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Betta fish are a very popular freshwater fish. Because of the many diverse forms and colors that they come in, they are extremely popular. Betta fish are mainly categorized by their colors, patterns, and tail type because many varieties exist. For newbies to the hobby, their aggressive conduct might be intimidating. You should have no troubles if you are adequately nourished and cared for.
This piece will give you details on the numerous types of Bettas. You can use this as a guide when selecting your fish for your tank.
Betta Fish Classification by Color and Patterns
What determines Betta Fish Colors?
The diverse colors and patterns are seen in captive betta fish result from up to 26,000 genetic combinations.
Betta coloring is determined by the pigmentation of the different cells that make up the fish’s skin layers. In captive bettas, each color layer has its genetic code or set of genes that determine the fish’s color. Depending on the layers, the gene diminishes or enhances pigment, and it also determines where each color is disseminated. The color pigments in your betta fish’s color cells, which are found within the layers of your fishy friend’s skin, define his color. Phenotypes are the visual representations of these color characteristics. Genotypes are the genes that make up the traits. Genotypes hold the information that proteins require to catalyze the reactions that result in the pigments you see.
Betta color genetics can be tricky, and when you’re experimenting with breeding fish outside of a known strain, you might get some unexpected results!
In the skin of a betta, there are four layers of color cells:
1. Iridescent Layer:
The top layer, often known as the blue layer, regulates the amount of blue pigment in the fish.
The following characteristics are seen in Gonophores (green/blue cells), sometimes known as Iridophores:
- Iridocytes are dispersed throughout the body
The B1 gene is responsible for the blue/green color. B1 is capable of producing three distinct colors:
- Iridescents in steel blue, resulting in a steel blue fish come from b1b.
- Iridescents of royal blue, resulting in a royal blue fish come from B1b1
- Iridescent greens, resulting in a green fish come from B1B1
As you can see, crossbreeding a pair of steel blue bettas (b1b1 x b1b1) produces 100% steel blue offspring. When a couple of green bettas (B1B1) crossbreeds, the spawn will all be green. When a pair of royal blue bettas (B1b1 x B1b1) is crossed, the fry is 50 percent royal blue, 25 percent green, and 25 percent steel blue.
2. Black Layer:
Melanophores, or black cells, have the following characteristics:
- Cambodian (Khmer) (cream body, red fins)
- Blonde/bright (colour: brilliant “cherry”)
- Melancholy (black bettas)
The black layer will be directly affected by the three genes listed above.
You’ll find many fish in Cambodian bettas, including those with the characteristic flesh-colored body and red fins. The Cambodian gene (cc) is a recessive double gene. All dark pigment is eliminated when the cc gene is present. White, green, blue, and even purple fins can be found on some newer Cambodian varieties. The bb gene (blonde/bright) is also double recessive. The bb gene has the effect of limiting black pigmentation, which is most noticeable in red bettas, where its presence results in a bright redfish. The lack of the bb gene results in a significantly darker maroon-colored fish. Iridescent bettas also have the bb gene, which makes them appear much more pastel in hue.
3. Red Layer
Erythrophores are red cells that have the following characteristics:
- Extended red (red that covers the entire body and fins of the betta)
- Redness is lessened (red covering only the fins, body dark in color, green or blue)
- Reddish-brown (total absence of red)
- Finnage in a variety of colors (the butterfly effect)
These four genes determine the quantity of red in the fish.
4. Yellow Layer
Xanthophores are yellow-colored cells. There is no red, black, or iridescent (blue) coating on the Xanthophores. There are currently no genes known that control the yellow layer of pigment. That means a yellow betta’s black layer contains Cambodian (non-black) dyes, the red layer has non-red pigmentation, and the iridescent layer contains non-blue pigments. However, other breeders believe that yellow is linked to the opaque gene.
Difference in Wild vs Pet Betta Colors
Although there are some beautiful exceptions, wild bettas are not as colorful as their selectively bred counterparts. The pigment cells of wild bettas change the size and shape all the time, giving the fish a continually shifting appearance. Domesticated bettas’ cells are less likely to change color, so their hues are more consistent. Domestic bettas are usually colorful unless they are sick or agitated, whereas wild bettas only show their brightest colors when threatened or reproducing. It’s one of the characteristics that attract people to domesticated bettas.
Are Color and Scale Patterns Related?
