The betta fish is a complex and sensitive aquatic creature, commonly known as the Siamese fighting fish. They’re classified as a labyrinth fish because they have a special organ called a labyrinth, which allows them to breathe oxygen from the air in addition to the water. Their scientific name is betta splendens, which means “beautiful warrior,” and they’re normally found in rice paddies and small, still ponds in the wild.
Unfortunately, betta fish are some of the most mistreated fish in the hobby, so it’s super important to do your research before buying one and to provide it with the correct size tank (minimum 5 gallons, preferably 10).
Growing to be ~3 in long, the usual lifespan of a betta fish is 2-5 years. Their colors are usually very bright, including red, blue, orange, black, and white, as well as metallic, copper, and turquoise (though those last three are more rare). Different varieties have different colorations and types of tails. Read on to take a look at some of what we think are the most beautiful betta varieties.
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2. What Are The Different Types Of Betta Fish?
There are around 73 species of the genus betta. The most familiar is the betta splendens which, unlike the wild betta, are brightly colored and very beautiful.
Through special breeding techniques, hundreds of types of betta have been developed, all of which can be classified according to their tails, colors, and patterns (such as veil, delta, halfmoon, crown tail, double tail, and more).
2.1 Rare Types of Betta Fish
Two of the rarest types of betta fish are the comb tail and the fantail. The comb tail is a rare variety produced by careful selective breeding of crown tails with veiltails. Similarly rare, the fantail has a rounded tail that spread out like a fan, as the name suggests. One of the rarest patterns found among these beautiful fish is that of Dalmatian betta.
2.2 Rare Betta Fish Colors
The rarest color in betta fish is probably the Tyrian purple betta. It’s very hard to breed; Only if the parents are pure red and pure blue, will then a purple offspring be produced, but it’s still not a guarantee. It’s challenging to find genetically pure colors, and a purple betta doesn’t mean that it’s a pure Tyrian purple betta.
Two other very rare colors are cellophane betta, and the albino betta fish. Cellophane bettas look just as they sound: They’re almost completely transparent, and they’re a sight to see! Albinos, on the other hand, have an all-white body with a tint of pink color. Most albinos are produced unexpectedly and then sold at a very high price.
2.3 Betta Tail Types
Bettas have strikingly attractive tails. Understanding the different tail types isn’t just aesthetics; It also gives us further information about the genetics of the fish, as well as its care needs. Here are some of the most common betta tail types, below:
d. Double tail
g. Over-half Moon
i. Super Delta
j. Half Sun
m. Plakat/ Shortfin
n. Dumbo Ear/ Elephant Ear
3. Tank Size Requirements for Betta Fish
Okay, I promise we’re getting to the fun part with all the pictures! But given how mistreated these fish are in the hobby, particularly with beginners, it’s my moral duty to plug the tank size requirements first. A single betta fish needs a minimum of a 5 gallon tank to survive, and technically, they should be in a 10 gallon tank. They need filters just like any other fish, even with their labyrinth. Their tanks need to be cycled before the fish is added, just like other fish, and tap water needs to be treated with a water conditioner so the fish doesn’t get poisoned by the chlorine and chloramine in the tap water.
Now, on to the fun part!
4. Beautiful Betta Fish: Nine Types to Brighten Up Your Aquarium
4.1 Crowntail Betta Fish
This is a very common type of betta fish found in aquariums. They have spiky fins that are webbed close to the fish’s body, and are usually found in colors like black melano, turquoise, solid red – As well as in combinations of turquoise and red bicolor.
4.2 Veiltail Betta Fish
If you’ve ever seen a betta fish for sale, this is probably what you saw. They’re probably the most common tail morph in stores. It’s also on of the best betta options for beginners. Males have long, trailing tails and the females have shorter, fan-shaped tails.
4.3 Halfmoon Betta Fish
Halfmooon bettas are beautiful, and along with crowntails and veiltails, are among the most popular and prevalent bettas in the aquarium hobby; Halfmoons can be found in a vast array of colors and patterns. They’re my personal favorite when it comes to betta. These fish have caudal fins extending from the base of the dorsal fin to the base of the anal fin, forming a crescent shape and a 180-degree angle.
