albimarginata_thorup

albimarginata_thorup2017-12-27T14:40:17+00:00

Betta albimarginata, Kottelat & NG 1994
By Jesper Thorup
http://www.fishbreeding.dk

Der var engang hvor alle tænkte på Betta splendens når man snakkede om kampfisk eller bare sagde slægtsnavnet Betta. Sådan er det ikke mere. Stadig flere akvarister interesseret sig i dag for nogle af de andre fisk i slægten, der i dag tæller over 50 arter. Et antal der stadig vokser hvert år i takt med at de asiatiske regnskove bliver udforsket. There was a time when everyone thought of  Betta splendens whenever the talk was about Bettas. This is changing. A growing number of people are now showing interest in some of the other species in the genus Betta. The genus currently includes over 50 species, a number that keeps growing, as the Southeast Asian rainforests are explored and new species are found and described by scientists.

© 1999 Michael Schlüte

En af de relativt nye arter er Betta albimarginata, der blev fanget af selveste Maurice Kottelat i 1993 i den nordøstlige del af Kalimantan provinsen på Borneo. Ingen af Kottalat’s oprindelige fisk overlevede turen hjem, men året efter beskrev han sammen med Peter K.L. Ng fisken på baggrund af de eksemplarer han havde gående i formalin. Samme år beskrev de 2 ichtyologer i øvrigt 4 andre arter af slægten Betta: B. burdigala, B. channoides, B. chloropharynx og B. schalleri.

Fisken fik navnet Betta albimarginata (albimarginata=hvid kant) hvilket syntes meget passende da både ryg-, bug-, anal- og halefinne på hannen, afsluttes med en hvid kant eller søm om man vil. Med sine kun 5 cm er den af de mindste Betta arter. Betta albimarginata er mundrugende og det er hannen der går med æg og unger i munden indtil de kan klare sig selv, hvorefter han spytter dem ud. Ingen af forældrene fortager herefter nogen form for yngelpleje.

One of the newer species is Betta albimarginata. It was first caught by Maurice Kottelat in 1993 in the north east part of Kalimantan province in Borneo. None of Kottelat’s original Betta albimarginata made it to his home alive, but the following year he and Peter K.L. Ng described the species from the ones he had preserved in formaldehyde. The same year Kottelat and Ng also described 4 other Betta species: B. burdigala, B. channoides, B. chloropharynx and B. schalleri.

The species described on the basis of the preserved specimens was named Betta albimarginata (albimarginata means white edge), a very appropriate name since both dorsal-, anal- and caudal fins have a white edge and the tip of the pelvic fins are white as well. With a size of only 5 cm (2 “) it is one of the smallest representatives of its genus. B. albimarginata is a mouth brooder. The male carries the eggs and fry until they are ready. He will then spit them out, and neither of the parents will provide any further care for the fry after that.

B. albimarginata fra byen Malinau blev fanget af Dickmann, Knorr og Grams i 1996, ca. 100 km syd for typelokaliteten hvor Kottelat i 1993 fangede fisken for første gang.Selvom ingen af Kottelats albimarginata’er kom levende hjem skulle der imidlertid ikke være tvivl om at det er den samme fisk.

Vandløbet var et langsomt flydende 2 meter bredt sideløb til den store hovedflod Sembuak. Fangststedet lå ca 200 meter før udløbet og var overgroet med skov. Fiskene holdt her til under små løvsamlinger på overfladen der havde samlet sig pga. ringe strøm. Vandværdierne var en pH på mellem 5,5 og 6,0, hårdheden var op til 3 dH og temperaturen var 27°C.

B. albimarginata er siden blevet fanget på flere andre lokaliteter, bl.a. ved Pampang så hvis man skulle være heldig at falde over den, vil der ofte være et fangststed hæftet på artsnavnet.

Mine albi’er er efterkommere af de fisk der blev fanget i 1996 ved Malinau. Jeg fik dem af Michael Schlüter, og sammen med Henrik Strandgaard var jeg i Hamburg og hente dem den 19. december 2001. Det var et ungt par der havde fået nogle få kuld sammen og som nærmede sig deres bedste alder.

Spændingen var stor da jeg kom hjem med fiskene og lukkede dem ud i det på forhånd klargjorte 60 liters akvarie. Med blødt spagnumfiltreret vand havde jeg lavet et akvarie hvor vandværdierne til forveksling lignede dem jeg havde læst de havde i naturen. Fiskene faldt fint til og tog også pænt for sig af det frostfoder de blev tilbudt, uden dog at kaste sig over det. De kiggede det altid lige an, ligesom for at checke kvaliteten, inden de tog det. Lidt stillestående var de også og de virkede egentlig en smule reserverede. Hannens farver var heller ikke specielt prangende, men jeg regnede med at han lige skulle vænne sig til de nye omgivelser. Nå, men det blev jul og jeg tog sammen med familien 3 dage på juleferie. Da jeg kom hjem gik hannen til min store overraskelse med skuffen fuld af æg. Det var da for f….. kun en lille uge siden at de var flyttet ind. Men glad var jeg jo.

