Cambodian-Black and Early Gold

Sherolyn-Basement Bettas

Several years ago, I attempted to combine the cambodian body coloring with black finnage. As interesting as it was, it became one of the most frustrating crosses I ever tried. A cambodian female was mated to a black male. The result was a batch of fry exhibiting all of the usual colors, but none were black or cambodian. This was, of course, expected in the first generation, as both black and cambodian give way to the commoner colors expected to be lurking in the genetic background of each fish.

A second generation from a brother-sister cross produced an approximation of the imagined goal (cream-licorice). The frustration arose from the persistent paleness and irregularity of the black in the fins. This refused to improve with passing generations. Only the beauty of some of the individuals made working on the strain worth the continued effort.

Today some breeders report possessing individuals that exhibit the combination with improvements. The intensity of the contrast has been improved, and enhancement has been made more sophisticated. There have even been reports of cambodian black/white butterfly types. I have often indulged in speculation as to how many variations in color and pattern might be possible in bettas at a particular moment, but the creation of a list usually proved to be short-lived as a definitive list. But I found this exhilarating — certainly not frustrating!

The black, brown and cambodian-black strains all suffer a malady not known among other colorings in bettas. Females phenotypically black, brown, or cambodian-black seem to be incapable of providing viable eggs. . .Large clutches of eggs are laid, but they always fungus. The problem has been dubbed the “lethal factor” in blacks and related strains. Breeders have reported this malady from many areas across the country. Females phenotypically of colors other than black, brown, or cambodian-black but genotypically black (that is, they can transmit the color on to offspring even though they don’t show it themselves) were used to carry on the strains. Approximately 25% of the fry were of the desired coloring working them in this way. This is why there aren’t many, if any, of these strains on the market; few people will rise to the challenge of a small success ratio.

The development of the gold strain was an outgrowth of the cambodian-black cross. A few of the first generation were iridescent green, and a sparkle of gold was noted in the pectorals of some. A second generation (brother-sister) revealed both green and cambodian fry that grew to possess a golden shininess over their bodies and into the fins. The fins were primarily red, however. Pectoral fins in some were solid gold. Subsequent generations have reduced the red and enhanced the gold. An interesting sidelight is that the fry, when ab

Photo:Cambodian-black; this one obviously carries metallic as well as marble, but was used to illustrate the phenotype described in this article. Breeder S. Khumhom

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