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Profile: Giant snakehead Channa micropeltes

Posted 19 September 2005 - 04:46 AM (#1) User is offline    

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After keeping my two snakeheads for almost two years I finally had the currage to write a profile based on my personal experiences and some general information.
There was so many to tell about these fish that it was impossible to cover everything. So if you have any questions or comments feel free to say it to me and I will adjust the profile :nod:


Giant snakehead / Red snakehead / Toman (Channa Micropeltes)


Snakeheads live in Tropic Africa and South-East Asia. Because they are a valuable consumption fish they are also released in Japan and Korea. Snakeheads are predators and hunt on other fish, frogs and even snakes.
Some species of snakehead can reach a length of 3í and even more. Especially the bigger species grow very fast even in a home aquarium. This is something you really must consider before deciding to buy a snakehead. Fortunate there are a couple of smaller snakehead species like Channa Gachua (dwarf snakehead) that will reach a maximum size of 10íí in the aquarium.

Just like other labyrinth fishes, snakeheads have a labyrinth organ. This makes snakeheads capable of breeding atmospheric air. The gills alone arenít capable of filtering enough oxygen out of the water for the snakehead to live, so without this labyrinth organ the snakehead canít live. Therefore you should always leave some space between the water surface and the lid of your aquarium, so the snakehead can breath atmospheric air. Otherwise the snakehead will drown. Very young juveniles canít breath this atmospheric air, they will develop their labyrinth organ after a month.

In the dry season snakeheads will move over land in search for other lakes and rivers. An other thing they will do in the dry season is to burrow itself in to the mud and wait till the rain season starts.

Young snakeheads, and especially the juveniles of the red snakehead (C. Micropeltes), are very beautiful coloured with a bright red stripe along the side of the body. When the red snakehead get older the red will fade and make place for a dull coloured pattern.

Especially the red snakehead have a very bad reputation. My experience is that they arenít that aggressive, but will attack and eat everything that fits in their mouth. The fish that were capable to live successfully alongside my two snakeheads were a red tail catfish, pacuís and a big royal pleco.

Before buying a red snakehead you have to give some serious thoughts about the potential size they can reach, their need of food and the time and dedication you have to put in it with water changes and tank maintenance.

Despite all those disadvantages snakeheads will make great pets with lots of personality. Eventually they will even recognize the hand that feeds them and become great Ďpetsí to own.

Some facts:

Tank: as big as possible. Snakeheads can grow to over a metre (although they will stay smaller in captivity). Make sure you got a heavy enough lid on the tank, because snakeheads are very powerful jumpers and have the potential to break through a light lid.

Set up: the bottom covered with gravel with some big plants if you like. Snakeheads donít give a thing about the setup.

Size: 1 metre.

PH: not essential as long as it is constant. They can live in a PH varying from 4 to 9. Personally I would say somewhere between 6,5 and 7,5 is best for the snakehead.

Temperature: between the 24 and 28 degrees Celsius.
Water: weekly a 15-20% water change. Snakeheads can handle changing water quality, but the water may not be soiled with remains of food.

Lightning: I have experienced that especially older snakeheads prefer dimmed light.

Food: the most important is to give your snakehead(s) a varied diet, consisting of fish (I give mine frozen fish from the local market), worms, shrimp, grasshoppers and chicken filet.

Health: snakeheads are one of the strongest fish in the aquarium, but when the temperature gets to low they can develop all kinds of bacterial infections.

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 07:55 AM (#2) User is offline    

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nice and useful information about channa micropeltes.. tq so much.. i also owned 2 giant snakehead and i them so much!!  :laugh:

Posted 28 July 2007 - 08:48 PM (#3) User is offline    

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well written.

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