Red Skirt Betta (Betta Falx)
Red Skirt Bettas are not generally seen in the aquarium hobby, but they have a reputation of being an excellent aquarium inhabitant when given suitable conditions. Unlike the common Betta species, both the male and female are generally peaceful to their own kind, even if you house males with other males. When kept in groups, this fish will often show captivating courtship behaviour, especially between males competing for female attention.
It would be best if you kept Red Skirt Bettas in a species-only aquarium or a community aquarium with peaceful species that inhabit similar environments in the wild; timid Loaches and small Cyprinids would be ideal. It would be better if you avoided housing these fish with larger, more lively and aggressive species; otherwise, they will feel intimidated and will be outcompeted for food.
You can maintain these Bettas in a fully-decorated aquarium, although most breeders prefer not to use a substrate to make the aquarium easier to maintain.
Red Skirt Bettas will thrive in an aquarium with plenty of shady spots formed from driftwood roots and branches. Adding dried leaf litter will further emphasise the natural feel and offer additional cover for the fish. In addition, the leaves can provide a valuable secondary food source for the babies, and the chemicals and tannins released by the decaying leaves will also be beneficial.
Red Skirt Bettas prefer dim lighting, so adding hardy plants and floating plants will help diffuse the light. These fish do not like swift currents; therefore, a small air-powered sponge filter will be ideal. These Bettas are fantastic jumpers, so make sure your aquarium has a tight-fitting lid. Lastly, ensure you do not fill your aquarium with too much water as they require infrequent entry to the layer of humid air that forms above the water surface.
The body and dorsal fin of the Red Skirt Betta males are primarily reddish-brown with greenish-blue scales. In addition, they have a dark blue-black edge to their anal and caudal fin. The females have a brownish body with dark horizontal stripes and a tail spot.
|Scientific Name||Betta Falx|
|Other Names||Social Betta, Sicklefin Fighting Fish|
|Aquarium Level||All Levels|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Pairs|
|Lifespan||2 - 4 years|
|PH||4.5 - 7.0|
|GH||4 - 8|
|KH||0 - 2|
|TDS||0 - 90|
|72 - 80℉|
22.2 - 26.7℃
Red Skirt Bettas are endemic to Jambi and Utara in Indonesia in Southeast Asia. These Bettas inhabit shallow, slow-flowing, almost still waters in swamps, pools, and streams usually shaded from the sun. These habitats typically have submerged thick vegetation, and the water itself is often stained with tannins due to the release of chemicals from decaying organic material. The substrate mainly consists of fallen leaves, branches and immersed tree roots.
Red Skirt Bettas feed on insects and other small invertebrates in the wild. In the aquarium, these Bettas will usually accept good quality dried products once they realise they are edible. However, it would be best to regularly offer them plenty of small live or frozen foods such as bloodworm, brine shrimp and daphnia to ensure optimal colour and condition. Bettas are prone to obesity, so make sure you do not overfeed your fish.
It is relatively simple to differentiate between the male and female Red Skirt Betta. Males have broader heads, have a much darker stripe on their anal fin and are larger, have longer fins and are much more intensely coloured than the females. In contrast, females are smaller, have more pointed heads, are duller and lack intricate fins.
The Red Skirt Betta is a paternal mouthbrooder. You will need to set up a separate breeding tank unless the fish are already being maintained alone. The breeding tank should have a tight-fitting cover as the babies need access to a layer of warm, humid air; otherwise, it may impair the development of the baby's labyrinth organ.
The female will initiate spawning when she is full of eggs. During spawning, the male will wrap his body around the female's body, and then eggs are released by the female and fertilised by the male. Finally, fertilised eggs are caught on the male's anal fin and then picked up by the female's mouth before being spat into the water for the male to catch. Once the male has all the eggs in his mouth, the process is then repeated until the female has run out of eggs; this method can take some time.
Incubation usually takes between 10 and 17 days, after which the male will release the fry once fully formed. After that, you can decide whether to leave the babies with their parents or separate them.
Once the babies have been released, you can feed them with microworms and baby brine shrimp. However, ensure you do not overfeed them as this can lead to obesity. It would be best to offer your fry small amounts of different foods 2 to 3 times daily for optimal growth rate, and you shouldn't change too much water at one time, with frequent, small changes as opposed to irregular larger ones.