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My Betta Macrostoma Project
September 24, 2008
5:44 pm
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Haji Badaruddin
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The idea is to:

share and gather info/problems from aquarists that have successfully kept and bred this beautiful fish

Number of wild caught fishes: 21 pairs and 8 males and 3 young females

Location:18 pairs collected "not from Marudi".
3 pairs and the 8 males and 3 females collected from Marudi

Tank size: 18"x18"x18"

Water source:Rainwater pH6.4 - 6.8

Tank pH :3.8-4.5:now maintain at 4.2 (lowered by using SERA pH Down)

Temperature:25C

Decor:Java Moss and driftwood
Leaf litter from Marudi

Aeration:airstone connected to air pump

Filtration:None

Tank setup:21.09.08

Water into tanks:22.09.08 (rain water collected from a heavy downpour on that day was used;5% of aged water was added)

Fish transfered into tanks:22.09.08 (late evening)

Here's some pics:

Betta macrostoma collected "not from Marudi"

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Betta macrostoma collected from Marudi

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Some of the frequently asked questions(and my opinion that follows)

How to keep them alive???
This is a good question as how many of us managed to keep them alive for more than 6 months.I believe the reason why many of us cant keep them alive for long period is partly due to the poor collection and handling during transportation.In general,SOME of the collectors use oil drums to store the macs.Collection can take a few days before the right number is achieved for the order by customers.And earlier most of these collectors who comprises from the kampong folks lack the understanding to maintain the fish.

These macs come from cool running water habitat,any sudden drastic change of temperature/pH may be harmful for them.I also suspect the wild caught macs are sensitive to even treated tap water.

On the outbreak of diseases,can macs be cured using the many types of medication in the market?
This relates back to the handling and transportation,if the fish arrived to you in a bad condition,there is no medication in the world that can cure them.Most of these i suspected are internal diseases.Recently a pair of my mac developed what look like fungal infection on the tail area with white films engulfing the tail.I thought that would be it.The fish would be a gonna soon.It was also swimming funny.I dose methylene blue with salt to the tank.In about 3 hours the film was almost gone and the fish was healthy by the 3rd day.

It has also been suggested that since macs are prone to diseases,it would be wise not to overstock the tank with more than a pair.During spawning season,the males or females will fight and nibble at each other.The resulting wounds will usually lead to an infection.So the rule of the thumb is to house each pair separately.However,males or females also fight especially when the other partner is "not ready yet".So other than to provide plenty of hiding place,separating them would be a good solution.

Do they need chiller to keep and breed?
I have kept my macs for about 7 mths now outdoor.So there is no problem with temperature to maintain them.By the way my outdoor temperature is 27 - 28C.On the breeding aspect,i have setup a few tanks outdoor to which i hope to answer you soon.

Whats the difference between the Brunei and Marudi macs?
I say no difference.Marudi is a district in Sarawak located near Brunei.And Marudi is a town that is regularly flooded.So it is logical to assume that some of these fishes could be moving from Brunei to Marudi and vice versa.However if you ask me which mac is beautiful,Marudi or Brunei,i say Brunei.The reason is because collection and trading of macs from/in Brunei is illegal.That means you get to see the nice adult colorful macs from Brunei than from Marudi.In certain parts of Brunei,the macs can be found by small streams near the roadside.In short,the macs from Marudi has been overfished due to demand.Recently there was a group of japanese people who in Marudi.They spend the whole day and managed to catch only 6 tails of juvenile macs.

September 24, 2008
6:27 pm
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oaken
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Very interesting project. Good luck with it /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

September 24, 2008
6:59 pm
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Matt
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Beautiful pictures as always but that's so sad about the Marudi fish Haji. /sad.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="sad.gif" /> I remember Mike Lo mentioning something about plans to make an oil palm plantation where the fish are found which would basically destroy that population forever. Do you know if this is going ahead?