4.4 Double Tail Betta Fish
The double tail betta fish has a tail that is distinctly divided into sections at the end, giving them a flower-petal-like appearance. It’s common to find them in a bright blue color, though a white shimmering color is also found in the double tail betta variety. The tail forms two circular shapes, though their bodies are a bit shorter than other bettas.
4.5 Spade Tail Betta Fish
The tail of the spade tail betta is shaped like a spade in a deck of cards (hence the name). You’ll usually find these in reddish colors; Be aware that sometimes the tail may lose shape as the fish gets older.
4.6 Delta Tail Betta Fish
The delta tail types have a tail that starts off narrow, similar to the size of the body, and then widens at the end – Giving it a triangle shape. In my opinion, the caudal fin of delta tail bettas look exactly like a mermaid’s tail.
4.7 Dumbo Ear Betta Fish
Anyone who grew up with Disney will recognize the beloved (albeit rather sad!) Dumbo character, a little orphan elephant. Dumbo ear bettas (also called elephant ear bettas) got their name because of the similarity of their large pectoral fins to an elephant’s ears. This is a little confusing because they’re categorized by many hobbyists as a tail type, even though the fins are pectoral:) The fins are usually a different color than the body, giving a lovely, contrasting look.
4.8 Rosetail Betta Fish
Rosetails are a variation of the halfmoon betta. Its tail is similar in shape, but has ruffles the tips, giving it a rose-petal effect. Note that this variety is very fragile as their fins are easily injured, and these fish can also easily get fatigued. They also need lots of space (10 gallon tank minimum for one betta) and for these reasons, are not a beginner variety.
4.9 Combtail Betta Fish
Combtail Betta Photo by Daniella Vereeken via (CC BY 2.0)
Similar to the crowntail, combtails have a thick web between the spikes on its tail and fins. The difference is that the webbing extends farther out towards the edge of the fins, so they look less spiky than the crowntail. Like most varieties on this list, they’re available in heaps of striking colors (which we’ll talk about next!)
5. Betta Color Varieties
Now that you have a sense of the different betta tail types, let’s dive in to some of the color variations – Many of which can help you identify which type of betta you may be looking at. Red, black, and yellow are the three main pigments in a betta’s chromatophore (pigment-containing cells). It’s the combination of these three colors that creates such a variety of colors.
5.1 Blue Betta
Blue betta fish are the most common color, and easiest to find. Even in blue, there are a variety of shades in which this betta can be found, from blue wash to steel blue. The hardest to find in this color category is the royal blue betta.
5.2 Yellow Betta Fish
Yellow bettas are found in bright, sunshine-y colors, pale yellow, and all manner of shades of yellow. The yellow shade travels to the fins and tail as well, giving lively color and movement to a tank.
5.3 Black Orchid Betta
This variety has elegant, black coloration, covering its entire body and fins.
5.4 Red Betta
Red betta fish are the most dominant of the colors, giving a solid color that’s vibrant in the aquarium. It’s definitely among the most common beta colors available at stores. The male betta has a bright, deep red color.
5.5 White Betta
The white betta may not have the bright color of the others, but the dramatic tail of the species packs a punch in the fish tank. You can also create amazing contrast in the tank setup/decor with this neutral coloring.
5.6 Green Betta
Green betta fish are dramatic, colorful, and eye-catching; They’re found in solid green colors as well as turquoise and deep green. They’re even more stunning if they have a metallic wash overlaying the green.
5.7 Purple Betta
These are a rare betta fish color, and as such, they’re very expensive. They typically have shades of blue and violet; Some have purple bodies with differently-colored fins and tails.
