Last Updated: February 20, 2023 by Dave Gibbins
I have yet to discover a black fish that I didn’t like. The same goes for the black orchid betta or betta splendens.
Depending on the individual fish, there may be some variations in color. Some may be dusty black with no shine.
Other black orchid bettas may have green or blue shimmering highlights that only show up in certain lighting.
Regardless of these variations, some basic requirements need to be addressed for long life and well-being of this black betta fish.
Most people buy bettas or Siamese Fighting Fish because they have stunningly bright colors. From scarlet red to calico and sky blue, you will find just about every color variation imaginable.
At first thought, you may not think much about a black orchid betta because the average aquarium décor is already on the muted side.
No matter whether you want a small aquarium for a home centerpiece or an office, these black betta fish will add beauty, mystery, and charm.
Water Chemistry Requirements for Black Orchid Bettas
Regardless of their color, tail size, or fin shape, betta fish all have the same water chemistry requirements.
If you are considering purchasing a black orchid betta, here are the water chemistry parameters you should aim for:
- General Hardness: 50 – 66 ppm
- pH: 6.8 – 7.5
- Temperature: Many experts say 76 to 85 degrees F. I have found my betta fish do best at around 72 degrees F.
Lower temperatures help prolong the life of the betta fish and also reduce erratic activity caused by discomfort from water that is too warm.
As with any other fish, there should be no ammonia in the tank, and trace or fewer nitrites. Nitrates will climb over time if you do not keep live aquatic plants in the tank.
Basic Care for Male and Female Black Orchid Bettas
Both male and female black orchid betta fish are curious creatures. Mental stimulation and play options are an important part of black orchid betta care.
Best Betta Fish Food and Form
Typically, food for betta fish and other aquarium fish comes in flake or pellet form. There are also freeze-dried and frozen foods available.
Over the years, I’ve seen far too many freshwater fish, including betta fish, or betta splendens choke to death on flakes. Basically, the flakes swell up as they float in the water and may become sticky.
Once the fish tries to swallow the moistened flakes, they may get stuck in their throat.
You can always tell when a fish is choking from swallowing flake foods because its mouth gets stuck open and remains so until they die.
Pellets do not carry this risk because the pieces are much smaller and do not swell in the water.
If you plan on breeding black orchid betta fish, it is best to feed both the male and female chopped-up frozen bloodworms or other flesh-based foods.
You can also feed betta fish frozen bloodworms or live brine shrimp as an occasional snack or treat.
I don’t recommend freeze-dried products other than daphnia because most of these products are too hard and may not be easily digested by freshwater fish.
Noise Pollution vs. Stimulation
Music, loud talking, and other sounds that you don’t pay much attention to can be very disruptive when heard underwater.
While many betta fish do enjoy music, it is best to keep it on the lower side so that it catches the fish’s attention without being upsetting.
Fish that are exposed to excess noise can become disoriented and swim erratically. Even short-term noises can create this effect.
Moving water tends to act as a sink for odor-bearing molecules. As a result, air fresheners, smoke, smog, and just about any other odor will wind up dissolving into the water.
Some of these molecules can be poisonous or make aquarium fish and other inhabitants very sick.
If you have central heating and cooling in your home, it is also very important to make sure these scents don’t travel from one room to another through the ducts.
In addition, if you live in an area with high smog or other forms of air pollution, it may be best to use an air filtering system in the room.
Air pollution can just as easily be a silent killer or cause of illness for your fish just as it can for you and your family.
Ideal Toys for a Male or Female Black Orchid Betta
- Hammocks – Both male and female bettas love to lounge around and nap. This is why hammocks and other bare surfaces are the ideal toys for them.
When choosing a hammock, be sure to look for one that doesn’t have sharp edges that can cut into the fish’s tail, fins, and body.
Even a black orchid crowntail betta can get cut and wind up with tail or fin rot from these toys.
Unfortunately, most plastic betta hammocks on the market are far too thin and have many sharp surfaces on them.
You are better off putting an upside-down glass dish in the tank or something else that has no sharp edges on it.
- Moss Balls – When bettas aren’t napping, they will poke at things with their noses. Small-sized marimo moss balls make a good toy for bettas, especially if they are light enough to float.
Both male and female bettas will nose them all over the tank.
Toys to Stay Away From
As a general rule, never put toys on the tank that have a rough surface or sharp areas. Plastic and vinyl molded toys usually have sharp surfaces left over from the molding process.
In addition, thin leaves or other structures can easily cut into the fish and leave them susceptible to disease.
It is also important to avoid rough surfaces. Aside from harboring algae, these surfaces can easily cause significant damage to the fish’s slime coat.
Once the slime coat is breached, bacteria, fungi, and other pathogens can easily cause an outbreak.
There are several toys on the market these days that claim to be ideal or the best toys for bettas. In many cases, these toys aren’t physically dangerous for the fish.
They can, however, be psychologically damaging.
It is very important to remember that your black orchid betta fish is a living creature that evolved in a specific way.
This includes psychological and emotional development.
- Bubblers – A male black orchid betta fish will build a bubble nest to hold the next generation.
As with other bettas, if a male black betta fish sees a lot of bubbles in the tank, they will think the toy is trying to build a bubble nest to attract a female black orchid betta.
