Man in Indonesia mourns death of pet arowana after dad fries it for lunch

PHOTO: Instagram/mas_bayu_oky

One man's prized pet recently became another man's meal.

The owner of an arowana — the most expensive aquarium fish in the world — was devastated after learning that his pet was fried for his family's lunch.

And the man, named Bayu from Indonesia's Central Java region, even got to see how his dad prepared the fish for cooking in photos his brother sent him on June 7.

In an Instagram post, Bayu shared that he paid 800,000 rupiah (S$79) for the golden arowana at a market in Jakarta four years ago. He estimated that his pet fish would be worth 2 million rupiah today.

When the arowana — which can grow up to 80cm long — grew too big for his aquarium, he moved it to his parents' home since there was a bigger fish tank there.

Besides needing a large aquarium, the carnivorous fish also requires a high-quality diet such as shrimps and crickets.

Over time, Bayu's father grew tired of caring for the fish and decided to cook it one day.

"During its time there, my fish wasn't taken care of until it got cross-eyed. I had its eyes operated, thank God it got healthy again.

"Then I got the news that my father fried the fish," Bayu told Tribun News.

While he accepted his pet's fate, the man said that he was relieved to know that no other family members had joined his father for the 'expensive' meal.

Many netizens sympathised with Bayu after reading about his loss.

The Asian arowana, such as the Indonesian golden he had bought, is unique for its colour strains and is prized as a symbol of wealth and prosperity in countries such as China.

Before it became a luxury ornamental fish, the arowana was considered a poor man's meal where it swam in the wild in Southeast Asia.

However, the popularity of the slow-producing fish later saw it becoming largely depleted in the wild, and they are fiercely guarded in farms.

The arowana is listed as an endangered species under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Red List.

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lamminlee@asiaone.com