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Discussion Starter #1
so i've been looking into wild bettas for a few months now, reading threads and watching tons of youtube videos, and i'm trying to save some money for a new tank. is there a specific species that would be the best for a beginner to start with? ie, hardy and easy to keep?

i heard somewhere that channoides and smaragdina were rather easy, as well as mahachai, but does anyone else have a different opinion? i won't be getting the tank for a loooong time, i don't have the money to right now lol. i plan on possibly getting something between a 10-20? i'll have it set up for maybe 2 or 3 months before i even get the fish. i just wanna plan everything out before i even start.
 

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Having been keeping wilds for a handful of years now, I think the smaller mouthbrooders are best for those just starting off. Particularly B. channoides and B. albimarginata. These fish are easy breeders, not difficult to source, and while soft, acidic water is preferred, are tolerant of a wider range of conditions than some of the other more sensitive species. Being that they are two of the least aggressive species of wilds, a 10-20 gallon tank is perfect for a pair or reverse trio.
 

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Having been keeping wilds for a handful of years now, I think the smaller mouthbrooders are best for those just starting off. Particularly B. channoides and B. albimarginata. These fish are easy breeders, not difficult to source, and while soft, acidic water is preferred, are tolerant of a wider range of conditions than some of the other more sensitive species. Being that they are two of the least aggressive species of wilds, a 10-20 gallon tank is perfect for a pair or reverse trio.
thank you so much! i'll start looking deeper into those.

what about food? all i have access to nearby is frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, and mysis. i'm willing to order some cultures of grindal and tubifex worms but it wouldn't be for awhile. and as for tank layout, would you recommend bare bottom, leaf litter, or maybe a thin layer of peat moss?
 

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I use ADA Malaya in all my wild betta tanks (although other brands of aqua soil should do just as well). While I like the look of peat moss, performing maintenance or catching fish in a tank using a peat moss substrate is a nightmare as it's easily disturbed. Personally, I dislike bare bottom tanks for wild bettas. I just feel that they don't show their best colouration over a bare glass surface. Leaf litter is always appreciated by wilds, so I would put a thin scattering over whatever substrate you choose.

I've found most of the mouthbrooders make the switch to pellets much easier than some of the smaller bubblenesters, and if they're captive bred, the breeder may have raised them using dried foods.

Wild bettas can become obese if overfed 'rich' foods such as white worms, grindals, and blackworms. I tend to feed those as an occasional treat (so once or twice a week and only sparingly) and stick with live/frozen mosquito larvae, frozen spirulina enriched brine shrimp, and frozen bloodworms as the staple of their diet.

Also, whatever species of betta you choose, make certain that the top of your tank is completely covered. If you leave even the smallest gap, they will find it and jump out. Those new to this side of the hobby often vastly underestimate the jumping abilities of these fish. Personally I use and recommend plastic wrap for smaller wilds (some of the larger mouthbrooders can go through it if they are spooked enough), and haven't lost a fish through jumping since I started.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
wow, yeah i'll have to remember to get the plastic wrap. that also seems like a great way to keep the humidity in.

how about acclimation, when i get them would i just float them in the tank and then drip acclimate? and is there a specific order in which i should introduce them to the tank, males first then females for example? and thank you again for all of this great information!!
 

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I don't drip acclimate my fish. I simply float and dump. However, I know not everyone is comfortable with this method, and not all fish handle it well (although I personally have yet to lose a fish), so it may be safer to drip acclimate your fish. Particularly if you are dealing with newly imported or wild-caught stock.

I don't worry about a specific order when releasing fish. As neither B. channoides nor B. albimarginata are known for aggression, I doubt releasing your fish in a specific order is going to make any difference.
 

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B.Channodies or albimarginata is surely the first choice for mouthbrooder.. the setup is cheaper as well.. B.Ocellata or Pallafina is another choice.. for bigger mouthbrooder. Ocellata price is not expensive.. and they are very hardly.. a 2ft long tank will be more than sufficient for them.. with simple sponge filter w/air bubbling.
 

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I know this thread is a couple of months old but the OP said he would not be ready for some time.
Nothing against mouth brooders. I would like to have some myself some time, but I think imbellis is the natural "starter" betta. Care is no different than the everyday fancy splendens found everywhere. Same goes for other splendens group fish. I actually think it would be a great idea to encourage more people to keep wild type splendens to avoid loosing the species forever.
I got interested in wilds about 12 years ago when I tried to look up what the wild betta looked like. All my searches at the time told me that the gene pool had been so corrupted by release of plakats that they no longer existed. Every thing I found showed a picture of an imbellis as an example of something close to what the original splendens would have looked like. I finally got a pair of imbellis about 7 or 8 years ago. Wonderful fish. They lived happily in a 10 gallon planted and spawned a couple times for me until a flood took them from me. I have since discovered that wild splendens do in fact still remain and are attainable. I bought a pair a little over 4 years ago now. They spawned for me too but I wasn't ready and never had any fry to grow out. Just lost them to old age a couple months ago.
I wouldn't want to see wild splendens or imbellis become as common as the tragically abused veil tails but it would be nice if there were enough US breeders to make them easier to obtain.
 

