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Maximum size : 4 cm

Toba Betta - Betta Rubra : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Toba Bettas (Betta Rubra) is best suited for a dedicated species-only aquarium, preferably maintained in pairs or trios. When providing suitable housing for these Bettas, ensuring the tank offers ample space and an abundance of hiding places is essential. Additionally, they can coexist with small Rasboras, Tetras, Barbs, and Loaches that thrive under similar water conditions. However, caution must be exercised when considering larger, more energetic species as tank mates, as the Toba Bettas may experience intimidation and competition for food. While physical harm is unlikely, territorial disputes and chasing behaviour may arise.

Creating an environment with subdued lighting and a gentle water current generated by an air-powered sponge filter will not only promote the well-being of the Toba Bettas but also enhance the display of their vibrant colours. Incorporating driftwood roots and branches can provide shaded areas within the aquarium. Alternatively, PVC piping and clay pots can be utilized to offer additional shelter options for the fish. Robust aquatic plants capable of thriving in conditions similar to the Bettas' water parameters, such as Microsorum, Taxiphyllum, or Cryptocoryne, are recommended. Additionally, patches of floating vegetation contribute to the overall aesthetic and mimic natural habitats.

Maintaining the Toba Bettas in slightly acidic conditions with low general hardness is advantageous. Introducing dried leaf litter into the aquarium not only enhances the natural ambience but also serves as additional cover and promotes the growth of beneficial microbe colonies as the litter decomposes. These colonies can provide a secondary source of food for the fry. Furthermore, the decomposition process releases tannins and other compounds, imparting a blackwater appearance reminiscent of the species' natural habitat.

Male Toba Bettas exhibit captivating physical characteristics, with the top half of their bodies displaying a deep wine-red colouration and the lower half adorned with striking red and blue bars. Their fins and tails exhibit vibrant hues of red, accentuated by shimmering white or blue edges. Similar to many Bettas, their colouration can change rapidly in response to their mood. During spawning conditions, their colours intensify, resulting in a captivating glow. In contrast, females of this species exhibit less vibrant hues, typically displaying a neutral, dull greyish-brown body colour with a dark bar along their bodies. Some females may exhibit hints of gold or red, particularly on their faces, and their fins are often lined with white. Both males and females feature additional black barring on their heads and operculum, with certain individuals displaying small dots on their heads.

Toba Betta Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between the male and female Toba Betta is a straightforward task. Males exhibit a greater intensity of colouration compared to females, showcasing vibrant hues and patterns. Additionally, males display longer and broader fins, further accentuating their visual appeal. In contrast, females tend to possess a more subdued colouration, appearing duller in comparison, and their fins are typically shorter in length.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameBetta Rubra
Year Described1893
Other NamesRed Sumatran Fighter
Max Size4 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asPairs
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.0 - 6.0
GH3 - 4
KH3 -5
TDS18 - 90
71 - 78
21 - 25

Natural Habitat

Toba Bettas are exclusively found within the confines of Lake Toba, located in the region of Sumatra, Indonesia. However, this distinctive species also inhabit surrounding areas, including the Singkil region within the Aceh province and Sibolga in North Sumatra. 

These Bettas are typically encountered in highly sluggish and stagnant waters characterized by a relatively low pH level. Consequently, the water in their habitats tends to exhibit a dark hue due to the presence of tannins. Preferred habitats for the Toba Bettas encompass various aquatic environments, such as pools, hill streams, forest streams, and forest swamps. In addition, these habitats are enveloped by the lush Sumatran tropical pine forests, further accentuating the ecological context in which these fish thrive.

 Lake Toba - Indonesia
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The Toba Betta exhibits a paternal mouthbrooding reproductive behaviour. When the female reaches a state of fullness with eggs, the spawning process is initiated. During this process, the male wraps his body around the female, facilitating the release of eggs by the female, which the male then fertilizes. Subsequently, the female spits out the eggs, which are caught and incubated in the male's mouth. The incubation period typically spans approximately 10 to 17 days, after which the male releases the fully formed fry.

Following the hatching of the fry, a decision can be made whether to leave them in the care of their parents or separate them into a separate rearing environment. It is crucial to ensure the aquarium is equipped with a tightly fitting lid, as the fry requires a humid atmosphere for the development of its vital organs. To provide appropriate ventilation, clingfilm with small holes can be utilized.

Upon hatching, the fry can be fed a diet consisting of microworms, daphnia, and baby brine shrimp. However, it is important to avoid overfeeding, as excessive food intake can lead to issues such as obesity and related health complications. Careful monitoring and appropriate portion control should be exercised to promote healthy growth in the fry.

Diet & feeding

In their natural habitat, Toba Bettas predominantly rely on invertebrates and insects as their primary food source. However, in an aquarium setting, these fish can gradually adapt to accepting high-quality dried food options once their palatability is established. To ensure optimal nutrition and overall health, it is recommended to regularly provide Toba Bettas with a varied diet that includes small live, frozen, or freeze-dried offerings such as bloodworms, daphnia, and artemia. Incorporating these types of nourishment not only supports their well-being but also enhances the vibrancy of their colouration.

Furthermore, supplementing their diet with small insects like Drosophila fruit flies or recently hatched crickets can be beneficial. However, it is crucial to ensure that these insects have consumed a sufficient amount of food, such as dried flakes or vegetable matter, prior to offering them to the fish. This precaution guarantees that the insects themselves possess nutritional value before becoming a food source for the Toba Bettas.

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