Other sorts of cells influence the color and pattern of your betta’s skin. They further modify the appearance of the fish and produce many of the designs that betta collectors want. Iridocytes are cells in fish that give them a gleaming, iridescent appearance. A fish may appear to have metallic highlights or stripes or even be nearly white, depending on the depth of these cells. To make matters even more complicated, Chromatophores and Iridocytes can sometimes mix to produce new hues. If you put a Chromatophore containing Xanthine in an Iridocyte, you’ll get a dazzling, gleaming gold-colored fish.
How do the Diet and Environmental Factors apply to Betta Fish Colors?
Betta fish’s color and scale pattern are controlled by their genetics and their diet, and the environment in which they reside. Because fish cannot create pigments naturally, they must obtain them through their diet. Feed your betta a diverse and high-quality diet, and keep their water sparkling clean to keep them looking their best. Their water temperature is also a factor, so keep your tank between 75 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
Betta Fish Classification by Tail and Fin Configurations
Long Tail Bettas vs. Short Tail Bettas
Bettas, like other fish, have multiple individual fins and a couple of pairs of fins around their bodies. They swim and orient their bodies in three dimensions underwater with these fins. Fins that are longer, wider, or mainly shaped have been selected and bred into some betta kinds. The most common fancy feature in unusual betta fish is the tail, often known as the caudal fin. Another is their anal fin or bottom fin. Pectoral, dorsal, and ventral fins may be extended or elaborate in some types.
Why Don’t Wild Bettas Have Long Tails?
Elongated tails and fins have the disadvantage of slowing down mobility when swimming through plants. In the wild, the most expensive and attractive betta fish would be at a severe disadvantage.
Betta Fish Colors
An albino betta has no pigmentation at all. The scales and fins of an albino betta should be pale to clear, and the eyes should be pinkish or red. Through their rankings, their muscles and organs may be apparent. Albino Bettas are at the deprivation of the environment because UV rays from the sun produce a high rate of damage, which often leads to blindness and cancer. They frequently have other mutations and health issues. True albino bettas are so uncommon that it’s debatable whether they exist at all. The majority of reports are most likely clear/cellophane or white variations. It is pretty challenging to breed them, and they have a low survival rate.
The Clear Betta (cellophane betta) has whitish to translucent scales. Through their rankings, you can sometimes glimpse the rosy color of their muscles and internal organs. Their fins range in color from transparent to opaque. Their pupils should be completely black. Clear or Cellophane Bettas, unlike Albino Bettas, have one of the three colors in their Chromatophores. Because their characteristic isn’t defined, the fish appears almost colorless.
White Bettas ought to have pure white scales and fins. Some individuals’ fins may be more opaque. A white betta’s body should not be reddish, unlike the cellophane types. This may not seem spectacular, but the detail visible on a pure white betta’s body and fins is extremely lovely.
There are several different types of black betta fish, each with slightly different appearances:
Black Melano Bettas have the darkest, purest black bodies and fins of any betta species. They have an excess of melanin pigments, which makes them the polar opposite of an albino. This type is frequently sterile and can cause health problems.
Black Lace Bettas have a darker body than Melano Bettas, but not as dark as Melano Bettas. Their fins are frequently cellophane-colored, either totally or partially. It is common for them to be prolific.
Black Orchid Bettas are a bi-color Crowntail with a dark body and some iridescence. Some bettas have been crossed with marble-patterned bettas, giving them a metallic or red overtone on their bodies or fins. Black orchid crossings produced the Black Devil and Black Ice types.
Black Copper Bettas are offspring of female Black Melano and a Copper Betta. The scales of the offspring are a mix of deep black and metallic.
In nature, blue is a rare color, but betta fish are an exception. It’s amusing to note that the form of pigment cells generates blue colors and scales and how light bounces off of them. Commonly, only flecks of iridescent blue can be seen in fish, but bettas can be a deep, bright blue.
Blue Bettas are most typically seen in the following colors:
Steel Blue Bettas have a greyish blue tint to them.
Bettas with a deep, midnight blue body and fins are known as Royal Blue Bettas.
Turquoise blue bettas with a tinge of green and a rich, bright color
In low light, a copper betta appears to be brown or tan in hue. When you switch on the light, however, you’ll notice the radiance. The scales and fins of this fish are made of highly luminous metallic material.
The body of a chocolate betta is dark or tan, with orange or yellow fins and tail. These are mainly bettas that are bi-colored.
