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Betta picta, Valenciennes, 1846

Origin:Indonesia; Sumatra, Java, Billiton and Banka.(Older books also report Singapore, but those reports refer to B. Macrophthalma, which at that time was considered a synonym for B. picta). Inhabits quiet spots in flowing water, can be found in mountainstreams up to 1500 meters above sealevel.

Etymology: Picta means painted.

Synonyms: Panchax pictum, Valenciennes, 1846. Betta trifasciata, Bleeker, 1850. Betta picta, Bleeker, 1850.

First import: 1933, The Netherlands, at an exhibit in Bloemendaal. First reliable description and breeding report by Werner, 1939.

Description: Three horizontal lines, formed by numerous spots, bodycolour grey/purple brown, male fins reddisch brown with a thin blue line. Caudal and anal fin in the male with broad pale(compare betta simplex and taeniata, bright blue) blueisch margin, which in the upper part caudal fin dimishes in width and turns into a vague reddish brown band.

Care:Does well in a community tank, as long as the temperature isn't too high, appreciates a little current and frech oxygen rich water. Inhabits the lower parts of the tank. Requires hideouts formed by driftwood, stones and plants. A light sandy soil is appreciated, and the tank shouldn't be too small nor too high.

Temperature:16 to 24 degrees.

Feeding:All food is taken.


pH: 6.5-7.5

Breeding:Can be done with a pair in a large breeding tank, but is usually more succesfull in a community tank(as long as the water is clean). Fish will spawn at the bottom of the tank, preferably under driftwood or between stones. After spawning the female picks up the eggs from the bottom and spits them out in front of the male, which will accept the eggs one by one. After spawning has finished the male will hide, while the female defends the territory. If a pair is placed Juvenile, 2.5 cmin a breeding tank, the female should be removed after spawning. If she is not removed she will harass the male (maybeto spawn again, maybe instinctive since no threat is present from other fish)up to a point where he male will just swallow the eggs. In community tanks the male can be netted, and moved to another tank. Even when this is done the male will not swallow the eggs/fry nor release the fry. After 10 days the 7mm fry will be released, and the male will not eat them, but continue to care for them for a while which is very nice to observe.

Sexual dimorphism:Males head is bigger, and has more colorfull fins.

Prices: Breeders sell pairs for 7€.

Additional:Many old reports are different from what is written here. This can be explained by the mixups of at the time unknown species, which wereBetta picta ? imported as Betta picta. Please note yhat at the time it was debated whether or not Betta pugnax should be considered a type-locality of B.picta, or as a (sub)species.Although mouthbreeding time is considered an indicator for a species, several environmental factors can influence this period. For example, if a mouthbreeding male feels life threatened he will sometimes spit out his fry, which would then give them more chance to survive. On the other hand, if the environment isn't safe to release the fry at the time, he will keep them in his mouth for a longer period to increase the chance for survival.In 1952 a fish at the time considered to be B. picta, see drawing, was described to release the fry after 2 days already. As you can notice there is no blue margin in the caudal tail, so this fish could also be B. simplex or another species, or an inaccurate drawing..

Werner(1939) reports that the female was mistakenly described as B. fusca, some research into this remark may be required.See also the B. fusca page.

Picture references: Drawing : Rein Stuurman. Pictures: E. Naus.


Linke, H.(1980): Labyrinthfische - Farbe im Aquarium. Tetra Verlag, Melle, Germany.

Richter, H. J. (1979): Das Buch der Labyrinthfische. Verlag Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen, Germany.Werner, K.(1939): Kamer-Aquaria. N. V. Kosmos, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.Lodewijks, J. M.(1960): Stille pracht in het tropische aquarium, N. V. Koek- en Beschuitfabriek v/h G. Hille & Zn, Zaandam, The Netherlands.

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