The Asian Arowana (Scleropages Formosus) or better known as the `Dragon Fish', has been regarded as one of the Kings in Aquatic World due to its immense popularity, value and great looks. The unique shape, large mouth and scales, and air of mystery have made Asian Arowanas so special they have stolen the heart of many hobbyists. With its close resemblance to the Chinese Ancient Dragon, many Chinese all over the world believed that `Dragon Fish' symbolizes luck, wealth, prosperity and strength. Thus, making it one of the best fish to keep for good fengshui. It is said that water is where Chi gathers and Sheng Chin in an aquarium, is said to be beneficial. However, to ensure that the water has Yang energy, auspicious fish are necessary. This is where the `Dragon Fish' comes in demand, being widely accepted as the symbol of wealth.


There are basically 4 different natural occurring color varieties for Asian Arowanas, namely Cross Back Golden from West Malaysia, Super Red from Indonesia's West Kalimantan, Red Tail Golden from Indonesia Pekanbaru and the Green variety, which can be found in rivers of Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand. Due to its popularity and great demand, Asian Arowanas have been fiercely hunted at its native habitat for profits, thus the population of these fish in the wild has declined. This is especially so for Malaysian Golden Arowanas and Red Arowanas, which have reached a stage of near extinction since 1980s. Fortunately, arowanas come under protection by the listing of the Convention on the International Trade in endangered species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and are classified as an endangered species, threatened with extinction in CITES appendix I. Since then, any illegal trading and hunting of such fishes from the wild are accompanied with heavy penalties. Even now, the trading of Asian Arowanas is still banned in certain countries like the United States and Taiwan.





1crossback.jpg (37847 bytes)There are several names for it, some calls it Cross Back Golden, Pahang Gold, Malayan Bonytongue, Bukit Merah Blue, Taiping Golden and the Malaysian Gold. These are basically referring to the same type of fish - the Golden Arowana. It will have golden color completely crossing its back when the fish is matures. The main reason for so many terminologies is because Cross Back Golden Arowanas can be found in various parts of Malaysia such as the states of Perak, Trengganu, Bukit Merah Lake and Johor. 


Due to its relatively low supply and great demand in the market, it is currently one of the most expensive color specimen for the Asian Arowana. The main reason for its high price is due to its scarcity as well as lesser number of gametes on each spawn. Currently, only Malaysia and Singapore farms are breeding the Malaysian Golden Arowanas.


2crossback.jpg (125747 bytes)Cross-Back Goldens are further classified into Blue-Based, Purple-Based, Gold-Based, Green-based and the Silver-based types, implying the core color of the scales. The terms Blue-Based and Purple-Based are being used interchangeably by some breeders since these Cross Backs exhibit Purple Core when viewed at an angle but appears totally blue at another. Gold-Based is one of the Cross Back with a flourish of golden color at it’s scales right into the core of the scales instead of one that is blue or purplish in colors. The Golden-Based variety seems to have color crossing its back earlier than the rest. This is one type of arowanas that is most stunning to look at since a mature fish is able to achieve the much dreamed about 24K gold color which other golden varieties are incapable of! Just imagine a 2-footer arowana, fully wrapped with golden scales swimming effortlessly, making occasional turns with ease and confidence to show that it is indeed the King of Aquarium. Of course, there are also the exotic Green-Based and Silver-Based types which have green and silvery cores on its scales respectively. 

It is also becoming more difficult to differentiate the sub-varieties since it is quite common to find a fish that has the qualities of two or more sub-varieties. This is due to the inter-breeding between these different varieties by the farmers and thus most Cross-Backs are not as pure as it used to be. But on the other hand, it did produce a fish with enhanced qualities from each variety. The breeding of other varieties other varieties like the Platinum White Golden Arowana and the Royal Golden Blue Arowana has also evolved over recent years. Both of these command premium price tags and are very much sought in Japan due to their scarcity. Malaysian Farms constitute most exports of these high quality fish in the world as this fish is originated from there.




