Frequently Asked Questions
Q : What is blood red, chilli red, etc arowana?
A : These are just names given to better quality fishes from the 1st grade red arowana variety. How these fishes finally develop to their true color potential depends upon the expertise of the hobbyist taking care of the fish.
Q : Is it true that wild - caught Asian Arowana of the red variety has better qualities and coloration than captive-bred fishes from approved CITES - registered farms?
A : TOTALLY NOT TRUE! This Grand - Mother's tale about wild - caught fishes was started obviously by traders involved in the illegal trade of the wild - caught fishes to promote acceptance of their fishes. On the contarary, the quality of captive - bred fishes at our CITES - registered farm is always improving with selective breeding with good quality choice brooders.
Q : Bulging eye in Silver Arowana, please help! I have an Arowana from South America in a 150 gallon tank with two canister filters and four Bio-wheels. The water temp. is at 80 degrees, pH is at 6.8. The water is at ideal readings for ammonia, nitrate, nitrite& however, despite the perfect conditions, the fish has developed this bulging eye condition. Could it be Exphothalmos? I understand that this condition is fairly common among Arowana. Any suggestions for treatment & besides praying?
A : The condition with respect to your Arowana's bulging eyes is a very common complaint by hobbyists. There are basically two reasons for this:
||The Arowana in the wild is a surface-feeder. It swims almost at the surface of the water constantly looking upwards for insects to capture and feed on. When you put it into an aquarium tank this condition that it is used to is changed entirely. Instead of looking upwards it is now having to see sideways and even downwards. As such its eye muscles no longer required to hold its eyeballs for upward vision becomes lazy and relaxed causing eyeballs to bulge and droop.
||Hobbyists tend to overfeed their fish causing fatty tissues to accumulate behind the eyeballs which subsequently cause the bulging and the drooping.
Q : Identify Chile Red Arowana Hello, Mr. T S Kan. I am begging for your help. I am very interested in the Chile Red Arowanas, is there ways to identify the young Chile Red Arowanas from other Red Arowanas or other Arowanas. Please advise me. Thank you for your time and I am very appreciated.
A : Sorry! There is no way to spot a Chilli Red Arowana when they are young. In fact when young they look very mediocre. It is only when they are about 16 inches when the colour starts to develop. Chilli Reds are late developers as far as colour is concerned. All 1st grade Red Arowanas (if they are genuine) will develop colours of its own and will have its own beauty. Please see the pictures in my website. There are such a lot of variations - e.g. orange-red, green-orange, blood-red, chilli-red, liver-red etc.
Q : Who are suppliers of Asian Arowanas?
A : There are many sorts of Asian Arowanas suppliers:
||Pure traders - mostly involved in the illegal trade. Most of the time selling fishes at low prices because they cannot vouch for the authencity of their fishes which mostly come from mixed strains (e.g. a hybrid between a red and a green Asian Arowana) or they have been treated with hormones (a green fish treated with hormones will look very red when young).
||CITES - registered farms that have limited production and buys from other suppliers to pass off as their own-bred fish. Here again, all the hankie-pankie that referred to in 1. happens here also.
||Singapore farms that claims to be CITES-registered. Check their CITES-registration no. and you can uncover their deceit. Such farms are usually not producing any Arowanas of their own yet and get their trading supplies from 2. above. Their deceit will be revealed when the Export Permit shows them as the exporter and the name of another CITES-registered farm as the breeder of the fishes to be exported. Our farm's CITES-registration no. is A-SG-506 and when export Panda Aquatic Centre Pte Ltd's name as the exporter and breeding farm is shown in the CITES Export Permit from Singapore.
||Bona Fide CITES-registered farm like ours (we are a rare breed) that sells our very own-bred fishes. We can vouch for their quality and authenticity. This is most important - after all the Asian Arowana is the most expansive aquarium fish in the world.
Q : How to differentiate between a male & female Asian Arowana?
A : by T S Kan Very difficult when adult & impossible when they are young fishes. Adult male are larger within the same brood of fishes reared together. Has longer lower jaws (helps when the male carries the eggs/gamettes/fries after mating). Overall, flinage of the male (tail & fins) are longer. Females have a some-what rounder belly when viewed 2 dimensionally. These physical characteristics are not sure-fine proof of the fish sex. Only sure way is when we see male fish carrying eggs, gamettes or fries in the pond as it is the male fish that carries the young in its mouth when brooding after mating.
Most frequently asked question : Can the Asian Arowanas be imported into U.S.A., Hawaii & Guam?
