Whether you are a beginner aquarist or a seasoned aquarist, you know that Betta fish are one of the most popular freshwater fish available on the market today. Betta fish come in a broad spectrum of colors and shapes. Because of this, they tend to be classified by their tail type, colors, and patterns.
Although they have a reputation for having an aggressive temperament, as long as you know how to care for them and what kind of tankmates they prefer, you can avoid the aggressiveness by properly fed and care.
Types of Betta Fish
Betta fish, nicknamed Siamese Fighting fish because of their aggressive temperaments, is one of the most common fish purchased by beginner aquarists. These fish are the perfect starter fish with their small size, vibrant colors, and unique personalities.
Over the years, breeders have crossbred Bettas to create some very striking tail variations, along with vibrant and unique colorations. Betta fish are also intelligent fish and can eventually begin to recognize their owners.
Betta fish have a unique physiology that allows them to breathe surface air when their gills are unable to get sufficient oxygen from their surrounding water. This unique organ is called a labyrinth organ. During breeding, they will also create bubble nests to cradle the eggs spawned by the female Betta.
When classifying Betta fish, you look at their tail shape first, then their pattern, and their coloration. There are many variations in the tail alone, from neat and short to flowing and long. The Betta’s body patterns will range from single body patterns to multi-colored patterns.
But it is their vibrant colors that are the most attractive characteristic. You can find Betta fish in every color of the rainbow. Between the Betta’s coloring, patterns, and various tail shapes, there are literally hundreds of types of Bettas on the market, with each fish being uniquely beautiful.
Betta Fish Tail Variations
There are many distinctive variations of the Betta’s tails. Because of this, many Bettas are classified by the size and shape of their tails. Betta fish have tails that vary from long and majestic, to spikey and short. Usually, the Betta’s name will give you an idea of what shape their tail is. Some of the more common names include Crowntail, Veiltail, Halfmoon, and the small Plakat.
One of the most popular Betta fish is the Crowntail Betta. First bred by breeder Ahmad Yusuf about 25 years ago, this particular species hasn’t really been around long. The fins for the male Crowntail Betta are long and spikey, slightly resembling a crown. The female Crowntail’s colors are lighter, and they have a shorter tail. Unfortunately, their appearance is not as majestic as that of their male counterparts.
There’s another Betta fish that is very similar to the Crowntail, called Combtail. The Combtail has webbing on its fin that reaches about 2/3 of the way up the tail.
Veiltails are also quite common. The male Veiltails have tails that are long and flowing with a downward swoop of the tail. Veiltails come in a variety of color variations, making it a very striking Betta fish.
The Veiltail is a dominant characteristic when it comes to breeding, making it easy to breed. The female Veiltail looks different than the male. She does not have the same characteristics as the male Veiltail, but she does have brights colors occasionally, although their colors still tend to be lighter than the males. They also have short tails and fins.
The name Plakat comes from the Thai word “plakad”, which means fighting fish. This particular breed was bred and used for fighting quite commonly. Plakat Betta fish are the exception to the rule for male Betta fish. Instead of having the long and flowing tails and fins, their fins are short.
Despite having shorter fins, the male Plakat still has amazingly vibrant coloring. The Plakat is considered to be the Betta’s traditional form, which you would have found in their natural habitat in the wild.
Halfmoon / Over-Half Moon (OHM) Bettas
Halfmoon Betta fish have a large tail that creates a half-circle that looks similar to a half-moon. You will not find these Bettas in the wild; they are bred only in captivity. Halfmoon Bettas are very popular among breeders and are quite common at the Betta shows and exhibits.
The Halfmoon Betta fish was first created in the 1980s. They became so popular that breeders worldwide, especially in Europe, made this species famous internationally. However, these fish tend to be a bit more challenging to breed due to their overly aggressive behavior.
Double Tail Bettas
With two distinctly separate tails that are separated at the base, the Double Tail Betta fish is easy to recognize. Usually, this species of Bettas has a shorter body with a longer and larger dorsal fin.
