Observations on Betta dimidiate

By Holly Rutan

The males can occasionally fight, although by and large they are social and seem to do better in a group. The fighting is rarely serious — I have had no deaths and only a few fin nips from dominance shuffling.

They need soft water and loads of hiding places. They will dropsy if the water is too hard, and males are more sensitive than females. Keep pH neutral to acidic, TDS below 150.

If the tank is too big, they become shy — 10 gallons so far seems to be optimum. They did NOT do well in a 20, even though it was side to side, end to end thickly planted. I lost 5 or 6 before I experimented with sizing them back down to a 10, and they went from reclusive to social and started eating again (they were starving themselves to death!).

Terra Cotta or PVC caves provide an ideal hiding place for holding males. Holding males seem to favor somewhat tight quarters – black film canisters may prove beneficial for this purpose, as well. I have not tried them.

Mid 70’s (72-76F or 22-25C) seems to be ideal for temp. Note that low temperatures may prolong the holding period for breeding. I have kept these fish in temperatures from 67 to 85 without ill effect or any notable changes in activity levels.

Sub-dominant males will not show male form or finnage until the dominant male is removed. Once the dominant male is removed, the next “tier” of males become sexually mature in about 2 weeks and become breeding ready in 2-3 weeks. So, the breeder must remove males as they become apparent in the grow-out if they wish to create pairs for show or sale.

Betta Dimidiata are not picky eaters, and will easily adapt to frozen or dry foods.

Dim lighting or heavy tannins will reduce stress. Allow floating plants to cover the surface of the water and filter incoming lights, or plant only one side. The breeder may find that algae on the sides of the tank is beneficial, and therefore I recommend manually removing algae on only the viewing panel.

While this species breeds readily once conditions are met, the male will rarely hold to term in a crowded family tank. If the male has held for a full week, he is unlikely to swallow when removed from the community. However, a separate breeding container is to be preferred due to the mechanical difficulty of finding and removing him. It is critical that the male remain undisturbed during the first week of holding, and the female should be removed with as little fuss as possible once breeding has been completed. Breeding facilities should be located in a quiet area, shielded from visual disturbances.

Holly Rutan Dec 2017

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Last update: 05/06/19