Types of Betta Fish: 2021 Ultimate Guide
The Betta fish (also known as a Siamese fighting fish) is one of the most popular freshwater fish in the world. There are many varieties of fish. They are beautiful little fishes with gorgeous colors and are known for their beautiful tails and fins. It derives its name from the word “Bettah,” which was an ancient clan of warriors. Bettas are native to Southeast Asia, particularly the Mekong, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam basins.
While you are here, you might want to check out our article about best aquariums for betta fish.
Types Of Betta Fish
The Betta fish is an ideal fish for many first-timers looking to keep a fish tank in their homes. They are easy to maintain, which is very important for beginners. Bettas require just three things – the right temperature, change the water from time to time and feed them the food that comes in packets readily available. They are also treated as pets because they can even recognize the owners and can create bubble nests. The betta fish care given by the owner determines how healthy they are going to be.
There are lots of different bettas. A characteristic feature of this freshwater fish is the presence of an organ called the labyrinth. It functions as a lung and it helps betta take in oxygen directly from the air. This organ is vital because it helps them breathe as their gills cannot always provide enough oxygen.
Other features that separate the bettas from the way it looks are tails, caudal fin, color, etc.
Generally, Bettas are classified into different categories by:
However, bettas have been cross-bred numerous times by aquarists. And there are hundreds of different varieties of bettas with other tails, making it difficult to classify them. But there are a few characteristics that help to distinguish the type of Betta fish.
Let us dive at some of the betta fish types.
The tails of the Bettas are the most distinguishing feature. It is the betta fish tail types that make them a thing of attraction. They can be very colorful, and they are usually long and spiky. The tail type can tell a lot about the characteristics of the fish.
These are some of the different betta fish tail types.
The Crowntail Betta was discovered in the year 1997 in Jakarta (Indonesia) by Tate Regan. This type of Betta is also trendy amongst aquarists.
However, it is worth noting that if the tail webbing reaches more than 2/3 up the tail, it is not a Crowntail Betta. Additionally, the females look different and have less vibrant colors and a shorter tail.
The Veiltail Betta fish is one of the most common tail types.
The female Veiltail Bettas, on the other hand, do not have the same characteristics as the male bettas. They tend to have lighter colors and shorter tails and caudal fin.
Combtail Betta is very similar to Crowntail Betta fishtail type. It does not have a distinct tail shape of its own, so it is more of a trait used to identify them. The tail has a fan-like shape spread but not very big. The main distinguishing feature of this tail type is the length of the rays and the webbing. Combtail Betta fish has the webbing for more than 2/3 of the tail. The rays extend beyond the webbing, and this makes it look like a comb. That is how it derives its name from the way it looks.
The fins of the Combtail Betta species have a 180 degrees spread. However, most bettas have a spread of fewer than 180 degrees.
The double tail Betta fish or DT has a double caudal fin. They are unique because of the two distinct tail types, each with a base of its own. You can locate them below the midline, one above and one below.
The double tail type betta comes in a wide range of color patterns such as dragon scale, solid, butterfly, etc.
However, double tail Betta does not have a distinct tail shape. So it can come in different shapes because of genetic mutations. They are short bodied and have a broader dorsal fin.
As the name suggests, this tail type resembles a spade on the deck of a playing card. It has a broad base, which then narrows at the tip giving it the shape. They come in a wide range of different colors and patterns. Spade tail Betta fish is just a variation of the Veil tail Bettas because they share more behavior similarities.
The Spadetail Betta fish is generally healthier than the other tail types with no particular health concerns (apart from the typical Betta fish problems). However, it is quite rare because it has become more challenging to obtain, even in the aquarium trade.
The Half moon Betta fish is one of the most sought after fish because of its enormous tail. They are named after a half moon because of the way the tail looks. It looks more similar to the delta variety. It has a full 180 degree spread with a round trailing edge, resembling a semi-circle. The dorsal fin is round in shape, and the anal fin and caudal fin are enormous. All three fins overlap one another, which makes them look beautiful. An excellent way to spot a Halfmoon Betta is the D shape of the tail when viewed from the side.
This tail type fish is generally more aggressive than the veil tail fish. The species come in all colors and patterns, but the most common pattern on the tail is the butterfly color pattern.
