Saw an arowana in person today

Gypsum

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I went into a local Maidenhead Aquatics branch to buy some pleco caves and cherry shrimp (they did not have any shrimp), and there it was, a red arowana lazily cruising around the large display tank it shared with a big common pleco. I was quite taken with it. It had a kind of awareness and intelligence when it looked at you, and it was one of the most magnificent fish I've seen, although I'm still baffled by people paying six figures for them. Ever since I read Emily Voigt's book, The Dragon Behind the Glass: A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World’s Most Coveted Fish, I've really wanted to see one. Definitely did not expect that to happen at a Maidenhead branch in Coatbridge. It was a bargain arowana as well -- only £1500! If I had that lying under the sofa or secured in a mattress and a 600++++ L tank, I would have that fish. Luckily for OH, I have none of those things.
 
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Colin_T

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The fish in post #3 is a Saratoga, which is found in Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia. These are slightly different to the South American Arowana. The main difference is the fins. Having said this, both types of fish grow too big for an average aquarium and should only be kept in ponds/ swimming pools.
 
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Gypsum

Gypsum

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The photo in Barry Tetra's post looks like it might be an Asian arowana, Scleropages formosus: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep24501/figures/1. Would make sense, given he is in Thailand, and breeding them is big business in Asian countries. The anal fin (is that the right term?) on saratogas appears longer. South American arowanas (Osteoglossum bicirrhosum) look quite different from both.

The fish I saw in Coatbridge was very much an Asian arowana. I was surprised to see it, because Coatbridge is just about the last place you'd expect to find an arowana, and the Asian ones are protected by CITES, so importing them isn't easy. In the UK, you can only import them from a registered CITES breeder, and they have to be microchipped, documented, etc. I just don't see Maidenhead Aquatics going through that degree of hassle for a fish the vast majority of fishkeepers can't keep.

I suspect that someone vaguely local had it, and they couldn't take care of it anymore and gave it to the shop.
 
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I know what you're talking about. They are really something to see in person. It's kind of a shock when you see a two footer or bigger for the first time. Wait until you see it eat.
 

emeraldking

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They're very majestic to look at... :good:
If I could offer the right space, I would buy one. But the house ain't getting any bigger... :thumbs:
 

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Yes, that is an Airapima (spelling?) there was an episode of River Monsters where Jeremy Wade got knocked out by one of those. He said that it is now the only fish that he is afraid of.
 

DAnCSF

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Some fish are just Jeeze"wish I can have one", like all hobbies there are those holy grails, we mere mortals long after. I've seen arowanas in my LFS but then I think they will outgrow my tanks. My sig. other allowed me my 100 gal, but anything larger just ain't happening. A dog she can get behind...but more tanks...not gonna happen....btw many years ago I saw a tank of small black arowanas about 4" still with their yolk sac...and thing the cost was some $50.00 or so...I've never seen the black variety since. It seems to me a breeder can make lots of $$$ if they can breed miniature Arowanas.
 
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Gypsum

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They won't stay miniature, though. That's the trouble!

Breeders can make a fortune breeding any arowana, hence it being a big business in Asia. Ones with highly desirable colouring can fetch upwards of $100,000. I think the most expensive one ever went for about $300,000. Russian oligarchs, Arab sheikhs, and rich CEOs buy them as status symbols.

I highly recommend reading the book I cited in my OP. You'll learn more about arowanas than you ever wanted to know -- she delves into the breeding business and the high dollar business, and then she goes on a quest to find wild arowanas in places like Myanmar, Sulawesi, and the Amazon. Traveled a lot with Heiko Bleher, the reknowned explorer and researcher who's discovered so many of the species now in the hobby.
 

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