Tag Archives: snakehead

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 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

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