There are many black betta fish on the market that any betta enthusiast would be eager to own. Despite the colorful varieties of betta fish being arguably way more popular, black bettas are some of my favorites.
One stunning darker-toned species is the Black Orchid betta fish, or, more specifically, my favorite – the half-moon black orchid betta!
If you’re familiar with different betta species, this could be one you’ve heard of. This beautiful black fish is among the most popular and sought-after breeds, and for a good reason – they’re simply stunning!
|Halfmoon Black Orchid Betta Info
|Black Orchid Betta
|Minimum tank size
|Approx. 3 Years
|Omnivorous / Carnivorous
|24°C - 26.5°C (75-80 F)
|6.0 - 8.0 pH
|5 - 25 dGH
As with most species, the Black Orchid Betta originates from Asia. Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam are all home to this breed, and interestingly enough, their environment there has influenced their evolution.
In these countries, Black Orchid Bettas live in slow-moving bodies of freshwater. However, due to the lack of oxygen in these areas, they have evolved a labyrinth organ, allowing them to get oxygen from the air when their gills cannot take enough from the surrounding shallow water.
Their name derives from their stunning color – the dark black body with blue stripes is reminiscent of the black orchid flower.
Originating from a hot climate in Asia, these fish like to live in warmer waters – after all, they’re not called tropical fish for no reason!
Although they are known to live in many countries, they’re most commonly found in the river basins and rice paddies of Thailand.
Due to this, they’re commonly surrounded by live plants and warm water, so this is something that you’ll want to replicate in your Black Orchid betta tank.
What does the Black Orchid Betta Look like?
Well… How do you say this without being too blunt? A black orchid betta looks a bit like… a black orchid!
All joking aside, with their name derived from their appearance, it’s difficult not to liken the Black Orchid Betta to its stunning floral counterpart.
Jet black with streaks of iridescent blue, the unique appearance of this breed makes it highly appealing. Occasionally, you can also find the Black Orchid betta with a splash of red in their black coloration, making them appear even more unique and beautiful.
Males and females are quite easy to tell apart by appearances alone, with the males looking more majestic, with extravagant, fancy fins and bolder colors.
Generally, when we think of a Black Orchid, most people think of a Black Orchid Crowntail betta. This variety is known for its males, with a distinctive caudal fin featuring large extensions, which can grow up to a diameter of 20 centimeters. That’s roughly three times the size of the fish’s body!
There are other varieties of Black Orchid other than the distinctive Crowntail betta with different fin types, some of which are much rarer than others.
What does it mean if my Black Orchid Betta goes grey under the chin?
There are several reasons why your betta may be turning gray under the chin. The discoloration is very easy to spot in a fish with such a dark hue, especially if part of him is turning lighter.
First, check for signs of distress or illness, including any other discoloration. Any changes in behavior patterns or attitude may indicate a condition such as an infection, graphite disease, or ammonia poisoning.
If your betta fish is changing color but doesn’t appear sick, consult with a professional. There’s a chance you might have caught an illness early on.
That said, turning gray can be a natural change in color. If you take your pet to an aquatics veterinarian, and they tell you he’s fine, don’t panic; he may just have developed a little natural discoloration.
What does half-moon mean?
Halfmoon is a term used to refer to a specifically shaped tail of a betta. These types of tails are somewhat of a semicircle, resembling a half-moon.
Betta splendens (the species we automatically think of when we imagine a betta) commonly have this type of tail.
A half-moon is one of the more popular tail types due to its elegant and beautiful appearance. Many people who raise betta fish do so because of their stunning appearances, and a half-moon tail only adds to their unique and eye-catching appearance.
Is there a difference between half-moon and black orchid bettas?
The term Half-moon Black Orchid betta might be a little confusing at first – it certainly was to me! Is it a sub-species of a Black Orchid betta fish? But then, if the Black Orchid is a subspecies of a Splenden, is it a subspecies of a subspecies?
Not exactly! It’s actually far simpler than that!
A Betta splenden is a common betta, the type we all know and love. Even if you’re a first-time owner, you’ll know this species, even if you’re unfamiliar with its scientific name. When you walk into your average pet store with a tank that just says “Bettas,” it’s likely to be these guys.
