Arapaimas have an elongated, torpedo-shaped body covered in large, thick scales. Their coloration is primarily a dark gray or brown on the back half and red or orange on the front portion. Adapted to their environment with eyes positioned on the top of the head and an air-breathing organ allowing them to survive in the Amazon’s low-oxygen waters.
Introduce Arapaima fish dangerous
- Origin: The Amazon River basin including areas of Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Guyana
- Size: Can reach up to 15 feet long and weigh 440 lbs, making them one of the world’s largest freshwater fish.
- Lifespan: Arapaimas may live for 15 years or more in the wild. Lifespan in captivity is generally shorter.
- Temperament: Highly aggressive predators that should not be kept with other fish due to their ability to swallow prey whole.
- Appearance: Elongated body shape, red or orange coloration on the front half, scales cover body, eyes set on top of head.
- Popular Varieties: The arapaima is a singular species, gigas, without identified color varieties.
- Price: Captive-bred arapaima sell for $3,000-$5,000 USD while farm-raised fish are $500-$1,000.
Habitat and Tank Requirements
- Natural Habitat: Slow-moving backwaters, tributaries, and floodplain lakes of the Amazon River system.
- Minimum Tank Size: Giant public aquariums of 10,000+ gallons. Cannot be housed in residential aquariums.
- Water Parameters: Prefers warm (75-86°F), soft, acidic water. Low light.
- Tank Setup: Very simple, open swimming areas. No gravel or decorations that can be swallowed.
- Diet: Carnivore that eats fish, crustaceans, and other meaty foods in the wild. Takes pelleted diets in captivity.
- Feeding Behavior: Voracious predators that ambush and swallow prey whole. Care should be taken with tankmates.
- Large pellets
- Reproduction: Do not appear to have specific breeding habits or migrations. Spawning can occur year-round.
- Breeding Requirements: Very large tanks, conditioned feeding, pristine water conditions may help induce spawning.
- Spawning Process: During spawning, females release up to 100,000 eggs which males externally fertilize. Parents do not provide any care.
Common Health Issues
Due to their size and resiliency, captive arapaimas do not have many reported health issues. Maintaining excellent water quality is essential.
Special Care Considerations
- Compatibility: Cannot be housed with other fish due to predatory nature. Even large tankmates are at risk of being swallowed.
- Care Level: Extremely advanced. Require massive tanks with meticulous water management. Not suitable for average aquarists.
- Legalities: Listed as endangered and restricted in many regions. Permits and paperwork are required for ownership.
Due to their aggressive predation, arapaimas cannot be housed with any other fish, invertebrates, or tankmates of any kind. They must be kept alone.
In summary, while impressive, not recommended for home aquariums. Their massive size, predatory nature, and intensive care requirements make them suitable only for very experienced keepers with gigantic setups. Maintaining an arapaima is an extreme challenge.
Males and females look nearly identical externally. Males may be slightly smaller on average and develop a protruding forehead during spawning periods.
How many species exist?
There is one recognized species, Arapaima gigas. However, research suggests there may be several undescribed species across the Amazon.
What makes their colors more vibrant?
Arapaimas do not display bright coloration. Providing a high quality diet can help bring out natural red-orange tones.
How big do they grow?
Arapaimas can reach lengths over 15 feet and weigh up to 440 lbs, making them the largest freshwater scaled fish in the world.
How quickly do they grow?
Arapaimas can gain over 6 feet in their first year alone. Their growth rate slows as they near maturity but remains relatively fast.
What is their typical lifespan?
Up to 15 years in the wild. In captivity, a lifespan over 10 years is considered long due to care difficulties.
How are arapaimas properly cared for?
Require massive tanks with pristine water quality. Very few aquarists can meet their needs. Not suitable beginner fish.
What foods bring out their best colors?
As carnivores, feed meaty foods like shrimp, smelt, salmon. Pelleted diets also work well. Offer a varied diet.
Are arapaimas suitable aquarium pets?
No, arapaimas grow far too large and predatory to be suitable pets. They require giant public zoo or aquaria systems.
Why did my arapaima die suddenly?
Stress, poor water quality, improper diet, and disease are leading causes of death. Their care is challenging.
Are arapaimas aggressive towards humans?
Arapaimas are predatory and can become territorial. Caution is advised when maintaining very large specimens.
Can arapaimas live with other fish?
Absolutely not. No fish are suitable tankmates due to the arapaima’s ability to swallow fish whole.
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