Betta Fish are a colorful member of the gourami family.
Originally bred for heightened aggression, hobbyists kept these fish to battle.
Nowadays, they’re known for their striking appearance. Selective breeding led to the creation of many distinct types of Betta Fish for us to enjoy.
How many do you know?
Betta Fish Tail Types
There are several ways to classify Betta Fish. The shape of their fins is one of the more prominent differences.
Although the differences aren’t so dramatic between female Betta fish types, males are known to sport a beautiful tail. These tails come in all different shapes and sizes distinct to the breed.
1. Crowntail Betta
Don’t let his appearance fool you, he didn’t just return from a battle. Although he looks as though his tail had been torn up, this is the product of generations of selective breeding.
The Crowntail Betta (CT) is a “designer” breed that you can commonly find in pet stores. Their very distinct appearance was achieved by purposely breeding fish has exhibited a reduction of webbing while maintaining elongated rays.
It almost makes them look like the fins of some kind of dragon or sea monster. This intriguing tail sets it apart from other breeds and makes it the most easily recognizable tail type -even between females.
These crown-like fins make the already aggressive fish appear more fierce and powerful with its movements.
2. Delta (and Super Delta) Betta
Although it can be a bit difficult to immediately see the resemblance, the Delta (D) and Super Delta (SD) Betta get their name due to their tail being shaped like the Greek letter, Δ.
They are categorized as having luscious, full tails that seem to drift in the water with the flexibility of a fine fabric. Unlike the Crowntail Betta, they sport full webbing, which extends to the end of the rays. This gives them a more graceful appearance.
Their defining trait is a large caudal fin which approaches (but does not reach) a full 180̊ spread.
3. Feathertail Betta
If you are looking for an extravagant Betta to blow your friends away, this is the best Betta fish for you to get. It’s hard to believe this angelic breed who resembles a gown is a type of fighting fish.
Also known as the Rosetail, the Feathertail Betta has a giant, flowing tail. Their rays have a lot of branching, leading them to develop ruffles that can resemble a flower petal.
Their exaggerated fins are like a mock cape, that slowly drift past them in the water while they swim. Their creation was achieved by interbreeding Half Moon Bettas, which larger tails.
4. Veiltail Betta
Most enthusiasts will automatically recognize the simplicity of the Veiltail Betta (VT). This is the most common Betta variety available. They have long, drooping, asymmetrical tails, which are sometimes less favored than other varieties.
It also has some advantages over the other bedazzled breeds. Almost all specially bred species fall victim to inbreeding in hopes of preserving a pedigree. Inbred offspring have less genetic diversity and a higher chance of inheriting genetic problems.
Although it is impossible to determine what type of betta fish lives the longest, you can assume that those breeds with higher genetic diversity will be more resistant to health problems. This makes the Veiltail one of the healthiest types of Betta fish.
On average, you can expect your Betta to live between 3 to 5 years in captivity (which is already more than a Betta Fish’s lifespan in the wild). If you are lucky, some of the longest living Betta Fish can survive a decade.
5. Plakat Betta
It can sometimes be difficult to distinguish Plakat Bettas (PK) from the average female. Unlike the rest of the contenders on the list, even the males have relatively short fins.
There is a little variety when it comes to the nature of their tails. Sometimes they are more rounded while other times they are more pointed. What makes them really interesting is their close resemblance to their roots.
It can be hard to believe, but these look the closest like the wild-born Bettas. The large tail that we think of when we think of Bettas is purely manmade.
Although the Plakat Betta is less ornate in design than the other contenders, it is still more flamboyant than those straight from the rice-patties. They can still boast extravagant colors and scale patterns.
6. Half Moon Betta
The Half Moon Betta (HM) has become rather mainstream and can easily be found at large pet shops. This breed is characterized as having a large tail which spans 180 degrees, making it look like a large ‘D’ shape (or Half Moon).
When a Betta archives a tail which is larger than 180 degrees (but does have the ruffles characteristic of the Feathertail), it is sometimes referred to as an Over the Moon Betta.
