Photo credit: Wanna Thawinwan (Thailand) Review: Abdel Rahman El Gamal
Snakehead is one of the most common staple food fishes in Thailand. The decline in the harvests of wild snakehead, due to overfishing along with other reasons were behind the interest in farming snakehead in Thailand especially the species proved to be suitable for farming.
Even though there are several snakehead species in Thailand, only Channa striatus is the one selected for farming.
Snakehead culture has spread rapidly in Thailand due to the increase in demand in addition being a good replacement to catfish (Clarias sp.) which faced disease problems as well as declining farm gate prices.
The snakehead is often cultured in monoculture systems while there are few cases of polyculture systems.
Realizing that snakehead is an air-breathing fish, along with tolerance to ranges and variety of water quality parameters, it is well adopted to intensive system. With proper feed and stocking density, the fish often attains 300–500 gm in 9 months and 500–800 gm in 11 months.
Snakehead fry/fingerlings required for stocking are collected from natural waters and so snakehead farms secure their requirements from private fry collectors.
Usually the feed provided to snakehead is a mixture of mainly trash fish (90% or more) with rice bran. The production of about 10-20 kg/m3 seems a reasonable production range.