Snakeheads are amazing fish that resemble snakes in appearance and character. They have a scaly surface, they move like explosive. These predators eat everything, including fish that are placed in their mouths. Snakeheads are characterized by a bright color, depending on the variety. The article discusses the moments of snakehead breeding, the types and conditions of keeping fish in the aquarium, as well as its unusual properties.
Description and Features
Snakehead fish, especially at a young age, externally resembles a snake, due to which it got its name. It has a flattened head with a slightly elongated snout, widely set "snake" eyes. The snakehead has a large mouth and well-developed jaws. The fish is distinguished by an elongated dense body, which is covered with small lamellar scales resembling externally snake skin. Scales of a greenish brown hue.
The sides and back of the fish are decorated with dark spots with a black edging, smaller spots are scattered on the white belly. On both sides of the head are jewelry in the form of black stripes.
Depending on age, the color of the snakehead may vary. At a young age, fish have red, orange, or bright yellow stripes on their bodies. As they grow older, the stripes begin to darken, eventually becoming black.
An adult predator can weigh up to 10 kilograms, and its length can reach more than 1 meter. The legendary survivability of fish is due to the fact that it has a unique structure of the respiratory system. In addition to the presence of wide gill openings, the fish has sub-gill paired breathing bags connected to the skin - help breathe the atmospheric air, which is vital. Occasionally, a predator rises to the surface of a reservoir to breathe a breath of oxygen. At the same time, the snakehead makes sounds resembling champing.
The fish is adapted to survive in a completely dry lake. To do this, in winter, a predator digs a chamber in the muddy bottom, 60-100 centimeters deep, lubricates its walls with its own mucus and lies in it until the lake is filled with water in constant rains.
If the summer is dry, the fish moves to a deeper pond. A snakehead can crawl tens of kilometers. For wintering, fish are formed in small groups of up to 10 individuals, hiding in burrows under steep banks.
Spread and underwater conditions
Snakehead fish is adapted to live in water bodies that are poor in oxygen. This is appreciated for the preservation of the species composition when a reservoir is partially eutrophied. Such a process often happens in small rivers, lakes and artificial reservoirs.
In nature, snakehead fish live in Southeast Asia, the bays on the Syr Darya, ponds of the Krasnodar Territory, the Lower and Middle Amur basin. There is fish in the Moscow region and Ukraine, on Lake Khanka, in Africa and the Kogo and Chad rivers. Scientists have discovered several species of this fish in 7 US states. Some experts are convinced that someone released snakeheads into American waters specifically to get rid of them.
There are many varieties of snakehead fish. Each species is distinguished by external characteristics and behavioral criteria.
The body of the fish reaches 40-60 centimeters. It is considered aggressive fish that are kept alone. First met the golden cobra in the northern state of Assam in India. Snakehead likes cool water, with a temperature of 20-26 degrees.
This is one of the largest species of fish. His body reaches a length of 1 meter or more, even in captivity. To keep the snakehead in the aquarium, a very large capacity is required, 300-400 liters for one individual.
Red fish is very aggressive: it attacks any fish, including relatives and even large individuals. He tears prey into pieces. However, he can pounce, even if not hungry. This fish has a big fang. It can attack its owner.
While the fish is young, it looks attractive: bright orange stripes all over the body. At an older age, the stripes become pale, and the color of the fish turns into dark blue. Red snakeheads are undemanding to the conditions of detention. Feel good in water with a temperature of 26-28 degrees.
A common variety suitable for aquarium keeping. The fish comes from northern India. It is contained in cool water at a temperature of 18-25 degrees. It differs in small dimensions - its length reaches up to 20 centimeters. More often gets along with other fish, but can also fight them.
The body length of the imperial snakehead reaches up to 65 centimeters. Contained in large aquariums with neighbors that are as large in size. Imperial fish prefers water at a temperature of 24-28 degrees.
A small fish with a peaceful character. The advantage of the rainbow snakehead is a length of up to 20 centimeters. It has the brightest colors. It is suitable, like the dwarf variety for aquarium keeping in the same cool water.
Fish up to 23 centimeters long, characterized by aggressive character. Not suitable for content with other individuals. Snakehead comes from rivers with very acidic water. Although it is not necessary to keep it under such extreme conditions, the acidity level should be low, since higher values can adversely affect the immunity of the fish.
In size, the fish can reach up to 40 centimeters in length, due to which it requires maintenance conditions for a large species. Aggressive fish, which are kept together with large, strong individuals, is better generally alone. Feels good in water with a temperature of 24-28 degrees.
