Review

Potential welfare issues of the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) at the retailer and in the hobbyist aquarium

Authors
  • C. C. F. Pleeging
  • C. P. H. Moons

Abstract

Betta splendens is an extremely popular ornamental fish among hobby aquarists. It has an interesting behavioral repertoire, particularly where male aggression and territoriality are concerned. The lack of scientific studies investigating optimal housing conditions in combination with the wide variety of commercially available husbandry products, raises questions about the welfare status of these fish in captivity. In this article, an overview of the available literature on the biology of the betta and general considerations of ornamental fish keeping is given, and environment- and animal-related factors with potential impact on the welfare of Betta splendens are examined. Although more research using biological and physiological indicators is needed, the following factors constituting welfare problems have been identified: an aquarium of limited dimensions, prevalence of Mycobacterium spp. infection, aggression to and from conspecifics or other species in the same aquarium and the limited ability to escape, potential for stress due to prolonged visual contact between males in shops and during shows, and the lack of environmental enrichment in the form of sheltering vegetation.

How to Cite:

Pleeging, C. & Moons, C., (2017) “Potential welfare issues of the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) at the retailer and in the hobbyist aquarium”, Vlaams Diergeneeskundig Tijdschrift 86(4), 213-223. doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/vdt.v86i4.16182

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Published on
28 Aug 2017
Peer Reviewed