Species Spotlight – Marine Betta

»Posted by on Apr 27, 2018 in Blog, Greg M, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Species Spotlight – Marine Betta

Species Spotlight – Marine Betta written by Greg Macher   photo by Greg Macher The Marine Betta or Calloplesiops altivelas is an amazing reef fish from the family Plesiopidae.  This family is known as the roundheads or spiny basslets. There was a thought for a while that there was a second species called C. argus which has smaller spots and some blue lines but further research found out it was the same species at different stages of life.  As the marine betta grows its spots move apart.  These beautiful fish are found in the Indo-Pacific commonly near reefs and drop offs.  They are nocturnal by nature and like to hide in caves during the day coming out to feed at night.  C. altivelas is a predator in the wild feeding on small fish and small crustaceans.  The pattern of the marine betta is a dark body with white spots including a false eye spot near the caudal peduncle region.  This false spot helps the marine betta to mimic the whitemouth moray eel.  This tactic is called mimicry as a way to avoid predators.  When the marine betta is hiding behind a rock it will stick its head downward and the tail spot appears as the moray.  The marine betta has been bred successfully in captivity although hard to come by.  C. altivelas can grow up to 20cm (8 inches) and can make an amazing addition to your home aquarium. In the home aquarium it is important to aquascape with many caves and hiding spots for your marine betta to hide during the day so they can feel comfortable.  A minimum tank size for the marine betta should be at least 55g.  It is possible to put two marine bettas together but usually will only work if one is male and the other female.  Telling the sexes apart, however, is very difficult. The best option is to get one larger and one smaller.  One awesome aspect of these fish is that they are very hardy fish which have a strong resistance to ich and other parasites.  The marine betta will not eat coral themselves but caution should be taken placing one of these beautiful fish in a reef aquarium as they can eat small fish and invertebrates.  Although C. altivelas is a predator, it will not mix well with other aggressive predators such as groupers and lionfish or even fast boisterous eaters.  The marine betta is a slow stalker and needs time to get food.  When first introduced to the new aquarium C. altivelas may be shy and hide longer than most people want but with time and care they can be a real show piece for your aquarium!  Many customers having trouble feeding at first will use ghost shrimp or live black worms; however, they should be weaned off live foods toward meaty foods such as mysis shrimp, squid, clam and even pellets!  I can tell you personally over time the marine betta will become your favorite fish and much more outgoing.  Mine personally comes to great me every morning and night looking for some pellets.  If you have any questions about C. altivelas please come in to Absolutely Fish and talk to me,...

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