When you hear the word ‘Betta’ or ‘Siamese Fighting Fish’ you may conjure up an image of a colorful fish with long flowing fins in a tiny cup at the pet retailers. Although you wouldn’t be wrong with your imagined image, did you know that is only one type of the Betta species (most likely the Betta splendens)?
In fact, there are around 73 recognized species of the Betta fish!
Let’s dive into the most common Betta species to discover each of their unique and fascinating qualities. Plus, we’ll also cover the many different colors and patterns these amazing fish are available in.
Betta Fish Tail Types
Check out the following popular Betta species, distinguished by their unique tails.
The Crowntail Betta
This Betta is relatively new (it’s only been around for about 20 years). But he is gaining popularity due to his impressively long tail – it can grow up to 8 inches in diameter (that’s three times the fish’s body length). Another ‘stately’ feature of the Crowntail Betta is the separate spiky tips on the tail fin, giving it the appearance of a crown. Although this Betta is bred in a wide array of colors, it is found mostly in dark shades of reds and blues.
Adult Size: 2.5 to 3 inches
Patterns: Solid, butterfly, dragon-scale, mask, bi-color, grizzle, and piebald
The Veiltail Betta
The Veiltail Betta has been on the scene for quite some time. They are easy to breed and can be produced in a variety of colors including pinks, oranges, reds, greens, and blues. The males possess a long flowing, swooping tail that tends to droop from just behind the top fin.
Adult Size: 1.5 to 2 inches
Colors: Almost all
Patterns: Dragon scale, solid, butterfly, grizzle, piebald, mask, and bi-color
The Plakat Betta
If you are looking for a Betta species that more closely resembles the original wild species, then the Plakat is your fish. This Betta has a more robust body with a less dramatic tail. The pelvic fins of this species are sword-like, while the anal fins are elongated. This is a hardy Betta built for the fighting trade in their country of origin (where it is legal to do so).
Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches
Patterns: Solid, bi-color, grizzle, butterfly, dragon-scale, mask, and piebald. The Plakat also has rare koi and marble patterns.
The Double Tail Betta
Due to a genetic mutation, the Double Tail Betta has two distinct tails. The caudal fins are separated at the base, growing into two separate lobes. These gorgeous Bettas can be difficult to find, making them highly sought after. Younger Double Tail Bettas will sport shorter caudal fins, whilst the longest fins are present in Bettas five years and older.
Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches
Temperament: Can be aggressive (depends on individual fish).
Patterns: Mask, piebald, grizzle, butterfly, dragon-scale, solid, and bicolor.
The Delta/Super Delta Betta
This species of Betta is unusual. It resembles a triangle, specifically that of the Greek letter (Delta A). The tail of this fish narrows as it gets closer to the body and widens toward its edges. The Super Delta’s tail widens to almost 180 degrees and does not possess any crowning or combing.
Adult Size: Maximum 3 inches
Patterns: Butterfly, solid, dragon-scale, bi-color, piebald, grizzle, and mask.
The Halfmoon Betta
This breed was developed in the ’80’s. It is known for its 180-degree rounded tail fin that resembles a Halfmoon (hence its name). The tail also overlaps with the anal and rounded dorsal fins making this fish look very “full.” It is available in all colors and patterns; however, most butterfly patterned Bettas are of the Halfmoon tail category. This species can also be difficult to breed.
Adult Size: Maximum 2.5 inches
Patterns: Grizzle, bi-color, solid, dragon-scale, piebald, butterfly, and mask.
The Half Sun/Combtail
Bred from Crowntails and Halfmoon, this Betta has the shape of the Halfmoon tail but with a fringe of rays extending past the webbing making the tail look like a “stylized” sun. The tail of this Betta is not overly exaggerated (like the Feathertail) yet with a wide array of colors and patterns available, it is still a beautiful fish to behold.
Adult Size: Up to 2.5 inches.
Temperament: Spunky and can be aggressive
Patterns: Grizzle, piebald, solid, bi-color, butterfly, mask, and dragon-scale.
