Suppose you’re a fishkeeper and planning to start keeping wild bettas. More specifically, the Betta albimarginata. In that case, there are few things you need to be aware of or improvise to keep your fish healthy and safe.
When I first planned on getting my Betta albimarginata, I did a lot of research work, which has helped me raise a sound environment for them.
In this guide, I compile a few information and guidelines about keeping a pair of Betta albimarginata. Read more on how to keep them, and it’ll help you be a great fish parent!
What is a Betta Albimarginata?
Betta albimarginata is a fish species that come under the betta fish family. Albimarginata comes from the Latin word, Albus, which means white and margo for margin.
Most of the betta breeds got their names after their finnage. These species fall under the osphronemidae family (freshwater fish).
This species is relatively peaceful and can cohabit with similar species, although I somehow have an aggressive male.
Common names for Betta Albimarginata
Betta albimarginata is the scientific name while having a few other familiar names like – Whiteseam Fighter, Strawberry Betta, White Fin Betta, and White Edge Fighting Fish.
Where are Betta Albimarginata found?
Betta albimarginata are endemic to Sebuku River, located in Borneo under the Kalimantan Timur province, Indonesia.
Localities of Betta Albimarginata
Betta albimarginata are known to be available in “Sebuku” and “Malinau” in Indonesia. The species collected from Sebuku are larger than the ones found in Malinau.
If you know any other differences between these localities, please share them with me!
Habitat of Betta Albimarginata
These species are known to settle in streams with an average flow and shallow water with a depth of 5-10 cm, which is around 2.0-3.9 inches. The surroundings are primarily filled with riparian vegetation and organic wastes of the forests.
Awareness of what kind of elements are present in their natural habitat is essential to replicate it in home aquariums. Adding dry leaf litter will help create an ecosystem while acting as a supplementary hiding spot for the fishes.
Leaf litter also provides a secondary food source, and the tannins released via its decomposition is beneficial for blackwater fishes. You can also add aquatic plants like ferns and moss.
I go the extra mile to add riparian plants to my Betta albimarginata tanks. They provide additional shade for them while absorbing excess nutrients.
Low to medium water movement will be necessary, and lighting shouldn’t be too bright.
How to take care of Betta Albimarginata?
Betta albimarginata are not too fussy when it comes to their aquarium conditions. Clean, soft, and acidic water at around 26°C is a good start. Water stability is more critical than fluctuating conditions!
Do remember that with all fishes, these species do not thrive in dirty water.
Tank size for Betta Albimarginata
If you are looking to keep a pair of Betta albimarginata, Asian keepers have successfully kept and bred them in 30cm (1ft) aquariums.
If you’re looking at a reverse trio, a fish tank that measures around 45x30cm (1.5x1ft) should be sufficient to begin with.
Any larger group will require larger tanks. Of course, if you can get a larger aquarium, even for a pair, it’ll be ideal. This provides more swimming space, more room for territories, and stable water conditions.
Aquarium Layout for Betta Albimarginata
You can decorate the aquarium with debris, roots, and branches to create corner spots for your fishes which acts as extra shelter.
Cover the tank adequately and never fill it to the top because they occasionally require humid air, plus they are exceptional jumpers. You’ll be surprised that they can find even the tiniest gaps!
I cover my entire plant surface with floating plants so that they can feel safe and reduce jumping. As these are timid creatures, I’ve noticed that they come to the front more often since I added floating plants.
It is advisable to get a filter to remove pollutants and other harmful substances which may put the fishes at risk.
Water conditions for Betta Albimarginata
As they come from moving rivers, the water is cooler. The ideal water temperature is between 70F to 85F (21°C to 29°C).
pH levels ideally should be between 4 to 6.5 with water hardness ranging from 18-90ppm.
They can be kept in neutral water as well, as long as they are acclimatised. This is usually possible if they have lived in an aquarium for long periods, and acclimatisation is done slowly throughout the months by reducing RO water and increasing tap water.
If your wild bettas are wild-caught, it’s best to replicate the ideal water conditions needed.
What can I keep with my Betta Albimarginata?
Peaceful blackwater fishes such as tetras and danios can be considered. As Betta albimarginatas are lay-and-wait surface predators, do ensure that they get enough food.