Black Orchid is a name given to a breed of Splendens because of their identifying color.
Half-moon is a name given to a breed of Splendens because of their tail shape.
This is why you might see the term “Half-moon betta.” these fish can come in a variety of colors but are identified by the shape of their tail.
In short, a Half-moon Black Orchid is a Splenden with a half-moon-shaped tail and a Black Orchid coloration.
The only difference between a Half-moon Black Orchid and a Black Orchid is that Black Orchids are generally bred with a crown tail. Half-moon Black Orchids have a half-moon tail instead!
Now not only can you easily distinguish this type of betta, but once you’ve familiarized yourself with different identifying color patterns and tail types, you’ll be able to name so many other Splendens too!
Are Black Orchids different from Black Betta fish?
In a way! As we’ve just discussed, Black Orchids are a color variant of the Betta splenden.
There are over 73 betta fish varieties, some much rarer than others and with all different color variations. This means that there are lots of other types of black betta too!
Other black varieties include Black Crowntail betta, Black Devil betta, Black Lace betta, Black Melano betta, and many more.
Are black orchid bettas rare?
A simple question with a not-so-straightforward answer.
Black Orchid bettas vary in rarity. Though they’re a commonly sought-after type, they can be more challenging to find depending on their tail shape.
In general, they’re pretty common and not an expensive betta fish. You can easily find one at a reasonable price of $15 – $20. They are, however, often misinterpreted as being rare as you’re unlikely to come across one in a pet store.
How Long do Black Orchid Bettas live?
With the proper care, a Black Orchid betta has an average lifespan of up to 3 years.
Ensuring your pet is kept in good health and is well taken care of will enable it to live a long and happy life, and it could even outlive its expectancy.
In some instances, Black Orchid bettas have been found to live for up to five years, though this isn’t common, and even with outstanding care, most don’t live much more than three.
Do Black Orchid Bettas have a longer lifespan than other breeds?
While you may have bonded so well with your new little fishy friend that you want to keep him around forever, sadly, the Black Orchid has a very average lifespan compared to other breeds.
Bettas of various breeds generally live to a maximum of between two and five years.
With an expectancy of three, the Black Orchid has quite an average lifespan and doesn’t live much longer than most other breeds.
How to care for a Black Orchid Betta
A Black Orchid betta is a hardy fish, and although they require a certain standard of living, they’re great for beginners as they can live in various conditions.
That said, even if you are a beginner, you’ll want to treat your pets with the best care possible to ensure they live long, healthy, and happy lives.
What do they eat?
In the wild, these fish are omnivorous, but when kept in captivity, they can be a little more picky.
Although they will eat plants and vegetation, Black Orchids generally prefer a carnivorous diet and eat insect larvae, as well as frozen and live foods.
As with most other species of betta that are fed insects, your new fish will enjoy live foods such as bloodworms and mosquito larvae.
Ideally, bettas should be fed twice a day, and when offering frozen food, be sure to let it soak in the water a little before offering it to your betta.
Never feed your betta wild-caught food, and ensure any live food offered is purchased from a reputable store/supplier. This is because wild-caught insects can carry diseases and parasites which can harm your fish.
Pellets or flake foods can also be a good food choice, particularly if you haven’t yet found a reputable source for live foods. The only thing you need to be careful of here is that your fish are getting enough nutrients. While most Splendens will eat pellets or flakes, these need to be at least 40% meat based to ensure your pet gets all the nutrition he would in his natural habitat.
With this breed being a surface feeder, small floating pellets or flakes are often the best choice of formed foods as this will encourage natural feeding behaviors.
As with all bettas, overfeeding or underfeeding can cause a whole host of issues: bloating, issues with their swim bladder, constipation and stress are among the most common, so their intake should be managed if they’re going to thrive. Feeding once or twice daily is recommended, alongside one day per week for fasting.
Feeding your fish the correct amounts is generally easier to manage if your fish is living alone.
Can you keep black orchid bettas together?
Speaking of living alone, we should probably address whether or not Black Orchid bettas can live with tank mates or if they thrive in solitude.
