CHANNA SPECIES GUIDE : UPDATE IN PROGRESSION

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update carried out 25-oct
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Species name:
Channa baramensis

Common name: Barama Snakehead

Maximum size: 22 cm / 9 inches

Origin: Northern , Brunei and Borneo



introductions : not known at this time

Temperament: tempremant is said to resemble that of its closest relative channa melnasoma , who we know to not toleratle other fish very well and can be quite aggresive amoung its own kind

Company: best kept in a species tank and ideally as part of a bonded pair

Water parameters: Temperature 22-25˚C / 72-77˚ F; pH 6.5 – 8.0

Feeding: like most channa can be trained to take most of the going food , but keep diet varied or the fish can become addicted to a certain food

aquarium set up: in nature this fish is found in blackwater swamps , and this should be replacated in the aquarium , softer water is a must and the use of aquatic peat would be recomended. being a fairly aggresive fish the tank should be sized to take this into consideration , although only reaching 9 inches i would recomend a tank of around 4ft as a minimum

Reproductive habits: not reported in the aquarium suspect similar to melasoma. eggs probably prone to fungas if water is too hard

other notes : extreamly rare fish and hardly seen in the trade.

photos below by michael lo
whos great site on borneo can be found at http://www.ibanorum.netfirms.com/





this shot shows you the habitat that this fish is found from



Baramensis.jpg
 

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Species name: Channa argus

Common name: Northern Snakehead, Amur snakehead , eastern snakehead, ocellated snakehead, spotted snakehead

Maximum size: 85 cm / 33 inches there are reports from russia of fish upto 1.5 metre none as yet are confirmed and like its distant cousin are most likely exagerations of locals and eager fishermen

Origin: Russia, China, Korea



Introduced range: sadly one of the most introduced and damaging freshwater fish , introdutions are very wide spread not only by the live food industry and the aquatic trade ,but also by goverments in the control of other species and rich land owners and heads of state as stock for there private lake which escaped after heavy flooding , this fish now owns one of the worst reputations amoung all freshwater fish and in many counteries is state ememy no. 1.

known introductions include but not limited to all below :

China - other than where it was origanally found
central and southern Japan
Czecho-Slovakia
russia - other than where origionaly found
southern Urals
Ukraine
Aral Sea basin
Kazakhstan
Uzbekistan
Turkmenistan
United States

Habitat preference: Stagnant shallow ponds or swamps with mud substrate and aquatic vegetation slow muddy streams . Also occurs in canals, reservoirs, lakes, and rivers

Temperament: reported to be Very Aggressive , hunts in groups so is likely to tolerate others of its own kind more than some of the channa mentioned

Company: Channa argus should only be housed with its own kind and very rarley takes any prisioners , its preferance for cooler waters also rules out most fish as suitable tank mates

Water parameters: Temperature 0-30 c can tolerate a massive temp range from part frozen lakes to the tropics reports from an experament in russia ,report during a particular bad winter of 3 test ponds which reached -30deg ended with two ponds totally wiped out of all fish but in the third pond some argus did survive ; pH 6-7.5

Feeding: Channa argus (Northern Snakehead) are predatory and accept most meaty foods as allways keep it varied to avoid the fish becomming hooked on one type of fish

breeding: above the reach of the average aquarist due to the size of the adult fish , but given the correct set-up breeding should prove not to be dificult , the pair spawns in a cleared patch of aquatic vegitation ,eggs float to surface where they are guarded by parent fish , agrresion levels at this time means any work do in the aquarium should be kept to an absolute minimum , the adults will feircely protect any and all attempts to go nears there fry

other info: probably the most banned fish in the world , due to its ability to survive such extreams in tempreture goverments have taken measures to protect there enviroment against this invader , banned through all of europe and america also australia and new zeland parts of canada amoungst others .

special permits are given out to own this fish in many countries but in reality are near impossable to qualify for .

in reality this fishes close relatives channa maculata and channa panaw are a much better suited aquarium fish yet have a similar look

Channa argus.jpg

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updated 7th nov 2008
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Species name: Channa bankanensis

Common name: Bangka Snakehead

Maximum size: 14 cm / 6 inches there is also a larger variety the reaches 30cm! the fish are quite slow growers and some of my other snakeheads have grown at a rate nearly twice as fast!!

