Penang Betta (Betta pugnax)

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Penang Betta

Betta pugnax 02.jpg
Penang Betta

Betta pugnax

38 Litres (10 US G.)

10-12 cm (3.9-4.7")




5.0 - 6.0

24 -28 °C (75.2-82.4°F)

5-12 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

3-5 years



Additional names

Penang Betta, Breder's Betta, King Betta, Forest Betta

Additional scientific names

Betta brederi

Sexing[edit | edit source]

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".

Tank compatibility[edit | edit source]

As with just about any other kind of fish, the larger the tank, the better. We would recommend no smaller than a 38-57 Litres (10-15 US G.) tank for a pair of these fish. For a small group, you shouldn't really use anything smaller than a 76 Litres (20 US G.) long.
First of all the tank should be tightly covered. All Bettas are excellent jumpers! They can find the smallest opening and take advantage of it.

Diet[edit | edit source]

Pugnax are top feeders, which is why they have upturned mouths. There diet can consist of floating pellets to flakes, but as with other Bettas they enjoy live foods such as bloodworms and daphnia as well. In addition, they will eat any live food that fits in their mouth! They relish worms of all kinds: whiteworms, blackworms, and red worms of appropriate size. The African Dwarf Red Worms that many Killie hobbyists cultivate are just about bite size for most of the larger mouthbrooders. They can be chopped up and fed as chunks to smaller mouthbrooders. Larger Mouthbrooders will also eat smaller fish.

Feeding regime[edit | edit source]

Mouthbrooding Bettas (such as Betta pugnax) are mostly "lay-in-wait" type predators. They spend much of their time hiding, or just hanging around large objects in the streams, waiting for a meal to float by. When something tempting floats by, or hits the surface, they go after it, swallow it rapidly, then go back to lurking – waiting for their next meal. Even newly caught wild fish will quickly go after quality flake foods, frozen foods, and pellets.

Environment specifics[edit | edit source]

Not critical, Pugnax is very tolerant of water chemistry as long as the water is well filtered and clean. Should be kept in mid 21.1°C (70°F) however will tolerate water from mid 60s to 80s.

Behaviour[edit | edit source]

Betta pugnax are mouthbrooders, that's why it is important to know what mouthbrooding is and why many wild Bettas use it as a breeding strategy. Most people, when they think of Anabantoids in general, and Bettas in particular, think of bubble nests. In fact, the Anabantoids are often all called Bubblenesters! Actually, many species are not bubble-nest builders! The majority of known Betta species are mouthbrooders, and several more are "switch hitters", using either a small bubble nest or mouthbrooding, whichever the situation warrants!
It is widely believed that in Anabantoids, mouthbrooding behaviour evolved from bubble-nest building. A bubble-nest works fine in stagnant water, and is even advantageous – keeping the eggs and developing fry together, safe, and moist while keeping them close to the oxygen-rich atmosphere. When a fish moves into a stream, though, a bubble-nest is very difficult to keep together. Since the male is already manipulating the eggs with his mouth when building a bubble-nest, it is just a short evolutionary hop to keeping the eggs in his mouth all of the time.
In addition, there are other advantages to mouthbrooding. A male bubblenester is tied to the nest and can’t move far from it or he risks loosing the eggs or fry. A male mouthbrooder can move as he needs to in order to keep himself and his brood safe. While he does expend more energy with this reproductive strategy, he also has a greater chance of all or most of his progeny reaching a stage where they can fend for themselves. The awkward and defenceless stage where they would be unable to swim while carrying their yolk sac is avoided. Further, the male is able to keep the eggs well oxygenated by moving a current of water over them with every breath. All around, it is a more efficient reproductive strategy.

Identification[edit | edit source]

A slender elongate Betta fish with a typical upturned mouth. The scales are iridescent and range from green to blue in colour, can appear grey in bad lighting. They can vary in colouration depending on their origin, there are several regional variations. The caudal fin is rounded in the female, but the male's is pointed.

Pictures[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]