Channa bleheri is one of the Snakehead species that is most suitable to the aquarium. It grows small, is peaceful and attractive. A seasonal period with lower -non-tropical- water temperature is mandatory for good health.
Endemic to the Brahmaputra River basin in the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, northeastern India, with the full extent of its distribution unclear.
It is apparently restricted to the northern portion of Assam, while in Arunachal Pradesh it has been collected in the vicinity of Doimukh in the Dikrong river drainage.
Type locality is ‘Upper Diburu near Guijam, Assam, India’.
Prefers a dimly-lit aquarium with a layer of surface vegetation such as Ceratopteris spp. plus some submerged cover.
It is essential to use a tightly-fitting hood since Channa spp. are notorious for their ability to escape, and a gap should be left between this and the water surface as they require access to a layer of humid air.
More importantly still C. bleheri must not be maintained at a constant temperature but provided with natural seasonal variation in the form of defined winter and summer periods. During the colder period the fish do not require much food and the water level can be allowed to fall without additional top-ups.
An obligate predator which probably feeds on smaller fishes and insects in nature, but in most cases adapts well to dead alternatives in captivity. Some specimens may accept dried foods though these should never form the staple diet.
Young fish can be offered chironomid larvae (bloodworm), small earthworms, chopped prawn and suchlike, while adults will accept strips of fish flesh, whole prawns, mussels, live river shrimp, larger earthworms, etc.