Betta Patoti, a Great Wild Betta
By Gordon Snelling
Betta patoti is one of the larger species of betta, belonging to the unimaculata group. This group is comprised of generally large and admittedly not overly attractive species. The one species in this group, which is the exception to this rule, is B. macrostoma.
However what the members of this group lack in bright colors they make up for with some of the more interesting personalities and behaviors. The following species make up the unimaculata group. I strongly suspect that when all is said and done this number will increase greatly as new species are found. I also believe that this group of fish will be separated out of the genus Betta into a genus of their own.
Betta compuncta Tan & Ng, 2006
Betta gladiator Tan & Ng, 2005
Betta ideii Tan & Ng, 2006
Betta macrostoma Regan 1910
Betta ocellata de Beaufort, 1933
Betta pallifina Tan & Ng, 2005
Betta patoti Weber & de Beaufort 1922
Betta unimaculata (Popta 1905)
Of these species Betta patoti is probably one of the most commonly available, which isn’t saying much. This native of Indonesia, reaches close to 5 inches in length when fully mature. Unlike many of the wild Bettas, this species is quite tolerant of a wide range of water conditions and as long as you provide it with clean water will prove to be a very hardy aquarium inhabitant. Like many of the wild bettas this species requires temperatures a little lower than one would expect from a group that is often considered tropical in origin. Temperatures in the mid to upper seventies are ideal for this species.
Betta patoti will take a wide variety of food and as is common with most aquarium fish if they can catch and swallow it, they will eat it. Diets heavy in live black worms should be avoided however as this food item seems to cause trouble for most bettas if fed these exclusively. For best results they should be give a varied diet. One must be careful at feeding time as these fish are voracious eaters and it is not uncommon for them to jump out of the tanks in their eagerness to get to the food. They will even grab a hold of fingers when going after the food. Keep in mind as well that like all wild bettas these are phenomenal escape artists and will find the smallest crack in the covering of their housing. They must be kept tightly sealed or you will find your fish as little dried up corpses on the floor in no time flat. Providing the fish with plenty of secure cover in the tank in the form of plants and drift wood, as well as floating plants will help reduce the incidence of death by jumping, but it is no substitute for a good tight top.
If you are looking for a good way to help mimic natural water conditions for your betta, try Attison's Betta Spa . It is easier than adding almond or oak leaves to the aquarium and does the same thing. We have had very good success with it.
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Breeding Betta Patoti
If well fed and given an environment to its liking Betta patoti is fairly easy to breed. Sexes are fairly similar in coloration and finnage but the males will be a bit more intensely colored esp at breeding time and may show pronounced lateral banding which the female does not have. In my experience breeding generally takes place during evening hours and may last for several hours during which time the female will release her eggs for fertilization by the male. Spawning behavior is typical of most anabantoids with the male embracing the female at which time the eggs are released and fertilized. The eggs are then picked up by either the male or female, if picked up by the female they are spat back out in front of the male who then will pick them up and retain them in his mouth. Unlike the commonly seen B. splendens this species does not build a bubble nest but instead is a mouth brooder, with the male brooding the eggs from 12-17 days, with 14 days being the average. Many people suggest separating the female from the brooding male but I have never found leaving them together to be a problem. The males like other members of this species group are prone to eat the eggs at about day three of brooding. No one knows why this occurs, however removing or leaving the female seems to make no difference as to whether or not the male will swallow the eggs. Once a male begins successfully holding the eggs they are usually model parents, however some males just never do get it and will continue to swallow the eggs throughout their lives. The fry when finally released are quite large and can easily take newly hatched brine shrimp or other small organisms. The parents generally do not eat the fry. I have noticed though that if the tank space is on the small side the parents will attack and eat the fry as they approach a new spawning event and it is suggested that the young be removed if your housing is less spacious. 20 gallons is minimum for a pair, larger is recommended esp. if you are keeping more than one pair together.
Betta patoti seems to be less prone to the females over breeding the males as is so common with many of the smaller species, however the male should still be given a rest period after release of the fry before allowing him to breed again. Because of their relatively non-aggressive nature this species may be a good candidate for group spawning. Ideally one female to several males would form the breeding group. Keep in mind though in this case a 40-60 gallon tank with plenty of cover is going to be essential. All in all, this species is well worth the effort, and expense to devote a tank to if you should happen to come across them.
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