1superred.jpg (32527 bytes)This is the red colored type of Asian Arowana. It originated from various parts of Western Kalimantan province in Indonesia. The most famous waters are the River Kapuas and Lake Sentarum where the Super Reds (Chili and Blood Red) are from. It is also one of the more popular fish among Asian Arowanas, largely because of their auspicious color and more affordable prices as compared to Cross Back Golden. Furthermore, with its full red fins even when young and red lips and barbels, no hobbyists will be able to resist the temptation to own one of them. When approaching adult size, these red colors will also start to appear on other part of the body like the gill plates and edges of the scales making the whole fish red in color. The red arowanas are so popular that many farmers started breeding them because of higher profits and there was even at one stage when Super Reds were fetching higher prices than the Cross-Back Goldens. But since then, its price has dropped due to mass production of this variety of fish. 


There are basically four different varieties of Red Arowanas namely Blood Red, Chili Red, Orange Red and the Golden Red. In recent years, Chili Red, Blood Red, Orange Red and Golden Red are grouped together and termed Super Red or `First Grade Red'. It has made the termed `Super Red' inferior since Orange Red and Golden Red do not bear the qualities of the former two and they have only comparatively colors appear either in orange or golden orange. The usage of terms has indeed changed over the years and the term Super Red is now becoming more commonly used among breeders when naming their red arowanas.


The Chili Red and Blood Red are both originated from two famous waters in Western Kalimantan, Indonesia called the River Kapuas and Lake Sentarum. Lake Sentarum, consisting of many smaller lakes interlinked between each other, is at one end of River Kapuas. These waters are covered by the thick Peat Forest which provides a very primitive environment for these Jurassic fishes, but with its naturally occurring minerals, blackwater and abundance of food source produce very positive effects on the colors of this particular variety of Asian Arowana. Also the vast areas of red arowanas habitat may be the reason behind the variations within the red arowana variety. Some seem to have  broader body, steeper spoonheads, greater red intensity and heavier base colors than others, just for example. And, it is because of such differences in appearance, the early dealers in Indonesia created another two general terms for two main groups of red-turning arowanas found in that region. They are Chili Red and Blood Red. The names Chili and Blood were given because of their difference in red intensity, Chili Red has a chili color while Blood Red has a red color that looks like blood color. Apart from colors, Chili Red and Blood Red are also different in terms of shape. While Chili Red is broader in shape, Blood Red is longer and slimmer. This broadness can be seen between the back and the bottom of the body of a Chili Red that is both thick and wide. This wideness extends all the way backward to tail of the fish rather than one that the usual tapering downwards to the tail, which belongs to that of a Blood Red. This difference in shape together with its thick frame scales, spoonhead and intensified red color scales has made the Chili Red look more massive, forceful, well-balanced and prosperous-looking.


superred10a.jpg (47217 bytes)The Chili Red also has large red-colored eyes and a diamond-shaped tail while the Blood Red has whiter and smaller eyes and a big wide-opened fan-shaped tail. Chili Reds has eyes so big that sometimes the edges of the eyes actually “touch” the top of the head and the lower jaws. The tail of Chili Red is obvious diamond-shaped which can be large and outward-extending as well. The Blood Red on the other hand, has much smaller eyes that look somewhat “normal” and a rounder, widely spread tail that is simply beautiful. These characteristics are obvious even when the fish is young, so it is possible to spot a Chili Red or Blood Red when young. Apart from the above, a personal opinion from us is that the scales of Chili Reds have more obvious green cores and have heavier metallic shines while Blood Red have shines that is shinier and tends to resemble that of a Cross-back Golden when young. Also, the shape of a young Blood Red seems rounder as compared to Chili Reds.


Despite the differences observed above, both Chili and Blood Reds are still the most stunning looking red arowanas customers can get and it is most important for any hobbyists to get a red arowana that turns red, Chili or Blood Red. These days genuine Blood Red or Chili Red are rare to find. And generally a Super Red type with some Chili Red bloodline has sharper looking face and a pointed head/mouth region and naturally with deep red color finnages. To get a good red, it is more advisable to approach a reputable farm that sells genuine red arowanas.


