Tag Archives: Channa

Channa marulius

12. December 2022

Which species is the largest snakehead fish? Unfortunately, this question cannot be answered unambiguously, because the expression “angler’s lingo” has already become proverbial for uncertain statements. Anglers (and not only them!) like to exaggerate a little. But indisputable is: Channa marulius from India belongs to the top candidates for the race. The largest documented catch of a Channa marulius was a specimen about 120 cm long that weighed 13.6 kg, but allegedly there has also been a 183 cm long specimen weighing a good 30 kg. Nevertheless, the normal size of the species is “only” about 50 cm, which is also quite decent!

In India, its homeland, there are huge, tame C. marulius that live in ponds in sacred temple precincts and are worshipped and fed by believers. These animals are so tame that they will take rice balls from your hand. However, rice is not an adequate food for these animals, which are predatory fish.

In the aquarium, Channa marulius are pleasant contemporaries, but they are reserved for owners of very large aquariums, zoos and display aquariums because of their size. Their aggression potential is low compared to that of other snakeheads. This changes at breeding time. Then these giants form pairs, which build a nest around the numerous brood sustainably defend. Nobody wants to be attacked and bitten by a 50 cm snakehead, because they have quite decent teeth and are really fearless! 

The young animals, as we can offer them now once again after many years, are completely different colored than adult animals. As long as they wear the juvenile dress, they are schooling fish. However, when they lose the yellow longitudinal stripe they come into puberty, in which every conspecific is seen as a food competitor. Only when they reach sexual maturity do they become interested in conspecifics again. These phases are typical for large predatory fishes, especially during puberty it is impossible to keep more than one specimen in the aquarium. But with Channa marulius everything runs moderately and manners, why primarily the possible final size is a restriction for the suitability as an aquarium fish. 

We have also made a small film about these fish, which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auSKklvgyZI&t=4s

For our customers: the animals have code 409102 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa marulioides

21. March 2022

The largest and most splendid of all snakeheads belong to the relationship of Channa marulius. This species occurs in India and attains a maximum length of about 120 cm. The largest specimen ever collected is said to have had a length of 183 cm and a weight of 30 kg. But most often the fish become „only“ 40-60 cm long. The counterpart of that species in Southeast Asia is Channa marulioides (in fact the specific name means „similar to marulius“). We were able to import that beautiful species now from Thailand. We are sure that is has the potential to grow as large as C. marulius, but the largest specimen recorded so far scientifically was only 65 cm long. Currently our fish are 12-15 cm long.

These snakeheads are piscivorous. Against other fish that are too large to be eaten C. marulioides are usually peaceful. The large snakeheads are highly appreciated as food fish in the countries where they occur, but they are also often kept in temple-ponds. Here the Channa become very tame, they are fed by the visitors of the temple and they can be even stroken. The elegant predators also become very tame in private aquaria. Due to the size one has to expect a very large tank should be at hand, but it is avisable to let the tank grow with the fish. A small fish is lost very fast in a too big tank…

For our customers: the fish have code 409134 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa stewartii

10. January 2022

This snakehead, often traded under the name Channa cf. barca, originates from the northern Indian province of Assam. C. stewartii can reach a length of up to 30 cm (usually around 20 cm) and as a predatory fish should only be kept along with fish that are at least 2/3 of its body length. Besides living and dead fish they accept as food insects, worms, coarse frozen food and after habituation also food sticks.

Since their area of occurrence is not in the tropical area, they can be kept well in the unheated aquarium. They tolerate temperatures between 15 – 30°C, also to the water parameters only small requirements are made. Since they can breathe atmospheric air in addition to gill breathing, the oxygen content of the water is of secondary importance.

Photos F. Schäfer, Text K. Diehl

Channa micropeltes

18. June 2021

One of the most beautiful freshwater fishes of all is Channa micropeltes. This snakehead lives in groups and its favorite pastime is eating. It is therefore constantly on the lookout for food and swims lively in a shoal through the aquarium.

Although every word up to this point is true, it is still only half the truth. Because with over 130 cm maximum final size Channa micropeltes is also one of the largest snakeheads at all. And from about 15-20 cm length it loses the beautiful, bright juvenile coloration and changes from a schooling fish to an aggressive loner. Now it is black-brown marbled on the back. However, his favorite pastime remains eating and who makes the mistake to put Channa micropeltes because of his beautiful juvenile coloration in a community aquarium with small peaceful fish, soon has only one fish in the aquarium: a fat Channa micropeltes

So if you are interested in these animals, you must have a really big aquarium. Then snakehead and human can enjoy each other for decades. 

