Betta Albimarginata: Care, Size, Lifespan, pH & Breeding

Scientific NameBetta Albimarginata
Common Name(s)Whiteseam Fighter also called “Ikan Bettah” locally
OriginThe Sebuku River drainage in Kalimantan Timur, East Province, Indonesia, Borneo
Temperature Range76° and 85°F
Water ParameterspH 6.8 to 7.5
Adult size1 to 2 inches

Betta Albimarginata Facts:

  • The scientific name Albimarginata comes from the latin word Albus, meaning ‘white’, and Margo, meaning ‘margin.’ This refers to the white on its fins.
  • Can be found in the wild in the rainforest of Borneo amongst the leaf litter and plant roots in shallow water.
  • They are excellent jumpers, and lids are recommended for their tanks.
  • This fish was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature list, and is considered at a very high risk of going extinct in its natural habitat in the wild.
Betta albimarginata, Photo taken by user de:Benutzer BS Thurner Hof. CC BY-SA 3.0.

Betta Albimarginata Care

Betta Albimarginata is a type of wild betta fish that can be identified by a combination of characteristics. They have a blackish head ventrally, and greyish yellow dorsally. They have an orange colored blotch on their operculum. The operculum is the facial structure on bony fish that supports their gills. They have fin patterning, except on their pectoral fins. They have a broad white distal band, and a dark submarginal band. The submarginal band has a sharp outer margin, a less sharp inner margin, and a plain red inner portion. Females are a simple mottled brown body color, while the males end up being a more orange color.

Adult males are more colorful, especially when they are ready to mate, and they also have a broader head shape than the females do. In submissive or stressed males, their coloring and patterning can change to reflect the striped and washed out greys of the females.

The male and the female Betta Albimarginata look similar to one another, but they can be identified from one another.

Size and Lifespan

Betta Albimarginata fish can live up to 2 to 3 years with proper care, and they can grow a maximum size of up to 2 inches in length. Betta fish are considered a hardy genus of fish, and bettas have successfully adapted to inhabit a variety of ecological niches. They can survive in stagnant ditches, and flowing hill streams. They can also survive in  extreme environments such as highly acidic peat swamp forests.

Food and Diet

In their natural habitat, The Betta Albimarginata is carnivorous, and will likely prey on any insect, small invertebrate, and zooplankton as long as it can fit in their mouth. In captivity, they should be fed a varied diet of small live or frozen foods. Daphnia, artemia, or bloodworm should be fed to the Betta Albimarginata regularly to ensure development of their health and color.

Caution should be exercised during feeding time. The Betta Albimarginata, like other bettas, are prone to obesity in captivity. It is recommended to skip feeding one day a week to help prevent this.

The Betta Albimarginata will accept dry foods and pellets eventually, but they may not at first realize that they are edible. Always observe your fish at feeding time when feeding something new to make sure they are eating.

Tank Size Requirements

Betta Albimarginata are described as somewhat territorial, but they can be kept in groups as long as they have enough room. They are typically housed as a breeding pair, but have been successfully kept in community tanks. The minimum tank requirement for the breeding pair of Betta Albimarginata is 10 gallons, and you should add an additional 5 gallons of water to their aquarium per breeding pair.

Although a 10 gallon tank is recommended, they do best in a 20 gallon long as it more closely mimics the natural, shallow pools that they are found in the rainforest of Borneo.

The Betta Albimarginata is a tropical fish, and being such, requires their tank to have an aquarium heater to keep it at a comfortable temperature range of  76° and 85°F for these fish. Keeping their aquarium at the right temperature will prevent them from getting different illnesses.

The breeding pair’s tank setup should also include plenty of cover, and floating plants are a good way to add cover and comfort to their tank. Caves and plants are a good choice to add to their aquarium, as well as driftwood roots, and branches. A good aquarium filtration system, and routinely scheduled water changes are a must to keep them healthy. Tannins are often added to their water to make them feel more comfortable.

Since their tank setup needs to be clean, many owners of the Betta Albimarginata choose not to use a substrate in their tank setup. This also makes their tank easier to clean.

Leaf litter added to their setup will provide an excellent addition to their tank. The leaf litter helps the environment to more closely resemble their habitat in the wild as well as providing cover for the fish. The decomposition of the leaf litter brings with it the growth of microbes, and provides a secondary food source for the fry. The tannins released from the decaying leaf litter are considered beneficial for fish from blackwater environments.

The Betta Albimarginata inhabits slow moving waters in its natural habitat, and their filtration system should not be too strong. It is also a requirement to keep your tank water level lower so your betta can access the humid air above, and a tight lid is recommended for their tank. The Betta Albimarginata, like all betta fish, is an excellent jumper.

Water Parameters and PH

Bettas prefer calm water with a pH between 6.8 and 7.5. While they may seem to tolerate cooler temperatures, they will be inactive and more susceptible to disease. Therefore, it’s best for their overall health to keep the temperature between 76° and 85°F.

The Betta Albimarginata prefers a more acidic water, and you can add indian almond leaves to their water as long as moss balls to help achieve this. A more soft water is also needed to be used in their tank, and you may have to add an osmosis unit to achieve the desired level.

Breeding Betta Albimarginata

When it comes to breeding the Betta Albimarginata, you would need to set the breeding pair up a tank that is specifically for breeding.

Following a careful courtship, eggs and milt are released during an ’embrace’ typical of betta fish. The embrace occurs when the male wraps his body around that of the female. You may see your Betta Albimarginata embrace several times before eggs are released and the spawning commences. Once their eggs are fertilized, the male betta will catch the eggs on his anal fin. The eggs are then picked up in the mouth of the female, and the female spits them out into the water for the male to catch. The species is referred to as a mouthbrooder, which in this case, means the eggs are cared for in the mouth of the male betta.

The typical brood size for the Betta Albimarginata can be quite small, with an average of about 10 eggs. Once the male has caught all the eggs in his mouth, he will then incubate them there for a period of 10 to 21 days without eating. Inexperienced or stressed males potentially could swallow their eggs before they are released, and it is better to leave the breeding pair together for about a week before the female is removed. Once the father releases the fry, it is important that he be removed and placed in isolation to recover and regain some weight. The females have been known to continuously spawn with a male and he would run the risk of starving to death in this situation. In a community tank setup, you can help avoid this by having more males than females in their tank. The males can, however, be territorial.

It is important to place a layer of cling film or a tight fitting lid to the tank housing your betta fry. They need access to the layer of warm humid air which aids in the development of their labyrinth organ. If they do not have access to the humid air during this time in their development, they may suffer impairment of their labyrinth organ.

 Once the fry emerge from their eggs, they are fairly large and able to feed on live foods. They can be raised alongside their parents, but in some cases, the parents have been observed eating their fry. Don’t change their water too much, and instead perform smaller water changes more frequently for the fry. For optimal growth rate, your Betta Albimarginata fry should be fed 2 to 3 times per day.