The most beautiful view of Southeast Asia. Distinctive characteristics are the shape of the body, compressed laterally, while the other species have a cylindrical structure. It adapts perfectly to neutral water, although in nature it lives in water with acidity more than usual. The fish has a calm character. Suitable for keeping with large fish, body length reaches 40-45 centimeters. Seldom lies at the bottom of the aquarium. It has a high speed.
Spotted snakehead native to India. It can live in different conditions: cool and tropical. Contain fish at a temperature of 9 to 40 degrees. It tolerates various water parameters without difficulties, acidity and hardness of water does not play a special role. A small fish that grows to a length of 30 centimeters. It has an aggressive character, which is why it is recommended to keep it in the aquarium separately from other fish.
Unpretentious variety, so the fish do not need to create special conditions. Large fish, reaching a length of up to 90 centimeters.
The snakehead is outwardly similar to the variety CHANNA LUCIUS (magnificent snakehead), especially in terms of conditions of detention, but has longer and tubular nostrils. Body length reaches 35-45 centimeters.
Snakehead, which is called a shy fish, reaching up to 25 centimeters in length. Fish prefers permanent shelters, which is why there should be a lot of them in the aquarium. Do not attack the prey if it is larger than its size, and when they do not climb into shelter.
The body length of the snakehead pulcher is about 30 centimeters. They are considered a territorial variety. Able to get along normally in a pack. They can attack other fish if they sense danger. Eat everything that fits in the mouth. A distinctive feature is the presence of two large fangs in the center on the lower jaw.
The snakehead is considered a very clever predator, the strategy of which is a rapid jerk from the ambush. It feeds on everything that can be grabbed and eaten. It prefers to eat any other fish, amphibians, insect larvae, waterfowl chicks, adult insects, including those that live in atmospheric air. During the spill, his diet is often replenished with mice, chicks and other terrestrial inhabitants.
Snakehead reaches sexual maturity at the age of 2 years. During this period, the body length of the fish exceeds 35 centimeters. Prefers to spawn snakeheads in the warm season, when the water temperature ranges from 18-20 degrees.
When choosing various underwater plants, the fish builds its capacious nest, the diameter of which reaches about 1 meter. Inside it, he rolls eggs containing their own fat particles - the caviar floats up and holds in the upper layer of water until the formation of fry.
Female snakeheads are highly productive. They can lay up to 30,000 eggs up to 5 times in one season.
The incubation period is two days. After 3-4 days, the fry are already beginning to frolic actively near the surface of the water, but at the same time, without sailing far from the nest. The parent continues to protect his offspring for several weeks, protecting him from the attack of predators. This lasts until the fry learn to hunt on their own, get their own food, and survive in natural conditions.
In the first days after hatching, the fry are fed on algae and plankton. But after a few rows of teeth are formed in small fish, they become predators that attack all living things.
The snakehead is considered an insatiable fish with a mobile, well-developed jaw. Sharp and strong teeth instantly grab prey, chewing it in seconds. Snakehead is the most dangerous predator that lives in all freshwater bodies of Primorye. It preys on all inhabitants living underwater. It eats small fish, but can attack large fish, even those whose sizes exceed it.
The family of snakeheads carefully watches their offspring and the water area where the nest is located. Fish do not give offense to their relatives. For stable development of eggs, adult snakeheads with the help of fins create a constant flow of water.
The snakeheads, that is, the female and the male, remain together, even when the fry are born. Parents guard and protect fry in the process of their development, which provides a high chance of survival.
Change of habitat
Snakeheads like calm and quiet ponds with lots of logs and snags in the water. They like to settle in ponds where there are a lot of algae and everything is overgrown with reeds. Snakeheads are not afraid of the low oxygen content in such water - they are able to make up for it by swimming to the surface.
Adult individuals who are lodged in the aquarium are trying to find various ways to escape from the "cage" and be free. Even in a closed aquarium, the fish with its powerful body will try to break the glass. After the snakehead is on the ground, it wriggles like a snake, moves in the same way, looking for a new habitat.
Having sent a young snakehead to the aquarium, it will grow with age, respectively, and there will be less space for it. He will destroy and bite all the fish that is adjacent to him. It is important to choose aquariums with a displacement of at least 100 liters, and contain one snakehead in them. It is forbidden to release such a predator into water sources.
Experienced experts say that, if necessary, snakeheads are taught to eat shrimp, snails, pieces of meat, mussels, earthworms. Adult fish are fed once a week - so they feel good. The quality of the water does not matter much, but if you do not change the dirty water for a long time, ulcers may appear on the head of the snakehead, which will disappear only after changing the liquid.
