Snakehead fish farming Techniques
Today, we learn snakehead fish farming techniques for tank or pond raising.
What are snakeheads? The snakehead fishes are members of the freshwater perciform fish family Channidae. And native to parts of Africa and Asia. These elongated, predatory fish are distinguished by their long dorsal fins, large mouths, and sharp teeth. Snakeheads breathe air with gills, which allows them to migrate short distances over land. They have suprabranchial organs, which increase when they grow older, which are primitive forms of labyrinth organs.
Snakehead fishes are air-breathing freshwater fishes. In scientific terms, Snakeheads are classified into two distinct genera:
- Channa (snakehead fishes of Asia, Malaysia, and Indonesia); and
- Parachanna (African snakeheads)
Snakehead fish have a lot of protein and important for society in a rural area. In contrast to coastal, rural communities have limited options to meet animal protein intake. Therefore, the Snakehead fish is one of the important sources of protein. Albumin is a very important protein that is found in the meat of the fish.
Snakeheads are predatory fish that have some surprising characteristics. The giant snakehead is a voracious predator with very sharp teeth, a large mouth, and strong jaws. It’s been known as a “frankenfish” due to its aggressive reputation. It has a lung-like organ in adding to the gills and can breathe in air. The Snakehead fish is able to survive out of water for several days. It travels over land with a wriggling motion and moves up to a quarter of a mile to attain a new waterway. Other snakehead species don’t seem to be quite as aggressive or as able of moving on land as the giant snakehead, but they are all fierce and capable predators and they can all breathe in air.
Identifying a Snakehead fish:
Snakehead fishes have an elongated body. Different species show different color patterns. Fin placement and appearance are the similarities in all of the species. It’s one process used to identify invasive Snakeheads in North America.
The fish has a long dorsal fin on their back. The pectoral fins are positioned on their sides behind their head. The pelvic fins are located on the undersurface directly below the pectoral fins. The anal fin is positioned on the undersurface towards the rear of the animal and is generally about two-thirds of the length of the dorsal fin. Like other fish, snakeheads have a caudal or tail fin at the end of their body. Where do snakeheads live? Snakehead fishes are freshwater fishes with little, if any, tolerance for saltwater. Within their native and introduced ranges, they live in small and very large streams, canals, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, and lakes. Many species can tolerate a wide range of pH level, and one species living in Malaysia and parts of Indonesia prefers highly acid waters (pH 2.8-3.8). The northern snakehead and some other species prefer to live in somewhat dense aquatic vegetation where they feed and reproduce.
Read: Urban Agriculture.
Evaluation of breeding and seed production:
This innovation involves the standardization and evaluation of the breeding and seed production of the economically very important native Snakehead fish. This will confidently make up for the lack of commercial farming of Snakehead fish in Malaysia, which is due to the lack of knowledge of their feeding and breeding methods among the fish farmers and there is no seed supply center anywhere established for breeding in Malaysia.
Some of the parameters that have been standardized include
- Feed management technology
- Seed production
- Physiology optimization
- Optimization of environmental conditions
Life cycle biology and life history of Snakehead Fishes:
The majority of Snakehead fish species live in freshwater streams and rivers. Others can live in freshwater swamps, ditches, ponds, and rice paddies. For most species breeding occurs between June and August month. Some species can breed up to 5 times a year. Snakeheads form monogamous pairs that remain all over the spawning season.
The snakehead fishes build elaborate nests by clearing an area of vegetation and weaving some vegetation into a column. During spawning, the pair moves up the column they built and the male wraps his body around the female. The eggs are then released and fertilized and they increase to the surface of the next column. One parent or both parents fiercely guard the eggs. There have been reports of attacks beside humans who approach a Snakehead egg mass. Channa gachua and Channa orentalis are the two species of Snakehead that are mouth brooders. In this case, the male Snakehead is the mouthbrooder of the fertilized eggs and the fry.
Snakehead fry starts out feeding on zooplankton but quickly attain a juvenile stage and begin to eat small crustaceans, insects and insect larvae. Adult Snakeheads feed generally on other fishes but will eat crustaceans, frogs, smaller reptiles, and the larger species of Snakehead could consume birds and small mammals. They are voracious predators and have been recognized to attack and kill prey and then not eat them.
