The Siamese Fighting Fish is native to the South East Asia region of Thailand, their wild counterparts are accustomed to slow-moving or still waters e.g. rice paddies and roadside drains. The species attracted its name because of the aggressive nature of the males towards each other. Because the fish are common to very small bodies of water, males must fiercely protect their territory, or lose their breeding ground to a stronger male. Siamese Fighting Fish are labyrinthine fish, meaning they have an organ shaped like a labyrinth that requires more oxygen than normal fish. This is why you see a Fighter going up to the top of the tank for a gulp of air.
These ornamental fish are available in just about every colour. The males are more colourful than females and possess much larger fins. This assists in displaying against other rival males. Although placid when alone, the males will show extraordinary aggression when together, flaring up their fins and blowing out their gill covers. Males and females will not normally fight, however, a male may become aggressive towards the female after she spawned as he will set out to protect the fry.
Health and maintenance
These are tropical, freshwater fish which thrive best in warmer temperatures ranging from 24 to 30 degrees Celsius. A heater may be required if the temperature drops below 18 degrees. Although these fish will survive in poor quality water, regular water changes are still required. Change 1/3 of the water each week for a small bowl, ¼ each month for an aquarium and the entire amount once weekly for a small container. The lifespan can be expected to average of 2 years. The fancier ones, generally the shorter average lifespan. Females are more prone to disease and tend to be very short-lived in captivity.
Siamese Fighting Fish are easily bred in a home aquarium. The males are bubblenest builders. They blow a large series of accumulated bubbles onto the surface of the water., into which they deposit the eggs released by the female. Once the female releases the eggs into the water, the male will collect them in his mouth, deposit them into the nest and fertilize them. The male will then stand guard until the fry are free swimming.
The Siamese Fighting Fish is a carnivorous fish who can be fed commercial fish food, special ‘Betta Pellets’ or frozen tubifex worms. Fresh bloodworms and mosquito wrigglers also make a suitable treat. As water temperature drops, metabolism slows and feeding is required less often. During the warmer months, feed a small amount daily.
These fish can live in the smallest of tanks, and are often kept in decorative glass jars, small containers, or betta barracks (a rectangular tank that has clear dividers between each cell). They can be kept in a mixed tank with other breeds, however there are some types of companion fish to avoid. Long finned, red coloured fish will be harassed, tiger bards, serape, tetras and other fin nippers are likely to be drawn to the long flowing fins of the Siamese Fighting Fish.
The Siamese Fighting fish are wonderfully notorious for their beautiful colours and spectacular fins. Because of this, they are a very popular aquarium fish and are suitable for community tanks. Ideal owner would be anyone, including children. These are an especially good for a first time pet owner or someone with little time or space for a regular pet. Very low maintenance.