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Betta pugnax
Cantor 1849

Betta pugnax male
Betta pugnax male [3]

More Photos

Keeping Betta pugnax in Captivity from an Aquarists view

Housing Betta pugnax can be housed in pairs, species tanks and community tanks.  Pairs should be housed in a minimum of 10 gallon however a 20 gallon is preferable.  Pairs should have cover such as caves and plants.  In a species or pair tank fry could be discovered in the tanks.  For best results remove brooding males or all other fish.
Water Conditions Not critical, pugnax is very tolerant of water chemistry as long as the water is well filtered and clean.  Should be kept in mid 70s F however will tolerate water from mid 60s to 80s.
Sexing Males have a broader head then females and much longer pelvic fins and will have spikes on the anal and caudal fins.  Males will also develop "green cheek flashes".


Reproduction Pugnax is a paternal mouthbrooder and the males incubate for around 12 to 15 days with 14 days being very consistent at mid 70s F. 
Similar Species All Pugnax Complex Species
Identification Location and Morphological properties.  Different locations can vary widely on physical appearance.

Articles on Betta pugnax


Articles on related species

Betta enisae, a "New" Species of Mouthbrooding Betta  Michael Hellwig, 2002

General Articles on Betta species

I’ve Got a New Mouthbrooding Betta – Now What?  Michael Hellwig, 2003

Original Citation Cantor, T. E. 1849. [34]

Welcomme, R.L., 1988. [112]
Baensch, H.A. and R. Riehl, 1991. [25]
Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea and W.B. Scott, 1991. [88]
Grabda, E. and T. Heese, 1991. [45]
Eldredge, L.G., 1994. [39]
Nielsen, J.G., 1981. [76]
Lim, K.K.P. and P.K.L. Ng, 1990. [63]
Tan, H.H. and S.H. Tan, 1996. [106]
Kottelat, M. and A.J. Whitten, 1996. [114]
Lever, C., 1996. [62]
Riehl, R. and H.A. Baensch, 1996. [86]
Schliewen, U., 1992. [94]
Kottelat, M., 1985. [57]
Panitvong, Nonn. 2001. [78]
Liebetrau, Sue. 1975.[122]
Liebetrau, Sue. 1975. [123]
Liebetrau, Sue. 1975. [124]
Liebetrau, Sue. 1975 [125]

Type Locality Pinang [Penang], Malaysia.
Syntype BMNH 1860.3.19.317-318 (2, skins)
BMNH 1860.3.19.930 (1)
Where Found


Guam (Introduced)

