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What to Do When Your Arowana is Not Eating: Understanding and Addressing Appetite Issues

Arowana fish, also known as dragon fish or Asian bonytongue, are beautiful and majestic freshwater fish that are highly sought after by aquarium enthusiasts. They are known for their stunning appearance, unique swimming style, and their interesting behavior. However, like any other fish, Arowanas can sometimes face appetite issues, which can be concerning for their owners. In this article, we will discuss the potential reasons behind appetite loss in Arowanas, how to address them, and preventative measures to ensure the overall health and well-being of your Arowana.


Common Reasons for Arowana Appetite Loss

There are several reasons why your Arowana might not be eating. Let's explore some of the most common factors contributing to appetite loss in Arowana fish:

Tank setup for Arowana
Tank setup for Arowana


Stress is a significant factor that can lead to appetite loss in Arowanas. Changes in the environment, inadequate water quality, tank mates' aggression, or even the addition of new decorations can cause stress in your Arowana, leading to a lack of appetite.

Water Quality:

Poor water quality can negatively impact your Arowana's health, leading to appetite loss. High ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels can be toxic and should be monitored closely.


Like any other living being, Arowanas can fall sick. Parasites, bacterial infections, and other diseases can lead to appetite loss. Look for other symptoms like lethargy, abnormal swimming, and changes in coloration to determine if your Arowana is unwell.

Wrong Diet:

Arowanas are carnivorous fish with specific dietary needs. Feeding them an inappropriate diet or low-quality food can result in poor appetite or refusal to eat.

Tank Size and Environment:

Arowanas require ample space to swim and grow. An overcrowded or undersized tank can lead to stress and appetite loss. Additionally, the lack of proper hiding spots and resting areas can also affect their eating habits.

Signs Your Arowana is Not Eating

It's essential to observe your Arowana's behavior to determine if it's not eating. Here are some signs that your Arowana might be experiencing appetite loss:

Ignoring Food:

If your Arowana is not eating or is merely disinterested in the food offered, it could be a sign of appetite loss. Keep an eye on the food in the tank to see if it is consumed or left untouched.

Weight Loss:

Prolonged appetite loss can result in weight loss. If you notice your Arowana looking thinner or losing mass, it could be due to appetite loss. [Add an image of a healthy Arowana compared to one with weight loss]

Changes in Behavior:

Arowanas not eating may also exhibit other behavioral changes, such as lethargy, hiding, or abnormal swimming patterns. These changes can be indicative of stress or illness, which may contribute to their lack of appetite.

Regurgitating Food:

If your Arowana is regurgitating food after eating, it could be a sign of an underlying health issue that's affecting its appetite. In such cases, consult an aquatic veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Reasons Why Your Arowana is Not Eating

There are several reasons why an Arowana may lose its appetite. Identifying the cause can help you address the issue and encourage your Arowana to start eating again. Here are some common reasons:


Stressful conditions in the aquarium, such as poor water quality, inadequate tank size, or aggressive tankmates, can cause an Arowana to lose its appetite. Ensure that your Arowana's tank environment is optimal to reduce stress and promote healthy eating habits.


Arowanas may stop eating if they are suffering from an illness or infection. Look for other signs of illness, such as lethargy, unusual swimming patterns, or physical abnormalities, and consult an aquatic veterinarian if necessary.

Improper Diet:

Arowanas can be picky eaters, and they may not eat if the food offered is not to their liking or does not meet their nutritional needs. Ensure that you provide a varied and nutritionally balanced diet for your Arowana to encourage eating.


If you have recently introduced your Arowana to a new environment, it may take some time for it to acclimate and feel comfortable enough to eat. Be patient and continue offering food during this period, but also monitor your Arowana for signs of stress or illness.

Mating Behavior:

During the breeding season, Arowanas may become more focused on mating behaviors and lose interest in food. In such cases, appetite loss may be temporary and should resume once the mating season has passed.

Feeding Insects to Tempt Your Arowana Back into Eating

Feeding insects to your Arowana can be an effective way to entice them back into eating. Insects are a natural part of the Arowana's diet, and their movement and scent can stimulate the Arowana's predatory instincts, encouraging them to eat. Here are some tips for using insects to tempt your Arowana to eat:

Arowana Eating Mealworm and Superworm
Arowana Eating Mealworm and Superworm

Live insects, such as crickets, mealworms, or superworms, can be an attractive food source for Arowanas due to their movement and natural scent. Introduce live insects into the tank and observe if your Arowana shows interest in hunting and eating them.

Dried insects, like Promeal's Medley Treat Insect Mix, offer a nutritionally balanced and convenient option for feeding Arowanas. The mix contains a variety of dried insects, including mealworms, superworms, and crickets, providing an enticing and varied diet for your Arowana. Simply rehydrate the dried insects before feeding them to your Arowana.

Offer your Arowana a variety of insects to determine their preferences and cater to their nutritional needs. Different insects have different nutritional profiles, so providing a diverse diet will ensure your Arowana receives all the necessary nutrients.

Monitor your Arowana's response:

Observe your Arowana closely to see if feeding insects encourages them to eat. If your Arowana still refuses to eat, continue exploring other possible causes for their loss of appetite.

Gradually reintroduce other food sources:

Once your Arowana starts eating insects, gradually reintroduce other food sources, such as pellets or frozen foods, to provide a complete and balanced diet.

Consult an Aquatic Veterinarian

If your Arowana still refuses to eat after trying the above suggestions, it's essential to consult an aquatic veterinarian. A qualified professional can assess your fish's health, identify any underlying health issues, and recommend appropriate treatments to address the problem. Here are some tips for seeking veterinary help:

A healthy Arowana swimming in a well-maintained tank]
A healthy Arowana swimming in a well-maintained tank]

Find a qualified professional:

Look for a veterinarian who specializes in aquatic animals, as they will have the knowledge and experience to properly diagnose and treat your Arowana.

Be prepared to provide information:

When you consult with the veterinarian, be prepared to provide information about your Arowana's tank conditions, diet, behavior, and any recent changes in their environment. This information will help the veterinarian determine the cause of your Arowana's loss of appetite and recommend an appropriate course of action.

Follow the veterinarian's advice:

Once your Arowana has been diagnosed, follow the veterinarian's recommendations for treatment and care. This may include medications, changes in diet, or adjustments to the tank environment.

Monitor your Arowana's progress:

After implementing the veterinarian's advice, closely monitor your Arowana's behavior and appetite. If there is no improvement, or if your Arowana's condition worsens, consult the veterinarian again for further guidance.

Arowana fish not eating can be a worrying sign for their owners. However, understanding the common causes behind a lack of appetite can help you address the issue effectively. By closely monitoring your Arowana's behavior, diet, and tank conditions, you can identify and address the underlying cause of their refusal to eat. Don't hesitate to consult an aquatic veterinarian if you are unable to resolve the issue or if your Arowana's health appears to be deteriorating.

By following the advice outlined in this blog, you can help ensure your Arowana remains healthy, happy, and well-fed. Remember, a balanced diet that includes a variety of food sources, such as pellets, frozen foods, and insects, is essential for your Arowana's overall well-being.


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