Betta Channoides (aka Snakehead Betta): Optimal Care Guide

betta channoides
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Building an aquarium at home is an enjoyable hobby for many. Imagine caring for a few colorful fish and watching them swim around all day long. Sounds marvelous, doesn’t it?

Betta channoides, also known as snakehead Betta, is one of the best fish species for aquariums. They’re bright-colored, peaceful around other fish species, and easy to care for and feed.

What you might not know about Betta channoides is that it’s an endemic fish to an island in Indonesia, specifically the Mahakam river basin in Kalimantan Timur. It has many varieties, with the most sought-after form originating in Pampang.

Now that we’ve got your attention, it’s time to learn more exciting facts about the Betta channoides fish’s appearance, behavior, tank requirements, etc. So let’s jump in!

Betta Channoides Species Overview

To begin with, we’ll give you an overview of the Betta channoides species. Here are the most important details you should know about:

  • Scientific Name: Betta channoides
  • Common Names: Snakehead Betta, Strawberry Betta, Cherry Betta
  • Diet: Carnivorous
  • Fish Type: Freshwater fish
  • Adult Size: Two inches
  • Origin: Indonesia

Now that we’ve given you a general idea about the peaceful species, it’s time to dive into more details.


female betta channoides image

The most distinctive part about Betta channoides fish’s appearance is their big mouths.

They use it for breeding as this species is known to be a mouthbrooder. Interestingly, this feature gained the Betta channoides their other name, snakehead Betta.

As for the fish’s body size, the Betta channoides sports a two-inch body, making it a relatively small species among other freshwater fish. Some females are also smaller than this.

To differentiate between males and females, you should look at the color of their bodies.

Female Betta channoides have orange-colored bodies that are much less vibrant than males’ bodies. Luckily, differentiating between both genders is an easy task.

ِAlso, the Betta channoides flaunt elegant black fins and ventrals with white borders.

Betta Channoides vs. Betta Albimarginata

The Betta channoides fish looks similar to the Betta albimarginata species. So it’s often challenging to differentiate between them. However, we’ve got your back.

Both fish have the same head shape, nearly the same body color, and are equal in size.

betta albimarginata in fish tank

With that being said, if you look closely, you’ll notice that Betta albimarginata have different-looking dorsal fins.

Instead of the reddish-orange color that adorns Betta channoides’ fins, this one has an entirely black dorsal fin. And although it has a small size, once you look at it, you’ll notice the difference in color.


Snakehead Betta fish are a peaceful species, and they can live in small groups with other fish without an issue.

Unlike other Betta fish, like Betta splendens, those don’t get aggravated at the sight of each other.

However, sometimes males and females fight, especially males, if they feel that their territory is threatened. So it’ll be best if you put them in a large tank.

Also, avoid putting a small number of females in the tank; provide at least one for each male. This way, you’ll lessen the chance of a fight breaking out between two males over a female.

Finally, avoid placing your Betta channoides in an aquarium with larger and more dominant fish because they might eat them. If you want to raise many types of fish in your house, keep the big ones in a separate tank.


female betta channoides transferring the egg to the male

Snakehead Betta fish breed in pairs, so if you have equal numbers of males and females in your aquarium, you have a high chance of success.

But to further enhance your chances, you should pick a pair and move them to a 15-gallon breeding tank. Preferably, you should take the aquarium’s temperature up a notch. After that, there isn’t much you can do. Just leave the two fish be, and they’ll eventually breed.

However, don’t expect large egg batches. Instead, you’ll probably get an average of five to ten eggs.

This is because those Betta fish are small, and the males can’t care for a large number of eggs at once. Ideally, each egg should have a diameter of around two millimeters.

All the eggs will remain in the male’s care for about two to three weeks; then, it’ll leave them after they develop. It’s worth mentioning that the male will keep the eggs inside his mouth, so it won’t be able to feed during this period.

Accordingly, after it releases the eggs, you should focus on feeding it essential nutrients so that it can gain back its strength.

Keeping your male snakehead Betta calm and happy between breeding and hatching is essential. A stressed or brooding male might eat the eggs or release them early.

So avoid flashy lights around the aquarium and dim the light as much as possible.

How to Care for Betta Channoides

While caring for Betta channoides isn’t that challenging, there are many critical details you should know about regarding keeping them in an aquarium. Here’s everything you need to know.


snakehead eating worm

Snakehead Betta fish are carnivorous, which means they need to have meat-based meals in their diets. In the wild, they often feed on other animals quickly because of their big mouths. For instance, they can feed on insects, insect larvae, brine shrimp, or small crayfish.

