Plakat Bettas are gorgeous freshwater fish that many people are interested in owning. Their stunning colors and fins appeal to just about anyone!
But when it comes to their requirements, there’s a lot of misinformation out there.
This guide will teach you about Plakat Betta care and prepare you for all the pros and cons of owning these pretty fish.
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Plakat Bettas are a lesser-known version of the famed Betta Fish (Betta splendens). These fish are much closer in appearance to their wild counterparts, sporting a less dramatic tail and more robust built. But make no mistake: Plakat Bettas are still in high demand!
Author Note: This Betta variety is endemic to Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand. The latter is where they are most prevalent. In fact, the modern Plakat Betta market is booming!
These fish are predominantly used for fighting. While controversial in other parts of the world, fish-fighting is permitted in many Southeast Asian countries. Plakat Bettas are the preferred fighters, as their stout builds are more capable than the traditional Betta fish’s delicate body.
In the western world, Plakat Bettas are nothing more than pets! Like standard varieties, they are gorgeous fish with distinct personalities.
There are a couple of different kinds of Plakat Bettas out there.
The most common variant may look very familiar to you if you have any experience with the Betta species. The body is similar in shape to standard Bettas. It’s cylindrical and devoid of any significant curves.
However, the exception is the head. The head tapers down to a point at the upturned mouth.
What makes common Plakats different is that the body is a little more compressed and stocky. The body is shorter than the standard variety, making these fish more capable of withstanding injuries.
Another key difference is the fins. Like the standard Betta, Plakats have elongated anal fins, sword-like pelvic fins, and a fan-like dorsal fin that’s situated on the lower back. However, the tailfin is noticeably shorter than the flowing fins of traditional bettas.
The fins are smaller and more difficult for opponents to shred. Not only that, but the tail and dorsal fins feature noticeable rays. As a result, they’re strong!
Male Plakat Betta fish are the most identifiable. Females are still colorful and have eye-catching fins. But, they tend to be much smaller. For this reason, males are usually the go-to for aquarists.
As for color, the possibilities are endless! For a while, Plakat Bettas were very muted in color. They closely resembled wild Betta fish, which don’t have the intense color this species is known for in captivity. However, the rise of fish-fighting in Thailand has led to selective breeding.
Author Note: Breeders come up with tons of stunning combinations, making them some of the most colorful freshwater fish around. All the while, they do their best to spawn the strongest fish possible.
Beyond the common Plakat Betta, you might see Snakehead and Spoonhead varieties.
Snakehead Plakat Betta fish are longer and narrower. The fins are smaller, too, creating a snake-like body that’s perfect for offensive fighting.
The Spoonhead Plakat Betta tends to have longer anal and ventral fins. They’re also sporting a severe curve on their mouth, which is ideal for attacks.
In an ideal living situation, the normal Plakat Betta lifespan is between three and five years.
As always, the level of care you provide can dictate your fish’s overall life expectancy significantly. Those who are subjected to fighting tend to live much shorter lives! The same goes for fish living in substandard conditions, as their stress makes them more prone to disease (more on that later).
The average Plakat Bettas size is usually two to three inches in length for adults. They’re on the smaller side of the size spectrum as far as tropical fish go.
Author Note: Providing excellent care and purchasing your fish from a reputable seller can influence this. Always do your homework before buying!
Plakat Betta Care
Plakat Betta care is actually pretty easy if you know what to do. However, these fish have developed a bit of a mixed reputation over the years.
While their needs are more straightforward than most, their aggression is what has resulted in all the misinformation. To dispel the rumors and clear the confusion, here are some of the most important care guidelines to follow.
The biggest mistake new Plakat Betta owners make is keeping these fish in jars or bowls. Many stores sell these freshwater in tiny plastic containers, so many inexperienced owners believe that they can live the rest of their days in a tiny aquarium.
Author Note: Plakat Bettas come from shallow rice paddies, an environment that would quickly kill most fish. Despite this, these fish still need some room to swim.
The minimum tank size for a Plakat Betta is around five gallons. However, we always recommend going with something bigger if possible.
The benefit of a larger aquarium is more about water quality than anything else! Small jars quickly sour, as the lack of filtration leads to spikes in ammonia and nitrate levels. Always use a functioning filtration system with an appropriately sized aquarium to meet their needs.
The good thing about these fish is that they aren’t super demanding with water conditions. In fact, it’s one of the easiest aspects of Plakat Betta care.
Anything is a step above the murky rice paddies they’re used to!
These fish are pretty adaptable and can easily thrive in standard tropical fish conditions. They prefer warm conditions and slightly acidic water. You can use almond leaves to lower the pH and provide some tannin-infusion that closely resembles their natural habitat.
Ultimately, these fish are easy to please! As long as you stick within the basic ranges below, they should do just fine.
- Water temperature: 72°F to 82°F
- pH level: 6.0 to 7.5
- Water hardness: 2 to 12 dKH
Author Note: We always recommend picking up an accurate water test kit to help you keep tabs on these parameters.
What To Put In Their Tank
When it comes to tank decorations, you can go as simple or complex as you wish.
