Betta pallifina

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Stefan van der Voort looks at the rarely seen Betta pallifina.

Scientific name: Betta pallifina Tan and Ng, 2005

Origin: Kalimantan Tengah, Indonesia.

Size: Over 10cm/4".

Diet: Frozen and live foods. You could also try granular foods.

Water: This fighting fish comes from hillstreams in slower flowing areas with clear to tea-coloured water. The pH is around 6.6, but can reach higher values, with a temperature of 26C. Needless to say one must aim for similar conditions in the aquarium. Remember to keep the hardness level down - around 3 GH should do.

Aquarium: Betta pallifina requires a large tank; 60cm/24" for one pair or 75cm/30" or more for two pairs. They are not suitable for a community tank. Decorate the tank with plants and bogwood so have hideouts to retreat to.

Breeding: This species was only described in 2005 and has not yet been bred in captivity. The species is probably a paternal mouthbrooder. In other species eggs and sperm are released an embrace and the female gathers the eggs and spits them towards the male. Spawning can take several hours. The male will find a quite retreat to brood the eggs, which usually hatch in three days. The male continues to brood the fry for around 17 days, depending on temperature. The fish should be kept on its own for breeding, but it is not yet known whether the adults will predate on their own fry. The fry of other paternal mouthbrooding Betta species are typicaly around 5mm when released. They can take nauplii, microworms and infusoria.

Notes: Little is known about how to keep this recently described Betta, so it is not recommended for the inexperienced fishkeeper.

Adult colouration: Body is brownish with a soft bluish-green shine, a black spot on the caudal peduncle, opercle with bright blue-greenish iridescence which is also present on the gular area, two black stripes on the throat far below the lower lip. Unpaired fins are bluish with dark spots, dorsal fin with an iridescent blue-green margin. Pelvic fins are greenish. Females are similar, but have a distinct bluish outer margins on the anal and caudal fins and characteristic orange inner margins in the anal and caudal fin. Females lack the strong blue-greenish scales on opercle and throat.

Availability: This is a very rare species in the hobby. These fish were imported by Pier Aquatics in Wigan and are believed to be the first to enter Europe.

Price: On sale at £60.00 a pair.

This article was first published in the January 2007 issue of Practical Fishkeeping. Photo by Yau Lee Vui.