Plakat Bettas make exciting pets to keep and admire. They come in every color and can be truly dazzling, plus they are usually very active, so fascinating to watch.
We’re going to give you some insight into the history of Plakat Bettas and their origin. We’ll also discuss in more detail what they look like and how to differentiate the males from the females. Then we will explain how to take care of them so that your Plakat Betta can live the longest and happiest life possible.
About Plakat Bettas
Plakat Bettas are part of the Betta Splendens family of fish, although they are not as well-known as some of their Betta cousins (e.g., the Koi Betta). They have a less dramatic tail but are still very popular as pets due to the stunning array of colors that they come in.
They originally came from Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. However, they are most prevalent in Thailand, where they are called “Plakad” which means “biting fish” (and this has evolved into “Plakat” in English).
Humans have admired the beauty (and aggression!) of Bettas for more than 150 years. Children would collect the fish in rice paddies and place them together to watch them fight. It wasn’t long until adults got in on the action and started betting on fish in fighting contests to see which fish would win.
Wild Bettas aren’t as pretty as the fish we see in home tanks today. That’s because they were bred over time to look as they do now with their brilliant colors and commanding tails. Plakat Bettas are the preferred fighters of all Betta species because they have a more robust build and shorter body so they can withstand injury better.
Plakat Bettas Vs Long Finned Bettas
There are a few differences between Plakat Bettas and Long Finned Bettas. These have to do with their physical appearance.
In the world of Bettas, Plakat means short-finned. That’s because Plakat Bettas have shorter fins and tail length than Long Finned Bettas. Their shorter fins mean they are faster and more agile.
Plakat Bettas have stronger bodies than Long Finned Bettas, as well as stronger jaws. Aside from having stronger bodies, they are also shorter in length.
Plakat Bettas have a slightly different shaped head to their Long Finned Betta cousins. You will notice that a Plakat Betta’s head draws to a point where it has an upturned mouth.
What Do Plakat Bettas Look Like?
Plakat Bettas come in a vast array of colors because of the intense breeding that has been done over the years. Originally, this species was the least colorful and impressive of the Bettas, however. That’s also due to their smaller fins, although nowadays they are very popular with aquarists everywhere!
Plakat Bettas have extended anal fins, pointy pelvic fins, and a beautiful fan-like dorsal fin. Their dorsal and tail fins feature visible rays. An adult Plakat Betta averages 2-3 inches in length.
Aside from the common Plakat Bettas, there are also Snakehead and Spoonhead varieties. The Snakehead Plakat Bettas are longer and narrower in width giving their bodies a more snake-like appearance, hence the name. The Spoonhead Plakat Bettas have longer ventral and anal fins as well as a sharp curve of the mouth.
Male Plakat Betta
Male Plakat Bettas are much brighter than their female counterparts. They also sport a “beard” (or gill plates) around the side of their head. The male Plakat Bettas are bigger than the females.
Female Plakat Betta
Female Plakat Bettas have a shorter caudal fin than the males of the species. The females will also have an “egg spot” (or ovipositor) when they reach maturity (around 7 months), which looks like a little white spot between the anal and ventral fins. The females will also develop vertical stripes when ready for mating.
How Do You Care For A Plakat Betta?
Caring for your Plakat Betta will mean that it lives a longer and happier life. Luckily, these fish don’t need too much special care, but there are some key points you should follow.
To provide the best care for your Plakat Betta, you should always keep them in a tank above 5 gallons in size. The more space you can provide, the better. If you are going to include a tank buddy, allow at least 2 gallons extra per buddy.
Always have a good water filter like a sponge filter installed in the tank and a heater so that your fish is at its optimum comfort zone (72°F and 82°F).
If you have a tank of 5 gallons or less, a water heater can heat the water up too high, so you can also wrap a blanket or thick towel around the tank for insulation if it’s too cold where you live.
Make sure you feed your Plakat Betta plenty of protein. That’s because these fish are carnivorous, and while they will tolerate plant-based food, it shouldn’t make up the majority of their diet.
You should provide tank decorations, foliage, and suitable tank buddies (if the tank size permits). Plakat Bettas are active, inquisitive fish, so they need plenty of stimulation as well as some privacy in case they ever feel stressed.
What Are The Best Water Parameters For Plakat Bettas
Plakat Bettas are not too fussy when it comes to water compared to some other tropical fish. Having said that, remember they come from the warm rice paddies in Southeast Asia, so they definitely prefer warmer water!
