Asian Arowana: Lost Scale Regeneration Timeline

islandguy11

Redtail Catfish
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Sep 17, 2017
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Besides serious injury or of course death, perhaps the thing most Asian Arowana owners dread is their fish losing a scale or three (though in fact it's not an uncommon occurrence).

While it's usually not a health concern (if you keep tank water clean/good parameters), without doubt it doesn't look nice -- where once was a lustrous gold or red mini-plate of armor is now a turdy brown spot that stands our like a sore thumb on your shimmery showpiece. Superficial yes, but not too different than nearly crying when your shiny sports car/bike gets a ding.

So while a scale itself will actually come back pretty quick (IME within abt 2 weeks), the million dollar question is how long will it take to regain its nice color? Naturally I was wondering this when my Goldenhead lost several top scales near his head -- in 2 separate spooking incidents soon after arriving, and both due to a sudden change of lighting outside the tank.

Now I'm starting to get at least a partial answer to this query: finally, after ~4 months of watching and wondering, I just noticed that the outer rings have come back about halfway, and also small specks of gold are also coming in on the main part of the scales:

1373408

Happy to see this, though of course the next question is how long will they take to fully color up... I'm thinking not anytime super soon, but maybe within another 3-4 months or so I'm hoping.
 

Galantspeedz

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Feb 28, 2017
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Besides serious injury or of course death, perhaps the thing most Asian Arowana owners dread is their fish losing a scale or three (though in fact it's not an uncommon occurrence).

While it's usually not a health concern (if you keep tank water clean/good parameters), without doubt it doesn't look nice -- where once was a lustrous gold or red mini-plate of armor is now a turdy brown spot that stands our like a sore thumb on your shimmery showpiece. Superficial yes, but not too different than nearly crying when your shiny sports car/bike gets a ding.

So while a scale itself will actually come back pretty quick (IME within abt 2 weeks), the million dollar question is how long will it take to regain its nice color? Naturally I was wondering this when my Goldenhead lost several top scales near his head -- in 2 separate spooking incidents soon after arriving, and both due to a sudden change of lighting outside the tank.

Now I'm starting to get at least a partial answer to this query: finally, after ~4 months of watching and wondering, I just noticed that the outer rings have come back about halfway, and also small specks of gold are also coming in on the main part of the scales:

View attachment 1373408

Happy to see this, though of course the next question is how long will they take to fully color up... I'm thinking not anytime super soon, but maybe within another 3-4 months or so I'm hoping.
Mine took 2-3 months.....

Also you may want to lower your water level ... that was how my previous arowana lost his scales
 

Malte81

Plecostomus
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Jul 15, 2014
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What if a scale is damaged and not Lost.
Will it grow back completly?
Or will it be damaged forever?
 

islandguy11

Redtail Catfish
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Sep 17, 2017
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Mine took 2-3 months.....

Also you may want to lower your water level ... that was how my previous arowana lost his scales
Yeah good suggestion, though thankfully he's calmed down a lot since losing those scales; both incidents happened during his first couple of weeks when he was in the smaller temporary tank (90 gallon) while new tank was being made for 3 weeks. That tank had an internal corner filter so I could only lower the water level so much.

Since moving to his bigger tank though there have been no repeats, he seems quite happy, if still on the aggro side. Also light changes don't really bother him anymore, guess he's growing up (they really are like human kids at this age it seems).

Another factor I think (and have witnessed) is location of the scale: the higher up they are it seems the slower they grow back, particularly those at the very top like on the GHXB.

My BBXB lost several side scales after jumping out of the same 90 gallon a few weeks later (and luckily surviving with only a few missing scales & pearls). These side scales and pearls healed up much more quickly than her 1 lost top scale (which happened before she even came to me). This one is also finally coloring up.
 
Last edited:

islandguy11

Redtail Catfish
Original poster
MFK Member
Sep 17, 2017
1,536
2,397
154
Thailand
What if a scale is damaged and not Lost.
Will it grow back completly?
Or will it be damaged forever?
I'd guess it depends on the severity of the damage, but IME both Goldenhead and Blue Based Aro scales that have received scratches healed up pretty quick and you can't even see them now. But they weren't super bad or deep; if say a puncture wound I'm not sure.
 

Malte81

Plecostomus
MFK Member
Jul 15, 2014
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Germany
That would be great.
I have a golden crossback who was in a tank with three other arowana and he has lost some scales.
Now there are a few scales without shine.
I hope it will come back soon !
 

Galantspeedz

Redtail Catfish
MFK Member
Feb 28, 2017
1,759
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154
Yeah good suggestion, though thankfully he's calmed down a lot since losing those scales; both incidents happened during his first couple of weeks when he was in the smaller temporary tank (90 gallon) while new tank was being made for 3 weeks. That tank had an internal corner filter so I could only lower the water level so much.

Since moving to his bigger tank though there have been no repeats, he seems quite happy, if still on the aggro side. Also light changes don't really bother him anymore, guess he's growing up (they really are like human kids at this age it seems).

Another factor I think (and have witnessed) is location of the scale: the higher up they are it seems the slower they grow back, particularly those at the very top like on the GHXB.

My BBXB lost several side scales after jumping out of the same 90 gallon a few weeks later (and luckily surviving with only a few missing scales & pearls). These side scales and pearls healed up much more quickly than her 1 lost top scale (which happened before she even came to me). This one is also finally coloring up.
Mine lost the top scale too.. I suspected when I over filled the water.... somehow her top scrape the euro brace.....

I had 1 full top scale before..... took it out and dried it.. the scale became very very hard
 

islandguy11

Redtail Catfish
Original poster
MFK Member
Sep 17, 2017
1,536
2,397
154
Thailand
Mine lost the top scale too.. I suspected when I over filled the water.... somehow her top scrape the euro brace.....

I had 1 full top scale before..... took it out and dried it.. the scale became very very hard
You can wrap eurobraces with yoga mat, helps provide a bit of protection. Yeah I also noticed how hard the scales become (though they often kind curl up) -- maybe could make expensive jewelry from them :)
 
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