Betta burdigala

By Yohan Fernando

This wine red colored Betta gets its name from the French city of Bordeaux, which is renowned for its red wine. Betta burdigala is a relatively new fish to the hobby and the first specimens were caught in Banka. The strain that I currently keep comes from Kubu, Bharat. This small, slender bodied Betta belongs to the coccina group. While this fish maintains the wine-red color that is characteristic of most of the Bettas in the coccina group, it is distinguishable from the others in this group by the green speckling on its scales and fins. The sexes are discernable by the size and shape of the dorsal, anal and caudal fins. The males have elongated dorsal and anal fins. The females are slightly duller in color and will display an ovipositor when mature. Also, the male tends to be the more aggressive of the sexes and is slightly larger in overall size as well.

I recommend keeping Betta burdigala in pairs and not as groups or in community tanks. They require soft, acidic water, so I keep mine in de-ionized, peat filtered water with a pH value between 5.5-6.0. My tanks are maintained at a water temperature of 80°F. I breed B. Burdigala in 5 ½ gallon tanks. Light aeration through a sponge filter, a few clumps of java moss, several dried oak leaves and a clay pot complete the necessary furnishings to make them comfortable in the home aquaria. They thrive on a variety of live foods, with white worms being a favorite.

While B. burdigala are not as prolific as some of the other Bettas in the “coccina group”, such as B. tussyae, they seem to spawn in the same manner. A partial water change can induce spawning. This fish prefers a tank with a water level below five inches. Because they are a bubblenesting fish, I use a floating nesting site made from two 1 ½ inch diameter PVC pipes siliconed to a rectangular piece of polystyrene to encourage spawning. Male B. burdigala are not known form their nest building capabilities – a few bubbles seem to be an adequate nest for them.

My first two attempts at spawning this fish were frustrating because both the male and the female elected to eat the eggs. Thank goodness, a change of heart followed and they have raised several spawns since then. Eggs of this fish can be raised artificially, but this is not recommended. I have found that Acriflavine added as a fungicide has yielded a good hatch rate. In my experience, the eggs of B. burdigala took between 36-72 hours to hatch at a water temperature of 80°F. They are also very slow developing and will reach the free-swimming stage only after about 4-5 days. I am curious to know whether other hobbyists who are keeping B. burdigala currently have had similar experiences. Feeding and caring for the fry is the same as for the other small, bubblenesting Bettas.

B. burdigala is an attractive fish and males, especially in their courtship attire, will display and show-off their true colors. Since this fish is relatively new to the hobby, its distribution has been limited. As distribution increases, I believe this fish’s popularity will rise and it will take its place alongside Betta coccina as one of the more sough-out dwarf bubblenesters.