Is There An Alpha Fish? How Is It Compared to Betta Fish?

Most aquarium owners love to add colorful and shimmery pet fishes to the tanks. The beautiful-colored fishes are not only pleasing to the eyes but can be very amusing at times. Watching them grow, associate with the owner, and commute with other tank fish.

Betta fish are the most popular fish kept by pet lovers, and many people are obsessed with this fish type. Many people spell it wrong as beta fish.

That makes sense. In comparison with the so-called beta betta, a general query arises about alpha fish. People wonder if there is an alpha fish. Does a fish with the name alpha ever exist?

Well, we’ve to solve this mystery about alpha and betta fish. This article will help you find the answer to ‘is there an alpha fish?’ and what are the differences between alpha and betta fish if one exists.

This guide will cover everything about betta fish breeding, tank conditions, appearance, diet, etc. And, of course, if an alpha fish exists, we will cover that too.

So let’s get into it.

Is There an Alpha Fish?

Yes, Alpha fish does exist. There is a species of killifish that is commonly known as Alpha fish. So next time when someone talks about alpha betta fish, you can tell them that there is a separate species of fish having the name alpha.

Alpha fish is also a pet fish, and the beautiful colors of this fish enhance the beauty of a fish tank placed in your home or office.

Everything About Alpha Fish

Aphyosemion alpha, a type of killifish, is a famous option for pet lovers, and it’s commonly called alpha or killifish.

These fish are called alpha fish because of the alpha symbol behind the eye of the fish on one side. In Europe, they call this killifish Chromaphyosemion alpha. 

If we talk about the appearance of these killifish, they’re not much large in size. However, they’re larger than most species in the genus. The maximum size of the alpha fish is around 40 cm in females and 50 cm in males.

The species is not problematic and is usually peaceful. The lifespan of killifish is around 3 months to 5 years. The average life span depends on the type of species you’re petting.

The general habitat of the killifish is subtropical and tropical waters. As alpha species, they are found in freshwater.

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Colors and shimmery fins are what define the appearance of the most killifish. They can vary a lot depending on the type of species.

However, bright colors and patterns are common in all fish. In males and females, males tend to have brighter colors.

Overall, these fish are flat-headed, and their mouths are at the tip of the face. Since these are carnivores, the presence of long, curved, and pointed teeth is not something to surprise.

You won’t be surprised to see most of the killifish to be great swimmers as it’s due to the pike-shaped slender or cylindrical bodies.


The alpha fish is a type of killifish, and there is a wide variety of killifish found around the world. The killifish is a freshwater fish. The genus Aphyosemion belongs to Africa, and there are around 100 known species of this genus.

The alpha belongs to the Nothobranchiidae family, and the name was given by Huber in 1998. Most of the species belonging to this genus are popular for keeping in aquariums.


These small and beautiful alpha fishes feed themselves on a meat-based diet. The most common food of these fish is insects larvae, crustaceans, and worms. It’s preferable to feed your aquarium alpha fishes with live foods.

If a provision of live food is not practicable for you, the alpha fish might not be for you to a pet in your fish tank.

Providing your alpha killifish with a balanced diet is also important from the breeding point of view. Therefore, you have to make sure that the nutritional requirements of your alphas are properly fulfilled.

You can serve your alpha killifish with the following live foods:

  • Daphnia
  • Brine shrimp
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Black, white, or tubifex worms
  • Fruit flies
  • Dry foods
  • Beef heart
  • Paste foods


Now come to the tricky part of breeding the alpha killifish.

According to the statistics of alpha keepers and breeders worldwide, the results show that these fish are very difficult to breed and aren’t a good fit for a community tank.

The data shows that the sex ratios of these fish are somewhat male-heavy, and the biggest barrier during breeding is the skewed sex ratio of the fish.

You can use almond leaves to improve egg production and keep the water conditions around 20-23 degrees Celcius for fairly successful breeding of the alpha killifish.

