Giant Betta Fish: Uncovering the Facts and Care Tips

Giant Betta fish have recently garnered attention among aquarists due to their unique size and captivating appearance. These stunning creatures are a result of selective breeding of Betta fish with a genetic tendency toward gigantism. Typically sporting the sturdy body of a Plakat Betta in a larger package, their calm demeanor and impressive size have contributed to their increasing popularity in the aquatic trade.

Often boasting a body size of around 3.5 to 7.5 inches, Giant Bettas thrive in water with a pH between 6.8 and 7, and a dGH (degree of General hardness) of 5 to 20. They prefer water with very low currents, as they enjoy conditions close to stagnant. In contrast to King Betta fish, which were selectively bred for fighting, Giant Bettas exhibit more docile behavior and usually display vivid beige to white pigments.

Though Giant Bettas are still relatively uncommon in the aquatics industry, potential owners should be prepared to meet their specific care requirements to ensure a healthy and thriving environment. Nevertheless, these fascinating fish have a lot to offer in terms of aesthetics and behavior for enthusiasts seeking a unique addition to their aquariums.

Giant Betta Fish Origins

Giant Betta fish are a remarkable hybrid breed that was first created in 2002 by three Thai aquarists, Mr. Athapon Ritanapichad, Mr. Natee Ritanapichad, and Mr. Wasan Sattayapun. These breeders aimed to produce a larger-sized Betta fish to attract even more enthusiasts to this already popular species.

Initially, the breeders worked with Betta splendens, commonly known as Siamese fighting fish, which were already well-regarded for their vibrant colors and fascinating behavior. The Giant Betta fish, characterized by their total length (including tail) of over 8 cm, are believed to have resulted from a combination of genetic mutation and selective breeding.

Giant Bettas are a form of selectively bred Plakat Betta, which, unlike other Betta fish, tends to have a more pronounced body size and shorter, wider fins. Through the breeding process, Giant Betta fish were further developed to reach sizes between 3 inches and 7 inches in length. This remarkable size difference sets them apart from regular Betta fish, contributing to their uniqueness and allure.

In the wild, the Giant Betta (Betta anabantoides) can be found in the Borneo region of Indonesia, specifically in southern Kalimantan. These stunning fish inhabit several river environments and display a fascinating paternal mouth-brooding behavior, wherein the male single-handedly guards and incubates its offspring.

In summary, the Giant Betta fish originated from a successful hybrid breeding program in Thailand in which the breeders’ goal was to create a larger, more impressive version of the popular Siamese fighting fish. The combination of selective breeding and genetic mutation led to the development of this unique, larger-sized Plakat Betta fish that have captured the attention of aquarists worldwide.

Giant Betta Fish

Appearance and Size

Giant Betta Fish are known for their distinct and vibrant appearance. Their bodies are typically torpedo-shaped with large heads and small mouths. The most striking feature of these fish is their long, flowing fins that come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Common colors for Giant Bettas include blue, green, red, and orange. They often display intricate patterns on their fins, which add to their visual appeal and make them a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts.

In terms of size, Giant Bettas are larger than other betta species. They can grow up to 5 inches (12 cm) in length, about twice the size of a regular betta fish. This substantial size difference makes them stand out compared to their smaller counterparts.

Here are some characteristics of Giant Betta Fish:

  • Size: Up to 5 inches (12 cm) in length
  • Colors: Blue, green, red, orange
  • Patterns: Can vary; often intricate designs on fins
  • Appearance: Torpedo-shaped body, large head, small mouth
  • Fins: Long and flowing

It is essential to provide the right environment and diet to maintain the Giant Betta’s impressive appearance. Proper care will ensure that they can display their vibrant colors and maintain healthy fins throughout their life.

Behavior and Temperament

Giant Betta Fish, as part of the anabantoid family, exhibit distinctive behavior and temperament traits when compared to other Bettas. Although some may assume that all Betta fish are aggressive, this is not always the case and can vary depending on the species.

It should be noted that Giant Bettas have a carnivorous diet, and this can impact their behavior. These fish are known to be more aggressive towards other fish, specifically those of their own kind due to their territorial nature. It is not advisable to keep them with other fish, as their aggressiveness can lead to conflicts within the tank. This is especially true when two male Giant Bettas are housed together, as their innate instincts to defend territory come into play.

Despite their aggressive tendencies, Giant Bettas have been known to exhibit a laid-back personality. They are not overly active swimmers and often prefer environments with low currents that replicate nearly stagnant water. The ideal water parameters for a Giant Betta include a pH range between 6.8 and 7, and a dGH (degree of General Hardness) between 5 and 20.

When setting up a tank for a Giant Betta, it is important to account for their behavior and territorial nature. This can be achieved by providing them with an appropriate amount of space and hiding spots.

In summary, the behavior and temperament of a Giant Betta are characterized by:

  • Carnivorous diet
  • Aggressive towards other fish, particularly their own kind
  • Territorial nature
  • Laid-back personality
  • Preference for low-current environments

It’s crucial to consider these aspects when caring for a Giant Betta, ensuring their environment is suited to their needs and avoiding situations where conflict may arise.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Giant Betta Fish originate from the rivers and swamps of Southeast Asia. In the wild, they prefer warm, slow-moving waters with plenty of vegetation to hide in. To ensure proper care, it’s important to recreate their natural habitat as closely as possible in a home aquarium setting.

A single Giant Betta can be kept in a tank as small as 5 gallons. However, it’s best to house them in a tank that’s at least 10 gallons in size. If you plan to keep a male and female pair together, a 10-gallon tank would be the minimum requirement. The tank should have a lid to prevent the fish from jumping out.

