and bacteria into your tank.
In addition to live food, provide vitamin-enriched sticks, pellets, or frozen cubes to ensure your fish receive all the necessary nutrients. Juvenile Jardini Arowanas should be fed twice a day, while adults can transition to one meal per day.
Behavior & Temperament
Jardini Arowanas are known for their aggressive and predatory behavior, which is why they require a high level of care and attention. In the wild, they are known to leap out of the water to catch prey and will attempt to do so in captivity as well. They spend most of their time near the surface of the water, searching for food and rarely venturing to the bottom of the tank.
While Jardini Arowanas are aggressive fish, they can sometimes coexist with other similarly-sized fish that they cannot eat. Some possible tank mates for Jardini Arowana include:
- Silver Dollars
- Giant Gouramis
It’s essential to monitor your Jardini Arowana closely when introducing tank mates, as their aggressive tendencies may still cause issues. Providing a large tank and plenty of hiding spots can help reduce aggression, but there are no guarantees with this species.
Breeding Jardini Arowanas in captivity is possible but challenging. A pair of breeding Jardini Arowanas requires a tank or pond of at least 600 gallons. To encourage spawning, provide high-quality food and slowly fill the pond over time, replicating the wet season in the wild.
Jardini Arowanas are mouthbrooders, with females laying up to 200 eggs and males fertilizing and incubating them in their mouths for about two months. After hatching, both parents will protect the fry for an additional month.
Caring for Jardini Arowana is undoubtedly a challenge, but for those with the necessary experience, space, and commitment, these incredible fish can be a rewarding addition to your aquarium. With proper care, tank setup, and breeding, your Jardini Arowana can thrive and become the centerpiece of your aquatic collection.