In the past few years, I have kept and bred quite a number of wild bettas. Everything from the peaceful and prolific Betta channoides, to the striking and sought after Betta persephone.
However, the days when I had endless (at least it seemed endless whenever water change day rolled around) tanks filled with wild bettas, are gone.
I have recently sold my breeding pair of both Betta hendra and Betta brownorum. My last remaining Betta uberis pair are up for sale, and once they have moved onto a new home, it will leave me with only three species from the coccina complex.
At this point in time, I intend on working exclusively with my persephone and rutilans sp. green lines. Both groups of burdigala have been relegated to pet status only, as I have no interest in going any further with them. I have sold a number of sub-adults from my wild-caught pair, so hopefully they go forth and propagate.
I had to admit, it was nice to only have to spend less than an hour cleaning tanks yesterday, rather than the two hours or more it used to take.
I know there will always be a part of me that is like 'Collect all the coccina species!!1', but at the present time my interests lie elsewhere.
Really, the only other species of wild betta I have any interest in adding to my collection, is Betta livida. If I could get my hands on a pair of those, I would be a very happy fish keeper.
Maybe someday I will get more fully back into keeping wild bettas. However, for now their main purpose in my fish room, is to eat me out of house and home, and pose for the occasional photo.
With the afternoon sun streaming through my window and lighting this tank up beautifully, I couldn't resist trying to capture some of my Betta rutilans sp. green on camera. They are notoriously tricky to photograph and so this was the best I could do while the lighting was in agreement with me.
I am planning on putting this group together with their older siblings in one of my 60cm tanks once I get my proper fish racks set up downstairs.
Well I decided to cull out nearly all of my juveniles in the ich infected grow-out. It was a horrible decision to have to make, and I think there is nothing worse for a breeder of wild bettas, than to have to cull stock that could otherwise have been a valuable asset to a Species Maintenance Program.
I have eleven fish left. I don't believe I have any hendra juveniles at all. They seemed to be the worst affected and along with the ich, had been extremely emaciated.
Those left are the biggest (some are nearly fully grown) of the group along with several smaller burdigala females that I wanted to hold onto.
They have since been moved to a smaller, more fish friendly hospital tank but I am really at a loss as to how to treat this parasite. I have tried heat, salt, copper treatments, formalin treatments and nothing seems to kill it off. In fact it looks worse now than it did before!
I am so hoping that I can find a way to cure this. I would hate to have to cull these remaining survivors after they have put in such a long struggle already.
In one of my Betta burdigala tanks, I make no move to interfere with any of the fry that are produced by the adults in there. While I often don't end up with a large number of fry, I do get to see how the individuals (especially the younger fish) within this family group interact with each other.
I particularly enjoy watching the changes in behaviour as each fry matures. Juvenile and sub-adult males in particular seem to spend a lot of time flexing their muscles and 'asserting' their dominance over the other fish in the tank. Unfortunately, when you are at most half the size of your older siblings and parents, you tend to not get the kind of respect you think you deserve.
All these photos are of a single juvenile male in my burdigala tank. He is the largest juvenile presently and as such dedicates a lot of time and effort into bullying his younger siblings. Oddly enough, the two adult males in the tank seem completely oblivious to his presence. It is usually his mother and adult sister who put him back in his place with perhaps slightly more force than is necessary.
I am just hoping that if any more fry appear in the next few months that they are female. With the four most recent juveniles already looking like definite males, the original female and her four daughters are going to have their hands (or fins) full with this lot!
Here's some fish I haven't talked about in a while, my group of Betta rutilans sp. 'green' sub-adults.
I have found this to be a relatively slow maturing species, and as this group suffered through some trials and tribulations when they were younger, their growth isn't as fast as it otherwise might have been.
There are I believe 18 individuals in a 30x30x30cm tank. There is a lot of cover as I have found this species to be quite aggressive when the mood takes them.
I find this species extremely difficult to sex. Particularly when they are this size. I believe based on ventrals and fins I may have a couple of females, but until I saw them actually wrapping I would never state it with 100% certainty!
This is one of the handful of wild betta species I will be continuing to keep. This was the first species of wild betta I managed to successfully spawn, and these 18 sub-adults are the last spawn I have from my original female.
Their physical difference to the standard 'red' Betta rutilans coupled with my male's tendency to mouthbrood, makes them a ratherand unusual addition to my fish room. I also do have a bit of a soft spot for them, as I remember how small and shy the original pair was when I first got them. Although, they didn't have to stay long with me to become behemoths.
I have noticed these crop up on the Aquarium Industries stock list, so if you can, I would highly recommend sourcing some through your LFS. They are a ripper of a fish and great for those dipping their toes (or in this hobby more like plunging head-first ) into the coccina complex.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, I currently keep and breed a number of species from the coccina complex.