Spotfin Betta

Spotfin Betta: A Comprehensive Overview and Care Guide

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If you love betta fish, you’ll want to know more about the beautiful Spotfin betta! This betta fish’s glorious colors and robust nature make them the perfect choice for both beginners and experienced betta enthusiasts.

Read this guide to learn everything you need to know about this betta species, including how to care for these gorgeous creatures!

Spotfin Betta – Overview

Spotfin Betta Info
Scientific nameBetta Macrostoma
Common namesSpotfin betta, Brunei Beauty
OriginMalaysia, Brunei
Water conditionsTemperature 75-79°F (24-26°C), pH 6.0 to 7.0
Adult size3.5 inches
Lifespan3 to 5 years
Min tank size20 gallons
Tank matesSingle-species tank recommended

Spotfin Betta Origins

The Spotfin betta is also commonly called the Brunei Beauty or the Betta Macrostoma.

This is one of the rarest and most seldom-seen in the hobby. These beautiful fish are rare because of habitat destruction due to agricultural development in the betta’s natural habitat in northern Sarawak, Malaysia, and Brunei.

In fact, in Brunei, it was thought that the Spotfin betta had gone extinct. However, in the 1980s, the species was rediscovered alive and well in certain parts of the region.

Today, the Brunei Beauty is listed on the IUCN Red List as vulnerable. For that reason, the fish is legally protected in Brunei, and it’s illegal to catch or own a wild specimen.

So, most Spotfin bettas you can buy these days come from Malaysia and are captive-bred. That’s good news for the pressurized wild population of these beautiful fish.

What Do Spotfin Bettas Look Like?

Spotfin bettas are beautiful fish with vibrant orange coloring and a small dorsal fin bearing a black and orange eye spot, hence the fish’s name.

The betta’s caudal fin has orange patches and black stripes, while the other fins are a dark orange color outlined in contrasting black.

This betta has a huge mouth, hence the scientific name “macro,” meaning large, and “stoma,” meaning mouth.

Spotfin Betta Care Guide

Spotfin bettas need special care if they are to do well in a home fish tank setup. When provided with a suitable environment without predators or other threats, these fish can survive for up to 5 years on average.

However, some remarkable specimens have lived for up to 10 years.

In this part of our guide, we explain everything you need to know about caring for this rare and elusive fish.

Tank Size

Although they are relatively small fish reaching around 3.5 to 4 inches long, Spotfin bettas are active creatures that need lots of swimming space to thrive.

Ideally, Spotfin bettas need a tank of at least 20 gallons per pair of fish. You can keep a small group of these fish, but you’ll need an aquarium of at least 50 gallons to do so comfortably.

These betta fish can jump, so you need a tank with a tightly fitting lid or a cover slide to prevent accidents. A lid also helps keep dust out of the water and slows evaporation.

Water Parameters

Regarding water parameters, Spotfin bettas prefer a water temperature of 750 to 790F.

The water pH should be in the range of 6.0 to 7.0, and the water hardness should be between 1 and 10 dKH. The correct pH range is important for these fish, and you should bear in mind that tap water pH varies between regions.

So, you’ll need to test the pH using an aquarium water testing kit and take steps to adjust the water parameters as necessary.

Brunei Beauties are sensitive to ammonia and nitrates, so consistently maintaining good water quality is crucial.


All betta tanks should have an efficient filtration system to keep the water clean and clear. Since Spotfin bettas are especially sensitive to poor water quality, filtration is essential for their well-being.

Wild bettas live in water with virtually no current and can even be stagnant, so a powerful current would be extremely stressful for these sensitive fish. We recommend a sponge filter for Spotfin bettas since they do not appreciate a strong flow.

Keep the tank clean and healthy by carrying out weekly partial water changes of 10% to 20% and using an aquarium vacuum cleaner to remove solid organic waste from around plants and underneath decorations.

Tank Decoration

In their natural habitat, Spotfin betta fish live in water bodies surrounded by dense jungles. Tree branches, dead leaves, and other organic matter falls into the water, lowering the pH and providing shelter for the fish.

In the captive environment, you should try replicating these conditions.

Use a scattering of Indian Almond Leaves over the substrate, and decorate the tank with driftwood, tangled roots, and smooth stones.

Caves and overhangs can benefit the fish, providing them with somewhere to take refuge, and a dark-colored aquarium background is perfect for keeping the habitat dimly lit.

Plenty of living plants can help improve the water quality of the environment while offering fish shelter and shade.


Wild Spotfin bettas live in a dimly-lit environment that should be recreated in the captive setting.

If the tank lighting is too bright, the fish will become stressed, potentially leading to health problems and disease outbreaks. If necessary, use floating plants to help block out the light from above and offer shade.

Plants with large leaves, such as Java Moss and Java Fern, can also provide shaded areas and generally do well in a Spotfin tank since they both thrive in low-light tanks.

Diet and Nutrition

Spotfin bettas are omnivorous, although they do need a protein-rich diet.