Origin: Sumatra, Bangka Island ,rivers of central, southern, and western Kalimantan ,peat swamps of Selangor, peninsular Malaysia



introdutions: none known so far

Temperament: this fish looks pretty freindly with its rounded head ,but in reality is just as aggresive as any other of the family channie , its mouth is still full of teeth and they are not afraid to use them !!

Company: Channa bankanensis should be kept in a species tank only , it has quite specalist requirments which mean if kept correctly other fish would not survive very long (see tank set-up for details.) also would attempt to eat fish that look big enough to eat this can result in the fish choking to death.,

Water parameters: Temperature 26-30 c strictly tropical species that thrives in soft water ,eggs are known to become fungsed is water to hard ; where it is caught the pH gets as low as ph 2.8 to 3.8

tank-setup: it only does really well in very soft water , this can be acheived in the aquarium through the addition of almond leaves or other hardwood leaves oak ect. personally i use 1/2 r.o. water and half rainwater with the addition of leaves others use peat either in a filter bad or as part of the substrate either way or a combination of the two can be used , the fish req little to no movment at the surface ,the relative low ph and desolved oxogen would be totally unsuitable for the vast majority of fish to live in. the fish prefer a sand substrate with leaves plently of leaves added , because of the very low ph choose plants to suit , most discus plant collections will have suitable plants in. they still need surface cover and there should be plenty of places for the fish to retreate if they are to feel secure.

Feeding: i have never found any problems with theese fish taking any of the normal fare , they are quite aggresive feeders and seem to come to life as soon as any food hits the surface , shrimp prawns bits of fish insects like locusts crickets mealworms ect. are all taken just as eagerly , also check out your local fishing bait store where often the things are priced cheeper.

breeding: as allways find a group of young and let them find there own pair , they fish realease eggs that float to the surface and are guarded by parents , feed with newly hatched brine shrimp , low ph and no surface movment along with vegitation are all needed for a sucsessful spawn.

other notes: this is one of the rarer snakeheads found in the trade. but suprisingly when it appears is realetivly cheeps to buy. it is very rarly found on import lists and most shops will never of seen one , you will need to go to the more specalist store to find ,which is a shame as it is one of the most suitable snakeheads for most aquarists due to its small size

channa_bankanensis_001.jpg

channa_bankanensis.jpg
 

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updated to add info and keep upto date 7th nov 2008

Species name: Channa punctata

Common name: green snakehead, dolla or daula snakehead ,spotted snakehead

Maximum size: approx 30 cm / 12 inches, varients may differ in size slightly but some are still new to the trade so final size is still unknown

Origin: Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, southern Nepal , Bangladesh, Myanmar(suspected mis-identifacations of channa panaw), southwestern China



Introduced range: southern Mosambique, (poss - only one specamin found and could of been an ilegal release ,no other specamins have been found in southern africa since, so no evidance to prove it is established.

Temperament: can be aggresive to its own kind as well as other fish , but one of the less aggresive channa

Company: Channa punctata is as with all members of the group channide best housed as a bonded pair or single fish, take extreame caution if mixing with other fish , again this fish is prone to choke on fish it cannot swallow and is equally prone to bullying from more aggresive fish.

