Betta imbellis

The Betta imbellis is a species of fish belonging to the family of belontiidae. The word imbellis derives from the Latin and means “ peaceful, unfit for war,” a characteristic that the cousin Betta Splendens does not know. It is famous among long-time aquarists because it is a Betta that can live with its fellowmen without engaging in continuous fighting. Unlike splendens , Betta imbellis also tolerate the presence of other fish with ease, unless he feels endangered or during the breeding season, as the male especially will defend his bubble nest like a guard dog. Betta imbellis, This species has been extensively reproduced selectively to amplify its aggression in southern Thailand, where it is used in organized fighting, in the same way as Betta splendens elsewhere. Betta imbellis has also been selectively bred for the ornamental fish trade and hybridized with Betta smaragdina , Betta mahachaiensis, and congeners Betta splendens , leading to the development of several color forms not found in nature.
Betta imbellis is native to Swamps, small ponds, and paddies in southern (peninsular) Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, and northern Sumatra but has been introduced to other areas with feral populations now established in Singapore.

Size: 2″ inch, 5 cm
Lifespan: 4 years
Ease of Care: Easy
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Water Type: Freshwater or brackish Ph 5.5 / 7.5 Gh 5/16 dgh
Temperature: 70-82 °F , 21- 28 °C
Compatibility: Other peaceful fish, excluding other Betta Imbellis
Diet: Carnivorous

Description of the Betta Imbellis

The Betta imbellis is very similar to Betta splendens, and many times it isn’t easy to distinguish them. Its behavior as a fish suitable for community aquariums also differs in its maximum size, which is around 5 cm. In terms of body coloring, the Betta imbellis is less attractive than the splendens, with fewer color combinations. They are mostly limited to green, gray, and black with patches of pale red or blue. Like other fish of the anabantoid suborder, the Betta imbellis possesses a respiratory accessory organ known as the labyrinth, which allows them to breathe atmospheric air. Their life expectancy, if kept in the right conditions, can easily reach four years.

Siamese fighting fish

The unique combination of characters that distinguishes Betta imbellis from others in the group is as follows:

  • Base body color from dark brown to black
  • Operculum with iridescent blue scales
  • Iridescent blue fins
  • No transverse bar in the caudal fin
  • Caudal fin with the red crescent-shaped distal band
  • Posterior anal fin rays colored red distally

Habitat in Nature

Environment: benthopelagic, freshwater; tropical climate.
It inhabits calm, slow-moving waters, including paddy fields, swamps, roadside ditches, streams, and ponds. These are often shaded by submerged, shallow, or marginal vegetation and sometimes contain little dissolved oxygen. Water conditions tend to vary and change rapidly during the annual monsoon season. Substrates can range from leaf litter to mud, sand, or deep sediment. While most populations are found in freshwater, some are found in coastal brackish marshes.
The introduction of ornamental forms and other Betta species such as Betta splendens has had a proven negative effect on some wild populations’ genetic integrity.

Betta imbellis


The Betta imbellis are an omnivorous species. In nature, it probably preys on aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. They feed on small insects and worms but also feed on algae. In the aquarium, They can be provided with dry food, flake food, micro granules, live and frozen food. But for optimum conditions should be offered regularly small live food and frozen as Daphnia, Artemia, or larvae of bloodworms (bloodworm). It is essential to feed them little, as this species is prone to eat a lot, with related future health problems.

Betta imbellis
betta imbellis female
betta imbellis female


Minimum dimensions of the aquarium: 45x30x30h cm for a couple: It does best in a well-planted, shaded aquarium with ample surface coverage in the form of tall trees and floating plants such as Salvinia or Riccia. Roots and branches can be used, placed so that shaded areas form; overturned clay pots or pieces of pipe can also be included to provide additional shelter, perhaps hidden by other furnishings.
Adding some leaf litter dried (beech, oak, or Indian almond Ketapang are all suitable) further accentuates the natural feel and, in addition to offering additional shelter for fish, induces beneficial growth microbial colonies as decomposition occurs. These can be a valuable secondary food source for the fry, while the tannins and other chemicals released by the decaying leaves are considered very useful for fish. The leaves can be left in the tub until they completely decompose or are removed and replaced every few weeks.
Like others of the genus, this species seems to do best in relatively dim light conditions. Aquatic plants that can survive in such situations could be added, such as Microsorum, Taxiphyllum, or Cryptocoryne spp., Some floating vegetation bushes would also be useful.
Since it naturally inhabits water with little movement, the filtration or the water current coming out of the filter must not be too strong. You can use a small sponge filter, which gently moves the water, but the idea is to breed them in an aquarium without a filter, provided that excellent water quality is maintained.
The aquarium must be well covered (they are excellent jumpers) and leave some space between the water and the lid because, like all Bettas, they need a layer of warm and humid air that they can access when they have it want.

Betta imbellis


The male of this Betta species builds a bubble nest, where the eggs are kept first and the fry then until they can swim freely.
It is particularly important to provide many shelters, shelters, and visual barriers for the female. Often, plastic roll containers or pieces of tubing are used to offer potential nesting sites. If present, even floating plants can be incorporated into the nest. The tank should have a reasonably airtight lid (some breeders use cling film), as the fry needs access to a layer of warm, moist air, without which the development of the labyrinth organ can be impaired.
The couple must not be separated before the deposition. The male may build the nest in a tube or container, under a broadleaf, or among the floating fine-leaved vegetation, usually not tolerating the presence of the female nearby until the nest is complete.
Shortly before the eggs’ deposition, the female assumes the nuptial livery; the color of the body pales, and dark bars appear on the hips. Mating generally occurs under the nest in a ‘hug’ typical of the Osphronemidae, with the male wrapping his body around that of the female. At the peak, sperm and some eggs are released simultaneously, collected by the female between the pelvic fins and the body. The male then transfers them to his nest while the female retrieves any that had fallen. This cycle is repeated until the female has laid all her eggs, which can take some time.
The adults, after spawning, can usually be left in situ. However, the female is no longer actively involved as the male takes sole responsibility for protecting and caring for the nest. The eggs hatch in 24-48 hours, remaining in the nest for another 3-4 days, until the yolk sac is completely absorbed, while the male continues to collect and put back those that fall. Once the fry starts swimming freely, the male will lose interest, but the adults usually don’t eat their offspring.
The fry is large enough to accept food as microworm and brined Artemia immediately, but there are reports of young Betta who have had health problems if fed with excessive amounts of the latter. For optimal growth rate, small amounts of different foods should be offered 2-3 times a day, and not too much water should be changed at one time, but small, regular changes are preferable.

By fishexp