Pikehead (Luciocephalus pulcher)

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Luciocephalus pulcher

208 Litres (55 US G.)

17.8-20.3cm (7-8 ")




3.0 - 6.0

25.6-28.9°C (78 -84 °F)

0-5 °d

1:1 M:F

Live Foods

5-8 years



Additional names

Pikehead, Crocodile Fish


Asia: Peninsular Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia and Singapore

Tank compatibility[edit]

This is a predatory - but surprisingly shy - anabantoid with a comparatively large mouth, and is best kept in a species tank consisting of similarly sized specimens to prevent cannibalism from ensuing. Most other species large enough not to be eaten will severely stress the pikeheads.


This fish rarely takes anything other than live foods such as bloodworms, shrimp, and small fish. It is piscivorous in the wild and primarily hunts smaller fish in its native waters, with fishes so victimized being as much as half the length of the attacking pikehead.

Feeding regime[edit]

Feed once or twice daily, keeping in mind this species' need for immaculate water quality.

Environment specifics[edit]

This fish must be kept in immaculate, very soft and acidic conditions and can be very sensitive to water quality issues, so any tank intended to house them must be very mature. They do best in planted and/or blackwater tanks with dim lighting and plenty of hiding places.


In addition to being sensitive to begin with, pikeheads do not handle shipping well and frequently fall ill as a consequence of the stresses of being shipped. They are not frequently spawned; like chocolate gouramies (to which they are particularly closely related), this fish is a paternal mouthbrooder and produces relatively large fry that can immediately take baby brine shrimp and microworms.


External links[edit]