If you're a betta fish enthusiast looking for something unique, then the Halfmoon Plakat Betta Fish is an absolute must-have! This breed of betta is known for its bright colors and vibrant fins that stretch outward like a half-circle. Not only are these fish beautiful to look at, but they also bring great joy to their owners with their playful personalities and active behaviors. Let's journey back to their humble beginnings and take an in-depth look at exactly what makes these aquatic creatures so unique and special. We will also share some fun facts about Halfmoon Plakat Bettas so that you can get even more out of your pet ownership experience! So let's dive into all things related to the enchanting world of the Halfmoon Plakat Betta Fish.
A Yellow Halfmoon Plakat Betta
Like a typical Halfmoon (HM), the Halfmoon Plakat (HM PK) combines the symmetrical form with a minimum 180-degree caudal span. However, the finnage is crisp and short like a Traditional Plakat, making the fish the nonpareil of modern show bettas, with its compact, eye-catching form and increased vitality.
Like many of the new forms of Plakats being developed, the HM PK is considered a Modern Show Plakat of the Symmetrical type. Other forms of Modern Show Plakat include DT Plakat, as well as other tail spans which do not quite reach Halfmoon. Since 2003, the popularity of the Modern Show Plakat has increased substantially, with sales on Aquabid.com nearly tripling. In 2005 the Judging Board of the IBC passed the new Plakat standards, making a clear distinction between the ideal of the Modern Show Plakat and the Traditional Plakat. Almost immediately the IBC made changes to their show classes, dividing the Shortfinned category into Traditional Plakats and Show Plakats and adding the challenging Symmetrical Plakat class to their temporary roster.
The Halfmoon Plakat was developed by crossing Traditional Plakats to long-finned Halfmoon bettas and selectively breeding for the set traits in the shortfin variety. First generations usually yielded Veiltail-type finnage, as shortfin is recessive to longfin, and traditional Plakats can be simplified as 'shortfin Veiltail' since the finnage reflects the wild-type that was mutated into our common Veiltail form. Because Veiltail is dominant over every other finnage variation, those first generations had to have looked pretty rough. However, betta breeders are nothing if not determined, and there are enough of them that are blessed with visions of what they ultimately want to achieve that they have the patience and ability to see through. Those F1 Plakat/Halfmoon crosses were taken to an F2, and now the breeders saw the return of the shortfin in some of the offspring. The best of them were chosen and bred, again, to longfin Halfmoon until the breeders were able to significantly increase ray branching and improve the finnage of the shortfins. By even more careful pairings, the Halfmoon Plakat was born.
Unlike Traditional Plakat, which can be disastrous to a longfin HM line, Modern Show Plakats like the HMPK will help strengthen the rays of your Halfmoon line, as well as lend stability to the finnage by reducing it slightly, making the finnage of the adult longfin male easier to carry around and less prone to collapsing as the fish ages. Many who use Modern Show Plakat in their longfin lines also report increased health and vigor in their long-finned show bettas, presumably due to the body strength of the Plakat and the harder fin rays/decreased fin length.
An excellent formula I use in about 90% of my lines is crossing HMPK to Rosetail. This produces a very large number of true HM offspring, as the rosetail passes on increased ray branching and the Plakat passes on reduced length and stouter rays. Because all of my HM and rosetail lines also carry Doubletail, any one spawn can produce Modern show Plakat, Doubletail, Rosetail, and Halfmoon bettas. I'm now getting close to 100% HM in some lines, my least percentage being approximately 85% HM in my Orange, Black/Copper, and Super Black lines, the rest being delta or super delta.
Another advantage of the Halfmoon Plakat is that you can have the wonderful form, symmetry, and color combinations of your longfin favorites without having to deal with the issues that normally accompany the Halfmoon and Super Delta, such as fin rot, blowing/biting tails, and inability to carry finnage. Fin rot is rare in Plakats, and blowing/biting the tail is virtually unheard of. The Plakat is generally a tougher, stouter, and more active type of betta than any of the longfin types (excepting, perhaps, the crown tail, which often displays a vitality to equal the Plakat), and are more aggressive, longer-lived, and easier spawned. In my opinion, there are few things quite so attractive as a fully-flared Halfmoon Plakat dancing for a mate.
