Early in 1998 (2541*) I met Mr. Athapon (a.k.a.
Uncle Sala), and Mr. Natee**, his son. They were the
owners of the Diamond Fish Farm. We had the same
occupation, Betta (plakat***) breeder. At that time
we only bred the more common forms of Betta.
Myself, Mr. Athapon (Uncle Sala), Mr. Natee
One day in the middle of 1999 Uncle Sala and Natee found a very large plakat on
their farm, it was an incredible four inches long!
They came up with the idea to breed the regular forms and colors of Betta, but
try to make them as large as possible.
They were excited that this would be an entirely new form of Betta Splendens.
This would of course be good for their farm, but also for the Betta community at
So they looked through their farm's 300 round cement tanks, to find the largest
female Betta to breed with the original huge fish they'd found earlier.
After the first generation of fry, they found only a very small amount of large
But they selected the biggest of those and bred them again. After each
generation they found they were getting more and more large sized fish in the
They started breeding new broods every week, some weeks as many as 50 pairs of
fish at a time!
They began switching the males and females from different large sized lines
together to create strong colors, and to prevent inbreeding.
By 2001, Uncle Sala and Natee had several strains of large Betta, both plakat
and long tail varieties. At this time they first brought them to the market to
They named them Giant Bettas (Plakat Yak). It didn't take long before word of
these new giants got around, and people began buying them for breeding and for
In 2002, Uncle Sala and Natee sent some of their
strains of Giant Betta the United States for an IBC
After that, the word about Giant Bettas really took
For all Giant bettas that Uncle Sala and Mr. Natee
sent for this IBC competition, they measured the
size of all Giant bettas before sending to
The biggest of Giant short fins, his size including
tail is 3.2 inches and the biggest of Giant long
fins, his size including tail is 4.2 inches.
Just as things were going well, in 2003 something
unexpected happened. The lease for the land they had their fish farm on had come
up for renewal.
landlord refused to rent it to them again, as he wanted to sell the land for a
very high price.
So unable to afford
the land themselves, Uncle Sala and Natee paired down their farm from 300 tanks
to only 70, and moved those into their homes.
During this time
the breeding of Giant Bettas became slower more difficult.
But they never gave
up, and even though they made much slower progress they continued to develop
their fish producing some stunning new colors of Giant Bettas.
In 2004, Dr. Gene
Lucas visited their farm, Uncle Sala and Natee were honored to have a celebrity
in the world of fish breeding take an interest in their work.
They were also
delighted that Dr. Lucas was passionate enough about Bettas to come to Thailand
to see where Betta Splendens originated.
Dr. Gene Lucas when
he came to visit Uncle Sala's Farm
As of now, Uncle Sala and Natee are still breeding both Giant and regular sized
Bettas on their farm.
We continue to
develop new colors and types of fish, specifically for people who love Bettas.
To breed your own
Giant Bettas, simply pick the largest male and female fish you have.
Once they've bred
pick the largest male and female fish from that brood, and pair them.
Continue doing this
until you have a high percentage of giant fish in one brood.
After that, take
your Giant Betta and breed them with other regular sized fish to create whatever
colors and fin types you wish.
Now that there's a lot of Giant Bettas on the
market, it's a lot easier to breed them than in the
“To succeed in breeding Giant Bettas, and have a
large amount of big and beautiful fish in one brood,
you have to choose the giant fish from a good
Start with a fish that's big, and beautiful and the
right age. After that, it's up to the experience of
The Giant Plakat Bettas that myself, Uncle Sala, and
Natee are breeding used to be about three inches
long (from mouth to tail) at the age of eight and a
half to nine months.
But now we can breed them to hit 3 inches in only
five and a half to six months, and sometimes even as
early as five months.
The largest Giant Plakat Betta we have seen has been
four inches long (from mouth to tail) at one year
The largest Giant long-tail Betta we've seen has
been five inches long at one year old.
However it's very rare to see sizes that large, we
might find one fish that size in a very long time.
I've tried to think back about the breeding and
development of the Giant Betta from the beginning
But I fear
that I can't recall all the theory and trial and
error, because I've bred too many giant fish to
remember all the steps involved.
And I believe
that there's no one theory that can give you Giant
Betta fry for sure every time.
Will you get
the baby giants that you're looking for? I think it
mostly depends on your experience.
* The Buddhist calander is 543 years ahead of our
own, I've adjusted the years to the western system.
** Thai's use their first names after the honorific
Mr. instead of their last names. (i.e. Athapon and
Natee are first names)
*** The Thai word for all forms of Beta Splendens is
“plakat” regardless of tail length or shape.
I've used the
common convention of using plakat to mean the short
tailed fighter variety, and Betta to refer to the
long-tailed show type where necessary.