There are basically 4 different natural occurring color varieties for Asian Arowanas, namely Cross Back Golden from West Malaysia, Super Red from Indonesia's West Kalimantan, Red Tail Golden from Indonesia Pekan Baru and the Green variety, which can be found in rivers of Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand. Due to its popularity and great demand, Asian Arowanas have been fiercely hunted at its native habitat for profits, thus the population of these fish in the wild has declined. This is especially so for Malaysian Golden Arowanas and Red Arowanas, which have reached a stage of near extinction since 1980s.
Golden Cross Back Arowana are also among the most expensive Arowanas around and are most sought after by many Chinese businessmen. This Arowana is believed to bring good wealth and prosperity to the owner as well because of its beautiful gold colour which looks like gold bars (Gold or Blue Base). It will have golden colour completely crossing its back when the fish is matures.
Due to its relatively low supply and great demand in the market, it is currently one of the most expensive color specimens for the Asian Arowana. The main reason for its high price is due to its scarcity as well as lesser number of gametes on each spawn. Currently, only Malaysia and Singapore farms are breeding the Malaysian Golden Arowanas.
Super Red Arowana is by far the most popular among all the Asian Arowana. Its scales and fins are totally red in colour. There are also Blood Red and Chilli Red Arowana. The Red Arowana is very popular among the Chinese hobbyists and is believed to bring prosperity and wealth to the owner.
Red Tail Golden Arowana are common Asian Arowana. Their scales gradually become gold as they mature and the fins are red in colour. The red-tail will have red-coloured fins and tail with shiny body scales when matures. The prices for the Red Tail Golden are more affordable as compared to the Crossback Golden.
The reasons for this is that this fish seldom attain 24K gold as the Golden Cross Back would and the golden colour of Red Tail Golden Arowanas will never cross over its back even when the fish is matured or fully grown. It is thus not as great looking as compared to one that is “whole piece gold". Most Red Tail Golden arowanas will have its golden colour reaching the fourth row of the scales and the better ones will have it's golden color reaching the fifth row. And, just like the Golden Cross Back varieties, Red Tail Golden also have different scales base color in either blue, green and gold.
Green Arowana are considered the lowest grade of the Asian Arowana. Their scales are silvery-white to white colour with slightly green fins. It still has the quality of a fine Arowana. Due to its wide dispersion in the region, there can be differences in its appearance and colour. Most of the Green Arowana found here has a greyish green body with a dark striped greyish green tail. Shape of this variety is a big difference as compared to other varieties with its head or mouth portion being larger and rounder.
Listed below are some more tips on what to look for when buying an Arowana
Posture when Swimming
The Arowana should be gliding up and down the tank effortlessly and when it turns it should be very smooth and graceful. Its body should be exactly level horizontally when swimming, if it is not and it is at a slight angle it could mean a swim bladder problem. The fish are nearly always in the top 16 inches of the tank; make sure it stays there. Watch the fish as it moves. Its head should be very still with just the back half of the fish moving at all. If the fish is displaying a jerky or stiffness when swimming, this could be a sign of a sick Arowana.
Tail Fins, Pectoral Fins
Watch the Arowana as it swims, are the fins at the tail spread open and are the fins at the front widespread? Fish that have their pectoral fins too close together at the front should not be bought. The color off all the fins must dark when you look directly at them with even fin rays. One thing to also consider that some species of Arowana (like the Cross Back) have much smaller fins so doesn’t be out off by that.
The Arowana whiskers (or barbles) need to be straight and both should be the same length. Closely inspect around the base of the whiskers to make sure there is no damage, this is where damage occurs the most. Color of the whiskers should be the same as the rest of the main body. A fish in good condition will have long/strong whiskers.
The Arowanas eyes
Check very closely that the eyes are clear and not cloudy at all. They should be of a size that is in keeping with the rest of the fish’s body and they must not stick out to far from the head
Shape of the Arowanas Body
The Shape should be broad and deep with a pointed head. You should really select a fish with a slight incline between its head and back. One of the big factors of price is the broadness and look of power of the Arowana. This can sometimes be nearly as important as the age or color.
Always look for a Arowana fish that has large scales and that are very defined. They should be straight, aligned along the body with no crooked scales.
It needs to be flat to the body of the fish and be circular in shape. Watch closely as the gills move to make sure that the fish is breathing correctly. They should be small movements that you can hardly see.