Snakehead Betta

Snakehead Betta Fish: Everything You Need to Know

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Establishing an aquarium at home is a fun hobby for most people. Imagine looking after a few beautiful, brightly colored fish and seeing them swim around all day.

Sounds fantastic, right?

Betta channoides, popularly known as the snakehead betta, are among the best fish species for your aquarium. These fish are brightly colored and calm in the company of other fish. They’re also simple to feed and incredibly easy to care for.

Read on to learn more about the beautiful snakehead betta species and how to care for them.

Snakehead Betta Info 
Common namesSnakehead betta, Strawberry betta
Scientific NameBetta channoides
OriginsKalimantan Timur, Indonesia
Size2 inches (5.1 cm)
BehaviorPeaceful with caution
Ease of careEasy
Temperature75-80° F (23.9-26.7° C)
Water parameterspH: 4.0-6.5, dGH: 18-90 ppm
Minimum tank size10 gallons (37.8 L)
DietCarnivore
Lifespan2-5 years

Origin

The snakehead betta is a fish indigenous to an island called Kalimantan Timur in Indonesia and is most present in the Mahakam river basin. These fish come in various forms, with the most in-demand variety coming from Pampang.

Snakehead bettas have also been sourced from Sungai Merimun, Mujup, and Muarapahu to maintain accuracy and bloodlines. These fish are often labeled by their area of collection.

Natural Habitat

Snakehead betta fish love acidic conditions. Wild bettas inhabit tannin-stained, acidic water in shallow forest streams and pools. There, they are likely to be found swimming throughout marginal plant roots and fallen leaf material.

Due to the decomposition of the fallen leaf litter, these shallow pools have very low pH; sometimes, the pH can drop to as low as 3.0-4.0.

Appearance

If you want to own a snakehead betta, look out for its most distinctive feature: its large mouth. This fish species is a mouthbrooder, hence the big mouth. It is this characteristic that earned Betta Channoides its nickname of snakehead betta.

These fish typically measure 2 inches in length (5.1 cm), making them a tiny species compared to other freshwater fish. Females are typically smaller than this. To distinguish between the two sexes, look at their body color. It is easy to differentiate them since the females are much less vibrant than the males.

Male snakehead bettas also have gorgeous black fins and white outlines on their ventral fins.

Behavior

Snakehead bettas are a friendly species that can coexist peacefully with other fish in small groups in a community aquarium.

Unlike other betta fish, they do not become irritated when they see each other. These fish, especially the males, occasionally fight, mostly when they feel their territory is being invaded.

As a result, keeping them in a big tank is preferred, so they all have their own space. You should also avoid putting too many females in the tank and ensure that every male has at least one female. This reduces the chances of two males fighting over a female.

Finally, try not to put your snakehead betta fish with a more dominant fish species as they may become prey. Keep the larger fish in a separate tank if you wish to raise a variety of fish in your home.

Breeding

This species is relatively simple to breed. The species is a paternal mouthbrooder, meaning the males nest the eggs inside their mouth during the incubation period. They do not create nests like the domestic betta or other varieties like Betta imbellis, which are bubble nesters.

Snakehead bettas have adapted this mode of reproduction due to their environment.

Bubble nesting species are primarily found in small, slow-moving waters with abundant vegetation in continental Asia. Betta channoides prefer an environment with some current and minimal vegetation besides decaying leaves and branches.

Bubble nests would be visible from afar and carried away by the water current in these settings. Although there are certain advantages to this reproduction method, such as a higher survival rate and safety, the male becomes more vulnerable, and the egg batches are much smaller.

Spawning Process

The snakehead betta must be bred in pairs to reproduce properly. Before spawning can take place, a pair must first form. When several females and males are in a group, pairings will spontaneously develop. The best results happen when a duo is transferred to a unique breeding setting.

A 15-gallon (56.8-75.7 L) tank with only one pair of fish is best. Nothing can be done to force spawning, but they will reproduce when they are ready. Lowering the pH level or maintaining a slightly higher water temperature may help.

Due to their small size, snakehead betta males can only carry a limited number of eggs, hence small brood sizes. The eggs are quite large, measuring about 1-2 millimeters wide. They are substantially larger and take longer to develop than bubble nest fish eggs.

The male will care for the eggs and fry for two to three weeks before releasing the fully-formed, free-swimming fry, which grow to roughly 5 millimeters.

It’s critical to keep the male as stress-free as possible after spawning, as males who are inexperienced or agitated will devour their eggs or prematurely discharge their fry. Dim the light, add additional cover, and darken the water.

