Siamese Fighting Fish
Scientific name: Betta splendens
Their reputation for fighting other males arouses much curiosity, each male having to be housed separately to prevent them fighting each other.
Female Fighters are not aggressive to each other and several specimens can be safely housed with each other, or with a male.
Fighters are excellent aquarium fish, easy to keep and suitable for community aquariums. Tank mates an be any similar sized peaceful species, but should not include fin-nippers such as some Barbs, or male Guppies (which are sometimes attacked by Fighters). Male Fighters can also be kept singly in glass bowls or similar small receptacles, provided temperatures are not too cool (such as in a well heated apartment). In Victoria a heat source of some kind is needed. Fighters prefer temperatures of 24-30C. They are not particularly fussy about water conditions, a neutral pH and moderate general hardness (100-150ppm) is fine. (If kept in a small bowl etc, ensure the fish receive regular partial water changes with aged water at the required temperature.)
Distribution and natural habitat:
Fighters are native to Thailand and neighbouring countries such as Cambodia. They inhabit still or slow moving waters, typical habitats include small streams, swamps and rice paddies. A type of Anabantid fish, fighters have an ancillary breathing organ known as a labyrinth organ, which allows the fighter to take a gulp of air and then extract the oxygen from it. This allows them to survive waters with low dissolved oxygen levels (such as in warm shallow swampy conditions). Wild fighters have relatively short fins compared to most “domestic” Fighters and are not as colourful. Like the Guppy, Siamese Fighters have been developed into many different fin varieties, and an impressive array of colour forms.
Fighters are a bubble nest breeder: the males construct a nest at the water surface and court females with exaggerated displays. (The females are usually smaller than the males, with much shorter finnage and are generally less colourful.) During mating, the male collects the eggs and places them in his nest, guarding the nest until the fry are free swimming.
Because of the Fighter’s popularity, a number of Fighter Specific products have become available (eg HBH Beta Bites), designed to help make it as easy as possible to keep this lovely fish.
Click for Aquarium Filtration Guide