Name: Scleropages formosus
Origin: Southeast Asia
It's rewarding yet a very risky to own this kind of species. Considering that they are endangered and very expensive, to which some require papers for authentication, it's very challenging. I should say it's an investment, especially for some businessmen who love to own this one, because of their mythical beliefs. It's said that it can bring good luck and fortune because of its gold color, symbolizing the dragon. This fish is famous in Asian countries. Some stores make it as their front display to attract costumers and fortune. To ensure the beauty of this fish, you shouldn't put anything in the tank to avoid scale injury, because they are soft. They cannot be bred in aquarium and can live alone. If you're planning to add some other species be sure to choose them carefully. I would suggest those that swim in the bottom like rays, or some fast moving fish.
It is true that this fish is well known in South East Asia. It is prized in the following order: red colour (most prized), golden and then silver. In Singapore, trading is illegal unless the fish has been electronically tagged and certified, since it is an endangered species. I have seen juveniles sold for US$300 and adults for US$2,500! No expense is spared for its maintenance and common diets include small frogs, fish (usually guppies or goldfish) or shrimps. The fish is predatory in nature and requires a lid-covered tank as it is known to be a jumper, even in the wild where it leaps out of the water to snap at insects. Native to Malaysia and Australia (where it is known as a Saratoga).
You must be careful when feeding guppies and goldfish, do not use sick fish as it has been known for them over time to cause spinal issues with the fish.
The word 'arowana' is from Indonesian word 'arwana' or 'nirwana'; in English it means 'paradise'. Arowana is the most beautiful fresh water fish, that's why local people call 'paradise fish'. This fish can be found in big rivers from several big islands of Indonesia like Kalimantan, Sumatera and Papua.
Yes, in SE Asia where I live at the moment (Singapore) they are prized and very expensive. A few weeks ago I visited a tropical fish farm in Singapore and the top fish cost 50000 Singapore dollars (about US$28000). Others were priced according to Chinese lucky numbers such as $38888. The cheapest I saw was $2888. Considering that tropical fish in Singapore are so cheap, to buy one of these simply has show off value.
There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the asian arowana. One reason why they are so expensive is because they are endangered. They are farmed and sold under license in places where it is legal to sell them. They are hardy, long lived (20 years are not rare) and a large fish, over 75 cm. Swimming majestically in a tank is a sight to behold. Currently the most expensive is the Malayan Golden (Crossback Gold) from Malay Peninsular. Indonesian Reds come after that. After that will be Red Tail Golden (Indonesian too) after which will be Green and then Yellow tail. Single web pictures do not do this fish justice. There are many arowana lovers, who love the fish as it is. There are good and bad looking arowanas too, and it is more than an ornament to the arowana lovers. They are paying for beauty they deem are worth. Selecting an arowana can take from days to even weeks and months. It is not true that only wealthy businessmen buy them to show off. There are many students, and young adults buying young certified fish averaging from US$1200 to US$1500 for young fish. They are saving hard for the fish. People are paying for the fish for a value they deem the fish are worth. And most critics of this phenomenon don't understand the fish well enough.