Raising Fry

While still being safeguarded by the male, baby snakehead bettas live off their yolk sacks for a few days. Then the juvenile fish have to find their own food after being released.

Once the male has discharged its fry, both adult fish should be removed from the tank as their job is done. Removal enables the fry to mature in this tank, improving their development rate.

Introduce baby brine shrimp to the fry following their release, followed by other chopped frozen foods or live items. Plenty of tannins, like Indian almond leaves, should help hasten their growth. Tannins will make your fry more resistant to disease and increase their chances of survival.

It’s a good idea to use a filter when raising fry. It is critical for the fry’s development to keep the amount of waste in your tank as low as reasonably achievable through filtration and changing the water frequently. The filter should not have a high flow rate, and biological sponge filters are ideal.

Snakehead Betta Care Guide

While caring for snakehead betta fish isn’t that challenging, there are many critical details you should know to keep them in an aquarium.

Diet

The snakehead fish species is carnivorous and feeds on a wide range of meat-based meals. In the wild, they feed on any animal that fits in their mouth, including small crayfish, with their most common meal being insect larvae.

You can feed your Betta channoides a variety of frozen, dried, and live foods at home. Ensure that you have a wide variety of foods, as serving only one kind can cause a nutrient deficiency in your fish.

This species might be picky with dried foods, especially those caught from the wild. Purchase high-quality flake food or pellets that don’t contain any fillers.

Tank Size

Snakehead betta tank size is determined by the number of fish you intend to have. For example, if you keep one male and two females, a 15-gallon tank is appropriate. A 10-gallon (37.8 L) tank will be enough if you only have a pair. However, if you intend to take the chance and keep two males, a 20-gallon tank is the best option.

The more fish you have, especially males, the bigger your tank should be.

Tank Decorations

If you’ve ever had fish as pets, you know that the tank’s decorations are just as important as the fish.

First and foremost, you’ll need plants incorporated into your tank to create a safe haven for females and males to hide from one another. Plants reduce the chance of conflict in your tank and also help mimic the fish’s natural environment. Betta channoides prefer to hide under fallen leaves and plant roots in shallow woodland streams in the wild.

To help them feel safer in the aquarium, add little clay plant pots and dry leaf litter.

Finally, because snakehead betta fish prefer minimal water currents, use an air-powered sponge filter to provide some flow and keep the aquarium clean. Never increase the filter’s flow rate because this can exhaust your fish.

Water Parameters

Snakehead betta fish aren’t fussy about water conditions.

Always keep a constant temperature at 75-80° F (23.9-26.7° C). If you raise the temperature higher, their metabolism may speed up, causing them to die sooner.

The only time you can increase the temperature is for breeding purposes. Even then, temperatures shouldn’t exceed 82° F (27.8° C).

Since snakehead bettas love acidic water in their natural habitats, you should lower the pH in your tank. Ammonia and nitrite concentrations should also be kept to a minimum because they raise the risk of asphyxia in your fish.

Tank Mates

Fortunately, Snakehead bettas don’t mind sharing a tank with other fish as they are a peaceful species. They will, however, feel more at ease if they are alone. If you want to keep multiple species in your aquarium, don’t get a tank of less than 15-20 gallons. This ensures that each species in the tank has enough room to mark its territory.

Snakehead bettas should also be the tank’s dominant species, and you should keep only small, docile fish with them. You could, for example, introduce shrimp to the aquarium as they are bottom feeders who don’t bother other animals. However, It’s worth noting that your bettas may start treating them as food.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average lifespan of a snakehead betta fish?

Snakehead bettas can survive up to five years if you supply them with ideal tank conditions and nutritious food. However, the average lifespan is two to five years.

Should I get my bettas a reverse osmosis unit?

No, a reverse osmosis system isn’t necessary for your bettas, and it can even be harmful. Reverse osmosis water is deficient in nutrients that fish require for proper growth. It also raises the risk of bacterial infections and may affect the plants in your tanks.

How often should snakehead bettas be fed during the day?

Feed your betta fish two to three pellets once or twice a day. When pellets are placed in water, they expand and become very filling for the fish. You can use fresh or freeze-dried food instead of pellets one to two days each week,

Is it true that betta fish can recognize their owners?

These fish are intelligent enough to recognize and respond to their owners! Even though they may not express affection or respond to their names the same way as our furry friends do, they can show affection and interest if you take the time to build a positive relationship and bond with them.

Conclusion

Snakehead bettas are beautiful colorful fish with large mouths and vivid orange bodies. They’re great for aquariums because of their mild temperament and ease of care.

You only have to keep them fed and maintain the pH and water temperature at the proper levels. Otherwise, they’ll take care of themselves!

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