Generally, these fish won’t usually eat pellet or dry food, even if bred in captivity. For that reason, you’ll need to offer fresh or frozen foods, such as shrimps, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, blackworms, glass worms, daphnia, and brine shrimp.

Although Brunei Beauties enjoy live foods, we urge caution here. Live food often comes with a cargo of parasites and bacteria, which can cause big problems in your tank.

For this reason, we recommend that you stick to offering your fish frozen foods unless you want to start a home brine shrimp hatchery.

Tank Mates for Spotfin Bettas

You should carefully choose tank mates for your Spotfin bettas, and we recommend a species-only setup.

Ideally, you should keep a pair of Spotfin bettas, i.e., one female and one male, in a 20 to 30-gallon aquarium.

However, these fish aren’t especially aggressive, so you can keep them in small groups containing two males, provided that the tank is large enough. A large tank allows the male fish to establish territories and keep out of each other’s way.

Although Spotfin bettas are relatively peaceful, we recommend that you keep them in a species-only setup. These fish will eat smaller fish and invertebrates, and keeping Spotfins with larger species might cause stress.

Remember, these are rare fish, so you want to try to keep yours as healthy and as possible.

Breeding Spotfin Betta Fish

Spotfin bettas are relatively easy to breed in captivity. However, you must bear in mind that not all males and females will breed successfully. So, it’s not simply a case of putting a pair in a tank together and expecting baby bettas to emerge!

The best approach is to keep a mixed group so the fish will naturally pair off. Once a breeding pair is established, you can move them to a separate spawning tank.

Sexing Spotfin Bettas

When sexing Spotfin bettas, it’s pretty easy to tell the boys from the girls.

Males are bright orange, while females are darker and brown with two black stripes along their sides.

Spawning Tank

The spawning tank should be at least 20 gallons with a pH level of 6.0. Keep the spawning tank dimly lit with a very low water flow.

Include lots of living plants and hardscapes to create an environment where the fish feel safe and secure.

A slightly higher water temperature helps to replicate the fish’s winter and spring breeding conditions in the wild.


During spawning, the female Spotfin flares and flaps her fins in front of the male to attract his attention and tell him that she is ready to mate.

The male responds by opening his mouth wide. The female copies the male and does the same, opening her mouth wide.

The male then wraps himself around the female in an embrace until his pelvic fin rests on her mouth. That triggers the female to release her eggs, fertilized by the male.

Mouth Brooders

Unlike the Betta splendens, which is a bubble nester, Spotfin bettas are mouth brooders.

The male fish picks up the eggs and holds them in his mouth. The female helps the male by collecting any fallen eggs and transferring them to his mouth in a kind of “kiss.”

Once the eggs are safely in the male’s mouth, he will incubate them for up to one month. During that time, the male won’t eat, resting most of his days while the eggs develop.

Throughout the incubation time, it’s essential that you keep the environment peaceful in the tank. If the male Spotfin is stressed, he might swallow the eggs.

If the male becomes stressed by the female’s presence, you must remove her from the spawning tank. It’s also important not to add any decorations or plants during incubation.

Throughout the incubation period, you must maintain correct and stable water conditions in the spawning tank. However, the male shouldn’t produce much waste, especially if he is kept alone.

If you need to carry out any small water changes, be sure to do so carefully.

Raising Spotfin Betta Fry

Once the 30 to 35-day incubation period has finished, tiny Spotfin fry will emerge from the male’s mouth.

The fry is generally between 0.2 to 0.3 inches long and is so tiny that they are at risk of being eaten by their parents.

However, if you provide plenty of very dense planting in the tank, many of the baby Spotfin bettas stand a good chance of survival.

We recommend removing both parents and using the spawning setup as a dedicated grow-out tank for the youngsters.

Diet and nutrition play a crucial role in growing healthy Spotfin betta fry. A suitable diet for the fry includes vinegar eels, microworms, white worms, daphnia, and baby brine shrimp.

Fry are highly sensitive to water conditions, so you’ll need to regularly monitor the water quality and temperature in the tank.

Also, some fry release growth-inhibiting hormones into the water. These hormones can retard or even halt the growth of other fry, especially if hormone levels accumulate. For that reason, daily water changes of 10% are recommended.

Once the fry reaches around two months of age, they begin to show their true colors and patterns so that you can distinguish males from females.

The males will gradually become more aggressive toward each other, so they should be separated or relocated to a much larger aquarium.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our guide to the rare and beautiful Spotfin betta? If you did, please share the article!

Spotfin bettas are currently listed as vulnerable in their native habitat. For that reason, keeping captive-bred specimens and breeding them is crucial to the survival of this gorgeous species of betta.

To keep these fish successfully, you need to replicate their wild environment of dimly-lit, heavily-shaded, slow-moving water with a pH of between 6.0 and 7.0.

Do you keep Brunei Beauties? Did you breed from your fish? Tell us about your fish in the comment box below.

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