FIA is community supported website. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More.

Betta Smaragdina (Emerald Betta) Overview & Care Guide

If you are an avid aquarist, and you want to add your community tank with beautiful creatures. One of the most astonishing fish to add is the betta smaragdina. It is known for its jewel-bright colors and distinctive fins.

These come in a wide array of morphs, allowing every owner to have their own unique betta in their community tank. Although they are rarely seen, they will make your day once they appear in your community tank.

They have such active and cheerful characteristics. Breeding them will also give you a unique experience as an aquarist.

As you find some populations in your local pet stores, you will notice that they have different patterns and colorations. Whether you like the green or red pattern, you can take them all.

Species Overview

Level of CareEasy to moderate
TemperamentCheerful. Males could be aggressive. Females are peaceful
AppearanceJewel Bright colors with spectacular fins
Life Expectancy 2-4 years old
SizeAbout 1 ¾ – 2 inches in length
DietLive or frozen prey
Tank Size10-30 gallon  
Tank EnvironmentLive plants for shelter, not too large aquarium
Tank MatesKeep in pairs, other non-aggressive fish

The Emerald Betta is to be found in Asian countries.


The emerald betta is available through the eastern parts of Thailand, to some small parts of Laos and Cambodia. The spread is to other South-East Asian countries as well, including Malaysia and Indonesia. This makes them one of the most popular species in the area.

Natural Habitat

In the wild, these fantastic creatures have been living in oxygen pools, rice fields, and swaps. In their original habitat, there were a lot of plants and other organic materials in the substrate.

Therefore, the best way to make them survive and live for a longer time is to mimic the environment in their original habitat.

Tank Setup

It is best to replicate the natural habitat of the fish as closely as possible so that it can improve their wellness and longevity.

The water needs to be sour. The pH level can be from 4 to 6.5. The hardships in their original habitat have allowed them to be a natural oxygen producer. Even if you put them in a tank that has low oxygen and the temperature is beyond the recommended, they can still survive. But I won’t guarantee that their tank mates will survive too.

They have a special labyrinth organ that allows them to extract oxygen naturally. These labyrinths are also useful later when they need to build a nest for spawning.

Tank Size

Thanks to the smaller size of the bettas, you can adopt them and make them stay in your smaller aquarium. But they will want to breathe from the surface of the water. That means you must get rid of barriers like strong currents, etc. The Bettas do not want water with a strong current.

The males must be placed individually. They usually survive in one liter of water or larger.

Male emeralds can live in a community tank that has non-aggressive tank mates. The females might be housed with the other female smaragdinas or in the community tank and they will be fine.

Stable water quality and parameters are the keys to their wellness. You must ensure control and maintain the quality of the water to preserve the good aquatic life for your buddies.

You might think that putting one male into a large tank would be great. But living in a big tank will make them anxious. 10 gallons is the maximum number you want to keep for a single male. Male smaragdinas are territorial.


When there are too many spaces to cover, they will feel distressed.

But if you only have a larger tank, for now, you could outsmart this problem by adding plenty of plants to divide the space into several parts. That way, your babies will only think about the particular space that they want to protect.

Live plants are a must. It is to give them shelter and a natural “divider” that can help them to protect their own territory. The live plants that you can add to the emerald betta aquarium are:

  • Java moss
  • Fern
  • Cryptocoryne
  • Anubias

Add some driftwood and rocks to provide more cover and shelter for them.

Tall live plants can be a great idea if you have a larger tank.


When it comes to the filter, you will want to take out the best brand on the market. But as mentioned, they don’t like strong water currents. So, you could focus on gentle filtering. If the filter is too strong, it will distress your fish.

If there are some algae that strive, you could omit them. It will provide a more natural environment for your baby. However, there is a need to control the number of algae since it can also harm your tank system. Some live plants are also against algae. But your fish love the natural touch of the algae.

Tank Mates

Because of its aggressive behavior, Betta smaragdina should not be kept in a community tank with other aggressive fish. The wild betta smaragdina is commonly acknowledged to be a more reserved fish in community aquariums than the domesticated ones.

A tankmate’s aggression or personal hurt can force them to lose control of the situation.

According to my observations and those of others, their innate resilience to common ailments appears to be strengthened as a result of their less extensive breeding in captivity.

I was lucky in that I did not become ill while caring for the wild bedding. Tank jumpers, who account for the vast bulk of fatalities, are among those who perish. Consider putting a lid on it to prevent them from escaping.

The tank and its surroundings, which comprise tannins and plants, require extra care.

While it is possible to have two males in a two-woman harem, this is not usually the case. It is inefficient to have more women on the field to compensate for the fact that guys have difficulty fighting each other.

Betta smaragdina are solitary animals that are hostile to one another in the wild, making it difficult to keep a couple together.

Because of its aggressive behavior, this fish should not be kept in a shared tank with other fish who have bad tempers. Regardless of their differences, these and other tank mates can coexist peacefully in the same environment.

Betta smaragdinas are very protective of their territory. They have the right to remain undisturbed.

Make sure the tank has a minimum volume of ten gallons or more before introducing fish. Smaragdinas will be less than pleased if you keep them in a nano aquarium.

The good tank mates for your emerald are non-aggressive and peaceful fish like smaller tetras, shrimp (the larger breeds), snails, as well as corydoras.

It is not a school creature. But it does not mean you must keep it in solo mode. Experts have proven that the betta with their pairs can have a much better life. It is highly possible to keep them in pairs. But you will want to get down to only two specimens in one tank. If there are more specimens of the emerald betta, the risk of brawling will increase.

The long tank is the most ideal environment for them and their aquascape. It will give both the male and female some space. If the space is too narrow, it will trigger a brawl between females and males. And they will fight to the death. Add plenty of plants to provide more dividers and hiding areas.

Food & Diet

Your emerald betta pets are carnivorous. So, when you add live plants to your aquarium for decoration, you don’t need to worry since they won’t bother to ruin the plants.

Consider the best mix of foods to supply them with an adequate amount of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Since it is fully carnivorous, you must focus only on meaty foods.

You can easily find frozen foods from the nearby pet store, such as mosquito larvae, artemia, bloodworms, daphnia, and so on. They won’t protest if you keep feeding them frozen foods.

But if you want to give live food, that would be fine too. Live foods will remind them of their natural habitat. It will also hone their hunting skills as well. If you don’t have food stock yet, you could also give them dry foods like flakes or pellets. But they are quickly bored with that choice. Don’t overfeed your fish since it will make the water dirtier.

Baby bettas require smaller pellets or flakes. But when they grow up to about the size of their parents, you can start feeding them frozen and live foods.

Betta Smaragdina Breeding Guidelines

You can breed your emerald betta in captivity.

Pick the most potential breeding pair. If you have no experience before, consider taking advice from reputable breeders. Don’t purchase hybrids. Always focus on the smaragdina parents.

The pair must be healthy and fertile. They will spawn for one or two weeks. Setup your breeding tank with the right environment, water, and temperature.

The male will make the nest. The females must be removed from the breeding tank after spawning. Males will be overprotective of their kids. After the fry is swimming, remove the male. Done.