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Feeding Your Dragon Fish
Small Arowana (below 6 inches) should be fed three times a day, medium Arowana (6 inches to 14 inches) twice a day and large Arowana (above 14 inches) once a day or alternate day. Variety in food is important to avoid nutritional deficiency. High fat food like feeder fish should only be used sparingly to avoid drop eye problem. If arowana is overfed for a long period of time, it may lost its appetite and starve itself for a periods of a few days. Overfeeding can also shorten the lifespan of Arowana and affect its breeding capability.
In wild, their food consist mainly insects, fishes, prawns, worms and small amphibians. Live food are preferred to Arowana though they can be trained to accept other food. Variety in food is a MUST to avoid nutritional deficiency.Live food is generally more nutritious then its counterpart. However, the risk of introducing disease into the tank is increased when live food is used. This is especially true when the live food is waterborne (live in water). Live food should be quarantined for at least a few days before feeding to the Arowana.
Types of Foods
Crickets are nutritious food for Arowana. The risk of disease transmission is very low. Use the appropriate size crickets for different size Arowanas. Hard shell of crickets should be removed when feed to baby Arowana to avoid intestinal injury. Use only farm bred crickets as wild caught crickets may be contaminated with insecticide. You may feed the crickets' vitamin A, like carrot before feeding it to Arowana. This is a good way to transfer nutrient. Vitamin A enhances color of Arowana (esp. red). Crickets may be frozen to avoid hassle, the percentage of nutrients retained when frozen is uncertain and require further study.
Similar to cricket. Do not feed dead cockroach to Arowana as it might have been killed by insecticide. It is advisable to keep the cockroach for a couple of days before feeding it. When possible, farm bred cockroaches would be prefered.
Centipedes are very nutritious food for Arowana. They are commonly used in Asia to enhance and intensify the color of Arowana. Unfortunately the availability of this food is low. Frozen centipedes are more readily available than live ones.
Almost any bite size fish that is not poisonous can be Arowana's food. Feeder gold, meadow, baby koi, baby catfish and small chidlid are commonly used. There is higher potential risk of disease transmission when this type of food is used. To transfer nutrient or medication to arowana, you may feed them to feeder fish right before using it. Some fishes, like goldfish are rich in fat and will precipitate drop eye problem. Use them sparingly. Goldfish is also believed to contained enzymes that will lead to nutritional deficiency in Arowana, use it sparingly or avoid using it. Best recommended minimum number of days for quarantine these feeder fishes is at least 5 days.
Fresh fish meat can be used. Trim all the fat away and cut them to bite size, wash them before use to avoid contamination of the water. Avoid frozen fish meat as denatured protein may lead to liver and internal organ sickness in long run.
Prawns/shrimps are rich in vitamin A, which enhance Arowana's color. They are very nutritious food. Avoid feeding baby Arowana shrimps as their shells are hard to digest and may cause intestinal injury. Do not leave live prawns/shrimps in Arowana tank as they encourage Arowana to search downward constantly for them and hence may precipitate drop eye. Once again, there is also a potential risk of disease transmission. Quarantine is also required, minimum 5 days.
Or commonly known as Market Prawn. Use only fresh prawns. Avoid frozen prawns unless you are very sure of its freshness as denatured protein may lead to liver and internal problems in long term. Removal of head is recommend as it is hard to digest and also the gill may have high concentration of germs/toxin. Prepare the prawn in bite sizes and wash it before use.
Krill is a nutritious food and it is readily available. Use appropriate size krill for different size Arowana. Crush the shell then soak the krill to soften the shell prior to feeding baby Arowana as hard krill may cause intestinal injury.
Bloodworms are mainly used to feed baby Arowana. They a nutritious food. Rinse away impurities before use. Do not feed it when frozen as it may cause intestinal upset. Live bloodworms are preferrable but commercially available bloodworms are equally good when fresh. Freeze dry bloodworms may also used.
Tubifex worms are collected in highly contaminated drain and should be avoid unless properly treated. Commercially breed tubifex worms claimed to be cleaner but its source are sometime questionable. Remember the golden rule: "If in Doubt, Don't Use It". This goes to frozen tubifex worms too. Freeze dry tubifex worms are cleaner but possibility of germs survived through very low temperature cannot be ruled out. High heavy metal content in the source is also a worry.
Mealworms are healthy and nutritious. Avoid feeding them to baby Arowana as their hard shell is difficult to digest and may cause digestive problem or/and intestinal injury. Use worms that have just shed its shell. Darker color means older shell. So choose pale looking mealworm. Drowning the worm prior to feeding is recomended if the fish accept dead worm. Head can be removed to minimise digestive problem. For larger Arowanas, another similar to mealworm, Superworms can be used. They are equally nutritious but cost alot more commerically than the mealworms.
Earthworms are very healthy and nutritious. Risk of disease transmission is minimal. Squeezing the soil out before feeding is recommended. Or better still, feed the earthworm with nutritious food to clear the soil and transfer the nutrient. This is a highly recommended food by most aquarist.
There are many commercail pellets/sticks food available. Their nutritious value varies. Choose reputable brand. Pellets/sticks food specially formulated for Arowana is recommended. However, this should not be the only food of Arowana, it's best act as supplementary food. Also, though not scientifically proven, but experience did seem to prove that if feeding on pellets/sticks or even dried shrimps, will caused protruding anus problem to the Arowanas.
Frogs are very nutritious food for Arowana and are commonly used in Asia. You should be certain that the frogs are not poisonous before feeding them to Arowana. Frogs should be quarantined for a few (3) days before use as they are often collected in padi-field where insecticide is frequently used. Do not feed death frog to Arowana. Try not to feed wild caught frogs cause you just might caught a poisonous species of frogs.
Bull frogs is getting more popular to be used as food for full grown Arowana. It is also equally nutritious. But due to it sear size, usually only the smaller one is selected to feed, and more often, only one is needed for each feeding each day. But it does cost alot more commercially then the usual feeder frogs.
Lizards and geckos are also very nutritious food for Arowana and are often loved by the fish. They are usually not commercially available or demand a very high price. Geckos are found in almost every house in tropical region. Catching them is hard work but often rewarded as they enhance Arowana's color. Quarantine is also recommended as they might have eaten insecticide contamination insects, even though the probabilty is small