While they are fairly easy to please in regards to water, if you can keep your tank between 72°F and 82°F, your Plakat Betta will be at its most comfortable. The most reliable way to keep your tank’s water temperature at a constant level is to use a fish tank heater.
However, this isn’t advisable in small tanks because the heaters can heat the water too much. Always check before you buy one that a heater is suitable for your tank.
Maintain a pH level between 6.0-7.5 to keep your Plakat Betta happy and healthy.
A water hardness range of 2 to 12 dKH is best for Plakat Bettas. You can use a good water filter like a sponge filter to reduce hardness.
Ammonia, Nitrites, And Nitrates
Before your Plakat Betta even comes home with you, you need to get the levels right in the tank. While this isn’t a difficult process, you do need to test the water every couple of weeks to make sure that everything has stabilized.
The ideal environment for a Plakat Betta will have trace levels of ammonia and nitrites and high levels of nitrates. When your fish is living in its tank, you will want to test your water weekly to make sure the balance is right.
What Diet Should A Plakat Betta Have?
Plakat Bettas are carnivorous and, as you would expect, need lots of protein. You can choose to feed your Plakat Betta dry food or fresh food, but the key is to ensure they’re getting a protein-rich diet.
You can still give your Plakat Betta some plant-based food, but you have to supplement this with “meat.” You can buy pellets that are protein enriched, and this would suffice for your Plakat Betta but providing variety is much better. And better still is giving it live food.
Live food that your Plakat Betta will devour with glee includes micro worms, bloodworms, and brine shrimp. As well as the nutritional content which is better aligned to a Plakat Betta, these live foods will provide a bit of exercise and stimulation for your fish. Remember, these Bettas were bred to fight and are very active in the wild.
You can also feed them frozen food like bloodworms and brine shrimp which they will still appreciate. This can be a cheaper option than live food, and you will find it online or at most pet stores. You need to feed your Plakat Betta twice a day, and it’s best if you can keep to a schedule (as best you can).
How Can You Tell Your Plakat Betta Is Happy And Healthy
Plakat Bettas are prone to stress, which can lead to diseases or your fish hiding somewhere in the tank instead of being active and curious as they are by nature. Here are some tell-tale signs that your fish is loving life and its tank:
- Displaying bright colors
- The fins are open so that they can billow and fold
- Active and swimming around (but not darting)
- Feeds happily
How Long Do Plakat Bettas Live & How To Improve Their Lifespan
Plakat Bettas usually live for 3-5 years. On occasion, some have been known to live even up to 9 years, but this is rare. The better your Plakat Betta’s environment and diet, the longer it will live. There are a number of ways that you can help them to live longer.
Water And Tank Habitat
By keeping the water and environment that your Plakat Betta lives in at its optimum, you will not only help keep your fish happy but also more likely to be disease and stress-free. Keep the pH level between 6.0-7.5, the temperature between 72°F and 82°F, and water hardness between 2 and 12 dKH.
Make sure you regularly check the ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates levels and make any adjustments you need. It’s a good idea to include live plants in your aquascape, too, which not only gives your Plakat Betta somewhere to hide and explore but it also keeps the tank healthier.
You need to give your Plakat Betta plenty of protein. As carnivorous fish in the wild, they are used to feeding on live insects and bug larvae, so the closer you can replicate this, the better.
Always try and give your Plakat Betta live food. This is great for the nutritional value, as well as the activity your fish will benefit from.
Plakat Bettas are active, curious fish by nature. Make sure you give them plenty of stimulation in their tank, including suitable tank buddies, foliage/live plants, and tank decorations for them to explore and hide behind if they feel the need. Don’t overcrowd the tank with tank buddies, as you don’t want to stress your Plakat Betta out or provoke it!
What Size Tank Do Plakat Bettas Need?
Plakat Bettas need a tank size of at least 5-gallons or more; however, the bigger, the better, and you should always try to buy the biggest tank you can afford or fit. Also, consider buying a larger tank as you’ll be able to add more tank decorations and other tank mates for your Plakat Betta, providing a healthier and more mentally engaging habitat for your fish.
Another additional bonus for a larger tank is superior water quality, as larger tanks allow for better filtration and more living plants to be added to the water. Larger tanks also prevent spikes in ammonia and nitrites in the water.
