Arowana Tank Mates: (#9 YOU NEVER HEARD OF!)

If you’re experienced in freshwater aquariums, you may be interested in taking on the ultimate challenge: your own Arowana. Arowanas are one of the most expensive and care-intensive fish on the market, but they can be extremely rewarding for the right person!

Since you need to get a 250-gallon tank for your Arowana alone, you may be wondering if you can get some other fish in that tank too. Though Arowana do perfectly well on their own, it is possible to get them a few tankmates, albeit carefully.

Some of the best species to pick as tank mates for your Arowana include:

Since each of these species is large on its own, you’ll likely want to stick to only one or two tank mates for your Arowana. To learn more about each of these species and pick the best one for your home aquarium, read on!

About Caring For Arowanas

Arowanas are large, beautiful freshwater fish that look incredible in any experienced fish owner’s home. They can be found in various regions across South America, Southeast Asia, and Australia, so there’s quite a variety of Arowanas out there.

Throughout Asia, Arowanas are often nicknamed “dragon fish” because they are so long. On average, Arowanas reach around 3 feet in length! 

Arowanas also have very long lifespans compared to other fish in captivity. Many owners report that Arowanas can live 20 years or longer in captivity.

Most types of Arowanas are known to be aggressive and territorial. They particularly become aggressive once they reach at least a foot in length. 

Generally, Arowanas are pretty picky when it comes to roommates. They don’t want anyone they don’t like mooching off of their space!

Because of this, you need to be strategic about picking tank mates for your Arowana. The goal is to find fish similar in size that won’t accidentally become a treat for your Arowana.

Ideally, their tank mates should also be able to defend themselves. Fish that are too peaceful run the risk of being bullied by your Arowana, so you’ll need to get some tank mates that can really hold their own against this freshwater beast.

the best arowana tank mates

image of can arowana and other species live together?

Flowerhorn Cichlids

  • Scientific Name: Paraneetroplus synspilus
  • Origin: Central America
  • Size: 6 – 12 inches
  • Temperament: Moody, aggressive

Known for being aggressive beauties, cichlids can make great tank mates for your Arowana. Though there are likely other types of cichlids that could work with your Arowana, one of the best is the Flowerhorn Cichlids. 

Flowerhorn Cichlids will certainly help maintain a vibe of wonder in your tank. These fabulous fish are bright pink and have a giant nuchal humps on their heads, which helps distinguish them from other cichlids. 

This fish can be quite expensive as it is produced through selective breeding. Some patterns and colors are much more rare than others, so keep that in mind as you look for one that you like. 

Clown Loaches

  • Scientific Name: Chromobotia macracanthus
  • Origin: Indonesia
  • Size: 6 – 12 inches
  • Temperament: peaceful, active

Clown loaches actually make excellent tank mates for Arowanas! Since these big, striped loaches tend to be bottom feeders, they won’t come into direct contact with your Arowana often. 

Clown loaches also get quite large, usually ending up somewhere around 12 inches in length, so your Arowana won’t be able to eat it. However, you should keep in mind that clown loaches enjoy being in schools, so you will likely have to get a few of them to keep them happy. 

Silver Dollar Fish

  • Scientific Name: Metynnis argenteus
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 5 – 6 inches
  • Temperament: Peaceful, timid

Though one of the smaller species on this list, silver dollar fish can still make great tank mates for Arowanas. Since they’re a schooling fish, they’ll often be protected just by being in a group and minding their business. 

Silver dollar fish are a great choice for those wanting lots of smaller fish to go with their Arowana but know tetras or danios will just become fish food. They’re silver (duh) and shimmery, so they’ll match your Arowana as well. 

Black Ghost Knifefish

  • Scientific Name: Apteronotus albifrons
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 15 – 20 inches
  • Temperament: Shy, semi-aggressive

If you’re looking for another unique-looking fish to add to your Arowana tank, the black ghost knifefish is the one. This prehistoric-looking black fish is long and resembles an eel as it swims. 

Since black ghost kifefish are bottom dwellers like clown loaches, they’ll often avoid your Arowana. This means little chance of fighting as they’ll each have their own territories within the tank!

Since black ghost knifefish are also nocturnal, you should be prepared to set up your tank to help them get some peaceful sleep during the day. A large PVC pipe often makes an excellent, dark bed for your black ghost knifefish. 

