Channa bleheri (Rainbow Snakehead) Care

Channa bleheri (Rainbow Snakehead)

Last updated on August 17th, 2022 at 07:17 am

The Channa bleheri, also known as the Rainbow Snakehead, are beautiful and unique fish that are not too hard to care for but still require some attention to detail when it comes to tank maintenance.

Your Channa bleheri (Rainbow Snakehead) requires the following conditions to thrive in your aquarium: temperature range of 20 to 28°C (68 to 82°F), pH of 6.0 to 8.0, and hardness of 2 to 15 dH. In addition, you will need to regularly feed Channa bleheri live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods such as bloodworms and daphnia, as well as offer them live foods like crickets on occasion. This care guide will help you provide the right conditions to keep your Channa bleheri happy and healthy.

If you have been considering adding one or more Channa bleheri to your tank then read on because we will cover everything you need to know in order to keep your snakeheads healthy and happy!

Origin and description

Channa bleheri (Rainbow Snakehead)

The Channa bleheri is a species of fish native to parts of Asia and Africa. This species is a member of the family Channidae and it can be distinguished from other members by its coloration.

In particular, Channa bleheri is most notable for its distinct black stripes that run vertically down both sides of its body. However, what really makes these fish stand out are their bright red eyes and orange underside that contrasts with their gray bodies.

The Channa bleheri is a member of a group called snakeheads, which are all members of family Channidae. The Channidae are commonly referred to as True Eels and are largely distinguished by their elongated bodies that have no scales and relatively large mouths filled with teeth.

Snakeheads, in general, do well in most aquarium conditions as long as they have sufficient hiding places. They prefer to be kept in groups of at least five or more fish for best results. They also enjoy being fed live foods such as worms, feeder minnows, etc.

If you keep your rainbow snakehead properly, it will reward you with an amazing show every evening when its hunting instincts kick in and it goes after anything that moves including other animals in your tank. This is something many new reptile owners do not expect but find enjoyable once they become accustomed to it happening regularly.

Species profile

Channa bleheri (Rainbow Snakehead)

Channa Bleheri – The Rainbow Snakehead – is a species of freshwater fish from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. It’s unique for its bright yellow lips and black stripes. If you decide to buy Channa bleheri, it’s important to know how to care for them properly. Here are some tips that will help your snakeheads live their best life!

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The first thing that needs to be addressed when deciding what setup they should have is water chemistry. pH levels should ideally be at 6 or below, but don’t worry if they start out slightly higher because many lower pH levels naturally over time.

You can acclimate your snakeheads slowly to any changes by using one large container filled with dechlorinated tap water mixed with temporary substrate until desired hardness level is reached. Aquarium salt (1 tsp per 5 gallons) can also be used alongside regular dechlorinator in order to speed up the process by about two weeks depending on size/species tank.

Another essential component to maintaining healthy Channa bleheri aquariums is nitrate control.

Channa bleheri habitat

These fish hail from Indonesia, India, Thailand and Bangladesh. They prefer warmer climates with plenty of aquatic vegetation. Channa can adapt to different types of water conditions; they typically prefer warm temperatures but will flourish in cooler temperatures if provided with ample hiding spots and live or artificial plants.

The ideal temperature for these fish is 80 to 84 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. If kept at lower temperatures, make sure there are more hiding spots so that your snakeheads feel safe and secure. In higher temperature settings, be sure to provide an air stone to keep their habitat oxygenated.

Water depth should be around 4 inches for juvenile snakeheads but can be deeper as they mature up to 18 inches unless you’re creating an aquarium specifically designed for adult specimens or breeding purposes.

Channa bleheri size and weight

Channa bleheri can reach up to 7 inches (17 cm) and can weigh up to 5 pounds. Males are larger than females. Remember that they will grow a lot in their first year, especially when you feed them a lot of protein-rich food or live foods. If you are going to give them live foods, make sure you do not overfeed them so that they do not develop bowel problems!

Channa bleheri tank size

Although some sources recommend a minimum tank size of 50 gallons, I would strongly discourage it, and recommend at least 65 gallons for individuals and around 120 gallons for pairs. This is an aggressive species that will eat any other fish small enough to fit in its mouth, and with its large adult size, it needs a lot of room! My largest specimen is now six years old and nearly 18 long; he’s still growing. I’m currently keeping him in a 70-gallon tank by himself.

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Tank set up

Water temperature should be maintained at between 65° and 75°F. Water quality must be maintained at a high level. This fish is very sensitive to nitrates, ammonia, and chloramine levels, which can all prove deadly in a short period of time. A clean tank with good water quality is essential for these fish.

Make sure that filters are kept clean, and add an algae scrubber if necessary to keep levels under control. Due to their large size, tanks over 55 gallons should be used. Like most fish, Channa does not do well when there are sharp objects or plants that can scratch its scales; thus, decorations need to be placed out of reach of your snakeheads’ mouths.

