- Scientific Name: Arapaima gigas
- Family: Osteoglossidae
About the Pirarucu
- Species Type: Freshwater Fish
- Category: Ancient Fish
- Care Level: Moderate. May tolerate only a narrow range of water parameters, have specific dietary requirements including frozen or even live foods, may have behaviors that severely limit potential tankmates or may require a specialized aquarium setup.
- Origin: Amazon Basin, Brazil
DescriptionOther common names: paiche
Arapaima gigas is a South American tropical freshwater fish. It is one of the largest freshwater fish in the world with a maximum length of 15 ft. and weigh up to 200 kg (440 lb.).
The fish has the ability to breathe air from the surface due to a lung-like lining of its throat, an advantage in oxygen-depleted water that is often found in the Amazon River. This fish is therefore able to survive extensive drought periods by gulping air and burrowing in the mud or sand of the swamps.
Minimum tank size when keeping this one is possibly 10,000 gallons but they are best kept in outdoor ponds. Tropical climates usually have better advantage for this.
Due to the geographic range that arapaima inhabits, the animal's life cycle is greatly affected by the seasonal flooding that occurs. Half of the year the arapaima experiences an abundance of water, which is a benefit to these aquatic organisms, however, the other half of the year the arapaima experiences drought conditions. The arapaima has adapted to this great fluctuation in many aspects of its life, including reproduction. The arapaima lays its eggs during the months of February, March, and April when the water levels are low. They build a nest approximately 50 cm wide and 15 cm deep, usually in sandy bottomed areas. As the water rises the eggs hatch and the offspring have the flood season to prosper, during the months of May to August. Therefore, the yearly spawning is regulated seasonally. The arapaima is a mouthbrooder.
Snippets on breeding information is courtesy of .
The diet of the arapaima consists of fish or even other kinds of small animals, including birds. In captivity, it can be fed with fish, oysters, shrimps, worms and everything else.
Ideal water parameters for Pirarucu
The Pirarucu should be kept in an aquarium with the temperature ranging from 72 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and a Ph of around 6.5.