B. albimarginata was caught by Dickmann, Knorr and Grams at the town of Malinau in 1996, approximately 100 km south of the type locality were Kottelat caught his specimens. They were found in a 2-metre wide tributary of the main river Sembuak.

There was a moderate current and the fish were caught 200 metre upstream from Sembuak. The stream was overgrown with rainforest. B.albimarginata were found in shallow water among plant roots and leaf litter along the bank. The water parameters were: pH 5.5 – 6. The temperature was 27°C (81 F) and the hardness was max. 3 DH.

B. albimarginata has since then been caught at other locations, so if you should be so lucky as to come across some of them, then they are likely to have a location code attached to the species name.

My albi’s are descendants from the fish that were caught by Malinau in 1996. I got them from Michael Schlüter and I went to Hamburg, Germany with a friend of mine to collect them myself. It was on the 19th of December 2001. It was a beautiful young pair that Michael had already gotten offspring from a couple of times; a pair almost in their prime. Thanks Michael.

I was very excited when I came home and released the pair into the 60-litre tank, which I had prepared in advance with softened water in which peat had been soaked. I had to the best of my ability tried to make an environment as similar to their natural habitat as possible. A big root along with lots of floating plants and the tea coloured water created a nice dark atmosphere in the tank.

The fish seemed to adapt well to their new home. They ate fairly well from the food (mainly frozen) that they were fed, but they didn’t throw themselves at it as my Betta foerschi did. They didn’t move around much and they kept pretty much to themselves. The male was not as colourful as I had hoped for but I assumed that this was due to the change in environment. Christmas was coming and I went on a 3-day holiday with my family. Much to my surprise the male was carrying eggs when we returned. Needless to say, I was a very happy man, even though I had not seen the actual mating.

Ung han med munden fuld af æg

Young male with a mouth full of eggs

Michael Schlüter havde fortalt at hannen typisk gik en 11-12 dage inden han spyttede ungerne ud, hvis temperaturen lå på en 26°- 27°C. Han sagde også at man efter at ungerne var klægget inde i munden på hannen på ca 7.-8. dagen, uden problemer kunne flytte ham over i en fødekasse beregnet til ungefødere , så det gjorde jeg og alt gik som smurt. Præcist på 11. dagen spyttede han de første unger ud og det fortsatte han med i et døgns tid endnu hvor jeg talte 17 unger. Hannen blev sat ud af kassen og jeg havde nu rigtigt godt styr på alle ungerne.

Ungernes farve er i øvrigt et af de steder hvor man klart kan se forskel på B. channoides og B. albimarginata. Michael Schlüter havde nemlig unger af begge arter da vi besøgte han og her var det tydeligt at se at B. channoides unger er helt lyse/blege lidt ligesom guppyunger hvor B. albimarginata‘s unger er sorte.

Michael Schlüter had told me that the male typically carries the eggs and fry for about eleven to twelve days, at temperatures around 26° – 27°C (79 to 81F). He also said that it is safe, as soon as the eggs have hatched in his mouth, to move the male into one of those breeding boxes that are used for livebearers. This usually happens around the 7th day after spawning. Trusting Michael and his experience with this species, I did exactly as I had been told to do, and everything turned out perfect: Eleven days after spawning he slowly began to spit out fry one by one. After 24 hours I counted seventeen fry and the male was taken out of the box. I now had seventeen small albi’fry safe in a breeding box, and I was even happier than before.

Mature Betta albimarginata and Betta channoides looks very much alike and that has caused a great deal of confusion. Even the German publisher “Bede Verlag” has, by mistake, swapped the photos of the 2 fish on their poster with Betta species. When you look at the fry from the two species they are very easy to tell apart:

Betta channoides han

Betta channoides male ©2001 Michael Schlüter

Betta channoides male
Ved voksne fisk kan dette godt være lidt svært og der hersker derfor også en del forvirring om hvilken fisk der er hvem. F.eks er man på Bede Verlag’s plakat med “Kampfische” kommet til at bytte om på billederne af de 2 fisk.

Mine ungerne var sorte og omkring 5mm store. De spiste som forventet nyklægget artemie lige fra starten og efter en uges tid fik de deres eget lille 12 liters akvarie, med spagnum på bunden og flydeplanter ved overfladen. Jeg skiftede halvdelen af vandet en gang om ugen og alt gik tilsyneladende som det skulle.