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Tank Conditions

For keeping the killifish alpha in your aquarium, you need to ensure that temperature, water pH, combined species, water hardness, etc., are well maintained for the species.

  • Temperature: around 70-75 Farhenheit is good for most killifish species, including alpha
  • Water pH: the pH of water greatly varies depending on the species and its origin. Some fish come from soft acid waters, while others are from hard alkaline water. For the alpha killifish, the pH of 6 or 5.

Everything About Betta Fish

The aggressive-natured betta is called Siamese fighting fish or betta splendens. The scientific name of betta is Betta splendens, and it is a member of the Osphronemidae family.

This fish type is also very popular among fish lovers. The betta is also a freshwater fish found in Southeast Asia, and Ponds and streams are the common habitats for the species. Similar to the alpha killifish, the betta fish is also uncomparable in appearance and beauty.


As mentioned earlier, the fish is a favorite of aquarium hobbyists due to its vibrant colors and beauty. Similar to alpha, the betta fish have various patterns and shapes on their bodies.

Red, purple, white, blue, or think of any vibrant color –you can find these colors in the betta fish. The average size of the betta fish is around 2.5 inches, and the average lifespan is around 3 years.

On the basis of appearance, the tails, colors, and patterns of different betta fish vary. They can be divided into the following types:

  • Veiltail
  • Comb tail
  • Crowntail
  • Halfmoon
  • Delta
  • Double tail

The colors of the betta fish can be as follow:

  • Albino
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Purple
  • Blue
  • Black

You can also differentiate the betta fish based on the pattern on their bodies:

  • Marbled pattern fish have a mix of light and dark colors across different parts of the body.
  • Bi-color
  • Butterfly
  • Grizzled


The territorial fish have dominant personalities that can be amusing to watch. However, sometimes, it can turn into an undesirable situation.

Since these bettas are commonly aggressive in nature, it’s important to understand the attitude before keeping them as a pet.

Male bettas are more aggressive and territorial than their female counterparts. They can do well when kept alone in a tank.

The aggressiveness of a male betta can be triggered even by just looking at its reflection in the water. Therefore, you cannot keep two male bettas in a water tank because the fight for survival might end up with the death of one.

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Female counterparts are not as aggressive but can show up the attitude when male betta is not around during the mating season.

The colors are less vibrant in the female bettas. Besides, the female betta lives peacefully in groups of five or more.


Betta fish are similar to alpha fish in their diet as both types are carnivores and eat meat-based food. Small invertebrates, larvae, insects, etc., are typical foods that betta have in the wild.

However, they need special food like betta flakes, pellets, etc. You can add brine shrimp, bloodworms, etc., to their diet as occasional meals.


As mentioned earlier, male bettas love solitary, and they shouldn’t be kept with the female ones except for breeding purposes. For breeding purposes, you can choose the bettas having the following traits:

  • Age should be less than 1 year as their fertility drops after the first year
  • The vibrant colored males appear to be more attractive to female
  • The overall health of both males and females should be good.

Tank Conditions  

To set up a tank when buying bettas, you have to take care of a few things like water pH, temperature, etc.

The new fish can survive in the new ecosystem. A betta fish can be kept in a 2 to 10 gallons or larger tank. Make sure that the tank’s temperature is between 72-86 degrees Fahrenheit. To ensure it, you can use heaters or thermostats.

You should use sand or gravel as the substrate in the tank. The water pH has to be regulated around 6.5 to 7. Besides, the use of dechlorinated water and refills every two weeks are also recommended.

Can Betta Fish Kept With Alpha Fish?

The one-word answer to this question is No.

Both the species are territorial, and this can lead to fights. Despite both of the species being carnivores and having a lot of similarities, the aggressive nature of betta makes the fishes in a continuous war of aggression.

Besides, betta might eat alpha killifish eggs or fry.

It’s best to keep them separate in the best interest of both fish types.