The brilliant coloration and long fins make it one of the most well-known aquarium fish, Siamese Fighting Fishes are stunning and gracious.
When the iPhone6 was introduced to the world last year, many users chose the pictures of a Siamese fighting fish as wallpaper. The person behind these high-resolution screen pictures is a Thai photographer named Visarute Angkatavanich. The 45-year-old photographer’s signature images are stunning and truly reflect the grace and beauty of the Siamese fighting fish.
The brilliant coloration and long flowing fins make it one of the most well-known aquarium fish. Siamese fighting fish, also call Betta Splendens are small (up to 3 inches long). They are rather plain-colored fish, native to the Mekong River basin in Thailand (previously called Siam). The Siamese fighting fish makes its home in rivers, rice paddies, drainage ditches and the warm flood plains of the region. The vibrant resiliant fish has quickly become accustomed to frequent storm flooding and devastating droughts. The cyclic, drastic changes in its environment have meant the fish has adapted - becoming a true labyrinth fish. A labyrinth fish has the unique ability to breathe oxygen directly from the air and also take in oxygen from its gills. As a result, Bettas and other labyrinth fish can survive for short periods of time out of water, and if needed, can inhale the air around them. This also explains why a Betta can sustain itself in stagnant oxygen deficient water.
This hardy yet delicate fish can be peaceful and timid as well as aggressive and bullish. The name “fighting fish” refers to the aggressive behavior of territorial males. Two males will certainly fight until one is severely damaged or dead, so males cannot be kept together. But aggression can also be seen towards other fish. When fighters are kept with fish that exhibit long, flowing fins or bright colours, the fighter may mistake them for other males. Females are less colourful than males. They can be put together and also need a comfortable place to hide. Aquatic caves or dense, planted corners work well in making the fish safe.
In the wild, the fish uses its coloration to ward off predators and to attract mates. Wild Bettas do not possess the vibrant bright red, lime green, and royal blue colors of their selectively bred counterparts. In fact, they are unusually dull and drab. However, captive-bred Betta males have adopted these new colors and use them to their advantage in mating displays.
In the Siamese fighting fish family, the male takes care of the children. It begins with him building a nest of bubbles then he will courtship the female, often being aggressive when attempting to entice her under the nest. When the female begins to lay, the male loops himself round the female to fertilize the eggs. She can give a total of several hundreds eggs and he will catch each whitish eggs in his mouth, coat them with mucus, swim up and then blow them into the mass of bubbles. While the male is doing this, the female recovers from the embrace. Finally, the male drives the female away and guards the nest. He will take care of the eggs until the young hatch 24 to 48 hours later. The young Bettas don’t begin to show very much color or fin shape until they are about three months old.