The tail of the Betta type is extremely large with extra branching and rays. They were bred from the Halfmoon, so their tails can spread out 180 degrees. The difficulty with this Betta is the tail tends to fold back and forth on itself which makes it harder for the Betta to swim. You may notice your Rosetail hides more because he will tire from swimming with such a large tail. These Betta are also more prone to ripping and tearing the fins (which can lead to infection) so be sure there is nothing in his tank he can snag those lovely fins on.
Adult Size: 2 to 3 inches
Temperament: Can be aggressive
Patterns: Grizzle, piebald, solid, mask, butterfly, dragon-scale, and bi-color.
The Feathertail Betta
The anal, dorsal, and caudal fins of the Feathertail Betta are very full and ruffled. They resemble a cross between the Crowntail and the Rosetail. Their tails possess extra branching and rays, as well as fingers of rays and branching that give this Betta’s fins the appearance of…well…feathers. They are beautiful to watch swim, but unfortunately, this tail-type may also have difficulty with prolonged swimming due to its fullness as well as ripping and tearing of the fins.
Adult Size: Up to 3 inches
Patterns: Grizzle, piebald, solid, bi-color, butterfly, dragon-scale, and mask.
The FanTail Betta
The Fantail Betta is extremely rare and difficult to find information on. What we do know is that the tail is similar in appearance to a Goldfish meaning this Betta has two side-by-side caudal fins that are fused at a small point at the top.
Adult Size: Approximately 2.5 inches
Temperament: Could be aggressive
Patterns: Bi-color, grizzle, dragon-scale, butterfly, solid, piebald, and mask.
The Dumbo Ear Betta
This cool Betta has a very large ruffled pectoral fin that can be up to five times larger than the average Betta and tends to resemble an elephant’s ear. Although this beauty is being bred with many tail types, the most common is the Halfmoon. All colors can be found in this Betta and patterns like the grizzle, dragon scale, and piebald really make this fish a site to behold.
Adult Size: Up to 3 inches
Temperament: Can be aggressive
Patterns: Solid, mask, grizzle, bi-color, piebald, butterfly, and dragon-scale.
The Spade Tail Betta
This tail looks just like the VeilTail with one exception – the tail fin curves back down into a point (like the spade of a playing card). The Spade tail was very popular in the ’90s but has now become a rarity to find. All colors and patterns are available to this tail type.
Adult Size: Up to 2 inches
Patterns: Dragon-scale, solid, mask, butterfly, piebald, grizzle, and bi-color.
Betta Fish Color Types
Even though the colors of Betta fish do not define their species, they tend to be identified by their hues. Check out all the colors these beautiful fish are available in.
- The Black Betta – also known as three separate black colorations; Melano, Black Lace, and Copper/Metallic. The darkest hue is found in the Melano which is caused by a recessive gene that renders the female Melano’s infertile, so finding this color category is difficult.
- The Albino Betta – no doubt the Albine (all white) Betta is the rarest. Their eyes are pink or reddish due to their color mutation. This color species is difficult to breed and due to their UV sensitivity, young Albinos tend to go blind.
- The Blue Betta – there are three varieties of the Blue Betta; Turquoise, Steel, and Royal. Although blue is not a common color found in most fish, the Betta does appear in this hue with Turquoise having undertones of green, the Steel variety sporting a greyish-blue “wash” to them, and the Royal being the most vibrant “pure” blue.
- The Red Betta – this color is quite common in the Betta species; however, a solid, striking red is the most sought after – usually red Bettas are duller in hues or come with other colors like orange.
- The Clear/Cellophane Betta – often mistaken for the Albino, the Clear/Cellophane coloration has no pigmentation to the scales or fins. This Betta may have a soft pink hue to it; however, that is not a coloration, but rather the insides being visible through the scales. The eyes of this Betta will also be black, not pink or red.
- The Chocolate Betta – although not a recognized term for this Betta coloration, the term ‘chocolate’ is widely used when describing a Betta fish with a tan or brown body and orange fins. The official coloration term is bi-color orange or bi-color brown Betta.
