Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Channa micropeltes

Giant snakehead

Giant snakehead, Channa micropeltesGiant snakehead, Channa micropeltes
Photos by Andy Rapson


Channa: Greek, channe, -es = an anchovy

General Notes:

Channa micropeltes are often sold as juveniles around three inches in length when they have their striking red lateral band colour. either the three inches or striking colour last for very long and you are left with a large dull fish.
Unlike most snakeheads Channa micropeltes is an active swimmer which is constantly on the move which in turn means that the aquarium required to keep one of these fish is to big for most domestic situations and this fish is really best left to public. I know tank size is down to common sense and an area of little agreement but I believe anything less than 1200 litres would be cruel for just a single adult. Apart from their size these fish are extremely easy to keep being quite unfussy in all areas.


Channa micropeltes mainly feeds on other fish. Large aquatic inverts are also taken.


Channa micropeltes isn't really compatible with many other species because it is capable of eating fish almost as large as itself. This species is also quite aggressive especially at feeding time.




Although giant snakeheads have bred in captivity no details are presently available.

Wild status

The ICUN Red List have this fish in the "least concern" category. Channa micropeltes is very widespread and although it may face some threat locally this won't affect the overall picture. Channa micropeltes is also cultivated as a food fish in some parts of the world.

Additional information

Giant snakeheads are capable of travelling over land from one pool to another. They mostly travel on land when it is raining and at night time.

Information at a glance

pH: 6 - 8
dGH: 4 - 20
Temperature: 25 - 28°C (77 - 82°F)
Diet: Carnivore
Size: 130 cm (52in)
Min tank size: Public aquaria.
Difficulty level: Easy.
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: All levels.

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Giant snakehead, Channa micropeltes

Origin: Asia: Mekong and Chao Phraya basins

Habitat: Occurs in lowland river and swamps


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Channidae
Genus: Channa
Species: C. micropeltes, (Cuvier, 1831)

Other common names:
Indonesian snakehead

Ophicephalus bivittatus
Ophicephalus micropeltes
Ophicephalus serpentinus
Ophicephalus stevensii
Ophiocephalus studeri