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    ALL ABOUT THE GIANT AND INDIA GIANT SNAKEHEAD

    Discussion in 'Snakehead' started by Taker, Aug 6, 2005.

    1. Taker

      Taker MFK Members

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      These two fishes deserve there own thread so in here we can discus all aspects of channa micropeltis and channa diplogramma , i will try and keep the thread cleaned up as much as possible so we have a thread that is full of knowledge about these fish , and will be a great recourse for anyone who has the opportunity to own this fish or if like myself housing one correctly is not an option for you ,then you can get your fix by browsing the thread ​



      the two fish are the mighty giant snakehead channa micropeltis found throughout Asia and its sister species found only in a small area of India , channa micropeltis is absent throughout India. it was thought for some time that the two fish where one and the same , introduced by fishmen in years gone by , recent dna studies carried out by Ralf britz have confirmed that they are two distinct and valid species. they do look and act very much alike but are no closer related than Argus and maculata or insignis and obscura . channa micropeltis ( meaning small scaled snakehead ) is a very common fish and is farmed for food in Asia. prices are at an all time low and they should prove fairly easy to get hold of , the uk wholesale price at the moment is £2.49 per fish for a juvenile of 5-10cm however ,they are a very poor choice of aquarium fish for the vast majority of aquarists , they grow to 3ft plus in a home aquarium and as such should be house in a tank to suit , think along the lines of a 8x3x3 for one specimen fish housed correctly. channa diplogramma is in its native range quite common but is very rarely exported and due to this prices are far higher , at the moment the only fish ready for export would need to retail at £200 at 10" in even the cheapest of shops. but diplogramma does make a far better choice of aquarium fish than micropeltis , suspected of reaching only around 2ft in the home aquarium ,this means it is in the reach of far more people to house this fish correctly. and in the long term considering the price of eventual sized tank requirements will most likely work out cheaper option than housing a micropeltis. ​


      i ask anyone who is following this thread BEFORE they have made the choice to purchase such a fish to look through all the pictures in this thread and then decide if you can really cater for this fishes needs , remember there are alternatives within the family that will be just as impressive at adult size but grow far smaller . other species to consider if you want a big show fish from the snakehead group would be , maculata , obscuara , aurantimaculata , pleuros , if you have looked through the full thread and this is still the fish for you then you are both very fortunate to be able to afford such aquaria and lucky that you will get to keep one of natures apex predators in your home. they are without doubt a very entertaining and unforgettable fish to own.



      both of these fish but more so channa micropeltis have now been promoted to the ranks of great myth and fiction , never has a fish been more mis-understood since the days of jaws and the public reaction that followed concerning sharks , and piranha , since the Maryland invasion the snakehead has followed in the path of both of these fish , stories and myths are everywhere about these guys ,and just as in jaws or piranha no good can ever come of it. lets have a quick look at some of the more common myths surrounding this fish and also find out what some of the truths are.



      "its a fish that can eat the population of an entire lake or river then when its finished it walks across land sometimes for several days and finds another body of water to empty" . this is one quote taken from a newspaper after the Maryland find. as we all all know the Maryland species was channa Argus a completely separate species but if the northern snakehead can do all that ,then the giant snakehead must be worse right, this is the thinking behind a lot of people who have reported on snakeheads over the years. snakeheads live in there natural habitat along side a range of other aquatic creatures including turtles and even crocodiles there is also a very healthy population of smaller fish living together with the snakeheads , it is simple if the giant snakehead eat everything in the lake , they would simply run out of food and there survival would be pushed to extinction ,this is not the case and until any real evidence suggests otherwise there is no reason to suspect this would happen where it has been released , at the moment the only suspected group of micropeltis in the usa is in extreme south Florida , where they are subject to the same kind of fish that would both control and enable there population to exist. many fish such as bass tilapia and gars for example will quite happy eat snakehead young and and naturally keep numbers down , in fact in Florida there are species that would also predate on the adults as well as the young. I would imagine micropeltis would find it hard to establish a very big range in Florida.


      they are not known to leave the water for any reason other than making there way back to water after flooding and finding themselves in a field , it is false that all snakeheads leave the water and in fact pleuro has as much ability on land as a cod or any other fish for that matter . they only true snakeheads to actively leave the water are some of the smaller species I.e. gachau and orientalis. the majority can move along land if req,d i.e. displaced by flooding ect. but many fish for example the birches family make a far more convincing move across land ,most snakeheads will simply wiggle there way across land in much the same way as many other fish , some will simply repeatedly jump until they get where they are going again like many other fish out there. some of the smaller guys do have a different structure to there pectorial fins that allows them to use these to aid a kind of walk across land. most larger snakeheads are simply to heavy to achieve this.

