Penang Betta (Betta pugnax)

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Penang Betta

Betta pugnax 02.jpg
Penang Betta

Betta pugnax

57 Litres (15 US G.)

10-12 cm (3.9-4.7")




5.0 - 7.5

20 -28 °C (68-82.4°F)

3-10 °d

1:1 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

3-5 years



Additional names

Penang Betta, Breder's Betta, King Betta, Forest Betta

Additional scientific names

Betta brederi


Males have a broader head and much longer pelvic fins than the females; they also develop pointed ends on their anal and caudal fins, as well as distinctive patches of green iridescence on their cheeks. This species is one of the best studied mouthbrooding bettas; instead of building a bubblenest like the more familiar Betta splendens, the male Betta pugnax carries the eggs and fry in his mouth for 9-16 days before releasing a number of relatively large fry. Males are relatively consistent holders compared to many other wild bettas, and if a pair is kept together and fed well they will often breed every few weeks; males may accidentally swallow broods if startled, and should be disturbed as little as possible while holding. The fry can take baby brine shrimp and microworms right away; they often manage to grow up alongside the parents, but maximum production is best achieved by moving both parents after the fry have been released.

Tank compatibility[edit]

Like many wild bettas, this species is fairly peaceful with fish that do not fit in their mouths; any tank mates should be fairly calm species that will not nip the long fins the males can develop. If kept in a 30 inch or longer tank, these bettas can be kept in small groups; otherwise they work best in pairs, and spawning will inevitably be more successful in pairs due to the lack of unrelated adults that may predate the fry.


A carnivore that will eat most foods offered in captivity, often including dry foods. As with all bettas, they benefit from the regular addition of live and frozen foods to their diet.

Feeding regime[edit]

The usual once or twice a day feeding regime works well with this species; as with all bettas, they are vulnerable to obesity and should usually be fasted once a week for the sake of their health.

Environment specifics[edit]

Betta pugnax comes from a wide range of clear and black water habitats in the wild; thus, this is not a picky species and can be kept under most water conditions that are not extremely hard and alkaline. Decor can range from leaves to driftwood to plants, as well as anything else that is not going to increase the water's hardness or PH to uncomfortable levels. Like all wild bettas, they are powerful jumpers and need a secure lid with no gaps.


This betta has been sporadically kept in captivity for over a century and is widely regarded as one of the best wild bettas for a new hobbyist, being adaptable, easy to breed, and willing to take prepared foods. In spite of this, the species is rarely available captive bred.



External links[edit]