Feeding Super Worms


Arowana blogger
The following is from an email I sent to someone whose juvenile Super Red refuses to eat anything other than super worms:

Be very careful with feeding live super worms to Asian arowana. There are many cases I know of where a super worm has actually killed an Asian aro by biting it inside the aro's guts. This happens when the fish does not crush the worm "properly" in its mouth (with its bony tongue) and instead swallows it whole and alive. Feeding too many super worms can also lead to intestinal blockage in arowana, sometimes leading to the aro's death, or sometimes leading to an unsightly condition known as protruding anus. Most breeders of Asian arowana recommend not feeding super worms to arowana until they are at least 12 inches in size, preferably bigger.

If you must feed your aro super worms, I recommend either cutting the head off the live super worms before feeding them to the aro, or else freezing them first. To do the freezing approach, I recommend buying a 1000 or more super worms, gut loading them with pellets and carrots (for the carotene, which promotes red colouration in the fish), and then freeze them in big zip-lock bags in your freezer. Then take out a few at a time, thaw briefly, and feed to aro. You will likely find the fish is not as enthusiastic about the thawed/frozen worms as with live ones, but they will eat them.

Having said all that above, from my experience, 80-90% of the time there are no problems with feeding live super worms. You just need to be aware and beware.

If your fish is really 100% spoiled and will only eat live food, then another idea is buying a bunch of feeder gold fish which you then quarantine for a few weeks (at least) in a separate tank, treated if needed with a quarantine medication and salt. Then feed the fish to your aro as needed. I have seen some keepers actually keep a small school of gold fish in an aro tank on an on-going basis. That is not my to my taste, but it seems to work.

With luck, as your fish gets bigger you will be able to get it back onto shrimp and/or pellets. A battle of the wills over feeding is inevitable with many Asian arowana. It is honestly one of the most frustrating aspects of the hobby. But of course the fish are stunningly beautiful and fascinating to watch as they grow, so it is all worth it :)