You can find this particular gene in various Bettas with any size and shaped tail. This can cause single tail Bettas to show the same characteristics as the double tail, with extra rays on their dorsal fins, which tend to give them a much richer appearance.
Dumbo Bettas or Elephant Ear Bettas
The Dumbo Bettas are unique and don’t exactly fit into one particular color or tail category because of their unique pectoral fins. Their name derives from their two pectoral fins’ funny appearance, which makes them look like elephant ears.
The Dumbo Betta fish that have been bred for the aquarium trade will have strikingly brilliant colorations, such as yellows, reds, turquoises, and bright blues. However, when found in the wild, they tend to be dull-colored, with colors ranging from brown, grey, to dark green.
Delta Tail Bettas
Delta is the Greek word for the letter d, which is shaped like a triangle (∆). The Delta Tail Betta fish has a large tail that is narrow close to the body but widens into a triangle shape, like an inverted triangle.
While the tail spread of a normal Delta is usually smaller, without crowing or combing along the tail edges, the Super Delta’s tail reaches a flare of 180°.
The Rosetail Betta’s tail has branchy rays, which make the caudal fin look like a rose. A Half Moon variation that causes the caudal fin’s total spread to reach more than 180° gives the Rosetail a very striking appearance. However, it could be considered to be a Feathertail if the tail is exceedingly branch and has a ruffled appearance.
Other Tail Variations
Although the tails we have already gone over are among the most common and ornamental, there are many more different variations of the Betta’s tail:
Spade Tail Bettas
The tails of these Bettas look exactly like the Spade from a deck of cards with its round and pointed shape.
The not-so-clever name comes from the over 180° tail spread of a Halfmoon Betta. Basically like an extreme variation of the Halfmoon.
These Bettas resemble the Crowntail Bettas. The way to tell them apart is by the length of the rays and the webbing. The Combtail’s webbing reaches up the tail over 2/3 of the way.
The edges of these Betta’s tails are fully rounded, quite similar to the Delta Bettas, just the tail edge shapes differ.
Selective breeding between Crowntails and Half Moons create this variation of Bettas. The fins and tail reach around the body over 180° with what looks like a slight crowning along the webbing and rays.
Types of Betta Fish - By Color
Betta fish comes in a wide variety of colors, with some sporting uniform coloring, while others are a kaleidoscope of many different colors. Their brilliant coloring represents most of the colors of the rainbow with a few extras thrown in, such as translucent, copper, white, and black.
Blue Betta Variations
Blue is not a simple color. There are many different variations of the color blue. In the Betta fish world, the most common shades of blue are Steel Blue Betta, which is a cold grayish-blue, and Royal Blue Betta fish, which have a gorgeous, brilliant iridescent blue coloring.
Black Orchid Bettas
Just like the name says, the Black Orchid has a blackish color to it with hints of blue or purple highlights around its body. There are three different variations of the black coloration that can be grouped into either the Black Lace, Melano, and Metallic Betta fish, which has iridescent scales that are almost translucent or copper-colored.
Amongst all the different variations of Betta fish, red is the most dominant color. The more common red is a striking, deep, and rich red. If red is not the dominant color on the Betta, you will often see red highlights across the body and fins of the Betta fish.
If your red starts to appear washed out, you may need to check their water conditions and diet to make sure they are healthy.
Although it looks almost translucent and is often thought to be an albino variation, the Pink Betta fish is actually pink because it barely has any pigment and the flesh shows through the Betta’s skin.
If the pink is a fuller pink, the Betta fish usually has a brighter, richer pink color on their fins and body. If this is the case, they will usually have additional color variations along the body and tail, such as whites, purples, and reds.
Rose Petal Bettas
Rose Petal Bettas are one of the more unique variations because there is not an easy way to define them. They have more color variations than any of the other Betta fish, usually a light electric blue with some dark blue or copper highlights, with a dark-colored face.
