Betta pugnax, Cantor, 1850
Origin:Malaysia, Penang island and Malakka.Singapore, South Thailand and Phuket.
Etymology: Pugnax(L): Brave, warlike, militant.
First European import: Germany, 1905, by J. Reichelt, Berlin.
Description:Variable species, see pictures. Small greenish spots on the body, fins reddish, relatively short pelvic fin rays.
Care: Larger tanks with current and lots of swimming space, otherwise not very particular to the environment. Temperature in the middle region around 23 degrees. The darker the environment, the more colorfull the fish wil be. Tank should be well covered since the fish are excellent jumpers. If kept in a communitytank it's coinhabitants shouldn't be too small, nor very fragile.
Temperature: Depending on the origin 18 -30 degrees.
Feeding:All food is taken, larger fish relish earthworms.
Size:Depending on the origin between 8 and 25 cm.
Breeding:Easy when well fed. Require larger tanks to breed, in small breeding tanks the fish are often very shy and easily disturbed, and won't breed. A male with 2 or 3 females in a larger tank gives the best results, usually the dominant female takes the initiative, and if the male is willing a territory is defended against the other tank-inhabitants. Fish spawn at the bottom, and the male will incubate the eggs in his mouth for up to two weeks. Normally 40-50 fry of around 1 cm.
Sexual dimorphism:Males larger head and rounder throat, greenish scales on gill cover.
Prices: Netherlands, 3-4€
Additional:Many fish from other islands in Indonesia(Borneo, Banka, Sumatra)have thusfar been described as sp/cf pugnax. The original description has also been reported as 1849(Aqualog).
Picture references:Picture 1: Andrew Smith. Picture 2: E. Naus
References: Aqualog: All labyrinths.
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