Betta fish are one of the most popular aquarium fish, and fish keepers love them due to their attractive colorful bodies. Betta Splendens have numerous varieties, and the plakat betta is one of them.
But when most people think of betta fish they envision a fish with long, flowing fins. A plakat betta, however, has shorter dorsal fins. In fact, plakats are actually closer to wild betta Splendens than the Siamese fighting fish you’ll find in your local pet store.
|Plakat betta overview|
|Length||2 to 3 inches|
|Fin and tail shape||Short fins and short D-shaped tail|
|Lifespan||About 3 years|
Plakat betta fish: identification and features
Plakat is a Thai word that means biting fish, an apt name, given the nature of this fiesty tropical fish. Plakat bettas were bred for centuries as a fighting fish. As such, plakat bettas tend to be more aggressive than other betta species.
Plakat bettas are originally found in the tropical waters of Southeast Asia, and belong to the Osphronemidae family and is also called plakat morh, plakat cheen, shortfin betta, Thai betta, wild betta, dragon scale betta, and halfmoon plakat betta.
Plakat betta fish live in slow moving water streams like ponds, rice paddies, floodplains, ditches, and marshes where they make their own territories. These short fin fish flare their fins to display an attack when the other fish does not back off.
Plakat betta fish have a labyrinth organ that enables them to take oxygen from both water and atmospheric air. The fish grows up to 2 to 3 inches in length, and it lives for about three years.
As said earlier, plakat bettas have shorter fins, a stout body, an upturned mouth. Their tail fins have the shape of a Halfmoon or D, and they have an angular jawline. These striking features set the plakat betta fish apart from the rest of the bettas.
Plakat betta fish come in a variety of colors and patterns, just like other betta fish. And due to their short fins, plakat bettas are not prone to fin damage easily.
Plakat betta care
Plakat bettas are native to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, and other Asian regions. These fish are used to living in warmer waters with lots of vegetation, so for them to survive in the aquarium, you must try to replicate their original habitat. Here are some of the common things you should do to keep plakat betta healthy.
Like other betta fish species, plakat bettas also need a larger tank. The minimum tank size to keep this fighting fish is five gallons, although they will be happier in an even bigger tank. Don’t keep them in a vase, fish bowl, or in a smaller tank than five gallons.
Your plakat betta will be stressed if you keep it in a small tank, and it might get more violent. Additionally, if you are keeping it in a community tank, you have to opt for an even larger aquarium. Plakat bettas need their own dwelling space, and frequent encounters with their tank mates will lead to unpleasant tank conditions.
Plakat bettas need warmer water temperatures between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They are tropical fish, which is why keeping them in warmer waters is necessary. If you don’t maintain proper aquarium temperature, your betta will get sick.
Bettas also can’t survive in acidic waters and you must maintain neutral water parameters. The pH level of the betta tank should be no more than 7. Any change in pH will make your fish sick, putting its life at risk.
Plakat bettas love a well decorated tank, so make sure to pay enough attention to that as well. For substrates, you can keep fine gravel and sand to cover the bottom of the aquarium. Since the bettas’ original habitat has heavy vegetation, you have to keep their tank densely planted.
Use lots of live plants like java moss, java fern, Indian almond leaves, floating plants, and Salvinia, Anubias. It’s better not to use fake or plastic plants as their sharp edges can damage the betta’s fins and skin. Bettas often rub their bodies against the substrates or plants, so it’s better to avoid any rough aquarium substrates.
Betta fish need a regular day and night cycle, so don’t forget to turn off the aquarium light after sunset. Avoid using lighting that’s too bright since bettas don’t like very harsh lighting.
Another thing to keep in mind is the water filter. Plakat bettas are used to living in slow moving water, so using a strong filter will harm the fish. Use a soft water filter like a sponge filter to maintain low flow filtration.
Plakat bettas are carnivorous fish, and they are also known as predators. Their original diet involves live foods like micro worms, baby fish, water fleas, seed shrimps, and other small insects.
They consume a high-protein diet; hence you have to provide the plakat betta with live food, insect larvae, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, freeze-dried food like blood worms, or betta fish food pellets.
You should feed the plakat betta only twice daily in small portions. Their feeding time should be no longer than two minutes as these tiny fish don’t need too much food. Overfeeding can make them sick, and you’ll see signs of a bloated stomach or their eyes popping out if you overfeed your betta.
Unless you’re an experienced aquarist, it’s best to keep your plakat betta alone. Plakat bettas are bred to be fighting fish, which is why they don’t get along with most fish species. Also, male plakat bettas show more aggressive tendencies, so never house two male plakat bettas in the same tank.
Male and female betta fish also don’t make very good tank mates—outside of breeding times—as the male plakat betta will chase the female betta once the mating period is over.
If you want to try keeping your plakat betta with other fish species, avoid fin nipping fish or fast swimmers; fin nippers will irritate the plakat bettas and may even damage their fins and fast swimmers will catch the betta’s eye, enticing them to fight. You should also avoid brightly-colored tank mates, as betta fish are more likely to get aggressive with brightly-colored fish.
Plakat bettas spend most of their time at the water’s surface, so bottom dwelling fish like tetras, peaceful barbs, Gouramis, or cory catfish would make suitable tank mates. These will spend most of their time at the tank bottom, so the chances of them coming into the betta’s territory are less.
Moreover, peaceful fish species won’t make the betta feel its space has been invaded, so you can expect a peaceful aquarium environment. But experienced aquarists recommend keeping just a single plakat betta in one tank, which is healthy for both the betta and the other animals.
Breeding plakat bettas is complicated mainly due to their fighting abilities. For successful selective breeding, you’ve to introduce male bettas and female bettas at a young age, but that too has the risk of the female being killed or badly injured.
Moreover, breeding takes a lot of time and patience, and it’s quite expensive as well. You have to be more conscious of the water quality and keep the water temperature and pH at the same level at all times.
But if you want to attempt it, you have to keep the betta fish pair in a breeding tank. The male fish will start building bubble nests at the surface, which is a sign that your pair is ready to breed.
In the mating period, the female changes its color appearing quite dark, and it lays its eggs in the bubble nest. You should remove the female fish as soon as it lays eggs so that the male plakat betta does not attack it.
The male fish works as a guard till the eggs hatch, and the eggs take two to three days to hatch. After the eggs hatch, you should remove the male betta from the breeding tank; otherwise, it will eat the betta fry.
Plakat bettas are one of the best freshwater fish to keep in your home aquarium as long as you can provide a suitable tank atmosphere. We would suggest you keep just one fish so that there is less chaos in the tank.
These standard bettas are a rare find, so whenever you get them from pet stores, make sure to check the fish to ensure it’s a plakat betta and not another species of betta fish. Look for the shorter fins, upturned mouth, and stout body to confirm it’s a plakat!