One of the rarest and most beautiful betta species would be the Betta stiktos.
Whether you’re a fishkeeping newbie or a fish veteran, the Betta stiktos is one such variant of Bettas that you cannot miss out on.
With their azure flashes of colour and graceful temperament, these fishes are eye-catching and charming; any enthusiast like me would be glad to own one.
Before going further, you can briefly understand that Betta Stiktos belongs to the Betta splendens Complex.
They’re typical bubble nesters and are often simple to keep. People also breed them with other species to produce different types of hybrids.
Additionally, this hybridisation is the reason why pure wild Betta Stiktos are extremely hard to find.
You can also check out my Betta complex guide to know more about different types of betta species.
Betta stiktos is its scientific name, while its common names include stiktos Betta and Ikan Bettah.
Here, “Stiktos” is taken from the same Greek word, which means spotted or speckled.
This is because the Betta stiktos features lots of round spots in a row at the dorsal fin.
Where can we find Betta Stiktos?
The primary origin of Betta stiktos is from Cambodia. At one point, we all believed that this species no longer existed, but due to the successful efforts of a collector who visited Cambodia, the Betta stiktos had a comeback in 2017.
Since then, they started becoming available for common fish breeders like us through the specimens he found and collected.
This is a rare species, and only a few good breeders sell or trade it.
The locality of Betta stiktos is in the Mekong drainage in Cambodia.
The Betta stiktos mainly thrive in ponds, flooded fields, or ditches. This is because the fishes love to live in stagnant waters where there is not too much water movement.
Moreover, these bubblenesters require stable waters to keep their eggs, or else they could lose them in strong water currents.
How do we take care of Betta Stiktos?
This Betta fish is a relatively easy breed to take care of.
Most of the time, these varieties are pretty shy but also have territorial tendencies.
Thus, to avoid any unwanted spars between these fishes (especially the males), I’d recommend having a properly sized tank which we will talk about in the next section.
There are often only 2 ways to keep fishes happy and healthy. Either we keep it protected in its natural habitat or keep it in enclosed spaces like an aquarium where the environment, food, and light are as close as possible to the original habitats.
Once we master that, we can safely assume that we take care of our fishes (in this case, Betta Stiktos) in the best way possible.
Generally, a 30cm tank is the least that you could go for an individual fish.
Of course, the bigger the tank you can get your hands-on, the better.
This way, your fish will have more swimming space and you can add other livestock if you want.
Since Betta stiktos prefers to live in stagnant waters with good cover and minimal bright light, we should make a similar environment to make them feel safe and secure.
A low-tech planted tank is an excellent method to have a suitable environment for your Bettas while keeping it at easier maintenance levels.
You can head over to my Walstad Method Tank guide for an efficient low-tech method that’s great for most betta species.
Apart from those methods, some basic things you may need to keep in mind are keeping enough plants for Betta stiktos to create bubble nests (having a good amount of floating plants is acceptable).
Makeshift caves, driftwood, rocks, and leaf litter would make your aquarium more natural for them!
The Betta stiktos are more tolerant of water chemistry than many other bettas, and thus, most of your concerns should be keeping the water properly filtered and clean.
Preferably, the water’s hardness should be a maximum of 10°dGH, temperatures at 22-26°C and pH levels from 5-7.5pH.
What can you keep with Betta Stiktos?
The best situation would be that you don’t keep your Betta stiktos with any other fish in the tank.
You can try to keep a pair in a big enough tank with many hiding spots, but with the splendens complex, many keepers keep them separate.
Betta stiktos are generally calm and have good temperaments, but if you want to add more life in your tanks, and you can consider micro fishes.
A small group of Celestial Pearl Danios (Danio margaritatus) is a good idea. You could also keep some Microdevario Kubotai or Boraras.
These micro fishes are both calm and easy to maintain. The Betta may not necessarily feel territorial towards these fishes.
You can keep a few shrimps too, but only if you add them first before adding the Betta. Do note there’s no guarantee that your shrimps won’t be attacked.
Feeding Betta Stiktos
Betta Stiktos is a carnivorous species that feed on insects and worms. Live or frozen prey is an ideal choice, but they may often deny food pellets.
Baby brine shrimps, daphnia, tubifex, bloodworms, and mosquito larvae are usually excellent food sources.
Here’s my guide to feeding betta fish.
Sexing Betta Stiktos
As with most Betta species, the male ones differ significantly with their richer colours and more flaunting fins. Females have browner shades with shorter fins.
Breeding Betta Stiktos
Betta stiktos is a bubblenester, and it’s generally easy to breed these fishes, but the real struggle comes in making the fry grow successfully.
If you keep a pair in a tank, the reproduction may even start without you noticing.
Otherwise, you can use the typical betta breeding setup for the Betta stiktos.
The male will first build his bubblenest around the surface (usually in the cover of plants), and once he effectively courts the female, they will mate, and the eggs get laid.
Depending on your male’s temperament, he may tolerate the female’s presence after the ritual or become hostile to protect the nest.
If it’s the latter, you can remove the female and keep her safe in a different spot.
I couldn’t find specific literature on this but it should be in the same size range as those in the splenden complex – 5-7cm.
Betta stiktos is a rare breed; even rarer is its pure wild species. I would love to own at least a pair, and I’m sure many others like me would agree.
If you’re interested in keeping a hard-to-get betta, this is a terrific option.
Apart from this, if you have any extra information to add, feel free to reach out to me.