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Betta picta: Not Very Beautiful, But Interesting Nonetheless
by Gerald Griffin (Sep/Oct 1988)

Betta picta has been with Betta hobbyists for years now but is still not a very popular Betta. They are easy to breed, generally not too fussy about their environment, and a very peaceful fish. The main reason is probably that many just can not get excited by watching a drab colored fish that spends most of its time hiding away under the rocks and behind the plants.

Betta picta are interesting because of being a mouthbrooding Betta. The color of the fish is generally a light brown or cream, overlaid with a dark blotching pattern in females. Three stripes are visible on the body, which is why the fish have the synonym trifasciata. The male of the species is quite colorful when breeding or in a confrontation. The males have a very large stripe on the anal fin which varies from peacock to almost black in color. They also have a pastel red to maroon coloration in the anal and caudal fins, and some carry the color on their body as well.

Betta picta breed in the typical mouthbrooder fashion in which they embrace at the bottom of the tank and the female collects the eggs in her mouth then spits them at the male and he, in turn, gathers them from the female. This species is not very aggressive as far as the males are concerned, but the females are quite a bit nasty toward each other. From personal experience, I have seen two females fight and draw blood just so the winner could spawn with the male that was in the tank with them. One of my favorite spawns was a pair in a species tank that were spawning and an intruder female saw the spawning and chased the spawning female away. She then spawned with the male. Afterwards, I placed him in a breeder tank and ten days later there were 67 babies in the tank with him.

As far as breeding Betta picta, all that really needs to be done is to feed the breeders heavily for a few days and they will usually spawn. The male will then have what looks to be swollen jaws. The swollen appearance generally goes down on day 5 but the swelling increases to day 10 when he starts to release his young. The male generally incubates from 9 to 11 days. The male releases a few at first and then releases a few at a time until all are released which may take a day or more. The spawns generally range from 30 to 60 per spawn but more are not unheard of.

Betta picta is a very good fish and with time a solid red picta may be available one day. It is a wonder why more people don't try working with picta let alone other wild Bettas.

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