Information, Freshwater fish, Gourami, Labyrinth fish, Species

Giant Snakehead (Channa micropeltes)

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by Jason Matthews



Giant Snakehead is an exotic species of fish that is gaining popularity among pet fish enthusiasts worldwide. This species is known for its distinct appearance and behavior.. 

This article will delve into the history and characteristics of this magnificent species and provide you with all the information you need to care for and appreciate this incredible fish. So get ready to dive in and learn everything there is to know about the fascinating Giant Snakehead!


Scientific Name: Channa micropeltes
Common Names: Giant Snakehead, Redline snakehead, Toman
Life Expectancy: 8 years in the wild, 10-15 years in captivity
Adult Size: 8 years in the wild, 10-15 years in captivity


HabitatInland waters, including rivers, canals, and rice paddies
OriginSoutheast Asia
Care LevelIntermediate
Tank LevelBottom
Minimum Tank Size1000 liters or larger
Water pH6.5 to 7.5
Water Temperature24 to 29°C (75 to 84°F)
Water HardnessModerate
Tank MatesNot suitable with other fish due to its aggressive nature

Fun Fact Corner

Did you know that the Giant Snakehead is considered a delicacy in many parts of Asia and is often served in traditional dishes? This fish is known for its large size and meaty flavor and is often used in soups and stews. They are also considered sports fish, with many anglers seeking to catch them for their size and strength. 


The Giant Snakehead, also known as Channa micropeltes, is native to Southeast Asia’s freshwaters. It is widely spread throughout the region, including Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. The species is well-adapted to the tropical climate and water conditions of its native habitat.

Appearance & Size

The Giant Snakehead is distinguished by its large size and unique coloration, which varies depending on its mood and environment. The fish’s body color can range from dark brown to olive green, with black and white stripes or spots. 

Its fins are usually bright red or orange, adding color to its stunning appearance. The Giant Snakehead’s most distinguishing feature is its large mouth, filled with sharp teeth that can be opened wide to reveal its terrifying appearance. .

The Giant Snakehead is a large fish growing up to 4.9 feet long. It is important to note that while they have the potential to grow to such an enormous size, the conditions of their captive environment can significantly impact their growth. Proper care is essential for ensuring that the Giant Snakehead grows to its full potential.


The Giant Snakehead is a sexually dimorphic species, which means that males and females look different. While both genders are similar in color and pattern, males are larger and have longer dorsal fins. Furthermore, males are more aggressive and territorial, especially during breeding. 


The Giant Snakehead is known for its unique and sometimes unpredictable behavior. It is a highly predatory species in the wild, consuming anything that can fit into its large mouth. However, its behavior in the aquarium can vary depending on the conditions of its environment and the presence of other fish. 


When selecting tank mates for the Giant Snakehead, it is important to be cautious and choose species that are compatible in size and temperament.

Here is a list of good tankmates for the Giant Snakehead:

Tank conditions

The Giant Snakehead requires specific living conditions to thrive in captivity. A large enough to accommodate its size and activity level is required. Water temperatures should be between 24-28°C (75-82°F) with a pH range of 6.0 and 7.5. 

A high-quality filtration system is crucial for removing waste and maintaining clean water conditions. Providing more hiding places, such as caves and plants, is also important for the Giant Snakehead to retreat when it feels threatened.


The Giant Snakehead is a predatory species that primarily feeds on live prey in the wild. Providing a varied diet in captivity that includes live and frozen foods such as small fish, worms, and crustaceans is critical. They can be fed pellets and dried foods regularly to supplement their diet.

It is best to feed the Giant Snakehead 2-3 times a day, providing only as much food as it can consume in a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to water quality issues, so monitoring its feeding habits and adjusting its diet is important.


Breeding the Giant Snakehead in captivity can be challenging, but it can also be a rewarding experience for the dedicated hobbyist. This species is a mouthbrooder, meaning the female carries the eggs and fry in her mouth for protection. 

Provide the breeding pair with the proper diet and nutrition, which can significantly impact the breeding process’s success. Furthermore, before attempting to breed the pair, monitoring their behavior and ensuring that they are compatible is critical.

A change in water temperature or the provision of a suitable breeding substrate can initiate the breeding process. Once the female has bred, she will carry the eggs in her mouth for several weeks before releasing the fry.


Like all fish, the Giant Snakehead is vulnerable to various diseases. Maintain good water quality and provide a healthy diet to reduce disease risk. Ich, bacterial infections, and fungal infections are the most common diseases affecting the Giant Snakehead.

  • Ich is a parasite that causes white spots on the fish’s skin and is treatable with medication. 
  • Bacterial infections can cause various symptoms, including fin rot and skin ulcers, and can be treated with antibiotics. 
  • Fungal infections, which cause cotton-like growths on the skin and fins, are treatable with medication.

Monitoring your fish’s behavior and health regularly and taking action if you notice any signs of disease is critical. A quick response can help prevent disease spread and improve treatment success rates.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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