Betta Fish that are all green is pretty rare. Turquoise is the most common color. The green is often hidden beneath a deeper hue, but an iridescent green tone can emerge if you shine a light on it. There are bright green and dark green varieties that may be seen with the naked eye, but they are rare and often regarded as valuable.
Gases of Mustard Betta Fish are pretty beautiful creatures. They are a bi-colored variety with varied body and fin colorations. The body is usually dark, ranging from blue to green. Their title originates from the color of their fins, which are typically yellow or orange. Because the fins are so similar in color, this variety is frequently mistaken for Chocolate. The chocolate version, on the other hand, has a brown body.
The body and fins of a pastel betta are pale pastel-shaded with a whitish wash over the primary color, giving it a paler look.
Bettas that are entirely orange are uncommon and usually have vivid tangerine color. They’re not as frequent as Red or Blue Bettas, but they’re more prevalent than Green or Purple Bettas. Along with the fins, orange Dalmatian Bettas are a pale orange tint with vivid orange, almost red patches.
Purple Betta Fish might be tough to come by. Rich violets or purple-bluish hues are expected, with various color variations such as copper and black. It’s relatively uncommon to see them with purple bodies and different colored fins or faces. They come in a variety of tail colors and designs.
With Betta Fish, red is the dominant color. This red is usually a vibrant and full-bodied red color, yet it can sometimes appear washed off. It would be best if you kept an eye on their diet and water condition at this time, as your Fish may not be feeling well. This hue may be seen in most Betta varieties, from Plakat to Veiltail. It typically appears as a highlight over the fins or the body of other colored Fish if it isn’t one of the prominent colors.
Yellow Betta Fish can also be found in abundance. This Fish has a whole body of a brilliant yellow color that extends to the fins and tail. This variation can have a variety of yellow shades, ranging from bright yellow to a more subdued soft coloring. Because they have similar traits but are yellow, this variant is also known as “non-red.”
Betta Fish Patterns and Scale Designs
A betta with a single hue is called a solid-colored betta. Because the pigments are more profound and closer to the muscles, the color may appear darker or more intense along the body than on the fins. Solid bettas are attractive fish that provide excellent breeding stock.
While a true bi-colored betta has one color on its body and another on its fins, some people use the term “bi-color” to apply to any fish with two colors. One of the most prevalent betta fish patterns is this one.
Another popular and distinguishing pattern is the Butterfly Betta. It usually has a consistent body color that continues to the fins and tail’s base. This color fades away to be replaced with a paler, iridescent hue. The fins and tail are usually white or transparent. Another version of this pattern is one color for the body and another color for the fins and tail. The insides of the fins and tail become white or translucent around the edges.
Bettas with a white or pale pink body and vivid, bloodred fins are known as Cambodian-style bettas. This variety used to be relatively popular, but it has recently become considerably more difficult to locate.
This is a new design that was developed through selective breeding. The vivid metallic hue of this motif makes it particularly popular. The Scale of the Dragon Betta Fish has a deep, rich color and body scales that resemble those of a lizard or dragon. Their main body is usually a bright color like red, with iridescent pale scales running across it.
Another popular type is Marble Bettas, which come in a wide range of colors. Their hues are blotchy and uneven, with a light pale solid body color and a pattern of rich reds and blues. Fins might have a marble-like design or be completely transparent. The most enjoyable part about this species is that it changes color over time. It’s not uncommon for them to arrive in one color one week and then change color the next. This capacity, however, will deteriorate as the fish grows older.
The head of a mask betta is the same color as his body. Unless they are bred for the whole or half-mask gene, most bettas have a head that is a different color than their bodies. Half Mask Bettas have one color on one half of their head and another color on the other.
The grizzle betta is a kind of betta with a 50-50 color mix between lighter and darker colors. They frequently have the appearance of being painted with delicate brush strokes.
The body and fins of tri-colored bettas are a rare combination of three colors. Bettas that are multicolored have at least three colors and can have more than three. The mix is usually unpredictably random.
A Piebald Betta has a lighter body and a white or flesh-colored face. Unlike other animals with piebald coloring, these fish do not have albinism.
Betta Fin and Tail Types
This is a relatively standard and readily available version of the tail type. This variation’s male has a long, sweeping tail that flows downwards. It appears in a variation of colors, and the overall aesthetic is rather impressive. If you wish to breed Betta fish, you should know that this is the most common tail form, making it the easiest to produce. The female, on the other hand, is entirely different. She lacks any of the male’s distinguishing traits, yet she does have vibrant colors on occasion. Females have brighter coloring and shorter fins and tails than males.
