Halfmoon Betta

Halfmoon Bettas are fascinating freshwater fish with an impressive tail fin that resembles a half-moon shape. With their vibrant colors and unique appearance, they have become a favorite among aquarium enthusiasts. These fish are known for their territorial nature and require special care and attention when it comes to tank mates.

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Care DIfficulty


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Southeast Asia

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2.5 inches (6.4 cm)

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3 to 5 years

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Table of contents

Origin, Appearance, Size, and Lifespan

The Halfmoon Betta, or Betta splendens, is a popular freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia, primarily found in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. They inhabit slow-moving or stagnant waters such as rice paddies, ponds, and shallow streams.

In the wild, Halfmoon Bettas are found in waters with abundant plant life, which provides cover and helps establish their territories. These plants not only serve as hiding spots but also as a means to build bubble nests for breeding. In your aquarium, make sure to include live plants, hiding spots, and a gentle water flow to replicate their natural habitat.

Their natural environment features warm water, with temperatures typically between 76 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 28 degrees Celsius), a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5, and water hardness between 3 to 5 dGH. To create a similar environment in your aquarium, ensure consistent water temperature, use a high-quality filtration system, and incorporate live plants and decorations.

By closely mirroring the Halfmoon Betta's natural habitat and maintaining the right water conditions, you'll be setting your fish up for a healthy and happy life in your aquarium.

Halfmoon Bettas are celebrated for their striking, fan-like tail fin and vibrant colors. These remarkable features make them an irresistible and eye-catching centerpiece in aquariums. They typically reach up to approximately 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) in size (not including their tail), and their distinctive appearance makes them an ideal choice for those seeking a visually stunning aquatic display. These elegant fish bring joy to observers as they gracefully move through the tank, making them a cherished favorite among hobbyists of all experience levels.

With proper care, Halfmoon Bettas can enjoy a lifespan of up to 3 to 5 years. As solitary beings, they are best kept individually, especially males, which can be highly aggressive toward each other. To promote their well-being and ensure a long life in captivity, it's essential to provide a spacious aquarium with abundant hiding spots and a diverse diet consisting of premium pellets, flakes, and live or frozen foods.

Fun Facts

Now that we've learned more about the appearance and lifespan of Halfmoon Bettas, in this section, we'll highlight some fascinating facts about these stunning fish that make them stand out in the aquarium hobby. From their flamboyant fins to their unique breeding behavior, Halfmoon Bettas are full of surprises and are sure to captivate any aquarist.

  • Aggressive tendencies: In the wild, male Halfmoon Bettas are known to be territorial and will fiercely defend their space against intruders. This aggression is often displayed in captivity as well, making it essential to provide adequate space and separation between males in an aquarium setting.
  • Bubble nest builders: Halfmoon Bettas have a unique breeding behavior where the males create bubble nests using their saliva. These nests float on the water's surface and serve as a safe place for the fertilized eggs until they hatch.
  • Labyrinth organ: Halfmoon Bettas possess a specialized respiratory organ called the labyrinth organ. This organ allows them to breathe atmospheric air, enabling them to survive in low-oxygen environments such as stagnant water or densely vegetated areas.
  • Color variations: Halfmoon Bettas are available in a wide array of colors and patterns, making them a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts looking for a visually striking centerpiece. Some of the most sought-after color variations include metallic, marbled, and butterfly patterns.
  • Fin nipping behavior: Due to their long, flowing fins, Halfmoon Bettas can sometimes be prone to fin nipping by other fish in a community aquarium. To prevent this behavior, it's crucial to choose compatible tank mates and monitor interactions closely.

Now that you've discovered some interesting tidbits about Halfmoon Bettas, you'll be better equipped to appreciate their beauty and intricacies in your aquarium. In the following section, we'll provide recommendations on tank setups, ensuring your Halfmoon Bettas have an ideal environment to thrive and showcase their dazzling features.

