Betta splendens – Siamese Fighting Fish

Betta splendens or Siamese Fighting Fish can reach a length of about 6 centimeters. The males are especially notable for their long veil fins. You come across these fish in all kinds of shapes and colors, such as red, blue, purple, or teal.

Betta splendens – Siamese Fighting Fish

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


Betta splendens can reach a length of about 6 centimeters. The Siamese fighting fish is one of the most famous fish. The males are especially notable for their long veil fins. The females do not have these veil fins and are usually smaller than the males. You come across these fish in all kinds of colors, such as red, blue, purple or teal.

The family Osphronemidae or Labyrinth fish have a labyrinth organ, so they are able to gasp for air in low-oxygen water and thus survive in the natural environment. In the shallow pools in which they live, the oxygen level of the water is often very low due to the heat.

Breeding variants

In addition to the wild forms, a large number of breeding variants of the Siamese Fighting Fish have now been created. Competitions are also held with these variants in which the different variants compete in different classes. Some of these different forms are:

  • halfmoon
  • halfmoon plakat
  • plakat (short fins)
  • crowntail
  • crowntail plakat
  • double tail (often halfmoon double tail)
  • double tail plakat (often halfmoon double tail plakat)
  • veiltail
  • spadetail
  • spadetail plakat

Fin Maintenance

The breeding varieties usually have large, elongated fins. These are spread wide as the males challenge each other. The breeders keep the males separately in a small jar. These jars are often separated by placing a piece of cardboard between them so that they cannot see each other. The breeder removes this separation every day so that the males can see each other and spread their fins wide. This prevents the fins from getting fin rot and sticking together.

If you only keep one male in your tank, you can simulate this by placing a mirror in front of the tank every day. The male then thinks he sees another male and spreads his fins. This way you keep the fins beautiful and the fish healthy.


You cannot put 2 males of this Siamese Fighting 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 chased a lot and will therefore get very stressed if the male wants to mate. It defends its territory vigorously. Nevertheless, the Siamese Fighting Fish is suitable for a community aquarium, please note that you do not put Sumatrans with the Betta splendens because they will bite the fins of the Siamese Fighting Fish until they are gone.

The temperature of the air above the water should not differ too much from the temperature of the water. A normal room temperature is usually sufficient, but do not keep them in an unheated shed during the winter. If the temperature difference is too big, the fish can get sick or even die. They swim in the upper and middle layers of water.

How old can a Betta get?

A Betta reaches an average age of about three years. Keep in mind that the fish in the aquarium do not get very old. The fish in the store have of course had some time to grow. The males are usually one year old when they are offered for sale in the shop. The females are then about six months old.

Origin of the Betta splendens – Siamese fighting fish

Betta splendens originates from Asia. They are found in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. They inhabit the shallow pools and waters there, often densely planted. Due to the very hot environment in summer, the water contains very little dissolved oxygen.

The Aquarium

These fish require an aquarium of 60 centimeters. Decorate it with dense vegetation, preferably up to the water surface, including floating plants because they build their bubble nests there. With a dark substrate, the colors of the Siamese Fighting Fish come out even more beautifully. Not too much current and subdued lighting is recommended.

Water parameters

Temperature: 20-27 degrees Celsius.
pH: 6 – 7,5.
GH: 5-19

In nature, fish have to deal with fluctuating temperatures. Keeping fish at 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 splendens preys on small invertebrates, insects, larvae, etc. In the aquarium, it is not a picky eater and will accept almost any food you offer them, both live food and frozen food, such as black mosquito larvae, daphnia, cyclops, brine shrimp, and dry food. They also like vegetable food. In any case, give them a variety of food to keep them healthy.

Breeding Betta splendens – Siamese Fighting Fish

The male makes a foam nest, which looks like air bubbles that stick together. He places the nest against a leaf edge or a floating plant. Use a breeding tank with no current in the water and first feed the parents well with black mosquito larvae. The temperature may be brought up to 29/30 degrees Celsius. The male impresses the female with his fins and entwines her under the nest, after a few times the female will release eggs, the male catches them and spits them into the bubble nest. Remove the female after the spawn otherwise, she will be killed. The male fiercely defends his nest. The fry hatch after 1 to 2 days. The fry then remain in the nest for about 2 days before they go free swimming. Then it is also time to remove the male, otherwise, he will eat the fry.

You can feed the young Betta splendens with finely ground dry food or brine shrimp nauplii.

Also see the article: Keeping and breeding Betta splendens.



John de Lange

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John de Lange

Bijgewerkt op 23 August 2023 door John

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