Plakat Betta fish are used to shallow waters filled with plenty of hiding spaces. The fish appreciate having numerous resting options. Interestingly enough, they like to lay on flat surfaces to rest.
Add some broad-leaf plants like Anubias Barteri. Some floating plants or artificial “Betta shelves” work well, too.
For underwater respite, you can use driftwood, rock caves, or plastic decor. Whatever you add, make sure that all edges are smooth and accident-proof.
It’s also very important to keep some open space along the water’s surface. Plakat Bettas are labyrinth fish. They have a unique organ that allows them to breathe in atmospheric air. Giving the fish easy access to the surface is a must!
Common Possible Diseases
No fish species on Earth is immune to disease. However, Plakat Bettas are surprisingly resilient! This is thanks, in large part, to the process of selective breeding.
Remember: Plakat Bettas are frequently bred for toughness. Breeders want to create the strongest and fittest fish possible. This means they combine genetics, resulting in disease-resistant fish!
Now, that’s not to say that your fish won’t get sick. However, many are capable of fighting off disease quickly and avoiding common bacterial or fungal problems.
The most prevalent health issue with Plakats is fin rot. This Betta variety is much more resistant to fin rot than standard long-finned ones. But, bacteria and fungus can still take hold if you’re not careful.
Fin rot causes the tips of the fins to decay and slough off. Fortunately, there are medications available to treat the condition quickly.
As always, keeping the tank conditions stable is a must. Plakat Betta fish can handle fluctuations here and there, but frequent issues will only cause trouble. Monitor conditions and make sure that they stay within the accepted range.
Food & Diet
Plakat Bettas are carnivorous fish with an appetite for protein! In the wild, bug larvae and live insects are the name of the game.
While you could stick to commercial pellets, you must make sure they are protein-based. Plant-focused foods cannot be the dietary foundation if you aim to provide excellent Plakat Betta care.
The best course of action is to provide a nice balance between dry commercial food and live food! You can give brine shrimp, bloodworms, micro worms, Daphnia, and any other protein-rich food source. Feed these fish twice a day.
Author Note: If possible, go for live foods! Live prey is a great source of enrichment and exercise, which these fish appreciate.
Behavior & Temperament
It should go without saying, but Plakat Bettas are rather aggressive freshwater fish!
These aren’t fish that you can just plop into a community tank. Bettas are notoriously territorial and will fight to the death if they see any fish enter their domain!
The trouble usually occurs with other males. Plakat Bettas tend to focus their aggression within their species or on fish with a similar look.
The fighting behavior is quite fascinating. While we don’t suggest putting your fish in the situation where they need to fight, learning to spot the signs of aggression is essential with Bettas.
Typically, the fish will start by raising their gills. They can flare the gills up to create a mane-like shape. It makes the fish look bigger and more intimidating.
After that, the fish will start charging and nipping! Bettas are surprisingly strong, given their size. They’re fully capable of ruining the decor. Some can even jump right out of the aquarium if there’s no protection!
When they’re not in a setting that triggers their aggression, Plakat Bettas are pretty mellow! With nothing to disturb their territory, they’re an easy-going fish that likes to lounge on leaves.
Author Note: You might see the fish blowing bubbles and creating little nests every once in a while. Those quirky behaviors are what you want to see, as it means that they are calm and happy.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to keep a Plakat Betta solo. That’s the best way to avoid any potential for aggression, but these fish will coexist with others. The trick is to plan your community tank carefully.
Obviously, you should avoid keeping more than one male together. A small group of females is fine, but two males is a bit no-no!
The best course of action is to pair them with peaceful bottom-dwellers. Plakat Bettas tend to stick to the top of the water column, so bottom-dwelling fish will stay out of their lane completely. You can also try similar-sized species with a peaceful demeanor.
Here are some potential Plakat Betta fish tank mates that you should consider:
Breeding Plakat Bettas can be tricky. However, it is possible if you’re prepared to do with some careful planning.
The key is to allow bonded pairs to form early on in your fish’s life. The younger the fish pair off, the easier it will be later!
Start by creating a separate breeding tank. Let your male and female betta get comfortable with the space before conditioning them with high-protein snacks. Eventually, the male should start creating a bubble nest!
He’ll blow bubbles that rise to the surface. Floating plants and decor may speed up the process a bit.
When they’re ready, the female will release her eggs into the water. The male will then fertilize them and guide them to the bubble nest.
Author Note: Male Plakat Bettas are very protective over the nest. They will maintain the nest over the next few days as the eggs incubate and the baby fish develop.
It only takes about three days for eggs to hatch. At that point, remove the adults. They may try to eat the fish fry after the eggs hatch.
The babies will eat the egg sac for a couple more days until they are strong enough to swim freely. At that point, you can provide powdered food or infusoria before moving onto baby brine shrimp.
Plakat Betta fish care isn’t nearly as difficult as some people would have you believe. As long as you know how to work around their aggressive tendencies, these freshwater fish should live long and happy lives.
If you have any questions about this species (or myths you’d like us to dispel) we’re more than happy to talk to you. Just send over a quick message!