Oscars

  • Scientific Name: Astronotus ocellatus
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 10 – 12 inches
  • Temperament: moody, aggressive

Oscars are large fish similar to cichlids in both temperament and appearance. Though they can certainly be moody and aggressive, oscars can do well in an Arowana tank. 

Oscars are known for having excellent personalities and being able to bond closely with their owners. They’re also quite attractive with their black bodies and orange patterns. 

The growth rate of oscars is similar to that of Arowanas, so you could let these two grow up together. They also eat similar foods, which makes feeding much easier. 

Plus, they live as long as Arowanas and know how to defend themselves as needed. Talk about a match made in heaven!

Blood Parrot Cichlids

  • Scientific Name: Amphilophus citrinellus x Vieja melanurus
  • Origin: Bred in Taiwan
  • Size: 7 – 8 inches
  • Temperament: Mostly peaceful, semi-aggressive

An adorable addition to your Arowana tank could be a blood parrot cichlid! Blood parrot cichlids are unique little fish that were artifically bred in Taiwan. 

Because cross-breeding has resulted in this fish having unique beaks that aren’t always the most effective for eating, this species is highly controversial in the aquarium industry. However, they can still make good tank mates for Arowanas. 

Since these cichlids are semi-aggressive, they will be able to defend themselves if your Arowana decides to get a little nippy. However, they won’t try to pick a fight on their own, which can reduce fighting in your tank. 

Bichirs

  • Scientific Name: Polypteridae
  • Origin: Western and Central Africa
  • Size: 12 – 38 inches
  • Temperament: Semi-aggressive, active

If you’re looking for a species that matches the long, mysterious vibe of your Arowana, you may want to look at a bichir. Bichirs are prehistoric-looking fish known for their long bodies and dinosaur-like fins. 

They’re also unique to other fish as they develop lungs as they grow, so they’ll need access to air at the top of their tank. Beyond this, they normally spend most of their day along the bottom of your tank, so they’ll stay out of your Arowana’s way.

Redtail Catfish

  • Scientific Name: Phractocephalus hemioliopterus
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 3 – 4 feet
  • Temperament: Aggressive, antisocial

If you’re looking for another fish that can get just as big as your Arowana, you’re in luck! A redtail catfish may be just what you need. 

Redtail catfish are common freshwater fish for those wanting a big fish without the expense of a species like an Arowana. Since they’re bottom feeders, they’ll stay out of your Arowana’s way and help keep the bottom of your tank clean. 

However, you’ll have to keep in mind that catfish often grow faster than Arowanas, so you may have to keep them separate until adulthood. It would be unfortunate (and expensive) if your Arowana became a meal for your redtail catfish!

Motoro Stingray

  • Scientific Name: Potamotrygon motoro
  • Origin: South America
  • Size: 1 – 2 feet in diameter, 3 feet in length
  • Temperament: Timid, antisocial

Though they’re not always the first choice of tank mates, freshwater stingrays can be excellent additions to large fishtanks. In particular, the motoro stingray from South America is reasonably sized and can be a great tank mate for your Arowana.

If you’re considering a stingray as a tank mate, you’ll need to take into consideration that motoro stingrays eat much more than Arowanas, which means you’ll have much more waste to deal with. You’ll need a pretty powerful filter and double the food as you would for another fish to handle the stingray alone, so it can be a big commitment.

Luckily, many owners say it’s worth it for the beauty of a stingray swimming along the bottom of their tank, just out of their Arowana’s zone. 

Ready To Go

Though giving your Arowana a tank mate isn’t exactly easy, it is certainly possible. Just remember to only put adults together and to keep a careful eye on your tank during the first few days.

Once your fish are established in the tank, you shouldn’t run into many issues. If issues arise, you can always get another tank and separate the two.

  • Flowerhorn cichlids
  • Clown loaches
  • Silver dollar fish
  • Black ghost knifefish
  • Oscars
  • Blood parrot cichlids
  • Bichirs
  • Redtail catfish
  • Freshwater stingrays
image of What fish go well with Arowanas

If you’ve ever owned an Arowana, let us know about your experience in the comments. Did your Arowana have tank mates?

Feel free to ask us any questions you have related to your home aquarium. We may write about your question next!

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