A: I have provided the following E-mail messages between firstly, T S Kan & Mr. Keith Yoneda and secondly, T S Kan & Mr. Tat Ming Ko to answer this most frequently asked question.
|| T S Kan / Keith Yoneda - beginning 1 July 98. Dear Mr. Kan Tien Siong, First of all, let me comment you on your excellent webpage. It is one of the most complete guides to care taking of Arowanas. Anyway, my name is Keith Yoneda and I live in Hawaii. Do you have any distributors in Hawaii ? If not, what would be the cost to purchase a Red Arowana ? Your help is greatly appreciated . Mahalo& ..Keith Yoneda
Dear Keith, Thks for the compliment. At the moment I do not have a distributor in Hawaii. This is because the US does not allow trade in the Asian Arowana (not even when they are captive-bred at CITES-registered farms like ours) because of the Endangered Species Act. As Hawaii is under the US Federal jurisdiction this piece of US legislation applies to Hawaii as well . However, a reliable US source informed me that this law will soon be amended to allow trading in captive-bred Asian Arowana in the US. Perhaps, you can check it out with your Dept. of Wild Life as to when this will be effective. Would appreciate a note from u on the outcome if you do check..
Dear Mr. Kan, I have contacted the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources, Aquatics Division and their reply to my question on the US Endangered Species Law is as follows:
Aloha Keith, I am sorry to say that Arowanas are not allowed into the US. The Biological Service, U.S. Fishery and Wildlife Service, Dept. of the Interior does not support the commerce of Arowanas. About a year ago, I tried to talk to the Biol. Service, it was an occasion of being transferred from one office to the next, until I realized they were running up my phone bill and passing the buck& even when I told them I was a part of Hawaii State government.
It would require action on the part of the US Congress to change laws to allow for importation of Arowanas& . Because of CITES regulations. So, for now, go down to the Sea Fortune Restaurant and admire those on display. Or ask that they breed!!! I don't think they can stop the trade in specimens already here ??? Not so sure.
P.S. - I guess the only way to get the law change is to actively campaign for it. I don't think there are any Arowana clubs in the US. Something you could ponder on is a formulation of an Arowana club in the US to promote your organization as a CITES certified breeder. Mahalo. Keith Yoneda
Dear Mr. Yoneda, Thanks a million for the time and trouble you have taken to provide me the information. It is sad that the US being a sponsor and signatory to CITES do not uphold nor respect the determination of the organization. Looks like at the end of the day the rule of consensus does not apply as long as US have views to the contrary. Anyway, enough of ,my grouses and coming back to a most important and pleasant task which is to thank you again for what you have done for me and to offer my services to you for anything that I can do, within my abilities, in Singapore. Regards, T S Kan
||T S Kan/ Tat Ming Ko beginning 1 Sep 98. Dear Mr. Kan, I have visited Hong Kong in 1992 and was told that I cannot bring Asian Arowana back to the US. In your web page you have mentioned that in 1994 your Asian Arowana was approved for world wide trade, does this means that I can order your F2+ Dragon Fish directly from Singapore?
I am very impressed by the wonderful detailed pictures and information provided by your web, and want to thank you for all of your effort and resource in providing the world this beautiful fish.
The interest in the Dragon Fish is still very high in he Chinese and Vietnamese community, and it would be wonderful to be able to see some of these mythical animal swimming in the aquarium of so many Oriental business ! Your reply will be appreciated. Best regards.
Sincerely, Tat Ming Ko
Dear Mr. Tat, Although my CITES-registered captive-bred Asian Arowanas are approved by CITES for world wide trade this is still subject to individual countries laws. Unfortunately, in the case of the US, its Endangered Species Act prohibits the import of the Asian Arowanas for trade purposes into the US. Canada, on the hand allows my CITES-registered fish to be imported and I have been sending my fishes to Vancouver. If you ever visit Canada, let me know so that I can provide you the addresses of the people who have imported my fishes, so that you can see them first hand over there.
Thank you for you kind compliment on my website. I wait for the day I can provide some of 'these mythical animal swimming in the aquarium of many Oriental business in the US'.
Regards, T S Kan
Dear Mr. Kan, Thank you for your prompt answer. I realized that there are still obstacles before realizing the dream of seeing more of these mythical animal in the open US market. Spent a few hours reviewing the CITES and ESA, in their websites, trying to understand the workings of these treaties. I've noticed that there is a provision for petition to remove, or modify the regulation of, the species from the list, providing there are solid supports for that action.
Q : In your opinion, would the painful documentation of F2+ in Singapore, and the CITES acceptance and approval of this species into world wide trade be a good start for the support of that action ? Have anyone taken any action towards that regards? I share the feelings that a regulated trade would severely hamper the illegal exploitation of that species, further more, a caring breeding program would improve the quality and the survival of this species for generations to come.
Can we start a grass root organization, in the US and rally support towards that goal ? Would the supply pressure be satisfied if they ever change the rule to conform to CITES ? In another words, is there a limit in the export quota ? They, the US Wildlife Services, do have a structure and provision to administrate the CITES permits, so there maybe hope yet for me in purchasing directly from you, someday!
I apologize in burdening you with all these questions. I felt that, if and when the demand of a commercial trade can be satisfied through legal and ethical means, the illegal taking of the wild fish would diminish. I would send and inquiry to the US Wildlife Services in that regards and would keep you posted for their answer. Your offer in introducing me to other Arowana fans in Vancouver will be taken up in a later date.
Thank you for your kind attention.
