Names of Exotic Fish | Betta splendens (Siamese fighting fish)

Siamese Fighting Fish - Blue/White Elephant Ear Butterfly male Betta Splendens
Photo provided by Flickr
According to the , a global club for Betta keepers and breeders, no one is sure how long people have kept Bettas in captivity, but the tradition of breeding and fighting them goes back at least a few hundred years in Thailand/Siam. People took note of how the wild fish were highly territorial and attacked other fish that encroached on their space, and began arranging fights between the fish as entertainment.
Siamese Fighting Fish - Green Lavender Dragon Crown tail Betta Splendens
Photo provided by Flickr
As we all should know by now, Betta fish are also known as Siamese Fighting Fish and these teeth play a part in them acquiring that reputation! They will use those small sharp teeth to fight with other fish and rip up the fins of their opponent. Bettas are very territorial, especially male Bettas towards other male bettas – they should never be kept together or these teeth will come out! Betta sometimes will even attack other kinds of fish so you should be very careful about your – fish that are too colorful, have large fins or any that may nibble your betta are a no no. Siamese Fighting Fish - White/Red Butterfly Double Tail Full Moon male Betta Splendens
Photo provided by FlickrThe Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), also known as the betta
Photo provided by FlickrSiamese Fighting Fish - Multi Color Rose Tail Betta Splendens
Photo provided by Flickr
Tips on Keeping the Siamese Fighting Fish
The Siamese fighting fish or “Betta” is one of the most popular of all aquarium fish. There are several reasons for this popularity. First, is their beautiful colors often referred to as “splendid”, thus one of the more popular species Betta splendens. They are in the family of fish called Anabantoids. As such they have a special labyrinth organ that other fish do not. This enables them to get oxygen from the water surface as opposed to using their gills to extract oxygen from the water. Because of this special feature they are able to be kept in a small container or bowl, whereas other tropical fish need a larger aquarium with added filtration. The sales of Bettas have surged in recent years as they’ve become displays in beautiful, ornate vases, bowls and glasses and easily kept on a table top, desk or counter. Accessorizing with fish was not what the people of Siam originally had in mind when they started collecting Bettas prior to the 1800s. Known as , the Bettas of that time were not the same elegant, little fish we see today. With much smaller fins and a dirty greenish-brown hue, they were bred for competitive fighting and not for the fame of their magnificent finnage and colors. Native to Siam, (now Thailand), Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and parts of China, these fish became accustomed to that were often at or above 80 degrees. Imported from today’s Thailand in 1910, this beautiful and dazzling little fish quickly became an American favorite. In 1927, a white Betta was exported to the United States and named Betta Cambodia, but people soon recognized that it was in fact a different color of the Siamese Fighting Fish. Observing the obvious popularity of these fights, the King of Siam started licensing and collecting these fighting fish. In 1840, he gave some of his prized fish to a man who, in turn, gave them to Dr. Theodor Cantor, a medical scientist from Bangor. Describing these fish in an article nine years later, Dr. Cantor gave them the name Macropodus Pugnax. In 1909, Mr. Tate Regan renamed them Betta Splendens, noting that there already was a with the name Dr. Cantor used. It is believed that Mr. Regan got the name from a warrior-like tribe of people named "Bettah". Known as plakat, which means tearing or biting fish, the wild Bettas generally would have short-lived fights of only a few minutes. Nevertheless, once the Siamese started to breed them specifically for fighting, these matches could go on for hours. The winner was determined, not by the wounds he inflicted, but instead by his willingness to continue fighting. The losing fish retreated and the match was over. Destruction to the families of the men betting on the fish was also substantial, with potential losses as great as his money, his house, and on occasion, his wife or other family members!
There is not a really difference between bettas and Siamese fighting fish. The general term Betta can refer to any number of species of fish all known as bettas. Siamese fighting fish are specifically betta splendens (the beautifully colored bettas). Early in their development, they were fought against each other for sport and status.