About 15 years ago, my brother brought a little fish home which he put in our pond, together with the koi and promptly forgot about it. As usual, it became my dad’s job to take care of the little animals that we brought home.
That little fish grew and grew. It grew so fast, it became a monster! That was when we realized it’s an arapaima – the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world. To satisfy its insatiable appetite, dad switched its diet from fish pellets to fresh fish from the market. Well, it's a top freshwater predator afterall! We always had a freezer full of fish at that time.
It was a gentle giant that didn’t harm the other fishes. However, by the time it was 3 feet long, it started to knock the kois around and eventually became the only creature left in the pond. Strangely it leapt out several times (only during full moon) which took several men to put it back in again. Dad later built a wire enclosure around the pond.
While the giant was mostly tame, feeding sessions were quite a frightful sight… it would leap up like a crocodile and catch the food in its big, gaping mouth, producing such a big splash and loud suction noise! Naturally, it became a big attraction at home. Everyone who came marveled at its size. Its fish scale was almost 2 inches long!
When it grew to 6 feet, our pond obviously became too small for it to swim freely. So, dad built a new pond in the yard, complete with a nice filtration system.
Well, the sad thing is, it died one day without any warning... before it could enjoy its new pond. Obviously we were devastated to lose our giant pet.
You can find pictures of the arapaima here: http://www.iwokrama.org/forest/animals/arapaima.htm