Plakat Betta: How To Care For These Fierce Fighting Fish!

Plakat betta fish are one of the oldest variations of Betta splendens.

The native habitat of the plakat betta is the slow-moving waters of the Mekong Basin. The Mekong Basin spans Cambodia, Vietnam, and Thailand.

A dense population of plakat bettas lives in the Chao Phraya River in Thailand.

Researchers believe the plakat betta was first bred for fighting in the 1800s. The King of Siam, which is now Thailand, sanctioned these fights.

When a U.S. ichthyologist named Charles Tate Regan took possession of plakat bettas he named the species Betta splendens.

This name comes from the reputed warriors of Asia known as the Ikan Bettah.

plakat betta atf

Appearance

With a rich history as fighting fish, plakat bettas have stout bodies compared to the slender profile of ornamental betta varieties. Plakats have a closer appearance to their wild counterparts.

This stocky body shape gave plakats an advantage in betta fights.

Plakat bettas also have sword-like pelvic fins, round dorsal fins, and long anal fins.

The head tapers down to a point. This gives plakat bettas a more menacing appearance.

These bettas do not have dramatic tails and flowy fins like the more common bettas you see in pet stores. The plakat’s shorter fins are more difficult to shred by fighting opponents.

Since plakat bettas were bred for strong bodies over physical beauty, they originally came in muted colors.

Thanks to selective breeding, captive-bred plakat bettas are now available in various bright colors.

In fact, some of the most varied colors like the Koi and Samurai patterns are more common in plakats!

Other brilliant color and pattern scale types in plakats include:

  • Dragon Scale (iridescent, pronounced scales)
  • Blue Rim (white body, blue fins)
  • Nemo (deep crimson and melon)
  • Mustard (yellow and dark blue)
  • Hellboy (black and bright red)

Plakat bettas are also bred with other tail types, such as the halfmoon and crowntail varieties. These fan-like tails are still shorter than regular halfmoon and crowntail betta types.

There are also plakat bettas with the elephant ear trait, but they are rare.

For more cool betta, check out our list (with pictures) of the different betta variations.

Unique Differences

plakat betta appearance

Because of their shorter fins and tails, plakat bettas are fast swimmers.

Plakats can handle stronger currents than long-finned betta fish.

Their improved swimming abilities also make them excellent hunters.

Without long fins weighing them down, plakats do not get tired of swimming as fast as bettas with flowy fins.

This means plakat bettas are active swimmers and explore their tanks for longer periods of time.

A plakat’s short fins make them less of a target for fin-nipping fish species.

Lifespan

Plakat bettas have an average lifespan of 3-5 in ideal conditions.

A healthy environment and nutritious diet contribute to your betta’s lifespan.

Many health issues in betta fish result from poor water quality and a lack of nutrients.

Give your betta the proper care it needs. Establish a regular cleaning routine and provide your plakat with protein-rich food.

Average Size

The average size of an adult plakat betta ranges from 2-3″ inches long.

Like other betta species, male plakats are larger than the females.

Plakats are short-fin fish, but they have round bodies.

Plakat Betta Care

plakat betta care

Plakat bettas have the same care requirements as any other type of betta.

The following care tips help you create the ideal environment for your plakat betta.

Tank Size

The minimum tank size for betta fish is 5 gallons.

A 10-gallon aquarium is even better for plakat bettas because they are active swimmers.

Larger tanks have lower maintenance needs and give you more space for adding aquarium plants and decorations.

Choose a long tank over a vertical one. Betta fish need easy access to the surface to breathe fresh air through their labyrinth organ.

If you plan on adding tank mates with your plakat betta, you need at least a 20-gallon tank.

The larger tank helps in preventing aggressive behavior and gives your betta enough space for establishing its own territory.

Never have more than one male plakat betta per tank. Male plakats are extremely aggressive and will fight each other to the death.

Female plakat betta sororities are possible under special conditions. If the female bettas come from the same spawn and are raised together, there is less risk of fighting.

Betta sororities need a 30-gallon tank or larger.

