Green throat mouthbrooder, Betta chloropharynx

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Stefan van der Voort on the very rarely seen anabantoid Betta chloropharynx.

Common name: Green throat mouthbrooder

Scientific name: Betta chloropharynx Kottelat and Ng, 1994

Origin: Bangka, Indonesia; Jambi, Sumatra.

Size: About 12-14cm/4.7-5.5" in males, females may stay a bit smaller.

Water: Betta chloropharynx is a blackwater species. It needs a pH between 4.5 and 5.5 with a low GH and KH of 0-2. The water mustn't be too warm; anything between 23-26 degrees Celsius is fine. Providing the tank with 30% weekly water changes is extremely important to keep this large Betta happy.

Aquarium: Needs a medium sized tank due to its size. A small group of five can be kept in a 60 x 30 x 30 cm/24" x 12" x 12" tank, but it might be better to have at least a tank measuring 75cm/30". The height of the tank is not terribly important.

Betta are known to be aggressive so a well decorated tank is beneficial. Decorate the tank with Java fern, Anubias, Java moss, Cryptocoryne and Pistia and smooth wood and stones.

Diet: Eats most foods, as long as it's not flake; bloodworm, glassworm, Artemia, Krill, Mysis, house crickets and other insects. Live and frozen foods will be readily taken.

Breeding: As far as I know, I am the only person to have spawned this species to date. They are paternal mouthbrooders, meaning the male will brood the eggs. During the embrace, the male wraps himself around the female and eggs and sperm are released. The female gathers the eggs and shoots them towards the male's mouth. If he is fast enough he'll catch them; if not, the female quickly takes possession over the eggs again, the next attempt not far away.

Once the male has all the eggs in his mouth he'll find a quiet place. Amazingly, both fish will continue to feed during mouthbrooding. After about 19 days, depending on the temperature, the male will release the fry. These are not eaten by the parents. My first spawning resulted in over 110 fry - not a small number. These are large enough to accept brineshrimp nauplii and other small foods. The young should grow up pretty quickly, resembling their parents in colour patterns in a small matter of months.

Notes: Like all Betta species they are definitely not suitable for a community tank but instead require a species tank.

Betta chloropharnyx have an interesting throat marking which actually can be used to identify the different species of a species group within the genus itself. Betta chloropharynx shows a figure-eight lying on its side while others show for example the symbol pi, a horseshoe, a kidney shaped marking and so on.

Adult colouration: Betta chloropharynx is not a colourful species. It has a brownish body colour that may possess a purple like shine. The head can be dark with black spots and a nicely green coloured throat, a fact making this Betta unique to its species group. The fins are hyaline most of the time and show a faint bluish shine, the pelvic fins are cream coloured. The caudal and dorsal fin have a black ladder barring on them, usually not too distinct. When scared the body turns pale with irregularly shaped brown-blackish patches, the fins become a dark brownish. Females are coloured the same, but perhaps with a less strong green colour on their throats.

Availability: Extremely rare in shops and in hobbyist circles. These fish were on sale at BAS in Bolton and might be the very first European import.

Price: 9 each.