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Arowanas, also known as aruanas or arawanas are freshwater bony fish of the family Osteoglossidae, sometimes known as "bony tongues." In this family of fishes, the head is bony and the elongate body is covered by large, heavy scales, with a mosaic pattern of canals. The dorsal and the anal fins have soft rays and are long based, while the pectoral and ventral fins are small. The name 'bony tongues' is derived from a toothed bone on the floor of the mouth, the 'tongue', equipped with teeth that bite against teeth on the roof of the mouth. The fish can obtain oxygen from air by sucking it into the swim bladder, which is lined with capillaries like lung tissue. The arapaima is an "obligatory air breather".[1]

Classification and zoogeography
Osteoglossids are
basal (primitive) fish from the lower Tertiary and are placed in the actinopterygiid order Osteoglossiformes. There are ten described living species: three from South America, one from Africa, four from Asia, and the remaining two from Australia.
Osteoglossidae is the only exclusively freshwater fish family found on both sides of the
Wallace Line.[2] This may be explained by the fact that Asian arowanas (S. formosus) diverged from the Australian Scleropages, S. jardinii and S. leichardti, about 140 million years ago, making it likely that Asian arowanas were carried to Asia on the Indian subcontinent.[3][4]

Osteoglossids are
carnivorous, often being specialized surface feeders. They are excellent jumpers; it has been reported that Osteoglossum species have been seen leaping more than 6 feet (almost 2 metres) from the water surface to pick off insects and birds from overhanging branches in South America, hence the nickname "water monkeys". Arowanas have been rumored to capture prey as large as low flying bats and small birds. All species are large, and the arapaima is a contender for the world's largest freshwater fish title. Arowana typically grow around 3 to 4 feet, but this is only accountable in captivity.
Several species of osteoglossid exhibit extensive parental care. They build nests and protect the young after they hatch. Some species are
mouth brooders, the parents holding sometimes hundreds of eggs in their mouths. The young may make several tentative trips outside the parent's mouth to investigate the surroundings before leaving permanently.

In the aquarium
Arowanas tend to merge in groups of 5 to 8; any fewer may show an excess of dominance and aggression. Keep this fish in a minimum of about 750
litres (240 gallons)for a single fish with good filtration, add another 100 for every other fish kept. This fish should not be purchased by an amateur fish hobbyist. Some compatible fish to partner with this fish are clown knifefish, pacu, oscars, plecostomus, jaguar cichlids, green terrors, gar and any other semi-aggressive fish that cannot fit in the arowana's mouth.
Australian species should be kept singly in aquaria.

For the Chinese and those of related cultures, the dragon is a symbol of good luck and prosperity. In the eyes of the Chinese, the dragon fish has the appearance and majesty of the Chinese Dragon, especially the large scales and barbels.
Arowanas are also used for
feng shui to bring good luck and wealth.

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