With their eye-catching colors and glamorous fins, bettas (Betta splendens) are some of the most beautiful freshwater aquarium fish.
For the uninitiated, differentiating the types of betta fish is confusing. Bettas exist in different tail types, colors, and patterns. How do you differentiate one from the other?
If you are clueless about the betta fish types, read on! I will share with you how they are different in terms of their physical characteristics. Despite these differences, one thing is for sure – bettas will make a stunning display in any aquarium!
- Betta Fish Tails
- Bettas By Color
- Betta Fish Patterns
Betta Fish Tails
The first thing that you will notice in bettas is their striking tail. From the colors to shapes, the tails vary from one kind to another.
Understanding betta tail types is important beyond aesthetics. It will give you a deeper insight into the fish as well, including its genetics. With such, you will also know the level of care and maintenance that it needs.
The veiltail is the most common tail type for betta fish. It has a long, flowing, and downwards swooping tail. The name comes from its shimmery and translucent tail, which looks like a veil as the fish swims.
It is a great choice for beginners not only because it is easy to find but also because it requires minimal maintenance.
Female veiltail bettas have lighter colors and shorter fins compared to males.
Crowntail betta fish is a very popular choice. Named because of the spiky appearance of the fins – just like that on the top of a crown.
You will be able to recognize a crown tail betta due to the extended length of the fin’s rays and the small amount of webbing. If the webbing reaches further than 2/3 up the tail’s ray, it is not a crowntail. Most breeders aim for the webbing to reach only halfway.
Like a crowntail betta, the rays in the tail of a combtail are also longer than its webbing. However, combtails use this feature more subtly. The difference between the fin’s ray and the webbing is not too noticeable.
A common characteristic of a combtail betta fish is a fan-like caudal fin. It has a generous spread that usually does not go beyond 180 degrees.
4. Double Tail
A double tail betta has two distinct tails that separate at the base. The two tails are not just split. Rather, there are caudal peduncles wherein the tails attach.
Double tail betta fish also tend to have larger dorsal and anal fins. Meanwhile, their bodies are often shorter than other betta types.
This betta has a caudal fin that looks like a spade, which explains its name. Its tail has a wide base that narrows smoothly.
It looks like a round tail betta, but the main difference is that the caudal fin has a single point instead of having a round shape.
The Halfmoon betta’s tail has a generous spread of approximately 180 degrees. Its tail looks like a capital letter D.
Aside from the generous width of the caudal fin, a halfmoon also has wider anal and dorsal fins compared to most betta fish varieties.
7. Over-half Moon
Over-halfmoon betta fish have similar fins to halfmoon bettas. The difference is that when flared, the caudal fin will fan over 180 degrees creating a shape that is larger than half a circle.
If you are thinking of having an over-halfmoon in your aquarium, take note that it is often more aggressive than other bettas. Choose the tank mates wisely to avoid threatening behavior. Only house a single male betta fish in a tank to avoid aggression. Adding a female betta, however, will not hurt the behavior.
A delta tail starts to narrow towards the body of the betta fish and widens towards the tip. The tail has a triangular shape, which looks like the letter D in the Greek alphabet.
It looks almost the same as a halfmoon, but a major difference is that it has a smaller tail that does not reach 180 degrees.
9. Super Delta
The super delta looks very much like a delta betta. However, the main difference is that a super delta has a flared tail that spans between 120 to 160 degrees. If the fan reaches 180 degrees, it is considered a halfmoon betta.
One more thing that you will notice in a super delta is that it does not have a crowning or combing on its rays. The edges of the tail have webbing and do not look spiky.
10. Half Sun
The half sun betta is a result of selective breeding of crown tail and halfmoon bettas. Its tail has a 180-spread like the halfmoon and an extended caudal fin webbing like the crown tail.
While beautiful, a half sun Siamese fighting fish can be quite aggressive. Be selective in the other betta varieties to keep in the fish tank.
11. Rose Tail
A rosetail betta is a beautiful variation of the halfmoon. Nonetheless, the biggest difference is that its tail has excessive branching on the rays of the fins. As a result, it creates an overlap, making the tail look like a rose.
The rose-like tail may look beautiful, but it has one disadvantage – it is heavy. This can make it difficult for the fish to swim, especially as it grows older and becomes heavier. But adding this betta to a dorm room is undeniably a pretty addition to the color scheme
12. Feather Tail
The feather tail has ruffly anal, caudal, and dorsal fins. It is similar to a rose tail, except that the feathertail looks like the betta has gone berserk. It also looks like a crossbreed between a crown tail and rose tail.
It is one of the most stunning types of bettas. As the name implies, the tail looks like feathers that create a sunning trail as the fish moves aggressively.
The plakat is a great option if you are looking for small betta species. It has a short fin and a tiny round body. It closely resembles a wild betta rather than those that are bred commercially.
Today, the plakat betta fish is used for selective breeding. You will find crown tail and halfmoon plakats. Their tails are larger and more graceful than a traditional plakat betta.
14. Dumbo Ear/Elephant Ear
While not necessarily a tail type, Dumbo ear bettas deserve a spot on this list because of their beauty. It has extra-large pectoral fins that look like elephant ears.
While it has one of the most beautiful betta fin types, it can be quite aggressive. Not to mention, the large fins can also scare others in an aquarium, so pick the right tank mates.