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I'm not sure if you are on FB, but there is a group called 'Wild Betta World' that has a large membership and a number of members from the US that keep and breed wild bettas. Personally, I hope that wild bettas remain something of a niche market as I would hate to see them suffer the fate of the ornamental strains, but there are more people out there keeping them nowadays than you might think.

The trouble with the splendens complex as you've said, is purity. I think many of fish that were sold as 'pure' Betta imbellis and 'pure' Betta mahachai here in Australia were of dubious purity. Which is dangerous because you risk polluting the true pure lines if these fish are used to outcross with. To make matters worse, some overseas sellers advertise obvious hybrids but use only one species name in the description leading the inexperienced to believe what they are buying is the real thing.

We also have the issue of specific localities not being attached to fish. You may get a broad idea of where the fish has come from, but certainly not the preciseness with which rainbowfish and killifish enthusiasts label their fish. I think this is also a shame as many of the different localities are unique in appearance and by mixing them, you end up with aquarium strain fish.
 

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Thanks for the tip on the FB group. My previous wilds have come directly from their locations in Thailand. I would like to avoid the nail biting involved with the long overseas shipping even though everything went smoothly for me 2 out of 2 times!
I would like to see them more popular. If the good mom and pop stores all had some dispersed in their small community tanks folks might get to know them. Not too difficult to determine hybrids but it's something people might not even consider with such relatively uncommon fish.
How do you feel about the newer copper and bronze varieties of some of the wilds? I'm a little mixed about it.
 

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I've seen some hybrids that are VERY close to the real thing. I think it depends what they are a hybrid of.

Unfortunately, wilds don't seem to display well in fish store tanks. I've yet to see a wild that's even close to fully coloured up and behaving normally in a sale tank at a store. Usually they dart from one area of cover to another or wedge themselves up against the back or top of the tank. So I think they get the undeserved reputation as being dull to look at and shy.

I don't really know much about splendens complex species (I breed coccina complex species), but I believe at least some of the copper varieties are hybrids. Personally, I'm 100% against hybridisation of wild betta species. We have enough fish in this hobby that have been tinkered with by humans. I think if we are going to be taking these fish from the wild (especially as a large number are highly endangered) we should be working towards conservation, and avoid potential polluting of pure lines with hybrid stock by those that don't know better (you will be surprised at how many people assume a traditionally coloured plakat is a Betta imbellis).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
thanks for bringing this post back!

i'm on facebook, so i'll check out the group. i'm still doing my research and analyzing my options and what would be most convenient for me to keep. i love the coloring on the imbellis, but i haven't done as much research on them as i have for albimarginata and channoides. they still might be an option for me if i can't find any albimarginata in my price range. i've been keeping my eye on aquabid for awhile and haven't really seen any lately.

it's a shame that the original wilds have been hybridized because they're such beautiful fish. i would love for people to become more aware of wild bettas because they're such interesting fish and there are so many different species and varieties to choose from and specialize in.
 

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Yes, I don't think many hobbyists are aware just how many species of betta there are, and how varied in behaviour and appearance they can be. I mean you have everything from a 3-4cm bubblenester right up to a 11-12cm mouthbrooder, and then everything in between.

That FB group is very active and unlike most other wild betta forums/FB groups, most members on it speak (well write) English (whether as a first or second language). Unfortunately, it's slim pickings when it comes to forums and FB groups relating to wild bettas. Most are either inactive or you are constantly having to translate everything into English. That should definitely put you into contact with breeders and fellow enthusiasts.
 

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I'm not sure if you are on FB, but there is a group called 'Wild Betta World' that has a large membership and a number of members from the US that keep and breed wild bettas.
Not much going on over there. Few people posting pictures. I Joined and asked if anyone knew of someone breeding imbellis in the US and got crickets.......
 

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That's odd. I swear I can't find your post when I search that group for the term 'imbellis'. When did you post it? Most of the discussion is posting photos but it's the most active wild betta related resource I've come across online so far.

Sorry no one replied. If I could have offered assistance I would, but unfortunately being Australian based and not keeping that complex I can't even point you in a likely direction.
 

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wild spendens family, look for thai seller, you can try aquabid, or you can look for Lyon Goh of BCS (Betta Club Singapore)
Thanks. It never hurts to have another potential source. I do have a couple of connections as I have bought from Malaysia and Thailand before. I was just hoping to find someone closer to me. I've had good luck and my fish from over seas got to me in great shape but it's pretty scary for me.
 
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