Siamese Fighting Fish or Betta Splendens are native to Thailand and have long been raised in Thai households as a hobby. In the past the fish could be caught from their natural habitats: rice fields, canals and ponds. The fish are called “fighting fish” because of their instinct to fight fiercely and cruelly. Villagers take advantage of this natural characteristic of this natural characteristic of the fish and organize fish fighting contests mainly to gamble on their fish. Such a contest is, however, considered inhumane and gambling is illegal so the fish fighting contests have dwindled. The fish, when seeing one another, will be alert and show signs of combat mode. To threaten the opponent, their gills, fins, tails and scales are fully spread and their colors turn to be more intense. Thus these fish have to be kept in separate glass jars or bottles or else they fight to the death. A piece of paper is inserted between the jars to prevent the fish from seeing one another. Once the paper is lifted and the two fish see one another, they will automatically turn into combat mode. However, when they are in this mode, the fish display their most beautiful form. The male fish are more beautiful than the female with more brilliant colors, longer tails and larger fins.
The fighting fish are ferocious even when they mate. The male will chase a female around until it it submits to mating. After that the male fish will form a bubble nest which floats on the surface of the water. The female will lay eggs in the bubbles. After the eggs hatch, it is necessary to move the female to another jar or else the eggs might be eaten or the two of them will fight violently.
At present, raising fighting fish has become a big business. New species have been developed. The fish are now much bigger in size, have more colors and longer flowing fins and tails. The fins and tails are not only longer but also come in different forms, for example, half-circle, etc. Each fish may consist of two or three colors or more. The muti-coloured ones fetch very high prices.