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Golden Cobra Snakehead
(Channa aurantimaculata) Easy Aggressive 16" 90 gallons 68-82° F, pH 6.0-7.5, dH 5-20 Carnivore India Channidae Snakeheads Cichlid-New-World The Golden Cobra Snakehead (Channa aurantimaculata) is a species of Channidae originating from India, but now also being bred by commercial fish breeders. The moderate size and brilliant coloration has quickly made this species a popular specimen within the aquarium hobby. In terms of snakeheads, the Golden Cobra Snakehead is more likely to coexist with Cichlids, Bichir or Catfish as their max size and temperament are more manageable than larger more aggressive snakehead species like the Northern Snakehead or Red Snakehead. Golden Cobra Snakeheads have very few aquarium requirements as they are actually very tolerant of a wide variety of water conditions and tank decor. However, like other members of their genus they require access to atmospheric air as they breath through a primitive lung known as the suprabranchial organ. This means that they must have access to the surface in order to breath, and that they would drown if denied this access. Breathing through a lung does mean that the Golden Cobra Snakehead can tolerate low oxygen level environments as they do not utilize oxygen from the water column. In terms of water conditions and aquarium decor Golden Cobra Snakeheads have very few specific requirements. They can live in water temperatures as low as 60 degrees and as warm as 84 degrees, but prefer water temps in the mid 70s. In terms of aquarium they simply need an aquarium large enough to allow them open swimming area and ideally some floating or taller vegetation in which to seek cover if required. Tank mates should only include larger Cichlid species, Bichir or Catfish that are large enough to not be considered a food source. Golden Cobra Snakeheads should be able to handle their own with other aggressive fish species. Hobbyists may from time to time come across a Golden Cobra Snakehead that is too aggressive to be kept with tank mates; however, they are generally able to live in larger aquariums with other large aggressive fish species. The Golden Cobra Snakehead is a carnivorous species that will accept a wide range of meaty foods. Aquarium specimens are typically fed foods like: prawns, lancefish, silver sides, mussels and other similar items. They can also be fed feeder fish like goldfish; however, a diet of goldfish alone does not provide all the nutrition they require to maintain a healthy immune system. Feed an amount of food that the fish will consume within a few minutes and adjust feeding frequency based on the overall girth of the fish and desired growth rate.
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Red Snakehead
(Channa micropeltes) Expert Aggressive 42" 500 gallons 72-82° F, pH 6.0-8.0, dH 4-15 Carnivore Southeast Asia Channidae Snakeheads Cichlid-New-World The Red Snakehead, also called the Giant Snakehead, is the second largest species in the Channidae family and one of the largest freshwater species within the hobby. Red Snakeheads are an extremely hardy, aggressive, and powerful species that are native to several countries throughout Southeast Asia (Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, Cambodia, Sumatra, and Borneo). They get their name mainly from the fact that their heads have a snake-like appearance, but it may also have something to do with their sharp teeth. They are one of the few social species of the Channidae family and as juveniles they will swim together in schools as well as hunt together when mature. Red Snakeheads have an accessory respiratory organ, which allows them to breathe outside of the water for a long time. Red Snakeheads are currently banned throughout the United States, making them illegal to own without a permit (although they are still thriving in aquariums and ponds in other countries around the world). Outside of the United States the species is very popular and readily available. Red Snakeheads require an aquarium of 450 gallons (preferably larger) as they will grow to be up to 42 inches long. They appreciate a sandy to smooth gravel substrate with several large pieces of driftwood as well as rock caves for shelter. They will thrive with plenty of dense, live vegetation and floating plants as they are ambush predators and also appreciate low to medium light and the ability to find shade. They can survive in a wide range of water conditions, but strong and efficient filtration is required to ensure clean water due to the extreme bio-load this species will bring down on their environment; high-end (possibly custom), external biological and mechanical filtration (e.g., a sump-style wet/dry filter) will be needed and quality chemical filtration is also recommended. Red Snakeheads will need a strong, tight-fitting lid on their aquarium as they will sometimes jump or get carried away while hunting live fish. Species specific aquariums are recommended as they are highly predatory and aggressive; although they can coexist with a few of the largest cichlids (Gars are usually a safe bet), large catfish, and various large Plecos. Tank mates should be chosen carefully and should comparable in size as adults. Red Snakeheads are ferocious, predatory carnivores and mainly eat massive amounts of live fish, but also eat frogs, insects and crayfish in the wild. In the aquarium they should be fed a constant supply of live fish, but they will also accept live earth worms, frogs, crickets, and crayfish. For balanced nutrition, the best idea would be to have a separate tank of minnows and other bait fish and feed them high quality, vitamin-enriched flake foods to get them "gut-loaded" before they are fed to the Snakeheads. Feed twice daily.
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Northern Snakehead
(Channa argus) Expert Aggressive 40" 500 gallons 60-70° F, pH 6.0-8.0, dH 5-15 Carnivore Russia, China, Korea Channidae Snakeheads Cichlid-New-World The Northern Snakehead is one of the largest freshwater species within the hobby; in their natural environment, they can be found in cool waters within the dense vegetation of lakes, ponds, and rivers throughout China, Korea, and Russia. They are named for the snake-like appearance of their heads. Northern Snakeheads are one of the few social species of the Channidae family and they usually hunt in packs and will also school together as juveniles. Northern Snakeheads have an accessory respiratory organ, which allows them to breathe out of the water for days (it is how they spread to other areas when heavy flooding occurs) and they are the only Channa species that can survive massive temperature ranges from 32° to 85°F. Northern Snakeheads are currently banned throughout the United States, all of Europe, Australia, several Canadian provinces, and New Zealand) making them illegal to own without a permit (although they are still thriving in aquariums and ponds in other countries around the world). Outside of the United States the species is very popular and readily available. Northern Snakeheads require and aquarium of 500 gallons (preferably larger) as they will grow to be up to 40" long. They appreciate a sandy to smooth gravel substrate with several large pieces of driftwood as well as rock caves for shelter. They will thrive with dense, live vegetation and floating plants as they are ambush predators and appreciate low to medium light and the ability to find shade. They can survive in a wide range of water conditions (and an extremely wide range of temperatures), but strong and efficient filtration is required to ensure clean water due to the heavy bio-load impact that this species has on the aquarium; high-end (possibly custom), external biological and mechanical filtration (e.g., a sump-style wet/dry filter) will be needed and quality chemical filtration is also recommended. Northern Snakeheads will also need a strong, tight-fitting lid on their aquarium as they will sometimes jump or get carried away while hunting live fish. Species specific aquariums are recommended as they are highly predatory, aggressive, and not many aquarium fish can tolerate their cooler temperature preferences. Northern Snakeheads are ferocious, predatory carnivores and mainly eat massive amounts of live fish, but also eat frogs, insects and crayfish in the wild. In the aquarium they should be fed a constant supply of live fish, but they will also accept live earth worms, frogs, crickets, and crayfish. For balanced nutrition, the best idea would be to have a separate tank of minnows and other bait fish and feed them high quality, vitamin-enriched flake foods to get them "gut-loaded" before they are fed to the Snakeheads. Feed twice daily.
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