Betta hendra

Betta Hendra: A Guide To Caring for This New Species

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A Betta hendra? What’s one of those?! – Okay, whew! Glad you asked! So it’s not just me that had never heard of this species?

All joking aside, the Betta hendra is not a commonly known species. That could very well be because they were discovered only recently. However, they’re truly beautiful fish that everyone should get to know about!

Originating as most betta do, in the freshwaters of Southeast Asia, the hendra is often confused with the most popular species of betta – the Betta splenden (Otherwise known as the Siamese fighting fish).

These two species are similar in their small size, beautiful colors, and intelligence, though, by nature, the hendra is less aggressive, making this fish an excellent choice for a community tank!

So if a Betta hendra sounds like the perfect pick for you, read on to find out all about it!

Betta Hendra

Betta Hendra Info
Common NamesBetta Hendra
Scientific NameBetta Hendra
Minimum tank size10 - 15 Gallons
Beginner-FriendlyNot recommended
Lifespan4 - 6 Years
Water Temperature24°C - 28°C (75-82 deg F)
pH Level4.0 - 6.6 pH
Water Hardness18 - 90 ppm


Whilst some sources say that the Betta hendra is only known to inhabit the Sabangau swamp in Indonesia, they are a rare species, so they may also be undiscovered in other bodies of water both in and around Borneo.

The Betta hendra was named after Hendra Tommy, who recently discovered the species.

And when I say very recently, I mean that they were studied and recorded in 2013 by Schindler and Linke, who produced the paper “Betta Hendra – A New Species of Fighting Fish.”

Obviously, this species may have existed undiscovered for many years; they live in a swamp in a forest, after all.

However, this paper helped detail the natural habitat of the hendra and enabled us to learn their requirements for care in captivity.

Although this fish can be rare to find, it’s potentially even more rare to come across in the wild.

Natural Habitat

The natural habitat of the Betta hendra, as with any betta breed, should be replicated in aquariums to make your pet feel at home.

Typically found in slightly acidic, highly organic blackwaters, their homes are generally filled with decomposing leaves, branches, twigs, and other biological materials – generally, not too pleasant for a home aquarium.

Still, they’ll be happy in a clean tank with live plants and water with a low pH of 4 to 6.6.

Due to their origins in Southeast Asia, they’re used to a warmer climate, so if kept in a tank, the temperature of the water should be maintained somewhere between 24°C to 28°C (75°F to 82°F).

Maximum Standard Length & Appearance

The Betta hendra is similar in appearance to the Betta splenden, a more common breed, though they can be differentiated by the hendra’s slightly longer body – they can grow up to 4 to 6cm in length!

The Betta hendra is sometimes compared to the Plakat betta due to its short fins, minimal appearance, and overall slender and small stature.

In terms of colors, Betta hendra commonly have green or blue-green eyes, which are slightly triangular. The males are generally more colorful than the females.

However, all Betta hendras are typically dark brown in color, with hints of blue, green, and occasionally red.

Are Betta Hendra Aggressive?

Betta hendra are generally more aggressive and territorial in the wild than they are in captivity. This is due to their natural competition being bigger and having larger territories.

All betta fish can be aggressive when they feel threatened or must defend their territory. However, when kept in captivity, the hendra is generally a very peaceful fish, and females particularly can very easily be housed as part of a community tank.

Care Tips


Despite what I’ve literally just said, it must be kept in mind that bettas, in general, are not community tank staples.

Though the Betta hendra is less aggressive than other species, if the tank is too small or they feel their territory is being threatened, they will still attack their tank mates!

Female Betta hendras should ideally be kept with those of their own species, and males and females may be happy to have small, slow-moving tankmates swimming around without feeling threatened.


Generally, breeding Betta hendra isn’t too difficult. It’s not easy; after all, they’re still a betta, and all the usual precautions must be taken to ensure that no fish dies in the process.

That being said, they’re not the most difficult betta species to breed, and for anyone who enjoys breeding betta as a hobby, they’re an excellent choice.

In terms of breeding practices, the Betta hendra is what’s known as a ‘bubble-nester.’ This sounds quite adorable, and in fact, it actually is!

Male hendras build bubble nests to house their eggs, and once they’re all securely in place, the male chases the female away from the nest to protect the offspring.

If any eggs become dislodged and fall, the male’s job is to collect them. The eggs are retrieved and relodged into the nest, where they’re tucked away safely until it’s time to hatch.

All of this time, the male will focus on maintaining the nest, ensuring no eggs fall and that they’re protected and guarded at all times.

Despite this quirky way of breeding, Betta hendra are still capable of breeding with other betta species.

Sexual Dimorphism

“Sexual Dimorphism” is a term that defines the physical differences between males and females of the same species.

Many animals have huge differences between males and females, be it in size, color, or overall appearance – the Betta hendra is no different!

Male hendras have more vibrant and iridescent colors, featuring beautiful shades of green and blue. In contrast, the females are a little more dull.


Due to their carnivorous nature, Betta hendra thrive on a diet of live foods, such as daphnias, brine shrimp, and blackworms.

Feeding them live foods helps replicate their natural feeding habits, as in the wild, the Betta hendra likes to feed on insects and invertebrates.

In captivity, however, a hendra may sometimes be open to the idea of eating flakes. That being said, they’re not as likely to eat this as other breeds that have lived in captivity for much longer, and whether they will choose to eat it is entirely down to each individual.

I guess some are just a little more greedy than others!

Tank Set Up

Bettas are generally good jumpers, the Betta hendra even more so!

First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure that whatever tank you choose to buy comes with a lid. This will help prevent any, um… how shall we say… accidental casualties.

A gap between the water’s surface and the lid is also essential to allow your fish enough space to breathe. This is because they breathe air through their mouth, so they must reach the water’s surface to do this.

Due to the hot climate of their native waters in Southeast Asia, a heater should be used to ensure the water in the tank remains at a comfortable 24°C – 28°C (75-82 deg F) for your fish.

It’s best to introduce your Betta hendra to a fully cycled tank. Despite the murkyness of their natural habitat, the Betta hendra isn’t as hardy as some other species, so introducing them to a tank that hasn’t been cycled and scaped could kill them.

Generally, a darker color substrate is recommended in order to contrast with a betta’s bright and beautiful colors. Substrates that are pale in colors, such as white, cream, or non-natural colors, can make your fish look dull.

A peat substrate is generally best, as not only will it make the pretty colors of your hendra pop, but it can also greatly benefit their health. Gravel and sand can also be used if you place high importance on the aesthetics of your aquarium.

However, gravel isn’t a part of this fish’s natural habitat, so it doesn’t benefit their health as a peat substrate does.

Many live plants are recommended for a Betta hendra tank. Using plants that do well in blackwater, such as Java Fern and Anubia, is best, as these can help replicate the natural habitat of the hendra.

Overall, the Betta Hendra Is Quite a Good Choice To Keep as a Pet.

Despite commonly being mistaken for a splenden, the Betta hendra is a more unusual alternative for those looking to branch out in the betta keeping hobby.

Due to their different habitat and tank requirements, they can pose new challenges to their owners.

These fish are more than worth the extra effort, though. They are a friendly, beautiful, and downright adorable breed. What’s not to love about the Betta hendra?

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