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Parachanna obscura (African Snakehead)

Juveniles are strikingly marked, being light brown with sharply defined dark brown blotches across their flanks. As they mature their colours become more subdued, but adults are still quite attractive, if sombre-looking, fish. There is no known sexual dimorphism.

A large but impressive snakehead for the advanced aquarist. Not difficult to keep, but its large size, predacious habits and territorial personality mean that it is normally kept alone in an aquarium at least 500 litres in size. Might be kept with armoured catfish that are larger than it is, but like other snakeheads tends to be intolerant of its own kind and can be snappy towards its tankmates if it is feeling crowded.

In the wild juveniles primarily on insects and small fish; adults become more or less entirely piscivorous. Weaning them onto non-live foods can be difficult. Earthworms, crickets, gut-loaded river shrimp and mealworms make useful staples. Once settled, they may be trained to take fillets of white fish and seafood, but this shouldn't be taken for granted. The use of long forceps for wiggling tilapia fillet or lancefish enticingly would be helpful.

Note the large size of the adults. These are food fish with an adult weight around 1 kg. Needless to say the aquarium will be need to be very large and equipped with an extremely robust filter rated at not less than 8 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. These fish eat a lot of food, making the use of even home-bred feeder fish a more expensive choice of fish.

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Hemibagrus wyckii (Crystal Eyed Catfish)

A large, handsome catfish with a near-legendary reputation for aggression and destructiveness. Basic colour is mottled grey, but the distinctive feature of this species are its glassy blue eyes.

Most common in large rivers, where it may be found even into slightly brackish waters. Any aquarium designed for these fish needs to have a strong water current and lots of swimming space.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):
Approach this handsome caution: beyond their large size, they are predators and also highly territorial. They will destroy things like heaters placed inside the aquarium. Use a large external filter with a built-in heater when keeping this fish. Cannot be kept with any tankmates.

Can be raised on meaty foods including strips of fish, prawns, mussels, etc. They will quickly become tame.

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