TheÂ Siamese fighting fish,Â also known as theÂ bettaÂ (particularly in the US), is a popularÂ speciesÂ ofÂ freshwaterÂ aquariumÂ fish. The name of the genus is derived fromÂ ikan bettah,Â taken from a local dialect of Malay.Â The wild ancestors of this fish are native to the rice paddies ofÂ Thailand,Â MalaysiaÂ andÂ CambodiaÂ and are calledÂ pla-kadÂ inÂ ThaiÂ orÂ trey kremÂ inÂ Khmer.
The people of Siam (nowÂ Thailand) originally started collecting these fish, known as “pla kat,” which means tearing or biting fish, prior to the 19th century.
In the wild, bettas spar for only a few minutes or so before one fish backs off. Bred specifically for fighting, domesticated betta matches can go on for much longer, with winners determined by a willingness to continue fighting. Once one fish retreats, the match is over. Large amounts of money are wagered during these fights, with potential losses as great as a person’s home.
Seeing the popularity of these fights, the King of Siam started licensing and collecting these fighting fish. In 1840, he gave some of his prized fish to a man who, in turn, gave them to Dr. Theodor Cantor, a medical scientist. Nine years later, Dr. Cantor wrote an article describing them under the name Macropodus Pugnax. In 1909, Mr. Tate Regan realized that there was already a species with the nameÂ Macropodus Pugnax, and renamed the Siamese fighting fish toÂ Betta splendens.
Siamese fighting fish has upturned mouths and are primarilyÂ carnivorousÂ surface feeders, although some vegetable matter may be eaten. In the wild, they feed on zooplankton, crustaceans, theÂ larvaeÂ ofÂ mosquitoesÂ and other water bound insect larvae. Typically,Â commercial betta pelletsÂ are a combination of mashed shrimp meal, wheat flour, fish meal, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and vitamins. These fish will also eat live or frozenÂ bloodworms,Â mosquitoÂ larvae,Â brine shrimpÂ orÂ daphnia.
Hatching brine shrimp is a popular method used by many in the aquarium hobby to obtain live food for their Betta fish.Â Brine shrimp are the easiest live fish food to procure, hatch and cultivate and are particularly nutritious when they are in their early stages still attached to their yolk sack. Some aquarium fish are reluctant to accept dried or flake foods therefore live food is occasionally necessary. Siamese fighting fish tattoo design done in morbid tattoo parlor in cash and carry mall Makati Manila, Philippines.