Betta: Siamese Fighting Fish
Siamese Fighting Fishes
Betta, also called fighting fish, are any of a group of aggressive fishes native to tropical fresh waters of southeastern Asia and often raised in home aquariums.
Wild fighting fish are about 2 inches long. They have small fins and are usually dull brown.
Aquarium fighting fish are developed from wild fish by selective breeding. They are about the same size as the wild fish, but they have long graceful fins, and they may be red, green, blue, purple, or other colors.
Male fighting fish fight readily with other males, battering or biting their opponent's fins and scales with their small sharp teeth. The battling continues until one fish gives up and swims away.
In Thailand, spectators often bet on battles between Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens). These fish are also entered in beauty contests. Some of them with very long tails are called veiltail fighting fish.
Many fighting fish are bubble nesters. During the breeding season the male fish blows sticky bubbles, which cling together at the surface of the water and form a nest. The female then lays 200 to 700 eggs. After fertilizing the eggs, the male scoops them up in his mouth and deposits them in the nest. The eggs hatch two days later, and the young fish remain there until they can swim.
Other familiar fighting fish include the Javanese fighting fish (Betta picta), which is similar in behavior to the Siamese fighting fish, and the mouth-breeding betta (Betta pugnax), a 4-inch long fish whose eggs are incubated in the mouth of the male.