Special fish

Stoliczkas Schmerle

Once seen 2006 at over 4000m altitude in Spiti India between Kaza and Ke Gompa.

During a nice stay there, not far from prayer walls, Gompas, Stupas, small villages, peaks and rocks in all kind of red colour with sandwashed magic formations along the Spiti river during June.

Very good camouflaged on ground but when dsiturbed moving away, then dropping on ground agin which was icecold and very clear up there like trout zone, with small underwater springs. Gets 15cm long

Distribution range:
GUS states, also China, Balchasch lake, Tarim, Brahmaputra, rivers to Yssik Kul and Spiti (over 4000m !) So to say, discovered also in Spiti. Info can be found in Aquarien Atlas 2 page 354 (german, Mergus verl)

See my painting of the Stoliczkas Schmerle once or the story of that time in Spiti India

Channa - Snakeheads

Snakeheads are powerfull raptor fish, which can be found mostly in asian and southasian waters, but there is even a coldwater specie in the river Amur drainage (Amur Schlangenkopf- Channa argus up to 85cm), northeast China to Russia.

Channa orientalis got seen young in sidewaters of lake Pollonnaruwa, the main lake at the old kings town with ruins etc and it showed interestinhg habits of moving between other small fish there.

It can also be fished from the partly deep rocky shores which gets daily visited by 2 kormorant species, herons and pelicans. Fishermen got seen catching also Stachelaale. The small Snakehead at a shallow sidwater stream should have been a young Channa orientalis which gets only found in Sri Lanka.

The picture shows 4 channas in mid Channa striata (gets up to 90cm) with 2 Channa marulia (size to 120cm) around, all found at Almora marcet up at 1600m alt, Uttarkhand India.

The different species are Channa striata, marulia, Ch micropeltas, Ch. obscura (Africa, Senegal bis weissen Nil) and Parachanna africana (Afric Schlangenkopf)

They live in waters with much vegetation, ponds, jheels, rivers, flooded areas, young ones hunting insects can be watched at the Bod Gaya water tank (with statue, Bihar), Channas can be seen by chance in Akarazia swamp waters (Sri lanka), sidewaters of lake Polonnaruwa (sri Lanka) and also soem northindian marcets like Almora.

They are not very sensitice to water quality in aquarias. Once me hitch hiking to Netherlands (late 90s) a guy took me the way to Amsterdam with a living snakehead in his car, he brought it to the Amsterdam zoo at that time, cause it got quite a monster at the time then.
Almora city is located at 1600m altitude with a 2,5km bazar and from the Kosi river up it is 14 km on roads.

Etroplus maculatus - Indischer Buntbarsch, Orange Chromis

Can be found at many places all over India like in Goan tanks, lake Pushkar and also rivers close to the sea.

They are nice to be watched and keep care of their young in different ages, what should be interesting seen in aquarias. Open breeders on stones and roots

Seen at Pushkar lake and some ponds and tanks in Goa. Nicely painted, lives in small swarms and mixed family groups, what is not so common with this fish order (Barsche), feeds on insects, larves, small fish. Have never seen in fish books even as its nicely painted and can be found at many regions.

Sensitive to changes in waterquality, but can take 1-2 teaspoons of salt/ 10 ltrs, seen near coasts in streams- Goa. There is another related specie found in Sulawesi the Green chromis (suratensis)

It is one of the only 3 living Cichlid species today in mainland Asia, there are many Cichlids in Africa and Latin America, but only 3 Cichl. species in Asia.

Piku, Streifenhechtling - Aplocheilus lineautus

They are part of the Hechtlinge group, small raptors of swampy also shallow waters.

The Piku can be found from Goa to Vorderindien, has a small neon spot on head seen from ashore, gets up to 10 cm and can be seen hunting in the clear swampwaters in Goa. Catching the small fish for aquarias is a challange, so lets say on a scooter with long net and plastic bags, partly on busy streets during season, take care in case you want to try in Goa.

They are partly swimming in small groups and can shoot quite fast to hide in the swamps. The put eggs in fine plants in shallow waters, after 12-14 days young get out of eggs. Often agressive against same fish, waters light saur (pH 6-6,8) Good against moscito larves !

Small hunter with neon spot on upper head distinctive. Only seen in Goan clear waters, little streams, flooded fields and similar waters with vegetation, usually close to surface hunting for insects (moscito larves) or small fish. Interesting small raptor which also does for aquarias

Also pics with stories in Goa chapter

Sri Lankan Stonesucker, Riesenstachelaal and Blotch filamented (Lotos swamps with Whitebellied seaeagles overhead ..tooo much)

European freshwater fish -


(Umbra krameri) Small Knochenfish a bid moving like a Hecht but much smaller, also a hunter of reeds and shallow waters, rare endangered relict in mideast Europe, only one specie, a rare leftover habitat is found midnorth along the river Danube, Auenwald with a small stream.

Should be bred, protected (1) and released like in Schilfguertel with waters. Two more species in north America named Mudminnows, once more often seen in aquaristic shops, never the european one.

In garden ponds it could eat too much of insect larves and young amphibs. Living in small well covered wood streams and reed areas, or flooded zones. Interesting by its movements, nearly extinguished but got found in late 80s in a small stream along the Danube in austria, can also be found in hungarian reed and Schilfgürtel areas (ufer u flachwasserbereiche), Living as solitary small hunter

Not to be mixed with the tropical HUNDSALMLER (Acestrorhynchus falcirostris up to 40cm) of the mid Amazonas which got once 03/04 cought with blinker from Kajak near Santarem, then put on a floaterline and after about 3 hours same afternoon a huge silver Pirhana got on line, which had the hook in his eye, guess out of viciousness.

Getting the Pirhana on land I had to put it on a line again in the shade before dinner to save it from getting eaten by the tropical ants during the days.


Lives in open clear lakes usually on gravel or stone grounds in southeast Europe, usually solitary and put single eggs on stones. Good for unheated sweatwater aquarias. Once seen in a huge kroatien lake on way to otok Hvar having a break on way.


Originally from the eastern US, can be found wild east of Vienna in some lakes, Lobau to Hainburg, Lives in small swarms and takes territory when breeding, good for med sized to big aquariums unheated.

Hammerhead sharks (uneuropean)

Hammerheads are as well living off the Goan coast, sometiomes you can see young ones as part of the catch at fish marcets. They re living far off the coast or beach areas often patrolling togather.

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