The first documented domesticated form of the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) was a Spadetail. That was in 1849. At that time certainly fighting fishes were bred for a long time, but they resembled more or less the wild fishes and were selected only for their fighting characteristics. The appearance of these animals was a minor matter. Only much later, when fighting fish were bred for export as ornamental fish to Europe and the USA, were veil-finned animals also bred. This was shortly after the turn of the 19th to the 20th century.
Nowadays the spadetail has largely disappeared. We have now received very interesting and rare spadetails with yellow ground color and bright yellow gill cover stripes (in the wild species these are red) from Thailand, the mother country of fighting fish breeding. Short-finned fighting fish are generally called pla kat.
During the photo session we had to look carefully the animals did not hurt each other. Because unlike most Betta splendens, the animals of the Pla kat Yellow cheek Spadetail bite very early, when other forms still display harmlessly for a long time. Our trick: there were 10 adult females in the tank. So the males always dsiplayed only briefly (a few seconds) and were immediately distracted from each other again by the ladies. We can therefore assure you, dear readers, that all fighting fish involved in the photo session were brought back into their single rooms completely unharmed,
For our customers: the animals have code 390071 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.
We can just offer wonderful, full-grown German offspring of the largest bubblenest building fighting fish: Betta simorum. The animals reach a standard length (without caudal fin) of over 7 cm with a very slender body, i.e. almost 9 cm with caudal fin. Betta simorum occurs in the black water swamps of the province Jambi on Sumatra, in Riau province, and in West Kalimantan (Borneo) near Pontiak. The species is very closely related to Betta bellica, which also occurs on Sumatra (although in the Medan area), but whose main distribution area is in Malaysia. Both species can hardly be kept apart optically.
Betta simorum needs soft and acidic, ideally slightly brownish water and temperatures of 26-28°C in order to develop optimally and show beautiful colours. Among each other these fighting fish, like most wild forms, are relatively peaceful. In a well-structured aquarium with a lot of dead wood, dead leaves on the bottom and rich vegetation the fish are a show. The Rasbors living in such biotopes, like the harlequin barb (Trigonostigma heteromorpha), Rasbora kalochroma etc., are particularly suitable for community tanks with B. simorum. Pearl gourami (Trichogaster leerii) are also very suitable.
For our customers: the animals have code 387813 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
Sometimes you don’t know what to admire more: the breeding skills of Betta freaks or their creativity in inventing new names. However, these candies are real beauties; each animal is individually patterned and spotted, so they are unique! Our dear friend Kamphol has sent us an exclusive collection of these beauties from Thailand.
For our customers: the animals have code 390070 on our stick list. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
Once again Kamphol has provided us with very special breeding fighting fish, which currently enjoy particular popularity among the breeders of these fish jewels in Thailand. The “Spade Tail” is one of them.
Basically there are different possibilities in animal breeding to get to new forms. One way is to inbreed as closely as possible, whereby hidden (“recessive”) genetic traits come to bear and become visible. The second way leads via crossing with closely related species. The latter way is very common with swordtails and guppies, but also works with Bettas. Local wild bettas (B. imbellis, B. smaragdina and others) have probably always been crossed with the domestic animal forms of Betta splendens. The Spade Tail cannot deny Betta smaragdina in its pedigree…
For our customers: the animals have code 391016 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
These new Betta types were certainly also bred by crossing in wild species, in this case Betta stiktos seems to have been involved; “Alien Green” looks de facto like a B. stiktos. They are all very slender Bettas, they have much more of the heritage of the Betta smaragdina alike forms to which B. stiktos belongs than of Betta splendens. The behaviour is also more similar to that of wild bettas from the B. smaragdina group than that of the immediate B. splendens group. They are – at least from the photographer’s point of view – almost too peaceful, the fights short and little ritualized. However, we advise against keeping several males together, as this could end badly in the long run; after all, one wants to enjoy the sight of these beautiful animals from specimens with undamaged fins.
For our customers: “Alien Blue” has code 391020, “Alien Steel Blue” code 391022 and “Alien Green” code 391021 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
Once again we have received a beautiful fighting fish breeding form, this time even in pairs: the animals are called “Black Samurai” in a melodious way. They are very lively fish, true temperament bolts, which actually deserve the name “fighting fish”. Excited males make little difference between males and females, both are heavily turned on. For breeding attempts it is absolutely recommended to only use absolutely ripe females, otherwise there could be bloody honeymoons…
For our customers: the animals have code 390083 on our stocklist. Please note that we only deliver to wholesalers. Only available in small quantities!