Recommended Tank Setups

Each setup includes the core components—tank, filter, heater, lighting, substrate, and more—ensuring that you can create an appropriate environment for Halfmoon Bettas and other compatible freshwater fish species in your aquarium. As you move from budget-friendly to high-end setups, you will also have more options for customization, aesthetics, and advanced features. Halfmoon Bettas are solitary fish and do not require a group, but they need a proper environment to thrive. Typically, Halfmoon Bettas are priced between $10 and $30 per fish, although prices can vary based on factors such as color, quality, and availability.

Budget-friendly setup (around $200):‍

  • Tank: 5-gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy‍ ($20 - $50)
  • Filter: Hang-on-back (HOB) or sponge filter rated for 5 gallons ($10 - $25)
  • Heater: 25-50 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($10 - $25)
  • Lighting: Basic LED aquarium light ($15 - $35)
  • Substrate: Inexpensive aquarium sand or small gravel ($5 - $15)
  • Decor: A few pieces of driftwood, rocks, and silk or live plants like Java Fern and Anubias to provide hiding spaces ($15 - $30)
  • Fish: One Halfmoon Betta ($10 - $30)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $10 - $25
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15‍

Mid-range setup (around $250 - $400):‍

  • Tank: 5-10 gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($30 - $80)
  • Filter: Canister filter or high-quality HOB filter rated for the tank size ($30 - $80)
  • Heater: 50-75 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($15 - $40)
  • Lighting: LED aquarium light with adjustable settings for plant growth and color enhancement ($30 - $100)
  • Substrate: Nutrient-rich aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks ($10 - $30)
  • Decor: A mix of driftwood, rocks, and live plants such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($20 - $50)
  • Fish: One Halfmoon Betta ($10 - $30)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10• Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $10 - $25
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50• Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15‍

High-end setup (above $500):‍

  • Tank: 10-20 gallon rimless aquarium with a glass canopy ($60 - $150)
  • Filter: High-quality canister filter rated for the tank size ($80 - $200)
  • Heater: 75-100 watt adjustable aquarium heater with an external temperature controller ($25 - $60)
  • Lighting: Advanced LED lighting system with customizable settings for plant growth, color enhancement, and day/night cycles ($100 - $250)
  • Substrate: Premium aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks, with added root tabs for extra plant nutrition ($20 - $50)
  • Decor: A combination of driftwood, rocks, and live plants to create a natural aquascape, featuring plant species such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, Cryptocoryne species, and carpeting plants like Dwarf Hairgrass or Monte Carlo ($40 - $100)
  • Fish: One Halfmoon Betta ($10 - $30)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $10 - $25
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Please note that these numbers are just recommendations, and you should consider other factors such as tank mates and individual fish personalities when setting up a tank for a Halfmoon Betta. Prices may vary depending on location, brand, and availability.

Set Up Your Tank

In the previous section, we discussed the recommended tank setups for your Halfmoon Betta. Now that you have a better understanding of what's required, let's dive into the step-by-step process of setting up your aquarium. These steps will guide you through selecting the ideal location for your tank, cleaning and preparing the tank, installing essential equipment, and cycling the water to create a healthy environment for your fish. We'll also cover the proper acclimation process to ensure a smooth transition for your Halfmoon Betta into its new home. By following these guidelines, you'll be well on your way to creating a thriving aquatic ecosystem for your fish to flourish in.

