Platinum Arowana

Scleropages formosus, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, Scleropages formosus, Scleropages inscriptus, Scleropages jardinii, Scleropages leichardti

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Nantawat Chotsuwan/

The male broods the eggs and baby fish in his mouth.


Platinum Arowana Scientific Classification

Scleropages, Osteoglossum
Scientific Name
Scleropages formosus, Osteoglossum bicirrhosum, Scleropages formosus, Scleropages inscriptus, Scleropages jardinii, Scleropages leichardti

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Platinum Arowana Conservation Status

Platinum Arowana Locations

Platinum Arowana Locations

Platinum Arowana Facts

Insects, birds, snakes, bats, other fish, small crustaceans, small frogs
Group Behavior
  • Solitary
Fun Fact
The male broods the eggs and baby fish in his mouth.
Estimated Population Size
Only a few, which is why its price is so high
Biggest Threat
Poaching, habitat loss
Most Distinctive Feature
Its large, beautiful, shimmering scales
Other Name(s)
Dragon fish, monkey fish
Gestation Period
One week
Optimum pH Level
6.0 to 6.5
Rivers, swamps, wetlands
Common Name
Platinum arowana
Number Of Species

Platinum Arowana Physical Characteristics

  • Silver
Skin Type
15 to over 20 years in captivity
25 pounds
4 feet

View all of the Platinum Arowana images!

Share on:

Whatever type of arowana it is, this fish is prized for its extreme rarity and its breathtaking beauty.

For some connoisseurs of really exotic aquarium fish, the platinum arowana belongs to the species Osteoglossum bicirrhosum. For others, this fish, whose scales glitter like precious metal, is a member of the Scleropages formosus species. Anyone who wants one will have to pay the price, and not just in dollars. It is illegal to own a platinum arowana in the United States without a permit, and folks caught trying to smuggle one in can wind up behind bars.

Four Platinum Arowana facts

Here are some facts about this stunning and very expensive fish:

1. It can fetch a price of $300,000 and up.
2. Sometimes they are given plastic surgery to make them look even prettier.
3. Because arowanas resemble dragons, they are considered good luck in China.
4. Female arowanas are larger than males, but besides that they are very difficult to tell apart.
5. Scientists believe the reason that arowanas are found in Asia, Australia and South America is that they evolved while most of the earth was still basically one land mass. Arowanas are very ancient fish!

Platinum Arowana Classification and Scientific name

The platinum arowana is a mutation of several kinds of arowana fish. One belongs to the Scleropages formosus species. The genus name comes from the Greek word skleros, which means “hard” and the Latin word pages, which means “leaves.” This refers to the large, hard, beautiful scales over the fish’s body. Formosus is the Latin word for “beautiful.” Scleropages formosus has no subspecies, but color morphs are found in different areas of its range. They are the:

• Green
• Silver Asian
• Red-tailed golden
• Gold crossback
• Super red

The epithet of Scleropages inscriptus is Latin for “to write on” and describes the beautiful patterns on the scales of this fish from Myanmar. Scleropages jardinii and Scleropages leichardti are found in Australia. The former’s other names include the Gulf saratoga, the pearl arowana and the northern saratoga, while the latter’s other names include the southern saratoga, the spotted bonytongue and the barramundi.

Other names for Asian arowanas are monkey fish for its propensity to leap out of water to snatch its food, dragon fish, or lóng yú and Asian bonytongue.

Another type of platinum arowana is the silver platinum arowana, Osteoglossum bircurrhosum. The meaning of the genus means “bone-tongued” in Greek, and the epithet is Greek for “two barbels.” Like Asian arowanas, it can leap out of the water to catch its prey. Because of this, its other name is “water monkey.”

Platinum Arowana Appearance

The platinum arowana has a long, flat body that can grow up to 4 feet in length, with long dorsal, anal and pectoral fins. The caudal, or tail fin of the silver arowana is smaller than the tail fins of the Asian arowanas. The tail tapers elegantly, and the fish has a large, upturned mouth with many teeth, including teeth on the tongue. The most noticeable thing about the fish is its large scales, which are a shimmering platinum/silver all over the body. The scales can be as large as 0.79 inches in diameter. They are overlapping, smooth and disc shaped, and in some species the scales have beautiful raised patterns.

Platinum Arowana Distribution, Population, and Habitat

Platinum arowanas are found in bodies of fresh water in Asian countries such as Myanmar, the Philippines and Indonesia, in South American countries such as Colombia and Brazil and in Australia. They are found in locations such as slow rivers, flooded forests and swamps.

Platinum Arowana Predators and Prey

Besides humans, the predators of the platinum arowana are fish that are larger in size than it is. As for prey, the fish has been known to eat snakes, birds and bats, but it usually takes insects, smaller fishes, crustaceans and other animals that live on the surface of the water for its food.

Platinum Arowana Reproduction and Lifespan

Scientists who have seen arowana fish spawn notice that their courtship ritual can take weeks to months, with the mated pair swimming together near the surface of the water at night, circling, then swimming beside each other until the female deposits eggs into the water. These eggs are large, a shade of red or orange in the case of S. formosus and range from about 30 to 100. The male fertilizes them then scoops them into his mouth where they will stay until well after they hatch. The fry leave their father’s mouth after they’ve depleted their yolk sac, and this can take as long as two months.

Arowanas mature when they’re around three or four years old, which is late for fish. If they are kept in captivity and well-cared for, the lifespan of a platinum arowana can be about 20 years.

Platinum Arowana in fishing and cooking

Platinum arowana are so rare that they’re wanted almost exclusively for the pet trade, but silver arowana are sometimes used for food by people who live in the Brazilian rainforest. However, there are now restrictions on when the fish can be caught.

Platinum Arowana Population

Platinum arowana are so rare that some believe there are only a handful at any one time, and even the more typical Asian arowanas are considered endangered. The conservation status of the silver arowana of South America is still unevaluated.

View all 191 animals that start with P

Share on:
About the Author

Growing up in rural New England on a small scale farm gave me a lifelong passion for animals. I love learning about new wild animal species, habitats, animal evolutions, dogs, cats, and more. I've always been surrounded by pets and believe the best dog and best cat products are important to keeping our animals happy and healthy. It's my mission to help you learn more about wild animals, and how to care for your pets better with carefully reviewed products.

Platinum Arowana FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Where are Platinum Arowana Found? 

Platinum arowana are a mutation of regular arowana fish, and so they’re found in such countries as Brazil, Ecuador, Australia, Myanmar, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Why are platinum arowana so expensive?

They are as expensive as they are because they are extremely rare and extraordinarily beautiful.

How much is a platinum arowana?

The price of a platinum arowana can be over $300,000.

Which Color arowana is the most expensive?

The platinum arowana is possibly the most expensive type of arowana, though others also come at a high price. For example, an arowana called the emerald violet fusion super red can cost about $12,000.

Where are platinum arowana found?

They are found in countries such as Indonesia, Brazil and Australia. These are fresh water fish, so they didn’t migrate through the oceans to be so widely distributed. Scientists believe that arowanas evolved millions of years ago on a huge land mass called Gondwanaland, and that mass split up over eons to form these widely separated locations.

How long do platinum arowana live?

Platinum arowanas can probably live to be around 20 years old if they are given good care.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.