The Over-Halfmoon Betta fish is very similar to the Halfmoon Betta fish tail type. The only differentiating feature of this species is that the tail of an Over-Halfmoon
Betta spreads more than 180 degrees. So it is more like an extreme version of the Halfmoon Betta tail type. The rest of the features, like the anal fins, dorsal fins, behavior, etc., are very similar.
The delta tail betta fish has a rough triangle shape. It resembles the Greek letter ‘d’, hence the name delta. The tail narrows towards the body and then widens towards the edges. This tail type of Betta is an exciting variety because the extended tail makes an angle less than 180 degrees from the base to the edges.
The spread of the delta tail is not very big and does not reach the 180-degree mark. The tail edges are also uniform and do not have any combing.
Super delta is an extended variation of the Delta Betta fish tail type. It has highly ornate fins, and the caudal fin forms a near Half-moon shape. Its enormous tail boasts the colors very well, which makes them an ideal choice for aquarists.
A distinguishing feature of the super delta fish is the tail spread. It flares between 120-160 degrees and does not reach the 180-degree mark. Another differentiating factor is the asymmetrical shape of the tail. Both halves of the tail are not similar when you draw a horizontal line through the middle of the body.
The half sun Betta fish is a cross-breed of the Halfmoon and crown tail type. That is why it looks like a Halfmoon but with a fringe of extended rays past the webbing. It has a slight crowning between the fins and rays and spreads more than 180 degrees. The distinguishing feature is the frilled tail that looks like a sun. It is also considered a rare type in the aquarium trade. They are stunning and unique, but at the same time, the tails are not extreme like a feather or rose tail Betta fish.
The Rosetail fish Betta is an extended breed of the Half Moon tail type. One of the characteristic tail features of this fish is the extra rays and branching of caudal fins. It makes them look like a frilled flower. They have a tail spread of 180 degrees.
However, Rosetail Betta fish are more vulnerable. The size of their fin weighs them down and makes it difficult for them to swim. They are also more prone to infections because they snag the extra fin very easily. So a Rosetail tail betta fish care is an essential component.
The feathertail Betta fish is considered an extreme version of the Rosetail Betta fish tail type. They have excessively more branching of the fin rays giving them a ruffled look. It has fingers of rays extending and webbing on the tail that makes them look like feathers. Having all the extra rays on the tail makes them very attractive.
However, just like the Rosetail Betta fish, they are vulnerable and prone to infections, ragged fins, tail biting, and broken rays. So they also fall under the extreme bettafish care type.
Plakat / Short Fin
The Plakat Betta fish are also called shortfin Bettas. They share similarities with the wild Betta splendens. It derives its name from the word “Plakad,” which means fighting fish and bred in Southeast Asia. Some of its features are;
Dumbo Ear / Elephant Ear
The dumbo Bettas have large pectoral fins. It is five times larger than a regular pectoral fin and has more ruffled edges. That is why they are also called Elephant ear Betta. It is a very peculiar fish among the betta fish tail types. The pectoral fins are constantly fluttering because they do a lot of their swimming using the enlarged pectoral fins. It comes in a wide range of colors, and the fins have a similar color to the body or can be contrasting.
Types Of Betta Fish by Colors
The Betta fish is known for its color vibrance. It comes in all colors – mixed or uniform. The colors are a pigmentation of erythrin, melanin, and xanthin (red, black, yellow) in the fish cells’ chromatophores.
The types of Betta fish varieties based on color found around the world are;
Blue Betta Fish
The Blue Betta fish comes in different variations of the same color. The Blue Steel Betta is grayish and gives the fish a cold and dark appearance. It also comes in Royal Blue, and this has a more vibrant coloration. The color is rich, brighter, and it gives it a majestic look. True Blue color can appear as blue washed in some cases.
The blue color in Bettas is not due to pigmentation. It is because of the shape of the pigment cells on the scales and how the light gets reflected.
Black Orchid Betta
The Black Orchid Betta fish comes in three different variations.
Red Betta Fish
Red is the most dominant color in Betta fishes.
It is worth noting that lighter colored red on bettas is due to improper diet and the water conditions. So betta fish care is critical. It is a sign to check both the water and diet because it does not feel at ease; hence the washed off-color.
