March 26

Sarah Robertson

Betta Smaragdina: Care, Food, Breeding, Lifespan & More

Betta smaragdina is a wild betta variety from Thailand that has an emerald green color and is known as the "emerald Betta" because of it. Its upbeat nature and unusual appearance make it a favorite among aquarium owners. However, compared to its sibling, the domesticated Betta splendens, is still rare.

Interesting Facts About Betta Smaragdina

  • Origin - Eastern Thailand, Malaysia
  • It takes its name from the Latin word ‘smaragdinus,' which refers to an emerald-green hue.
  • Diet - Carnivorous, prefers a diet of small live or frozen food. Brine shrimp, bloodworms, and Daphnia are all good options.
  • Betta Smaragdina is a well-known, wild species of Betta fish that has been bred for fighting for hundreds of years.
  • They are the most widely distributed Betta species, alongside Betta Splendens.
  • Betta Smaragdina is not suitable to keep with other fish because of their aggressiveness, however, they may cohabit if given a huge enough tank that provides lots of hiding places for them.


The great smaragdina lives in still or sluggish bodies of water, such as rice paddies, swamps, roadside ditches, streams, and ponds. These are generally coated with a lot of greenery. Leaf litter, mud, or sand may be used as the substrate.

Water conditions tend to vary and change rapidly during the annual monsoon season.


It has all-over iridescent green scaling on its body. Its scales are reminiscent of snakeskin, and cheek scaling occurs shortly thereafter. Females are typically drabber in color, with a green metallic sheen. The fins of the male often have a red tint, while those of the female are mostly clear.

They are slightly smaller than the domesticated betta, reaching up to 2 inches in length.


The great smaragdina is an active, schooling fish that is always on the move. It is a very nimble swimmer and can often be seen leaping out of the water. Males are highly territorial and aggressive towards other males, but usually, get along well with females. But generally, they remain territorial and even if they don't look for a fight, they can attack (or even kill) other fish that are a little too intrusive. This behavior is particularly true during the breeding season.

They are always active and playful, making them a favorite among aquarium owners.

Tank Requirements: 

Betta Smaragdina is a highly territorial species. It is important to provide plenty of places for them to hide, as they Live plants and ample amounts of cover (driftwood, rocks, artificial plants) will help make them feel secure.

Because Betta smaragdina is so tolerant to a wide range of water conditions, there is little need for constant maintenance. However, it should still be kept clean and attempt to replicate its natural water quality as much as possible.

The water should be kept clean and well-kept according to the standards listed below:

Ideal Water Temperature - 70F-80°F (21-27°C)

In the wild pH is around 4.5 to 6.5. In your tank you could have a pH of 5.5-7.5

It is important to keep the water clean and free of pollutants, as Betta smaragdina is a very sensitive fish.

Tank - Needs a well planted tank. At least 5 gallon for a single male, 15-20 gallon for a pair.

Water Hardness: The water's dissolved magnesium and calcium levels should be between 18 and 179 ppm.

betta smaragdina

Natural Habitat in the Wild

Betta Smaragdina originate from eastern Thailand, but due to human intervention, they can even be found in Malaysia. Betta Smaragdina may be found in the wild living in sluggish, murky streams, rice paddies, marshes, streams, and ponds.

They may be found in the smallest body of water, such as a ditch on the roadside. Betta Smaragdina can live in these little bodies of water since they have a labyrinth organ which allows them to take oxygen from the air if needed. Their native environment has a wide variety of substrate, including leaf litter, mud, sand, or sediment.

Betta Smaragdina are becoming increasingly rare in their natural environment as a result of habitat destruction caused by humans, pollution, and crossbreeding with other species of domesticated Bettas. The introduction and breeding of domestic Bettas in the wild habitat is resulting in bad genetic effects and causing offspring to have difficulties in their natural surroundings.

Betta Smaragdina Lifespan & Size

Bettas are affectionate and enjoy being active. They require no aquarium decoration except for a few pieces of driftwood to allow them to swim freely within the tank. Betta Smaragdina have an average lifespan of 3 to 5 years in captivity if appropriately cared for. They may reach a maximum size of up to 1.75 to 2 inches.

Betta Smaragdina Aggression 

Betta Smaragdina have been kept as a fighting fish for hundreds of years, and therefore it is not suggested that they live in a group with other fish. If you want your Betta Smaragdina to be happy in a tank with other fish, the most important thing is to provide them with a tank that can accommodate them and the other fish. Small peaceful fish, such as tetras or corydoras, are excellent tankmates for your Betta Smaragdina. They can also be kept with shrimps or snails, but your Betta may be enticed to eat them.

Subspecies and Hybrids

The Betta smaragdina is a well-known betta variant, and there are two distinct varieties of them.