  • Step #1: Choose an ideal location for your aquarium, ensuring it's away from direct sunlight, heat sources, and drafts. Make sure the surface is level and sturdy enough to support your filled tank. If your aquarium requires a stand, assemble it according to the manufacturer's instructions and place the empty tank on it.
  • Step #2: Next, clean the tank by rinsing it with clean water (avoid using soap or chemicals) to remove dust or debris. Wipe the inside with a clean cloth or paper towel. Rinse the substrate (sand or gravel) thoroughly in a bucket until the water runs clear, then spread it evenly across the bottom of the tank, creating a slight slope towards the back for visual depth.
  • Step #3: Before filling the tank with water, plan the layout of your aquarium, including the position of equipment like heaters and filters. This will make it easier to set up and maintain the tank in the long run. Install the heater and filter according to the manufacturer's instructions. If you're using a sponge or under-gravel filter, place it beneath the substrate before adding water.
  • Step #4: Decorate the tank with driftwood, rocks, and plants to create hiding spots and a visually appealing environment, ensuring there are open swimming areas for your fish. When decorating the tank, be careful to arrange driftwood, rocks, and plants in a way that won't damage or obstruct the equipment. You can also anchor plants to driftwood or rocks to help them stay in place.
  • Step #5: Fill the tank with water treated with a water conditioner if your tap water contains chlorine or chloramines. Place a clean plate or plastic bag on the substrate to prevent disturbance while filling. Fill the tank until it's about 2/3 full. Attach the aquarium light to the hood or canopy, following the manufacturer's instructions. Consider using a timer for your aquarium light to maintain a consistent day and night cycle, which is essential for fish and plants. Connect the heater, filter, and any additional equipment (air pump, CO2 system) to power sources, and install the thermometer in an easily visible location.
  • Step #6: Top off the water, leaving space between the water surface and the top of the tank for oxygen exchange. Turn on the filter, heater, and other equipment. Monitor the water temperature and adjust the heater as needed. Allow the tank to cycle for 4-6 weeks to establish beneficial bacteria and stabilize water parameters. During the cycling process, you can add a bacterial starter culture to speed up the establishment of beneficial bacteria in the tank. Use an aquarium test kit to monitor ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
  • Step #7: After the tank has cycled and water parameters are stable, slowly acclimate your Halfmoon Betta to the tank's conditions before introducing it. Begin by floating the unopened fish bag in the tank for 15-20 minutes to equalize the temperature. Afterward, open the bag and add a small amount of tank water to it. Continue adding small amounts of tank water to the bag every 5-10 minutes for at least 30-60 minutes, allowing the fish to adjust to the new water chemistry gradually. Use a net to gently transfer the fish from the bag to the tank, avoiding any unnecessary stress or exposure to the water from the bag.
  • Step #8: Once the fish is introduced, establish a consistent daily feeding schedule, providing high-quality food in appropriate amounts for your Halfmoon Betta. Perform regular water changes (20-30% every 1-2 weeks) and monitor water parameters using a test kit to maintain a healthy environment for your fish. Observe your fish closely for any signs of stress or illness, especially during the first few weeks after introduction. Be prepared to take action if necessary, such as adjusting water parameters or seeking advice from an experienced aquarist.

By following this step-by-step guide and incorporating the additional setup tips, you can create a thriving aquatic environment that will help your Halfmoon Betta flourish in its new home.

Recommended Water Parameters

To maintain a thriving environment for your Halfmoon Betta, it's essential to keep specific water parameters in your aquarium. Here's a breakdown of the ideal conditions:

  • Temperature: Maintain the water between 76°F and 82°F (24°C and 28°C) for optimal comfort.
  • pH: Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH of 6.5 to 7.5, ensuring changes are gradual.
  • Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water (1-10 dGH) is ideal for Halfmoon Bettas.
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate: Keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, and maintain nitrate levels below 20 ppm.
  • Lighting: Provide moderate lighting with shaded areas and plants to prevent stress.
  • Water movement: Gentle water flow is best, as Halfmoon Bettas prefer calm environments.

Regularly test your aquarium water and perform necessary water changes to keep the environment stable.

Routine Water Maintenance

Water changes are crucial for a healthy Halfmoon Betta tank. They help remove excess nutrients, waste, and toxins. Here's a suggested routine:

  • Weekly water changes: Replace 20-25% of the tank water every week.
  • Test water parameters: Check pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and hardness regularly.
  • Use a gravel vacuum: Clean the substrate during water changes.
  • Dechlorinate the water: Treat tap water with a water conditioner before adding it to the aquarium.
  • Match temperature and pH: Ensure new water is similar to the tank water.
  • Acclimate the fish: Give your fish time to adjust to new conditions after water changes.

