March 11

Sarah Robertson

Best Wild Betta Fish for Your Aquarium

Wild bettas are bettas that are not in captivity. They are found in the shallow water of vernal pools, farm ponds, rice fields, drainage ditches, and any other area that has standing water for at least part of the year.

It can be difficult to find a wild betta fish because it is only out during certain times of the day. They will mostly come out at night or early morning when there is enough light to see them and prey on them. These are very rare though because most areas do not have the right conditions for them to be around.

There are a few places where you can find wild betta fish for sale. The first place is the local vernal pool in your area. Go when it is open from late winter until early spring when it starts drying up and most likely no more betta fish will be around. You can also check with ornamental fish farms in your area to see if they have any for sale.

Finding the best wild betta fish for your aquarium may seem like a difficult task, but with some research and planning, it can be fairly easy. The first step is to identify what kind of environment you are trying to replicate. Many people try to recreate their local river or pond which will require different requirements than someone who wants an Asian rice paddy.

What Is a Wild Betta?

Wild betta is a lesser-known type of bettas that are usually found in local rivers and ponds. These fish do not belong to any particular species, but many times they will be hybrids of different types. They may seem like the perfect addition to any aquarium owner's collection, but there are some differences that must be taken into consideration when deciding whether this is the right choice for you.

The first difference is the size of the fish. Wild betta is, on average, two inches taller than their captive-bred cousins. This can cause problems if you plan to put them in an aquarium that is only five gallons in size. You will need to make sure that there is plenty of space for these types of fish to grow into before adding them to your aquarium.

The second difference is the finnage of the fish. Wild betta has smaller fins than what you would normally see on captive-bred breeds, but they are much larger than their wild cousins which makes them look more like traditional bettas that people are used to seeing.

The third difference is coloration. Captive-bred bettas will typically be all one color with some patterns on the fins. Wild betta, on the other hand, will have many different colors and patterns on their bodies as well as their fins.

There is also a difference in care that must be taken into consideration before adding any wild betta to your aquarium. These fish tend to be much harder to care for than their captive-bred cousins.

They tend not to eat prepared flake foods but will need a meaty diet that includes bloodworms and other live foods. They also have a higher sensitivity to medication and may require spot treatment instead of a full course of treatment if they become sick.

If you decide that this is the right kind of betta fish for you, make sure to do plenty of research before adding them to your aquarium. These beautiful fish are not all alike and understanding how they differ from their captive-bred cousins will help you set up the best possible environment for them to live healthy lives.

Some of the following basics will help you find the best wild betta fish for your aquarium.

Basic Requirements

You will need to make sure that you understand the basic requirements of any type of betta fish before making a purchase. Some general rules apply to all types of bettas and not adhering to these rules can lead to illness and death:

Don't overcrowd

Bettas can breathe surface air, but they are used to low-oxygen environments. When you put too many fish in a small space, the oxygen levels can drop quickly and this will cause stress, illness, and even death.

Don't overfeed

Bettas do not normally eat prepared flake foods. They prefer live or frozen foods that offer more nutrients than processed foods. Overfeeding will cause your betta to become overweight, which can lead to breathing problems and other serious injuries.

Water conditioner

When you bring new fish home, always use a water conditioner. This helps remove chlorine and chloramine from tap water that could be harmful to your fish's health. 

Remove the carbon filter

Carbon filters can remove beneficial trace minerals from your betta's water. While this is safe for captive-bred bettas, wild bettas need good bacteria to help them process food and fight disease.

Tank Light

Bettas are diurnal fish that require a daily photoperiod of light to stay healthy. They also need a full spectrum bulb to simulate natural sunlight, which will allow them to regulate their day and night cycles.

When it comes to wild betta fish, there are some other requirements that you may want to consider before making the purchase. These fish require more space than captive-bred bettas do and they can grow rather large.

In general, wild bettas should not be kept in tanks that are smaller than five gallons. They also have a much harder time adjusting to changes in their environment and may require more delicate care when they are sick or injured.

If you plan on adding a wild betta to your aquarium, make sure that you understand any additional requirements that come along with owning these fish. This can help you provide the best possible environment for your new pet to live in and will decrease the chances of illness so he lives a long, healthy life.

1)The Environment of Origin

The environment of origin is the first and most important step in finding the best betta fish for your aquarium. Most local fish stores will have pamphlets for certain betta varieties, which are bred in different locations. For beginners, the most important thing to look at is environmental pH level and water hardness or softness.

