Betta balunga was described by Herre in 1940. The Balunga species name is a reference to the Balung River on Borneo where this species was first found.
Males can reach a total length of 12 centimeters. With their 10 centimeters females remain slightly smaller.
In the wild, Betta balunga mainly feeds on small insects, insect larvae, other invertebrates and small aquatic animals (zooplankton). In the aquarium they can be fed with live and frozen food such as brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, tubifex etc. They will also take flakes and granules, just make sure to provide them a varied diet.
The aquarium must not be too small; at least 80 centimeters in length. Lots of plants and low light is recommended for the optimal care of Betta balunga. It is necessary to opt for plants that do not require much light. This species, which is fairly unknown to the hobby, is not aggressive and can be kept together without problems with others such as Betta edithae. The water composition plays an important role in care. It is best to keep them at the values measured in their natural habitat; a pH between 5.2 and 7 with a dH of 10 and a temperature that lies between 21 ° and 27 ° C.
Breeding Betta balunga
Betta balunga is a mouthbrooding gourami and chooses a place for reproduction above a sandy piece of soil under a piece of wood or root. A reproduction near the surface of the water only occurs if another pair has already used the part above the bottom. A dimple is created under the piece of wood or the root by the movements of the female in this spot. Betta balunga is somewhat aggressive during and before reproduction.
The total number of eggs in the nest is unknown, about 100 eggs were estimated. Usually the female spits out about 8 eggs to the male, who is about 3 cm away from the female at that time. After reproduction, the female does not defend the male. After reproduction, the male usually stays at the water surface between the floating plants.
Then follows the well-known critical period of mouthbrooders. At Betta balunga this period only lasts a few days longer; if the male still has the fry in his mouth after 10 days, they will most likely not be eaten. On this tenth day it is wise to remove the male carefully and to give him his own aquarium. The fry are released after about 14 days. At that time, the male must be returned to the original aquarium. The aquarium in which the youngsters are kept must be richly planted in order to provide sufficient hiding places. Once the young have been released, they are immediately able to eat newly hatched brine shrimp.
Stefan vd Voort – Nederlandse Vereniging Labyrintvissen
Jan Rehwinkel – Nederlandse Vereniging Labyrintvissen