Snakeheads are highly evolved and all species have the ability to breathe air and many are capable of overland migrations. What enables these fish to breathe air are their suprabranchial chambers for air respiration plus their ventral aorta is divided into 2 portions to permit aquatic and aerial respiration. This gives the snakehead the capability to stay out of water for a significant amount of time as long as it stays moist.
Farming trends of Snakehead Fish
With global warming, the hybrid Snakehead fish fry is now available from April to July month, but rainy weather conditions can significantly influence fish farming activity. Farmers also stock Snakehead fish ponds based on market demands, a good price this year will lead to more fish output some six months later.
Hybrid snakehead fish is generally farmed intensively in ponds and fed with extruded feeds. As the availability of water is limited and its usage is restricted, farmers farm the fish without any water exchange or by limited water exchange. In such situations, farmers have mastered the technology to keep good water quality with minimal water exchange a result of years of farming experience. To control and keep water quality, they stock some carps, such as bighead carp and common carp together with snakehead fish. In such polyculture systems, the stocking density for bighead carp and regular carp is about 0.2 fish/m2 and 0.4 fish/m2 respectively, and that for snakehead is 13 to 20 fish/m2. The Snakehead is an air breather and can live without water for more than seven days if the skin is moist enough. Aerators are used in the ponds to supply oxygen for the carps.
Read: Mud Crab Farming Guide.
Types of Snakehead Fish:
Different types of Snakeheads are explained below;
The Giant Snakehead
The giant Snakehead (Channa micropeltes) lives in freshwater, like another type of Snakeheads. Living up to its name, it could reach more than 3.3 feet in length and weigh over 44 pounds (20 kilograms).
The giant Snakehead fish is quite variable in appearance. It has a dark grey, blue-black, or black background color with white, silver, or blue-green color markings. The undersurface of the giant Snakehead fish is much lighter in color than the rest of the fish. The giant Snakehead is also called as the red snakehead. This name comes from the color of the young giant fish, or fry.
The Northern Snakehead
Although they are classified in the same genus, the Northern Snakehead (Channa Argus) and the giant snakehead look different from one another. The Northern Snakehead is an attractive fish that has a tan, brown, grey color, or grey-green background color covered with darker blotches and stripes. The northern Snakehead body is torpedo-shaped and the top of the head is noticeably flattened. The lower jaw of the northern Snakehead fish protrudes beyond its upper jaw.
Diseases of Snakehead Fish:
With changing climatic situations and limited water supply, the fish easily succumb to diseases. Putrid skin disease is common and farmers want to be able to anticipate and prevent this from affecting fish survival and prices. There are many animal health companies with chemicals and treatments to keep good water quality and to treat diseases. Most of them provide technical services to farmers.
Health benefits of Snakehead fish:
Prevent Occurrence of Swelling: Albumin is a very important protein that prevents swelling. Swelling occurs because blood cells lose their shape. Blood cells are liquid, but in them, there are molecules and particles that in normal circumstances do not mix with each other.
Media Storage Nutrition and Hormones: Just like fatty acids that help store and digest fat-soluble vitamins, albumin has the same function. Albumin not only keeps blood cells in the form of dissolved but other nutrients. Some proteins, hormones, and minerals are stored in albumin to then be circulated all over the body. Thus, the lack of albumin will cause disturbances in the human circulatory system.
Role in the Formation of White Blood Cells: White blood cells have a very important function as the body’s immune system. When there is a foreign point that enters the body, white blood cells are the body’s main defenses with its phagocyte properties. Albumin is a protein that plays a main role in the formation of this white blood cell. Lack of albumin can cause the body simply ache and inflammation.
Accelerating Wound Healing: Meat Snakehead fish contains albumin levels were very high. You need to know that albumin is one type of protein that is essential in the development of wound healing in your body.
Maintaining fluid balance in the body: Substance albumin serves to maintain the stability of the regulation of fluids in the body. If the condition of body fluid level decreases, the protein that enters the body will break so that you cannot function normally. The normal substance of albumin in the body reaches 60%.
Healthy digestion: Snakehead has more tender meat structure; you do not need to worry about digestion because it is easy to digest. This is because the Snakehead fish has a collagen protein that is lesser than the levels of the protein in livestock meat another land. Only 3 – 5% of the total protein content of collagen.
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That’s all folks about Snakehead Fish Farming Techniques and Tips.