You can feed your Betta channoides any live and frozen foods in the aquarium.

However, make sure to serve various types of foods to ensure that your fish get all the nutrients they need.

We know it’s common for fish raisers to depend on dried food, but Betta channoides are sadly picky toward those meals. But if you insist on serving them, make sure to purchase high-quality flakes and pellets. As for the baby fry, they mainly feed on baby brine shrimp or frozen foods.

You should only feed your fish one or two times a day for an optimal growth rate. If fed excessive amounts, your Bettas might start developing various diseases.

Tank Size

First off, your tank size depends on the number of Betta channoides you have.

In other words, if you have one male and two females, you’ll need a 15-gallon tank.

But if you have only a pair, you’ll do well with a 10-gallon tank. On the other hand, if you want to get risky and raise two males, it’ll be best to buy a 20-gallon tank.

Tank Decorations

betta channoides in fish tank with decorations

If you’ve kept fish as pets before, you probably know that a tank’s decorations are as essential as the fish themselves. First of all, you’ll need plants in your tank to provide a safe place for your males and females when they want to hide from each other.

Putting plants won’t only lessen the number of fights in your aquarium, but it’ll also help you imitate the fish’s natural habitat. Betta channoides often live in shallow forest streams in the wild, and they like to hide among leaf litter and marginal plant roots.

You can also add tiny clay plant pots and dried leaf litter to make your fish feel safer in the aquarium.

Finally, Betta fish like minimum currents in the water, so you can add an air-powered sponge filter to add flow and keep the aquarium clean.

However, avoid increasing the filter’s flow rate because doing so can tire your fish.

Water Parameters

Luckily, snakehead Betta fish aren’t needy when it comes to water parameters. Starting with temperature, you should ideally keep it between 75- 80°F. The fish’s metabolism will work faster if you go higher than this. Thus, they’ll die quicker.

You can only increase the temperature when you want your males and females to breed, and don’t go higher than 82°F.

As for the pH, Betta channoides live in acidic water in the wild, so you should lower it in your aquarium. Also, keep nitrite concentrations to a minimum because it increases the risk of suffocation for your fish.

Tank Mates

Lucky for you, Betta channoides don’t mind staying with other fish in the same tank. However, they’ll still feel more relaxed if they’re alone.

If you plan on keeping more than one species in your tank, then don’t buy one that’s smaller than 15-20 gallons.

This way, each species will have enough space to mark its territory.

Second, make sure that the snakehead Bettas are the dominant species in the tank and only keep small placid fish with them.

For instance, you can add shrimp to the tank. Shrimp are bottom feeders, and they don’t cause any issues with other species. But it’s worth mentioning that your Bettas might treat them as meals after a while.

Another species you can add to the aquarium is the Kuhli leaches. Those shy creatures live peacefully at the bottom of the tank and mind their own business.

Finally, you can add some cory catfish to the tank. Those freshwater creatures are pretty peaceful and rarely start a fight.

It’s worth mentioning that all of those species live at the bottom of the tank, so you have to provide sufficient frozen and dried foods to avoid your fish fighting over food.
Fun Fact: With so many betta species you can bring home as your pet, there is one variety that might tickle your fancy! Read about this species in our post, Alien Betta Fish: Overall Care Guide And Breeding Tips, to learn more.


How long do snakehead Betta fish live?

If you provide them with optimum tank conditions and feed them healthily, they might live up to five years. But the average range is from two to five years.

Do Betta albimarginata fish have the same natural habitat as wild Betta channoides?

Yes, they do. The Betta albimarginata group also originated in Indonesia, and they live in forest streams and hide among plant roots.

Should I buy a reverse osmosis unit for my Bettas?

No, buying a reverse osmosis unit for your Bettas isn’t necessary, and it might do more harm than good. Reverse osmosis water lacks minerals that fish need to grow correctly. Also, it increases the chance of bacterial infections. And if you have plants, they may suffer as well.


Betta channoides are marvelous fish with bright orange bodies and big mouths. They’re ideal for your aquarium because of their peaceful nature and easy care. You only have to provide them with sufficient food and maintain optimum temperature and pH, and they’ll be good to go!

Last Updated: July 11, 2022

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