Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Victoria, Australia
Wild bettas can be pretty skittish if the tank is brightly lit and too open. There's many tanks that while suitable for the ornamental form of Betta splendens, would create a very unhappy wild betta.
For example, I know many wild betta breeders keep their fish in bare bottom, sparsely decorated tanks for ease of maintenance etc. But they don't really seem to care about the appearance or behaviour of their fish, just that they breed for them. So if their fish is washed out or skittish, it doesn't matter as much.
The courtship/mating ritual doesn't always begin with a bubblenest. The courtship process can be quite prolonged with increasing aggression between the two, until both fish are ready to mate. Then the aggression lessens and the male will start trying to lure the female to his nest rather than chase her off.
Be aware that sometimes splendens complex species can be too aggressive to keep in pairs long-term. Not all are, as I had a pair of B. stiktos that lived happily together in a 5 gallon tank and spawned many times. But some can be. So it's something to be mindful of.
Also, on an unrelated topic, is your tank fully covered? As in, not even the smallest gaps around filter, heating, or lighting cords?
With wild bettas it's basically not a matter of if but when they will jump. They can and will jump through any gap they can find. If you go on one of the wild betta FB groups, you'll see how many hobbyists lose their fish to jumping. I personally cover all my wild betta tanks in cling wrap.
This is just a warning I give all new wild betta owners as most drastically underestimate the jumping abilities of these fish. And it's a terrible thing to find your fish dead and dried up on the floor.