BETTA SPLENDENS (Siamese Fighting Fish)
Bettas, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, are a popular and beautiful tropical fish commonly kept by aquarium hobbyists.
They are known to be full of personality and can even be trained to do a number of tricks!
While bettas can be an easy pet to take care of, they thrive in an appropriately sized tank, good water conditions with the right temperature, and do require some set-up and maintenance to thrive.
Bettas are well known are very popular in part due to their often striking colours and impressive tails. There are many varieties of colours and tail types available, all of which are sure to brighten up your aquarium!
Betta Pattern Types
There are a large number of exotic and amazing pattern types, including:
Albino Bettas are quite rare, with a true Albino lacking any pigmentation at all. Additionally, their eyes will have a red appearance. If they have an opaque factor, they may appear either solid or pinkish white. A white Betta with black eyes is not considered an Albino.
Sadly, Albino Bettas go blind at a very young age. This means they are rare, disadvantaged and very difficult to successfully breed.
Bi-Colour Bettas feature a body of one solid colour, with fins and tail a different colour. A show quality bi-colour will have no body colour ‘bleed’ into the fins or tail, and the colours will be of striking, high contrast.
For showing, there are two accepted types of Bi-Colour - ‘light’ and ‘dark’. For light, the body colour should be a solid light colour, with a preference to dark, contrasting fins. For dark, a dark body colour with translucent, bright or contrasting fin colour.
Butterfly Bettas feature a single, solid body colour which bleeds in to the base of their fins and tail. This colour stops in a strong line, leaving the rest of the fins a pale or translucent colour tone. The band colours should not bleed into the other colours for show quality acceptance. This results in a beautiful fish with two-tone fins.
The preferred colour split is 50/50, but this is rarely achieved in breeding. Therefore, for showing purposes, a colour split of 20% is commonly accepted. If three colours are present, each colour should represent ⅓ of the fins.
Cambodian Bettas a variety of Bi-Colour, but are distinct with a pale body (usually flesh, white or light pink coloured) and paired with solid, deep red fins.
While originally, Cambodian Veiltails were common in this variety, cross-breeding has caused Cambodian colouring to be less common, particularly with males. When females occur, they often have light red bodies instead of the standard flesh colouring. For both genders, other fin colours can occur, but the flesh-coloured body should remain.
Dragon Bettas are relatively new and incredibly popular with an impressive, metallic-like appearance.
Their base colour is solid and bright - quite commonly, red - but their scales will be thick, with metallic, iridescent and opaque white colouring. Importantly, Bettas should not be labelled as ‘Dragon’ if they only have thick scales, a common mislabelling problem. The opaque, metallic and white scaling is key to classifying a Dragon Betta. Without these, he can be classed as a ‘Metallic Betta’ only.
Grizzle Bettas have a random scattering of iridescent colour over a pale or opaque body colour. Grizzles are quite uncommon, but very beautiful.
Their fins will typically feature a grizzle pattern with the body pattern being more random or speckled. The most popular, and show accepted Grizzles, are those with an even split of 50/50 iridescence and opaque or pastel.
Koi Bettas have marble patterning with more than two colours, similar in appearance to the striking colours you see in a koi pond. Most commonly, Koi Bettas feature a combination of red, black and flesh coloured marbling on their bodies.
Koi Bettas are a relatively new pattern type and have been selectively bred from Marble Bettas. They quickly became popular due to their striking looks.
Marble Bettas are beautifully patterned fish which loses its colouring in spots, similar to that of a pinto pony. While they were originally only seen in black and white variations, they are now available in a wide range of bright colours.
One of the most unique features of a Marble Betta is that their patterning and colours can change daily - and in fact the marble fish you initially purchase may end up looking like a totally different fish as time goes on! A Marble Betta with more than two colours is known as the Koi Betta, pictured above.
What makes Mask Bettas special is that typically, a Betta’s face is naturally darker than the main part of his body, but mask bettas’ faces are the same colour, and shade, as the rest of their body.
With this unique face colouring, Mask Bettas have a uniform colour from their head to the base of their tail. They are most commonly seen in blue, copper and turquoise colours, although a variety of other colours can also occur.
Melano Blacks have been specifically bred from a mutated gene, causing the black pigment to have an increased coverage of the Betta’s body and fins - called ‘melanism’. Although some blue Bettas are advertised as Melano, this is an incorrect labelling, as they should in fact be labelled as a ‘Bi-Colour’.
True Melano Black Bettas will have a deep, dark black with no iridescence or or additional colouring. Adding to the rarity of Melano Blacks, the females are infertile. Breeders must work with crossing Melano Blacks with other colours in an attempt to breed pure black Bettas.
The original Mustard Gas Betta featured a solid blue/green body with contrasting yellow fins. Over time, the term has evolved to include Bettas with black coloured bodies and additionally, blue, black or green edges around their fins and tails.
Due to the variations found in Mustard Gas, they are typically shown under a ‘Bi-Colour’ category, however they are a unique and stunning addition to any aquarium.
Most of the above pattern types are available in the wide range of exciting and bright colours that Bettas are famous for. As Bettas are regularly selectively bred for their colours, they really are available in a rainbow of colours, including:
- White / Opaque