Because of their stunning appearance, alien betta fish are sought-after by many freshwater aquarists.
But there are a few things you’ll need to know before you consider ownership.
This guide will go over the essentials of alien betta fish care. Their diet, tank setup, lifespan, and tank mates are all covered!
Table of Contents
The alien betta is a stunning freshwater fish you won’t find in the wild. They’re considered fish and were initially created by cross-breeding multiple species of wild bettas. The exact origins of this fish are unknown, but the consensus is that they are hybrids between the wild Betta splendens, Betta smaragdina, Betta stiktos, and mahachaiensis.
Regardless of how they came to be, there’s no denying that these fish are stunning! They are a colorful freshwater fish with an appearance that you don’t see with most bettas. As a result, expect to pay a pretty penny to get them!
These fish are sought-after among collectors, and they can sometimes be difficult to find in some parts of the world. If you’re lucky enough to buy one, this is one pet you’ll want to show off.
Types Of Alien Betta Fish
On your quest to buy one of these beauties, you’ll encounter a few different types available. Generally, the varieties are categorized by their overall coloration. For example, green fish are called “green alien bettas,” blue ones are called “blue alien bettas,” copper-colored specimens are called “copper alien bettas,” and so on.
You can also get plakat alien betta fish. They’re a short-finned variety with large bodies and smaller jaws. No matter which type you get, all alien betta fish have a striking and distinct appearance.
So what makes alien betta fish so beloved? It all comes down to their appearance.
The coloration is what appeals to most hobbyists. As mentioned earlier, they’re available in many different colors. However, most are dark black or brown.
Metallic scales offer a stunning contrast to that dark-colored base. The silvery parts have an iridescent sheen that can shimmer in a spectrum of colors. That’s where the vibrancy and distinct color comes in.
The mix of metallic color with the dark backdrop creates the alien-like appearance of its name. The beauty continues on the fins, resulting in dramatic stripes and spots you can’t ignore.
The profile of the fish is interesting, too.
Alien betta fish have a similar shape to other bettas. They have sleek bodies, rounded heads, and upturned mouths.
The caudal fin isn’t forked like other fish. It’s rounded and expansive. Meanwhile, the anal fin stretches along most of the fish’s underside, creating an eye-catching wall of color.
The anal fin stops just before the two pointy pectoral fins. Up top, the alien betta has a rounded dorsal fin positioned far back on its body just before the tailfin.
Author Note: Males are the most vibrant of the bunch and have more dramatic fins. However, females are also quite beautiful. They’re more colorful than other female betta varieties and usually have plumper bodies than males.
Alien betta fish have a lifespan of four to five years on average. That’s with high-quality care and no genetic predispositions to potentially serious diseases.
Like any other fish, alien bettas can succumb to sickness and an early death if they live in substandard living conditions or receive a poor diet.
These fish are relatively small despite their larger-than-life appearance. Fully grown, the average size of alien betta fish is two to three inches in length.
Their size will be impacted by the quality of care you give them as well as their genetics.
Alien Betta Fish Care
Alien betta fish care isn’t as challenging as you’d think. These are some of the hardiest fish in the trade and are known for their great adaptability. Of course, they have unique care needs, but they’re manageable with the right information.
Here are some crucial care guidelines to keep your alien betta healthy and comfortable.
Thanks to their small size, you don’t need a massive tank to keep alien betta fish happy.
They’re not particularly avid swimmers, so there’s no need for expansive swimming space. Fish experts recommend keeping the fish in an aquarium that holds at least five gallons (that’s enough for a single betta).
Author Note: If possible, go bigger. Smaller tanks can be trickier to maintain stable water parameters. Plus, they have no room for tank mates. You’d need to bump up the tank volume considerably to keep this fish with others.
Alien betta fish might not be a naturally occurring species, but they still share DNA with regular wild betta fish. As a result, they have distinct environmental preferences.
The best thing you can do is simulate the conditions where bettas live in the wild. They come from shallow streams, marshes, and stagnant pools of water in Southeast Asia. The fish are prevalent in rice paddies and other shallow bodies of water.
They prefer warm temperatures and slightly acidic water. While the fish can adapt to cooler waters, it’s wise to use in-tank heaters or lights to keep things relatively warm. Doing so will bring out its stunning vibrancy and make the fish more active.
- Water temperature: Between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (Around 78 to 80 is best)
- pH levels: 5.0 to 7.0 (Aim for 6.5)
- Water hardness: 5 to 20 dGH
What To Include In Their Tank
Many fish keepers love creating habitats for their alien betta fish because there’s a lot of room for creativity. You’ll often see them living in modern tanks equipped with minimalist decor or a design that really pops! You can go that route, but a natural-looking setup will offer better enrichment.
Starting with the substrate, you’re free to choose whatever works best. Alien betta fish aren’t particularly picky when it comes to the substrate. Generally, gravel or sand works best, especially if you want to add plants.