Bettas come from a wide range of environments with vastly different pH levels and water hardness. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to recreate all those different environments so it is best to find out what kind of environment your betta comes from.

2) Temperature

Next, you will need to know the temperature range of your betta's home. Temperature ranges can vary greatly even in close proximity to one another. For example, tropical fish stores may inaccurately label a certain strain as "tropical" because it is commonly found in tropical water condition. If that strain actually originates from the Tibetan Plateau then it will have cold water requirements.

3) Natural Food Types

The third step is to find out what types of natural food your betta intakes are. There are three main groups, insectivores, piscivores, and vegetarians. This can be the most difficult part but one of the most important! If you want your betta to survive it is best to stick to its natural diets no matter how much it begs for expensive store-bought flake food.

4) Natural Habitat

Last, but certainly not least, you must replicate the betta's natural habitat. Bettas are very territorial fish and will fight with others that they do not know well, especially if the area is too small. This leads to stress and can drastically shorten a betta's lifespan. For this reason, it is best to only house one male betta per aquarium for their own safety and happiness.

Types of Wild Betta's:

Now that we know what we are looking for let's find some wild bettas for your aquarium!

Betta Splendens

Betta Splendens

The wild betta splendens is a little shiny or extravagant-looking betta with bright red, blue, yellow, or green fins. They are hardy fish that love to be kept in groups. These guys are great for beginners because they don't require a lot of attention and they can live in room temperature water conditions which are similar to some beginner aquariums.

The temperature range for this type of betta is 73-81 degrees Fahrenheit with an average pH level of 7.0. These guys are insectivores and enjoy a diet consisting mainly of wingless fruit flies, which can sometimes be found at local pet stores.

The wild Betta Splendens comes from the shallow waters of rice paddies in Thailand and can be housed in a five-gallon aquarium with live plants, good filtration, and no overcrowding. Wild Betta Splendens will fight fiercely with other male bettas, so it is best to house them by themselves or with other non-betta species such as white clouds or Pygmy corydoras catfish.

Betta Imbellis

Betta Imbellis

Betta Imbellis also known as the peaceful betta or crescent betta is native to Thailand and other parts of Southeast Asia where the rivers and streams are slow-moving and heavily planted. Betta Imbellis is a vegetarian that feeds on algae, plant matter, and small insect larvae in the wild. Although they originate from sluggish waters, these bettas can be quite active when given lots of room to explore! The temperature of the water should be anywhere between 72-79 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5.


Betta Pugnax

Betta pugnax, also known as the fighting or combtail betta originates from Thailand, Malaysia, and Sumatra where it is found in rice paddies and still waters that are densely-They also prefer more acidic water with a pH of 5.0-6.8.

Bettas pugnax is a carnivore and in the wild eats small insects and insect larvae. Although they are not used for fighting domestically, these bettas still have the ability to breathe air at the water surface or take short breaks from their tank to get some fresh air.

Betta Macrostoma 1

Betta Macrostoma

Betta Macrostoma is one of the most appealing betta species for most betta keepers hence their name the Brunei Beauty. These bettas originate from Brunei Darussalam and surrounding countries where they are found in slow-moving stagnant waters. As a result, these bettas require a lower oxygen content with a pH level of 5.5-7.0. Bettas Macrostoma is piscivorous and in the wild eats small insects, crustaceans, and insect larvae.

Betta Hendra

Betta Hendra

The Betta Hendra was named after Tommy Hendra who discovered the species. This is hands down, my favorite wild-type betta fish.

Betta Hendra is found in shallow waters throughout much of the peninsula of Malaysia. It has an olive-green body with bright yellow or gold fins, which is where it gets its name, "Hendra" means gold in Malay. These bettas require very warm water with a pH range of 6.0–7.5 and temperatures between 79-85 degrees Fahrenheit. Betta Hendra is a piscivore and in the wild eats small insects, crustaceans, and insect larvae.

Betta Foerschi

Betta Foerschi

Betta Foerschi also known as the short-tail betta is found in shallow waters of Southeast Asia. These guys like really warm water with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.5 and they enjoy temperatures anywhere from 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit! They are carnivores and eat small insects, insect larvae, and crustaceans in the wild. Betta Foerschi is a mouthbrooder and can be kept in pairs in a larger tank of at least 15 gallons

Betta Brownorum

Betta Brownorum (Brown's betta)

Betta Brownorum is endemic to small, shallow, slow-moving streams in the southern portion of Thailand and Malaysia where they are heavily planted. These bettas like water that is between 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH level around 6.5-7.2. They are carnivores in the wild and eat insect larvae and pupae.

