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Betta Macrostoma: Unique Beauty from Brunei

Betta Macrostoma

The dream fish is what Betta macrostoma is for every Betta enthusiast. Unfortunately, they are incredibly hard to find, and even if one manages to find a Betta macrostoma, they will be very costly. Betta macrostoma is one of the costliest Bettas available on the market, making it a heavy financial investment. They are different from other Bettas, such as Betta Splendens.

Betta macrostoma is also known as Brunei Beauty or the Spotfin Betta. They grow up to a size ranging between 3.5 to 4.5 inches. Unfortunately, these fishes are listed as vulnerable in the IUCN red list of threatened species. 

As these fishes are on the verge of getting endangered, the Sultan of Brunei, where these fishes are originally from, has put a ban on the export of the species. There was a point between the 1930s to the mid-1990s when this fish was considered extinct, and the rediscovery has made the Betta enthusiasts rush to get themselves this rare breed. 

Most of the ones available for sale are likely from Sarawak where these fishes are not protected by the law. However, it is widely believed that the fish are smuggled illegally or poached from Brunei to be exported and sold. For this reason, it is better to buy captive bred Betta macrostoma to protect the wild population even though it is incredibly hard to find them. 

This breed of Bettas is tough to take care of, and one needs to be an expert at Betta care and breeding to ensure the proper care of this breed, so if one is mesmerized by the beauty of this breed, there are some less expensive, easier to take care of alternatives. Betta albimarginata or Betta channoides are some of the alternatives. They are easier to take care of, and since they are endangered, breeding them will be super rewarding.

Overview of Betta macrostome

Scientific nameBetta macrostoma
Common namesBrunei Beauty
Native PlaceBrunei Island
ColorMagnificent orange color. Females show simple brown color
Aquarium size10 gallons or bigger
Preferred temperature20 to 25ºC (73 to 86°F  degrees Fahrenheit)
pH level6.5 to 7.5
Fish Size3.5 to 4.5 inches
Recommended tank matesThese fishes cannot be put with other fishes and it is advised not to do so
Preferred foodFrozen bloodworms, betta pellets, brine shrimp and other betta specific food
Feeding periodShould be fed once or twice a day. They should only be given food which they can finish in a couple of minutes.

Origin of Betta Macrostoma

Betta macrostoma is endemic to the island of Borneo. They are also known as Peacock Betta or Spotfin Betta and are commonly called Brunei Beauty. This breed was originally cited by C.T. Regan in the year 1910. They are considered to be a vulnerable species and were considered to be extinct at one point. 

This is the favourite fish of the Sultan of Brunei and collecting it without his permission is a serious offence.  

The Name

The fish is commonly called Brunei Beauty and this name is given to the fish as it is a species endemic to the Brunei islands. 

The Appearance of Betta Macrostoma

Betta Macrostoma Appearance

Betta macrostoma is a fairly large fish in the Betta family. They grow up to a range between three and a half to four and a half inches in length. They are quite different from the other Bettas, such as Betta splendens. They have round short fins and wide mouths. Females are less colorful than males, and this breed offers a wide variety of colors such as white, black, red, and brown. 

They have a magnificent appearance which does justice to the name Brunei Beauty. 

Betta macrostoma is considered to be one of the most gorgeous fish in its genus. The males have two black horizontal lines along the side. It has orange cheeks with a black blotch in it. Betta macrostoma is also known for its unique eyespot on its fin which has black color surrounded by orange color. The caudal fins have an orange shade and while the other fins have a dusky appearance. 

They exhibit a magnificent orange color; however, the females are less colorful and are almost always seen with a simple brown color and very rarely a faint shade of orange at best. 

Choosing the Best Betta Macrostoma

It is best to buy the fish from a breeder who will raise the fish in captivity. Not only will the breeders be able to say how old the fish is, but they will also be able to say what type of water condition the fish have been raised in and what water condition suits them the most. 

While choosing the betta, one needs to make sure there are no torn fins or discolorations. The fish should also have a strong appetite and should be active and swimming freely because if they don’t have a strong appetite or do not appear energetic, they could be unhealthy. Betta macrostoma are beautiful fish, but because of their rarity, it is recommended that people with proper experience try having them. The owners of this species are also encouraged to breed them to help the survival of the species. 