Channas will eat anything from live foods such as feeder guppies and feeder goldfish down to dried shrimp pellets or freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex worms sold at pet stores.

Channa bleheri tank mates

Channa bleheri are very territorial fish and are best kept alone in tanks. They can be added to community tanks if other species are large enough so as not to be seen as prey.

Rainbow snakeheads are not community fish and can be territorial toward other fish in a tank. They prefer to remain alone or with other rainbow snakeheads. They will eat smaller fish, so keep them in larger tanks with plenty of hiding places for any potential tank mates.

Juveniles are too small to compete with adult rainbow snakeheads, but mature adult rainbow snakeheads should be kept away from smaller species of fish unless large enough tanks are provided.

Channa bleheri breeding

Channa bleheri (Rainbow Snakehead)

The rainbow snakehead is an egg layer, and like most other livebearers, are egg scatterers. To produce eggs, a female must have constant access to clean, oxygenated water at room temperature. Although these fish can tolerate water temperatures as low as 65 degrees F, their fertility will be negatively affected if their waters do not reach at least 70 degrees F.

Sexually mature females typically begin spawning after about 4 months of age. An individual will only reproduce once per year with maturity being reached in 2 to 3 years under ideal conditions. It’s important that you make sure your snakeheads are getting enough food when they’re in breeding condition; protein-rich foods such as bloodworms, tubifex worms, and brine shrimp pellets should be fed more often than normal during times of spawning.

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Not providing them with high-quality food may lead to problems associated with poor nutrition. If breeding attempts fail, don’t panic. Like many species of fish, it may take several tries before producing offspring.

Are they aggressive or peaceful?

The channa can get territorial with other fish and may need a tank of its own, especially if you have multiple male channas. These are typically peaceful fish but be careful when trying to mix them with other non-aggressive species. Their size makes them a poor choice for tanks that aren’t at least 50 gallons.

Channa bleheri care

Channa bleheri (Rainbow Snakehead)

They are very easy to care for. Aquarium size would have to be large, in excess of 50 gallons, and it should be heavily planted with low lighting. It can tolerate slightly brackish water conditions but we do not recommend keeping them in brackish water permanently. They will accept many types of prepared and live foods including fish, shrimp, worms, small crustaceans, and even some vegetation.

Channa bleheri diet

In nature, Rainbow Snakeheads are carnivorous. They eat smaller fish and insects. In an aquarium environment, they will generally eat most of what is offered to them including bloodworms, earthworms, mealworms, brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and other live foods or frozen foods designed for omnivores such as Mysis shrimp.

They may also be fed krill or small prawns. Vegetables can be given occasionally but should not form a large part of their diet. Some individuals may relish vegetable matter in particular; others refuse it completely. Try offering zucchini, boiled potato, lettuce, or spinach on occasion – many specimens enjoy these foods.

Many hobbyists maintain that Puffers tend to grow more quickly when fed only meat-based diets; others insist that it’s healthier to give these fishes a vegetarian option from time to time. Experiment with both methods and see which produces better results in your case.

Water parameters

Channa bleheri (Rainbow Snakehead)

Channa species need soft, acidic water with a pH around 6.0 to 7.0. The specific gravity should be kept below 1.020 SG, and a temperature between 72 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for Channa bleheri. Channids are very sensitive to temperature changes and can easily be killed if temperatures vary too much.

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Many of these fish come from shallow waters where they live in mud or sandy areas, the substrate in their aquariums should reflect that. A good rule of thumb is to use two inches of the fine-grain substrate along with some larger gravel pieces that can provide places for them to hide as well as anchor plants and/or driftwood roots.

As Channa species hail from an area with high oxygen levels and flow rates, it’s important not to create an environment where they have trouble getting enough oxygenation.

Channa bleheri lifespan

Their average lifespan is 10 – 15 years, with proper care and feeding. Channas are hardy fish that are generally long-lived when cared for properly. The lifespan can be extended even further by changing 25% of your tank water weekly to remove any harmful toxins that may have accumulated in stagnant water.

Parasites and diseases

In nature, Channa is a host to many parasites and pathogens. These include tapeworms, nematodes, roundworms, and flukes. In fact, many of these are harmful to other fishes as well.


Most predators are bottom feeders such as bass, perch, or even crayfish can be a threat to Channa bleheri. Keep them at bay by covering your tank with heavy rocks or aquarium armor to protect against large predators. Plants may also aid in deterring larger fish from taking a bite out of your snakeheads!

Do they make great pets?

Channa Bleheri is really great fish, if you take care of them well, they can live up to 10 years old! They do need a lot of room and expensive tanks and filters as they grow very quickly, so it is best to keep Channa in large ponds. If you want to keep one or two, then a large tank will be enough. Just make sure that your tank has plenty of places for it to hide and lots of plants for it to graze on.