Author Note: To make the color of the fish look more vibrant, consider using a black-colored substrate.
Next, you can add plants. In the wild, bettas live in thickly planted waters. That’s not necessary to replicate in captivity. Overstuffing the tank with plants could do more harm than good because the fish need room to swim around unencumbered.
However, you can add a few plants for a more natural appeal. Cultivars like java fern, java moss, and Amazon swords are all popular choices for bettas. Focus the plants on the back of the tank to leave the middle open.
On top of your substrate, consider adding driftwood and a few smooth rocks to explore. Driftwood is a great addition. Not only does it look beautiful, but it releases tannins to lower the acidity and create a realistic environment for your alien betta fish.
Don’t forget to install an appropriately sized filter to keep the water clean. Consider using a sponge filter on the outlet. Alien bettas don’t like fast-moving currents and need relatively low dissolved oxygen.
Common Possible Diseases
One of the most important things to do when caring for an alien betta fish is maintain the tank conditions. These fish are prone to disease when parameters fall outside of the ideal range. If you’re keeping them in a small tank, ammonia and nitrate levels can quickly skyrocket if you’re not on top of regular water changes.
Alien bettas can experience common fish diseases like Ich. It’s a stress-related issue that affects fish living in poor conditions. Spots will develop all over the body, ruining that beautiful appearance.
Even worse, Ich is fatal if not treated. Fortunately, over-the-counter fish medications are available.
Another health problem you have to worry about is fin rot. Fin rot is a bacterial infection that occurs in dirty water full of ammonia and waste. The bacteria attack the fins, slowly eating them away.
The condition causes those gorgeous fins to look frayed and damaged. It can lead to further infection, fungal problems, and more if not treated. Generally, treating fin rot involves using antibiotics.
Food & Diet
Alien betta fish are opportunistic micro predators. Wild bettas live in shallow waters where mosquitoes and other insects lay their eggs. They go in for the kill and have a generous supply of food available.
These fish love a similar high-protein diet.
With that being said, you can train them to eat betta pellets. Commercial food is a great, accessible option that’s often nutritionally balanced and healthy. However, protein-rich diets can bring out the best in your alien betta fish.
The best thing to feed alien bettas is a mix of live or frozen foods. You can offer up brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, tubifex, and more.
Behavior & Temperament
Bettas have a reputation for being flat-out aggressors, and alien betta fish fall into that same category. Many owners say that they exhibit fewer aggressive tendencies than other betta species, but they can still be pretty violent.
These fish will see others in their domain as enemies and won’t hesitate to pick a fight. They’ll even try to intimidate their own reflection! When they see potential predators, they flair up their gills to look as scary as possible. Then, they may start to twitch and swim sporadically to scare them off before engaging in a fight.
When alien betta fish are on their own or with compatible tank mates, they’re pretty relaxed. They’re not the strongest swimmers, but they will explore the tank, showing off their beautiful appearance in the process.
Most owners will keep males alone. But contrary to popular belief, it is possible to put them with other fish.
The key is to keep males separate.
Only one male should be in the tank. The best tank mates are female alien bettas. You can keep a small group of three or four females in a tank with one male. The females are far less aggressive, and males typically don’t pick fights with them.
You may also see success with similarly sized peaceful fish species. Some aquarists see great results with:
- Dwarf Gourami
- Guppy Fish
- Platy Fish
- Most Types Of Tetras
- Cory Catfish
- Kuhli Loaches
- Rubber Lip Plecos
- Freshwater Snails
- Large Shrimp
Avoid all fin-nippers and aggressors. Alien betta fish are tough but not fast enough to evade bigger or faster fish.
Author Note: If you try building a community tank with alien bettas, keep a watchful eye. There are no guarantees, and you must remove the fish if problems arise.
Breeding alien bettas requires you to use well-bonded fish. You can’t expect to drop a male and a female together and expect them to spawn. For successful breeding, it’s best to use males and females that have lived together already.
Provide plenty of high-protein food and raise the water temperature slightly to initiate the breeding process. When the male is ready, he’ll chase females around until they reciprocate. Be cautious: He can pick fights if the females don’t partake.
The breeding process of alien betta fish is unique. Males will blow bubble nests in the corner of the tank, possibly using plant leaves to accumulate bubbles. Then, the female will release her eggs.
The male gathers them up, moves them to the bubble nest, and fertilizes them. He’ll watch over the eggs for about 48 hours until they hatch. At that point, remove the male to ensure he doesn’t gobble the fry up.
The babies will absorb the egg before becoming free-swimming. When they start to swim around the tank, you can provide powdered food, infusoria, and baby brine shrimp as they grow.
Now that you know what alien betta fish need when kept in captivity, it’s up to you to decide if these beautiful creatures are a good fit for you.
Let us know if you have any questions, we’re more than happy to help!