Betta Stagno

The Betta Stagno is also known as the Siamese fighting fish or Thai betta because of its close relation to Betta Splendens. These bettas are less aggressive than their cousin but you still need to house them separately since they can become quite territorial with other male bettas.

The water temperature should be between 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH level of around 7.8-8.0 is best for this betta. They are carnivores in the wild and eat insect larvae, small insects, and crustaceans so you will need to feed them appropriately.

Apart from above mentioned betta categories, there is 'Alien Betta' which is a hybrid species of Betta fish. They are born via cross-breeding two other types of Betta fish. They do it for the distinct patterns and vivid colors. It's unusual for an Alien Betta to live in the wild naturally, but they're produced from wild bettas.

Frequent Questions

What Wild Betta Species Should I Choose?

Choosing the best betta fish species for you really depends on your fish keeping experience, tank size, and what type of water parameters you are comfortable with. Overall you should choose a betta that originates from waters near you so it can be acclimated to your water parameters pretty easily.

Also keep in mind that since these fish originate from different regions they may have different requirements for water temperature and pH level, so make sure you research each betta species in depth before bringing home one of these beautiful fish.

Is Wild Betta Rare?

Although some betta species are less common in the aquarium trade, wild betta fish are not rare. If you want to get one of these fish for your home fish tank there is a pretty good chance you can find them at any local pet store.

However, it is important to do your research on which fish will be best suited for you and your betta fish tank. Some of the larger species of wild betta are more difficult to care for and might not be suitable for a novice fish keeper. With any level of experience, there is at least one type of betta that will suit your needs!

Can Wild Bettas Be Kept Together?

Wild betta fish can become very territorial amongst each other, especially if they are all males. You should never house two or more wild bettas in the same tank since fighting will occur and injuries could happen. Males of some species may be housed together but it is not recommended to house different species together because there is always a chance that one species may kill another species.

How Do You Take Care of a Wild Betta Fish?

Although betta fish is one of the easiest types of fish to care for, there is a little bit more involved in caring for a wild betta. Since these guys originate from different regions they may have different requirements for water temperature and pH level. Make sure you research each species before purchasing one!

For most wild bettas it is best to set up a tank that is at least 5-10 gallons in size and make sure you have a tight-fitting lid to prevent these fish from jumping out of the tank. If your betta comes from slow-moving waters you can add some live plants to your tank, but remember not all species will thrive in planted tanks!

Since betta fish are carnivores, you will need to feed your betta appropriately. You can use high-quality betta pellets for most species of wild bettas but you may need to do some research before feeding them live foods because some types of wild bettas don't usually eat live food.

What Does a Wild Betta Fish Look Like?

The best way to describe a wild Betta fish is that it resembles its cousin, the Siamese fighting fish. However, there are some differences between the two species such as:

Wild bettas can be found in different colors and patterns such as red, blue, green, brown, yellow, orange and even black. Also wild bettas can have different tail types such as long, short, fan-like and crown-like. The original Siamese fighting fish only had the crown tail but selective breeding produced many other tail types.

How Big Does a Wild Betta Grow?

The size of a fully grown male betta is about 2 inches, and female bettas are slightly smaller.

How Long Does Wild Betta Live?

With the proper care, a healthy wild betta fish can live up to 3-4 years.

How High Can Wild Bettas Jump?

Since wild bettas originate from the rice paddies and still waters they are extremely good jumpers. Make sure you have a tight-fitting lid for your tank because these guys can and will leap out of the tank!

How Many Species of Wild Betta Are There?

There are 73 species of wild bettas that still live in the wild, from small bubble-nesters to big mouthbrooding species, all called 'betta fish'.

Final Thoughts

Wild betta fish come in many different colors and patterns, making them some of the most beautiful fish for your aquarium. Although they can be kept together, it is not recommended to house different species together because there is always a chance that one species may kill another species.

Make sure you research each species before purchasing one! With the proper care, a healthy wild betta fish can live up to 3-4 years. Some of the best wild bettas for your aquarium are Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), Betta Imbellis, Betta Foerschi, etc.

Sarah Robertson

I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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