Best regards. Sincerely yours, Tat Ming Ko
Dear Mr. Tat, I am not burdened at all with all your questions. The truth is I am really glad there is someone like you in the US, who is interested enough to spend time researching into this matter and willing to explore the matter further with the US Wildlife Services.
||If receiving an import inquiry a day from the US ( Guam and Hawaii included) for the last 60 days constitutes 'solid supports', then I have it!
|| Yes, CITES acceptance and approval of captive-bred Asian Arowanas by CITES-registered farms for world wide trade is definitely a good start. The US is a CITES signatory and therefore, should quickly amend the EDA to correct this otherwise inconsistency.
|| I am sure a lot of people have taken the US Wildlife Services to task on this subject, but I am told (and I had the experience myself) they do not entertain dialogue on the subject and most of the time quite rude also (I have e-mailed them 6 weeks ago and they do not bother to reply nor even acknowledge my e-mail).
||Let me assure you that the supply of captive-bred Asian Arowanas constitutes no problem at all. Certainly, starting a grass root organization in the US to rally support for this goal is good idea.
I hope you will have a better luck with the US Wildlife Services. Please keep me posted, whatever the outcome.
Regards, T S Kan
Dear Mr. Kan, Thank you for your information. The US Wildlife Services is a servicing as well as enforcing agencies, as such they are not involved in law making or the changing of any part of it. The fact is any material they confiscated from violators they get to keep and sell. That is a good way of supplementing their budget. They do not pay much attention to anything that does not make them look good in the public's eyes or the eyes of congress, especially when they need their budget or funding approval.
I shall ask those who is in charge of the funding, or the overseer, the elected officials, in regarding to that subject. Asian Arowana can be a commercial viable product, since its acceptance for world trade by an organization regulating that product. Elected officials are more prone to listen when election comes around, hence the grass root support group. They can exert a lot of voting pressure. At any rate, I would like to see if any changes be possible.
E-mailed a couple of people at Bud's Dragon room, an Arowana owners' site, and received a few responses. Would try the chat room next. May be in a couple of weeks we can get the ball rolling. When we can locate an elected official, who is sympathetic to our cause, I might need you to supply me with published information. For example, documentation of breeding program in Singapore and the production of 2nd generation fish, as well as CITES's approval.
Incidentally, I am going to visit Vancouver in December and would like very much to take you up on your offer of getting your direct order customer's name and contact information. I have never seen a cross over back golden, nor have I have ever seen a first grade red adult, it would be an eye opening experience for me.
Looking forward in communicating with you again. With our best regards.
Sincerely, T M Ko
Dear Mr. Tat, Have I been addressing you correctly ? Please count on me for whatever you may need to assist you in this magnanimous effort by you to get the Asian Arowana approved for import into the US. Towards the date of your intended trip to Vancouver I will provide you the particulars of my customers there for you to establish contact.
Anytime, you need any information (not necessary about Arowanas only) from my part of the world please drop me a line. Better still if you are coming to Singapore, for whatever reasons, let me know in advance so that we can meet.
Regards T S Kan
Date : 10 Apr 98 T S Kan e-mailed the message below to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Till today he has yet to receive a reply nor an acknowledgement of this message.
Secretary of the Interior
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Office of Management Authority
4401 N. Fairfax Drive Room 700 Arlington,
Our farm is registered with CITES (registration No A-SG-506) for the captive-breeding of the ASIAN Arowana in Singapore. You are welcome to visit us at our website http://web.singnet.com.sg/~tskan/ to know more about our farm's activities as well as about this most fascinating aquarium fish-the Asian Arowana!
A lot of aquarium fish hobbyists have E-mailed us to enquire about the possibility of importing this fish into the U.S. Enquiries hve come not only from the U.S. but also Hawaii and Guam. I have always replied to them that because of the U.S. Endangered Species Act this fish is prohibited from trade in the U.S. Many of those have enquired, in return, ask me often the following questions:
|| Is there a possibility that the Law will be changed to allow importation of this fish for trade purposes?
||If this is so, when can we expect this to happen ? I hope your department can assist me by providing the answers to the questions above for me to relay to all who have enquired.
Thanking you in kind anticipation of an early response from you.
Panda Aquatic Centre Pte Ltd
T S KAN - Director
Q : I am quite optimistic about the import permit, so I would like for you go into a little more detail about housing the arrowanas for I would like to be prepared. Containers, filtration, water treatment , optimum temperature and any other important matters. Thank you for all your assistance. Gordon
A : Dear Gordon, Just remember the manner u kept ur silvers and australian arowanas. The Asian Arrowanas will thrive under the same conditions. As a reminder the following sh be noted:
||Temperature: around 28 degrees
||Ph. 7 to 7.8
||Slightly soft water, if canadian water is like in London wh is hard then use reverse osmosis to soften water.
||Slow to medium aeration.
||Water depth initially should be about 6 inches. This can be raised later once the fishes has adapted to the new environment.
||Initially leave the light on in then room the fishes are kept.This is to prevent them from being frightened as they re not used to new surroundings.
||Fishes sh be kept separately and not together.
||Do not feed until fishes have settled down. After 2nd day put some feeder guppy fishes (or equivalent) in.