The Combtail, often known as the half-sun betta fish, is a newer type. The Combtail has a dip between each ray instead of webbing that stretches from ray to ray on the tail. The tail takes on the appearance of a wide-toothed comb as a result of this. The tail of this variety is sometimes lacking in support, although it is ordinarily fruitful and healthy. Some Combtails develop droopy tails, which are unsightly. This isn’t a health hazard, but it may give your fish a sorrowful appearance.
One of the most popular freshwater fish is the Crowntail betta. This species is relatively new, having been bred for the first time in Indonesia by Ahmad Yusuf roughly 25 years ago. This species’ fins have a long spiky crown, but if the webbing reaches more than 2/3 of the way up the tail, it is categorized as a distinct type – the Combtail Betta.
Males have vibrant colors and large fins and tails, but females are entirely different. The female is usually lighter in color, has a shorter tail, and is less majestic.
The Delta Tail is a type of fish that lives in the Betta’s tail is quite long. Because the tail resembles the shape of the Greek letter delta, it was given that name. The tail narrows towards the body and swells toward the margins, matching the Greek letter’s triangular shape. There’s also the Super Delta, which is a well-known version. This flare variance is almost 180 degrees. A conventional delta tail’s dispersion is usually significantly smaller. Without any combing or crowing, the tail edges are uniform.
It’s easy to spot the Double Tail since it has two distinct tails separated from the base. This variety usually has a more extensive and more extended dorsal fin and a shorter body. This gene is found in all Bettas, regardless of tail shape or size. This implies that single tail Bettas often already have double tail traits, like dorsal fins with more rays than typical, giving them a more vibrant appearance.
Halfmoon Betta is a self-explanatory name. Large tails form a half-moon-shaped half-circle. There are no wild inhabitants of this species. It is found only in captivity. Specialists frequently develop Halfmoon Bettas for use in Betta shows. The Halfmoon Betta originally debuted in the 1980s and quickly gained popularity in Europe.
The Rosetail Betta is a half-moon variant with a total caudal fin spread greater than 180 degrees. The tail rays are very branchy, which is a distinguishing feature of this variant. This branching gives the fish a distinctive appearance and provides the caudal fin with a rose-like appearance.
Plakat bettas have short, spherical tails, unlike most betta fish. They’re practically the exception to the rule. When compared to other variants, their fins are also relatively short. Even yet, the guy has incredible hues. This betta type is thought to be the original kind that could be found in the wild.
The feathertail has long, wide, ruffled fins, similar to the Rosetail. Instead of being half-moon-shaped, their fins and tails have triangles around the margins. This gives them a “feathery” appearance. They’re less common than Rosetails and come in a wide range of colors and scale patterns.
The only distinction between Round tail Bettas and Deltas is the shape of their tail margins. The tail edges of Round tails are entirely rounded.
Spade tails get their name from the spade card in a deck of cards. This is because the shape of the tail is identical to the round. They are the pointed shape of the spade.
This is a one-of-a-kind fish that doesn’t entirely fall into any of the tail or color categories. Its pectoral fins, on the other hand, are its distinguishing trait. Elephant Ear Bettas, often known as Dumbo Bettas, have a distinctive form. The fins of this variant are usually highly amusing, especially when they have bright, vivid colorations. The two pectoral fins, which resemble elephant ears, give the creature its name.
When you break down and evaluate the many sorts of bettas, you can see that a lot is going on.
While various species of betta fish may be more susceptible to health problems due to their genetics and tail arrangements, keeping your tank warm and clean will go a long way toward keeping your betta fish healthy. They will also sparkle with color if they eat high-quality food.
Can different types of bettas breed?
Because all Betta fish variations, including Crown Tails, Veil Tails, Halfmoon, and Delta bettas, are the same species. Hence, they can be crossbred.
What kind of aquarium is best for Betta fishes?
The best Betta Fishes for your aquarium are The Rosetail, Feathertail, Double Tail, the Female Elephant Ear, Multicolored/Tricolored, and Dragon Scale.
Check out more beautiful bettas on my pinterest board below:
Follow The Aquarium Guide (TAG)’s board Betta Fish on Pinterest.
PS: Check out interesting facts about betta by EarthsFriends where I get some of my useful information for this betta series.