I have seen male black orchid betta fish do everything from attack bubblers to become very depressed when the bubbler continues to “outshine” them.
- Mirrors – Far too many people think it is cute when their black crowntail betta or other bettas swim up and down in front of a mirror until they become exhausted.
What’s actually happening is the betta thinks another fish is trying to take over its territory.
As a result, the fish becomes extremely stressed out as it tries to make the other fish go away.
Stress is the number one silent cause of immune system collapse which leads to disease and death in home aquariums.
Never put a mirror in a betta’s tank. If you see natural mirrors caused by lighting conditions, it is best to adjust the light so the fish can feel safe and secure in the tank.
Betta Psychology and Why it Matters When Choosing Tank Mates
Even though bettas, including the black orchid crowntail betta, have a reputation for being aggressive, some variants simply can’t keep up with their reputation.
Just about every variation except for Plakats has too much fin and tail weight to be an effective fighter.
Even a halfmoon black orchid betta will have far more problems than a plakat.
Nevertheless, they will still start a fight with other tank mates. The problem is they won’t be able to finish it and survive even with smaller semi-aggressive fish such as tiger barbs.
Since bettas are still bigger than more peaceful fish like neon tetras.
By the time you factor in the need for a shallow tank (less than 1 ½ feet deep for all but Plakat bettas), it becomes very hard to find a fish-based tankmate.
You can still add snails to the tank with no problem. The fish will enjoy poking at the snails and bumping them around in the tank.
At the same time, the snail won’t show any aggression toward the betta, and also won’t be hurt by its playfulness.
Choosing the Best Tank for a Black Orchid Betta
The best tank for a black orchid betta depends on its physiological needs. In this case, it comes down to the fin and tail variant found on the fish itself.
Other than Plakat bettas, almost all bettas, including the black ice betta fish available to home aquarium keepers were selectively bred for specific tail and fin shapes.
Veiltails, crown tails and halfmoon tail bettas don’t exist in nature.
They cannot swim effectively in deep water and will be pulled to the bottom of the tank.
Even though bettas have gills, they need to get some of their oxygen directly from the air. A betta that cannot get to the surface of the water will drown.
When choosing a tank for your black orchid betta, it is best to choose an aquarium that is less than 1 ½ feet deep. As long as the water depth is shallow enough, the width and length should be anything over 1 foot.
Choosing the Best Decor for a Black Orchid Betta
The color black has always had a reputation for being mysterious, powerful, and smoky.
It’s not that other colors aren’t beautiful. There’s just something special about black. black orchid bettas are no exception to this rule.
Getting their tank décor just right for a black orchid betta fish can still be challenging.
As you can see in this video, darker colors in or around the tank make it very hard to see the fish.
Here are some things that will help your fish stand out in relation to the tank’s decor:
- Many bettas prefer tannin-rich water, which tends to have a brownish color. This won’t do much for highlighting the stunning appearance of a black betta.
Bettas prefer tannin-rich water because it has an acidic pH. You can use pH down or similar chemicals to arrive at a lower pH in crystal clear water in your black orchid betta tank.
- When it comes to substrate color, there are a lot of ways you can go. If you are aiming for an ultra-modern look, red or white gravel will work well.
I tend to prefer white gravel, and then focus on plant color for accents.
Just make sure the gravel isn’t painted, as the color will chip off and get into the water over time.
- Normally I don’t recommend fluorescent-colored gravels because of the dye-related issues.
These gravels will create a powerful contrast to the fish’s body color, however, the appeal will wear over time.
- Aside from green plants, there are also several species of aquatic plants that have a reddish or pink color.
Alternanthera and Rotala, and Ludwiga can all be used for this purpose. Java moss also looks good in a black orchid betta tank.
Fun Fact: Are you ready for another betta species so unique and special that you couldn’t help but take it home and make it one of your fish pets? Proceed to our article and make friends with Elephant Ear Betta: Meet The Dumbo Of Your Unique Aquarium!
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Black Orchid Betta Rare?
Although black orchid bettas aren’t especially rare, you won’t often see them in stores.
They may still be more expensive based on tail and fin configuration.
As with other betta fish cost estimates, you can expect a black veiltail to be cheaper than a crowntail, plakat, or halfmoon betta.
Is a Black Orchid Betta biologically different from other bettas?
With the exception of the pigmentation in their scales, black orchid bettas are the same as any other betta under the hood.
What does it mean if my Black Orchid Betta gets greyish under the chin?
As with any other fish, a very relaxed black orchid Betta won’t show as much color under its chin. As long as the fish is eating, alert, and shows no sign of infection, this coloring is nothing to worry about.
Do Black Orchid Bettas have a longer lifespan than other bettas?
No. If you take good care of any betta fish, it will live 2 – 5 years. The same holds true of a black orchid betta.
Black orchid bettas are beautiful fish that will work well in just about any setting. Biologically speaking, their needs are the same as any other betta.
When it comes to tank décor, however, you may want to think about different colored live aquatic plants and white or very light-colored gravel.
If you are accustomed to keeping bettas in tannin-rich water, you may need to use chemicals instead of acidic leaves.