An Extensive Guide In Keeping Betta Rubra

betta rubra guide
Table of Contents

If you’re planning to keep or raise the Betta rubra, you will need some research work before placing them in an aquarium. Doing so allows you to give them a livable environment for them to flourish under your care. 

Here is some information I’ve compiled that could be helpful on your journey to raising the Betta rubra.

Common names for Betta Rubra

The common names for the Betta rubra are Toba Betta and Red Sumatran Fighter.

Where can you find Betta Rubra?

The Betta rubra is native exclusively to the region of northwestern Sumatra, Indonesia. They are also found around the Singkil area, located in the Aceh province and along the areas of Sibolga, North Sumatra. 

Species Localities of Betta Rubra

The locality of the Betta rubra has been given as “Lago Toba, Siboga”.

The types of habitats Betta Rubra live in

The Betta rubra species have been collected from peat swamps in stagnant blackwater pools, hill streams, forest streams, and forest swamps. Research found that people encountered the Betta rubra with no other species but themselves. 

How to take care of the Betta Rubra?

Caring for the Betta rubra is relatively similar to caring for most wild Bettas. The environment for them to thrive in should be adequately soft and acidic water with mild filtration.

Tank Size for Betta Rubra

An ideal aquarium size for these types of fish should measure at least 45 x 30cm (1.5 x 1ft). This size should be able to maintain 2 pairs at least. 

Aquarium layout for Betta Rubra

You can set up their aquarium by following these tips:

  • Place some roots and branches in the aquarium to give them spaces for shelter.
  • You can opt out not to use substrates to lighten your maintenance; otherwise, light-coloured sand or dark aqua soil can be used.
  • Dried leaves and other litter will give the fishes a sense of their natural habitat and become secondary food sources.
  • Place the aquarium under dim lighting with adequate natural light.
  • The filtration levels of the water should be set to low to moderate flow.

The tree branches and roots serve as a space to retreat when they feel scared or intimidated. The layout of the aquarium should have a places of refuge and hiding spaces scattered across the aquarium. 

Since these fishes are jumpers, you should keep the aquarium well covered so that they do not jump out and escape. Adding a few bunches of aquatic plants can also add a natural feel to their environment in the tank.

Water conditions for Betta Rubra

The optimal water temperature of the tank should be 22-27C or 72-81F. The amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium should measure around 18-90 ppm. 

The pH levels should measure between 5.0-6.5. 

What can you keep with Betta Rubra?

Betta rubras thrive better with their own kind. So, placing them in a community tank is not recommended. Furthermore, there are no other fish species found in their natural habitats.

If you want to place them with other species, make sure that they cannot become prey or prey on others. They can possibly coexist with other species of fish, such as small cyprinids and loaches.

Some keepers find that the Betta rubra may engage in conflict with their own kind over territory and show aggression towards other species if placed in the same tank. Thus, have ample tank space and areas for territories or keep only a pair in the tank.

Feeding Betta Rubra

The Betta rubra is most likely inclined to feed on small insects and other vertebrae found in their natural habitat. I have not read any reports or anecdotes that their Betta rubra successfully consumed dried foods, but I would believe that they can be trained to do so.

They should be frequently fed with live or frozen foods to develop their colours and conditioning fully. Be aware not to feed them excessively since they can quickly become obese if overfed. 

Sexing Betta Rubra

betta rubra male
Credits: Iven Betta

Betta rubra males have more vibrant colours with broader fins on their physical features. Males also have red opercular bars while females’ are gold. Females are brown in colour with a dark horizontal stripe across their body.

Breeding Betta Rubra

Betta rubras are paternal mouthbrooders. The female will initiate the spawn when she is filled with eggs. During the spawning phase, the males wrap their bodies around the female fish. During this process, the eggs are then released by the female and are fertilised by the male.

This continues until the eggs are fully released, where the female spits the eggs out for the male to catch in his mouth.

The incubation period lasts around 10 to 17 days, after which the male will release fries that are fully formed.

Since the fries need humid air to develop their vital organs, cover the aquarium with a tight-fitting lid. You may use clingfilm with holes poked for ventilation. You can choose whether to leave the fry with their parents or separate them. 

The fry can feed on microworms, daphnia, and baby brine shrimp when newly hatched. Make sure not to overfeed them to avoid obesity.

Standard length of Betta Rubra

The Betta rubra species have a standard length of 3-4cm or 1.2-1.6 inches.

Lifespan of Betta Rubra

It’s been said that the Betta rubra can live between 5-7 years, but I’m more inclined to believe that its lifespan will be between 2-4 years, typical of Bettas.

Similar Species

Similar species to the Betta rubra are those from the Betta rubra complex. Previously, the Betta rubra was classified under the foerschi complex. This was until the discovery of the Betta dennisyongi, a highly similar species classified as separate from the Betta rubra.

I am not skilled in identifying the differences between a Betta rubra and Betta dennisyongi, let alone explain it in simple terms for you. The only noticeable difference I see is that Betta rubras tend to have more vibrant colourations than the dennisyongi.

However, this requires full colouration of the Bettas. I will not be able to tell the difference between a stressed Betta rubra and dennisyongi. 

If you know how to identify these 2 species in an easy way for beginners, share it with me, and I’ll include the information in this article!


Due to the aggressiveness and rarity of the Betta rubra, I would recommend against keeping them if you’re new to wild Bettas despite them being relatively easy to keep. They are also pretty difficult to differentiate from Betta dennisyongi for beginners, which further emphasises why only experienced and seasoned keepers should keep them.

Nevertheless, I hope that doesn’t discourage you from trying! You can always do further research and prepare extensively for a pair of these beauties. Hopefully this piece was sufficient to get you started on the Betta rubra!

If you have images or information to share on this species, do contact me, and I’ll add them in!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Posts you might like