Water parameters: Temperature ,temperate to tropical upper lethal limit is 40 c lower lethal limit is 9 c
again try and find out where your fish comes from to be able to provide the best possable care pH know to be able to stand a very wide ph range from ph 4.3 - 9 somewhere in the middle of this would be a good place to aim for

Feeding: young feed primarily on zooplankton, with rotifers, insect, and crustacean larvae constituting most of the diet , Adults consume fishes, insects , stomach contents reviel aquatic vegitation is also consumed but this is most likely a bycatch of there normal prey. i have whitness the same in my aurantimaculata ,they are often seen with some leaves hanging out there mouths after wolfing down there food that has fell and rested on a plant, this is another important reason why aquatic vegitaion is so important in a channa set-up

tank set-up: since this species is found in a very wide range ,some detective work is needed from the keeper to provide the best conditions for your variant of this fish , however when this information is not available it is useally safe to set-up the tank on middle ground, head for neutral water and low tropical temps around 24deg , structure the tank well with plants and wood , floating cover via surface plants , as allways the more secure the fish feels the more you will see it

other information: standard varients of this species are useally fairly easy to locate ,and often appear on import lists and is one of the species you may find in some of the better local stores. specalist store should have little problem finding this fish for you. however the newer varients of this fish are still extreamly rare and do not appear often in the trade ,some of the specalist shops get them in from time to time , standard varients and useally fairly cheep in the uk , infact probably the cheepest snakehead in the trade , the latest found varients such as sp. greenfins still comand high amounts of money , a good size sp. greenfins will set you back around £100-£150 yet the same fish in standard form can be bought for as lillte as £9.99 i have seen juvinile fish for sale locally for £3.50




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NOTE: UPDATED TO INCLUDE PICTURES OF ORIENTALIS BY TROPHEUS
please note 1st picture shows sp. assam

Species name: Channa orientalis

Common name: Ceylon Snakehead

Maximum size: 10 cm / 4 inches

Origin: Southwestern Sri Lanka

Temperament: Predatory

Company: Channa orientalis should not be kept with fish smaller than 2/3 of the species size.

Water parameters: Temperature - tropical species likes softer water but has been bred several times is diferant ph levels 22-28˚C / 72-82˚F; pH 6-7.5

Feeding: Channa orientalis (Ceylon Snakehead) accepts live and frozen food.

Channa orientalis.JPG

Channa%20orientaliskopie.jpg

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DSC_0037.JPG

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Species name: Channa melasoma

Common name: Black Snakehead

Maximum size: 30 cm / 12 inches

Environment: freshwater streams , prefers to be shaded

Temperament: Aggressive

Company: Channa melasoma should not be kept with species smaller than the snakeheads.

Water parameters: Temperature - found from tropical to sub-tropical 18-28˚C ; pH 5-5.3 has a distinct preferance for still waters

channa_melasoma.jpg

imag00341tl6.jpg
 

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Species name: Channa panaw

Common name: Panaw Snakehead

Maximum size: at least 17 cm / 7 inches

Origin: Ayeyarwaddy and Sittang River basins, Myanmar

Temperament: Predatory

Company: Channa panaw should only be kept with fish larger than 2/3 of the species size.

Water parameters: Temperature mainly sub-tropical but range extends into tropical , temp 18-28 c ph around ph 5-6 and enjoys cover / shade

Feeding: Channa panaw should be fed live food.

Channa panaw.JPG
 

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updated 12th jan 2009


Species name: Channa pleurophthalma

Common name: Ocellated Snakehead

Maximum size: 40 cm / 16 inches - has been know to attain larger sizes than this in the aquarium , there are also a few diferant varients some sean to grow longer than otheres


Origin: Rivers of Southeastern Sumatra; Kapuas and Barito basins of Kalimantan

Temperament: this fish is a pack hunter and this can be cleary seen in the aquarium and if one lanches an attack on something then all will follow in a matter of seconds. they are fairly docile compared to the bigger sister species micropeltis but still more than capable of doing serious damage to any fish.