Shrimps will be eaten, while snails and loaches are great bottom cleaners for food that drops to the bottom of the tank. I’ve noticed once food hits the bottom, they don’t bother.
Otherwise, keeping Betta albimarginata in a species-only tank is your best bet.
Feeding Betta Albimarginata
In their natural surroundings, the Betta albimarginata usually feed on insects or other smaller invertebrates and zooplankton.
My fishes love both pellet foods and go crazy for live and frozen foods. Do note that Betta species are very susceptible to obesity, so do not overfeed them. Here’s my betta feeding guide that you can read.
Sexing of Betta Albimarginata
In its normal moods, you can spot a male Betta albimarginata by certain features like – blackish head, reddish-orangish colouration, and white outer lines on the edges of its fins and tail.
Simultaneously, the female pigmentation is more faded than the male, which ranges from ash grey, two black stripes, clear or black fins. When breeding arrives, both the gender shows specific colour changes.
The female will get into a dark reddish-brown colouration on its body and fins with vertical bars around her body. The male will develop an intense colouration of his normal mood.
I have both sexes and love watching them getting into breeding colourations. They are absolutely amazing. My family members think that they’re dull fishes, but they were amazed when they saw them in breeding colours.
Breeding of Betta Albimarginata
The Betta albimarginata is a paternal mouthbrooder (animals who take care of offspring by holding them inside the parent’s mouth) and is relatively easy to breed.
Some keepers say that they’re easier to breed than guppies!
The male fish will first display by developing an intense colouration, flaring its fins, and curling its body to attract the attention of the female. If the female accepts, she will develop breeding colourations as well and join him in an embrace as seen in the middle image.
It’s normal if they fail to embrace throughout the whole process as they will repeat until all eggs are spent. Females will collect the eggs in her mouth and spit it for the male to catch.
The male will incubate the eggs inside its mouth for 10 to 15 days while females do not participate in rearing after spawning. During this period, avoid spooking and or feeding both fishes for about 3-5 days.
Depending on the males’ experience, you might need to remove the female after the first 5 days. By removing the female, you can start feeding her normally. Doing so also prevents the female from wanting to breed again while the male is holding. The male will do fine without food until fries are released.
You can expect around 20 dark-coloured fries, with 3-40 being the standard. Most sources I’ve read mention that both parents will not eat newborn fry, only elder siblings will. Some sources mention that the parents will eat them. I guess this will depend on your fishes. If they eat their fries, you’ll need to have a separate tank for them!
After the male releases, give him some time to recuperate by separating him from the female while providing ample foods. After about a week or so, you may put the pair together again.
During the breeding phase, it is recommended for the fish tank to be tightly covered. Breeders recommend clingfilm with toothpick holes poked as a hack to ensure gaps since the fry requires access to a warm layer to avoid impaired development.
Although I’m currently keeping a pair of Betta albimarginata, they haven’t bred yet for me, even after 2 months. My male is constantly flaring and pestering the female, but she shows no interest.
It’s either she is not sexually mature yet, or they’re not a natural pair. I guess only time will tell.
Standard length of Betta Albimarginata
I’m a proud parent of two fishes that measures 25-30 mm, and this measurement is known to be the standard length for any Betta albimarginata.
Lifespan of Betta Albimarginata
These species are known to have a lifespan of only 2-3 years.
Many people often get confused between Betta albimarginata and Betta channoides as they are related species and look highly identical.
Although there are clear and distinct differences between them, the easiest way to tell them apart is that the black colouration on a male Betta albimarginata’s tail extends throughout its tail.
This is different for male Betta channoides as the black colour does not fully extend. So make sure you don’t take the wrong one home.
For the females, you’ll mostly have to count the scales and fins. This is the safest way to differentiate Betta albimarginata and Betta channoides but can be difficult for beginners.
Betta albimarginata are known to be analytic, clever, and easy to maintain. So keeping them is hassle-free. They are also great companions. I love it with my fishes would come to the front of the aquarium interacting with me – although I’m pretty sure they’re begging for food.
Also, how do you know that your fishes are happy? These species will court and breed during such emotions. So if your fishes are breeding, you know they are happy. Just follow the above steps, and you are going to be a fantastic parent.