      "they have killed humans" although a fully grown micro is without doubt capable of doing damage to a human esp. when guarding fry , there is no confirmed reported of people being killed by a snakehead , these are more than likely fisherman's tales , there is report however of people being injured by large channa .

      I even heard one story where a snakehead had come onto land and eat someone's dog leaving only the chain bitten in half (maybe one for mythbusters ) this is either total fabrication or an attack by a gator of something else , a giant snakehead would have trouble eating any dog , it would certainly not be able to outrun a dog or indeed bite through a chain , even if the dog where tied down this would mean the fish after climbing out the water which is also very unlikely eat the dog and bit through the chain in one go , even if the chain was nylon and the dog was a small toy type i would still not believe this story , it just is not going to happen.

      they smash through the aquarium glass , well this one is possible but only if the aquarium is of incorrect glass thickness or is already stressed , and is usually only a concern if introducing a wild adult into a captive tank , and tank for a micro should be made from 12mm glass anyway and and farm raised or tank raised micro would struggle to break 12mm glass constructed correct , the most likely scenario is that the fish jumps through the top glass covers ,which are useally only 4mm , so always use Perspex for large fish of any type for top covers



      below is the general keeping conditions for both fish :



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      commen name: giant snakehead , toman snakehead , red snakehead , redline snakehead

      scientific name: channa micropeltis

      maximum size: reports upto 5ft or 152cm - these until provenotherwise are to be discredited as fishmens tales the average sizerecorded is around 3.5ft or 106cm but in homw aquaria a very largespecamin would be around 3ft or 91cm , which is still a lot ofresponsability for any owner / keeper

      native range : thailand , malay peninsula , sumartra and borneo

      [​IMG]

      please note , the suspected introductions in india on the map refer tochanna diplogramma ,work is still being carried out by dna samples toconfirm if diplogramma is in fact a seperate species to micopeltes,until proven either way we shall continue to class drplogramma as aseperate and valid species

      introduced range: usa including - maine , massachusetts , rhode island ,baltimore, los angeles , several captures throughout florida

      temperament: one of the few social channa species ,is know tohang out and hunt in groups , in aquaria they do well in groups asyoungsters but soon start squabling amoung each other as transformationfrom juvinile to adult takes place , however many people havesuccesfully housed a group together into adulthood , temperamentbetween the micropeltis and other fish is very good when in juvinilestages but as the fish grow they tend to become mpre aggresive , andany addition to the allready established tank is useally killed veryswiftly , strangley fish that have grew up with the micropeltis aresometimes ignored and accepted as part of the group ,but if this fishis anything it is unprodictable ,and it would be foolish to houseanything you where attatched to or indeed was expensive with this fish

      tempreture: the tempreture range of this fish is from upper sub-tropical to tropical and is best maintained at around 25-30deg

      breeding: no reports from private breeders although comercialbreeding is frequient , clears a area of vegitation at the surfacewhere the eggs are deposited and subsequently hatch out as fry . parentguard and protact the eggs , only the very largest of aquaria would bepossable to breed such a monster fish

      habitat: rivers lakes canals and resivoirs ,useally found instill water , unlike some of the dwarfs this species is thought to veryrarley if at all leave the water and try to move accross land

      feeding: this is a very unfussy feeder , but stomach sampleshave shown that this fish mostly feeds on other fish , other contentswhere mainly frogs and birds , in the aquarium the fish will take allthe useual fair .frozen foods cuts of fish ect , the teeth set-up onthis fish mean that very little will not be taken without problem

      mixing: should only be mixed with others from an early age andeven then with extreame caution , do not keep anything with this fishthat you will be upset by if you lost it , due to the final size ofthis fish most hobbiests will only have room for this fish alone whenadult ,so mixing should not really be a concern