Jeg havde siden hannen spyttede ungerne ud haft ham gående alene i et 12 liters akvarie der lignede det ungerne gik i, sådan at han kunne komme lidt til hægterne igen efter de 11 dages faste. Han gik egentlig og så lidt halvkedeligt ud og de farver jeg havde set på billeder kunne jeg kun lige skimte konturerne af. Han spiste dog godt og virkede ellers både sund og rask. Efter 3 uger på rekreation syntes jeg at hannen så frisk ud igen og da hunnen gik i et akvarie med det samme vand som han, fangede jeg hende bare op og plaskede hende ned til ham.

I samme sekund hun blev sat ned var det ligesom om at det var nogle der tændte lys i det ellers ret dunkle akvarie. På under 5 sekunder gik han fra at være en halvkedelig labyrintfisk til at være en af de flotteste fisk jeg nogen sinde har set. Fra at man kun kunne skimte de orange nuancer på hans krop, blev han pludselig en helt lille sol, med de sorte og hvide områder skarpt aftegnet. Han strittede med alle finnerne, gællerne og selv strubesækken spilede han ud, ligesom for at vise hende hvor mange æg han egentlig kunne have i munden. Han svømmede langsomt rundt og lavede underlige positurer. Helt stiv svømmede han lodret igennem akvariet. Nogle gange med hovedet opad og nogle gange med hovedet nedad. Han lagde sig på bunden på den ene side, som var han faldet død om over hendes skønhed.

Hunnen der ikke helt var kommet sig over den lidt hurtigt flytning, virkede til at begynde med lidt forvirret, og det kan man vel dårligt bebrejde hende. Over 4 uger alene i et 12 liters akvarie for så pludselig at blive smidt ned til en fyrig elsker. Efter en ½ time var hun dog blevet så klar at de begyndte at lege på den der underlige langsomme facon som mange mundrugende bettaer benytter sig af. På den ene side vil man som akvarist enormt gerne se hvad der sker men på den anden side går det så langsomt at man keder sig bravt. Det må være nogenlunde det samme som at se en hel VM fodboldfinale i superslow.

Fry of B. channoides are very light (like guppy fry) while fry from B. albimarginata are very dark, actually almost black.

My fry were black and approximately 5 mm long. As I expected, they were able to eat brine shrimp and cyclops nauplii immediately after they were released. After a week they were moved to a small 12 litre tank with peat as bottom cover and floating plants. I changed half of the water weekly and everything looked just right.

Since the male had released the fry he had been convalescing in his own tank, one similar to the one the fry were moved into. Eleven days without food is serious business. -It would be for me anyway! He looked a bit worn and his colours were rather dull, but he ate quite well and that convinced me that he was OK. After 3 weeks alone he looked much better and I decided that the period of convalesce was over. The female was in the same type of water as him, so I just caught her and dumped her into his tank.

In a matter of seconds it was as if someone turned on the light in the otherwise dark tank. Within five seconds the male lit up like a Christmas tree and became one of the most beautiful fish that I have ever seen. His colours changed into vibrant black, white and orange and he looked fantastic. He flared vigorously. He even extended his throat pouch as if he wanted to show her exactly how many eggs he was able to carry. He swam around making artistic poses: All rigid he shot vertically trough the tank, sometimes he swam head up and sometimes head down, and he played dead on the bottom as though he had fainted over her beauty. All in all he put on quite a show for her (and me).

Albipar: Bemærk at hannen har munden fuld af æg
Albi-pair: Notice that the male is holding eggs
Hunnen bliver tværstribet under legen, men virker ellers ikke underlegen som man ofte ser det hos de skumredebyggende Betta arter. Det virker faktisk tværtimod som om at det er hende der styrer begivenhederne.

Efter en 6-8 timer var hannens farver igen aftaget og han gik igen med munden fuld af æg. Da det var et lille akvarie som jeg helst ikke ville fodre i, fjernede jeg hunnen med det samme, så hun kunne få sig et velfortjent måltid. I et større akvarie kan man godt lade hunnen gå en 4-5 dage sammen med hannen men så skal hun også ud, for så har hun allerede sat ny rogn og vil derfor begynde at genere hannen med sine tilnærmelser.

Også dette kuld spyttede han planmæssigt ud. Denne gang dog på 12. dagen. På samme måde lykkedes det at få kuld nr. 3 og jeg var ved at begynde at tro på at jeg her havde fundet fisken der er nemmere at opdrætte end guppyer. Det skulle dog vise sig at dette var langt fra sandheden. En dag opdage jeg at et af kullene havde fået en oodinium lignende sygdom. Jeg medicinerede med Odimor men inden for 48 timer var alle fiskene i kullet døde. Det var jo ret trist, men jeg havde jo stadig 2 kuld tilbage. Det viste sig desværre ikke at være en enlig svale. Af de 4 kuld jeg indtil nu har fået er de 3 døde på nøjagtig samme måde, da de var mellem 9 og 11 uger gamle. Kun et kuld klarede sig igennem, men her var der til gengæld slet ingen dødsfald. Jeg har senere hørt, at sygdommen meget ligner den der ofte rammer Betta macrostoma og at den skulle kunne kureres med ½ dosis af Tetra’s Genreal Tonic og ½ dosis af Tetra’s ContraIck. Dette har jeg dog ikke testet endnu.