Cellophane bettas are very difficult to find. In fact, they’re so difficult to find that it’s hard to locate good photos of them! After much searching, I settled on the video below as while it has a weird intro, it’s the best depiction I’ve seen of what they actually look like:
They have translucent skin because they literally have no color pigmentation. It’s like a see-through fish with dramatic fins. There’s a slight pink tinge, due to the internal organs which are visible through their skin.
6. Betta Fish Patterns
Bet you didn’t think there was quite so much to rare betta fish! In addition to tail types and colors, there are also patterns that make this already-beautiful fish even more remarkable. Below are some of the most common that you can find:
6.1 Dragon Scale Betta
With a metallic color that lives up to its name, the dragon scale betta really stands out. They’re also among the most rare betta fish around. They have thick scales, giving it an amor-like medieval appearance. The metallic sheen is incredible to see, though this variety is very aggressive (which is saying something, considering bettas are some of the most aggressive freshwater fish around!)
6.2 Cambodian Betta
Cambodian bettas have a pale-pink color, which appears almost flesh-like. They’re available in other colors as well, but in all variations, the body remains flesh-colored or light pink.
6.3 Butterfly Betta
Commonly found on halfmoon bettas, the pattern on this fish is a strong, solid color covering the whole body and most of the fins, which then stops short of the end of the fins. At that point, the color changes to another, usually white or transparent. This creates a look similar to a butterfly wing, making them exceptionally beautiful when swimming gracefully.
6.4 Marble Betta
A betta with a story! Once upon a time, a prison inmate named Orville Gulley was trying to breed a black betta, but accidentally created a betta with a pale body with solid colorations on top, like dark blue and red. Enter the marble betta. Note that “marbling” is also a term used to refer to the natural color changes that occur in betta fish over time, particularly when they age.
6.5 Dalmatian Betta
You guys know I love you and I try really hard to find the best pictures for you! But when it comes to the dalmatian betta, I just couldn’t find one I was happy with. Dalmatians are one of the most rare betta fish patterns, similar to the marble betta, but more prominent. As you might guess, the pattern resembles a Dalmatian dog. The color combinations frequently found on these fish are red and orange, and blue and white.
Do a quick Google search and look through the image results to get an idea of how this extremely rare betta presents. Be aware that many people will confuse marble bettas that have a light body with dalmatian bettas, but they are not the same!
6.6 Bicolor Betta
As the name suggests, the bicolor betta has one solid color on its body, with a secondary color on its fins. Bicolors are quite common to find in the hobby, but beautiful nonetheless.
7. The Most Beautiful Betta Fish: FAQs
7.1 What is the Most Beautiful Betta Fish?
Male betta fish are usually more colorful than the females, and with longer fins (though females are more likely to do well with tank mates). There are a few species of betta fish that can be named among the most beautiful, including crowntail betta, rosetail betta, halfmoon betta, veiltail betta, and doubletail betta.
7.2 What Color Betta is the Rarest?
The Tyrian purple betta is the rarest color in bettas and is very difficult to breed. Only if the parents are both pure red and blue can a pure purple offspring occur, but finding genetically pure colors is challenging. Other rare betta fish colors include Dalmatian and cellophane.
7.3 What is the Rarest Betta?
Fantail bettas are among the rarest betta fish, with the runners up being feathertails and rosetails. Feathertails are similar to rosetails, but its fin rays extend past the fin webbing to form a feathery appearance. The Rose tail betta, on the other hand, has a ruffled and extended finnage that resembles a rose. Both are known for their vibrant colors and impressive finnage.
7.4 Are Betta Fish Pretty?
Yes. With flashy colors, long, elegant fins like ball gowns, and unique scales, betta fish are amongst the most eye-catching freshwater fish around. So much so that unfortunately, many people must remember that living animals are not decorations. These tropical fish need proper care as many misconceptions have led them to be mistreated in the pet trade.
Betta fish come in many different varieties, some more rare than others. Beginners should choose hardier kinds that are easier to keep, like veiltails, while more experienced aquarists can manage varieties like rosetails. Keep in mind that different variations can exhibit differences in temperaments and personalities, and that some will do better than others with carefully chosen tank mates.