Betta Imbellis (Peaceful Betta): Care, Lifespan, Aggression

Scientific NameBetta Imbellis
Common NamePeaceful Betta, Crescent Betta
OriginSouthern Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia
Water pH5.0 to 7.5
Adult Sizeup to 2 inches
DietMainly carnivorous but can be omnivorous

Betta Imbellis Facts

  • Betta Imbellis gets the name Imbellis from the latin word meaning ‘peaceful’.
  • Betta Imbellis is among the smallest of the Betta species. The males grow up to 2 inches long, with the females growing only slightly less than the males.
  • Betta Imbellis has a labyrinth organ that allows it to get oxygen from the air.
  • Betta Imbellis is sometimes called the ‘Peaceful Betta’, because of its difference in temperament to other species of Betta Fish, and its ability to be housed more easily in a community tank setup.
  • Betta Imbellis are a popular fish, and they can easily be found in most pet stores, and online.

Betta Imbellis Identification and Markings

Betta Imbellis are a beautiful species of wild Betta fish. They can be identified by their iridescent blue-green scaling on their bodies, and a red crescent shape on their tail fin. In addition to having a deep red color on their tail fin, they also have a small amount of red on their other fins. Like all Betta Fish, the male Betta Imbellis is more brightly colored, and has more ornate fins than the female Betta Imbellis. The female Betta Imbellis tends to have a more brownish color to her body while the males have a more blackish color. In their natural environment, the brown coloration provides the female Betta Imbellis with more camouflage making it easier for her to hide.

Peaceful Betta (Betta imbellis)
Peaceful Betta (Betta imbellis)

Betta Imbellis Care

Betta Imbellis can be found in Southern Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Wild Bettas can be found in murky, dark  marsh waters, streams, rice paddies, ponds, and sluggish waters such as swamps. They typically inhabit the bottom where the leaf litter settles in the mud. They prefer a habitat with much vegetation and cover. Their natural habit should be taken into consideration for their tank setup and care.

Size and Lifespan

Betta Imbellis is one of the smallest Betta Fish in the species, with the males growing up to 2 inches at full maturity. The females are slightly smaller than the males. Betta Imbellis can live up to 4 years in captivity when properly cared for.

Food and Diet

In their natural habitat, Betta Imbellis will eat insects, larvae, and other invertebrates. They will also graze on the fallen leaf litter, but they prefer a carnivorous diet. In captivity, Betta Imbellis should be given a quality high protein, varied diet. This will ensure that your Betta Imbellis is getting the nutrients that it needs to be vibrant and healthy. They will readily accept pellet or flake foods, but it is a good idea to supplement their diet with frozen or live foods such as daphnia, bloodworms, or brine shrimp. You will be able to find these at most local pet stores.

Tank Setup

Betta Imbellis requires a minimum of a 10 gallon tank. If the tank is long opposed to tall, that is preferable. Betta Imbellis will spend the majority of their time in the top and middle of the water, and a longer tank will provide them with more area to swim. Betta Imbellis, like other Betta species, do best when they are in an aquarium set up that is similar to their natural environment in the wild.  If you are planning on keeping a breeding pair together, you will want to go with a larger tank of at least 15 gallons.

Betta Imbellis prefers a well planted habitat with lots of shaded area. With lots of plants to choose from, this makes for a great aquascaping project. Leaf litter is another excellent choice when setting up an aquarium for your Betta Imbellis. As the leaf litter decays, it leaves behind beneficial tannins in the water that are great for the health of your Betta Imbellis, as well as turning your water a darker color.

If you place a solitary Betta Imbellis in a larger tank by itself, its natural instincts will kick in, and it will hide itself more. Betta Fish are good jumpers, so you may want to keep your water level slightly lower, as well as making sure there is a top on your aquarium.

In the wild, Betta Imbellis live in slow moving waters, so you will need to be mindful when purchasing an aquarium filter for your fish tank. Strong water movement should be avoided when setting up the perfect habitat for your Betta Imbellis.

It is also important to the health of your Betta Imbellis that you perform regular water changes of about 25% every 2 weeks, or smaller water changes every week.

Betta Imbellis Aggression

Betta Imbellis are known as Peaceful Betta, but they can still show aggression and be territorial. If you are planning on housing your Betta Imbellis with other species of fish, you will want to make sure that you have a large enough tank, and that you choose a fish to cohabitate that is calm and will not bully your Betta Imbellis. There are peaceful schooling fish such as neon tetras that would be great tank mates with Betta Imbellis, providing that there is enough room in the aquarium.

Tank Mates

If you plan on adding more fish in with your Betta Imbellis, it is important to also make sure that your fish have places to hide from one another and destress. This is especially important if you are keeping a breeding pair in a community setup. Even though Betta Imbellis is called peaceful, they are still a Betta, and they will become aggressive if they feel they have to. This is especially true if they are preparing to spawn, or if they have a bubble nest they are defending.

Betta Imbellis Breeding

If you are planning on breeding your Betta Imbellis, you will want to consider setting up a dedicated breeding tank for them. Betta Imbellis are bubble nesters. This means that the male will build a bubble nest somewhere on the surface of the water in your aquarium when he is ready to spawn. Oftentimes this bubble nest will be next to or attached to plants or decor that you have in your aquarium.

Betta imbellis_Peaceful Betta (Male)
Betta imbellis (Male). DefenderRegina, CC BY-SA 3.0

Betta Imbellis females and males will lock themselves together in a kind of dance, and once they have embraced each other, the female will release her eggs. Once the male has fertilized them, he will scoop up each egg and place them in the nest and care for them until they develop. It is at this point that you will want to remove the female Betta Imbellis from the breeding tank. It takes roughly 48 hours for betta fry to develop, and once you notice them hatching, you will want to remove the Betta Imbellis Male from the tank so that he isn’t tempted to eat the fry.  

Betta imbellis (Female). DefenderRegina, CC BY-SA 3.0

When caring for the new Betta Imbellis fry, you will want to keep in mind that they are very tiny, and the biggest challenge you will have is finding food small enough for them to eat. Once their mouths are big enough, you can begin offering them flakes and pellets in addition to frozen or live foods. For optimal growth rate, you should feed our Betta Imbellis fry 2 to 3 times a day.

Betta Imbellis Price

When purchasing Betta Imbellis online, you can expect to spend anywhere between 10 to 20 dollars per fish. These prices can even go as high as 60 dollars for a more brightly colored or marked Betta Imbellis. Betta Imbellis are a popular choice for people in the fish keeping hobby, and they are often chosen for their beautiful coloration and mild temperament.

Betta Imbellis vs Betta Splendens

Betta Imbellis and Betta Splendens are similar fish in body shape, but their fins are very different. Betta Imbellis fins are referred to as a crescent shape, while the Betta Splendens have a more flowy fin shape. The shorter fin length of the Betta Imbellis makes it less of a target for other fish that might be tempted to nibble on its fins.

Betta Imbellis can come in other colors, but they are mainly black bodied with an iridescent sheen to them, while Betta Splendens come in a wide variety of colors. 

 Betta Splendens are known as a fighting Betta, while Betta Imbellis are known as a peaceful Betta. Betta Splendens are aggressive and fiercely territorial which makes them not ideal for an aquarium setup that is housing other types of fish. Betta Imbellis is a more calm type of Betta that can be housed in a community setup with other non aggressive fish around the same size. Keep in mind that both species are similar in behavior, and even the peaceful Betta Imbellis will become territorial if there is a bubble nest involved. Both species of Betta will also puff themselves up to warn any fish near them that they think are a threat.

Both of these types of Betta are easily found to purchase in pet stores and online.