Company: Channa pleurophthalma remain one of the medium sized fish that many people have luck with mixing with other fish. of course extreame caution should be used and other tankmate chosen with care. make no mistake about it , if this fish thinks it can eat a fish in the tank with it then it will


Water parameters: Temperature strictly tropical 22-28˚C / 72-82˚F; pH 6-7.5 - it is suspected colour is directly influenced by ph and lower ph seams to bring about better colours esp in the red/orange rings


Feeding: Channa pleurophthalma can be fed on a wide range of foods , the main thing being is a varied diet , a mixture of fish and frozen foods will be taken with no problems , also larger insects small crayfish ect prawns can be used. can be pellet trained but not easy.


breeding : not yet done in the aquarium , but could be acheived in a large enough tank set up correctly. the best setup for sucsess in this would be a very long and wide tank , with a homemade background containing a shelf around 1ft from the surface and running the full lentgh of the tank. this should then be planted heavy with vallis . the shelf should be at least 1.5 - 2 ft wide meaning a very wide tank would be needed . in nature they swim in the open rivers in packs and when breeding time comes a pair swims into the shallows which are covered in vallis , they spawn in the heavy vallis and are though to then return to the group . i belive it is this shollow area that is going to be the key to a sucsessfull breeding of this species



other notes : not very common and hard to obtain means prices are kept up , adult fish are very rarly seen and when they are command a very high price . juvinile fish are very easily upset to changes in water perameter and care should be taken when water changes are carried out . this is how 95% of theese fish are lost . this improves with age , but caution should be taken even with adults.




sexing: can only be sexed once mature , after 12" it should be fairly easy to see the diferance in the fish , females are much deeper bodied where as males are more slender . male also appear more blue where as the female retain a green shade thoughout adulthood. when seen side by side it is easy to tell if male or female. however as with all channa a male and female does not ensure a bonded pair is formed ,so geowing out a group of fish is recomended .

lab_channa.jpg

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updated 12th jan 2009





Species name: sp assam or lal cheng


Common name: blue blehri / assam blue


Family: Channidae

Maximum size: 18 cm

Origin: the assumed name of sp. assam is slightly misleading , this fish is collected from a tiger reserve outside of assam in fact they come from Northern West Bengal


Temperament: a preditory species as will all of the family , quite aggresive in small quarters so should house a group in a min 3ft aquarium


Company: not be kept with fish smaller than 2/3 of the species size. also consider this is a sub-tropical species and does suffer from bacterial infections if kept year round at tropical temps. if trying to mix with other fish , choose fish from the same area , a bit of research will go a long way and uncover some nice sub-tropical speceis that may be miced with caution.


Water parameters: Temperature 18-22 c although does get exposed to higher temps during the summer. another sub-tropical species ,do not keep them too warm year round ,they will die of infection please bare this in mind if you live in a tropical countryas a chiller will be reqd for part of the year and can be expensive to run . fish look there best in softer water, i would aim for as low as ph5.5 during the dry season and let rise upto 7 in the wet season


Feeding: will accept all live food and often frozen food. the best diet for these fish is a mixture of insects , worms and frozen foods , can be train to eat pellets also . try your local fishing supplies or reptile centre for suitable foods



sexing : females show far more blue along the flanks , there is also a diferance in head shape along with a taller dorsal fin in males with much more untence colouring. when you see them side by side it is easy to see.


breeding : start out with small group as even if you know you have one female and one male this does not mean they will be a bonded pair . to bred this fish attention to there natural habitat needs to be looked at and coppied for best results. they live in flooded feilds and as such such be provided with an aquarium that is densly planted with any large growing grass like plant . i prefer to use valis that grows to the surface then along the surface. the tank should be planted so dense that the fish are easly hidden from view when looking into the tank. after the cold break over winter a large water change should start things of . during the summer you can slowly remove the water in the tank to a level of around 8 inches and some sort of leaf should be added to condition the water. this will simulate the still and drying out water of the flooded feilds they inhabbit , as winter approaches you can add fresh water to the tank and stop adding any leaves simulating the once again flooded feilds of the wet season.

this fish unlike the rainbow snakehead is a mouth brooder and egg feeder , they make excelant perants and guard the young. young can be offered newly hatched brine shrimp.



other information : one of the more commen channa offered for sale and makes a very good aquarium subject as long as the tempreture is catered for.

there is still discusion about what group this fish belongs , with many who think it is a new species that will be described with its own valid name. but there are also some who think this is a varient of blehri , only once detailed work has been done will we know the truth.

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