Betta Imbellis (Peaceful Betta): An Overview and Care Guide

Betta imbellis, also called the Peaceful Betta or Crescent Betta, is a wild fish species. 

This betta species is native to Southeast Asia, commonly found in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia. 

Unlike many other species of betta, Betta imbellis was not originally bred in captivity. It occurs naturally in its native environment. 

However, this fish has been bred with other betta species.

Fish keepers typically do this to enhance the coloring or patterns of the fish, making them more beautiful to look at — and more valuable on the market. 

betta imbellis atf


Betta imbellis, also called the Crescent Betta or Peaceful Betta, is a beautiful fish. 

This betta species has distinct differences when compared to Betta splendens. It’s these unique visual features which make Betta imbellis so sought after by aquarists. 

Betta imbellis are known for their short, rounded fins — including a crescent-shaped tail fin. This differs from Betta splendens, which have long and flowing fins. 

Their fins tend to be bright blue in color and have reddish edges, especially on the tail fin. 

betta imbellis appearance

Male vs. Female Betta Imbellis

Like other species of betta, Betta imbellis are sexually dimorphic. This means males and females tend to differ in appearance. 

Male Betta imbellis have a black body covered in blue or green scales. These scales are iridescent, giving the fish a visually stunning look. 

Female Betta imbellis have a brown body. Their fins and coloring are less prominent than those of males. Additionally, female bettas tend to be smaller than male bettas. 


On average, Betta imbellis can live up to four years in captivity.  

It may be possible to extend your betta’s life with proper care. This means ensuring optimal water parameters, feeding it a proper diet, and maintaining a welcoming tank environment. 

On the other hand, bettas living in improper conditions will likely perish earlier than four years. 

Average Size

Betta imbellis generally grows to about 2″ inches long. In some cases, this betta species can reach about 2.5″ inches in length. 

Male betta fish tend to grow larger than female bettas do.

Your betta’s size will be affected by its diet.

To help your betta grow well and develop healthy, attractive fins, ensure you feed it a high-quality diet.

This should contain several food types (pellet, live, frozen, etc.) and plenty of protein. 

Betta Imbellis Care

Expert aquarists consider Betta imbellis one of the easiest betta species to keep. This means even beginners can succeed at raising these beautiful fish. 

Still, your fish require specific water conditions and tank setup to thrive. 

Below are the care requirements for keeping Betta imbellis.

Tank Size

Peaceful Bettas require a generous tank size. 

We recommend a size of at least 10 gallons for a single betta fish. 

A tank size of 10 to 15 gallons is ideal for a breeding pair. 

If you plan on housing a sorority or community tank, opt for a tank of around 30 gallons. Even Peaceful Bettas love their space and privacy. 

Water Parameters

Ensure the tank water is always within optimal parameters for your bettas: 

Ideal Water Parameters for a Betta Fish Tank Include the following:

  • Temperature: 78-80° degrees Fahrenheit (25.5-27° C)
  • pH: 6.5-7.5
  • Ammonia and Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: < 40 ppm
  • gH: 3-4 dGH (50-66.7 ppm)
  • kH: 3-5 dKH (53.6-89.4 ppm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 5 Gallons

Keeping ammonia levels and other toxins as low as possible is also crucial. There are a few different ways to help ensure good water quality in the betta tank: 

  1. Perform frequent water changes of about 20%–25% of the tank water. This helps keep the various parameters stable, reducing stress levels in your bettas. 
  2. Install a low-flow filter. This keeps the tank water clean and circulating, essential for your bettas’ health. 
  3. Buy an aquarium water testing kit. These kits can tell you the water’s pH levels and its levels of various toxins. 
  4. Consider buying a water heater. Since bettas are tropical fish, they prefer warm water. Installing a good water heater is a great way to ensure the water temperature is always ideal. 

Also, check out our guide to betta fish water parameters for more detailed information. 

What To Put In Their Tank

betta imbellis tank setup

Betta imbellis enjoy aquariums resembling their natural habitat. 

Since Betta imbellis are native to Southeast Asia, they are used to dwelling in sluggish waters with lots of plants. 

There are a few different things to include to help your bettas feel right at home in their aquarium habitat


Betta imbellis will need substrate or gravel at the bottom of their aquarium. 

Ensure the substrate is neutral in color, as bright colors cause elevated stress levels in bettas. 

Consider mixing in some leaf litter. This will help the betta tank mimic the fish’s natural environment in Thailand’s marshes. 


Install a low-flow filter in your betta aquarium. 

Aquarium filters keep the water circulating and remove various toxins from the water. 

Those with a low flow rate are safest for bettas, as they are less likely to damage their fins upon close contact.


Betta fish need warm tank water temperatures to thrive. 

Installing a heater takes some of the worry and effort out of keeping your bettas healthy. The heater will help keep the water within optimal temperature parameters.

Plenty of Plants

Crescent Bettas love tank environments featuring lots of plants. 

We recommend opting for real plants when possible, as these add a natural feel to the aquarium. Here are some ideas for you: 

  • Floating plants
  • Java ferns
  • Java moss
  • Amazon sword plants
  • Cryptocoryne wendtii
  • Cryptocoryne parva
  • Catappa leaves

If you buy artificial plants, avoid those made with plastic. The plastic tends to form sharp edges which may damage your bettas’ lovely fins. 

Hiding Places

Betta imbellis, being wild bettas, need hiding places in their tank to feel safe and secure. 

One way to accomplish this is to place some driftwood in the tank.

