IDENTIFYING KING AND GIANT BETTAS
Unlike giant bettas, little is known about king bettas’ origin. Some believe that it is a hybrid between betta splendens and betta raja (raja = king). While some also contend that Petco's king betta is a well-bred, newly domesticated strain of betta raja. (Juniper Russo "King Betta" Variety Sold at Petco - Yahoo! Voices - voices.yahoo.com
) But the fact is Splendens and Raja cannot be crossed bred due to their different breeding habits – splendens being nesters while rajas are mouth brooder. And King betta does not show any raja traits.
Viewing their size, which is said to reach over 5-6cm/2’ BO or a total of 7.5cm/3’, many including myself believe that these bettas are simply half giants – incomplete giant genes. They have giant genes but not enough alleles to enable them to grow to the of maximum 7’. That being said, in this article both giants and kings will be regarded as of the same trait and origin.
bettas were genetically developed by Thai breeders (Mr. Athapon Ritanapichad, Mr. Natee Ritanapichad and Mr. Wasan Sattayapun) from large regular green PK’s. It is said that giant bettas can reach a total of 17.5cm/7” (Jim Sonnier). Local breeders in my area say they can reach 12cm/almost 5” (body only-BO) in a year, but most only reach a maximum of 10cm or 4” BO. Today giants come in all fin types, though some still rare – PK, HM, CT, and DT .
Giant Genetics :
Giant x Giant =
In general, Giants are genetically unstable. Though they’re genes are incompletely dominant over regular genes (Jim sonnier in bettysplendens) and will produce larger than usual bettas (half giants) when crossed to regular sized bettas, nevertheless breeding two giants WILL NOT
produce 100% giants. The most I’ve heard is only 30% while the rest consist of regulars, larger than regular, and half giants. The punnet square doesn’t seem to apply if using simple single genetic traits. A more acceptable explanation was made by Dr. Lucas who holds the opinion that giants might be a result of multi-factor genes (bettysplendens) which explains why giant spawns always produce a variety of sizes. .... (I just found a comment claiming their giant produced 80% giants....???)
Giant x regular =
Crossing Giants to Regulars will produce 50-50% regular sized and half giant bettas (Jim Sonnier). To my experience this wasn’t the case. I only got regulars and similar sized genos. And often the problem is identifying the genos since both have similar sized bodies. We can assume that the fast growers are the geno’s but this isn’t always true because the regulars will inherit the giant’s appetite thus will grow as fast. So breeding giants to regulars is often a gamble, specially for novice breeders and is not advised.
F1 giant geno x giant =
To return them to giant size it is advised that F1 giant genos/half giants are back crossed to the father or bred to another pure giant. Inbreeding F1 siblings often produces more non giants. Some breeders claim to have produced half giants from such inbreeding but many more say otherwise. Through F1 x giant back cross, at least King sized bettas will be achieved in the third generation. But I’m not sure how many generations it will take to return them to the actual giants. They will need the whole set of genes
Although giant size is genetic, their maximum size is highly dependent on feeding and water quality during the first few months after hatching. It is recommended that they are kept in bigger and filtered tanks and fed as often and as much as they will eat. They have tremendous appetites and will devour 2 – 3 times more food than their regular sized cousins. They must reach 5-6cm/2.5” (BO) by 4 months, 7’-8cm/over 3’ (BO) by 6 months (good giant genes can grow 4cm in 2 months, 6 cm in 3 months). Otherwise it’s unlikely they will reach the maximum size of 12cm/-5’ (BO).
In terms of water parameter, giants require the same treatment as regular sized splendens. Logically they need bigger tanks and the amount of wastes they produce demands more water changes. Rapid growth and immense appetite results in poor immune system and poor adaptive abilities to new environment/water and food. They are vulnerable against digestive issues and parasites thus need super clean environment and food because the slightest infection may end up killing them.
Live brine shrimp and live/frozen daphnia should be made a regular part of their diet, as both these foods act as a mild laxative. (bettysplendens.com)
Most diseases are caused by bad water – parasites. It’s best to avoid disease by keeping the water super clean and avoid feeding adults (the bigger/older, the easier they’re infected) live foods from unknown origin.
One way to avoid illnesses is through genetic adaptation - breed and raise them in conditions they will probably live in. This should build a natural immune system. Feeding live foods when young also helps develop better immune systems.
Some soak live foods in medication for about 15 minutes before feeding. IMO this does more harm than good in the long run because too many meds in their system may make the parasite immune to the chemical or worse – it may destroy the bettas internal organs.
Diseases - FISH-DISEASE.NET
1. Digestive/internal related
They are unable to excrete wastes thus their stomachs becomes bloated and eventually will stop eating. Often swelling – either the whole body or the stomach area. Sometimes releases long whitish wastes.
Dropsy - swelling of the body until the scales protrude due to internal organ failure.
Causes: over use of salt, bad water, and bad diet – all of which induces bacterial infection direct and through worms.
Treatment: internal diseases are often too late when they show symptoms. But stronger individuals sometimes pulls through with an overdose of bacterial/viral medications (my experience). Some add antibiotics to the treatment. In most cases the betta doesn’t make it, specially against dropsy.
2. External infection
Small hole/wound on the head area which in time develops and erupts. This infestation is contagious.
Causes: A parasite, flagellate Hexamita, which infects the gallbladder, intestines and blood stream. Often sudden changes in water parameters and or bad water causes stress and compromises their immune system.
Treatment: The medication Metronidazole (Flagyl).
3. Gill related issues
Parasite infection on the gills/breathing organs. It is often shown by small jumping every time they need air. And is often the cause of what seems to be a sudden death.
Causes: fluke Dactylogyrus, which destroys gill tissue and damage blood vessels in this area.
Treatment: Treat with Clout, Fluke Tabs, Paraform, Trifon, Paragon, Quick Cure, Formalin, or Parasite Guard. Gill flukes are highly contagious, therefore, all fish in the same aquarium should be treated.