Betta picta (Sumatra)
By Yohan Fernando
There are currently at least 2 locations for the B. picta – Java and Sumatra. Of these, the population from Java seems to be more widely distributed among the hobbyists. Betta picta is a pretty non-descript fish. It shows some iridescence on the gill area and some reddish brown on the anal fin. Again, like in most Bettas, the male is the more colorful of the sexes.
Last year, I was able to acquire a young pair of B. picta (Sumatra) through a friend from Germany. Much to my surprise, three days after I received them, they spawned. The spawning tank was a 15-gallon with a substrate of fine gravel. Filtration was through a sponge and box filter. The water was a 50-50 mix of regular Milwaukee tap water and de-ionized, peat filtered water. The pH of the water was around 6.6-6.8 and driftwood and Java moss provided cover and ornamentation. Two pairs of B. foerschi (Kubu) and some Corydoras habrosus were the other occupants of this tank.
The pair of B. picta stayed close to each other since I introduced them in to the tank. Courtship began the following day and continued until spawning the day after. These fish spawn very similar to any of the other smaller mouthbrooding Bettas such as B. edithae and B. prima. The mouthbrooding male, with his distended jaw full of eggs, retired inside a clay pot that was turned on its side. After 5 days he was still “holding”, so I moved him in to a 2-½ gallon tank for him to continue his brooding undisturbed by the presence of other fish. I expected him to cough up the eggs while in the net, as this has happened several times while moving B. edithae into brooding tanks. To his credit, he kept his mouth shut and didn’t show any ill effects from the move. On the 12th day after spawning, the male released 36 fry. At this point, I moved the male back into the original tank.
The fry were the size of newborn guppies and took baby brine shrimp immediately. At about 3 months of age, the juvenile B. picta were sexable.
One of the notable aspects of this Betta from Sumatra, at least in my experience, has been the male’s tendency to brood the eggs for the full incubation period rather than eating them, as is the case more often than not with most mouthbrooding Bettas. I have spawned three generations of this line of B. picta and I am happy to say that this trend has carried over. This is a fish that is not very particular about the water conditions, eats both live and flake food, is a ready spawner and will reward its keeper with a group of fry without too much effort.