Giant betta fish came about when a genetic mutation resulted in an oversized plakat betta fish.
The trio of Thai breeders who cared for this fish decided to breed it with the largest female plakat betta they had.
It took many generations of selective breeding to reliably breed for the giant bettas we see today.
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As the name implies, the giant betta is simply the biggest betta fish available.
They may grow to be double the size of your average betta.
You might call these guys super-giant betta fish. Getting up to 6 inches long is an incredible feat for a breed who is usually only 2.5-3″ inches long!
Many giant betta fish are only about one-half or a whole inch larger than the typical betta splenden.
Like other betta fish, giants come in a variety of bright colors. Blue, green, red, and orange are the most common.
But if you dig deep enough, there are more options.
Most betta species are renowned for their aggressive nature and big personalities.
While many aquarists fawn over these traits, others find it inconvenient.
Giant betta fish have a more peaceful nature. Given favorable conditions, they are docile and friendly.
Some giants even do well in community tanks. This is a mere pipe dream for most betta splendens varieties.
There is no firm answer as to whether the largest variety of betta has a weakened immune system. But some aquarists argue they do.
They get sick for the same reasons as other fish. But their chances of infections and diseases are potentially higher than for others.
All this really means is you need to be careful about maintaining water conditions.
Even a high-quality betta splenden kept in ideal habitat conditions will likely live for only 2-3 years.
Giants, on the other hand, live anywhere from 2-5 years.
Poor water quality, bacterial infections or diseases, and other environmental factors majorly impact lifespan.
With a proper tank set-up, these beautiful fish live much longer than in a poorly kept aquarium environment.
On average, giant betta fish are 4-6 inches long. It is more common to see 4-5 inch ones, though.
Keep in mind this is significantly larger than regular betta fish.
Even at 4 inches, your oversized betta fish is 1.3x the size of a regular betta fish.
Some aquarists consider a 3.5″-inch betta a giant, but this is not generally agreed upon.
Placed next to the betta splendens type, these guys would certainly look big!
But if their betta tank mates were other giants, they would look like dwarfs.
Giant Betta Care
For the most part, caring for a giant betta is no more difficult than regular betta fish care.
There are a few differences, though, and they are essential!
One critical difference in giant betta fish care is using a larger aquarium.
These beautiful betta fish grow to twice the size of a regular adult betta.
Thus, their aquarium should hold twice as many gallons of water.
We recommend a 5-gallon aquarium with many plants and decor for a typical betta.
To accommodate the giant’s size, their tank must hold 10-20 gallons of dechlorinated water.
10 is perfectly safe! 20 gallons gives your pet extra room to be active and explore.
But it would actually be unproductive to use a 20-gallon tank if you don’t have the resources to maintain it.
Here’s a link to our review of a great 6-gallon betta tank.
Giant betta fish tolerate wider water temperature ranges and pH slightly better than regular bettas.
But the goal is to keep those basic conditions the same.
Here is a complete list of the ideal water parameters:
Ideal Water Parameters for a Betta Fish Tank Include the following:
- Temperature: 78-80° degrees Fahrenheit (25.5-27° C)
- pH: 6.5-7.5
- Ammonia and Nitrite: 0 ppm
- Nitrate: < 40 ppm
- gH: 3-4 dGH (50-66.7 ppm)
- kH: 3-5 dKH (53.6-89.4 ppm)
- Minimum Tank Size: 5 Gallons
You will need a heater and thermometer to keep the temperature high and stable.
If you want a more complete guide to preparing water for your Siamese fighting fish, we have an article for you.
To maintain the water, do partial water changes (20-25%) once a week.
Always dechlorinate water before putting it in the tank.
Chlorine combines with other common chemicals in fish tanks (such as ammonia) to become fatal to fish.
Some conditioners are better than others as they dechlorinate the water and help boost immunity in your betta.
For guidance, here’s our article on the best water conditioners.
What To Put In Their Tank
Ideally, your giant betta’s tank will mimic its natural environment.
There are a few key components you need to do this:
- Calm water
- Plant growth
Betta fish like a gentle flow in their home as they tend to be weak swimmers. This is true of giant bettas as well.
We suggest using an air-powered sponge filter or something similar to provide those gentle movements.
The filter is not only there for water flow, though.
It also helps keep the water clean and provides oxygen for your betta.
Plants are another source of oxygen and sometimes another way to absorb undesired chemicals like nitrates from the water.
Even without these benefits, the growth of plants in the tank is critical to your betta’s sense of security.
They like to hide or rest in plants and caves. Having access to both these things will lower their stress levels.
Plants with broad leaves are a good idea for giants as they are better able to hide.
Finally, you need to set up a light. It’s best to imitate the natural lighting patterns, which is easy enough to do with a timer.
We do not recommend relying on actual sunlight for this. Direct sunlight can alter water temperatures and harm the fish.
