In Western countries Plakat (pronounced pla-COT) Bettas are a short-finned variety of Betta splendens. In Thailand, where betta fish originate, all betta fish are called Plakat Thai whether they have long or short fins. In the West, we often think of the short-finned Plakat betta to be the original fighting fish selected for its robustness and aggression; paired up in fighting matches as Thai men bet on a winner. In Thailand fighting bettas is serious business. Bettas are not simply plucked from the rice paddies and placed into a fight. There too, they  have been selectively bred to be champion fighters. In Thailand, the short-finned fighting betta is called Plakat Morh, while the longed-finned ornamental aquarium fish is called Plakat Cheen, which translates to “Fighting fish from China.” The Plakat Morh are not the same fish from the ponds.  They have been bred to be larger and stronger, with short fins that are less susceptible to injury. Their large strong jaws are a keen asset in a fight and their stocky bodies show less of a taper ending in a wide, muscular caudal peduncle used to physically batter their opponent. While the original wild betta have traditionally pale bodies, Plakat Mohr and Plakat Cheen have been bred to illustrate a variety of vibrant color variations.

Betta splendens (plakat simetric HM), Photo by Luiz Costai.

Common Plakat Mohr Variations

Short Head, Short Body Fighting Fish

When Betta splendens were first bred by the Thai to be strong fighters they were engineered to have short stocky bodies. This made for a strong, robust fish that could withstand injury and had more stamina than it’s wild counterpart but was decisively slow.

Snakehead Fighting Fish (Also called Long-body)

Plakat Betta

Snakehead Plakat Betta | Photo by hvincentt

A longer narrow body betta was developed. Still strong, this betta was much faster and can get several quick attacks in close succession. This betta is more of an offensive fish and is the most common fighting fish in Thailand.

Spoonhead Fighting Fish – Upturned mouth, Long body

A variation of the Snakehead Fighting Fish is one with an exaggerated curve of the mouth sometimes called the Spoonhead Betta. These bettas are strong and fast and are known for having very calculated aim. They may also exhibit longer anal and ventral (pelvic) fins, which can be a drawback when fighting. Their sharp, pin-pointed mouths are susceptible to injury.

There are many strains of Plakat Mohr available in Thailand as well as strains of fighters from Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Indonesia. While many Plakats are bred as fighters in the East, similar short-finned bettas are prized for their beauty in the West. Here in the U.S., a prized Plakat shows perfect form with balanced fins, symmetrical scales and a strong stout body. Fighting bettas in Thailand is part of the culture and does not come with the same stigma it carries here. The result is that Plakats bred in the U.S. are done so to illustrate their beauty and form. Their fighting abilities and aggression are not important. That said, we can’t forget that these short-finned bettas have been crossbred considerably and have all originated from the fighters in Thailand. Keep in mind when you buy your Plakat that while he might be pretty, he may also pack a punch.

Male Plakat Betta

Male Plakat Betta | Photo by Daniella Vereeken

  • Jintasaerewonge, Precha . © 2008. An Introduction to Plakat Thai. Siamese CyberAquarium Retrieved 07-11-11.

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Reader Interactions


  1. torterrafish says:

    i dont know why more people haven’t commented on these photos and descriptions – all well thought out, all well written and very informative!

    • shannon says:

      Yes, I too love my bettas and love to look at others pictures and learning more about them and the diferent kinds….I even have a tattoo on my ankle of a betta and of now have three family bettas!! lol For now I must bookmark this sight and return again to continue reading figuring now my eyeballs are begining to get dry and burn from staring at this screen to long lol.

      • jason says:

        i love beta fish to but not the ones that have long tails like the veil tail beta.

  2. Teddy says:

    Hi, I’m a big time bettas collector. and I have such a hard time trying to buy some of the betta i saw oline @ some of the website i went to. Anyway these are the named of the betta fish that i memtioned 1. Macrostoma 2. Albimagarita 3. Imbellis 4. Simplex 5. Ocellata 6. Rubra… I you can find these Please do contact me @ teddy_523@yahoo. com or call 510-229-8784 Thx. Teddy

    • Christie F. says:

      Teddy, often sells other Betta species. Have you tried them?

    • jason says:

      i have more i got 15 Halfmoons. 6 Veil tail. 13 King betas. 4 Imbellis. 2 simplex. 7 Rubra and 2 Macristoma

      • jason says:

        and 15 Rosetails i mean lol

    • Arif hussain says:

      Hi everybody,
      I’m Arif from pakistan,I wanna get king bettas to my country anybody help me out to know the procedure how to get them. or anybody give me contact no / link of betta sellers.
      Arif Hussain

  3. jacob says:

    can i buy the short head fighting fish ?

  4. shannon says:

    Hey Christie, So I have my Crowntail in a 10g tank divided in the middle.He’s a few weeks new and seemed to be fine up until a few days ago where I noticed he likes to get in one bottom front corner and lay.He does eat,& does swim, just sits alot more. I see no apparent desease,but was a lil bloated along with a guppy tank mate & fed him pea wich actually seemed to cause the lethargy afterwards He was also just making bubble nest wich I recall means he’s happy.Its filtered,cleaned,has plants and cave,and has a lil heater.He has 3 guppies on his side and a halfmoon on the other side of divider wich he seems to enjoy.Any ideas?

  5. Tiffany says:

    I heard that these guys are good in fast moving water. I have one, Jem, and he seemed to like to dart from the walls of his tank, flaring his gills and such. Is this true? or..

  6. tre says:

    i got one but it fight then killed an another fish

  7. athitya says:

    ilov this

  8. athitya says:

    ive got 13 betas and had won many match with other betas and on april13 ive got another fight

    • thanh nguyen says:

      athitya, do you sale them?

  9. tina says:

    my betta is great but i want a new, cooler one. 🙁

  10. PanthalassaRex says:

    i bought some “baby bettas” who were suposedly all female, but i think that 2 might just be plakat male. they are all living semi-peacefuly in a well planted 10 gal with some tetras. the 2 fish who were possibly male have also gotten the top 2 places in the pecking order. can anyone help?

  11. Sarg. Bluie sent me says:

    Are their different types of tails in plakat bettas? and also how san you tell a plakat betta from a female betta? because you gotta love pet store labels 🙂

  12. maria says:

    I recently got a king male betta, and have set him up in a large bowl just under two gallons. (I will get bigger habitats as he grows) Well i put him in his bowl, and he was pretty active, but then he got really active. He keeps racing around his bowl, even when the lights are out. While all my other bettas settle down and sleep, hes constantly moving, almost like hes freaked out. What should i do?

  13. chew hoe keong says:

    i need to understanding more about fight condition and may be buy some to text

  14. c_k_r says:

    Well, thought I was going to leave behind dominant aggression when starting up a tank again, afterall, I managed to sidestep my attraction to freshwater puffers who view others’ fins as snacks and instead choose a colorful, active Plakat beta as one of the residents. Umm…I hope this works out. I suspect he’s liking fresh meat. He’s quite gorgeous under the right lighting though. Is it cruel to keep creatures away from their basic root heritage?

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