Known Occurrences: Brunei Darsm: Belait District; Sungai Arang Trib. Stream Of Ulubelait, Downstream From Sg. Tempine And Sg. Jagit.
Brunei Darsm: Daerah Belait: Sungai Pang, Trib. Of Sungai Belait,Downstream From Kampung Sukang. (Photographs Taken Ofstream).
Brunei Darsm: Daerah Belait: Trib. Of Ulu Ingei Just Below Hotsprings. (Photographs Taken Of Habitat And Hot Springs).
Brunei Darsm: Daerah Belait: Trib. Stream Of Ulu Belait Thatenters Ulu Belait Downstream From Lubok Tapah, Betweenmarkers 1042 And
Brunei Darsm: Oxbow Lake Off Ulu Godangungan, (Lugan Godangungan),Trib. Of Sungai Belait.
Brunei Darsm: Stream Through Kerangas (Heath) Forest, Trib. Ofulu Ingei, Between Markers 1028 And 1029.
Brunei Darsm: Sungai Bau, Trib. Stream Of Sungai Belait, Upstreamfrom Kg Melilas. Small Partially Shaded Rainforesttributary Stream
Brunei Darsm: Sungei Jagit, Trib. Stream Of Sungei Belait,Downstream From Kg Melilas.
Brunei Darsm: Trib. Stream Of Sungai Belait Between Ulu Penepirand Kampung Melilas.Small Rainforest Stream, Waterextremely Low. Sei
Brunei Darsm: Ulu Topi, Trib. Stream That Enters The Main Channelfrom The Right Bank.
Cambodia: Kirikum
Cambodia: Sihanoukville
Cambodia: Stung Treng
Indonesia: Borneo: Small Forested Stream, 3-5 M Wide And 1 M Deep,Where It Flows Into Sungai Mandai 2-3 Km Upstream From Itsconfluence Wi (0 N 112 E )
Indonesia: Indrapura Estate, O.-Sumatra, Indonesien
Indonesia: Kalimantan: Putussibau (0 48.0 N 112 47.0 E)
Indonesia: Kapuas, Borneo
Indonesia: Somgei Lalah, Indragiri, Sumatra, Indonesien
Indonesia: Sumatra: Lake Prapat, Toba
Indonesia: Tandjong, O.-Sumatra, Indonesien
Malaysia: (Malay Peninsula) Mawai District, Johore. 50-60 Miles N. Ofsingapore.
Malaysia: 100 km, südlich Kwala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia: 14.75 miles east of Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia: 18 miles northeast of Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia: 2 miles north of Sauk.
Malaysia: 5 miles north of Kota Tinggi.
Malaysia: 50-60 miles north of Singapore.
Malaysia: 8 miles north of Kota Tinggi.
Malaysia: Baram River
Malaysia: Botanic Garden, Pinang
Malaysia: Drainage canals, Mawai Estate, Kota Tinggi, Johore
Malaysia: Forest Pool Near Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, F.M.S., Junglepool
Malaysia: Gunong Pulai, stream flowing into reservoir.
Malaysia: Johore
Malaysia: Kota Tinggi
Malaysia: Kwala Jelai
Malaysia: Kwala Lumpur
Malaysia: Malay Penninsula: Gunong Pulai-Johore
Malaysia: Poeh, Sarawak
Malaysia: Pool formed by road building 56 km. S. of Kota Tinggi on road to Kg. S. Rangit
Malaysia: River Kahang just N. of the small town of Kahang 1 km. Aapproximately
Malaysia: Sarawak River, (Senah branch)
Malaysia: Simpang Rengam
Malaysia: Stream between Pineapple plantations on S.W. side of road Johor Bahru to Pontian near 14 km. Roadsign
Malaysia: Stream under road ½ mile before the Lombong waterfall resqrt.
Malaysia: Stream under road from Mersing to Kota Tinggi, 26 km. N. of Kota Inggi
Malaysia: Stream under road Johor Bahru to Pontian 21 km. From Pontian and just E. of Pekan Nenas
Malaysia: Tapah Fisheries Station. Malaysia: Temerloh, Perak
Malaysia: West Malaysia: Small Forest Tributaries Of Sungai Sedilibesar, 6-14 Miles N Of Kota Tinggi (On The Road To Mersing), Johore
Singapore: Mandai Road.
Singapore: Sungei Bajau, Pasir Laba road
Singapore: Sungei, Kahang, Kahang Village, Kluang, Jemeluang Road, Kluang District, Johore
Thailand: Siam, Penin: Klong Nakon Noi Nakon Sritamarat
Thailand: Small canal in rubber plantation, about 30 km southeast of Trang city (Palian dist., Changwat Trang).
Thailand: Stream Near Patalung
Miscellaneous Information Max Size: 12.0 cm TL
pH range:

5.0 - 6.0

dH range: 5.0 - 12.0
Temperature range: 24 - 28°C
Biotope: Occurs in small fast flowing forest streams [63] Inhabits overhanging bank vegetation, submerged leaf litter and exposed roots of bank vegetation. [106]
Reproduction: Mouthbrooder. Spawns in a depression on the substrate. Male broods the eggs in his mouth until hatching [63]. Produces a minimum of 100 eggs. [25]
General notes: "[Writing about the synonym Betta brederi Myers, 1935] A length of six inches is not uncommon. The color is typical too: dark green spangles over brown…The female frequently shows a strong striped pattern (horizontal), especially at spawning time…the dorsal fin tends to be pointed in both sexes, but that of the male has been described as "spear-like" and may be used as a sexing distinction. The male's anal fin is more pointed…with extended fin rays at the point. His tail too, comes more to a point than the female's…He may brood up to 40 eggs, and that is a mouthful…The eggs supposedly hatch in about three days. Then, he broods the fry in his mouth for another 14 days." [122]

"Betta pugnax is another mouthbrooder. Dr. William Innes in Exotic Aquarium Fishes, calls [B.] brederi a form of [B.] pugnax, but here is the description from Sterba, 'Sober gray-blue to fine red-brown…Fins yellowish with rows of brown spots…occasionally very attractively colored…strikingly contrasted red-brown colour over the underside of the head and the belly…fins bright red.'" [125]

Last modification submitted by Gerald Griffin 09.09.07

Betta pugnax female Betta pugnax female Betta cf. pugnax
Betta pugnax female
Photo by Atison Phumchoosri [4]
Betta pugnax female [3] Betta cf. pugnax
Photo by TEAM BORNEO [6]
Betta cf. pugnax
Photo by Tony Terceira [11]

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