      set-up: even though they are big and mean , they still need tofeel comfortable in there suroundings , as young fish set up as mostchanna with floating cover and heavy planting and wood use , the fishwill thank you for it by being much more active and courious , asadults this type of set up may not be acheivable for most people due tothe size of there aquaria , this is one of the reason this species idnot really suited to the home aquaria , if you are to keep then as abare minimun you should use floating cover as this will help settle thefish and reduce the hazzard of the fish breaking through the lid of theaquariam

      why you should not keep: becausea fish capable of reaching 2.5to 3 ft in the home aquarium needs a tank of at least 3ft wide and atleast 8ft long , how many people do you know with that size tank ,evenmore so , how many people with that sized tank are willing to dedicateit to one fish (yes one fish ,this is the minimum size for onemicropeltis to feel at least a little bit of security in)
      micropeltis are very frigile when in juvinile stages , they do nottolerate swings in water perameter very well and many are lost to bothbeginers and more advanced aquarists
      micropeltis at a large size are dangerous , if you have children wouldyou ever forgive yourself if your child stuck its hand / arm in there ?
      sadly most people who this bit refers to ,will be sat reading this nowtrying to research what that little cute orange fish is that they justcould not resist

      unfortunatly we see far too many people with a tank as follows : 4ft x2ft x 2ft or smaller and in that bare tank they have micropeltis , rtc,tsn , large bass ,wolffish . and when its pointed out to them thatthey are going to need a much bigger tank ,you get the reply yep i haveone planned , 9 out of 10 of these planned tanks never happen ,and whenthey do happen they are nowhere near big enough to house theinhabitants still . just think about for a second , the micropeltisneeds a 8x3 min to its self , the red tail cat want at least that toits self , the bass want half of that each the wolf fish wants half ofthat , and so on and so on , there are less than 20 people on thisforum that could house a mixed micropeltis and freinds tank

      why you should keep one: because you have reached the next leveland have in place a tropical pond in place ready for them as they grow, because you are one of the lucky few who have a tank big enough tohouse for life , because you are lucky enough to live in the naturalrange where you can safely release them when they out grow therequarters (please not not mix with anything from the lfs if you do thisas you can spread deseise from lfs fish into wild stocks) , becausethey are the top freshwater preditor , and are a facanaiting fish togrow and study

      notes: probably the most available snakehead on the market ,most shops will either stock theese or have them on there order lists ,extreamly cheep to buy , in asia used as feeder fish

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      Species name: channa diplogramma

      Common name: Indian giant snakehead

      Maximum size: not yet know , but study by a fellow aquarist and channa enthusiast jelly suggeststhat diplogramma grows to a lot smaller size than micopeltis , seenotes below


      Origin: Malabar coast of India, kelera


      Temperament: aggressive increasing with age but less aggresive than its close relative channa micropeltis


      Company: mix with other fish at own risk , good chance this fish will be the last fish standing in any tank it is introduced

      Water parameters: Temperature 25-30c warm tropical species : pH avoidextremes, slightly softer water( water in kerala was around 6.7ph and26deg temp when tested in october


      Identification: juvie fish are identical to channa micropeltes adlutfish develop spots on head , as juvie fish ,this species seams to lackthe briliant white belly of micro and instead has a red hue to it. thisspecies has compleated the transformation to adult colouration by thesize of 7" where as micropeltis rarely compleate the change until over15", it is fair to assume from this and the information supplied byjelly who has a specamin to study that the expected adult size would bearound the 24" mark maybe even smaller in an aquarium


      other notes : only found from a small area of tropical india , thisspecies is very rare in the trade , despite being a far better suitedaquarium fish than the mighty micropeltis. as this fish is rare it doescomand a higher price tag , than micro but the fact that young look sosimilar allows the not so truthfull out there to exploit the situationand pass off micropeltis as diplogramma , in fact we have allready seenthis on the forum , people buying diplogramma only to find out monthslater that it is indeed a micropeltis. if in doubt get a writtengarrentie or walk away.


      opening peice written by col (tropheus)
      -------------------------------------------------------------------------



      start of original thread







      let us share our knowledge of this predator with our fellow forumers. This predator's scientific name is Channa Micropeltes. In english, it is called the Giant Snakehead or the Red Snakehead. In Malay and Indonesian it is called Toman Harimau ( Harimau means Tiger, it comes from the Tiger like stripes it has ) and 'Shado' in Thailand. My first question is regarding the name Red Snakehead. I personally think this name does not fit this fish, the name red only came from the reddish tone it has as a baby which soon fades away as it grows. The first picture below is a picture of the Giant Snakehead fry. You can cleary see why it has the reddish tone to its body now, that is how they are born and as they grow, they begin to transform as their strong scales and colours emerge which continuously change until adulthood.

