Where Do Betta Fish Live In The Wild?

As betta fish grow in popularity as aquarium pets, they continue to spread in domestic and wild populations all over the world.

Some countries where betta fish are aquarium pets may also have gained a wild population of betta fish that hasn’t been discovered yet. This happens from aquarium betta fish being released into wild waters.

However, there are plenty of countries where betta fish are known to live in the wild…

Betta fish still live in the wild where they originated from, Thailand. Betta fish eventually spread to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, where they also still live in the wild today. As betta fish grew in popularity as aquarium pets, they also began living in the wild in other countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Dominican Republic.

The reason other countries may have wild populations of betta fish is that, in addition to their popularity as aquarium pets, betta fish can adapt to all kinds of water conditions, so when they are discarded into any kind of water, they have a pretty good chance to survive.

In Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, many betta fish can be found in thin streams, rice paddies, drainage ditches, and even little puddles.

This is awesome for the betta fish but not so good for any new ecosystems that betta fish are introduced to.

Usually, when a strange fish is introduced into a new ecosystem, the species native to that ecosystem are destroyed. This especially happens when the new fish being introduced is predatory.

The best example of this is when tilapia were introduced into the only two lakes in Mexico where axolotls originated from. The tilapia were eating most of the axolotl eggs and young axolotl to the point that axolotls are now endangered.

Wild Betta Fish Habitat

You will find a wild betta fish living in some type of shallow water.

Wild bettas usually live in a swampy environment or rice paddy.

Their habitat usually has a lot of plants, making it easier for the wild betta to avoid predators, while also leaving plenty of space for the betta fish to move around.

These same plants also provide oxygen and provide wild bettas with a place to call home. Bettas are very territorial and will usually stay by the same plant or plants and defend their territory.

Wild bettas water may seem muddy but the bottom of these shallow waters are a lot of organic materials which release tannins into the water. The tannins are what make the water brown, but help keep the water parameters healthy.

Many domesticated betta fish can be found in tiny bowls at the pet store because of their reputation to survive in tiny spaces of water.

This is because betta fish are from a tropical environment, where there are a lot of droughts so the shallow water where the betta lives will dry up leaving the betta in a puddle.

Since bettas can survive in a puddle, they can survive in a little bowl, but it doesn’t mean that they should!

Betta fish can swim to the surface to breathe oxygen as their puddle becomes low on oxygen but they will jump to another puddle when the oxygen level gets too low.

Betta fish can breathe the oxygen because they have developed what is called a labyrinth organ from living so long in the shallow waters in constant heat which causes the oxygen level to drop a lot.

Without their labyrinth organ, the betta probably wouldn’t have survived.

Where Can I Find Wild Betta Fish?

The origination of betta fish in the wild is in Asia where they were found in rice paddies and generally slow-moving water.

As stated in this article, betta fish originated in Thailand and spread to neighboring Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

Bett fish are now being found in the wild in other countries like Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Dominican Republic.

As betta fish grow in popularity as aquarium pets, they are released into the wild in new ecosystems and since betta fish can survive harsh conditions, they are being found in the wild more and more.

Can You Release a Betta Fish Into the Wild?

Of course, you can, but you shouldn’t!

For the betta’s sake, they have bright colors and would be gobbled up quickly by some meat-eating predators big enough to swallow them.

For the sake of the new ecosystem betta fish are released into, betta fish might eat smaller species as well.

It is never a good idea to release pets into the wild because they may not survive or they might disrupt the ecosystem, they are released into.

How Long Does a Betta Live In the Wild?

Betta fish live about two years n the wild, which is not as long as in an aquarium because betta fish live a much more stressful life in the wild from predators, droughts, or not always being able to find food.

How Do Bettas Survive In The Wild?

Bettas usually don’t survive longer than two years in the wild, if they even make it that long. There are too many predators, droughts, or lack of food to make the life span of the betta fish in the wild shorter.

What Do Betta Fish Look Like In The Wild?

Betta fish look different in the wild than they do in an aquarium.

In the wild, betta fish are a dull greyish color and have much shorter fins.

This is because only bettas with the brightest colors and the longest fins were continually bred for aquarium pets.

Are Wild Bettas More Aggressive?

It has been scientifically determined that wild bettas are less aggressive than domesticated bettas although there is little to no information out there to explain why.

What Lives With Betta Fish In The Wild?

Betta fish are very territorial, so you usually won’t find them actually living with anything other than a plant they decide to make their home.

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