What Are Common Diseases That Affect Plakat Bettas?
Caring for your Plakat Betta is actually pretty easy as they are quite resilient to diseases. As long as you maintain a good water temperature and regularly monitor pH levels, they will live a happy and healthy life.
There are a few diseases that can cause health problems in your Plakat Betta, so be sure to keep an eye out for any of the symptoms listed below.
Fin Rot/Tail Rot
One of the most common diseases to affect the Plakat Betta species is fin or tail rot. This occurs due to poor water quality, where pH levels rise, causing bacteria to thrive. Another cause of fin rot is stress. An overcrowded tank can cause your Plakat Betta to stress, and as fin rot is contagious, an affected fish can pass fin rot to other fish in the same tank.
Fortunately, fin rot is easy to spot and treat. Symptoms include small parts of the fins or tail looking dull or fins with white edges. To treat fin rot, quarantine the affected fish and administer a water-soluble antibiotic. There are many of these available so ask your local pet shop for a trusted brand.
Dropsy is a common disease in the Betta variety of fish and can be fatal if not treated quickly. Symptoms of dropsy include bulging eyes, white or string-like feces, a swollen body or scales that protrude in a pinecone appearance.
Dropsy is most often caused by poor water quality, stress, or lack of nutritious food, so it’s important to ensure good water quality, a stable temperature, and pH level, and also provide your fish with a high-protein diet.
Unfortunately, when untreated, dropsy is almost always fatal. It is important to monitor your fish and if they display any symptoms mentioned above, administer an anti-bacterial treatment and antibiotics immediately.
Another disease that is common in the Plakat Bettas is Ich. Ich is caused by parasites (ichthyopthirius) that use the fish as a host. Symptoms include small white dots on the body and fins, a loss of appetite, or clamped fins. You may also notice your Plakat Betta rubbing on tank decorations or the side of the tank.
To treat Ich, clean the entire tank and, with new water added, gradually increase the temperature of the tank to around 85°F; this will cause the parasites to die. You should also use formalin or malachite green to treat the tank.
How Do You Breed Plakat Bettas?
Plakat Bettas are known for being notoriously difficult to breed, and you’ll need to set up a range of equipment to allow for the best chance of success. You’ll want to select a strong breeding pair up to 1 year old, although 7-month-old fish are ideal for breeding.
Breeder Tank Setup
First, you’ll need to set up a separate breeding tank and bring the water conditions up to the favorable temperature (72-82°F) and pH level of 6.0-7.5. Use a good size tank of at least around 10-gallons.
Be sure to add plenty of tank decorations as the Betta species like privacy when mating, and they will also reduce the stress of the mating pair once introduced into the breeding tank.
Add Your Plakat Pair
Add your female Plakat Betta first and ensure she is comfortable and has plenty of space to hide from the male if needed. The mating process is enormously taxing on the female, so a place to rest is important should things get too physically demanding. If at any time you’re concerned about the welfare of the female, remove her from the tank.
Add the male fish, and once he spots the female, he will start to make a bubble nest. The female will inspect the nest before signaling she is ready for mating. Providing some extra high-protein feed will also help both fish maintain energy levels.
Mating And Fertilization
Once ready, the female will release her eggs into the water, and the male will fertilize them. This often occurs after a lot of chasing, nipping and clamping onto one another. The male will take the fertilized eggs to the nest and wait for them to incubate, which usually takes between 2-3 days.
Hatching And Feeding the Fry
The eggs will begin to hatch after a few days, and you should remove the adult fish from the tank. The baby fry will gain nutrients from eating the egg sack and begin to develop quickly. After a few days, add some powdered food, infusoria, or baby shrimp for the fry to eat.
What Tank Mates Can Live With Plakat Bettas
Despite Plakat Bettas being notorious fighting fish, they can happily co-exist with other tank mates. Of course, males are the most aggressive, and you should never keep two male Plakat Bettas together in the same tank; however, females can happily co-exist in groups that are referred to as “sororities”.
When considering tank mates, be sure to carefully select your fish so that they complement each other’s temperaments and personalities. Do not include other aggressive fish with your Plakat Bettas, and avoid any fish that are prone to nipping or darting around quickly in the tank, as this will stress your beloved Plakat Bettas.