Sadly, male Black Orchid bettas are best kept alone due to their aggressive nature, as they are extremely likely to fight.
Female bettas can be housed in groups without a problem. They get along well and can even be kept as part of a community tank.
Keeping a group of female bettas with a solo male is also okay, provided that wouldn’t make for too much of a temperamental or aggressive tankmate, as they may get injured.
One thing to note here is that the female’s appearance is generally a lot more underwhelming than the male’s. Their colors are much less vibrant, and their tales aren’t as big or fancy, so a group of female fish doesn’t always make for the most interesting display in a Black Orchid betta tank.
Males can be housed alone with some other species. A peaceful and quiet fish would be the best choice to avoid distressing your betta, as this could lead to fights or attacks. Corydoras catfish, shrimps, snails, and gouramis are all considered suitable tank mates.
Will my black orchid betta fish breed?
One question that always comes with housing males and females of any species together concerns breeding.
Keeping a male in a tank with females, you’d assume you may very quickly be overrun with tiny baby bettas, but that isn’t the case.
Black Orchid bettas aren’t the easiest fish to breed, but housing a male with a group of females and giving the right living conditions will naturally encourage some breeding.
Expect that if you house a male with some females, to see a fair few small fry pop up eventually, but don’t worry, you won’t be trying to fish them out every day!
To ensure your Black Orchid(s) thrive, you’ll want to ensure that your tank is set up with their natural habitat in mind.
As with any fish you own, maintaining a healthy environment that mimics their natural habitat, from a consistent water temperature to the decorations, is the key to keeping your bettas happy and healthy.
What tank size do they need?
In the wild, bettas usually inhabit around three square feet of space. They like to have a lot of room to move around, so although they can survive in tiny spaces, it’s not recommended at all.
A Black Orchid (or any other type of Splenden, for that matter) should ideally be housed in a 10-gallon aquarium, with a 5-gallon tank being an absolute minimum for a male living solo.
What should their water parameters be?
The climate in their homelands of Asia is hot. The rice paddies they live in quickly heat up, and the water sits at an average temperature of around 24°C – 26.5°C (75-80 F).
This temperature should be maintained in their tanks to keep your Black Orchid bettas happy and in good health. This can be regulated by placing a thermometer in the tank, so you can check if the temperature drops too high or low. If it varies too greatly or changes suddenly, your betta could experience temperature shock, which can be extremely harmful to your pet.
The water’s pH level must also be kept between 6.0 – 8.0, and the water hardiness should be 5 – 25 dGH.
What decorations do they like?
This particular species can be found in rice paddies and river basins, so they like to be surrounded by live aquatic plants. Java moss and water weeds can make excellent decorations and provide plenty of obstacles for your fish to hide among, play with and explore!
Bettas generally prefer a smoother substrate, so smooth gravel or sand is a good choice.
Ornaments and toys should be provided to give your pet lots of places to explore and to provide him with things to play with.
If kept in a community aquarium, it’s a good idea to add extra ornaments with places to hide so that your betta or the fish he’s housed with can retreat to their own space if they feel threatened or need some time alone.
Ideal toys for male and female Black Orchid Bettas
Both male and female Splendens are highly intelligent creatures and enjoy exploring and playing. For this reason, you’ll want to provide them with decorations for them to explore and hide in and toys for mental stimulation.
Providing your pet with play things such as toys and interactive decorations is a crucial part of betta care.
Hammocks and moss balls are excellent choices for males and females alike, as they love to lounge around and explore.
Fishkeepers must avoid toys with rough edges, so be careful when selecting items for your tank as they can harm and injure your pet. They also have the potential to be a breeding ground for algae, so to keep this at bay, stick to smooth surfaces!
As you may have learned, taking care of a Black Orchid betta (or even a Halfmoon Black Orchid betta) is similar to how you would care for most betta species.
They’re an excellent choice for first-timers, as they have a unique and beautiful appearance without the difficulties of caring for a more uncommon breed.
So if you’re hoping to start on your first betta aquarium but want something you can’t buy in a pet store, a Black Orchid may be the perfect fish for you!