Betta Splendens, Regan, 1910
Splendens(L)= radiant, beautiful.
Macropodus pugnax var., Cantor, 1850, Betta pugnax, Bause,
1897, Betta pugnax var. trifasciata, Köhler, 1906,
Betta pugnax var. rubra, Köhler, 1906, Betta trifasciata,
Mattha, 1909, Betta rubra, Krüger, 1912.
First European import: France, 1874. First American import: USA, 1910. In 1927 the longfinned forms was first imported.
bred by: Jeunet, France, 1892. (Originally
the fish had been bred for a long period by the Thai and Cambodians
for fighting purposes)
No particular special requirements. Clean water
with a bit higher temperatures suit the fish. If you decide to keep
the fish in a small bottle or similar, a minimum of 1 liter and waterchanges
every other day will be necessary. The fish don't like strong currents,
nor tanks that are too high. Do not attempt to keep more males together,
not even in a large well planted tank. A densely planted tank with floating
plants and lots of driftwood, some free swimming space in the higher
regions, and neutral to slighly acidic water will resemble the natural
habitat where the fish occur. Betta splendens should be kept together
with quiet peacefull tankmates, or in a species tank. The
tank in which they are kept should be covered well, since the fish are
susceptible to temperature differences between air and water.
Bettas will eat almost anything,
but definitely prefer live food. They're easily overfed, a fasting period
every now and then of a week and max 1 feeding per day will keep the
fish in proper condition. The fish can
be kept on flakefood alone.
Temperature range: 24-30 degrees.
Fancy bettas including tail may reach up to 9 cm, body around 5. Wildtype
splendens 5.5cm. Fighting bettas are reported to reach also around 8
cm(without the long finnage).
Betta splendens can be bred in small tank, starting
from 30 cm, but it's easier to breed the fish in 40 or 60 cm tanks.
Prepare a breeding tank by disinfecting it(see also the general section),
and add prepared water to it. Adjust the pH so that it's slighlty acidic
to neutral, and make sure the water isn't too hard, preferably below
15 dGH. Set the temperature at 25 degrees at this time, and cover the
tank.Place a small bubblefilter and plants, floating plants as well,
in the tank and let it run for two days. Add the male to the tank, in
the same way you add new fish to a tank, slowly let the fish get accustomed
to the new environment. Feed the fish once
or twice a day small portions of high quality food. Meanwhile the female
should also be fed lot's of food until she looks as fat as the female
in the picture on the right, in which you can clearly see the white
ovipositor. If the male is ready to breed he will indicate this by building
a bubblenest at the surface. If the male hasn't built a nest within
a week, raise the temperature to 28 degrees, and do a small 20% waterchange.
It's also beneficial to place a piece of styropoam (10*10cm)on the surface
of the water, and to lower the waterlevel to 20 cm. After the male started
to build a bubblenest, the female should be added to the tank. Usually
she will be immediately harassed by the male, so it may be wise to leave
her in a jar in the tank, or to add a divider in the beginning(If the
male refuses to build a nest this may also intice him to start to build
one). If the female is also ready to breed she will show vertical bars
on her body. If this is the case the fish can be placed together in
the tank, and usually spawning will take place within the next 24 hours.
Make sure the female has possibilities to hide from the male, since
males(especially older males) can be really mean, and sometimes even
kill the females.
soon as the males can be recognized(2.5 cm), which is best seen in the
slighltly elongated anal fin, they should be separated
from the tank.
dimorphism: Males have longer finnage in
all the types and brighter colors. To the right is a life size picture
from a female. Besides this, females have white ovipositors when sexually
Male 3 Euro, Female 2 Euro for normal fish.
The rarer a breeding form and color, the higher the price. A black half
moon will cost you more than 100 Euro.
Additional: Bettas can live up to 7 years, i kept and bred a fish at 5 years. In Thailand the longfinned fish is called Pla Kat Khmer, Pla=Fish, Kat=biting, Khmer=Cambodia, which could indicate that fancy bettas originally come from Cambodia.
If a male is removed after breeding, the female will usually take over the tasks of caring for the eggs and fry. If it's not the intention to raise 100-200 fry to adulthood, it's really nice to observe the male caring for the fry. Kühme described how a male started to shake his fins below the nest, and that all the free swimming fry in a 40 cm tank came swimming towards the male, who placed all the fry back into the nest.
If a male is kept with several females in a tank, he will spawn with more than one female sometimes. If she gets a chance to come near the nest, she will try to eat as many eggs and fry which are already in the nest, probably to ensure better care for her own eggs. The male will try to prevent the female from coming near the nest, if eggs are already present, the female is not allowed to place eggs in the nest, as described in the breeding section.(Personal observation).
Linke, H.(1980): Labyrinthfische - Farbe im Aquarium. Tetra Verlag, Melle, Germany.
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