  • Betta smaragdina sp. guitar is a naturally formed and subspecies and lives only in the far north eastern part of Thailand. The Betta smaragdina sp. guitar is a naturally occurring subspecies that dwells solely in Thailand's far northern eastern region. What sets them apart from the typical smaragdina is the presence of guitar-like markings on the dorsal and caudal fins.  They are virtually identical in terms of size, Betta color and pattern..etc with the exception that the ventrals are longer.
  • Betta smaragdina ‘copper’ on the other hand, is a human-bred hybrid. It has a copper-brown hue. It has the same anatomy as the original smaragdina. However, it remains a hybrid species and should not be crossed with genuine smaragdina species.

Common Names for Betta Smaragdina

The Betta smaragdina is also known by the following names: blue betta, emerald betta, emerald green betta, Mekong fighting fish, and peaceful betta.

Take Care of Betta Smaragdina

How to Take Care of Betta Smaragdina

The Betta Smaragdina is a unique-looking Betta fish with an iridescent sheen on its body that reaches out to its fins. The color of their primary body may be various hues such as red, orange, blue, and green. Green-blue scaling is what gives these beautiful fish their distinctive iridescent sheen. They have medium-length fins in comparison to other Betta species, and their fins are striped.

Once they've reached maturity, the males and females are far easier to distinguish from one another. The male Betta Smaragdina is more brightly colored than the female, while the female has smaller fins than the male. Betta Smaragdina is frequently crossed with released pet Bettas of other species, making them difficult to identify in the wild.

Food & Diet

Betta Smaragdina are primarily carnivorous. They will eat tiny insects, insect larvae, small crustaceans, and occasionally plant matter in the wild. Wild smaragdina will consume whatever food is available at any time, but in captivity they should be fed once or twice a day.

In captivity, Betta Smaragdina should be fed a high-quality protein diet. Pellet and flake foods are acceptable for their health, however frozen or live meals like bloodworms, daphnia, or artemia should be given to them. Betta species are susceptible to obesity, so be careful not to overfeed.

Tank Setup & Tank Size

A Betta Smaragdina pair requires a minimum of 10 gallons for breeding. They may be kept with various species of fish, however they require a much greater tank of at least 30 gallons. Setting up a tank for Betta Smaragdina is easiest if you take into account their natural habitat.

Betta Smaragdina require a lot of aquarium plants and décor that offer hiding places for them to rest. Freshwater Bettas do best in a darker area that is shaded by aquarium plants and ornaments. Betta Smaragdina prefers slow-moving water, which is particularly crucial when breeding them. It's also a good idea to cover your Betta Smaragdina aquarium with a lid, as they are great jumpers and have been known to leap out of their tank.

Aquarium Layout for Betta Smaragdina 

Betta Smaragdina are a hardy fish that can survive and thrive in a wide range of water conditions as long as it is maintained properly and has adequate filtration. They're usually maintained at temperatures of around 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sand, dirt, or leaf litter can be used as a substrate for a Betta Smaragdina tank setup. leaf litter is ideal for a Betta Smaragdina tank substrate because it won't just be eaten by the Betta, but also because as the leaves decompose, they will release beneficial tannins into the water. Tannins are essential for the maintenance of Betta Smaragdina's health.

How Do You Breed a Smaragdina Betta?

Betta Smaragdina are bubble nesters. This implies that when the male Betta is ready to spawn, he will build a bubble nest in a secluded area of your aquarium to deposit his eggs. The air bubble nest will be attached to the walls of your aquarium, or it may be secured to aquarium décor and plants.

Labyrinth organs are used to build their bubble nests.. They can also produce bubbles that endure in the water and protect the eggs until they hatch into fry by using their labyrinth organ, which allows them to extract oxygen from the air.

If you want to breed your Betta Smaragdina, it is recommended that you create a dedicated breeding tank. This will guarantee that you get a greater number of fry. Betta Smaragdina are not considered a difficult species to breed, but you should make sure their spawning environment is as pleasant as possible since this encourages them to reproduce.

When the male Betta Smaragdina has built his nest, it's time for him to breed. With a fuller appearance to her physique, your female Betta Smaragdina is likely ready as well, as she is full of eggs. When feeding females, the male and female may look as though they are embracing, and the female will be able to release her eggs.

After several embraces, the female will swim away from the male once she has released all of her eggs. The male will then pick up the fertilized eggs and place them in the bubble nest to tend to them. Remove the female from the breeding tank once she has finished, because the male will become aggressive towards her.

You will observe the eggs splitting and developing into free-swimming fry after approximately 48 hours. Remove your male Betta Smaragdina as soon as your fry are able to swim on their own. The fry will be able to eat a diet of live or frozen baby brine shrimp as long as they are small enough to fit in their mouths.