Water Parameters

Betta fish are sensitive to fluctuations in water parameters.

You must strive to maintain a stable, ideal environment for your plakat betta.

The following water parameters are optimal for bettas:

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

A simple water heater helps maintain the warm water temperatures these tropical fish need. Choose an aquarium heater with an output of 3-5 watts per gallon.

Check water temperatures with a thermometer regularly. Cooler water temperatures cause issues with digestion in betta fish. 

Larger tanks may need an aquarium heater on each end for more even water temperatures.

You also need a proper aquarium filter. A mechanical filter and your tank’s beneficial bacteria helps remove harmful bacteria and toxins.

A water test kit measures your tank’s ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Quality test kits also test pH levels and water hardness.

Weekly water changes remove harmful toxins and keep your tank clean.

Plakat bettas also enjoy a blackwater environment. Some betta owners do not like the look of a blackwater tank, so the choice is up to you.

Create blackwater conditions by adding tannins to your water.

Untreated driftwood and Indian almond leaves are excellent sources of tannins.

What To Put in Their Tank

plakat betta plants substrate

Substrate

Your plakat tank needs a suitable substrate about 2-3″ inches deep.

Gravel substrates are the most commonly used substrates in betta tanks. Aquarium gravel comes in a range of both muted and intense colors.

Live plants can benefit from nutrient-rich aquarium soil. Cover the soil with a thin layer of gravel substrate for easy cleaning.

Plants

Aquarium plants create a natural environment and provide cover for your plakat betta.

Beginner-friendly aquatic plants like Anubias Barteri and Cryptocoryne offer plenty of shade and hiding places.

Broad-leaf plants also give your betta flat surfaces for resting.

Other plant options for your plakat include:

  • Java moss
  • Amazon sword
  • Anacharis
  • Ludwigia
  • Water sprite
  • Brazilian pennywort

Live plants act as natural filters and help oxygenate the water.

Artificial plants do not offer these benefits but do not need maintenance.

Choose silk plants instead of plastic. Plastic plants have sharp edges and can injure your betta.

A planted tank is nice, but take care not to overdo it. Your boisterous fish still needs enough room for swimming.

Hiding Spots/Decorations

Bettas feel more secure when they have access to plenty of hiding places.

Options for hiding spots include:

  • Caves
  • Tunnels
  • Smooth Rocks
  • Driftwood

Untreated driftwood releases tannins, so keep this in mind if you don’t want tinted water.

Consider placing a betta leaf hammock near the top of your tank. This gives your plakat betta a place for resting and sleeping while staying close to the surface for fresh air.

Always check your tank decorations for sharp edges and rough textures.

If your aquarium net snags on the decorations, do not place them in your betta tank.

Do not overcrowd your tank with decorations. This will stress out your betta due to the lack of swimming space.

Learn more about setting up a betta fish tank with our helpful article in the link.

Possible Diseases

plakat betta illness

Since selective breeding produces stronger plakats for fighting, these fish have a robust immune system.

Plakat bettas are less prone to bacterial infections and other illnesses than other betta types.

But this does not mean plakat bettas have complete immunity against diseases. They are simply more capable of fighting off diseases like bacterial and parasitic infections.

One common health issue in plakat bettas is fin rot. Their short fins are more resistant to the disease, but fin rot is more likely to spread to their body.

Prompt treatment with antibiotics prevents fin rot from spreading. Your betta’s fins will grow back, but they may not look the same.

Maintaining a clean aquarium helps prevent fin rot and other diseases.

Food and Diet

Bettas are carnivorous fish and need a diet rich in animal protein.

In the wild, plakat bettas dine on insects and insect larvae.

An appropriate staple diet for captive bettas consists of high-quality pellets. Ensure the betta pellets have at least a 35% protein content.

Feed your betta 2-4 pellets twice per day, at least 6-8 hours apart.

Tropical fish flakes do not provide enough animal protein for bettas. They are also messy and contribute to poor water conditions.

Leftover food sinks to the bottom of the tank. As the food decays, it releases ammonia and other toxins.

