Channa brunnea (Chocolate Snakehead, Chocolate Rainbow Snakehead)

Channa brunnea is a new species of snakehead fish lacking pelvic fins and originates from West Bengal, India. It is distinguished from its pelvic fin-less congeners by possessing a uniform dark brown body, ochre to bright-orange blotches on the caudal fin, fewer dorsal and anal-fin rays amongst other features.

Growing to around 25 cm, this species is one of the smaller Channa species. It has an attractive colour pattern and has become one of the most popular snakeheads and is now commercially bred and easily obtained. It is a very colourful species, but variable, typically sporting some mixture of red, yellow, green, and blue on its body.


Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Prefers a dimly-lit aquarium with a layer of surface vegetation such as Ceratopteris spp. plus some submerged cover.

It is 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 and insects in nature, but in most cases adapts well to dead alternatives in captivity. Some specimens may 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, mussels, live river shrimp, larger earthworms, etc.

In general, Channa are best-maintained in species-specific aquaria.Sometimes they can be kept in a well-chosen community arrangement alongside peaceful, non-territorial tank mates that are too large to be viewed as prey.

Young specimens can be maintained together but usually begin to display aggressive behaviour towards one another as they become sexually mature, although this does vary somewhat between individuals. If a pair forms they are usually peaceful towards one another but hostile to other conspecifics.


Family Group: Miscellaneous
Distribution Bengal
Temperature 22-28C
Size 20-25CM
Water Parameters Soft
Water PH 6-8
Diet Special Needs
Schooling Fish No
Care Level Difficult
Sociability Aggressive
Water Chemistry Adaptable

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