Blue band betta, Betta enisae

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Andrew Smith of the Anabantoid Association of Great Britain looks at the stunning Betta enisae.

Scientific name: Betta enisae.

Common name: Blue band betta

Origin:Borneo.

Size: 7cm/21/2"

Diet: Aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates. Will do well on flake as well as small earthworms and maggots as conditioners.

Water: Quite happy to be kept in slow-moving or well-filtered water with a pH of around 6.5. Will adapt to most tapwater over time.

Aquarium care: Can be kept in groups in a larger tank where they eventually pair up and then become that bit more territorial. Cooler temperatures seem to keep most mouthbrooders at optimum health - 22C/72F will suffice. Keep five or six young specimens in a 60 x 30 x 30cm/24" x 12" x 12" with plenty of sunken pots and pipes to set up territories and for breeding.

Sexing: Males tend to be larger; females have a more rounded appearance. To sex mouthbrooders, look at the fish's head. In the male it looks more powerful than the female (the male mouthbroods the eggs).

Breeding: The female will initiate the spawning by swimming over and in front of the male, guiding him to the area she has chosen, usually a covered site with a flat surface. It's a good idea for the female to have other fish visible (even if they are in an adjacent tank) to give her something to defend the male against. The fish circle each other and embrace; several may occur before any eggs are visible. The female gathers the eggs and passes them to the male. The whole process can take several hours. The male mouthbroods the eggs for two to three weeks. Released fry can take brineshrimp.

Availability: Imported by Tom Halvorsen (0797 709 8127; www.tomhalvorsen.co.uk).

Price: On sale for 20.

Andrew Smith