The most suitable food for a Snakehead is live fish, but they can be trained onto dead food. Once you have made your Snakehead realise that dead things can be tasty too, it will eat almost anything you give it. Some Snakeheads will even try to taste dead things like aquarium heaters. A Snakehead requires a lot of food, and will produce a lot of waste products. Large water changes must therefore be performed regularly. Changing 50 percent of the water once a week is a good rule of thumb, but the Snakehead is quite sturdy and usually survives even in poor water conditions. It will also accept most pH levels (within reasonable limits of course). Keeping the water temperatures up is important, since the Snakehead is a tropical species. You must keep the Snakehead in an aquarium where it can reach the surface to breathe oxygen from the air, otherwise it will drown. Only a very young Snakehead is capable of absorbing oxygen from the water. It is however important to cover the aquarium, since the Snakehead is a strong jumper.
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The life cycle of R. orientalis is unknown but has been hypothesized by to include one or more lizard and/or snake intermediate hosts. Presumably this parasite entered Australia from Asia when an infected intermediate host was accidentally introduced. When considering potential intermediate hosts for trophically transmitted parasites, such as pentastomids, it is imperative to consider the diet of the hosts, especially those with specialized diets. Of the ∼20 known ophidian definitive hosts of R. orientalis, few have specialized diets. One that does is the highly aquatic Asiatic water snake (Xenochrophis piscator) that primarily eats fish (>75% of diet) and to a lesser extent, frogs (>14% of diet; ). None of 232 Asiatic water snakes examined by contained a snake in their stomach contents. Therefore, snakes are an unlikely intermediate host for R. orientalis. Snakes are not commonly consumed by any of the definitive host species from which we recovered R. orientalis. Fish are not consumed by Demansia spp. which exhibited 100% prevalence of infection, hence it is unlikely that they are the primary intermediate host for R. orientalis. Frogs are the most plausible intermediate host for this pentastomid. All snake species that were infected with R. orientalis consume frogs () and T. mairii preys almost exclusively on frogs (). We detected only one R. orientalis in one individual of the arboreal D. punctulatus which preys primarily on tree frogs in the Northern Territory (). Thus, a ground dwelling frog is the most plausible intermediate host for R. orientalis in the Australian tropics. We found one R. orientalis in one water python (L. fuscus). These pythons feed primarily on native rats, Rattus colletti, at the only site where this species has been studied intensively (close to our own study area; ). However, dissections of water pythons from other regions (including nearby) have revealed a broader diet, with significant numbers of avian and reptilian prey (). Declines in rat abundance caused by flooding events may induce the pythons to feed upon a wider range of species (). Future studies could usefully examine ground dwelling frogs for presence of infective R. orientalis larvae.
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Snakeheads are native to tropical Africa and southern Asia, and they have only recently been in established in the US. They are airbreathing and have lower protruding jaws with canine teeth. Snakeheads are sold in the pet trade, fish markets and are important in aquaculture.
African Snakehead - Parachanna obscura - AC Tropical Fish