Lichak, M. R., Barber, J. R., Kwon, Y. M. et al. 2022. Care and use of Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) for research. Comparative Medicine 72(3), 169-180.
Betta splendens, also called Siamese fighting fish or 'betta,' are a popular species in the fishkeeping hobby. Native to South- east Asia, betta have been selectively bred for their fighting ability for hundreds of years, which has resulted in the species' characteristic male aggression. More recently, betta have been bred for a number of ornamental traits such as coloration, fin morphology, and body size. Betta have unique characteristics and an evolutionary history that make them a useful model for studies in the fields of behavior, endocrinology, neurobiology, genetics, development, and evolution. However, standard laboratory procedures for raising and keeping these fish are not well established, which has limited their use. Here, we briefly review the past and present use of betta in research, with a focus on their utility in behavioral, neurobiological, and evolutionary studies. We then describe effective husbandry practices for maintaining betta as a research colony.