Rose Petal Betta
The rose petal Betta fish is a bizarre fish to describe by the color. It is because the fish comes in a wide range of color variation that is entirely random. It varies from dark blue to electric light blue with some other variations like copper. They are generally darker in appearance and are considered a rare Betta type.
Mustard Gas Betta
The mustard gas Betta fish is bi-colored and quite remarkable. There is dual-color variation between the body, tail, and fins. The body color is different, for example, blue or green, and the fins will be like orange or yellow. The color on the fins are generally lighter, and it gives the fish an attractive look with the contrast in color.
Any Betta fish with a dark-colored body of steel blue, green or blue, and orange or yellow fins fall under this category. They are also mistaken for the chocolate type Betta.
Yellow Betta Fish
The yellow Betta fish (also called non-red) is solid colored. It has a lot of different shadings. They can vary from extremely lighter to darker yellow and rich buttery hues. It is a standard color among Betta fish, and the same color extends to the tail and fins. They are bright lemon yellow on the body, tail, and fins. And the tip of the fins and tails can appear to be whitish depending on the light’s angle.
Green Betta Fish
Green colored Betta fish is scarce amongst betta varieties. And a lot of people confuse it with turquoise because of its similarities. It looks like a dark-colored Betta, so it isn’t easy to spot. Their body, tail, and fins look like blue, black, or turquoise when viewed from certain angles. The best way to spot a green Betta is to flash it with torchlight and see if the green color shines out from the body. If it does, then it is a green colored Betta.
Purple Betta Fish
Amongst the varieties of Betta, the purple Betta is the rarest fish and also the most expensive to buy. It is not solid-colored and comes in a mix of other colors. Most of them are rich violets or purple-bluish with a tint of black or copper. The body is generally purple, and the tail, fins, and head are different colors and come in all tail types and color patterns.
Pink Betta Fish
The pink Betta fish are very transparent by appearance. It is because they have minimal pigmentation on the skin and do not shine. They are also confused with the albino variation. It comes in various colors like red, purple, white, etc., along the body, fins, and tail. And although the body may be pink, these other color variations on the body are more.
White Betta Fish
The white Betta fish can appear dull when compared with the other types. They are solid colored and do not have other color tints on the body, fins, or tail. However, they come in different tail types. You can pick the tail you find best and add it to the aquarium. Bigger and longer tails give them a very majestic look.
Orange Betta Fish
The orange Betta is also a rare type of fish. It is not easy to find a solid orange colored Betta fish because they are rich in the tangerine type shade. However, they are often mistaken for red because, in dim lights, they are not recognizable. That is why to bring out the fish’s actual color; it is vital to have a decent amount of light.
The cellophane Betta fish lacks most of the coloration in the body. They have whitish and translucent scales, and it also looks like an albino. The tail and fins are transparent or can be opaque, and the eyes are solid black. The general appearance is a light fleshy color, and sometimes the internals is also visible. It is also worth noting that though they look similar, it is not a GlassFish.
Types by scale and patterns
The color pattern of Betta fish is an important trait that makes them ideal for an aquarium. They come in all different patterns with all the colors. The scales also play a role by giving them a shimmering look. These scales and patterns are part of genetics, but it is also worth noting that diet and environment also play a role. The fish do not naturally produce the color pigmentation. Therefore, what they eat determines the pigmentation. So a quality diet with a tank temperature of 75-86 degrees Fahrenheit is considered ideal.
Here are some of the varieties of Betta fish based on their scale and patterns.
Dragon Scale Betta
The dragon scale Betta fish has thick, metallic, and opaque scales, and the outline of each scale is visible. This trait makes them look like a dragon scale armor. Dragon scale Betta is bred with wild Bettas. And because of the thick skin, they look like armored fish, giving them a unique look. They can be solid-colored or a mix of different colors.
Cross-breeding Betta splendens created this type of Betta fish with thick visible patterns with Betta Mahachai (a wild variety of Betta). It became trendy in Thailand, but it also became more and more challenging to identify an actual dragon scale because of cross-breeding.