In addition to routine water maintenance, consider the following to ensure the health of your fish and the overall appearance of your aquarium:

  • Monitor lighting duration: Keep track of how long your aquarium lights are on each day, aiming for a consistent 8-10 hour photoperiod.
  • Plant maintenance: Regularly trim live plants to maintain their health and appearance. Remove any dead leaves or plant matter to prevent water quality issues.
  • Filter maintenance: Clean or replace the filter media as recommended by the manufacturer, usually every 4-6 weeks. Avoid replacing all filter media at once, as this can disrupt the beneficial bacteria and lead to water quality issues.

Diet and Feeding Schedule

Halfmoon Bettas are carnivorous and require a protein-rich diet. Here are some feeding guidelines:

  • Pellets: Use high-quality Betta pellets as a staple diet.
  • Frozen and live foods: Offer brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia as occasional treats.
  • Feeding frequency: Feed modest portions once or twice a day, and avoid overfeeding.

Stress and Diseases

Halfmoon Bettas may experience stress from various sources, such as poor water quality, aggression, or unsuitable tank conditions. Identifying and addressing these stressors is vital for your fish's health and well-being:

  • Watch for stress signs: Keep an eye on your Halfmoon Betta for unusual behavior like hiding, lethargy, or rapid breathing, which may indicate stress.
  • Check water quality: Test your aquarium water to ensure it meets the ideal parameters and conduct regular water changes to maintain a healthy environment.
  • Monitor tank mates: Make sure your Halfmoon Betta isn't being harassed or attacked by other fish and remove any aggressive tank mates if needed.
  • Create a suitable habitat: Provide plenty of hiding spots, appropriate lighting, and a properly sized tank for your fish.

While Halfmoon Bettas are generally hardy, they can be susceptible to some common fish diseases, such as:

  • Ich (white spot disease): A prevalent parasitic infection causing white spots on the body and fins, lethargy, and appetite loss. Treat Ich with aquarium salt or anti-parasitic medication and raise the water temperature to around 82°F (28°C).
  • Fin rot: A bacterial infection that leads to frayed or discolored fins and tail. Treat fin rot with a partial water change, aquarium salt, and antibacterial medication containing erythromycin or tetracycline.
  • Velvet disease: A parasitic infection causing a yellow or brownish velvet-like coating on the fish's body. Treat velvet disease with anti-parasitic medication containing copper sulfate or formalin.
  • Swim bladder disease: A condition where fish have difficulty swimming upright. Treat swim bladder disease by fasting the fish and offering them blanched peas, and consider using an antibacterial medication if needed.

Prevent diseases in Halfmoon Bettas by maintaining excellent water quality, avoiding overfeeding, and providing a balanced diet. Quarantine new fish before adding them to the main tank and promptly address any signs of illness.


Breeding Halfmoon Bettas can be an exciting endeavor for experienced hobbyists. Follow these steps to breed Halfmoon Bettas:

  • Step #1: Set up a separate 5-gallon or larger breeding tank, a pH level of around 7.0, and a temperature of about 80°F (27°C). Include a sponge filter and a broad-leafed plant or a floating breeding site for the male to build his bubble nest.
  • Step #2: Choose a healthy, mature male and female Halfmoon Betta for breeding. Condition them with high-quality food and live or frozen foods for several weeks to ensure optimal health.
  • Step #3: Introduce the female to the breeding tank first, keeping her separated from the male with a clear divider. Allow the male to see the female, which will encourage him to build a bubble nest.
  • Step #4: Once the male has built a bubble nest, remove the divider and allow the pair to interact. Monitor the interaction closely, as the male may become aggressive.
  • Step #5: After the pair spawns and the female lays her eggs, remove her from the breeding tank to prevent injury. The male will care for the eggs in the bubble nest until they hatch.
  • Step #6: Once the fry become free-swimming, remove the male from the breeding tank. Feed the fry infusoria or liquid fry food initially, then gradually introduce crushed flake food or newly hatched brine shrimp.

