Betta livida

Betta Livida: A Challenging but Worthwhile Endangered Betta

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If you’re looking for a new betta fish, and are an experienced fish keeper hoping for an exciting new challenge, then the Betta livida (also known as the Selangor Red betta, or the Jealous Green-Eyed betta) may just be the perfect choice for you!

Not one for beginners, this breed of wild betta is of an endangered species, and can be quite difficult to care for. But with the right care and attention, this species should be able to thrive in a home aquarium.

Betta livida Info
Common NamesSelangor Red Betta, Jealous green-eyed Betta
Scientific NameBetta livida
Minimum Tank SizePairs / Alone: 5 Gallons
Groups: 20 Gallons
DietLive, frozen and dried
Water Temperature22°C - 26°C (71-78 deg F)
pH Level3.0 - 5.0 (acidic)
Water hardness18 - 90 ppm


The Betta livida gets its common name, the Selangor Red betta, from both its place of origin and the color of its scales.

Selangor, one of Malaysia’s most developed states, was the original home to this unique breed of fish, however sadly, due to the increase of plantations, much of the Betta livida’s natural habitat has been destroyed.

This has pushed the species to be at risk of extinction in the wild.

The Betta livida has, in recent years, also been found in various places in Indonesia. It was previously thought that these fish would never live outside of Malaysia, however, it seems they may have found a new home due to the destruction of their Malaysian habitats.

Natural Habitat

The Betta livida’s natural habitat is quite varied and can range from forest swamps to shallow waterways or even small streams, with slow-moving water and lots of thick forest debris, such as twigs and leaves.

One factor remains constant- Betta livida live in acidic waters. The acidity of the waters this type of betta fish is found in usually ranges from 3.0 to 5.0 pH.

Environments in nature can be quite specific, and you must try to emulate them in your tank to provide a habitat that closely resembles the one where your fish exists.

What Does the Betta Livida Look Like?

The Betta livida is a stunning breed. Both of its most well-known common names reflect key features of its appearance.

This fish is known as both the ‘Selangor Red betta’ and the ‘Jealous Green-Eyed betta.’ Both of these names describe the stunning red scales and gorgeous green eyes that are found in this breed.

Growing up to 5cm long, the Betta livida is of average size for a betta, but may appear smaller than you’d imagine due to its smaller fins, rounded tail, and streamlined shape.

Care Tips

They’re Friendly With Their Own Kind!

The Betta livida is a very friendly fish.

Unlike the stereotype bettas carry, these fish are not very aggressive, but it’s much better to keep them in a species-only tank. If you choose to do so, a recommended group size is 2 males with 2-3 females.

They Might Get Too Friendly With Their Own Kind

Keeping males and females together in the same tank may result in a couple forming and wanting to breed.

Should this happen, it’s usually recommended to move the breeding couple to a separate tank, or move the other fish out of the community tank. If you choose to leave the fish in, however, it’s still common for a pair to breed successfully.


Whilst the Betta livida may be an endangered species in the wild, this has very little to do with their eating habits.

Not a fussy eater – the Betta livida will enjoy almost anything, provided that it is a suitable size. They like larvae and insects alongside small live feeders and can be fed both live and frozen foods as part of their diet.

Tank Set Up

They’re Shy!

As I mentioned before, the Betta livida’s natural habitat is a rather dark and dense one. With lots of debris, leaves, and twigs, much of the natural daylight is blocked. This shy species will thrive if it has many places to hide.

Try to emulate this in your own setup, with many plants that will thrive in low-light conditions and plenty of hiding spaces.

You don’t need a very large aquarium as long as there are enough spaces for your betta to hide. This species doesn’t require a lot of open space to swim around and explore.

However, as I always like to say, when it comes to tanks, it’s always a rule that bigger is better. Just make sure that if you do choose a larger tank for your Betta livida, they have ample hiding spots!

The Betta livida also doesn’t need very deep water. This can make for a much more creative tank, as just a few centimeters of water (15 is recommended) is enough for this fish to be happy.

They Need Space for Friends!

It’s recommended that you keep these bettas in a species-only tank, with 2 males and 2 – 3 females.

To ensure there’s enough space for everyone, they should be housed in a 20-gallon tank at the very least.


The water composition is important to the health and well-being of the Betta livida.

Water changes should take place once every two weeks, with approximately 10% of the water being changed.

The species requires soft water, with a pH of 3.0 – 6.0 (though it’s recommended to try to keep it between 3.5 and 4.0) and a temperature of 22°C – 26°C (71-78 deg F).

Betta Livida- Challenging But Worthwhile

All in all, the Betta livida can be a difficult fish to care for. But their set-up can be made to be both unique and beautiful.

If you choose to keep this fish then your efforts will be rewarded. Being able to see this endangered and beautiful species in captivity is extremely fascinating, and even more so when it is in your own home!

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