Steve Jones

These fish were first discovered by Tyson R. Roberts in 1976 and specimens were given to the Zoological Museum in Java. On his next expedition, in 1989, the fish were named and described as having very elongate fins and intense colouration. Their habitat is a forest area in Kapuas (Borneo) and they are likely to become endangered if too many are taken from the wild. The AAGB size is 7cm for the male and 5.5 cm for the female.

During September, on a visit to Germany for the 1992 English/German fish show and IGL Convention, we visited Frankfurt and found some very unusual Bettas, at about 3cm. The dealer had named them 'Parosphromenus deissneri' but we knew that they were not that species. Having obtained 20 specimens between us, we were very pleased that all the fish survived the long journey home by ferry and mini-bus.

Because they had been kept in brown water in the dealer's tanks, we presumed that soft water would suit these fish and this proved to be the case. They are a slim-bodied fish, the males having elongate fins. The normal body colour is a slight, rusty-brown, sometimes with a stripe, sometimes with a blotch, frequently changing between the two.

To our delight, upon feeding amounts of Daphnia and bloodworm, the female fattened up with eggs and the males began their courtship displays. The males have a large, red throat pouch which they extend, giving them the appearance of being all head. The body becomes a lovely, chestnut-red colour and each scale has a bright blue edge with blue scales on the operculum. The caudal and dorsal fins are patterened and outlined in white. There is also a red ring round the eye. A very colourful fish, in contrast to the female, who remained very drab in comparison.

The fish were community spawners in a species 24x12x12" tank with the temperature set at 77°F and very sparsely planted. We had floating tubes, as for other anabantoids and a few other hiding places but they did not seem to be bothered by other fish once spawning began. This occured at the bottom of the tank, in and around a plant pot, laid on its side. The female kept picking up the eggs and spitting them out in front of the male until he got them all in his mouth. She seemed very reluctant to let him catch the eggs, not giving him a lot of time, before she herself caught them, ready to spit them out again.

The female's role was over after spawning and she was kept away by a smaller male who seemed to us to take on the task of guarding the brooding male. he kept the other
fish away, flaring up now and then but keeping in close contact all the time. Even if the female wanted to guard the brooding male, as in other anabantoids, she was not allowed to.

Going on our experience with Betta picta, we assumed the incubation period would be 11-14 days so after 11 days we removed the male to a smaller tank where, a few hours later, he spat out 25 fry. They were about the same size Betta picta fry, 4mm approximately and we were able to feed them newly-hatched brine shrimp and microworm. At 2 months, the fry were about 2cm and at four months, 3.5 cm. The first batch of fry are now about 6 months old and approximately 5cms, the females being slightly smaller, at 3.5cm. In a subsequent spawning, the same male recently spat out about 50 fry, this time after 12 days. With age, the fish change colour, the body staying brown until ready for spawning, as described.
Alternative spawning strategy
Meanwhile, another member of the AAGB Yorks group, who had only one pair, found the fish behaved very differently. He kept them in an 18x9x9" tank with Riccia and a cave provided for cover. The lower half of the tank was blanketted with broad-leafed plants but with open spaces under the leaves. The temperature was between 76 and 80°F.

Spawning took place at the rear of the tank, in the open but under the shade of the broad-leafed plants. The female took a dominant role throughout spawning, even protecting the male from their own reflections. She even went as far as tormenting the male by spitting the eggs at him, even though he was unable to take any more
into his mouth. These remaining eggs must have been eaten by the female. The female never left the male until she was removed, 9 days later, in case she attacked the fry.

After 11 days, the male was actively swimming at the surface of the tank, the usual behaviour of a mouthbrooder, indicating that he was ready to release the fry. Later in the day, 30-40 fry had been released.
My observations of these fish are that they are a peaceful and beautiful Betta. They also seem a very curious (nosey) fish that do not seem as shy as some other Bettas.

Reprinted with kind permission from AAGB 'Labyrinth'