Bettas By Color
Siamese fighting fish or bettas will have different colors depending on their specific breed. These colors are apparent not just on the tail but also on its body.
There are only three pigments in a betta’s chromatophore – the pigment-bearing cells of lower vertebrates. These pigments are red, black, and yellow. If you search for betta types chart online, you will also see that these are some of the most common colors. The combination of these pigments results in a variety of betta fish colors.
1. Blue Betta
Blue is one of the most common betta colors. True blue is known as blue wash. It is the standard color and often the easiest to find.
Meanwhile, you can also find other shades, such as steel blue, which is grayish.
If you want something more vibrant, go for royal blue betta fish, which has an iridescent coloring. This bright-colored betta, however, is often hard to find.
2. Black Orchid Betta
Bettas are known for being colorful. For those who prefer something more elegant and subtle, a black orchid is a great option.
This variety of the Japanese fighting fish has a black coloration across its fins and the rest of its body. An accent or iridescent blue is evident in streaks across the scales, giving an excellent contrast to its dark-colored body.
3. Red Betta
Red is the most dominant of the different betta fish. It has a stunning and solid color that creates a dazzling hue as it swims in an aquarium.
Most of the time, a red betta fish has a vibrant color. If it looks washed out, it can be an indication that something is wrong with the water quality. Check the pH and temperature, among other parameters.
4. White Betta
Some people might find white bettas plain and boring. Nonetheless, white betta breeds with dramatic tail types are beautiful, even if they are not bright. Their flowing and swooping tails will add more character to any fish tank.
Make white bettas stand out by combining them with fish of other colors. Look for darker hues like red, blue, or even black.
5. Yellow Betta
From vibrant sunshine to soft butter, you will find different types of betta fish with a yellow body. Its rich color is not just evident on the body but extends to its tails and fins.
When buying this color, you will find most sellers advertising yellow betta fish as non-red. They exhibit similar characteristics, with the biggest difference being that it isn’t red.
6. Green Betta
Most green betta fish have a solid color, but some are also available in various shades. From deep green to turquoise, you will find several hues.
A common feature that you will find in different kinds of betta fish with a green body is a metallic wash that overlays its color. This gives the fish a more beautiful appearance.
7. Purple Betta
Purple is amongst the rarest types of betta fish, which makes it difficult to find. It is also amongst the most expensive varieties.
Bettas with purple bodies often range from violet to blue with variations like copper and black. It is also common to find bettas with a purple body while the fins and tails are of different colors.
Not to be confused with an albino betta, clear bettas have translucent skin. They do not have any apparent pigmentation.
One thing that you will notice in clear bettas is the slight pink tinge. Nonetheless, it isn’t a result of coloration. Instead, it is the color of the organs that are visible through the skin.
Betta Fish Patterns
Aside from colors, another differentiating characteristic of bettas is their patterns. The body and fins have colors arranged in various patterns, making bettas more alluring as they swim in an aquarium.
1. Cambodian Betta
As a result of selective breeding, Cambodian bettas have a pale-pink body paired with bright red fins. In some cases, the body looks almost flesh instead of pink. While it is available in other colors, the body must be flesh or pink to be categorized as Cambodian.
In recent years, Cambodian bettas have lost their popularity as breeders move to more modern and colorful combinations. Nonetheless, there are still hobbyists who are bringing it back, especially those who prefer bi-color patterns.
2. Dragon Scale Betta
The bright metallic color of dragon scale bettas makes it easily distinguishable. The underlying body has a bright color but it isn’t as striking as other patterns.
With its thick scales, a dragon scale betta looks medieval, even if it is one of the newest breeds of bettas. The scales look like armor. Its body has a faint color that is easily visible because of the white scales. Around its scales, you will find dark edges.
3. Butterfly Betta
A butterfly betta has a pattern that mimics a butterfly’s fluttering wings. It is one of the most beautiful betta fish types, especially when it is gracefully swimming.
This kind of betta fish has a single color that eventually fades from its body to the fins. Meanwhile, the edges are white and the outside fins have another color. High-quality species of betta with a butterfly pattern have a split shade halfway.
4. Marble Betta
The marble betta was created by Orville Gulley, a prison inmate who was breeding bettas in a peanut butter jar. Its discovery was a result of an accident as he was initially developing a black betta.
Most marble bettas have a pale body with a solid color, which is complemented by rich blues and reds. It looks blotchy and becomes more discolored over time, making it change its appearance.
5. Dalmatian Betta
One of the rarest betta patterns, a Dalmatian has color splotches that are often a combination of red and orange or blue and white. It is similar to marble bettas, but the patterns are more pronounced.
While different kinds exist, one of the hardest to find is an orange Dalmatian. It has a pale orange body and dark orange spots that decorate its fins.
6. Bicolor Betta
The name itself should already give you an idea of what it looks like. A bicolor betta has a solid color on its body and a secondary color on its fins.
To qualify as a bicolor, the betta only needs to have two colors. If it has more than one, then it is another type, which is the multicolored betta.
Those who are asking what type of betta do I have should look at its tail, color, and patterns. There are many different betta varieties, which makes it almost impossible to differentiate one from the other if you do not know the physical characteristics of each type.
Are there other betta types that I missed? Is there anything else that you would like to add? Let me hear you out in the comments below.
Last Updated: May 26, 2022