Kauai betta breeder rises to No. 2

PUHI — Don’t call them fighting fish.

“I don’t allow the ‘f-word’ at my booth,” said Elizabeth Hahn of Kauai Bettas. “It is true that people in Asia used the fish as combatants to promote gambling activities, but I don’t raise fighters. My aim is to promote beauty and encourage empathy with animals and nurturing qualities in humans.”

Hahn finished as runner-up during the International Betta Congress 2014-15 Area 1 show in Indianapolis, behind Mike Cuaresma.

During the show, which ends the betta show season, Hahn picked up wins in five classes, earned nine second-place finishes and five third-place awards from a field which included more than 300 fish.

Hahn said when she first started breeding bettas in the 1990s, one of her motivations was to contribute to diversified aquaculture on Kauai’s Westside.

“Bettas are warm-water fish compared to goldfish and koi which require cooler environments,” Hahn said. “Almost all of the ornamental fish in pet stores are imported from Southeast Asia where the majority are raised in soft rainwater. The hard water on Kauai is often a shock to these fish and many of them cannot adjust. I hoped to successfully spawn and raise bettas in our water to improve longevity and hardiness. That has come true.”

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