Breeding Halfmoon Bettas can be a rewarding experience. Patience and the right conditions are key to success.

Recommended Tank Mates

Here are the top 10 recommended tank mates for Halfmoon Bettas:

  1. Dwarf Corydoras
  2. Neon Tetras
  3. Ember Tetras
  4. Guppies
  5. Bristlenose Plecos
  6. Pygmy Corydoras
  7. Cherry Shrimp
  8. Nerite Snails
  9. Danios
  10. Otocinclus Catfish

Remember to avoid large, aggressive fish like cichlids, angelfish, and predatory species, as they may harm or stress the Halfmoon Bettas. Always observe the behavior of new fish and ensure they don't cause stress or aggression towards the Halfmoon Bettas.


In summary, Halfmoon Bettas are a fascinating species of freshwater fish known for their unique fin shapes and ease of care. These fish require specific water parameters, a well-balanced diet, and a suitable environment to thrive in captivity. However, with the right conditions, they can live a healthy life and be an excellent addition to any aquarium. When selecting tank mates, it's crucial to choose peaceful and non-aggressive species to ensure a harmonious community. Breeding Halfmoon Bettas can be a challenging but rewarding experience for experienced hobbyists, and patience and ideal conditions are key to success. Overall, Halfmoon Bettas are a stunning and lively species that can enhance any aquatic display with their vibrant colors and elegant fins.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Halfmoon Bettas?

When setting up a home for Halfmoon Bettas, a 5-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size. Opting for a larger tank is even better, as it helps keep water conditions stable while offering plenty of room for your fish to swim.

How many Halfmoon Bettas should be kept together?

Halfmoon Bettas are generally best kept alone, as they can be aggressive towards other bettas, especially males. However, they can coexist with other peaceful, non-aggressive fish species in a community tank.

What water parameters do Halfmoon Bettas require?

Halfmoon Bettas thrive in water temperatures between 76°F and 82°F (24°C and 28°C), a pH between 6.5 and 7.5, and soft to moderately hard water with a hardness between 1 and 20 dGH.

What do Halfmoon Bettas eat?

Halfmoon Bettas are carnivorous and require a protein-rich diet. Feed them a mix of high-quality betta pellets, along with live or frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms.

Are Halfmoon Bettas compatible with other fish?

Yes, Halfmoon Bettas can coexist with other similarly sized, non-aggressive fish species. Ideal tank mates include small tetras, rasboras, corydoras catfish, and small plecos.

How can I differentiate between Halfmoon Bettas and other Betta species?

Halfmoon Bettas have a distinctive fin shape, with their caudal fin forming a full 180-degree spread when flared, resembling a half-moon shape.

How long do Halfmoon Bettas live?

With proper care and optimal tank conditions, Halfmoon Bettas can live for 3 to 5 years.

How do I breed Halfmoon Bettas?

Breeding Halfmoon Bettas requires a separate breeding tank, conditioning the fish with a high-quality diet, and providing a suitable environment for spawning, such as a broad-leafed plant or a floating breeding site for the male to build his bubble nest.

Do Halfmoon Bettas require a planted tank?

While not strictly necessary, a planted tank is highly recommended for Halfmoon Bettas. Live plants provide hiding spots, improve water quality, and create a more natural environment that closely resembles their native habitat.

Can Halfmoon Bettas change color?

Yes, Halfmoon Bettas can undergo color changes as a result of several factors, such as stress, illness, or alterations in water conditions. If you observe your Halfmoon Bettas experiencing a loss of color, it's important to examine the water parameters and keep a close watch on their health.