Betta Splendens

Common Names: Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta

Order: Percomorphi

Sub Order: Anabantoidea

Betta splendens is an anabantoid fish, which means it has a labyrinth organ which it uses to obtain extra oxygen from the surface of the water. This fish originally comes from Thailand (and Cambodia) living in rice paddies and slow moving water. Temperature ranges for these fish are 70-85F. A pH of 6-8 is best for these fish. Average size is about 2½-3". Males can usually be told by the long flowing finnage, unless you have a wild-type male. Sometimes the female shows her breeding tube all the time.

This fish I bought already at full size. I had the male for a month before I bought a female for him. She was not ready to breed immediately so I conditioned her for two weeks on bloodworms and a high quality flake food. I left the male in a small bowl near this tank. He always flared his fins the instant she came into view. I figured that this was a good sign. I put him in a 5 gallon tank with some hornwort and a fake brick . I only had it half full. When the female was ready I put her in the 5 gallon also. The male immediately began to chase her around the tank. He began to beat her up. So I moved the filter away from the tank walls to give her extra hiding places. The male built a huge bubble nest approximately 4 inches across. For two weeks I watched the female get more and more beat up. One day I was going to remove her from the tank when I got home from work. As soon as I got home, they were spawning right in front of my eyes. The male would circle the female until they were positioned properly, and then he curled himself right around her. The female would release approximately 8-12 eggs each time. She would be in a daze for several seconds and as soon as she got out of it, she would eat any falling eggs the male missed. The spawning lasted for several hours after which I removed the female. The eggs were taken care by the male very diligently. He would check the bottom constantly for fallen eggs. The book said the eggs would hatch in about 48 hours at 80, but mine hatched several hours earlier than this. The male took good care of the fry also, blowing them back into his nest (which by now was only big enough for just the fry). I left the male in the tank with the fry for several weeks. The fry were fed liquid fry food for two weeks and than were given dry food and occasional brine shrimp feedings.

© Copyright 1999-2003 Lisa Boorman
All Rights Reserved

Suggested Reading:

Baensch Aquarium Atlas by Dr. Rüdiger Riehl & Hans A. Baensch

A Fishkeeper's Guide to Fish Breeding by Chris Dr Andrews

An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Aquarium Fish by Gina Sandford

Aqualog: all Labyrinths (Bettas, Gouramis, Snakeheads, Nandids) by Frank Schaefer

Beginner's Guide to Bettas by W. L. Whitern

Bettas, Gouramis and Other Anabantoids by Jorg Vierke

To see more references on anabantids:

Anabantid Book List

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