Why is an endangered, mouth-breeding fighting fish called like the mathematical circle number? Not so long ago, in 1986, the first of the these big fighting fishes was discovered in Malaysia by travelling labyrinth fish enthusiasts and described as Betta waseri in honour of Alfred Waser, a primordial rock of the labyrinth fish scene. These thoroughly peaceful fighting fish are strictly bound to peaty waters and with the draining of the peat swamps and the creation of endless oil palm monocultures, they, along with all other animal and plant species adapted and bound to this biotope, have come under severe distress.
Later, similar large fighting fish were also found in other places where these biotope conditions existed, and it was found that lip and chin drawing was the best way to distinguish between the species. They are very similar in all other respects. And so Betta pi from the south of Thailand came to its name, because the lip and chin drawing, which is to be seen in some (unfortunately not all) mood colorings, looks like the circle number and/or the ancient Greek letter, which is used as a sign for the circle number, the Pi (π).
Unfortunately, Betta pi is not very beautifully coloured. Why does a pacifist need war paint? But it would be nice if a few more aquarists would take care of the peaceful cigars, whose males with caudal fins can grow about 10 cm long (females stay a bit smaller), so that they don’t fall into oblivion. Therefore, the occasional import is very desirable. The natural stocks are not damaged thereby of course.
Betta pi is very suitable for quiet community tanks with black water fish of the same region, e.g. pearl gourami (Trichgaster leerii), harlequin barbs (Trigonostigma heteromorpha), etc.
For our customers: the animals have code 386904 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
Again our proven supplier from Thailand sent us some special Betta delicatessen. The Pla Kat Hellboy is a velvet red, short-finned fighting fish, very often with blue scales (there are also plain red ones). The very special thing about it: the also deep red colored pectoral fins.
The Giant Halfmoon are real giants and have only been selected for this characteristic. The colouring of each individual animal is different. Their total length is 7-8 cm, with normal Bettas 4-5 cm. On some pictures you can see an adult Hellboy together with one of the Giants. You can also see that the body mass of the Giants is considerably larger than that of the Hellboy, which is only about 2 cm smaller. One can compare the Giants with cold-blooded horses: rather friendly giants. It takes quite a while until they begin to impress each other in the photo tank. Nevertheless, it is also true for the Giants that only one male may be cared for per aquarium, otherwise you risk at least damaged fins.
For our customers: the Pla Kat Hellboys have code 390082, the Giant Halfmoon 390556 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
The fighting fish of the Betta foerschi relationship – there are several very similar species, which are considered by some specialists to be only local varieties of the same species, namely Betta foerschi – are not only particularly beautiful, but also particularly interesting. They are mouth breeders, but they are, so to speak, at an intermediate stage of development between bubble nest building Betta species and specialized mouth breeders. The spawning process is similar to that of the bubblenest builders, the mouth-brood-time is considerably shorter with 7-8 days than that of the specialized mouth-breeders, who brood about 10 days.
Betta foerschi is a typical black water fish, which needs very soft and sour water for breeding, bred ones therefore are only rarely found in the trade. We just have a few XXXL pairs with a total length of 7 cm on offer.
For our customers: the animals have code 381423 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
Three-coloured fighting fish have been around for many decades, they are usually called “Butterfly Bettas”. At the moment we have some specimens of a not only beautiful, but also symbolic Betta breed in stock, which are dyed in the national colours of Thailand!
According to Wikipedia, the current flag of Thailand, a tricolour with five stripes, was introduced in 1917 by King Rama VI. The middle stripe is twice as wide as the outer stripes. Red stands for the nation, white for the religion and blue for the monarchy.
Thailand is the original home of the Betta breed. So it is only right that the first “National Betta” shows the Thai colours, don’t you think?
For our customers: the animals have code 390613 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers.
For sure Betta macrostoma is one of the most beautiful species of fighting fish – and the most sensitive! There is hardly another known species of fish that becomes that easily infested by bacteria of any kind. Many breeders of Betta macrostoma use UV filters the whole year through to avoid bacterial development in the water column. A tipp by the way: clay suspended in the tankwater also „catches“ most bacteria from the water coulmn.
We have these sensitve gems not always in stock. Only every now and then we order some from a breeder. Currently such a chance appears and some people can fulfil their christmas wish right now…
For our customers: the fish have code 384004 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade. Only few pairs availble!
Black knights – that’s what Thai breeders call this beautiful, short-finned fighting fish, which we can offer at the moment. The animals are colored so intensively black that you can’t see any detail on normal exposed photos, they just look like a black surface. But if you overexpose strongly, you can see that the black color is actually a deep, dark brown that swallows practically all light.
For our customers: the fish have code 390081 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
The wild forms of the Betta splendens-group are very difficult to determinate, even for specialists and in some cases a safe determination will fail at all. Currently these species are placed in the group: Betta imbellis, B. mahachaiensis, B. siamorientalis, B. smaragdina, B. splendens, and B. stiktos. Inside this group one can differentiate two subgroups, namely the Betta smaragdina-subgroup, containing B. mahachaiensis, B. smaragdina, and B. stiktos, and the Betta splendens-subgroup that contains the remaining species.