Betta Smaragdina is a variety of Betta that costs between 30 and 70 dollars each. They may be obtained at pet stores or over the internet, but double-check to ensure you're buying a Betta Smargdina, not another species of Betta fish.

Betta Smaragdina Vs Betta Mahachaiensis

Betta Smaragdina Vs Betta Mahachaiensis

The closest species to Betta mahachaiensis in terms of external appearance is Betta smaragdina. However, with a little explanation, it should be straightforward to determine the distinction between two species.

Scaling on the cheeks, in particular, is distinct. Smaragdina, for example, has more complete mask-like snakeskin scaling all over the face, which extends to the body scales.

This snakelike pattern isn't seen in the Mahachaiensis, which has plated scales. Its scales are larger and don't make this snakelike pattern and the black stripe on the cheeks makes it even more clear.

Betta mahachaiensis' ventrals are black with green or blue highlights, whereas Betta smaragdina's are orange to red with most likely white tips. The blue-green color of the anal fins is unique to Betta mahachaiensis, while the orange, sometimes blue highlighted hue is distinctive to Betta smaragdina.


Which Are Suitable Tankmates for Betta Smaragdina?

It is not suggested that you keep your Betta smaragdina in a group tank with a lot of other fish. This does not, however, indicate that you can't create a living space where you can have your Betta as well as some additional tankmates.

The most essential aspect is that Bettas enjoy their solitude. If you want to put fish in your tank, it should be at least 10 gallons in size. Otherwise, your Betta will be dissatisfied.

Small tetra species, shrimps (Your Betta is likely to consume them at times), corydoras, or snails are good tankmates for your Betta.

What Can Be Kept With Betta Smaragdina?

You can add as much plants as possible and use hardscapes like wood to provide hiding spaces. You should also use a dark substrate; this will make your Smaragdina look even more colorful. If you want you can also add a hood to your tank to make it look more natural.

You may either put live plants in your aquarium or artificial ones. While using fake plants, be sure they are not pointed and that your Betta fish is not harmed by them. If you want to add anything else to your tank, consider adding a Betta Hammock, a tiny mirror, ping-pong balls, Fluval moss balls, Caves and shipwrecks.

How to Group Breed Smaragdina Betta Fish Successfully? 

For group breeding, you need to keep the water temperature near the higher tolerance limit. The color of your female changes, and she develops vertical bars on her body. The male betta then constructs a bubble nest. When they mate, the male will deposit the eggs in the nest, and they should hatch in a few days.

Can Betta Smaragdina Be Kept Together?

Although it is claimed that Betta wilds are more peaceful than their Betta splendens relatives, It is not true always. In most cases, keeping them in pairs will not end so well.

Tank of at least 20 gallons is required for a pair. Because female and male will fight to the death unless the tank is large enough. You can add as many plants as you can, then use hardscapes such as wood to provide hiding places for them.

Where Can Betta Smaragdina Be Found?

It is a species of betta fish native to Thailand and Laos, where they dwell in the Mekong, Chao Phraya river's basins throughout Isan region, Thailand.

Betta Smaragdina live in slow-moving, murky rivers, rice paddies, swamps, streams, and ponds in their natural environment. They can also be found in any little body of water beside a road, as small as a ditch.

Betta Smaragdina Peaceful

Are Betta Smaragdina Peaceful?

When compared to other Betta fish, the Betta smaragdina has a more serene and peaceful personality.

How to Stop Betta Smaragdina From Stressing Out?

There are a few things you can do to help stop your Betta smaragdina from stressing out. Here are some of them:

  • Use a dark substrate: This will help make your Smaragdina look even more colorful.
  • Add plants: You can either put live plants in your aquarium or artificial ones. While using fake plants, be sure they are not pointed and that your Betta fish is not harmed by them.
  • To reduce stress in your betta, consider adding Betta Hammock, a tiny mirror, ping-pong balls, Fluval moss balls, hood and Caves.
  • Check the levels of ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite in your water. Fish that live in bad water might become sick or can get stressed out quickly.
  • Water conditioner drops are a wonderful way to help your fish. Do not put untreated tap water in your tank.
  • Check your water temperature
  •  Create hiding places.
  • Use tannins.

What Is Betta Alien?

The "Alien" Betta fish is a cross between distinct types of Bettas in the B. Splendens complex, including B. smaragdina.

Final Thoughts

Bettas Smaragdina are excellent and beautiful choices if you're looking for a new fish to keep in a tiny tank with some small other fish or for a new adventure. However, there is a lot more to it than simply providing your fish with adequate care if you want to give them the best possible treatment.

Make sure you have a tank at least 5 gallons for a male and provide it with a range of vegetation. To keep a pair you will need a tank of at least 10 gallons. They can be kept with other small peaceful fish that like similar water conditions and are not too aggressive.

If you can provide a good environment for your Betta, you will enjoy a beautiful and cheerful fish.

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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