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Betta splendens

This week, the Fish of the Week title goes to the fantastically flamboyant Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta splendens), which is native to the Mekong Basin of Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. As an air-breathing fish, they will sometimes be seen taking gulps of air from the surface of the water.  The two sexes can be easily differentiated. Males have much larger fins than females and because of this, they are noticeably bigger. Both male and female species are available in a huge range of colours and variations, with some displaying two-toned patterns (like the male shown in this image). As the name suggests, male Siamese Fighting Fish are very aggressive: if two males are together in the same aquarium, they will fight until the weaker of the two has died. Unfortunately, this trait has meant that these fish have been used in the past for gambling, with two males being put together to fight, and bets being placed on which one would win. Thankfully, in more enlightened times, their popularity is more due to their manageable size (growing to a length of about 6.5cm in length from head to tail) and their vibrant colours. Provided you don’t keep two males together and don’t house them with prolific fin nippers (such as tiger barbs), these otherwise peaceful fish with their large, flowing fins will be sure to give your aquarium the wow factor!

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Tagged in: Fish of the Week Archive - Freshwater