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Alien Betta Fish: Care Guide, Pictures, Varieties, & Lifespan

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By Lindsey Stanton

alien betta fish

Alien bettas are a new type of hybrid betta fish—a combination of wild species and the domesticated betta fish called Betta splendens. They come in a variety of colors and patterns which is why they are rapidly gaining popularity amongst the fish-keeping community.

The name Alien betta fish is thought to be derived from their iridescent LED lights. These fish are considered a luxury breed and they are considered a form of wild betta fish, although they have never been in the wild before breeding.

Keep reading if you want to find out how to properly care for an Alien betta fish!

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Quick Facts about Alien Bettas

Species Name:

B. smaragdina



Care Level:






Color Form:



2–5 years


2–3 inches



Minimum Tank Size:

5 gallons (20 liters)

Tank Set-Up:

Freshwater: tropical and heavily planted


Peaceful community tank

Alien Betta Overview

It is unknown where Alien bettas came from, but their lineage is thought to be from a mixture of different wild specimens and B. smaragdina, B. sticks, and B. mahachaiensis betta fish. Although they are not one of the older species of betta fish, the same care applies to both species. Alien bettas are a product of inbreeding which causes the males to become infertile from birth or at a younger age than other species of betta fish. Alien bettas are considered the anabantid equivalent of the flowerhorn cichlid fish. It is important to remember that their phenotype is not of a pure betta, and they should not be labeled as such. Alien betta fish should be kept in the same conditions that wild betta fish are kept in. This is because they seem to do best when they are surrounded by conditions that replicate their natural environment. A heavily planted tank is the best type of tank you can keep them in.

How Much Do Alien Bettas Cost?

Alien bettas are not commonly found in pet stores but are rather found in online stores or local betta fish breeders. Avoid paying a higher price for an Alien betta fish labeled as a ‘wild’ specimen. These fish are under a false name to increase sales and be specified as if the betta fish is a species naturally found in the wild. Generally, an Alien betta fish can cost anywhere between $10 to $40. They are more expensive because they are a newly created species and are not easily available.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Alien bettas and any splendens of the complex species can be just as aggressive as the ornamental forms of betta fish. Bettas are aggressive and territorial fish which is why they should not be housed together. Males fight till death or serious injury, and the same applies to some female betta fish. Even though Alien bettas are not a true species of B. splendens, they have almost the same behavior and temperament. So, if you are looking for a more friendly version of the betta fish, unfortunately, they do not exist. Some aquarists will claim that their Alien bettas are friendlier than the originally domesticated betta fish, however, this is not true and the overall tameness of your betta fish is determined by their personality.

Appearance & Varieties

Identifying an Alien betta can be quite tricky. They look like wild specimens which is why there is such a big issue with miss labeling them. Alien bettas are typically blue or gray and have different undertones that cause their skin to develop an iridescent sheen. Most Alien bettas display a deep purple color with light splotches of blue. Females are usually less colorful and have more grey than males. The body is slender with a sturdy build. There are varying shades of black on their scales which is typically thought to be from non-spread iridescence. The rest of the body shines under bright lights and looks stunning.


How to Take Care of Alien Bettas

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup


All species of betta fish should be kept in a tank that is over 5 gallons in size. Most experts can agree that betta fish should be kept in nothing less than a 10-gallon tank. Never house a betta fish in a bowl or vase. These bodies of water are way too small and the curved sized causes vision distress. There is a lot of outdated information on betta fish that claims that a smaller tank like a 1 to 3-gallon is an appropriate size. However, once you begin to add in plants and tank equipment, the overall volume of water for swim space is greatly reduced.

Water temperature & pH

Water quality is especially important for betta fish. The tank should be fully cycled before you put your betta fish in the tank. The parameters should be 0ppm ammonia and nitrite, with 5ppm to 20ppm nitrate. The temperature of the water should be kept between 75°F to 82°F and the pH should be maintained between 6.0 to 7.8. Betta fish are tropical and NEED a heater in their tank.


