Scientific name Arapaima gigas
Descriptor Schinz
Year of description 1822
IUCN category DD
Family Arapaimidae
Genus Arapaima
Arapaima gigas Arapaima gigas


Arapaima gigas, commonly known as arapaima, is a fresh water fish from the Amérique du Sud.

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Who is it?


  • Average size
    200 cm
  • Maximum size
    450 cm
  • Longevity
    20 year
  • Shape
  • Average size
    200 cm
  • Maximum size
    450 cm
  • Longevity
    20 year
  • Shape

How to recognize the arapaima ?

The arapaima measures around 200 cm. The females are more imposing and some specimens can reach 450 cm. This fish is unicolore with a predominantly gris body.

Sexual dimorphism

The female is bigger than the male.

Behaviour & Life cycle

  • diet
  • Sociability
    living in small groups
  • territorial
  • Way of living

The arapaima hunts in the stalk and is one of the predators of its biotope. Opportunistic, it does not hesitate to attack any smaller animal nearby.

The arapaima is a fish living in small groups naturally found mid-depth and near surface. This species is carnivorous .

Although the arapaima is non-territorial, it is sometimes aggressive towards other species.


  • Reproduction
    ovipare qui pond sur substrat découvert

The arapaima is a fish ovipare qui pond sur substrat découvert. This fish protects its eggs from nearby predators.

Harmless species

This species does not represent any particular threats to humans when encountered in its natural environment.

Where to find it?

Where to see this species?

What is its habitat?

Natural environment characteristics

  • Temperature
    24 - 28 °C
  • pH (acidity)
    5.8 - 7
  • gh (hardness)
    5 - 12
  • Flow
    Medium, Slow and Stagnant

Biotope presentation

This animal evolves in areas characterized by a strong presence of vegetation (aquatic and marsh plants, decaying organic matter, roots...).

Species of the same biotope

To go further

To read on the web

Sources & Contributions

Participation & Validation

The Fishipedia team and specialist contributors are committed to providing high-quality content. However, although the information comes from scientific sources or testimonials from specialists, the cards may contain inaccuracies.

Robert Allgayer

Robert Allgayer

Benoit Chartrer

Benoit Chartrer


Translation done with the valuable contribution of our translators, who make this information available to a wider audience. We sincerely thank them for their commitment.

In collaboration with : Fédération Française Aquariophilie

Bibliographic references

Conservation strategies for Arapaima gigas (Schinz, 1822) and the Amazonian várzea ecosystem - Hrbek, T. a,b - Crossa, M.c - Farias, IP - Braz J Biol - 2007. 67(4, Suppl.): 909-917

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Where to see this species?

Species of the same biotope

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