Although I would recommend the modern show Plakat to anyone, you need to be very careful in choosing your fish. It amazes me sometimes to see how many sellers sell their Traditionals as HMPK, simply because they don't know the difference. The best traditional Plakats also spread to 180 degrees on the caudal base, but they possess no more than 3-ray branching (2 considered ideal) and have rounded, spade-shaped caudals. These are not modern show Plakats, let alone Halfmoon Plakats, and they will NOT do anything for your longfin HM line except throw you about 50 paces in reverse.
A good example of a traditional with 180-degree tail span is this one:
This is an absolutely gorgeous traditional Plakat. Count those rays, look for the other distinguishing signs, and try not to be fooled! I would normally recommend just emailing the seller and asking if the fish is traditional or modern, but this isn't always foolproof, either. Many sellers either don't know the difference or will tell you anything to sell the fish. If in doubt, ask a trusted breeder friend to tell you what they think. Choose one who is well-experienced with both types of Plakat. Sometimes it can be hard to tell, but an experienced eye can usually advise you on the purchase of a good Modern show Plakat that will help your line versus a Traditional or poor MSP that will hurt it.
There are many views on how an ideal Halfmoon Plakat should be. Some say as long as the caudal spread is 180 degrees; it will qualify for a Halfmoon Plakat, while others say straight edges are needed. Some people think that the anal fins should be sharp and pointed like the Traditional Plakats while others would say anal fins should be as short and tapered as possible.
Personally, I feel that an ideal Halfmoon Plakat to me must have the body thickness of a traditional Plakat, but yet proportionate finnages, with all 3 fins (dorsal, caudal, and anal) overlapping each other. The anal fin must not be too long; dorsal fins standing and broad would be good.
Here's a Halfmoon Plakat, which I consider to be very near the ideal Halfmoon Plakat all breeders should work towards. Broad dorsal nicely spread caudal fin and all 3 fins overlapping each other nicely.
Take a look at these caudal fins. 1st one being a rounded edge caudal is acceptable. 2nd one being a straight edge, slightly out-curling caudal is the ideal caudal fin. 3rd one is totally unacceptable as it's too round and looks more like a traditional Plakat. This should be faulted if compared to the other 2 pictures of caudal fins.
The ray splitting for the 1st two caudal has tertiary branching but the 3rd one has only up to secondary branching, which is unacceptable for an ideal Halfmoon Plakat.
Take a look at these dorsal fins. 1st and 2nd picture shows the ideal dorsal fins. 1st being broad, extending all the way to the back, and standing up is ideal. 2nd being broad and overlapping the caudal fin nicely is ideal also. 3rd Dorsal fin isn't broad enough and doesn't overlap with the caudal fin. These dorsal fins should be faulted against the other 2 dorsal fins.
See these anal fins. 1st picture is the least ideal anal fin among all. First, it's too long to be proportionate to the caudal fin. It doesn't overlap the caudal fin much as well. 2nd anal fin is nicely tapered and short. To me, it is not fantastic but it's acceptable as long as it's proportionate to the body and fins as a whole. 3rd anal fin to me is the most ideal one. It slopes down at the end, and stretches towards the back, allowing enough overlapping from the caudal fin.
Let's ignore the finnage for now and take a look at the body structure. 1st picture shows a Red Plakat with a very good body structure. Spoon head sloping to the tip with thick body structure, ideal body shape. 2nd picture shows a Plakat with an excellent body structure, a spoon head with a thick body. Not too long and not too slender. Proportionate to the fins. 3rd picture shows a Plakat. The body seems too slender and is not proportionate to the fins, as it seems too small for the fins. This type of body structure should be faulted against the other 2's body shape.
The Halfmoon Plakat betta is a unique variant that stands out for its size and distinctive shape. Although slightly smaller than its close relative, the Halfmoon betta, the Plakat provides an interesting alternative given its overall shape that is relatively flat compared to other bettas. As we learned in this blog post, it is important to be aware of the differences between this variety and any other bettas you may come across in pet stores. If you ever have any questions or concerns feel free to reach out and let me know in the comments below. Finally, if you're considering adding a Halfmoon Plakat betta to your family of fish friends, make sure you dedicate time to researching and understanding their needs so they can thrive.
The above is written with my limited knowledge of Halfmoon Plakats. Not a standard to follow but they are just my thoughts on the present Halfmoon Plakats
I would like to thank all members of Bettabite, seniors in this hobby, IBC judging course trainers, and many others who exposed me to various forms of Bettas, provided training, and shared with me their wonderful experiences which helped me in my skills of judging Bettas now. Would also like to thank Lyon Goh , Joep Van Esch, and Donny Adriaens for giving me pointers in our discussion on what an Ideal Plakat should be like.