Silver Arowana, Osteoglossum bicirrosum

The silver arowana is native to South America in the Amazon, Rupununi, and Oyapock rivers.

It is a freshwater fish that is commonly kept in aquariums. This fish will spend most of its adult life swimming near the surface feeding. It is also very aggressive towards other silver arowana.

The silver arowana is a bony fish that has a long body and very large scales. Both top and bottom fins extend all the way to the tapered tail, which are almost connected together. The mouth slants upward like a draw bridge and it has two barbels extending downward from the lower jaw. The adult fish is silver while the young will have a bluish tint and a yellow-orange stripe. The adult can reach 2.9 feet in length and weigh 13.2 lbs.

The diet of this species consists of small fish, insects, crustaceans, and other animals that float on the surface of the water; however some fish have had the remains of birds, bats, and snakes in their stomach. The silver arowana will swim just below the surface to catch its prey that is floating by. It can also jump completely out of the water to catch insects, for this reason it is sometimes called monkey fish.

The male silver arowana will carry the eggs, larvae, and young in the mouth.

Although this fish can be kept in an aquarium, it is suggested that the tank be tightly covered because of the ability to jump, and it has been known to attack the hands of people thinking it is food. Feeding silver arowana that live in an aquarium should always be food that floats on the surface to avoid injury caused by colliding with the glass while chasing the smaller fish, and a condition called dropeye. This is a condition where one eye will droop down, because the fish will turn sideways to get food that has sunk to the bottom.

Brazilians mainly use this fish for food, while Columbians capture this fish to sell for aquarium use. Although the silver arowana is not on any endangered species list, a decline in the population has prompted Brazil to prohibit fishing for this species from September 1st to November 15th, and Columbia from capturing them from November 1st to March 15th.

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Osteoglossiformes

Family: Osteoglossidae

Subfamily: Osteoglossinae

Image Credit: UserQwertzy2/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)