Research Paper to Read: (2009) The Siamese fighting fish: Well-known generally but little-known scientifically

Source: Research Gate.

What are the key point here?
(1) There are 55 species of Bettas in Indochina and can be grouped into either nest building or mouth brooding care. Thailand have 10 wild Bettas where 4 are bubble-nest builders and 6 are mouth brooders. (Note: I'm quite surprised and thought TH have more, it seemed MY have even more wild Betta sp.)

(2) More research should be done locally but instead more publications are published by those living overseas with where Betta sp. is not abundance. (Note: Something similar to MY where most publications on Betta sp. came from SG researcher)

Why this paper?
As the common name implies, Siamese fighting fish, also known scientifically Betta sp. is a popular ornamental fish in Thailand. Ornamental fish is a large commercial fish export for Thailand especially Betta sp., which is the top two in term of revenues. There are numerous research paper conducted by Thai researchers to improve the production and conservation of this species. This paper focus on reviewing the general aspect of breeding Betta sp., newer scientific research on genetics of this species, conservation, and which areas should be prioritized by biologists and breeders.

Material and Methods


In Thailand, there are 10 wile Bettas types which are divided into two egg brooding cares of nest building and mouth brooding.

(a) Bubble-nest builder: B. splendens (Regan, 1910), B. smaragdina (Ladiges, 1972), B. imbellis (Ladiges, 1975), and B. sp. Mahachai (has not been classified)

(b) Mouth brooder: B. prima (Kottelat, 1994), B. simplex (Kottelat, 1994), B. pi (Tan, 1998), B. pallida (Schindler & Schmidt, 2004), B. apollon (Schindler & Schmidt, 2006), and B. ferox (Schindler & Schmidt, 2006).

The DNA sequence below illustrates the genetic difference of some of the Betta sp. and Gouramis (Tricopsis and Trichogaster).

The distribution of these wild Bettas as shown in both map below. Fishes are generally found in Paddy fields, marshes, ponds, lagoons, lakes, acidic swamps, streams, and brackish waters. While divulging exact locations may lead to poaching, the are several actual causes that endangered Betta sp. Urbanization, tourism, and agriculture are the main threats to the wild Betta sp. population.

What you're going to do with the knowledge you've gained?
(1) Atison Phumchoosri is a prominent world recognized Thai Betta sp. breeder which have been raising Betta sp. in a grand scale (20000 till 200000 fishes at a time) for many years. As a hobbyist, we don't breed in such scale, but his Thai breeding method is something we can learn from.

(2) Obtain other wild Bettas in MY and try to breed it and compare it with commercially breed Betta sp. and see what the differences. Try look for mouth brooder species.

(3) Investigate whether mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) have effect on male/female ratio.

(4) Besides tropical almond leaf (Terminalia catappa), Yucca plant can be used in breeding tank to get rid of body water like ammonia. Both these plants extract is the active ingredients in Atison's Betta spa by Ocean Nutrition. Investigate on Yucca plant extract as a complementary ingredient when setting up a breeding environment.

(5) Look into publications and researches done by Horst Linke, the famous aquarist.

What are the further unsolved questions?
(1) Is there a distribution map of wild Bettas species in MY?

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