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Penang Betta: South East Asian Beauty

Penang Betta

The Penang betta is a kind of betta fish. The species of aquarium fish originated from the Southeast Asian nation Thailand. Bettas are an amazing addition to aquariums, the best species of fish if you are looking for a colorful, easy to keep fish. 

Found commonly in the swiftly flowing forest streams of places like the Malay Peninsula, Thailand, Sumatra, and the Riau Islands, The Penang Bett, which falls under Betta pugnax, is native to Southeast Asia. 

The species, in addition to its nativity, was also introduced to Guam. With a length of around 6.7 centimeters (2.6 in) SL, the Penang bettas can be found amongst the vegetation along the banks of the swiftly flowing forest streams. They inhabit the clear, fast-moving forest streams that have sandy bottoms. 

Penang bettas being natural predators of mosquito larvae, have helped in several mosquito control efforts. They also feed on several other insects, worms, etc., and are mouse brooders. These bettas, like many other bettas, are known for their colorful bodies and magnificent fins.

Overview of Penang Betta

Scientific nameBetta pugnax
Common namesPenang Betta
Native PlaceThailand, Sumatra, Malay peninsula
Color Light brown with blue iridescence and a greenish-blue to blue iridescence 
Aquarium size20 gallons or bigger
Preferred temperature22-28°C   
pH level 6.0 to 7.5 
Fish Size2.5 inches
Feeding periodNever should be overfed and needs to be fed twice a day. 

The Name Penang Betta 

The Penang Betta, like mentioned earlier, comes under the species Betta pugnax which was very well known as a fighter fish, before getting eclipsed in Western public recognition by the heavily imported Siamese fighting fish or betta splendens

Penang Bettas also goes by some other names like Breder’s Betta, King Betta, and Forest Betta. Some additional scientific names these species of bettas have are Betta Bleekeri, Marcopodus pugnax, Betta microphthalmia, and Betta anabantoids. The word pugnax is derived from Latin meaning, ‘warlike, ready to fight.’ Thus its name draws a clear reference to the quarrelsome nature of Penang bettas towards conspecifics.

The appearance of Penang Betta

Penang bettas living in clear neutral to slightly alkaline hill streams are light brown with an overlying blue iridescence on opercles and a greenish-blue to blue iridescence on the body. However, the Penang bettas living in acidic waters have more green iridescence and less blue. 

Penang bettas can grow to a maximum length of 67.3 mm Sl and up to 10 cm TL. They are generally seen to be between 60 – 70 mm in length. The head of male Penang bettas is seen to be broader than that of female bettas. A strong horizontal branded pattern is commonly displayed by female Penang bettas, especially during spawning time. 

The main way to distinguish between the male and female is by using the dorsal fins of this fish. The female Penang bettas are seen to have pointed dorsal fins, while the dorsal fins of males have a spear-like appearance. They have anal fins, which are more pointed with elongated fin rays, and their tail comes more to a point than females. 

Penang Bettas can live for about 2-3 years, and they are seen to be able to live longer in a good aquarium. Compared to other wild bettas, Penang bettas are less aggressive towards other fish that do not fit inside their mouth and are not aggressive. They do not mind the company of a different fish that has almost the same body size and are calm. 

Also, Read | Best Safe Way Transport A Betta Fish In A Car

Best Tank Conditions for Penang Betta

Best Tank Condition for Penang Betta

Wild Penang bettas can be kept in an aquarium either alone or in groups. Since they do not mind the company of a calm, equivalent fish, Penang bettas can be kept in pairs or as a community with other species. 

Even though it is recommended to house a Penang betta in a 20-gallon tank, it can be housed in a minimum of a 10-gallon aquarium as well. But a 20-gallon tank will be more spacious for the Penang bettas to swim freely and be happy. However, if you are looking for a community tank or betta pugnax group tank, it is better to house the Penang bettas inside a 40-gallon tank. 

Penang bettas can easily jump out of aquarium tanks, so always cover the tank using its lid. It is recommended to use dark or black substrates to enhance the coloration of the aquarium. It is also better to have dim lighting inside the aquarium since Penang bettas prefer that. Since their general habitat is swiftly flowing streams, it is better to set up the aquarium filtration with swiftly flowing power. 

To offer some hiding places and decoration for your aquarium, use driftwood, rocks, or caves. Ensure to plant some aquatic plants in the tank that can survive in the environment, such as Anubias, cryptocoryne, or echinoderms

The advised tank temperature to house Penang bettas is between 22-28°C, and the recommended pH is between 6.0 – 7.5. The hardness is usually recommended to be between 18 – 179 ppm. Setting up a tank with these correct specifications is the best way to set up a perfect habitat for a Penang betta to keep it safe and happy. 

Penang Betta Feeding and Food

Penang bettas usually feed on small invertebrates in a natural habitat. They also feed on mosquito larvae thus helping in mosquito control. In an aquarium, feeding Penang bettas with dried food such as betta fish pellets or flakes is recommended. They must also be fed with live food such as daphnia, bloodworm, or artemia to enhance their coloration and health. 

General Diseases Penang Betta Can Have

Betta fish are susceptible to a lot of diseases. They have a fragile immune system due to years of cross-breeding. Their lifespan is majorly dependent on the environment it grows in. Some common diseases that affect the betta fish are swim bladder disease and fin rot. Tumors can also be seen in some Betta fish, and if not treated at the right time, it could even prove to be deadly.  

Why do they Penang Betta Lose Color?

There are mainly two reasons why the Betta fish can lose color. One of the reasons could be the marble genes that they have present in their body which causes it to change its color. The other reason and the more likely possibility is due to aging. Aging causes most of the Betta to lose its color, and if the betta one owns is losing its vibrant colors, it could be because of old age

If the Betta appears to have a dull shade of its color, that could be an indication of the unhappiness of the fish. Unhappy generally shows dull color. 

Commonly Asked Questions Related to Penang Betta

Are Penang Bettas the same as Siamese Fighting fish?

No. Penang Bettas fall under the species betta pugnax, while Siamese Fighting Fish or simply Betta Fish are a species of betta splendens. Even though they have many similarities in their appearances, like beautiful fins and coloration, the latter is said to be more aggressive than the former. 

What is the preferred tank size to house a Penang betta?

It is recommended to house Penang bettas in a fish tank that can hold up to 20 gallons of water. If it is a community tank or a group of Penang bettas, make sure that the tank can at least hold 40 gallons of water.

Is it possible to house honey gourami along with a Penang betta in the same tank?

Penang bettas are considered less aggressive than normal bettas and can tolerate hard fish species in the same tank. Honey gourami is one of the tank mates that Penang bettas are compatible with. So yes, you can safely house honey gourami with a Penang betta in the same aquarium. 

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Penang bettas are an amazing addition to your aquarium tank. Their less aggressive attitude and compatibility with calm fish to live in the same fish tank make them a better choice for people who prefer to grow fish in a community tank.

Making sure to follow the perfect tank specifications for Penang bettas or any fish for that matter can help ensure a longer life for them.