Betta livida

Betta livida is a somewhat shy species that is best kept in a species aquarium. You can keep them in a group with 2 males and 4 females.


Betta livida

Betta livida was described in 1992 by Ng and Kottelat. The species name comes from the Latin lividus, which means jealous, referring to iridescent green eyes.


The type location is a black water stream in the north Selangor peat bogs, on the road from Tanjung Malim to Sungai Besar; Malaysia. Other fishing locations include Tanjung Malim; Malaysia, Tanjung Karang; Malaysia, Sabak Bernam; Malaysia, Rawang; Malaysia, (Maybe also Perak; Malaysia).


Betta livida can reach a total length of around 50 millimeters.

Keeping Betta livida

This is a somewhat shy species, so a dark aquarium in a dark place is recommended. It is highly advisable to fill the aquarium with plants that do not need much light. A few centimeters of water is enough for Betta livida. It does not have to be a large aquarium as long as there are enough places to hide. This species is not very aggressive. It is better not to keep Betta livida with other species. Only then will this rare, beautiful species feel good. It is best to keep 2 males with 2 or 3 females, as long as the aquarium is at least 60 cm in length. If a pair forms that wants to reproduce, the two can be transferred to their own aquarium or the other specimens can be removed (although this is not necessary for a good breeding result).

The water composition also plays a very important role in this species and water changes must take place once every two weeks, with 10% being refreshed. The species performs well under the following conditions: pH 3.5 – 3.7, soft water and a temperature between 22 ° – 26 ° C. But a pH of 5 is also fine and also occurs in the natural biotope, depending on the season.


Easy eaters who like almost everything as long as it is not too big; Mosquito larvae, Artemia, small Mysis etc. Feed frozen and live alternately. Some small insects are also welcome.

Breeding Betta livida

Betta livida is easy to reproduce if it is kept as described above. The male builds a foam nest under which the spawning takes place. After each entanglement, he will collect the eggs and deposit them in his relatively small nest. 20 to 50 eggs are laid that can be cared for by both parents in the first few days (in the case of the author, see bottom of page, only the male took care of the nest). It is advisable to keep the parents and the fry together to prevent the risk of velvet. This disease only occurs in the first two to three weeks if the fry are raised alone. This can occur with almost all Betta types.

The fry will not eat newly hatched brine shrimp until ten days after they start to swim free, but will find enough food between the plants. It is also possible to feed them microworms up to day ten. They grow quickly and can handle coarser feed within a few weeks; in the meantime they will certainly not fail to enjoy a piece of what you are feeding the parents. As soon as they start to look like their parents, transfer the fry to avoid unnecessary fights with the parents.


Betta livida was often mistaken for Betta coccina. But they are indeed different types that are particularly noticeable due to color differences. In addition, there are also differences in, among other things, the number of fin rays, scales and behavior. The ventral fins of Betta livida have green tips while they are black with Betta coccina (sometimes with a green luster but this is not comparable to Betta livida). In the former the females also sometimes have the blue one dot, while in the latter the females are never in possession of the blue dot. Betta livida also differs in length, 5 mm, from B. coccina. The behavior during reproduction can also vary greatly with B. livida. Striking in this species is that both parents take care of the nest and also guard the fry together for the first days.

In this species, both sexes can have the blue dot on their flank, as mentioned earlier. In F2 and F3 offspring, the dot comes and goes and is no longer always visible as with wildcaught fish. This applies to both sexes. There are also countless wild caught specimens from all known locations that did not show or developed a lateral blue dot later on.



Stefan vd Voort – Nederlandse Vereniging voor Labyrintvissen
Published in consultation with the association

Copyright images

Haji Badaruddin

Additional information





Social Behaviour

Breeding behaviour


Minimum aquarium length in cm



Length maximum in cm

Temperature minimum

Temperature maximum

pH minimum

pH maximum

GH minimum

GH maximum


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