Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Victoria, Australia
Manyt of the smaller mouthbrooding species would also be comfortable in a 10 gallon tank. Species such as Betta channoides and Betta albimarginata are great 'starter' species as they are not particularly fussy about water parameters (provided your water isn't liquid rock), are relatively peaceful, and are two of the easiest species to spawn.
One thing I will make mention of is the fact that most wilds (even captive bred wilds) will not do particularly well in extremely hard/alkaline water. Less than a handful of species inhabit those sort of conditions in the wild, and most prefer soft to very soft water to thrive. So be aware, if your tap water is more suited to keeping African cichlids, you may have to use RO water.
Personally I think most wilds will show better colouration and more natural behaviour in a well-planted, dimly lit tank. If they are a species from blackwater conditions, darkening the water with IAL is definitely recommended, and a darker substrate (I like to use aqua soil) will stop them from looking washed out.
Also, some wilds will only accept live or frozen foods and may be difficult to transition to dried foods, or outright refuse. So this is something to be aware of.
Perhaps the biggest mistake new wild betta keepers make, is not using a tightly fitting lid or covering over their tank. With wilds it's not a case of if, but when they will jump. Dropping the water line won't be deterrent enough, as even the smaller species can jump quite a distance. If there are any gaps at all, don't doubt that they will find them eventually and jump out.
Personally I use cling wrap over all my wild betta tanks. I lost over a dozen fish to jumping before I started using it, and haven't lost a fish since, and it's been several years now.
Your best bet is to search 'Betta' on SeriouslyFish.com and look through some of the species profiles on there. Having kept/bred these fish for a number of years, I still think it's the absolute best resource on the web.