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Betta Imbellis (Peaceful Betta): A Complete Overview (Pictures & Video)

Betta imbellis, often referred to as the ‘peaceful betta’ or ‘crescent betta,’ is one of the most popular wild bettas among the splendens complex. Its green color with bright red accents makes its popularity well deserved.

However, the Betta imbellis remains a hidden gem for most aquarists.

When most people think about bettas, they see the classic Betta splendens, with huge fins and intense coloration all over the body. In order to keep these fish successfully, you will need to learn more about how to care for them the best way.

Quick Overview About Betta Imbellis

Common Names Betta imbellis
Scientific Name Betta imbellis
Adult Size Typically 2-2.5 inches (5-6.4 cm)
Lifespan About 2-4 years
Family Osphronemidae (Gouramis)
Origin Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand and Malaysia
Temperament Peaceful
Compatibility Generally peaceful; may be kept in community tanks
Tank Mates Small, non-aggressive fish, avoid fin-nippers
Minimum Tank Size 10 gallons (38 liters) or larger
Habitat Still waters, rice paddies
Color Green body with bright red accents
Skin Type Scales
Care Level Moderate
Breeding Bubble nest builder
pH level 6.0-7.5
Water Hardness Soft to moderately hard
Temperature 75-82°F (24-28°C)
Diet Carnivorous, betta pellets, live or frozen foods
Prey Small insects, zooplankton
Favorite Food Live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia

Appearance of Betta Imbellis

Imbellis Betta Fish
Imbellis Betta Fish

Betta Imbellis is characterized by its green body with red-black ventral fins and a distinctive eclipse on its tail. Interestingly, its coloration can vary, appearing blue under certain LED lighting and emerald green under warmer illumination. As with all betta fish types, the betta imbellis males stand out with more expressive fins, vibrant colors, and unique temperaments, while betta imbellis females sport a lighter brown hue, providing them with better camouflage.

  • Tail and Eclipse: The nickname ‘crescent betta’ is derived from the striking red eclipse on the tail. This eclipse can take on the shape of an almost perfect crescent or envelop the rear portion in a rounded pattern.
  • Scaling: The fish exhibits emerald-green scaling across its body, overlaying a brown-black base. Notably, the upper or dorsal part of the body features a darker tint, serving as camouflage against potential predators, including birds and even humans who might approach from above. Cheeks typically bear a black stripe running through the middle, although certain strains may have fully covered cheeks.
  • Size: While some betta species like Betta mahachaiensis can reach sizes of 2.5-3 inches, Betta Imbellis is one of the smaller members of the splendens complex, along with Betta siamorientalis. Males generally attain a size of around 2 inches, while female betta imbellis tend to remain smaller, typically not exceeding 1.9 inches.
  • Ventrals: The ventral fins, which constitute about one-third of the body length, are predominantly red, with black sides and occasional white patches. During displays of aggression or courtship, males often use their ventral fins to grab the attention of females or rival males.

Betta Imbellis, belonging to the splendens complex, thrives in shallow aquatic environments such as rice fields and swamps in Malaysia. These habitats tend to have slightly acidic water with a pH ranging from 4 to 7, primarily due to the nature of their substrate.

Betta Imbellis In The Wild

Betta Imbellis In The Wild
Betta Imbellis In The Wild

In their early history, bettas were unfortunately captured and forced to engage in fights for human entertainment. Among betta varieties, Betta Imbellis is a less well-known contender in this regard compared to its cousin, Betta splendens, which has been selectively bred into various fighting strains, such as the Thai fighter fish, and even the classic domestic bettas.

Nevertheless, Betta Imbellis has undergone extensive breeding efforts over the years, leading to the development of numerous strains. These efforts have allowed Betta Imbellis to evolve beyond its original wild forms and find its place in the world of aquarium enthusiasts, where their unique characteristics and peaceful nature are appreciated.

Betta Imbellis Care & Breeding

Betta Imbellis Care: Betta Imbellis are generally considered to be easy to care for, provided they have sufficient space and ample hiding spots away from other fish. These fish thrive in an environment that mimics their natural habitat, which includes well-shaded areas. You can achieve this by incorporating tall or leafy plants into their tank.

It’s crucial to maintain clean and well-aerated water in the aquarium. However, it’s worth noting that bettas, including Betta Imbellis, are not accustomed to swift currents. Therefore, it’s advisable to use a gentle bubbler and filter to minimize water movement.

To prevent any unexpected leaps, a secure, tight-fitting aquarium lid is essential. Bettas like Betta Imbellis and B.macrostoma are known for their jumping abilities. Since they occasionally take in air from the water’s surface, it’s important to leave some space between the water’s surface and the aquarium’s lid.

Betta imbellis male
Betta imbellis male

Betta Imbellis Breeding: Much like other betta species, Betta Imbellis utilizes a bubble nest for breeding. Prior to spawning, the male constructs this bubble nest near the water’s surface, often using plants as an anchor. The female then lays her eggs, and once the male fertilizes them, the pair collaboratively transport the eggs into the nest, securing them within the bubbles.

Once the eggs are safely placed in the nest, you can remove the female from the tank. The male Betta Imbellis will assume responsibility for tending to the eggs until they hatch, typically within one to two days.

After approximately two more days, the young bettas will gain the ability to swim independently. At this stage, it’s advisable to relocate the male to a separate tank to prevent any of the fry from being consumed. Initially, you can feed the fry liquid food for the first few days before transitioning to baby brine shrimp or microworms to ensure their healthy growth.

Betta Imbellis hybrid
Betta Imbellis hybrid

Explore more:


  • More peaceful than other betta species
  • Ideal for a 10-gallon tank
  • Diet includes meaty pellets, flakes, and live or frozen foods

The Betta Imbellis, with its stunning colors and tranquil temperament, is a favored choice for both novice and experienced fish enthusiasts.

While Betta Imbellis may not possess the flamboyance of its more common counterpart, Betta Splendens, it can coexist harmoniously with other fish, including fellow Betta Imbellis, provided they have ample space. This compatibility allows them to lead long and healthy lives.

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If you’re seeking a betta species that’s low-maintenance yet brimming with personality, the Betta Imbellis could be the perfect addition to your aquarium.

Have you had the pleasure of caring for a Betta Imbellis, or do you have any questions about this breed? Feel free to share your experiences or inquiries in the comments below!

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