Giant Betta fish thrive in water temperatures between 72 and 82°F, with the ideal temperature being around 78°F. You may need to use an aquarium heater to maintain the ideal water temperature, especially if your room temperature is prone to fluctuation.

Water quality is essential for the health of your fish. Giant Bettas prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH between 6.8 and 7.0. As for water hardness (dGH), maintain it between 5 and 20, since these fish cannot tolerate hard water. Make sure to test and monitor water parameters regularly.

Filtration is important to maintain good water quality, but keep in mind that Betta fish thrive in slow-moving water. Choose a filter that provides a gentle flow, or adjust it accordingly to mimic their natural environment if needed.

As for substrate, you can use sand or fine gravel. If you want to enhance the aesthetic of your tank, consider adding live plants and rocks. These elements will also provide hiding spots for your Giant Betta, making them feel more comfortable in their environment.

One unique characteristic of Betta fish is their labyrinth organ, which allows them to breathe air directly from the surface of the water. Make sure you provide an open space at the top of the tank for the fish to access the surface and use their labyrinth organ.

In summary:

  • Tank size: at least 10 gallons
  • Water temperature: 72-82°F (recommended 78°F)
  • Water pH: 6.8 – 7.0
  • Water hardness (dGH): 5-20
  • Filtration: gentle flow, efficient
  • Substrate: sand or fine gravel
  • Habitat enhancement: plants and rocks for hiding spots
  • Labyrinth organ: provide open space at the top of the tank for surface access
Giant Betta Fish

Decor and Plants

Giant Betta Fish prefer a well-decorated aquarium that replicates their natural habitat. Including plants, rocks, and driftwood can create a visually appealing environment while also providing hiding spots, resting areas, and additional enrichment.


Live plants are essential for Giant Betta Fish as they support water quality, mimic their natural surroundings, and offer shelter. A few suitable plants include:

  • Java fern: This low-light, low-energy plant tolerates a wide temperature range and requires no CO2. It’s an excellent choice for beginners and highly adaptable to Betta tank conditions.
  • Anubias: A slow-growing yet hardy plant, Anubias thrives in low to moderate lighting conditions. Attach it to rocks or driftwood for a natural appearance.


When choosing rocks for your Giant Betta Fish aquarium, opt for those with no sharp edges that could potentially injure your fish. Smooth, flat rocks like Dragon Stone, Lava rock, or Slate are ideal choices. You can arrange them to create caves and hiding spots that offer both visual interest and secure resting areas for your fish.


Driftwood not only enhances the aesthetics of your aquarium but also serves as a surface for plants to anchor to and a hiding spot for your Betta Fish. Spiderwood, Mopani, and Malaysian driftwood are popular options that can be found in any aquarium shop. Ensure you thoroughly clean and soak the driftwood before placing it in the tank to remove any tannins and contaminants.

When decorating your Giant Betta Fish aquarium, it’s essential to strike a balance between aesthetics and functionality. Carefully select plants, rocks, and driftwood to create an environment that supports your fish’s health and wellbeing while also enhancing the visual appeal of your tank.

Feeding and Diet

Giant betta fish are carnivorous, and their diet primarily consists of meaty foods. In the wild, they typically feast on insects and small crustaceans. When keeping a giant betta fish as a pet, it’s important to replicate this diet to ensure they receive the proper nutrients.

Some common foods that giant bettas enjoy include:

  • Bloodworms: These are a popular choice for betta fish, as they are high in protein. You can feed them live, frozen, or freeze-dried bloodworms.
  • Mosquito larvae: Another natural food source for giant bettas, mosquito larvae also provide essential nutrients. You can obtain them live or frozen.
  • Brine shrimp: These can be given live, frozen, or freeze-dried, and are rich in protein and other essential nutrients.

To maintain a balanced diet, you can also include betta pellets in their feeding routine. These pellets are specially formulated for betta fish, providing essential nutrients and vitamins. The top-ranking foods for betta fish, in order, include live, frozen, freeze-dried, pellets, and flakes.

When feeding your giant betta, it’s important not to overfeed them. A general guideline is to offer 2-3 pellets or an equivalent amount of other food options 1-2 times daily. Take note of their activity level, as this can affect how much food they require. Always remove any uneaten food from the tank, as it can degrade water quality over time.

In summary, a varied diet consisting of bloodworms, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, and betta pellets will help keep your giant betta fish happy, healthy, and thriving.

Tank Mates and Compatibility

Giant Betta fish can be quite territorial, so it’s essential to choose their tank mates wisely. The key is to opt for fish that have similar environmental preferences and are less likely to provoke aggression.

One compatible tank mate for Giant Betta fish is the female guppy (Poecilia reticulata). While they lack the bright colors and fanciful tails of male guppies, they can coexist with bettas as long as there are plenty of hiding spots available, such as plants and rocks, to avoid unwanted attention.

Another option for a Giant Betta aquarium is adding pygmy cories. These small, bottom-dwelling fish are relatively peaceful and are less likely to instigate conflicts with your bettas.

However, some tank mates should be avoided due to incompatible environmental needs or potential aggression. Here are a few examples:

  • Goldfish: They require colder water (65-72°F) compared to bettas (76-81°F), making it difficult to maintain an ideal temperature for both species.
  • Nippy Tetras: Some tetras have a tendency to nip at fins and can stress out your bettas or provoke aggression.

When setting up a tank for Giant Betta fish and their potential companions, it is crucial to maintain the proper water conditions, such as a pH level between 6.8 and 7 and a water hardness degree of 5 to 20 dGH. Additionally, providing plenty of hiding spaces, such as plants, rocks, and logs, can decrease the chances of territorial disputes and promote a healthier, more peaceful environment for your fish.

In summary, carefully selecting compatible tank mates and providing an optimally designed environment can help your Giant Betta fish coexist peacefully with other species in the same aquarium.