|Distribution||Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand.|
|Sexual Dimorphism||Females in breeding condition will be much fuller bellied.|
|Maximum Size||22cm (8.7")|
|Temperature||22-26 deg C (72-79 deg F)|
|Water Parameters||Very soft & acidic. pH 3.5-6.0, dH: up to 10 degrees.|
|Lighting||Dim (can be brighter if diffused by plants)|
The Pikehead is a fascinating Anabantid known from blackwater swamp habitats within dense tropical forests. Here the water is very soft and acidic, and darkly stained with tannins from the peat and decomposing leaves that have fallen into the water from the canopy above. These predatory fish lurk amongst live and fallen vegetation, slowly drifting about in the water, putting one in mind of a floating twig. Here they will wait for small fish or shrimps to come within striking distance, at once rapidly extending their highly protrusible jaws, and instantly engulfing their prey. These piscivorous labyrinth fish are best maintained in a large, mature species-only aquarium with gentle current. A dark substrate and an abundance of plant life will help to make these fish feel secure; floating species useful in helping to diffuse the aquarium lighting. Include some driftwood (the spindly Sumatra wood is ideal) to create shady hiding places and visual barriers. Peat filtration is highly recommended. These fish are best kept in small groups (3-5) but they must be of the same size and introduced simultaneously; this is not only more natural for them, but will also further your chances of breeding success. Tankmates - if they absolutely must be added - should be very peaceful (so as not to intimidate the pikeheads) and of at least the same adult length. The mouths of Pikeheads are extremely deceptive - they are capable of swallowing prey that is more than 1/3 to 1/2 of their body length. Tight fitting coverslides are essential as these fish are accomplished jumpers. Regular partial water changes are a must in order to maintain the consistent high water quality required. Not recommended for beginners. This species can be differentiated from its close relative L. aura by its larger adult size and lack of peppermint coloured spots along the flanks.
Offer a variety of meaty frozen foods such as Mysis shrimp, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp, bloodworm, white mosquito larvae, chopped prawns etc. Newly imported fish may require live river shrimp or crickets, weaning them onto frozen foods over time. These fish are very unlikely to take dry foods. Warning: capable of taking fish that are small enough to fit in their capacious mouths - choose tankmates with care.
Paternal mouthbrooders. Pikeheads have bred in the home aquarium, but this is a rare event (with details few and far between) and so would make a great breeding project for the serious hobbyist. Very soft, acidic water is required. The male mouthbroods the eggs for around 30 days before the fully-formed fry are released. He will not attempt to eat during this time. The fry must be separated from the adults once they are released, to avoid falling victim to predation.