Remove uneaten food when your betta finishes its meal. Use a gravel vacuum during water changes for removing food and other debris from the substrate.

Your betta needs a varied diet, or the fish gets bored with its food.

Supplement your betta’s staple diet with live or frozen foods, such as:

  • Baby brine shrimp
  • Blood worms
  • Daphnia
  • Mosquito larvae

Live foods provide more nutrients than frozen foods. They also activate your plakat betta’s hunting instincts.

Fast your betta for one day every week. A fasting day lets your betta digest leftover food in its stomach and helps prevent bloating and constipation.

Behavior and Temperament

Since plakat bettas were originally bred for fighting, they are one of the most aggressive betta types.

These trained fighters are very territorial and do not hesitate to defend their bubble nests.

When kept in a calm environment, plakat bettas are peaceful fish.

Tank Mates

The aggressive nature of plakat bettas makes them poor candidates for most community tanks.

But, plakat bettas can get along with some species of bottom-dwelling fish. Species like kuhli loaches or corydoras make good tank mates for plakats.

Plakat bettas spend most of their time near the top of the tank, so they may ignore the bottom dwellers.

This is only possible if you have a large tank. I recommend at least a 20-gallon tank, but a 30-gallon tank is even better.

You plakat betta can live with shrimp if they are too big to become a meal. Amano shrimp and ghost shrimp are both good options.

Avoid housing your plakat with cherry shrimp. Their small size and bright red color make them a target for your plakat betta.

Most species of shrimp are prolific breeders. But you do not have to worry about overpopulation because your plakat betta will eat most of the shrimp fry.

Mystery snails are another good tank mate option for plakats. As a bonus, snails help control algae growth.

Breeding

plakat betta breeding

Breeding plakat bettas is challenging because the males are so aggressive with the females. This aggression often results in injury or death for the female.

Novice fish keepers should not attempt breeding plakat bettas.

Plakat bettas are bred in various colors, patterns, and tail variations.

In places like Thailand where betta fighting is sanctioned, plakats are bred for fighting traits. These fighting plakats are known as Morh.

There are several varieties of plakat Morh, and each one has distinct features.

Plachon (snake-fish or long-body)

Plachon plakats are the most common fighting fish in Thailand. They have long, narrow bodies and a fast attack speed.

Plamor

Plamor plakats have a short body and head. They are slower than Plachons but have vicious attacks.

Plakrai (spoon-head)

Plakrai plakats have a sharp, curved mouth and a long betta. Their bite is strong and they aim with precision.

Plasang

Plasang plakats have smaller bodies. They are a hybrid of wild and captive-bred fish.

Price

The average price of a plakat betta ranges from $10-$35.

Plakat bettas with rare colors or patterns can cost as much as $65.

The most expensive betta ever sold was a Kachen Worachi.

This halfmoon plakat betta has the colors of the Thai national flag. The body is a vivid blue with a white belly and red fins.

A Kachen Worachi plakat once sold at auction for over $1,500!

Rarity

There is a high demand for plakat bettas, but they are not necessarily rare.

You are less likely to find a plakat betta in a pet store. But, many specialty breeders sell them.

Look for local plakat betta breeders in your area or search online.

The rarity of plakat bettas also depends on their color and pattern.

Frequently Asked Questions About Plakat Bettas

What is the difference between Hmpk and Plakat?

Hmpk is the abbreviated term for a halfmoon plakat.

Halfmoon plakats have a larger tail, which fans out up to 180 degrees. Regular plakat bettas have a much smaller tail.

What does plakat mean in bettas?

Plakat is the Thai word for “biting fish.”

How do I know if my betta is a plakat?

Plakat bettas have stout bodies with short fins and tails. They also have narrow heads, which taper into a point.

More common betta types have long, flowy fins and tails. Their bodies are slender and they have more rounded snouts.

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Written by

Contributing Writer

Toni Tedescucci is a freelance writer who loves all animals, especially betta fish. When she isn’t busy writing for Betta Fish Bay, she’s spending time with her family or getting cozy with her cats and a good book.

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