Best of luck with the project, hope to see many fry in the coming months! /biggrin.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":D" border="0" alt="biggrin.gif" /> /wink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink.gif" />

Cake or death?
September 24, 2008
10:51 pm
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mickthefish
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Haji mate they are superb pics of a beautiful fish.
i wish you all the luck in getting loads of fry mate.

mick

September 24, 2008
11:47 pm
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keith565
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these are superb fish. fantastic pictures. i wish you the best of luck. i tried them earlier this year and they lasted about 4-5 months before i lost them all.

September 24, 2008
11:56 pm
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dunc
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That is such a beautiful fish.. really is. I'd go as far as saying one of the most beautiful fishes I've ever seen. Superb photos again Haji, but as everyone has echoed, really sad about the way they're caught and the little luck fishkeepers have had keeping them alive.

Fingers crossed mate, hope you get a top result from these /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

September 25, 2008
2:36 am
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Haji Badaruddin
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QUOTE (oaken @ Sep 25 2008, 02:10 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Very interesting project. Good luck with it /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

Hi Oaken,Thanks and nice to see you here ...... Hows the strohi???Wish you luck to in breeding them. /wink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink.gif" />

QUOTE (Matt @ Sep 25 2008, 02:42 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Beautiful pictures as always but that's so sad about the Marudi fish Haji. /sad.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":(" border="0" alt="sad.gif" /> I remember Mike Lo mentioning something about plans to make an oil palm plantation where the fish are found which would basically destroy that population forever. Do you know if this is going ahead?

Best of luck with the project, hope to see many fry in the coming months! /biggrin.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":D" border="0" alt="biggrin.gif" /> /wink.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink.gif" />

Thanks Matt,yes the plantation project is ongoing.Some of my macs from Marudi are caught on land within the plantation.With palm oil prices coming down,i wonder now whether it would be viable to undertake such a project /thumbs_down.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsdn:" border="0" alt="thumbs_down.gif" /> .

QUOTE (mickthefish @ Sep 25 2008, 06:34 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Haji mate they are superb pics of a beautiful fish.
i wish you all the luck in getting loads of fry mate.

mick

Thanks Mick /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

QUOTE (keith565 @ Sep 25 2008, 07:30 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
these are superb fish. fantastic pictures. i wish you the best of luck. i tried them earlier this year and they lasted about 4-5 months before i lost them all.

Thanks keith ......Hoping to see your pic too /thumbs_up.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":thumbsup:" border="0" alt="thumbs_up.gif" />

QUOTE (dunc @ Sep 25 2008, 07:39 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
That is such a beautiful fish.. really is. I'd go as far as saying one of the most beautiful fishes I've ever seen. Superb photos again Haji, but as everyone has echoed, really sad about the way they're caught and the little luck fishkeepers have had keeping them alive.

Fingers crossed mate, hope you get a top result from these /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

We hope to change that soon Dunc ... Glad you enjoy them /biggrin.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":D" border="0" alt="biggrin.gif" />

September 25, 2008
2:37 am
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Haji Badaruddin
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Day 4

- Three pairs shows sign of courting.

- Out of the whole lot,two pairs has females that is aggressive.No attempt is made to separate them for the time being.

- Three females and one male(from a pair housed indoor and the rest from outdoor tanks) has developed fungus on their fins,the respective tanks has been treated with methylene blue and salt solution.

Previous day observation:
# The pair seems to be twitching regularly.(indoor tanks)
# Color is off and fins clamped.
# They do eat but less than normal.
# Females hiding most of the time (outdoor tanks only)

IMG_5696sign550.jpgImage Enlarger


Mostly females are severely infected.Swimming is erratic

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Cotton like fungus

September 25, 2008
7:46 am
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Matt
Málaga, Spain
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Haji can you get the products Melafix/Pimafix over there? They are totally organic, really effective and superb for treating wild fish. /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

Cake or death?
September 25, 2008
10:16 am
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Haji Badaruddin
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QUOTE (Matt @ Sep 25 2008, 03:29 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Haji can you get the products Melafix/Pimafix over there? They are totally organic, really effective and superb for treating wild fish. /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

Yes i can get them.Will give a try later.Thanks Matt /happy.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="^_^" border="0" alt="happy.gif" />

September 26, 2008
12:07 pm
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dunc
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Aye, they're the only things I don't mind putting in my tank other than.. well, water (oh, and pure acid occasionally /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" />).