Giant betta fish are susceptible to the same diseases as others.
Some of the most common are:
- Swim bladder disorder
- Bacterial infection
- Fungal infection
These illnesses all have their own treatments.
Some are even easy enough to cure with aquarium salt baths.
Take signs of illness seriously. Prevention is best, but early intervention is often life-saving for betta fish.
Food & Diet
Like your typical betta splenden, giant betta fish need a high-protein diet to sustain themselves.
These guys are carnivorous, so don’t rely on plant-based options.
A healthy diet comprises commercial pellets, frozen foods, and live foods. Some favorites are blood worms, daphnea, and baby brine shrimp.
Feed your giant betta twice a day. 4-5 pellets is standard for mealtimes.
Consider feeding pellets and live or frozen foods once per day.
Behavior & Temperament
Giant betta fish are much less aggressive than regular betta fish are.
They are docile enough not to charge or nip at most tank mates.
Unless you are actively breeding giant bettas, do not keep a male and female together.
The atmosphere might appear calm for a while, but the male is likely to get aggressive before long.
Furthermore, keeping two males together is sometimes tricky.
The best bet for keeping a calm community of giant betta fish is to keep only females.
If you want to breed them, keep the male and female in separate tanks until everything is ready.
Unlike other betta varieties, the giant is better equipped to live with tank mates.
Shrimp and snails are great for keeping the tank clean and maintaining peace.
But you also have the opportunity to add peaceful fish.
Some good tank mates for giant betta fish are:
- Amano shrimp
- Ghost shrimp
- Cherry shrimp
- Nerite snails
- Mystery snails
Even choosing one of the peaceful companions on this list, be careful when introducing them to your betta.
It’s safest to use a floating breeding box to allow both fish to get used to one another before sharing a tank.
Watch for any aggressive behaviors such as flaring, charging, or nipping. If you see these, your two fish may not make the best tank mates.
Monitor behavior for a couple of weeks after introducing a new fish into the tank.
Like many types of betta fish, the giant is a descendant of the plakat betta.
When the first giant was bred, the gene for oversized betta fish was beyond rare.
While giant betta fish are still uncommon, the genetic condition is better understood.
The giant gene is codominant.
This means we can pair a giant betta with a non-giant and have a fair chance of seeing some giant offspring.
To get true giant betta fish, though, you must breed two giant betta fish together.
The breeding process is almost identical to the regular betta breeding process.
The biggest difference is the need for a larger tank.
We recommend using a 20-gallon or larger tank to allow adequate spawning space.
The breeding tank needs all the same resources as the standard betta tank: filtration, a heater, a light, etc.
It also needs a floating log or floating plants so the male has a good spot to build his bubble nest.
The best practice is to use a tank divider to keep the male and female in one tank but still separate.
The male needs ample time to build the bubble nest before you release the female.
If you’re interested in breeding betta fish but are still learning, here’s our guide to the breeding process.
Giant betta fish are often priced at $60 or more. This is mostly due to their being very rare.
When buying them, giants are often confused for king betta fish and vice versa.
Make sure the breeder or seller is reputable. If possible, look at the fish yourself before spending any money.
Giant betta fish are much more expensive than most other bettas. So it’s especially important to be cautious.
Giant betta fish are hard to find. Their popularity is off the charts, which certainly doesn’t help.
Both parents must have the giant gene to get a true giant betta.
It’s tricky to get a lot of giant betta fish quickly without inbreeding.
Inbreeding has very bad results, often leading to defects and premature death.
Giant Betta FAQ
What is the difference between a king betta and a giant betta?
The king betta fish only grows to the typical 3 inches, maybe just a half inch more. It’s extremely common for chain pet stores and inexperienced aquarists to confuse the giant and king bettas.
The king is another hybrid of plakat betta, which is how giants were first bred.
But the giant is significantly larger than the king, which is how they are identified at all.
What is the biggest size a betta can get?
The largest betta recorded to date is 7″ inches long. This is rare, even among giant betta fish. Even 6 inches is incredibly big for this species. Remember, this is double the size of other bettas!
Most often the giant is approximately 5″ inches when fully grown.
What are giant betta fish called?
The scientific name for this species is betta anabatoides. You might also see this written as B. anabatoides.
How fast do oversized betta fish grow?
It doesn’t take long to recognize giant betta types. They grow at a much faster rate than regular betta fish. You’ll notice they are quite a bit larger than regular betta fry just 2-3 weeks after emerging.
Often they continue growing until about 18 months of age (though some stop at about one year.) At this point, it’s safe to assume they won’t get any bigger.
Remember, it is likely they will only be 4-5″ inches at full size.
Can you keep a giant betta with a regular betta?
Do not keep a giant and regular betta in the same tank. While your giant would most likely feel secure, the regular betta would not. The strain could lead to aggressive behaviors and stress-related illnesses.
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