1998 (2541*) I met Mr. Athapon (a.k.a. Uncle Sala),
and Mr. Natee**, his son. They were the owners of
the Diamond Fish Farm. We had the same occupation,
Betta (plakat***) breeder. At that time we only bred
the more common forms of Betta.
Myself, Mr. Athapon (Uncle Sala), Mr. Natee
One day in the middle of 1999 Uncle Sala and Natee
found a very large plakat on their farm, it was an
incredible four inches long! They came up with the
idea to breed the regular forms and colors of Betta,
but try to make them as large as possible. They were
excited that this would be an entirely new form of
Betta Splendens. This would of course be good for
their farm, but also for the Betta community at
large. So they looked through their farm's 300 round
cement tanks, to find the largest female Betta to
breed with the original huge fish they'd found
After the first generation of fry, they found only a
very small amount of large fish. But they selected
the biggest of those and bred them again. After each
generation they found they were getting more and
more large sized fish in the brood. They started
breeding new broods every week, some weeks as many
as 50 pairs of fish at a time! They began switching
the males and females from different large sized
lines together to create strong colors, and to
By 2001, Uncle Sala and Natee had several strains of
large Betta, both plakat and long tail varieties. At
this time they first brought them to the market to
be sold. They named them Giant Bettas (Plakat Yak).
It didn't take long before word of these new giants
got around, and people began buying them for
breeding and for show.
In 2002, Uncle Sala and Natee sent some of their
strains of Giant Betta the United States for an IBC
competition. After that, the word about Giant Bettas
really took off.
For all Giant bettas that Uncle Sala and Mr. Natee sent for
this IBC competition, they measured the size of all Giant bettas before sending
to competition. The biggest of Giant short fins, his size including tail is 3.2
inches and the biggest of Giant long fins, his size including tail is 4.2
Just as things were going well, in 2003 something
unexpected happened. The lease for the land they had
their fish farm on had come up for renewal. However
the landlord refused to rent it to them again, as he
wanted to sell the land for a very high price. So
unable to afford the land themselves, Uncle Sala and
Natee paired down their farm from 300 tanks to only
70, and moved those into their homes. During this
time the breeding of Giant Bettas became slower more
difficult. But they never gave up, and even though
they made much slower progress they continued to
develop their fish producing some stunning new
colors of Giant Bettas.
In 2004, Dr. Gene Lucas visited their farm, Uncle
Sala and Natee were honored to have a celebrity in
the world of fish breeding take an interest in their
work. They were also delighted that Dr. Lucas was
passionate enough about Bettas to come to Thailand
to see where Betta Splendens originated.
Dr. Gene Lucas when
he came to visit Uncle Sala's Farm
As of now, Uncle Sala and Natee are still breeding
both Giant and regular sized Bettas on their farm.
We continue to develop new colors and types of fish,
specifically for people who love Bettas.
To breed your own Giant Bettas, simply pick the
largest male and female fish you have. Once they've
bred pick the largest male and female fish from that
brood, and pair them. Continue doing this until you
have a high percentage of giant fish in one brood.
After that, take your Giant Betta and breed them
with other regular sized fish to create whatever
colors and fin types you wish.
Now that there's a lot of Giant Bettas on the
market, it's a lot easier to breed them than in the
past. “To succeed in breeding Giant Bettas, and have
a large amount of big and beautiful fish in one
brood, you have to choose the giant fish from a good
family. Start with a fish that's big, and beautiful
and the right age. After that, it's up to the
experience of the breeder.”
The Giant Plakat Bettas that myself, Uncle Sala, and
Natee are breeding used to be about three inches
long (from mouth to tail) at the age of eight and a
half to nine months. But now we can breed them to
hit 3 inches in only five and a half to six months,
and sometimes even as early as five months.
The largest Giant Plakat Betta we have seen has been
four inches long (from mouth to tail) at one year
old. The largest Giant long-tail Betta we've seen
has been five inches long at one year old. However
it's very rare to see sizes that large, we might
find one fish that size in a very long time.
I've tried to think back about the breeding and
development of the Giant Betta from the beginning
till now. But I fear that I can't recall all the
theory and trial and error, because I've bred too
many giant fish to remember all the steps involved.
And I believe that there's no one theory that can
give you Giant Betta fry for sure every time. Will
you get the baby giants that you're looking for? I
think it mostly depends on your experience.
* The Buddhist calander is 543 years ahead of our
own, I've adjusted the years to the western system.
** Thai's use their first names after the honorific
Mr. instead of their last names. (i.e. Athapon and
Natee are first names)
*** The Thai word for all forms of Beta Splendens is
“plakat” regardless of tail length or shape. I've
used the common convention of using plakat to mean
the short tailed fighter variety, and Betta to refer
to the long-tailed show type where necessary.