Why Is My Arowana Not Eating? {Top 8 Reasons Revealed}

It’s stressful when this elegant fish refuses food. Why is my arowana not eating?

What are the reasons for this sudden fast? Am I not feeding the right foods? What are the key reasons why arowana give up on meals?

In this article, we’ll explore the top 8 reasons why arowana fish do not eat and what you can do about it.

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Why Is My Arowana Not Eating?

If your Arowana fish is not eating it could be simply because they

  • had a large meal and could just be full
  • could be stressed
  • might be suffering from a disease
  • are having issues with the water quality in your aquarium

If your arowana fish is not eating it is not necessary an issue, it is common for these fish to go days and rarely weeks with out food.  If you have started to feed your fish live food they might simply be waiting for the next live feeding.

Allow me to to explain much more in details below.

Arowana Not Eating

How Long Can An Arowana Go Without Eating?

An arowana fish can go up to three weeks with out food if it recently had a large meal.  It is not unusual for a arowana fish to go a few days without food.

If you plan to be away from your fish for more than a few days I recommend that you use an aquarium auto feeder (Available on amazon) to feed your fish whilst you are away.

Why is My Arowana Not Eating for Days?

If your arowana has not eaten for more than three days it could be a sign that there is some sort of issue that needs to be addressed.  Listed below is what you should check if your arowana is not eating:

8 Reasons Why Arowana Give Up Eating

1. Live Food

If you have recently given your arowana live food it is possible that the arowana is only interested in live food now.To test this feed the fish some meal worms, just a few at the start, They should go crazy for them.

arowana meal worm

2. Stress

Stress could be a reason your arowana fish is not eating.  Signs to look for stress in the fish are

  • Hiding for long amount of time
  • Darting around the tank
  • Crashing in to objects
  • Gasping for air
  • Rubbing against rocks and ornaments

The common causes of stress in these fish are

  1. High ammonia and nitrate levels (Due to poor water quality)
  2. pH level not at recommended level
  3. Water temperature to cold
  4. Aggressive tank mates
  5. Tank to small

If your fish is stressed it is important to resolve the root cause of the stress.

3. Poor Water Quality

Infrequent water changes and poor tank filtration can lead to high ammonia and nitrate levels in your tank, Algae is also likely to start forming in your tank if the conditions are not improved.

To improve the water quality perform the following steps

  • Start by respacing 50% of the tanks water
  • Clean all the tanks filters
  • Make sure the tank is not in direct sun light

You can also test the water quality by using aquarium tester strip kit (Available on amazon).

4. Water Temperature

Arowana fish are required to be kept in warm water, they thrive in a water temperature between 75–86 °F

If they are kept in water temperature of less than 75 °F they will not thrive and will most likely become stressed, be more vulnerable to diseases and be less active around the tank.

If your water temperature is less than 75 °F get an aquarium heater to warm up the tank.

awoana water heater

5. Incompatible Tank Mates

If your fish is in a community tank with incompatible tank mates this will make the fish stressed.  Generally they will ignore other tank mates (Unless they are small enough to eat)

The only fish they are incompatible with are aggressive fish, Monitor your tank for any other fish that are nipping or attacking your arowana.

Compatible tank mates include

  • Stringray
  • Cichlids
  • Pleco
  • Snakehead
  • Pacu Fish
  • Oscar Fish

6. Small Tank Size

If your tank is to small your fish will become stressed.  These fish require a large tank as they can grow up to 48 inches in size.

It is recommended to keep these fish in tanks with at least 250 gallons capacity.  When they are young they can be kept in smaller tanks, but it is important to move them to a larger tank as they get larger.

YouTube video

7. Disease

If your fish is suffering with a disease it is important to act as soon as possible. Apart from your arowana fish losing its appetite it will show one or more of the following symptoms if it has a disease.

  • Loss of colour
  • Stress
  • Inflamed gills
  • Red gills
  • Edges of fins turning light colour
  • Edges of fins ripped
  • Swimming upside down / on its side
  • White spots on body
  • Gasping For Air
  • Bulging eyes

The most common diseases for these fish are Ich and ammonia poisoning.

8. Low Oxygen In Water

If your arowana fish is gasping this is most likely because there is not enough oxygen in the water.  If your fish is gasping change 50% of the water strait away, this will introduce some oxygen back in to the water in the short term.

I recommend to add an aquarium air pump (available on amazon) to your tank as this till help to add oxygen to your water.

arowana fish air pump

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How can I increase my appetite in arowana?

To increase the appetite in arowana fish make sure the water conditions they are in meets the appropriate parameters, they feed them meal worms.  They should go crazy for this food. If they show no interest in the meal worm they might be suffering from stress.

2. How often should I feed my arowana?

An arowana fish only needs to be fed once a day, give them enough food that they can eat for two minutes.

3. How do you treat arowana stress?

Poor Water Quality, low water temperature, Incompatible tank mates, being kept in a tank to small for them, Suffering from a disease, Low oxygen in water.

4. Arowana not eating after water change?

The main reason for your arowana fish not eating after a water change is simply because they have not acclimated to the new water conditions.  It is not unusual for these fish to go up to three days with out eating


Arowanas are predatory feeders and carnivores. It could only be interested in live food if you fed it live prey. Perhaps it’s just not hungry.

Fish may go for days, and even weeks, without eating. It could just be full if it recently ate a large portion of food.

Look out for indicators of stress, such as color loss in a tank that is too small and tension from tankmates that are unsuitable.

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Hello, I'm Jason. I'm the guy behind HelpUsFish.com. I volunteer at my local fish shop and I created this site to offer tips and advice on the fish I care for.