The Rose Petal Betta fish is one of the rarest on the market.
Another common color you will find among Bettas is yellow. Yellow Betta fish generally have a rich, full-bodied yellow coloring that extends along the tail and fins. There are many variations of yellow coloring, from a pastel yellow to a school bus yellow. The yellow variations are known as “non-reds” because they have similar characteristics as the red, but instead, they are yellow.
When comparing the white Bettas to other variations of Betta coloring, the white coloring may seem to be a little plain since they are entirely white. But with the right type of tail, these white Betta fish can look very majestic. Shop around for the tail type that appeals the most to you. Swooping and flowing tails are very majestic when they are completely white-colored.
If you are looking for a Betta fish that is a true purple color, you might have a hard time finding one. It will be easier to Bettas that are a purple-blueish coloring or a rich violet. A lot of times, these Betta fish will have various color highlights, such as blacks and coppers. You can find them with purple-ish bodies, but with the face and fins of a different color.
Purple Bettas have many different types of tails and color patterns. With so many different options, it should be easy to find one that suits your tastes.
If you find a Betta fish that is entirely green, you will be gazing upon a rare Betta. They usually appear to be more of a turquoise color. Or, the green coloration will be masked underneath a darker color, but if you shine the light on it just right, you will see an iridescent green shimmer.
Dark green and bright green Betta fish variations that are clearly discernable are rare, but they do exist, and they are considered to be quite precious.
Mustard Gas Bettas
The Mustard Gas Betta fish is very remarkable with bi-colored variations that show different color variations between the fins and the body. The Betta’s body is usually a dark blue or green color, while their fins tend to be orange or yellow, which is where their name comes from.
Sometimes this variation is called Chocolate-colored by mistake because the fin color is very similar. However, the Chocolate-colored Betta has a body that is completely brown.
Types of Betta Fish – By Pattern
Finally, the last way in which Bettas are classified is by their patterns. The way a Betta’s coloring is arranged along their bodies and fins in different patterns makes them one of the more popular sought after fish in the aquarist community. Selective breeding has created some unique patterning.
Dragon Scale Bettas
Selective breeding has recently created a new pattern called Dragon Scale. The vibrant metallic colorations make this particular pattern very popular with a full-bodied color and body scales that resemble those of a dragon or lizard. They usually have a rich base color like red with pale iridescent scales across the main body, which is sometimes copper-colored.
Another relatively distinctive and common Betta fish pattern is the Butterfly pattern. The body is usually a solid color that will extend to the tail’s base and the fins, where the color will stop suddenly and then is replaced by a more iridescent, paler color. The tail and fins are usually transparent or white.
Another popular variation of this particular pattern is for the body to be one color, but the tail and the inside fins will be a different color but fade to white or even transparent along the edges.
With striking color variations, the Marble Betta fish is another trendy variation of Bettas. Their body usually has a solid but pale body-color with rich blues and red that appear irregular and blotchy. The fins are the part of the Betta’s body that appears marble-like in pattern. Although, sometimes they have a translucent coloring, too.
One remarkable thing about this particular variation is that their colors develop over time. They will also appear to be one color one week and a different color the next week. This ability will slow down as the Betta ages.
Through selectively breeding the Marble Betta fish, the breeder created the Koi pattern that resembles the popular pond fish. You will not find this species in the wild. Rather aquarium hobbyists have carefully bred them while preserving the most unique and striking features and characteristics. The rich colorations and their brightness will vary greatly, resulting in no distinct coloration of this particular pattern.
With so many different variations of patterns, colors, and tail shapes, the Betta fish is definitely not a boring one-size-fits-all fish. Through years of careful and selective breeding by experts, there are now hundreds of types of Betta fish on the market today.
The Bettas you find in the wild won’t be as vibrant and colorful as the ones you will find with breeders and fish stores. With all the different varieties, you are sure to find the perfect Betta for your aquarium.