Betta splendens – Siamese Fighting Fish

Betta splendens or the Siamese Fighting Fish can reach a total length of around 6 centimeters. Males stand out because of their great looking fins that come in many colors.

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Betta splendens – Siamese Fighting Fish

Betta splendens was first described in 1910 by Regan. The genus name Betta comes from the Malaysian local name ikan betah for this type of fish, the species name splendens is derived from latin and means shimmering, shiny which is a reference to the beautiful colors of the males. The males are used in some countries to fight against each other. Hence the name Siamese Fighting Fish.


Betta splendens can reach a length of around 6 centimeters. The Siamese Fighting Fish is one of the best known fish. The males stand out because of their long veils. The females do not have these veil fins and are usually smaller than the males. They com in all sorts of colors, such as red, blue, purple or blue green.

The family Osphronemidae or Labirinth fish have a labyrinth organ, this enables to to survive in oxygen-poor water by gasping air above the surface. In the shallow pools in which they live, the oxygen content in the water is often very low due to the heat.

In addition to the wild forms, a large number of breeding varieties have since emerged. With these variants competitions are also held where the different variants come out in different classes. A number of these different forms are:

  • half moon
  • half moon plakat
  • plakat (short fins)
  • crowntail
  • crowntail plakat
  • double tail (often half moon double tail)
  • double tail plakat (often half moon double tail plakat)
  • veiltail
  • spade tail
  • spadetail plakat

Betta splendens Origin

Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam. They inhabit the shallow pools and waters, often densely planted. Due to the very warm environment in the summer, the water contains very little dissolved oxygen.


These fish require an aquarium of 60 centimeters. Decorate with dense planting, preferably up to the water surface, also floating plants because they build their foam nests at the surface. With a dark substrate, the colors of the Siamese Fighting Fish look even better. Not too much current and dimmed lighting is recommended.


Temperature: 20 – 27 degrees Celsius
pH: 6.0 – 7.5
GH: 5 – 19

In nature, fish have to deal with fluctuating temperatures. Keeping the minimum or maximum temperature for a long time is not always desirable and can shorten the average lifespan of the animals.


In the wild, the Betta hunts for small invertebrates, insects, larvae, etc. In the aquarium it is not a picky eater and will accept almost all the food you serve them, both live food and frozen food, such as black mosquito larvae, daphnia, cyclops, brine shrimp, and dry food. They also like vegetables. Make sure to feed them a variety to keep them healthy.


You cannot put 2 males of these fish together, otherwise they will literally fight each other to death. Always put 1 male with several females, because if you only add 1 female, she will be hunted down considerably and will get very stressed if the male wants to mate. It is a strong territory defender. The Siamese Fighting Fish is nevertheless suitable for use in a community aquarium, please note that you do not place Sumatra tetra’s with the Betta splendens because they will bite into the fins of the Siamese Fighting Fish untill they are all gone.The air above the water must be the same temperature as the water itself, if this is not the case, the fish can get sick or even die. They swim in the upper and middle water layers.

Breeding Betta splendens

The male makes a bubble nest, this looks like a kind of air bubbles that stick together. They usually attach the bubble nest to a floating leaf or floating plant. Use a breeding tank without a flow in the water and first feed the parents well with black mosquito larvae. The best breeding temperature is around 29/30 degrees Celcius. The male impresses the female with his fins and wraps around her under the bubblenest, after a few times the female will release eggs, the male catches them and spits them in the foam nest. Remove the female after egg deposition, otherwise she will be killed. The male fiercely defends his nest. The fry hatch after 1 or 2 days. The fry stay in the nest for about 2 days before they start swimming free. Now it is also time to catch the male, otherwise the fry will be eaten.

You can raise the young Betta splendens with finely crushed dry food and newly hatched brine shrimps.

Also see the article: Keeping and breeding Betta splendens



John de Lange

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John de Lange

Additional information





Minimum aquarium length in cm

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