The color developments of both fishes are also differ with Chili Red being a late developer while Blood Red are early developer. To put it in simple terms, Chili Reds will normally achieve its full bloom red color 1-2 years later than Blood Reds and this red color is often a breath-taking one, especially with its relatively thinner red framed scales. This is as far as red intensity is concern. However, the stages of color developments of the body for both fish are similar. Orange color is often the transitional stage to the eventual red color which some red arowanas will experience. Of course, there are also red arowanas that, in their whole 8 years remained pale-looking and only to turn suddenly to full red color in a short space of one month, much to the shock of the owners. The judgments on red arowanas can be difficult at times and it can take plenty of efforts and patience to realize the true potential of a young red arowanas. These efforts are definitely worthwhile.purplerede.jpg (55747 bytes)


One of our finest deep Red Arowana is the Purple Red® (Purple Base Red). This term is only reserved for our farm's premium grade Red Arowana that is produce under stringent selective breeding in our farm. Apart from its deep red color rims, this variety of red arowana show extremely deep purple blue base at the core of its scales despite young age. The unique red color scales will become very obvious purple color when the fish grow older. Purple Red® is rare, hence commands a high price.


Note: Purple Red® (Trademark no. T01/07389H) is a registered trademark & property of Unoaquatic Fish Farm.


Orange Red, this is one variety which is very common bred and not red-turning type. When the fish matures, it will at most exhibit orange coloured scales over the body compared to Chili Red and Blood Red counterpart. Naturally, the color of its tail and finnages is not as deep red as the former. 


goldenred.jpg (44187 bytes)The Golden Red type is yet another more commonly seen color variety apart from the Orange red. This type of fish is the lowest grade of all and when adult, it has only golden yellowish color over the body. Most of the time, Lips and finnages are not as red as Super Red. In fact, some Golden Reds has finnages that is very light red or pinkish in color. Such quality is results after cross-breeding with some poor specimens since it is more economical for breeders to pair them successfully.




2ndgrade1.jpg (46832 bytes)The 1.5 / 2nd grade red are never pure strain Red Arowana. These are hybrid types of arowanas resulted after crossbreeding with banjar red, yellow tail or green arowana. In order to increase the probability of harvesting by some backyard breeders and pass these fishes off as 1st graded red successfully. Sometimes, hormones or enhancers are used to make these fishes look very red. Therefore, avoid buying any so called "wild caught red arowana” that do not have any CITES farm certification. The way to identify these 1.5 or 2 grade reds are that, these arowanas have a rounder head, a non pointing mouth and a very un-matching shines and green/yellow base color of the scales.





redtailga.jpg (46285 bytes)Commonly known as Red Tail Golden (RTG) or Indonesia Golden Arowana, they are classified under the golden varieties as with the Malaysian Golden or Cross Back Golden. It is found in Pekan Baru of Indonesia. The prices for the Red Tail Golden are more affordable as compared to the Cross Back Golden. The reasons for this is that this fish seldom attain 24K gold as the Cross-Back Golden would and the golden color of Red Tail Golden Arowanas will never cross over its back even when the fish is matured or fully grown. It is thus not as great looking as compared to one that is “whole piece gold". Most Red Tail Golden arowanas will have its golden color reaching the fourth row of the scales and the better ones will have it's golden color reaching the fifth row. And, just like the Cross Back Golden varieties, Red Tail Golden also have different scales base color in either blue, green and gold. Young RTGs will have a duller overall color as compared to Cross Back Golden which is neatly defined, shiny and glittering with scales reaches the fifth row. Generally, the Red Tail Golden is the tougher of the two Golden types and can  grow bigger in size but is the more aggressive of the two. Thus, it is more difficult to raise them together in one single huge tank (preferably 8 - 9 fishes) as compared to the Malaysia Gold. It is also protected by the CITES, even thought it is in more abundance in the wild. Apart from that, its tail, finnage and lip color are very identical between these two types of golden varieties.





The Green Arowana is another type of Asian Arowana. It is commonly found in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia and Cambodia etc. Due to its wide dispersion in the region, there can be differences in its appearance and color. Most of the Green Arowana found here has a greyish green body with a dark striped greyish green tail. Shape of this variety is a big difference as compared to other varieties with its head or mouth portion being larger and rounder. It is one of the cheapest type of Asian Arowana, apart from Yellow Tail. However, one particular type of  Greens (those with a dark purplish core) are as exotic as any other varieties. The Green Arowana, together with 1.5 or 2 grade reds, is popular among countries like Thailand and Philippines because of its low price. Besides this, many Japanese students also find it more affordable to own them for the purpose of admiring the beauty and for experimental breeding of these exotic fish.  



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