Conditioning Your Pla Kat Thai
Inside scoop from Aqualand on Betta splendens

 
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Roundtail Betta Factoids

Origin

Southeast Asia

Tank Size

Half gallon or larger

Vegetation

Add plants that need low light

Lighting

Low light best

Temperature

70 to 80o

Biggest Threats

Overfeeding, dirty water, velvet, and rough nets

Water

Clean water.  Add a little salt.

LA
Trying to make sure they select the very best roundtails.

LA
Newly arrived bettas get a thorough inspection.

LA
Our orders direct from Thailand (usually 150 bettas) come in these very tiny bags. 


Introduction:  Not everyone prefers the long-finned Betta splendens, better known as the Siamese fighting fish.  In Southeast Asia they prefer the short-finned betta “roundtails” or Pla Kat Thai.   Larger bettas from Viet Nam they call Pla Kat Chien.  Most of our Aqualand bettas come from Thailand, Viet Nam, and Malaysia.  Most of our smaller males and larger females come from local breeders.

Comments:  Bettas live about two years on the average.  Many of the conditioning tips on this page will increase your bettas’ life spans.  We liberally borrowed the secrets of Thai, Laotian, local breeders, and our own experience.  Feel free to use any of these techniques you consider of value to you.  

LA
These little plastic cups need cleaned every three to four days.

Container Size:  Give your bettas ½ gallon or larger bowls.  Smaller containers need more frequent water changes.  We keep ours in six-ounce rose bowls and plastic cups because of space restrictions.  If you keep fewer than a 100, give them more room.

LA
Our Des Moines customers will recognize this guy.  Cam knows his bettas.

Water:  Use aged water.  Add NovAqua.  We like to add one teaspoon of salt per gallon.  Marine salt works best.  Avoid table salt.  It makes your water cloudy.


 

LA
Yes, these leaves are magic.

Indian Almond Leaves:  Southeast Asian betta breeders rave about the benefits of Indian almond leaves.  One square inch per ½ gallon or one leaf per 10-gallon tank works magic.  The tannic and humic acids color the water, drop the pH, and harden the bettas’ scales.  The overall effect enhances their ability to ward off diseases.  We’ve seen the results and were impressed.  Torn fins and injuries heal faster. Definitely use the leaves.  

LA
You don't even need to plant Java lance fern.  Just toss it in their water.

Plants:  Various strains of Java lance fern thrive in betta containers.  Plants provide cover and “eat” some of your betta’s wastes.  Java fern and bolbitis need very little light. 

Substrate:  Decorate your bowls any way you desire.  Bare containers clean more easily.  

LA
Bettas eat very little.  These scoops from Thailand help you feed small amounts.

Foods:  Most breeders provide a variety of pelleted, live, and frozen foods.  Never overfeed.

LA
These non-porous scoops enable you to move your betta without scratching it.

Pouring  (Krok Pla):  Avoid netting bettas.  We find that netting encourages the growth of an impossible-to-cure fungus all over their bodies.  Use a gravy scoop, handmade plastic net, or plastic bowl.  Familiarize your betta with the scoop by dipping water from his tank then pouring it back in.  Daily, scoop him from one container to another.  After a few days, he won’t run from the scoop when you try to move him.

LA
Make your angry stick out of whatever's handy -- like the other end of your food scoop.

Angry Stick:  Some Thai breeders use an “angry stick” to exercise their bettas.  A two-foot dowel with a black tip will work.  Or use the non-writing end of a black ball point pen.  Slowly push the angry stick across the front of your betta’s bowl.  Most bettas learn to enjoy attacking the black tip.  

LA
Carding keeps your bettas from getting used to their neighbors.

Carding:  Put sheets of cardboard between your bowls.  Bettas get bored when kept next to the same neighbors all the time.  Remove the cards several times a day to make your males “flare.”  You can do the same with a mirror.  They flare to warn off other males. You can do the same by moving their bowls around, but it takes more work.

LA
Or put your trainee with a smaller, less aggressive male.

Chasing (Parn Pla):  Scoop your male into a larger container containing a half-dozen smaller females plus some vegetation for them to run behind.  (Most females will not fight back or injure him.)  Allow him to chase them about ½ hour per day. 

 

Teasing (Yawk Pla):  After a week of chasing, put him in a container with a ripe female this time.  He’ll swim around her showing off.  Allow him about five minutes of this fooling around before removing him.  This also helps condition the female for breeding.  She’ll fill up with more eggs and start showing her “I’m ready bars.”  Keep these sessions under five minutes. Meanwhile, his urge to fight increases.

LA

Running Laps (Pun Pla):  Daily, scoop your betta into a large round container – like a plastic bucket or ice cream container.  Swirl the water with a stick or by hand.  Some betta keepers use a power head to swirl the water.  Swirl it slowly or you may tire him. Let him swim laps about five minutes.

Last Word:  Your male is now in perfect condition for fighting or breeding.  LA.

© 2002, © 2003, © 2004, © 2005, © 2006  LA Productions

3600 Sixth Avenue

Corner of Sixth & Euclid Avenues

Des Moines, IA 50313

515 283-0300

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