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Betta unimaculata, Popta, 1905

Origin:Norteast, east and south Borneo. Occurs predominantly in rivers with a strong current, although it can also be found in irrigation channels, shallow ponds and slow flowing beeks.

Etymology: uni=one maculata=spot, referring to the spot at the base of the caudal fin.

Synonyms: Parophiocephalus unimaculataBetta unimaculata

First European import: Germany, 1980, by Horst Linke

Description:See picture 2, depending on the origin the amount of green scales can vary from very few to almost completely covering the body from the gill covers to the tail. Juveniles have two longitudinal stripes, one of which ends in the spot at the base of the caudal fin. Females hardly have any iridescence.

Care: In a large community tank several pairs can be kept, the water should be oxygen rich and well filtered, the fish appreciate current in the tank. If kept under these circumstance the fish hardly ever go up for air. Lots of plants and a dark soil brings out the colors better.The fish can be kept in virtually any surrounding, as long as they can hide under something like plants, floating plants or driftwood. The tank should be covered very well, since B. unimaculata can jump high and very precise. Other fish aren't bothered by B. unimaculata, although they shouldn't be kept with large or aggressiv fish like cichlids since then they'll become shy and loose their color. Watervalues are unimportant, the fish will as easily adapt to a soft acidic environment as to a higher pH and Hardness. In general very easy to keep and breed.

Temperature:20-28 degrees.

Feeding:All food is accepted including flake food, the fish relish earthworms and larger insects, although they can suffocate on too large food.

Size: Up to 12.5 cm.

pH: 6.0-8.0

Breeding:Can be done in a 60 cm breeding tank with an internal filter. Lots of plants and/or driftwood, and clean soft to medium hard water. The fish will spawn at the bottom of the tank. In the picture you can see the dominant male displaying to chase away another male also interested to spawn with the female waiting at the bottom. After a pair is formed a spawning place is selected and defended against possible intruders. If a suitable place has been selected, the female turns completely pale. Spawning will take place at the bottom of the tank, where the male will embrace the female, and fertilize the eggs in the manner typical for mouthbreeding bettas. Up to 80 eggs are laid and collected by the male, without intervention of the female. After this the male will hide nearby the spawning place, to hatch the eggs. The female will guard the male's hideout for a few days(if no threats are present) or throughout the whole period until the fry are released. The parent(s) do not eat the fry

Sexual dimorphism:Males are larger and more colorfull.

Prices:Europe: 4-10€ depending on coloration.

Additional: In the above picture the variety 32km Ost Tawau can be seen, which has also been described as B. ocellata. Baensch and Riehl report that this is a synonym for B. unimaculata, although other sources report that B. ocellata is a valid species. A blue form has been bred, although the colorvariant is extinct now.

Dominancy between the fish is based on the mouth-size, the fish with the largest mouth will be the dominant male. If this isn't clear, mouth-fighting will occur. The fish will swim towards eachther with the mouths wide open, still just threatening to attack. Usually the intruder will flee, but if he doesn't actual fights occur. Both fish will start biting eachothers mouth until they have a good grip. Then both fish will swim forth and back while shaking their heads, until it is clear which fish is the strongest. The fish that has lost will loose it's color and make frantic attempts to flee. After a while the dominant male will let go of it's grip and chase the intruder away. Occasionally actual harm will be done, and a lip will be torn of.

Picture references:Picture 1; Torben Lyng; 2: E. Naus

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