Best Price of Betta Macrostoma

Because of the rarity of the fish, it is hard to find them on sale. However, if one is lucky enough to find them, they will be expensive. A single fish could cost about $50. They are less expensive when sold as unpaired juveniles as the paired Betta Macrostoma could go up to $200.

Also, Read | Dragon Scale Betta: Magnificent Fish In Shining Armor!

Betta Macrostoma Care

Betta macrostoma is s sensitive breed of fish and does not react well to sudden changes in the water chemistry or the change in temperature. Any change caused to the water body could seriously affect the health of the betta. So one needs to be very careful about the conditions of the water and should ensure it stays stable. Partial water changes should be done every two weeks in which a small percentage of the water is changed. This helps keep the water clean without affecting its overall chemistry. 

Sponge filters can be used which helps in the growth of bacteria which will be beneficial to the fish. Sponge filters also do no cause much current in the water body thus ensuring minimal water movement which will help the fish swim freely and comfortably. 

One needs to cycle the aquarium completely before adding the fish to the tank to make sure that that the tank does not have any presence of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. 

Food & Feeding of Betta Macrostoma

Betta macrostoma can be fed a variety of food as they are omnivores, however, they do not accept dried food. Their diet consists of typical betta food such as frozen bloodworms, betta pellets, brine shrimp, and other betta-specific food. This diet helps the fish get all the nutrients and vitamins it needs. 

Just like other bettas, Betta macrostoma also should be fed once or twice a day but one needs to keep in mind that they should not be overfed and should only be given food which they can finish in a couple of minutes. 

Best Tank Conditions for Betta Macrostoma

two Betta Macrostoma swimming in fish tank

Betta macrostoma also prefers large aquariums to swim freely and comfortably and they are strongly advised to ensure the comfortable survival of the fish. The tank should be 10 gallons or bigger, but make sure to not go below that. These fishes cannot be put with other fishes. Betta macrostoma is also a good jumper so in order to ensure the safety of the fish the tank needs to covered with a well-fit lid so the fish does not jump outside. 

This is one of the most sensitive breeds in the Betta family so one needs to make sure the tank condition stays stable always and it is highly advisable to mimic the wild conditions. 

The tank should have a gravel bottom and should be decorated with various plants and other decorative. 

Sponge filters can be used to keep the water clean with minimal water movement. Heaters can also be used to control the water temperature and it is recommended as it helps in keeping the water temperature stable. 


Macrostomas are generally very strong fish that are not affected by disease often and do not have a lot of diseases affecting them and if one dies earlier than the expected life span it is most often from the errors of the keeper

Since they live in slightly acidic water fungal infections are the most prominent threats faced by this breed. The fungus will survive in high pH water and the fish will be left defenseless

Some of the other diseases face by this breed are:

  • Columnaris (Cotton Mouth Disease)
  • Fin Rot & Tail Rot
  • Skin & Gill Flukes
  • Costia

Commonly Asked Questions

Here are a few questions we hear often, when talking about Betta Macrostoma.

Is Betta Macrostoma Hardy?

Betta macrostoma or Brunei beauty is considered to be a very hard fish to take care of and even harder to breed. While that case is true one can make it a bit easier by keeping the water conditions stable.

What does Macrostoma mean?

Macrostoma is a family of tra-chelipod which have large mouth or an opening to the shell.

How do you breed a Macrostoma Betta?

Lower the level of water in the breeding tank to 6 inches. Place some dried leaves in the tank and then place two sponge filters between them.

Should I get guppies or a betta?

If the water available is hard water, it is better to go for guppy, and if the water is soft, bettas will thrive more.


Considered to be a crown jewel in the Betta community theses incredibly gorgeous and unique betta variation has been classified as vulnerable in the IUCN red list of threatened species.

This fish is protected by law in the Brunei island and has been considered to be extinct in the wild at one point in time. Therefore, if one wants to get a Betta macrostoma, it is recommended to breed it rather than buying it to ensure the survival of these fish in the wild as it is believed to be smuggled out of Brunei to export the rest of the world.