If the snakeheads have fry, they are grouped by size - so weaker individuals will not become food for older fish. For keeping in the aquarium, preference is given to the eastern snakehead, due to its small size - up to 15 centimeters in length.
As soon as the first snakeheads brought to the UK appeared, their cost reached up to 5 thousand pounds. Today, the price of predators has become much lower, but not quite small for fish - about 1,500 pounds.
Which fish do snakeheads live with?
It is permissible to hook other fish to snakeheads. But not all varieties are suitable for living together. It is required to take into account the size of both the snakehead and its neighbors.
It is forbidden to settle in one aquarium with a neon snakehead, it will become food for a predator. Preference is given to large-sized fish, with which the snakehead can get along, and does not swallow it. For snakeheads, up to 40 centimeters in length, the best neighbors will be the peace-loving, energetic and maneuverable species of fish, for example, small-sized carp fish.
It is undesirable to hook cichlids, for example, Managuan ones, to the snakehead. With age, this species becomes large and excessively strong, becoming a serious competitor for the snakehead.
What kind of snakeheads, what kinds of fish can get along with
Predatory and large snakeheads
|It is recommended to keep separately such varieties of snakeheads:|
|Small-sized snakeheads lodge with such fish:|
- moderately hostile cichlids;
- large cyprinids.
Get along with the following neighbors:
- small and inconspicuous fish;
- large fish with a wide body;
- bots (royal, clowns);
- catfish (ancistruses, pterygohorchidomas, plecostomy).
Snakehead fishing is more like hunting. The only advantage of this hunt is that the fish pecks from lunch to evening. In order to catch her, you don’t have to wake up early in the morning.
It is recommended to catch a predator from a PVC boat - it will be convenient to stand in it. You do not need a motor boat, because the engine will only interfere, constantly clinging to the thick grass. Usually, snake fish fiercely resist, because of which the rod is chosen two-handed and strong.
When fishing, you will have to make every effort to pull the fish through the grass. The rod should include a powerful coil that can withstand heavy loads. It is better to give preference to a drum coil with a quick brake.
Snakeheads are caught without leashes, because it will be inconvenient with them. Despite the fact that the fish eats almost everything, a rubber frog will become the best bait for it. Catching a river snake is not easy: a rubber bait is dragged along the water so that it bounces. A predator can be capricious and not peck on a frog just because it is swimming in the wrong direction. The fish can take the bait in any way: toss it over the water and then grab it, just throw it on it, jam it with its tail.
It also happens that the snakehead simply begins to play with prey, chewing and biting it. In this case, do the hooking on an intuitive level. The snakehead is characterized by a bony and hard mouth, which is why it is necessary to hook it powerfully.
From this fishing there are only breathtaking impressions, pleasant emotions. In the end, after fishing, you can bring home trophies, or come without it, but with good memories.
Due to the fact that it is very difficult to recreate the required conditions, fish farming is extremely rare. It is not easy to determine the sex of an individual. Some scientists believe that females are slightly fuller than males. The pair is determined as follows: they launch 4-6 fish into a separate tank, then they will be divided into pairs.
Aquarium for breeding choose a large, with shelters, without other fish. Depending on the species, snakeheads need different conditions for spawning:
- Slowly lower the water temperature, creating the natural conditions of the rainy season.
- Do not create absolutely no conditions.
Some species have eggs in their mouths, while others need to build a nest out of foam. After spawning, fish protect the fry.
Snakeheads are predatory fish that live among thickets of ponds. They differ in some unusual properties, which makes them more unique:
- As they grow older, fish change their color. As a rule, young animals have bright yellow or orange-red stripes on the body - with time they disappear, due to which the fish acquires a grayish or dark blue hue. It is important to know those who are going to engage in breeding a snakehead in an aquarium. But take into account the moment that other species of snakeheads are different: with time they become only more attractive.
- A predator is able to survive without even being in the water. It feels great on land for up to 5 days. River snakeheads are prone to frequent changes of residence. It is not difficult for them to move from one reservoir, which began to drain, into another, full of water.
- It can easily tolerate low oxygen content in water. The paired breathing bags, which are connected to the skin, allow the fish to breathe atmospheric oxygen. The fish need it. In dry ponds, snakeheads can live for several months: it burrows in silt to a depth of more than a meter, forming a thick layer of mucus on the walls.
Snakehead is an unusual fish, attracting the very name. It differs in external characteristics and conditions of detention. There are a huge number of varieties that vary in appearance and character.