When introducing new fish to your tank, it’s worth using a glass divider for a while to allow the fish to co-exist in their own separate territories and become familiar with one another. Some great tank mates for Plakat Bettas are listed below.
Cory Catfish (Corydoras paleatus)
The attractive and easy to care for Cory Catfish is a great tank mate for you, Plakat Betta, as they are friendly bottom-dwellers that feed on the algae that grow on the bottom of the tank. They move slowly and don’t grow too big, so they won’t be seen as a threat by your Plakat Betta.
Cherry Barbs/Peaceful Barbs (Puntius titteya)
The relaxed Cherry Barbs or Peaceful Barbs are great tank mates for your Plakat Betta due to their friendly temperament. They’ll also add some exciting colors to your tank community.
The males are usually smaller with more vivid colors and patterns. The females are often slightly larger or more round compared to the males and will often be more muted in color.
Black Skirt Tetras (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi)
This peaceful species have large dramatic fins and feature a silver, dark grey, or mottled black color. They’re ideal as tank companions for your Plakat Betta due to their subdued temperament and size, with a male Black Skirt Tetra growing to around the same size as your Betta male.
If you’re planning to add Black Skirt Tetras to your tank community, add at least 4 or 5 as they are social fish that survive best within a group. You’ll also want a tank size of around 15-20 gallons with plenty of live plants or decorations when introducing these as tank mates.
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How Much Do Plakats Cost
The cost of purchasing a Plakat Betta will depend on a number of factors. Breeding lines, the size of fins, and coloration will all impact what fish are the most desirable, and in turn, cost more than others. Males will typically cost more than females due to their more vivid coloring and elegant fins.
Expect to pay around $15-50 for a 6-12-month-old male Plakat and slightly less for a female. If you’re looking for a very vibrant Plakat with a range of colors and large flowing fins, expect to pay more for it as these are more highly sought after.
Are Plakat Bettas Aggressive?
Yes, Plakat Bettas are bred to be fighting fish and will have an aggressive temperament in most cases. The males are far more aggressive, and multiple males should never be kept in the same tank as they will often fight to the death.
Female Plakat Bettas are less aggressive than males and can live in groups of 4-6 with minimum fuss, although some females will be more dominant than others and may become aggressive towards other female Plakats or other tank mates if stressed.
Can You Put Plakat Bettas Together?
Yes, one single male can live happily with a sorority of around 4-6 females with minimum fuss. Avoid larger groups of females or overcrowding the tank with other tank mates or decoration as this may cause undue stress for your Plakat Betta and cause them to become more aggressive toward one another.
Male Plakat Bettas can never be kept in the same tank as they will constantly fight each other, and in most cases, one or both of the fish may die.
How Big Do Plakat Bettas Get?
You can expect mature males and females to grow to around 2-3 inches in length, and this will take around 6-7 months.
If you’re purchasing your Plakat Betta from a pet store, it’s likely that it will already be of a mature size. This is because it’s from this age that their fins and coloring are the most dramatic, making them appealing for potential aquarists.
Are Plakat Bettas Healthier?
The entire Betta species of fish are considered relatively easy to care for and suitable for beginner aquarists. Plakat Bettas have the advantage that their body is more robust and their fins shorter, so were there to be a spar in your tank, they would usually come out on top!
While Plakat Bettas are fairly resilient to diseases and health issues, they still require good water conditions as well as plenty of physical and mental stimulation to allow them to live a healthy life. Keep an eye out for any symptoms of diseases and provide treatment immediately to ensure your fish stays happy and healthy.
Are Koi Bettas A Plakat?
Plakat Bettas and Koi Bettas are part of the Betta Splendens family, however, there are some subtle differences between the two fish varieties. Plakat Bettas have been bred to feature smaller, more agile fins and tails compared to other Betta fish varieties.
Most Betta varieties of fish will have incredibly diverse coloring, from deep reds to rich blue colors. Plakat Bettas often have a more uniform coloring on their body and their fins and tail will have dramatically differing colors. Koi Bettas will have a more diverse marbling of colors over the body, fins, and tail.
(Find out more about Koi Bettas.)
Plakat Bettas are a great addition to any tropical freshwater fish tank with their striking colors and long flowing fins. They have their own incredibly diverse personalities and are fascinating to watch. Best of all, Plakat Bettas are highly resistant to disease and illness, and only require little maintenance and care with clean, warm water conditions, and a stable high protein diet.
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