Keep us updated Haji, can't wait to see how this progresses.

September 26, 2008
3:06 pm
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Haji Badaruddin
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Day 5

Outdoor tank
One of the female has died this afternoon.The remaining female is recovering.The weather has been very hot yesterday.

Indoor tank
Recover fully today

Another two tanks ie two pairs suspected of having fungal infection.Their tanks have been dosed with methylene blue and salt solution (31 ppt solution made from rock salt).

Five tanks shows pairs courting

Using air condition unit to cool the tanks can be tricky,i have set the unit to operate at 26C but temperature reading of these indoor tanks indicate 23C.Trying tonight to set the tank temperature to 26C.

September 26, 2008
4:04 pm
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Matt
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Glad the indoor ones have recovered mate. Do these get fungal problems a lot?

Cake or death?
September 26, 2008
4:55 pm
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Haji Badaruddin
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The juvs fights a lot and all the time."Unwilling pairs" also fight.Damage to fins from these fights usually lead to infection.It seems that most of the death relates to fungal infection.

I have noticed that the indoor ones with control temperature have less problem than the ones outdoor.In hot weather,the outdoor temperature can get to 29 -30C.In these times most of the other wild betta get diseases too.

It will be interesting to know Keith's experience with his macs.Did his macs get fungal infection before they die? /huh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":huh:" border="0" alt="huh.gif" />

September 26, 2008
5:38 pm
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Malti
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gluck Haji, they're really beautiful fish

September 26, 2008
6:01 pm
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Haji Badaruddin
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QUOTE (dunc @ Sep 26 2008, 07:50 PM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
Aye, they're the only things I don't mind putting in my tank other than.. well, water (oh, and pure acid occasionally /laugh.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="Laugh" border="0" alt="laugh.gif" />).

Keep us updated Haji, can't wait to see how this progresses.

So far the macs are doing fine ...... Its just that i'm trying to highlight some of the problems commonly encountered by aquarists when keeping them.The outcome of this project can go either way ... Once you are confident of overcoming the diseases ..... the keeping,breeding and raising the fry will be fun and rewarding /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" /> .

QUOTE (Malti @ Sep 27 2008, 01:21 AM) < {POST_SNAPBACK}>
gluck Haji, they're really beautiful fish

Thanks Malti /smile.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile.gif" />

September 26, 2008
6:13 pm
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Malti
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can I ask what happens to females in the wild if they wouldn't spawn? that is, do they fight and get hurt....then get the fungus?

September 26, 2008
6:27 pm
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Haji Badaruddin
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Interesting question ...... Most of the ones caught shows sign of damage to their fins but no fungal infection.It is only when they are transfered to the tanks that SOME of them are infected.In this batch,out of 15 pairs about 5 pairs are infected.The rest are doing fine.

In the wild,there always plenty of space for the weaker ones to take cover.

September 26, 2008
7:27 pm
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Matt
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Could that be to do with the fact they come from running water too Haji? I imagine that there would be a higher proportion of fungal spores in a closed system like an aquarium rather than in an environment that's constantly changing.

Cake or death?
September 27, 2008
6:09 am
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Haji Badaruddin
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That is a possibility Matt.I have come across some comments made by a few aquarists from another forum who said that wild caught fishes are much better able to resist infections than the captive bred ones.Generally that rule applies to most of the wild caught fishes except the macs.Heard that the wild caught discus and altums are similarly difficult to keep as well.

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