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Others / Osteoglossidae / Black Arowana

Black Arowana
Osteoglossum ferreirai


Synonyms: None
Physical description: Very similar to 0. bicirrhosum except for coloration. Young fish have a brownish gray to dark brown back and black-brown flanks. A wide stripe runs from the gill cover to the tip of the caudal fin. The head is silver-brown and a black-brown stripe runs from the snout, through the eye and to the first gill opening. The gill area is marked with a black-brown vertical stripe followed by a similar white one.  The pelvic fins are silver while the others fins are brown-black. The anal and dorsal fins are edged with white to orange.
Size/Length: To 40" (102 cm) in nature, although not usually larger than 31" (80 cm) in captivity.
Similar species: 0. bicirrhosum
Habitat: South America; in the Rio Branca, a tributary of the Rio Negro
S: top
Aquarium: Young fish (under 6") should not be kept in tank measuring less than 36" (91 cm) or 35 gallons (132 L). Fish measuring up to 12" (30 cm) can tolerate a 48" (122 cm) or 55-70 gallon (209-266 L) tank. Eventually a considerably larger tank will be needed. Follow set-up suggestions for 0. bicirrhosum except peat filtration is preferred.
Water chemistry: 5-7 pH (6.4); 1-10 dH (4); 75-86°F (24-30°C)
Social behavior: As for 0. bicirrhosum.
Suggested companions:  Astronotus, Anostomus , Cichlasomines, Loricarids, Colossoma, Leporinus, Mylossoma, Pseudoplatystoma, Serrasalmus, Sorubim
FOOD: Live; fish, spiders, large flying insects, Tubifex; may accept pellets and flakes
Sexual differences: Perhaps similar to 0. bicirrhosum.
Breeding techniques: Similar to 0. bicirrhosum; Breeding is only successful in large tanks with soft, peat-filtered water. The fry are sensitive to water quality and the water values should be checked regularly.
Breeding potential: 10. Breeding is not possible in most tanks.
Remarks: The black Arowana is a skittish, delicate fish that is best kept in a species tank while young. However, once reaching 12" (30 cm), it becomes a much hardier fish. Only the young individuals have the beautiful color pattern which gave them their name, the adults resemble the Silver Arowana in coloration. Sadly young fish are caught in a similar manner to that of 0. bicirrhosum. Please see "Remarks:" under 0. bicirrhosum.
Difficulty of care: 8. This large, predatory fish requires a diet of live foods. The Black Arowana must be kept in a large tank. A species that is sensitive while young.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com