Snakehead Betta (Betta channoides) Fish Species Profile & Care Guide
The Snakehead Betta requires acidic conditions with negligible carbonate hardness and very low general hardness. A reverse osmosis unit or other obtaining soft water methods may need to be employed, which can be further acidified using phosphoric acid or similar if necessary. For this reason, these fish are not recommended for the community aquarium.
It's specifications and disposition mean it's best kept alone or with very small, peaceful species since much larger or more lively fishes are likely to intimidate and outcompete it.
You may keep these fish in groups or with some small cyprinids and loaches that inhabit similar natural environments; however, proper research is essential. in a group you may find these fish displaying some interesting behavioural interactions.
Snakehead Bettas have slender, elongated bodies. The males are far more brightly coloured with a reddish-brown body and dark brown fins and the caudal, anal and ventral fins are edged with white. Females are far duller than males.
|Scientific Name||Betta channoides|
|Other Names||Snakehead Fighter, Cherry Betta|
|Aquarium Level||Middle - Top|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Loners|
|Lifespan||3 - 5 years|
|Maximum Size||up to 5 cm|
|Temperature||73 - 86 ℉ (22.8 - 30 ℃)|
|PH||4.0 - 6.5|
|TDS||18 - 90|
Origins of the Snakehead Betta
The Snakehead Betta is endemic to Borneo's island in Indonesia in Southeast Asia where you can find them in the Mahakam River basin in Kalimantan Timur's province.
These fish have also been collected around Mujup, Muarapahu and Sungai Merimun with the most sought-after form originating from near the village of Pampang.
They inhabit shallow forest streams containing soft acidic brown-water where you will find them hiding amongst marginal plant roots and leaf litter.
Other Bettas of interest
Snakehead Bettas will usually accept dried products such as high-quality flakes and granules once they are recognised as edible. You should also provide them with plenty of small live or frozen foods such as artemia, daphnia, and bloodworm regularly to ensure optimal colour and condition. It would be best to take care not to overfeed these fish as they are particularly prone to obesity.
Sexing the Snakehead Betta
It is relatively simple to differentiate male from female Snakehead Bettas. Males are usually more intensely coloured than females and have a broader head, whereas females have a lighter body than the males. You may also be able to see the females ovaries via spotlighting.
Breeding the Snakehead Betta
You should set up a separate tank for breeding purposes unless you are already maintaining these fish alone. The tank should have a tight-fitting cover as the fry need access to a layer of warm, humid air without this it can impair the development of the labyrinth organ.
Following a prolonged courtship, eggs and milt are released during an embrace where the male wraps his body around the female. Several imitation embraces may be required before spawning commences.
Fertilised eggs get caught on the anal fin of the male, which are then picked up in the mouth of the female before being ejected out into the water for the male to catch. After the male has all the eggs in his mouth, the cycle is replicated until the female runs out of eggs, taking some time.
The brood sizes are relatively small, with even ten eggs being deemed a good number. A brooding male may accidentally swallow or release the eggs prematurely if inexperienced or stressed, so it's better to leave the female and any other fishes in situ.
The incubation period is typically between 10 and 21 days; after this time, the male will begin to release the fully-formed, free-swimming fry. At this point, you can either leave the babies where they are to be reared alongside the adults as they do not typically harm them, or you can remove them.
The fry will be big enough to accept artemia nauplii and microworm straight away; however, it should be noted that there have been reports of young Betta developing health issues if fed excessive amounts. You should offer small amounts 2 -3 times daily for optimal growth rate, and you shouldn't perform large water changes initially, just regular small changes.