There are eight species found around the world. The Asian arowana is unique for having naturally occurring colour strains – unlike the rest of the family that have only one colour form.
RED GRADE 1 (RG1)
Commonly known as ‘Super Red’, those of this grade have distinct red colouration on all scales and fins. They are also believed to be the largest among all, in terms of attainable overall size and weight, and remains one of the most sought-after breeds.
This strain originally hailing from Perak is also known as the ‘crossback golden’ as the scales seem to ‘cross over’ the dorsal side of the fish. Apart from golden scales, the fish also has gold striations on the fins. This strain is the most petite in size.
RED GRADE 2
It resembles the Super Red in the first three to five months of life, but the scales turn a dull brown, with thin pink striations throughout the body. Often passed off as RG1 by unethical arowana dealers, especially in illegal trading.
Also known as the red-tail golden arowana. The strain originally from Pekanbaru on Sumatra, Indonesia, is different from its Malaysian counterpart in that it has golden scales only up to the fourth row of scales.
The Green Asian arowana is not unique to a specific location and can be found in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia and Cambodia. They vary in appearance, with most being greyish green, and the more sought-after ones have purplish spots on the scales.
Hailing from Australia, these are not classified as endangered species and have two more horizontal rows of scales compared to the Asian arowana. This means that the crescent-shaped scales are smaller than those on the Asian counterparts.
This strain from South America is not a protected species. They can be easily distinguished by a long tapered tail, and are one of the most common and accessibly priced arowanas.
Also from South America, these have black scales and fins with white or yellow striations when young. However they turn a greyish colour as they mature.