For our customers: the animals have code 409202 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply only wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa melanoptera

29. January 2020

Channa melanoptera from Indonesia belongs with a maximum length of 65 cm to the large Channa species from the species group around Channa marulius. Like all species of this group, C. melanoptera undergoes a drastic colour change from youth to adult. Right now we have lovely young animals of about 4-5 cm length in stock.

When buying them, you should consider the attainable final size. Even if in nature usually “only” 30-40 cm length is reached, the fish in the aquarium can grow up to record sizes because of the considerably longer life time in the aquarium, the better food supply and the good medical care. Juveniles in baby pattern are schooling fish, later they are solitary. However, Channa melanoptera, even as a semi-strong and sexually mature fish, is much less quarrelsome towards conspecifics than is known from many considerably smaller species.

For our customers: the animals have code 409141 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa sp. Laos Fireback

17. January 2020

For the first time we received this splendid snakehead in the year 2011. It obviously represents a species unknown to science so far. I reminds one strongly to the far spread and variety rich species C. gachua, but the “Fireback” is much bigger, reaching 15 -20 cm (some sources give even 25 cm), it lacks the stripes in the pectoral fins, which are so characteristical for gachua and of course the “Fireback” has the broad, bright orange seams in the dorsal and the caudal fin that are responsible for its popular name. The geographical part of the popular name is misleading, the species originates from northern Thailand.

This species is – like all members of the C. gachua relationship – a mouthbrooder with biparental broodcare. Males and females can be distinguished best by a look from above. The males have a much broader head than the females.

With the exception of the breeding season these snakeheads are strictly solitary fish and keeping them together with other fish – it does not matter whether these fish are conspecifics or belong to a completely different group of fish – is always a high risk. Channa sp. Laos Fireback are large, predatory fish that need substantial food, like feeder fish, earthworms, mealworms, crickets and so on.

For our customers: the fish have code 409394 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Lexicon: Channa: ancient Greek, means “snapper”, probably referring to the airbreathing. gachua: after a native name for the fish in Bengal.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa aurantimaculata GERMAN BRED

4. September 2019

Currently we can offer beautiful offspring of one of the most beautiful Channa species: Channa aurantimaculata. The species originates from the north of India, where it can sometimes get quite cool. Therefore the summerly care of the up to 50 cm long animals (normally they become in the nature, however, only 20-25 cm long) in the garden pond especially prepared for it, above all escape-safe, is recommended. Please keep in mind that these animals in nature also migrate over land when it rains. They do the same here, if they are allowed to, so watch out!

The young animals are currently 5-7 cm long and not yet quite as spectacularly coloured as the adults, but also very, very pretty. 

For our customers: the animals have code 409018 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa melasoma

20. May 2019

From the mountainous part in the north of Thailand, the legendary Golden Triangle between Thailand, Burma and Laos, we received two pairs of Channa melasoma. Originally this species, which inhabits clear forest streams, was described from Borneo. With approx. 30-40 cm of final-length (our animals are, including tail fin, approximately 20-25 cm long), C. melasoma belongs to the medium-size species of snakehead. 

Although our four specimens proved to be quite peaceful and quiet contemporaries, one must never forget that snakeheads are generally individualists and one must always expect to come across an aggressive and unpredictable specimen.

In the couple photographed, for example, the female is completely relaxed and shows this by his bright color dress, while the male is constantly slightly annoyed and his dark excitation color hardly ever reduces. However, there are no colour differences between the sexes, both animals look completely the same in the corresponding mood. The male has slightly more developed fins and a broader head. 

Channa melasoma belongs to the group of snakeheads that do not perform mouthbrooding. Both parents guard the spawn and the yellow, with two black longitudinal stripes drawn young fish.

For our customers: the animals have code 409199 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers. Only four animals available!

