Why Does My Betta Fight? Its All in the Breeding!

March 10, 2013

Have ever asked yourself the question, “Why does my betta fight?” In Thailand (formerly Siam) people bet on the outcome of a betta fight, and raising and breeding betta fish (called Pla Kat in Thailand) specifically for fighting has become a nationwide hobby. The increased popularity of this “sport” over the last several hundred years has actually made the betta a much more aggressive fish than nature intended, but shortened the betta lifespan. Let’s take a look at the way breeding has given your beautiful Betta Splendens its fierce nature.

Betta Fish Fighting

Betta Fish Fighting

Ever since American C. Tate Regan named this colorful fish Betta Splendens (splendid betta) in 1909, hundreds of color and fin varieties have been bred, but few know that the color of a betta has a lot to do with how aggressive he is. Going back hundreds of years, a betta’s colors were tracked, and if the offspring of a particular betta were noted to be more aggressive than another, the coloring was noted, and bred then with other bettas of another agressive coloration, creating a particularly nasty fish in an entirely new color variation. Lineage can often be tracked back several generations to a particular color or fin style.

When weaker fish were bred, as they proved to be less aggressive, they were discarded. Nobody wanted weak fish in a betta fight! Because of this, after hundreds of years, the fish you now see in your local pet store are much more aggressive and fighting-inclined than nature intended. Just think, your betta might be the ancestor of a great fighting champion. Hail betta!

Further evidence in favor of the breeding argument is the fact that a betta fight between two Pla Kat Tung (a betta raised in nature) lasts only about fifteen minutes. However, a betta fight between two Pla Kat Mor (commercially grown betta) can last up to six hours.

The best fighters fall into three categories.

1 – Hokmokwai

This betta has a gray-blue/green body and no red coloration in its unpaired fins, with black pelvic fins.

2 – Angchae

The Angchae has a totally green body with its unpaired fins only half red.

3 – Honkamten

This fish is identified by a brown body with rows of green spots and a crescent pattern on the tail fin.

A betta fight generally never leads to death, it is more chasing and nipping, so a healthy fighting fish can be used for years. Pet-store bettas don’t usually live longer than six months, though the betta lifespan can be stretched up to five years if proper steps are taken and the tank is maintained properly. There are basically three secret ingredients to raising a healthy, long-living Siamese fighting fish; tank conditions, proper diagnosis of disease (betta get sick very easily), and tank maintenance.

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