Betta splendens (Siamese fighting fish)

Betta splendens which is most known as the Siamese fighting fish belongs to the Osphronemidae family and Anabantoidei suborder.
The species is native to Southeast Asia (Thailand). Betta splendens like his relative’s the gouramis inhabit in slow streams, ponds, rice fields, rivers. In general, the species occur in low oxygen, plant-choked, low mineral content, tea-colored black-water areas. Furthermore, the water has a high amount of tannin due to the decomposition of leaves and wood. As a result of the human expansion, the original habitat of Betta sp. and gouramis has altered and are found in pig farms and rice paddies, etc. In addition to the degradation of their habitat, Betta splendens’ population is decreasing.
Because of the selective breeding and hybridization with other Betta species, there are many colors (red, blue, white, and many other colorations) and caudal fin variations. For the exact reason, the domestic varieties that we see in aquariums are different from their ancestors, the wild Betta splendens.
Betta splendens, like the rest of the Anabantoidei fish, can breathe atmospheric air. This ability occurs in Anabantoidei fish due to an organ located closed to the branchial apparatus, the labyrinth.
Male Betta splendens have long fins with stunning long caudal fins while female Betta Splendens have shorter fins and a rounded caudal fin. The species have an average size of 2.3 inches (6 cm) and about of 2 years lifespan.
Though the species has a shy and a peaceful temperament is advised for beginners to keep the male Betta alone in small tanks due to his territorial behavior, especially in breeding conditions. However, in very large and densely planted tanks, a male Betta splendens may coexist with a group of females or even with other males. In the wild male Bettas fight each other for territory and the defeated retreats, but in a small aquarium, the battle continues to death. Male Bettas may become aggressive to other male betta splendens and gouramis (dwarf gouramis) due to territorial behavior in breeding conditions. However, some individuals (male) may be kept in community tanks with other species such as corydoras catfish, etc. In general, the compatibility of male bettas with other species, male and females bettas depend on various factors such as the personality of the individual (some males are less aggressive than others), the size of the tank, decoration (plants), etc.
Betta splendens should be kept in soft acidic water. A pH between 6.5-7.0, with a temperature between 24-28 Celsius, and hardness 50-100 mg/l, suits the species. Stressed bettas are prone to bacterial infection such as fin rot that is contagious. In general, fish get stressed if water parameters are not stable and with the right chemistry (Slightly acidic for bettas), poor diet, etc. (
An aquarium with 40 liters (10.5 gallons) of water is suitable for a pair of 3-4 female bettas or 1 male betta. Plants are necessary as they provide shelter for stressed fish, especially floating plants. Furthermore, the surface air should have a similar temperature of the water for the prevention of losses. Cover the aquarium to maintain a similar temperature above and under the water.
Betta splendens are mostly carnivores and can eat prepared food and small live-foods such as brine shrimp, white worms, bloodworms, etc. In nature, their diet consists of aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates.
Betta splendens are surface bubble nesters which means when the male is ready for reproduction, creates a nest and waits for a ”willing” female. Some females that are ready to spawn develop yellow strips on the body. Then the male uses floating plants or leaves for the creation of the bubble nest. Then the male wraps the female’s body and inseminates the eggs, that she releases. After that, the male collects the eggs and puts them into the nest. The action is repeated many times until the female gets exhausted. The female Betta produces about 500 eggs. The male betta like the rest of the anabantoid fish cares for the nest alone until the young can swim on their own. The young hatch 48 hours after egg-laying and after 3-4 days can swim on their own. Anabantoid young are very small in size to eat regular food for young such as hatched brine shrimp. You can feed the young with liquid food (boiled egg), infusoria or rotifers.
For the survival of the young, the species is best to spawn in a breeding tank. For the reproduction of the species, an aquarium with dense floating plants and 20 cm of water depth suits for breeding them. Like almost every fish, another key for breeding gouramis is diet. Besides prepared food, feed the dwarf gouramis with a variety of high-quality foods such as live foods. Last, Remove the female after she releases the eggs and when the young are swimming-free, remove the male too.

Betta Fish


  1. Gary Elson and Oliver Lucanus 2005, Gouramis and other Labyrinth fishes, Published by Barrons
  2. Earl Schneider and Dr. Leon f. Whitney 1957, The Complete Guide
    to tropical fishes
  3. David Alderton 2005, 2008, Encyclopedia of aquarium and pond fish, Published in the United States by DK Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7566-3678-4
  4. Vidthayanon, C. 2011. Betta splendensThe IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011 . Retrieved from
  5. Betta Splendens. Retrieved from
  6. Betta Splendens. Retrieved from

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