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Betta imbellis
Ladiges 1975

Betta imbellis 
Photo by Nonn Panitvong [3]

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Keeping Betta imbellis from an Aquarist View



Betta imbellis can be housed in pairs, species tanks, and community tanks.  Pairs can be housed in a 10 gallon tank, groups should be housed in a 30 gallon tank or larger.  Pairs should be given cover such as caves and plants.  In a pair or species situation it is possible that fry could be discovered in the tanks.  For best results remove a pair to a breeding tank with little to no filtration.

Water Conditions

Not critical, imbellis is very tolerant of water chemistry and thrives in almost any type of water as long as it is clean and well filtered.  They should be kept at mid 70s to low 80s F.


Males are more intensely colored and might have longer fins while the females will be a browner in color however females should display an ovipositor or egg tube.


Imbellis is a surface bubblenester however the male may make a nest under objects on the surface of the water.  Males normally initiate spawning and entice females to the nest for spawning.

Similar Species Similar species would be all splendens complex members.
Identification Imbellis have green or blue gill plates with no wild spots on the tail rays.

Articles on Related Species

Spawning Betta smaragdina - the "Emerald Betta" Yohan Fernando.

Betta smaragdina Ladiges, 1972.  Michel Dantec.  Communauté Internationale pour les Labyrinthidés [internet]. France; c.9 August 2002.

Care and Spawning of Betta smaragdina.  Gerald Griffin.   Flare! Mar/Apr 1990

I’ve Got a New Mouthbrooding Betta – Now What?.  Michael Hellweg.  2003.

Working with wild Bettas  Gerald Griffin.   Flare! 2006.

Bettas in Peril, the Mahachai SituationGerald Griffin.  Flare 2005

Original Citation Ladiges, W. 1975. [61]
References Gonin, Herve and Jacques Laird, 2002. [137]
Grabda, E. and T. Heese, 1991. [45]
International Betta Congress,1986. [152]
Kirtley, Paul, 1988. [149]
Kottelat, M., A.J. Whitten, S.N. Kartikasari and S. Wirjoatmodjo, 1993. [58]
Liebetrau, Sue. 1975. [124]
Ng, P.K.L., L.M. Chou and T.J. Lam, 1993. [74]
Riehl, R. and H.A. Baensch, 1991. [85]
Riehl, R. and H.A. Baensch, 1996. [86]
Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea and W.B. Scott, 1991. [88]
Schliewen, U., 1992. [94]
Sommer, Wolfgang, 1990. [151]
Wellner, Peter. [115]

Type Locality Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Holotype ZMH H4644
Paratype ZMH H4520 (11)
Where Found Countries: Indonesia
Known Occurrences: Malaysia: Paddy on N. side of the road Kuala Pilah to Seremban 11 kms W. of Kuala Pilah
Malaysia: West Malaysia: Muar River At Various Localities 7-18 Milesinland From City Of Muar
Miscellaneous Information Max. size:

5.5 cm
pH range: 6.0 - 7.0
dH range: 5.0 - 19.0
Temperature range: 24 - 28°C
Meristics: Length 50mm, DO-1/7-9, AIII/22-25, mLR 27-30.  [152]
General notes on water chemistry: No special requirements regarding pH and hardness.  [151]
Etymology: peaceful
General notes: As with most Betta species, these fish are good jumpers and need a well-covered tank. A good candidate for the community tank, they do well with several pair kept together. The males will often flare at each other but rarely cause any trouble. They show a preference for live foods such as mosquito larvae and brine shrimp but will readily accept flake foods as well. [149]

Temperature 77-79ºF; for stimulating spawning, as high as 86ºF.  [151
Reproduction: Dioecious, external fertilization. Spherical eggs in bubble nest. Eggs shrink to the bottom and were then collected by one or both parents and were embedded among the foam bubbles in the nest. [33]

Sexually mature at 6 months old, these fish measure approximately 1.5 inches in length at this age. They will readily spawn in anything from a one-gallon jar to an outdoor pool when properly conditioned. A 10 gallon tank is usually used which gives the female plenty of room to retreat and allows the fry enough growing room. As these fish are naturally shy, the tank should be placed in an area with little traffic to prevent disturbing the breeding pair. Two gallons of well-aged tapwater should be mixed with two gallons of distilled or RO water and maintained at a temperature of 80°F. Floating plants should be added but quantity is not important as long as the female has a place to hide. The author suggests draping a large, thick towel over the top and brightly lit side of the tank to subdue light and give the pair a sense of security. Once the pair has been chosen, keep them isolated from each other for a couple of weeks before placing them into the breeding tank. Condition them with plenty of a good variety of live and frozen foods during this time. Proper conditioning is the single most important aspect of successfully spawning any egglayer. Good conditioning foods include live and frozen brine shrimp, live and frozen mosquito larvae, frozen plankton, frozen beef heart, freeze-dried foods, chopped earthworms, etc. After the condtioning period, both fish are placed into the breeding tank at the same time. The bubble nest is started by the male in a few hours and the pair usually spawn within 24 hours. Up to 500 white opaque eggs will be placed into the bubble nest after a few hours of embracing occur. The female's job is over and the male takes on the task of maintaining the nest and making sure the eggs stay in place. She can either be removed now or left and removed with the male later. The parents are fed once daily to discourage eating the developing fry. The eggs hatch in 24-48 hours and by the fourth day, they are free- swimming at the water's surface. The parents can now be removed and snails added to promote infusoria. The fry are small and need a liquid food for the first couple of days, after which they can be supplemented with baby brine shrimp. By the fourth day, they should be fed solely on baby brine shrimp and care should be taken not to overfeed them, as the fry are very susceptible to foul water and very sensitive to water changes. Fresh water can be added only after around 3 weeks and then only gradually. A quart a day for the first 3-4 days and then a gallon a day till the tank is filled seems to work best. The fry will be at least a month old now and a sponge filter can be added to the tank. The fry will start coloring up at 3-4 months of age if given plenty of growing room. [149

Last modification submitted by Gerald Griffin 07.04.08 (mm.dd.yy)

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