The driftwood will serve as a hiding place and as an excellent source of tannins. This is crucial, as this betta species thrives in tannin-rich waters.

Another option is to buy tank decorations featuring hidey-holes or other types of hiding spots. 

Having an adequate number of hiding spots helps reduce stress levels in bettas and keep the peace in community tanks. 

Possible Diseases

betta imbellis illness

Betta imbellis are not particularly prone to any specific disease. However, they do run the risk of falling ill with the most common betta diseases and parasitic infections: 

  • Dropsy
  • Pop-eye
  • Swim bladder disease
  • Ich
  • Anchor worms
  • Flukes 
  • Betta fish lice

Keep your Peaceful Bettas happy and healthy by keeping tank water levels within optimal parameters. 

Also, monitor your bettas for any signs of illness.

Typical symptoms include flashing behavior, lack of appetite, and lethargy. You may also notice changes in appearance, such as torn fins or discoloration. 

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to take your betta to a vet. They will be able to properly diagnose and treat the issue. 

Food & Diet

Peaceful Bettas need a varied diet to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients. 

It’s best to feed your bettas a combination of pellet or flake food, live and frozen food, and freeze-dried food. 

Bettas generally prefer pellets over flakes, and pellets are also easier to clean up. 

Live and frozen foods tend to be more expensive than other types, but they also provide more protein and nutrients. 

Further, avoid overfeeding your bettas. This may cause constipation, digestion issues, obesity, and even disease. 

Also, when uneaten food sits in the tank, it increases ammonia levels. 

Behavior & Temperament

betta imbellis behavior

Betta imbellis is called the “peaceful betta” for a reason.

These fish are generally less aggressive than Betta splendens. However, all species of betta are territorial and aggressive by nature. 

This makes it critical to not house Betta imbellis males with other males. The fish will fight and show other aggressive behavior. In many cases, this results in one or more bettas dying. 

Here are some other ways to curb aggression among your bettas:

  • Avoid overcrowding your betta fish tank. If there are too many fish for the size of the aquarium, it results in overcrowding. Betta imbellis become aggressive and stressed when there’s not enough space. A 10-gallon tank for a single Betta imbellis is adequate. 
  • Choose the best tank mates. Betta fish only get along with a select few other species. Avoid placing large or aggressive species in with your bettas. Opt for smaller fish with more peaceful tendencies. 
  • Monitor your bettas for health issues. If your bettas act aggressively, there may be a separate root cause. Some diseases and parasites cause bettas to become more aggressive due to stress. If your bettas seem ill, have them examined by a vet. 

If you still notice your bettas being aggressive, consider housing each betta in its own tank.

Sometimes, Betta imbellis find community tank life overwhelming and will begin to thrive once they have their own tank. 

Tank Mates

Betta imbellis tend to do well with other tank mates. 

However, it’s crucial to only house your bettas with compatible species. Here are just a few ideas for great betta fish tank mates: 

  • Neon tetras 
  • Cardinal tetras
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows
  • Raspboras
  • Various species of shrimp and snail

It’s also okay to house female Peaceful Bettas together in a sorority. 


Betta imbellis breed the same way as Betta splendens. 

These bettas are bubble nesters.

This means the male builds a bubble nest at the water surface to impress the female.

(The nest also keeps the fertilized eggs safe after mating.)

Read more about betta bubble nests in our article here.

After the male has built the bubble nest, the female decides whether she is impressed. If the nest suffices, she will undergo physical changes to alert the male she is ready to mate. 

Shortly after, they begin the mating dance. This involves the two fish twisting around each other in various positions.

The goal is to fertilize as many eggs as possible during the dance. While they dance, the male releases sperm over the eggs, which the female releases from her ovipositor spot. 

The male betta will look over the eggs for the next two to three days.

If the eggs fall out of the bubble nest, he will scoop them back up into the nest. He will also show aggressive behavior towards any other fish, including the female he mated with. 

Once the eggs hatch, the tiny bettas are called “fry.” The male does not take care of the fry.

They are left on their own to survive. 


The price of Betta imbellis varies depending on the breeder/seller and any unique differences a specific fish has. 

The typical price range is from $25 to $45. On average, this betta species costs about $30 per fish.

Betta imbellis with brighter coloring or additional markings can raise the price. These bettas can cost upwards of $60 per fish. 


Betta imbellis is a rather common species of betta. 

This wild betta species occurs naturally in Southeast Asian waters. 

This means it tends to cost less than rarer betta species and is more widely available. 

Commonly Asked questions About Betta imbellis

Still have questions about Betta imbellis? Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions. 

Is Betta imbellis aggressive?

Betta imbellis is considered a relatively aggressive fish. This species is generally less aggressive than Betta splendens and some other betta species. 

However, Betta imbellis were originally bred in Thailand as fighting fish. This means they still have an aggressive streak to watch out for.

Avoid aggression among your bettas by housing males separately and only introducing compatible tank mates. 

Do Betta imbellis jump?

Yes, Betta imbellis jump. 

They are known for their ability to jump high and often. This means you’ll want to buy a high-quality lid for your aquarium. 

Do Betta imbellis eat shrimp?

Betta imbellis do eat baby brine shrimp, along with other crustaceans and sea creatures. 

For a well-balanced diet, feed your bettas a combination of live/frozen foods and pellets. This ensures they get the variety of nutrients they require. 

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Written by

Contributing Writer

Wesley Oaks has a background in web publishing and decided to combine his skillset with his enjoyment of betta fish. When he isn’t working behind the scenes for Betta Fish Bay, he’s homeschooling his kids and soaking up quality family time.

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