The only way to distinguish the species of the Betta splendens-subgroup is via the coloration of the head of males in aggressive mood. In Betta imbellis a blue stripe appears at the edge of the operculum, another blue stripe appears in front of it behind the eye. In Betta splendens and B. siamorientalis the whole head becomes dark or black and at the egde of the operceulum a red or yellowish stripe appears. All other details in coloration and morphometrics overlap broadly in the three species and are hardly useful for determination purposes. However, DNA analyses support strongly the existence of the three species.
We recently obtained wild specimens of Betta splendens from Thailand. The animals were collected near Kanchanaburi. They are beautiful fish with lot of temper and a lot of red coloration. Please don´t be fooled by the lancet shape of the photographed male. This is an individual thing and may appear in old males of all species. All other males in our shipment have „normal“, round caudal fins.
For our customers: the fish have code 390013 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Fighting fish are absolutely popular currently. The splendid colours, the easy breeding, the interesting behaviour and the unproblematic keeping are the reasons. Against other fish than conspecifics Betta splendens are usually completely peaceful; the only general exception are fancy guppys, as these are often erronously taken for male fighting fish and attacked.
Until now the development of a long dorsal fin (this is a mutation) was bound to another mutation, the splittail. In splittails the tail fin is parted in two. So far splittails are bred only on veiltail varieties. It is necessary to know that the gene for „veiltail“ is dominant against the shorttail gene. So the breeder has to have a great deal of knowledge of genetics to breed shorttailed splittails. Shorttailed fish are generally named as pla kat. The Fancy Dragon Pla Kat that appeared now for the first time in the market has the long dorsal fin of the splittail, but a different shape of the caudal fin. The latter is rather a halfmoon, most probably because splittails are not very popular in central Europe. However, there are folds in the caudal fin, maybe a heritage of the splittail ancestor.
Each individual fish of the Fancy Dragon Pla Kat looks different. But in respect of the instinctive fighting behaviour they are typical fighting fish. The fight starts with a sinking of the bottom of the mouth and spreading of the gills and opercula; after that the fish start lateral displaying with maximum spread fins. The ventral fins are used like flags in that state of the fight. Only after a good while the fish start to a fight to damage the competitor. This begins with „empty“ bites against the fins. At that stage of the fight we separate the photomodels to avoid any hurts. If we would not do so the fish would start to bite in the fins (the Thai idiom pla kat means „biting fish“) which can look really destoyed after some time. However, the fight usually does not lead to the death of one of the competitors and the fins regenerate completely. Nevertheless it cannot be recommended to keep more than one male per tank.
It is a well known fact that the Betta splendens kept in the aquarium hobby as ornamental fish do not represent the species as it appears in the wild, but a domesticated fish. Initially this sport has been bred for combats, similar like sports of cocks and dogs. Only in the 1920ies, when supplying ornamental fish for the aquarium hobby became more and more an important economic factor for people in Southeast Asia, breeders started to select veiltailed sports and aberrant colour varieties. These fish are useless for combats.
The tradition of fish fights is still alive in many parts of Asia. Due to the high sums of money people bet here – and which lead to the ruin of many bet-junkies – these combats are under legal control, but in many areas they are also cultural property under special protection.
Here in central Europe is no interest in watching animals fighting and to bet on the winner, we are focussed on the empathy with the animal we keep. Nevertheless it is very interesting for a real enthusiast to get the possibility for studying these real fighters among the Bettas. These fish are called Pla Kat Luk Maw in Thai, which means about „biting fish of the earthen pot“. „Earthen pot“ refers to the traditional pottery vessels used for breeding the fish. One of the most astonishing facts is that almost any red is missing in the coloration of the fish. Even the skin of the gill-membranes, which are spread when the fish is in aggressive mood, are pitchblack, as the whole fish appears in highest excitation. Pla Kat Luk Maw are usually bred in blue, but sometimes also turquoise animals appear.
For our customers: the fish have code 391019 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade. Available in limited numbers only!
This small (5-6 cm) mouthbrooding species from Thailand is a very nice addition to the good assortment of wild collected Betta we currently have in stock. Betta simplex is a very close relative to the species Betta picta from Java, Betta falx from Sumatra, and Betta taeniata from Borneo. All the mentioned species share the same ancestor. The males have a broad green to blue (reddish in B. falx) seam in the anal and the caudal fin. Our B. simplex are not fully grown yet, but already sexually ripe. The males do show already what beauties they will become when fully adult. In contrast to many other mouthbrooding Betta species, B. simplex is not adopted to soft, acidic water, for the natural habitat (near the town of Krabi in the south of Thiland) is characterised by lime stone hills.
For our customers: the fish have code 387752 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer