Are Giant Bettas Right For You? - Everything You Need to Know About Owning a Giant Betta!

icon author linh nguyen

By Linh Nguyen Updated on 26 Feb 2023

It is not surprising that larger fish dominate the aquarium market around the world; this has been the case for a long time. Aquarium farming usually begins with keeping colorful carp, such as goldfish and Koi carp, which can grow to very large sizes and are the most common species everywhere. Other common fish, especially in the East, are the Arowana (Asian Arowana), discus, and other cichlids, including the Arhat - a cross between American cichlids. Both discus and Arhat are being bred with various color variations.

Betta fish is no exception!

The giant betta fish has the most prominent feature which is its larger body compared to other types of bettas. Coupled with this massiveness are vibrant colors that attract all eyes. The process of breeding a giant betta is very complex and requires experience to keep the fish as large and healthy as possible. However, there is still a downside that giant bettas are more susceptible to diseases and have a shorter life expectancy than ordinary bettas. Therefore, if you wish to raise this super-large fish, you must be very attentive and invest a considerable amount of time in taking care of it.

In this blog post, we'll take an in-depth look at all aspects of keeping a giant betta as a pet. From their ideal tank setup to health concerns and dietary needs – you'll learn everything there is to know about these majestic creatures! Whether you just got your first fish or are considering adding one to your family of finned friends, this complete guide is sure to provide helpful information so that your giant betta can thrive in its new environment.

A giant betta swimming next to an ordinary betta

A giant betta swimming next to an ordinary betta

1. What is giant betta fish?

Giant betta fish is a hybrid breed of fish that was first bred in 2002 by three Thai aquarists, Mr. Athapon Ritanapichad, Mr. Natee Ritanapichad, and Mr. Wasan Sattayapun. This unique species stands out amongst other types of bettas due to its oversized size. Betta fish with a total length (including tail) over 8 cm is considered a giant fish. However, the fish only reaches this size when it is 6-8 months old. Some giant bettas can reach a total length of approximately 10 cm, however, this is quite rare. Today, the giant trait can appear in all types of tails such as Halfmoon, Crown-tail, Double-tail, and Plakat. Or colors like blue, red, white, and yellow.

The breeding process requires careful selection of healthy parents with a minimum body length of 3.5 cm and no blood insemination for the offspring to reach this impressive size. Once bred, these particular fish require extra special care and attention during development to ensure they remain healthy and grow to their optimal sizes. To achieve this, the tank should have plenty of space for swimming and an environment with good water quality, temperature, and pH levels. Furthermore, it is important to provide a balanced diet for the fish so that they can receive all the necessary nutrients needed for them to thrive. 

The giant betta is an impressive breed of fish that has become increasingly popular amongst aquarists and hobbyists alike due to its unique size and vibrant colors. Despite being a hybrid breed, these particular bettas are strong, hardy fishes that bring life and beauty to any aquarium or pond!

To learn more about the origin of this special betta, read the article: The Giant Betta Fish: Origins, And More!

The video introduces and compares the sizes of a giant betta and a normal betta.

2. Giant betta fish facts

NameGiant Betta Fish
Other nameBetta anabatoides
Size8 – 10 cm
Weight9 – 12 grams
Lifespan1.5 - 2 years, up to 3 years
PersonalityLess aggressive than other lines 
Tank size5 – 10 gallons
HabitatQuiet water environment, many aquatic plants
Temperature75 - 86°F (24-30°C)
PH level6.8 - 7.2 (slightly acidic)
Alkalinity5 - 15 dKH 
Ammonia and nitrite levels0 ppm
Food & dietEat 3 to 6 times a day, twice as much as a regular betta would eat each time
PhysicallyPoor resistance is susceptible to diseases and fungi

2.1. Size

The giant betta fish is quite impressive in terms of its size. An adult giant betta will measure between 8 and 8.6 cm long when including the tail, which is almost three times larger than a common betta of only 3 to 3.5 cm. In some rare cases, they can even reach an impressive 10 cm long. 

In addition to being bigger than regular bettas, these unique fish also weigh significantly more. While a common betta typically weighs between 2 and 2.5 grams, a giant betta will easily weigh up to 9 or even 10 grams! This huge difference in weight makes the giant betta not only look bigger but actually heavier as well. 

Overall, the giant betta is quite an impressive fish in terms of its size and weight. With adults reaching up to 8.6 cm long and weighing almost 10 grams, this type of betta is certainly one that stands out amongst the crowd.  Additionally, there is always the potential for some individuals to reach a whopping 10 cm long - making them truly majestic creatures! Even more so than regular bettas, giant bettas are definitely a sight to behold. For details on the appearance of a giant betta, read the FAMA article by Dr. Gene A. Lucas with the title: Observations On A New Giant Betta Splendens.

A giant plakat is 3 times the size of a normal fish of the same type

A giant plakat is 3 times the size of a normal fish of the same type

2.2. Lifespan

A common betta can live about 2 to 3 years. Studies show that the cause of death for most bettas kept in small tanks and fed twice daily (as suggested by pet food manufacturers) is degeneration causing produced by excess adipose tissue.

Giant bettas may have longer fins and bodies, but their life span is unfortunately much shorter than that of a common betta. In fact, the giant bettas typically live between 1.5 to 2 years due to the increased amounts of food they consume on a daily basis, which leads to faster degeneration and shorter lifespans. Therefore, it is important for owners of giant bettas to be aware of this and provide them with adequate housing and care in order to ensure they can have happy and healthy lives during the time they are with us.

 2.3. The Behavior

Giant bettas have a slower behavior compared to other betta fish, which can be attributed to their larger size. This makes them less agile and causes them to move more slowly through the water. Their large size also limits the range of movements they are able to make, making it difficult for them to quickly change direction or speed up. 

Moreover, giant bettas have been known to be gentle with their tank mates, particularly those that are smaller than them. They tend not to display aggressive behavior even when threatened by another fish in the tank. They may still flare at each other as a form of communication but will rarely fight or chase another fish around the tank.

2.4. Identification

To identify whether a betta fish is of the giant fish line or not, it is necessary to rely on the overall length from the head to the end of the caudal fin in an adult fish—i.e., one over six months old.

  • If the total length is greater than 8 cm, it is a giant betta.
  • If the total length is greater than 3.5 cm but less than 8 cm, it is only a half-giant fish.

Determining the length of a fish seems very easy, but determining its age is not so. If you're breeding the giant betta on your own, there's no problem; however, if you go to the store to buy one, it is difficult to determine its age.

  • If you don't buy a fish that is still young and hasn't reached the "giant" size, you will most likely miss out on a real giant fish.
  • If you buy a half-giant betta, chances are you will mistake it for an old betta.
A giant halfmoon black blue big fan

A giant halfmoon black blue big fan

2.5. How fast does a giant betta grow?

Giant betta fish are known for their impressive growth rate. These fish can reach a size of 3.5 cm within just 2 to 3 months and can reach 7 cm in as little as 4 months, making them great options for aquarists looking for larger, more impressive fish. 

When they become adults - 6 to 8 months old - giant bettas will reach at least 8 cm in size, with some even growing up to 10 cm or more. This is much faster than other species of betta which typically take around six months to reach full adult size. 

The rapid growth of the giant betta is largely attributed to the breed itself; however, environmental factors such as water quality, nutrition, and tank size also play a crucial role. For instance, if the water quality is not up to par, or if there is an insufficient amount of food, then the growth rate will suffer as a result. 

In general, giant bettas can be expected to reach full adult size in a much shorter period of time than other species of betta fish. With proper care and nutrition, these impressive fish can reach their maximum size in just 6 to 8 months - making them highly sought after by aquarium hobbyists and aquarists alike.

2.6. Is giant betta the same as king betta?

Giant betta and king betta are two different species. Giant betta (Betta anabatoides) is a larger species of betta fish that can reach up to 10 cm in length. King betta (Betta Splendens), on the other hand, is a smaller species of betta that typically grows to around 3.5 cm  in length. Both species have similar care requirements, but they do differ in their physical characteristics and temperament. Giant bettas tend to be more active and aggressive than king bettas and require more living space due to their large size. Additionally, giant bettas also have distinctive markings along their fins that distinguish them from other types of Betta fish. King Bettas are generally more docile and can be kept in smaller aquariums or tanks. They are also known for their bright, vibrant colors. If you’re looking for a larger fish with an active temperament, then a giant betta is the way to go; however, if you want something smaller and more laid back, then a king betta may be the better option.

3. Giant betta fish types

Giant bettas come in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as different types of tails. Common tail types found in giant bettas include Double-tailed, Crown-tailed, Halfmoon, Plakat, Delta, and Veil-tail varieties. 

In terms of coloration, giant bettas can range from blue to red to yellow to white. Other variations include marble, koi, samurai, or Helloboy patterns that add extra visual interest to these amazing fish. While most giant bettas have solid colors on their bodies and fins with contrasting patchwork patterns, some breeds have more extreme color variations such as stripes or multiple hues.

You can see more pictures and videos of this unique betta in the article: “A Summary of the Most Beautiful and Stunning Giant Bettas.

4. Giant betta fish male and female

The male giant bettas are generally larger in size when compared to the female bettas. They can grow up to 8 cm in length, whereas female bettas usually measure three to four cm long. Male giant bettas typically have more vibrant colors than their female counterparts, and they often display more dramatic fins.

Male giant betta behavior is also quite different from that of their female counterparts. Males are more territorial and aggressive, often boxing other fish if they enter their territory. Females are usually much calmer, and they do not engage in territorial battles with other fish. 

A female giant betta with a total body length of 5.4 cm

A female giant betta with a total body length of 5.4 cm

5. Giant betta fish care

It is not the case that the fish is already large at the time of breeding; rather, it must be through a process of selection and proper feeding to help the fish achieve a "giant" size. Therefore, providing suitable habitat is a necessary condition for the maintenance and growth of the giant betta line.

5.1. Tank size

When it comes to giant betta fish, bigger is better. A regular aquarium will not be suitable for them since they need more space to swim and move freely. To keep a healthy giant betta fish, an aquarium of at least 15cm wide and 20cm high should be provided. The tank should also provide enough open water area so that the fish can move comfortably and explore its surroundings without any restrictions. Additionally, the tank should have plenty of places for the betta to hide in or rest on; this could include rock formations or other decorations that are large enough that they won’t pose a risk to the fish.  A larger aquarium also helps the water stay dirty longer, which also reduces the number of times you have to change the water. Besides, it will also minimize stress in the fish since it has more space to move around without worrying about bumping into walls or other objects.

5.2. Food & diet

Giant betta fish have an incredibly high metabolism and require a great deal of food to maintain their size. They must be fed multiple times per day, typically ranging from three to six feedings. The best foods for giant betta fish are live worms as they provide the most nutrient-dense diet available. To ensure that these worms do not carry any pathogens, they should be cleaned thoroughly prior to feeding them to the fish. If your giant betta does not eat after about 5-6 pm, it may be necessary to catch the remaining worms and replace them with new ones in order to encourage the fish to start eating again. This will help keep them healthy and make sure that they continue growing properly.  Additionally, it is important to keep an eye on the fish's appetite to ensure they are getting enough nutrition. If your giant betta appears to be losing weight or not growing, you should consider increasing their feedings or providing them with a more nutrient-dense diet. 

5.3. Water parameters

Since you are continuously feeding the fish, it is important to change the water regularly to ensure cleanliness. Small aquariums should be changed about once a day, and larger aquariums should be changed every two to three days. It is important not to let the water become too dirty; otherwise, the fish may become lazy when it comes to eating and could get sick.

The water index of a giant betta must be kept at an optimal level in order to ensure its health and well-being. Generally, the pH should range between 6.8-7.2 (slightly acidic) with an alkalinity of 5-15 dKH. Additionally, a temperature range of 75-86°F (24-30°C) should be maintained, while nitrate levels should not exceed 20 ppm and ammonia levels should remain as low as possible. 

It is also important to keep the water clean by performing regular water changes; this helps prevent the accumulation of toxins in the tank that can lead to health problems for the betta. Please note, using dechlorinated tap or RO/DI water that matches the temperature and pH of the aquarium. Additionally, a filter can help keep the water clean by removing debris and waste products from the tank.

5.4. Exercise activities

Exercising your giant betta is an important part of keeping it healthy and happy. Keeping your betta active helps to improve its digestion, allowing them to eat more and stay healthy.

A great way to start exercising your giant betta is by giving them the opportunity to move around freely by letting them stretch their fins every day for 20-30 minutes in a tank with plenty of room. This can be achieved with a larger aquarium. You may also want to add some decorations such as plants, rocks, and other items to create stimulating obstacles for the fish to explore.

Engaging in activities such as these will help stimulate physical activity for your giant betta, helping them stay healthy and active. Remember to keep an eye out for any signs of stress or fatigue during their activities, and make sure to give them a break if needed.

5.5. Tank Mates

When it comes to keeping Giant Bettas in an aquarium, they do best when kept with other peaceful fish like Tetras or Dwarf Gouramis. They should never be kept with aggressive fish like Cichlids, as these could cause harm to the Betta's delicate fins. In terms of plants, fast-growing species such as Anubias and Java Ferns work best, as these will not take up too much space in the tank and provide plenty of hiding places for the Betta. 

If you are looking for small animals to keep with Giant Bettas, shrimp such as Amano Shrimp make a great choice. These active little scavengers help to keep the aquarium clean by eating leftover food particles and algae. Snails like Malaysian Trumpet Snails can also be beneficial, as they feed on decaying matter.

5.6. Common possible diseases

Giant bettas are particularly susceptible to digestive problems and parasites due to their size and tendency to eat a lot of food. It is important that they be kept in an extremely clean environment and only given the highest quality food, as even the slightest infection can be fatal. If a giant betta catches any type of parasite or disease, it must be treated immediately with anti-parasite medications like Flubendazole or Praziquantel.

Some common diseases found in giant bettas include Fish Lice, Costia, Trichodina, Ichthyophthirius (Ich), Oodinium (Velvet), Saprolegnia fungus, Aeromonas bacteria, Columnaris, and Gymnodinium (dinoflagellate). While these diseases can be treated with medication or dips, it is best to try and prevent them from occurring in the first place. Ensuring they receive a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals is key; this should include live/frozen daphnia and raw brine shrimp, both of which act as mild laxatives. If the giant does become constipated, giving him a 24-hour fast and the inside of a cooked, green pea will often help get things moving again.

Regular water changes every two days will also help keep their environment clean and free of parasites.

A Giant Crowntail betta

A Giant Crowntail betta

6. Breeding

Breeding giant bettas is a labor-intensive process that requires patience and dedication. The spawning process of giant bettas starts when they are 8 to 10 months old, which is usually later than normal fish. During this period, it’s difficult to distinguish the future giants from other common Betta species. As such, breeders have to pay special attention to selecting pairs for breeding. 

During the breeding process of a giant betta, many errors and defects can occur in their fry. As such, self-breeding a healthy batch of fry requires patience and practice as you experiment and try different methods. It's important to ensure that all tanks and equipment are kept clean and that the water parameters (temperature, pH, etc.) remain constant. Additionally, to increase the health of your fry, you will need to provide them with a nutritious diet consisting of live or frozen food such as small worms and crustaceans. 

Lastly, it's essential to understand the importance of genetics when breeding giant bettas. Paying attention to key traits such as fin size and color patterns can help ensure higher-quality offspring.

What we know about the giant genetically is that the trait is most definitely passed to offspring, and therefore cannot possibly be the result of artificial size enhancement. Dr. Lucas has alluded to the fact that the giant betta might be the result of multi-factor traits rather than a single gene, much like the HM and cross-ray CT betta. Certain American IBC members who have been working with giants, such as Jim Sonnier have discovered certain rules which apply to breeding for giants, such as:

  1. The Giant trait is controlled by a single pair of genes.
  2. The mutated 'Giant' gene is incompletely dominant over the regular-size gene.
  3. If an offspring carries both 'Giant' genes it will show the full-sized Giant trait.
  4. If an offspring carries only one 'Giant' gene it will show Half-Giant size.
  5. If an offspring does not carry any 'Giant' genes it will be regular size.

With enough knowledge, experience, and patience, you can make sure your breed produces healthy giants with desirable traits. See my article on breeding giant bettas for the specific process.


From looking at the beautiful and captivating giant betta fish, I'm sure we can agree that it has to be one of the most unique and impressive fishes in the world. Not only does it offer a stunningly vibrant display of colors, but its significantly larger size sets it entirely apart from other betta species. If you are looking for an exciting addition to your new or existing tank, then the giant betta fish is definitely a suitable option. Whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been blazing your own trails as an aquarist all along, this incredible creature adds an indescribable touch to any aquarium. Above all else, they act as a symbol of resilience—a reminder that through strong determination and perseverance, even we as humans can strive and reach our goals so long as we never give up. Let me know in the comment below if you’ve ever come across such a beautiful specimen or what experiences you may have had with giant betta fish!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked (*)

Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.