- The Green Betta – whether your Green Betta is a deep vibrant hue or leaning more toward the turquoise side, what all these “emerald” beauties have in common is that they shimmer in a metallic wash that is dazzling in the right light.
- The Mustard Betta – the name “Mustard Betta” may be a bit misleading (we may conjure up hues of orange or dark yellow). However, this common coloration is actually found with a dark body (blue or green) with a translucent orange tail and fins with shades of black on their tips.
- The Pastel Betta – often found in light blues and pinks, the Pastel Betta’s coloration is caused by a recessive gene that gives the fish a “whitewashed” appearance. Breeders and enthusiasts have aptly named it “pastel” because of the softening of the colors.
- The Orange Betta – if you are thinking “Goldfish orange” when it comes to this coloration, you are a bit off (that brilliant hue in a Betta is exceedingly rare). The ‘orange’ Betta is more of a bright tangerine. However, if you plan on keeping this color variety, invest in a full-spectrum light, or else he may show as more red.
- The Purple Betta – finding a true purple Betta is extremely rare, thus making them very expensive to purchase. You are more likely to find a “purple” Betta showing blues, reds, or lavender over a vibrant purple (and even these hues are quite rare).
- The Wild-Type Betta – this color combination is what you would expect to find in the Betta’s natural habitat. The males appear with an iridescent green or blue body and reddish-blue or red fins tipped with blue or green.
- The Yellow/Pineapple Betta – these beautiful Bettas are found in several hues of yellow from light to a deep buttery tone. Pineapple Bettas also tend to have a darker definition around their scales which really makes them “pop” (like a pineapple).
Betta Fish Pattern Types
Like colors, the Betta fish species are also found in several patterns. Check them out!
- The Bi-colored Betta – this pattern type is very common and easy to locate. The bi-color Betta sports at least two different colors on its body and fins. The highly sought after are the ones with one solid color on the body and another solid color on the fins.
- The Butterfly Betta – this combo is a solid color on the body that extends part way into the fins that end in a translucent hue. A true Butterfly pattern is found when there is a 50/50 split in color between the Betta’s body and its fins. It is very rare and pricey to purchase if found.
- The Cambodian Pattern – from a variation of the bi-colored pattern, the Cambodian Betta sports a white (or light pink body) with blood-red fins and tail. As pretty as this pattern is, it has become harder to find.
- The Dragon Pattern – a Betta is classified as a “dragon” when it has thick white or opaque metallic scales covering its body. Although these Betta come in bright red or orange, these scales dull the hue but do make them shimmer (like a dragon).
- The Grizzle Pattern – this unique pattern is when the Betta has two of the same base shades, except that one is light and one is dark. Grizzle is apparent when the lighter hue appears to be painted or drawn over the darker with a fine brush or pen.
- The Marble Pattern – the body and fins of this Betta pattern are splotches of one color (usually over a lighter-colored body). Interestingly, marble Bettas do not develop their full marble patterns until they are adults and sometimes, the marbling will change as they mature.
- The Mask Pattern – Most Bettas have a darker face than the rest of their body. However, the Mask pattern displays the same single color over the entire body of the fish, leaving only the fins and tail with a separate pigment.
- The Multi-colored – this pattern description is used as a catch-all for Bettas that have three or more colors on them and don’t fit any of the other patterns. As you can imagine, the multi-colored Betta can be gorgeous with endless possibilities.
- Piebald – this Betta has a white or flesh-colored face and a darker body.
- Koi – this pattern is a variation of marbled and is very rare in the Betta species. They can have orange, black, and white splotches covering their body and fins.
Types of Betta Fish Conclusion
Who knew the Betta had so much versatility to it? From bold bright colors and patterns to flowing fins, ruffled appearances, and scales shimmering like that of a dragon, there is a Betta for every individual taste.
However, some colors, patterns, and tail types may be more difficult to locate, so you may have to do some “fishing” to find one of those rare beauties.
Regardless of which Betta you choose, be sure to give him a proper home in at least a 5-gallon tank with a heater, low-flow filter, and lots of live plants to swim through.