Betta picta

Carolyn Hanlon 2007

     It’s been some years since I kept and bred these fish, but I remember them well, and I liked them and am getting them back (an aside to the rest of the aquarists: if you have a fish you like, don’t let them get away from you. It’s sometimes tough to get them back.) As I recall, they were pleasant to keep, and easy to breed.

They are a male mouthbrooder, and not aggressive. I kept them in a group of 6 to 8 fish (can’t remember exactly) in a 7 gallon tank at my basement temperature, which was 72 to 75 degrees at that time. When the fish bred, the females initiated the breeding. They wrapped at the bottom of the tank, then the female picked up the eggs and spit them into the male’s mouth. It is easy to tell when a male is carrying, he has an obvious bulge under his throat. I allowed the male to carry for 24 to 48 hours in the group tank, then I moved him to a separate 2 ½ gallon tank to finish brooding in private. I never had a male swallow if I allowed him to start to brood, then moved him. In fact, I had a male jump, and I found him half dried up 6 feet from the tank he jumped out of. He still had a mouthful of eggs, and he finished carrying successfully. My usual spawns were 20 or so fry, and I never had a male show any further care after he released the fry. The babies are able to take baby brine shrimp or crumbled flake food immediately. By the way, the adults ate flake, frozen, live, or freeze-dried food and were not picky, as long as there was a lot of it! They were hearty eaters!

I highly recommend these as a “starter” wild-type betta.