While these are very beautiful and popular, they also face some complications due to their extravagant tail. The large, full fins are more prone to damage. This damage is more pronounced in Half Moon Betta due to the nature of their pure and smooth appearance.
7. Combtail Betta
The Combtail Betta is very similar to the Crowntail Betta in appearance. Like the latter, this breed also exhibits reduced webbing between the rays, giving it that fiercer appearance. The difference lies between the amount of webbing they develop.
When more than two-thirds of the fins are webbed, it is considered a Combtail. This interesting appearance which is less extreme than the true Crowntail.
8. Double Tail Betta
The Double Tail Betta (DT) has a very interesting look. Instead of having one large caudal fin, it actually has two. Although some Betta variations may appear to have one large caudal fin, which has two rounded halves, a true Double Tail is different.
These fish will have two caudal peduncles, as well. There is a lot of variety in the species when it comes to proportions.
The two caudal fins vary in size (even between the individual). People generally want to have symmetry in their fish, so many want the sizes to be rather equal.
Other anatomical differences present in this breed include smaller bodies and wider dorsal and anal fins.
9. Half Sun Betta
Looking for the elegance of the Half Moon with the ferocity of the Crowntail? Half Sun Bettas are the product of cross-breeding the two.
Its rays are slightly extended, and it has the full-bodied fins of the Half Moon. They are like a Feathertail, which traded in ruffles for fringe. With this tail development, you are less likely to notice tail damage than in the regular Halfmoon varieties.
Betta Fish Color Patterns
Due to the popularity of Betta breeding, there are always new species popping up. While there is only so much you can do with tail design, there is an almost infinite amount of colors and patterns breeders can create.
In some cases, the coloring can matter even more than the style. There is an entire rainbow of Bettas out there that you won’t see by limiting your search to the local pet shops.
Solid colorations are rather straightforward -the Betta’s fin and body are all one color. Although this may come across as a little boring, there is an entire rainbow to choose from. You will get more information on color varieties later in this article.
This refers to when the body and fins of the fish are separate colors. These colors are often contrasting and very distinct from one another.
It used to be that fish had to have a certain shade and coloration to be considered members of the bi-color class in the competition world, but the International Betta Congress has recently lifted their restriction.
Albinism is present in almost all species (even humans). It refers to the total lack of pigmentation. While this is a disease we typically associate with lab rats or Cory Catfish, we can see it in bettas too.
An Albino Betta will be completely white and pale, with red or pink eyes. Try not to get your hopes up with finding one of these as they are one of the rare types of Betta.
This refers to a Betta with a solid colored body, but bands of color in their fins. Typically you can see two or three bands. A lot of breeders aim for an even split between colors on the fins, but there is a lot of variety.
The colorations of these fish can be really pretty, especially when the bands of color are distinct. It is almost as if they dipped their fins into a bucket of paint or tie-dyed.
This definition has a little more leeway. Even in the past, regulations were a lot less strict when it came to classifying your fish under this category.
Often, this refers to a pale body with brightly colored fins. A common example would be a white body with bright red fins.
A dragon colored Betta has the allusion of wearing armor. The scales of this coloration are iridescent and opaque. The scales are also a bit thicker than normal.
There are normally at least two colors present, one rich and bright while the other is a shiny white color that almost looks like metal.
Having a marble Betta is a little tricky because their look is rarely consistent. You may have noticed that fish tend to change color due to age, water quality, diet, and mood.
Marble Bettas are a little more drastic than that. They are typically a solid colored beta that has random white blotches that change over time.
It is difficult to predict what coloration your fish will have throughout its life. The differences can be rather drastic.
Even with some of the solid color Bettas, there is normally some apparent difference between the color of their head and the rest of the body. Naturally, this darker pigmentation is to be expected.
Bettas with a mask coloration are different. The scales on their head are the same color as their body and the base of the tail.
These Bettas can be found in a wide variety of colors.