Det kuld der klarede skærene gennem de første 11 uger virkede herefter utrolig robuste. De voksede stille og roligt og er i dag efter 6 måneder omkring 4 cm. De spiser ligesom deres forældre alle de typer levende foder som de kan gabe over og det meste frostfoder. Men de kaster sig ikke over foderet som det ellers ofte ses hos de lidt større mundrugende kampfisk.

I løbet af ungernes opvækst er det en god ide at flytte hannerne til at andet akvarie så snart man kan se at det er hanner. Som med en del andre arter, vil underlegne hannerne ikke vise deres køn hvis der er en dominerende han i flokken. Når han er væk popper der en anden frem osv.

Generelt må man sige at Betta albimarginata i det daglige ikke er noget festfyrværkeri. Den er stille og rolig og virker i mange sammenhænge temmelig reserveret uden at den dog på nogen måde virker sky over for akvaristen. Til gengæld opvejer den dog til fulde sin lidt stille natur, ved at være en meget spændende fisk at opdrætte og den har i hvert fald givet mig et par ekstra går hår.

The female seemed a bit confused and you can hardly blame her. More than four weeks on her own and then suddenly she finds herself tossed into a tank along with an ardent lover. After half an hour she was on top of the situation again and the spawning began in the slow way that many mouth brooding Bettas mate. It must be like watching The World Cup final in football all in super slow motion. On one hand you are dying to see what is happening but on the other hand you are also bored stiff.

The female changed her colours and markings constantly during the mating but otherwise she didn’t seem to be dominated by the male in the same way as you often see happening with the bubblenest-builders. Actually it looked as if she was the one who controlled it all.

After 6-8 hours the colours on the male had faded and his throat pouch was full of eggs. Since I didn’t want to feed the female in the small 12-litre tank, I removed her immediately after they finished mating. In a lager tank it is no problem to leave the female in the tank with the male for the first 4-5 days. By then she will have produced new eggs and will start to disturb the male and then she will have to be moved away from him.

Also this spawn was released as planned. This time on the twelfth day and in the same manner. I succeeded in getting them to spawn a third time and I was beginning to think that I had found a fish that was easier to breed than the guppy. I would soon find out that it wasn’t so.

One day I discovered that the fry from the first spawn were sick. It was a disease that to me looked like Oodinium. I gave them the medicine Odimor according to the instructions in the packet but within 48 hours they were all dead. At the time I was not too worried. I still had the fry from the other spawnings, but unfortunately the disease wasn’t a one off experience. Out of the four spawnings that I have had so far, three of them have died the same way: Always at the age of nine to eleven weeks and always from the same disease. I’ve been told that the disease is very similar to the one that adult Betta macrostoma sometimes get infected with and that it should be curable with ½ doses of Tetra’s General Tonic and ½ doses of Tetra’s ContraIck. I haven’t tested it yet, but I would love the cure to be effective.

The fry from the second spawning made it though the critical period without any problems and they grew up to become strong and very healthy fish. They grew slowly but steadily and today at the age of six months they are about 4 cm (1.6″). Like their parents they eat any live food that will fit in their mouths and most kinds of frozen foods.

While the fry are growing up it is a good idea to remove the males as soon as it is possible to identify them. Often other males won’t show their gender until the largest and most dominant male has been removed. Then the second largest will become the dominant male and show his gender and so on.

Overall you can say that Betta albimarginata is not exactly a “firecracker” in its everyday life. It’s a quiet little fish with a reserved nature, but without any kind of shyness. But seeing them mate is an event that I would hate to be without. The whole concept of mouth brooding Bettas never ceases to amaze me, and Betta albimarginata are probably the most colourful of them all while they mate. Raising the fry to adult size has been a challenge to me but maybe you will have better luck.

I would like to thank Barbara Brown and Pernille Impey for editing the story.

Kilder og link:

Aqualog: all Labyrinths, 1997
Labyrinthfische, farbe im akvarium.
H. Linke 1998. Tetra Verlag
http://www.weichwasserfische.de
/betta.htm

References and links:

Aqualog: all Labyrinths, 1997
Labyrinthfische, farbe im akvarium.
H. Linke 1998. Tetra Verlag
http://www.weichwasserfische.de
/betta.htm