      So when the juveniles are seen to be reddish as shown in the next picture below, they get named as the Red Snakehead. But as shown in the following picture, not all juveniles are reddish in colour or reddish enough to carry that particular name. Some adult Giant Snakeheads do have some reddish tone just a little at the end of their tails but that is definitely not enough either to name them as the Red Snakehead, just look at the following adult Giant Snakehead pictures. And anyone who does not know of the Red Snakehead would definitely see it as a Snake-headed fish that is in red colour. I am sure some of those who know and are a fan of this predator which I see as the Great White Shark among Sharks or as the T-Rex of the fresh water do feel as I do. Thank you. :)

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    2. sandtiger

      sandtiger Captain Planet

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      Black basses (largemouth, spotted, smallmouth etc.) are nether black nor are they truely bass. They are actually sunfish. When they are fry they are black however so thats where the name comes from. Kinda like your snakehead.
       
    3. zhuangsw

      zhuangsw MFK Members

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      the giant snake head makes great fish for eating over here in asia. hehe

      they are sold at the wet markets and resturant.

      well, red snake head isnt their scientific name, just the comman names ppl calls it, like u said, due to when they are young, they are orangey/red in color.

      but if you dont like calling it the red snake head, then call it the giant snake head lor. its up to you.

      thanks for spending time writing this post and posting those cool pictures!
       
    4. Taker

      Taker MFK Members

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      Thank you guys! :thumbsup: alright I won't call it the Red Snakehead then :grinyes: well just thought why there were two names for this fish and I had seen people disagreeing with the name Red Snakehead too. But you are right, and those pictures definitely show some great Giant Snakeheads!
       
    5. sandtiger

      sandtiger Captain Planet

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      I ahve always called them giant snakeheads.
       
    6. Taker

      Taker MFK Members

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      I prefer the name Giant Snakehead too. Does anyone have a Snakehead? I do not own a Snakehead now, I have had three Giant Snakeheads in my childhood, one jumped out of the tank, glided and fell from my apartment before I could stop it. The rest of the two then grew and ruled the tank, my parents could not handle them for how aggressive and strong they were, no fish survived in the tank, they brutally killed and ate any fish put in there. You could even see blood in the water after they were done feeding. They were still young and were always hungry, my dad had to spend a lot for their food, we fed them Roseyreds everyday.

      I tried to put an Oscar which was too large for them to swallow, the Oscar were there for about a few days and one morning, all I saw were my two Giant Snakeheads swimming as if the Oscar was never there. I was dumb founded thinking how did they eat the Oscar which was really big for them, plus their bellies were not swollen. I even tried to see if the Oscar had jumped out but no, no sign, no trace of the Oscar was left.

      I was forced to take them away by my parents which was very saddening to me. They were amazing fish, never seen anything like that. I am definitely having them again once I move to AZ. Yes, I have been thinking, are Snakeheads illegal in Arizona too? I believe Snakeheads are not illegal in all states of America like New York.
       
    7. Taker

      Taker MFK Members

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      Why can't I edit my post? Well, I just wanted to edit that the Snakehead that fell from my apartment did not glide but wiggled, the tank was placed at the back of my house and it happened as I was trying to clean the tank. It was a juvenile still, I just did not expect it to jump that far, it fell from the 13th floor, I sure had tears in my eyes as I was holding it on the ground. Well, that is something that I learned from this predator.
       
    8. aapl76

      aapl76 MFK Members

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      wow!!! i love e coloration of this babe....simply steam to the max.... :drool:

      411843465_6.jpg
       
    9. zhuangsw

      zhuangsw MFK Members

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      dear bro taker, sorry to hear about your lost for your beloved giant snake heads. well when you get your own house next time, you can try keeping them again. hehe

      btw, i love this pic you post. the snake head has AAA grade writen over its body! very cool, wonder if its a symetrical A snake head? haha

      896710764_1a.jpg
       
    10. sandtiger

      sandtiger Captain Planet

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      The only thing I don't like about the above photos is the dude holding it out like that. I HATE THAT...makes the fish look that much larger. THe fish is still nice though, not his fault.

      Personally I like this fish...
      [​IMG]
       

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