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa sp. New Mimetic Orange Blotch

3. August 2018

Along with the yellow-lipped variety of Channa ornatipinnis this undescribed dwarf snakehead was collected. Currently the fish are about 12-15 cm long and seem to be fully grown; however, this cannot be said without some questionmarks. The whole habit and the coloration of the fish reminds one strongly in Channa andrao from North Bengal, but C. andrao has no ventral fins, which are present in the new species.

For our customers: the animals have code 409293 on our stocklist. Please note thta we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa ornatipinnis

30. July 2018

When in 2007 the comparatibly small (about 20-25 cm) and very colourful species Channa ornatipinnis was described from the Rakhine State in Burma the fans of snakeheads were really enthusiastic. Soon after the first specimens appeared in the ornamental fish market. Since then the fish were offered regulary, but only from time to time. 

But: the imported specimens differed in a detail from the fish from the original description: the color of the lips! These are blue in the imported specimens, but yellow in specimens from commercial imports.

Now we obtained, more than 10 yers after, the „original yellow lips“ from a new source. Sadly the collectors do not want to tell us were the fish exactly come from. They are real beauties!

For our customers: the animals have code 409194 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa sp. 5-stripe

2. May 2018

This comparatively small species of snakehead originates from the north of India (Assam, North-Bengal). The species is not described scientifically yet. Initially it was erranously reported to originate from Kerala (which is in the south of India). The species is a mouthbrooder and attains a maximum size of 15-20 cm. Due to the origin in subtropical regions the species should be kept at times in cool water. In the wild, the water temperature differs (depending on the season) between about 12°C and 30°C.

For our customers: the fish habve code 409374 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

The total ban of Channa in the EU is off the table!

8. December 2017

According to our very well informed sources the application to ban the trade and keeping of all species of snakehead (Channa) in the EU has been refused. Obviously just in time the contradiction could be submitted that the ban of a complete genus is not according to the law, but that in any case for every species within a genus a separate risk assessment is necessary.

We are very glad that in this case obviously the judges listened to reason. In times one has to face a increasing populism and blind actionism worldwide this is a sign of hope. Maybe our engagement to hinder the ban of snakeheads has also helped to bring the case to such a positive end. Anyway: hobbyists in the EU now can still enjoy keeping and breeding these fascinating creatures!

Channa sp. „Burmese Red Rim Rainbow“

18. August 2017

Finally we were able to import a number of specimens of this exttemely beautiful, small species of snakehead from Burma. The fish attain a maximum length of about 12-15 cm and are a close relative of Channa gachua. However, the body of „Red Rim“ is much more depressed. In respect of coloration one feature makes „Red Rim“ unique: a great number of small black dots, which are lacking in almost all other members of the Channa-gachua-complex.

One year ago we obtained the first specimen of this new species. That animal had no red rim along the caudal fin, but our current imports have. This obviously is rather an individual character, a phenomenon known in other species of the Channa-gachua-complex, too. Hobbyists specialized in snakeheads know that dwarf also under the name of Channa sp. „Red Fin“.

This is a subtropical species and should not be kept the whole year through at high water temperatures. It s also very likely that „Red Rim“ usually lives in flowing water. When the fish are kept indoors they do not need an additional heater. During the warm season they can be kept even in outdoor tanks, but one has to make sure that the snakeheads by no means can get out of the tank. „Red Rim“ prefers to feed on insects (crickets etc.), but they also feed readily all usual types of frozen or live fishfood as long as it is not too tiny. Most probably „Red Rim“ is a mouthbrooder like Channa gachua.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa bleheri

27. July 2017

Currently is the import season for one of the most beautiful species of snakehead, the rainbow snakehead (Channa bleheri) from the state of Assam in India. The species is not only very colorful, but also stay comparatively small (at least in comaprison with some other snakeheads), namely 15-20 cm. Moreover this species is – again in comparison with other snakeheads – rather peaceful.

Neverheless this species is recommended only for experienced hobbyists, for C. bleheri is a subtropical species and lives in higher altitudes. Here it can become pretty cool at times. Experience has shown that the fish need cool periods from time to time to stay healthy over years and for breeding.

In respect of feeding C. bleheri is not very demanding. Insects and their larvae are best choice, the fish also like earthworms. One should be careful if life feeder fish are offered, for they often carry diseases and can infect the snakeheads.

Rainbow snakeheads are biparental brood carers. They egss are lighter than water and swim on the water surface wre the male concentrates them in a kind of raft. Both parents take care for the fry.