The multicolored coloration category is a little more open-ended. Essentially any Betta that has three or more colors can fall into this group.
This means it includes recognized colorations (like the butterfly) as well as those that don’t fit into a category.
If you are serious about entering your Betta into competitions or becoming a professional breeder, this is the type of fish you may have to avoid. Then again, you can always go and try to create your very own Betta coloration.
This is another coloration that the judges may not be so excited about. The wild coloration is pretty close to what you would expect to see from Bettas swimming around in undisturbed rice paddies.
Although it might be difficult to believe, the ancestors (and wild variation) of pet Bettas were rather dull. Although there is still a bit of variability, these colors are anything but striking or rich.
Some find the charm in this coloration when they are looking to build a more natural tank.
Different Betta Colors
There are a lot of color options when it comes to Bettas. Although these fish were traditionally a dull species with limited coloration, selective breeding has completely changed what we expect from our fish.
Although it is impossible to note all of the possible shades of Betta (especially with countless being developed as we speak), these are some of the more noteworthy ones.
1. Red Betta Fish
Blue and red Betta fish are the classic pet colorations. There is a wide spectrum of options between these two groups.
Reds can be a little lighter, appearing more or less pink or orange. There are also Bettas, which are a true orange, but this is rarer. They can also get to a deep, lovely maroon.
2. Blue Betta Fish
The blue Bettas can also range from a deep, royal blue to a turquoise color that may make your Betta appear green.
As they are the more popular varieties, you shouldn’t be surprised if you
3. Pastel Betta Fish
Although this isn’t really a color, it still deserves to be on the list. Many of the lighter shades have almost a milky look to them. Mixed with the natural iridescence of scales, it makes them appear more or less pastel.
The more common pastels are whites, pinks, and purples. Often, they will be a mix of all three. This coloration is very fitting on the longer, cape-like tails of the Feathertail and Half Moon.
4. White Betta Fish
The white Betta Fish are not always pastel. They can be perfectly opaque, and this ghostly appearance makes them almost look like a porcelain figure. They look gorgeous when mixed with a striking color like a deep red or blue.
This is an especially desired fish if it is pure white and doesn’t have any color variations. A fish does not need to be albino to be white -the difference lies in their eye colors.
5. Black Betta Fish
A pure black Betta is also a rare find. Normally there is some bleeding of colors, but that doesn’t take away from the elegance of a black Betta. When accented by rich reds or oranges, their appearance can be striking.
It’s important to note that many times someone believes that they have a black-colored Betta, it is often a very dark blue or green. Holding your fish up to a light and examining their scales will reveal their true color.
6. Purple Betta Fish
While it is true that some of the blue Bettas appear a little indigo or purple in appearance, there are true purple Bettas. These fish are more lavender or violet and absolutely gorgeous.
These often look more pastel, but can also be seen with opaque scales.
7. Yellow Betta Fish
These Bettas are sometimes called “pineapple Bettas” for obvious reasons. Their fun, neon colors make them rather popular, especially with dramatic tailfins like that of the Crowntail or Half Sun.
Their light coloration looks gorgeous when matched with a highly contrasting color.
8. Green Betta Fish
A true green Betta is hard to come by. It is easily one of the rarer color variations. Most of the time, the appearance of green is just an illusion. However, Bettas have been reported to display greens that are not just a lighter blue.
Emerald green Bettas are one of the newer (and sought after variations). They go nicely with both darker and lighter accents.
9. Chocolate Betta Fish
Brown may come across as a dull color, but when it is mixed with the right accenting colors, it can be gorgeous and warm. Chocolate Bettas are a deep brown, which is slightly different from the traditional, dull brown you would expect in the wild.
You want this mixed with drastically light colors such as yellow or orange.
Did you Recognize all of the Contenders on the List?
It’s easy to see how these Siamese Fighting Fish have captivated people for centuries. This gorgeous species came a long way from its humble beginnings.
What are your favorite types of Betta fish? Let us know in the comments below!