Bettas are not picky with substrate and standard gravel will suffice. Avoid gravel that is painted in unnatural colors because it will eventually leach toxins into the water. Sand, quartz gravel, and soils are safe for betta fish tanks.


Alien bettas should not have fake plastic plants or decorations in their tank. This will not only shred their fins but also leach toxins like colored gravel does. Silicone plants are recommended alongside a heavily planted tank with live plants, rocks, and tannin-rich driftwood.


Lighting allows you to see your betta fish more clearly and encourages plant growth. The light should not be kept on for more than 12 hours because bettas need to sleep for at least 8 hours. To do so they require complete darkness.


Filters are an essential part of a betta fish tank. They do not enjoy fast currents and a standard sponge filter is recommended. This will help keep the water clean and catch any debris.

Are Alien Bettas Good Tank Mates?

All species of betta fish make poor tank mates because of their aggressive nature. Males should never be kept together, but females can be kept in small groups known as a sorority. The good news is that although bettas should not be kept together, they can and do get along with other nano fish. Keeping your betta with other fish or shrimp should be left to seasoned aquarists as it can be a tricky task that requires previous experience and knowledge.

Suitable Tank Mates
  • Red-tailed sharks
  • Plecos
  • Neon tetras
  • Shrimp
  • Snails
  • Danios
  • Livebearers
  • Dwarf gourami
  • Khuli loaches
Unsuitable Tank Mates
  • Cichlids
  • Flowerhorns
  • Oscars
  • Jack Dempsey
  • Bala sharks
  • Goldfish
  • Koi

What to Feed Your Alien Betta

A good diet will keep your Alien betta fish in good health and make their color more vivid. Bettas are obligated carnivores, and the main part of their diet should consist of protein-based foods. They do best when fed foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, tubifex worms, micro worms, and other types of insect larvae. This helps with optimal digestion and combats their most common health issue which is bloat. Live or freeze-dried foods should be fed alongside high-quality commercial pellet food. Avoid feeding your betta fish foods like algae or plants, they cannot digest these foods properly which puts them at major risk of developing bloat and other digestive issues.

Keeping Your Alien Betta Healthy

  • Keep your Alien betta fish in the largest tank possible. Ensure the tank is large enough to fit in a heater, filter, and plenty of live plants. The tank size should be increased if you plan to add compatible tank mates.
  • Conduct regular water changes to keep the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels within ideal levels. This should be done every week if the tank is smaller than 10 gallons.
  • Make sure that you have a working heater in the tank alongside a thermometer. The tank should be always stable and never fluctuate more than 2°F at a time.
  • Choose the best diet possible for your Alien betta. Not only will this encourage them to live longer, but also boost their immunity and ward off potential illnesses or diseases.


Alien bettas should be placed in a breeding tank with a filter and aerator. The male and female should then be placed in the tank once they are over 6 months of age and sexually mature. The male will construct a bubble nest that will appear as a thick layer of foam on the surface of the water. The pair will spawn and go through a breeding ritual during which the female betta will finally deposit her eggs. The male will carry the eggs to the nest and guard them till they hatch within 24 to 72 hours.

Once the fry has hatched, the parents should be removed because they will eat their offspring. Breeding hybrids should be left to the experts and is more difficult than breeding original ornamental betta fish.

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Are Alien Bettas Suitable for Your Aquarium?

These newly bred species of fish in the betta world are becoming a huge source of excitement for hobbyists. Their captivating appearance makes them the perfect centerpiece fish in an appropriate tank. They can get along with other peaceful community tank mates which makes them a great addition to nano community tanks. They also do well when kept on their own with a few snails and lots of live plants.

These fish capture the heart of their owners and can live up to 5 years when they are cared for properly.

Looking for more Betta varieties? Take a look at:

Featured Image Credit: happymay, Shutterstock

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