The butterfly Bettah has fins that are cellophane shaped. They come in solid or mixed colors where ½ to 1/3 of the body displays them. They also have two or three bands of color, and the color transitions do not bleed with one another. What makes them unique is the fine line between the color and the cellophane, which are noticeable. They can breathe from the labyrinth organ through the surface of the water. And like most Bettas, the male butterfly Bettas are never kept together.
The bi-color Betta fish has two distinct colors, and the color separation is between the body, tail, and fins. So the general rule is, the body should be one color, and the fins should be another. The International Betta Congress had set this standard to identify them. Typically the fins of a bi-colored Betta have a ratio of 50/50 coloration.
Solid color Betta fish have one color throughout the body and fins. They come in all different colors like red, black, yellow, orange, etc. These fish types can also come in different tail types like the veil tail, crown tail, delta tail, round tail, spade tail, Combtail, or the Elephant ear.
The Cambodian Betta fish is bi-colored, and they are variations of the bi-color pattern type. They have two types.
The fish should have only two colors. The bi-color Betta fish have a pale body that is generally white, pale pink, or flesh-colored. And the most common fin color is red but can also be found with other colors.
The Marble Betta is a unique fish. Although the pattern is named marble, this trait is not visible right away. It is activated abruptly during the lifetime of the fish.
When this happens, the primary colors become darker, and there are splotchy pale patches that develop across the body, tail, and fins. The color pattern change is dramatic because it looks different compared to how the fish looked earlier.
They are also known as jumping genes or transposons because of their color-changing nature.
The Koi Betta is very similar to the Marble Betta. It is a commercial label to identify a specific color pattern of the Marble Betta. They have different color patches on the body, fins, and tail and look like the popular Koi pond fish. So it is not found in the wild because aquarists specifically breed it for the aquariums.
The Mask Betta is a peculiar fish. The body and the head are of the same color. So this makes them look like they are covered with a mask. Most of the Betta fish color patterns have one similar trait, i.e., the body and the head are different colors. That is why the Mask Betta is a peculiar one. The most common colors of the mask bettas are blue, turquoise, and copper.
The multi-colored Fish Bettas come in a wide variety of colors. The patterns can be irregular or fixed, with a different colored body and fins. A lot of the Betta types, like the Koi, Marble, are considered multi-colored. Any Betta fish with more than two colors is called a multi-colored Betta.
The Piebald Betta comes with a white-colored face and a darker colored body. However, it is not pure white and appears fleshy in color. It looks like the fish has a bald spot on the head, hence the name. Like the other Betta types, it is not very vibrant, and the tail outlines are also visible.
Wild Type Betta
The Wild Betta is the dullest in terms of appearance, and they are dull greyish. The fins are short, and the tail is not as long and fluffy as most of the Betta fish.
That is why, through selective breeding, we can develop a wide range of different fins and tail types. They are the closest to the Betta splendens in the wild. And although they are dull looking with short tails, some visible blue or green iridescent scales on the body.
There are so many different types of Betta around the world that are available in various sizes. These are some of the general facts used to group them in different types and categories like the veil tail, half sun, Plakat, Delta tail, Round tail, Half Moon, Mask, etc. There are more than you can count. They look similar yet have different traits, which make them unique from one another. There are so many varieties you can choose from based on your taste and preferences. The intricate detail in color, majestic-looking tails and different color patterns all make them tiny little fascinating fishes so attractive to keep.
The different breeds of the fish also require a lot of Betta fish care and knowledge. There are health issues that you need to be aware of. Without that knowledge, they will not survive even if you purchase them. Health issues can vary from genetics, the tail types, maintaining the right temperature on the fish tank and environment, and feeding them right. And the food is essential because it brings out the vibrant colors that they possess. That is why betta fish care is critical.
A downside to the constant breeding of the Siamese fighting fish is the ever-increasing varieties of different types of Betta fish tail types and colors emerging rapidly. As a result, some of the betta fish breeds are becoming hard to recognize and even becoming very rare to obtain. That is why for any serious Betta lovers, it is crucial to keep track of the developments and the variations in the Betta trade because it only keeps growing.
Now that you have read about the fantastic Betta varieties, you can go ahead and pick your favorite breeds of Betta fish available for purchase. They are great pets, do not require big spaces, have very low-cost maintenance, and have big personalities.