Eyespot Snakehead - Channa pleurophthalma
Wild giant snakeheads are among the favourites of sport fishermen in Malaysia due to its fighting, aggressive nature (and size!). Known locally as 'toman', these fish can eat almost anything, from their own fry to ducklings. As with arowanas, they need large space. Don't bother mixing with other species, all are food to its eyes. I once reared one, still a juvenile along with a local fish known as 'puyu'. The 'puyu' are pretty agressive and equipped with spiny fins. I thought that since the 'puyu' were 1/3 the size of that snakehead, it would be OK. Barely 24 hours after putting them in the tank, all I could see was one bloated snakehead...
The snakehead becomes very aggressive when it reaches the length of about 30 cm. This fish grows very fast, especially with live food. When I bought my snakehead it was about 7 cm, then after 2 months it tripled its size and then had a bite on my archer fish. A very quick and fast eater, it only takes a tenth of a second after I put a guppy in the tank. This fish also has razor sharp teeth, so I recommend not to put your hands inside the tank if the snakehead is 30 cm or more.
Snakeheads are very shy. But they will jump at anything startling, so a cover is a must if you want to purchase a snakehead. They are illegal in California, but the small mom and pop shops will carry them. They will eat anything that will fit in their mouths so be aware of smaller fish. Not very aggressive to other fish of the same size. I have my snakehead with an oscar, Arowana, and Pacu.
I currently have three snakeheads in a 2000 liter tank! You need to special order a tank this big and they are EXTREMELY pricy. They are each about 75 centimeters in length. They aren't cichlids, but are aggressive towards almost anything that will fit into their mouth. They are very hard to take care of and I definitely don't recommend this fish to any inexperienced aquarium keepers. Make sure that you have a strong floor for a heavy tank like this one!
Snakeheads are a very nasty fish and I recommend keeping tank mates at least double the size of them. My snakehead has bitten larger fish in half and eaten both halves. They grow to over 60 cm and are now illegal in New Jersey, U.S because people were throwing them in lakes when they got too big and eating everything in the lakes.
I have had this fish for sometime now, he eats anything, boiled eggs, roast potatoes, he also likes to eat goldfish. He is 50 cm, I call him Sancho. I keep him in a 400 L tank with a clown knife fish and two walking cat fish. They rock my world!