Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta Splendens) Species Profile & Care Guide
Siamese fighting fish have become very popular in the hobby due to their ease of care and their stunning colours and flowing fins.
These fish are called the Siamese Fighting Fish because of their behaviour towards other males of the same species. Male betta fish will fight with other males.
This fish is not recommended for the community aquarium, and you should not house two or more males in the same tank; however, if you have a huge aquarium, it may be sufficient. If you have more than one male in the same tank, they will fight until only one of them remains. They will splay out their gill covers and erect their fins showing the other fish their fighting posture. This is a natural response to defend their territory and to protect their eggs from rival males.
It is usually not recommended to keep male and female bettas together either, except temporarily for breeding purposes only, which should always be undertaken with wariness.
You will often see people keeping bettas in vases, bowls and tiny tanks. You should not use these for your fish as it is cruel just like other fish species they need at least several gallons of water, with a filter and heater too.
Breeders have developed several different colours, fin types and pattern variations of this fish and continue to do so all around the world. The colours available to the aquarist include yellow, blue, orange, red, green, turquoise, pastel, black, multi-coloured and white. These colours are due to different layers of pigmentation in their skin. Any combination of these layers can be present, leading to a wide variety of colours.
Breeders have also developed different colour patterns such as butterfly, multicolour, solid, bi-colour and marble, as well as metallic shades through hybridisation such as gold, copper or platinum. You will also see several varieties of different fin shapes.
|Scientific Name||Betta Splendens|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Loners|
|Lifespan||3 - 5 years|
|Temperature||75 - 82 ℉ (23.9 - 27.8 ℃)|
|PH||6.0 - 8.0|
|GH||5 - 20|
|TDS||18 - 268|
Natural Habitat of the Siamese Fighting Fish
The Siamese Fighting Fish is endemic to the Mekong basin of Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and the Chao Phraya River in Thailand in Southeast Asia. They inhabit standing, sluggish waters, including rivers, streams, canals, rice paddies, roadside ditches, floodplains, ponds and swamps.
These habitats are often shaded by surface or submerged marginal vegetation and occasionally contain little dissolved oxygen.
Their water conditions tend to alter and change rapidly during the annual monsoon season, and the substrates can range from mud to leaf litter, deep silt or sand.
Other Bettas of interest
Siamese Fighting Fish will generally accept high-quality dried food such as flakes and granules once they are identified as edible. Still, it would be best if you offered them plenty of small live or frozen foods such as artemia, daphnia and bloodworm regularly to ensure the development of optimal health and colour.
Small insects such as fruit flies or pinhead crickets are also suitable to give them however it is best to fill the stomachs of these insects by feeding them with fish flakes or some vegetable matter before offering them to the fish.
Breeding the Siamese Fighting Fish
The Siamese Fighting fish is a Bubble nester. It is especially important to provide plenty of cover for the female, or plastic tubing can be used to offer potential nesting sites. You may incorporate floating plants into the nest if present.
The aquarium should have a tight-fitting lid if possible because the fry needs access to a layer of warm, humid air without which can impair the development of the labyrinth organ.
You need not separate the pair before spawning. The male will build the nest in a tube, among fine-leaved surface vegetation, or under a broad plant leaf and will not usually allow the female in the vicinity until it is complete.
The female becomes much paler in colour, and dark bars will appear on the sides. Spawning typically occurs beneath the nest in an embrace with the male wrapping himself around the female. At the time of climax, milt and a few eggs are released, which the female will catch between her pelvic fins and body. The male will then transfer these to the nest while the female collects any loose eggs. This manner is then repeated until the female has run out of eggs.
After spawning has finished, you can generally leave the adults in the tank. However, the female is no longer actively involved with the male seizing sole responsibility for guarding and managing the nest.
The eggs will usually hatch within 24 to 48 hours, and the fry will reside in the nest for an additional three to four days until the yolk sac has been consumed fully, in the meantime the male will continue to collect and return any fry that fall. If he feels threatened, the male will move the entire nest elsewhere.
Once the fry becomes free swimming, the male will lose interest, but the adults do not usually consume their offspring.
The fry requires infusoria-grade food for the first few days, after which they will be able to accept foods such as artemia nauplii and microworm.
It would be more beneficial if you performed small water changes often rather than large and intermittent.