Name: Scleropages leichardti
One of the two Scleropages species found in Australia, this is the smaller and less likely to be found in an aquarium Arowana. Unlike its counterpart, the Jardini, this type of fish does not grow to be as big as the Asian Arowanas thus is less sought after by hobbyists. Australian Arowanas have seven layers of scales on each side compared to five of the Asian Arowanas. The Leichardti has spots on each scale and fins hence the common name, Spotted Arowana. This type does not require a chip implant as compared to the Asian variety which is considered an endangered species and is illegal to be traded. The Jardini (Pearl Arowana) on the other hand is often passed off as an Asian Arowana since little difference may be seen at their early stages (between 0-8 months) and sold for a lot more than it's worth. Scleropages are found to have a life span of about half a century and fossils (!) date back to the Jurassic era, making Arowanas the most prehistoric aquarium pet today.
Actually there are a few types of Spotted Arowanas. They are originally from Australia (also known as Australian Gold, Aus-Pearl Arowana, Northern or Southern Barrumundi). There is also a red and blue one too but I´ve only seen them in books. The most common is the Scleropages jardini. I don't know which part of Australia it comes from. I currently have one in an 850 liter tank. He/She is about 6 months old now. When I first got him he was about 10-12 cm and now he is currently 35 cm long so he/she grew pretty fast. These types of Arowanas are known to be the most aggressive one of all (try not to have any tankmates). Personally, I don't like leaving him alone cause I find it quite boring having only one fish in such a huge tank. So I do have a few tankmates with him. I have two 45 cm Silver Arowanas and one 38 cm Redtail Catfish with him. I know it sounds crazy because supposedly Arowanas tend to fight when put together. They fight sometimes but not killing each other though. Since Silver Arowana are surface dwellers, the Australians tend to stay at the bottom most of the time. So it works out fine for them. They eat anything that they can fit in their mouth (insects, crickets, centipedes, feeder fish,prawns, krill, beefheart, chickenheart, and Hikari Pellets too). Since they tend to eat all these kinds of food you should change 25% of the water at least once every week to two weeks. Large fish tend to produce high level nitrate and ammonia causing pH to fluctuate.
Hate to add a morbid note to the Scleropages jardinii and leichardtii. Jardinii (one with orangy type regular patterned scales) occur in a broken band in the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. It has been translocated to many dam impoundments in Queensland, where they are targeted as a sports fish with a possession limit of 'one'. Leichardtii are more restricted to the upper Fitzroy system and classified as restricted. I caught one just recently in Cania Dam just out of Monto in Queensland's south east - west of Bundaberg.
These fish generally do much better with tankmates S. jardini, and rarely get over 60 cm. Also, there was a comment above that the arowana is the most primitive aquarium pet, which is very untrue...there are many more primitive fish than arowanas, including lungfish, bichirs, gars, sharks, and rays.
Both the Scleropages jardinii and S. leichardtii are very hardy fish. If fed enough they will grow extremely fast. Most specimens have learned to take frozen and dry foods, but many still give them live foods. They require a large tank, similar to their Asian cousins, and do NOT keep smaller fish with these guys, as they will become fish food.
The Spotted Arowana is known as the Saratoga in Australia and not as the Barramundi, which is a common table fish in Australia, closely resembling and related to the Nile Perch. It is falsely stated that they do not grow as large as other species as there are subspecies and some grow to an excess of 1.5 meters in the wild. These are wonderful and graceful fish and my personal favourite. Subspecies of Australian varieties also occur in Southern Indonesia and New Guinea. Get one, you won't be disappointed.
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