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  • Source: Neale Monks

  • Source: Neale Monks

Arapaima gigas (Arapaima, Pirarucu)

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Extremely large armour-plated fish similar to an arowana but bigger and with a more cylindrical rather than laterally-compressed body profile. There are no known differences between the sexes. Maximum length is a matter of debate. Wild fish are typically around 2 m or so in length, with 2.5 m specimens being exceptional. Although there are reports of much larger specimens, in one case up to 4.5 m, such large specimens have not been verified by scientists.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Arapaima gigas is not suitable for maintenance in home aquaria. It gets far too large, and while widely kept at zoos and public aquaria, hobbyists trying to rehome half-grown specimens will not find it easy to do so.

Perhaps surprisingly given their size, these fish are fairly mellow and do poorly when kept with aggressive tankmates. Furthermore, young specimens can be fairly delicate, and they are sensitive to poor environmental conditions. Juveniles are therefore best kept alone, but adults can be housed with tankmates too large to eat, such as pacu and red-tail catfish.

Arapaima are carnivores, but they are not fussy about their diet. Juveniles will take earthworms and river shrimps, and then weaned onto chunky thiaminase-free meaty foods such as tilapia fillet.

Family Group: Miscellaneous
Distribution Amazon River
Temperature 24-26 C
Size Around 2 m is typical
Water Parameters Adaptable, but avoid extremes
Water PH 6.0-7.5
Water Chemistry Adaptable
Diet Adaptable
Care Level Expert only
Schooling Fish No
Sociability Peaceful