Dragon fish, also known as arowanas, are large, striking freshwater fish. They have big, iridescent scales and slim, long fins, giving them a snake like appearance. Dragon fish can be found in a variety of different colors. Each color comes from a different region, grows to a different size, and has slightly different care needs. These fish usually grow to between 2 and 4 feet long, depending upon the variety, so caring for them can take a lot of work. These fish are not for the beginner aquarist. Breeding the fish can also be a challenge. Dragon fish tend to only breed when they’re ready.
Things You'll Need
- 300-gallon aquarium or larger
- Water testing kit
- Water additives
Raise a group of dragon fish together. It’s nearly impossible to tell whether the dragon fish you have is male or female by looking. One of the best ways to tell what gender the fish is, is to wait for the dragon fish to form mating pairs. The easiest way to do this is to raise a group of four, five, or more fish together. They will form pairs naturally. Breeding pairs may also sometimes be purchased from a reputable breeder.
Place the adult dragon fish pair in a large aquarium. Dragon fish are mature, and will form pairs, when they are between 3 and 4 years old. Because they can grow so large, many breeders use huge concrete tanks or ponds to house their breeding fish. A 300 gallon or larger aquarium will also work. Keep the aquarium securely covered. Arowana fish are known to jump from their habitats, which can be fatal.
Monitor the ammonia, nitrite, and pH levels of the breeding aquarium water with a water testing kit. Ammonia and nitrites should be at zero. Water additives, as well as cycling the aquarium, can help maintain a zero level. Each dragon fish variety has slightly different pH needs. For example, the golden arowana requires a pH level between 7 .0 and 7.5, while the silver arowana prefers a level between 6.0 and 7.0. For most dragon fish, however, a neutral pH of 7.0 is considered healthy.
Monitor the temperature in the breeding aquarium. Again, each variety of dragon fish requires a slightly different temperature. A correct water temperature is vital to both the breeding and health of the fish. These temperatures tend to range between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Research the particular type of dragon fish you have to maintain the exact temperature range that fish prefers.
Wait for the dragon fish to breed. Some dragon fish types, such as the silver dragon fish, breed readily, while other types may take some time, becoming comfortable for months, before they breed. The number of eggs laid is usually between 50 and 250. The parent fish will take care of the eggs and, later, the young. The young dragon fish will live in the parents’ mouths for about two months before they venture out on their own.