Channa diplogramma / Malabar Snakehead 6inch
Young of Channa diplogramma (meaning literally doublestripe) are red coloured and live in groups. De attractive litte fish are nice to see and appear quite docile. An unaware aquarist probably cannot suspect that this cute babies will become a rivermonster within a some months. Accordingly to their name after two months the fish change their pattern for a white-yellowish basecolour, with two horizontal black stripes over the body. In the middle often with a bright orange glow. After a year this pattern will be changed again over a drab black and white pattern.
Relatively unfussy although some surface cover in the form of floating or overhanging vegetation or branches is appreciated.
Unlike most Channa spp. it’s pelagic and requires plenty of room to swim.
It’s essential to use a tightly-fitting hood since Channa spp. are notorious for their ability to escape, and a gap should be left between this and the water surface as they require access to a layer of humid air.
An obligate predator which probably feeds on smaller fishes, amphibians and terrestrial insects in nature but in most cases adapts well to dead alternatives in captivity.
Some specimens even accept dried foods though these should never form the staple diet.
Young fish can be offered chironomid larvae (bloodworm), small earthworms, chopped prawn and suchlike while adults will accept strips of fish flesh, whole prawns/shrimp, mussels, etc.
This species should not be fed mammalian or avian meat such as beef heart or chicken since some of the lipids contained in these cannot be properly metabolised by the fish and may cause excess fat deposits and even organ degeneration.
Best-maintained in a species-specific aquarium.
Juveniles and subadults are relatively peaceful with one another but become aggressive when they reach sexual maturity.