For our customers: the fish have code 409064 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa harcourtbutleri

6. July 2017

We obtained some specimens of this only very rarely offered snakehead from Burma. The species is a very close relative of Channa gachua. In fact, it has been considered to be a mere synonym of C. gachua for a very long time. But Ng, Ng & Britz could show in 1999 that C. harcourtbutleri is a valid species. However, both species look very similar. C. harcourtbutleri has a narrower head and (sadly this is mood-dependend not always visible) a dark marbled throat (uniform in C. gachua). Moreover, in juveniles of C. harcourtbutleri an ocellus in the dorsal fin – typical for juveniles of C. gachua – is missing. There are further minor differences in the pattern, but due to the extreme mood-dependend change of coloration in snakeheads these differences are of no use for identification purposes. One should also keep in mind that it is more than likely that many populations and described species currently places in C. gachua will proove to be species on their own in the future, so it is very difficult to speak of a typical pattern and coloration in C. gachua.

Channa harcourtbutleri occurs in Burma in higher elevations; here it can become pretty cool. So it is better to keep that species not the whole year through at high, tropical temperatures. Regarding the water the fish is very undemanding, but very soft and acidid water should be avoided. The common length of C. harcourtbutleri is between 8 and 15 cm, the largest specimen known so far was 18.5 cm long (all measurements given in standard length, without the caudal fin). The photographed specimens have a standard length of about 11 cm (male) and 9 cm (female) and are obviously sexual ripe.

We have no knowledge of a detailed breeding report, but it is very likely that there are no majaor differences to that of C. gachua, which is a biparental mouthbrooding species.

For our customers: the fish have code 409114 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa bankanensis

4. May 2017

Many species of snakehead look very attractive as juveniles. Channa bankanensis is no exception from that rule. The reason for the sometimes extraordinary change in coloration is the behaviour. Juvenile Channa are usually schooling fish. Depending on the species they swim in close schools up to a length of 3 cm or even 15 cm. The contrasting juvenile coloration has two basic reasons: first, it helps conspecifics to identify other fish as members of the same species, and second it confuseses predators for the silhouette of the single specimen is only hard to detect in a school.

Later on snakeheads become more and more solitary fish and the coloration becomes dull. Now camouflage is asked, for larger snakeheads are usually predators that feed on small other fish.

Channa bankanensis belongs to the medium sized species that attain a maximum length of 25-30 cm. The species is a typical blackwater inhabitant that lives in the wild in waters with a very acidic character: pH around 3! Luckily the do not demand this in aquaria. Channa banakanensis is distributed in Indonesia and Malaysia.

We currently have very pretty 4-6 cm long juveniles in stock.

For our customers: the animals have code 409021 on our stocklsit. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholeale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Channa sp. Meghalaya

19. February 2017

Currently is the season for species of Channa from India. Every now and then we can offer the gorgeous Channa pardalis, which is also known in the hobby under the name of „True Blue“ (see http://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/channa_sp_true_blue_en/). There is a second, very similar Channa, traded under the name of Channa sp. Meghalaya. There is a rumour among the Channa freaks that this should represent a second, valid species of Channa, already under scientific description. The main differences between the True Blue and Meghalaya are said to be the lack of black spots in the face of the Meghalaya and the presence of a bright orange zone in front of the eye of Meghalaya.

Currently we have both Channa in stock, a good opportunity to take a closer look on them. So I picked up the largest (14-15 cm) pair of C. sp. Meghalaya (at least the male is for sure a male) and the smallest individual and photographed them. The female fits perfectly to the diffeences described above: no black spots in the face and a bright orange zone in front of the eye. The male fits not as good. The black spots are also lacking, but there is not the slightest sign of an orange zone in front of the eye. The halfgrown young adult has so many black spots in the face that I thought a C. pardalis would have been placed erroneously in the tank of the C. sp. Meghalaya – but then I spotted the bright orange zone in front of the eye…

So – as a conclusion: there are no constant differences in respect of head coloration between Channa pardalis (True Blue) and C. sp. Meghalaya. One should keep and breed them separatly, but there are in no way clear specific differences.

For our customers: Channa sp. Meghalaya have code 409283 on our stocklist, Channa pardalis (True Blue) code 409383. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade. Both Channa are available in limited numbers only!

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer