Types of Betta Fish and the Source of Infinite Variations

Bettas are some of the most popular fish for beginners and experts alike, and it’s easy to see why. They’re simple to take care for, don’t need a ton of space, and they come in hundreds of striking colors and variations.

Like a snowflake, no two Bettas are exactly alike! Best of all, you can acquire one of these eye-catching beauties without breaking the bank. 

So in this post, I’m going to cover some of the many fantastic Betta variations that you can find on the market today!

What is a Betta Fish

The Betta fish you find at your local aquarium shops are quite different from their ancestors. In the wild, their natural habitats include the rice paddies, ponds, and swamps of Southeast Asia. 

Native specimens are usually not brightly colored. Instead, they’re much more muted in order to help them blend in with their environment. Often you’ll see them sporting shades of black, bronze, and brown.

However, it is common for them to have bright color highlights here and there, particularly on their fins. Selective breeding enhanced these vibrant colors over generations of fish, which is how you get the stunning varieties that we have today.

Betta fish come in different variations and are distinguishable by their color, tail fins, and shapes!

Turqoise Betta Fish

Why are there so many variations of Betta Fish? 

The biggest reason that you see so many types of Bettas today is that they’ve been cross-bred by breeders for over a century at this point. They wanted to breed the most fantastic and unusual fish that they possibly could and because of that, we have no shortage of varieties to choose from. 

Tail Type

Betta tails come in all sorts of unique shapes and styles. Different tail types help distinguish the type of betta, and often correspond with other characteristics, color opportunities, and temperaments. So it’s an important detail to take note of.

Here are some popular tail types that you’ll see in the hobby:

  • Crowntail
  • Spadetail
  • Combtail
  • Double Tail
  • Feather Tail

I’ll cover these varieties in greater detail later on in this post. 

Colors

Bettas are famous for their bright, flashy colors. White, black, blue, silver, green, yellow, red; they come in just about every color. And I’m going to cover them all now!

  • Albino 

The Albino betta is relatively rare. Albino bettas range from wedding-gown white to cream-pink. They will also feature red eyes, as you’d normally expect from an albino animal.

  • Black

Black bettas are common and often quite stunning. Some are as black as a raven. Others range from black to dark brown to dark grey to bronze. And some are iridescent and show off hues of blue, green, and steel when viewed at the right angle. 

  • Blue / Steel Blue / Royal Blue

Blue bettas are common but that doesn’t make them any less stunning. You’ll find them in dark blue, cyan, turquoise, ice blue, violet blue, sky blue; there really isn’t a cool shade of blue that you won’t find them in. 

  • Clear / Cellophane

Cellophane bettas are quite rare. If you see one, you should consider taking it home with you. These bettas have transparent fins and flesh-colored skin. They appear quite delicate and almost ghost-like compared to other varieties. When light shines over them, they often display another primary color. 

  • Chocolate

Chocolate bettas are a common form of betta. They’re traditionally dark brown, often with gold fins. They have a distinctly mocha or cappuccino appearance to them, perfect for the coffee-loving fishkeepers in your life.

Caring for Betta Fish

  • Copper

Copper is a common, but eye-catching, color for bettas. They are similar to the chocolate-colored bettas but with more of a metallic sheen. 

  • Green

Green is a rare color for Bettas. They’re so uncommon that most of the pictures of green Bettas you see on the internet are actually photoshopped. Definitely pick one of these up if you run across one. Green bettas are a vivid bright green, sometimes seen in glofish bettas. They often have fins that are blue or different colors from their green body. However, an all green body and fins are a genuine possibility. 

  • Mustard Gas

Mustard gas bettas are common. They frequently have blue or black bodies with pastel or vibrant yellow fins. 

  • Opaque / Pastels

Opaque bettas are common. Opaque, or pastel, bettas have white bodies with iridescent fins. They look similar to Albino varieties, except their eyes aren’t red.

  • Orange

Orange bettas are rare. Their bodies are goldfish orange to yellow-orange, while their fins may be almost any color

  • Orange Dalmatian

Orange dalmatian bettas are very rare. These bettas have orange to white bodies and fins, with red streaks/spots on their fins. You’ll probably take notice if you run across one of these beauties.

  • Purple / Violet

Purple bettas are rare and absolutely beautiful. They have rich royal-purple bodies, with fins ranging in a number of colors, mostly white, blue, and purple, or a combination of the three. 

  • Red

Red bettas are common. So common that people tend to take them for granted, which is a shame because they’re gorgeous. You’ll find them from scarlet red to dark red to crimson. Sometimes their entire body is red and sometimes they’re mixed with any number of colors; often blue, black, or white.

  • Turquoise

Turquoise bettas are common. They often have a brilliant turquoise body and turquoise fins, with a nice metallic sheen. It’s not uncommon for them to have black and white mixed into their fins as well. 

  • Wild-Type

Wild-Type bettas are very rare these days. They come in more muted colors; such as black, brown, grey, or bronze. But they also have iridescent shimmers of color; commonly blue, gold, or red

  • Yellow & Pineapple

Yellow bettas are somewhat common, but they’re also one of my personal favorites. They have pineapple yellow to pastel yellow bodies and fins. Oftentimes the color fades on their fins creating a two-tone appearance of yellow and cream white.

Type of Betta Fish colors

Patterns

So you know the colors and tail types now. But that’s far from all there is to know! Breeders are also trying to create the wildest, most interesting color patterns possible. This is how they can create a fish that is truly unusual and noteworthy.

In 2016, a breeder listed a Betta at auction that had essentially the same color pattern as the flag of Thailand. He ended up selling that fish for over $1500! So there is a market out there for high-end Bettas and unique patterns make all of the difference.

  • Bi-Colored

Bi-Colored varieties are common. As their name suggests, bi-colored bettas have two colors. Usually, this involves a distinct color on the fish’s body and a different color on the fins. They have bicolor Betta competitions that are fiercely competitive. Don’t let a judge decide that your fish may have even a slight third color. That’s all it takes to get disqualified.

  • Butterfly

Butterfly bettas are common. Butterfly bettas have a primary color on their body that fades to a different color at the end of their fins.

  • Cambodian

Cambodian bettas are rarer. They’re essentially a more elaborate version of the bicolor betta pattern. They tend to have flesh-colored to white bodies and colorful fins. 

  • Dragon

Dragon bettas are less common and quite interesting. They get their name from their shiny metallic scales that are also larger than traditional varieties. The bodies of Dragons are usually one color and their fins are another. 

  • Marble

Marble bettas are rare. It’s easy to fall in love with these beauties. They have a fun splotchy color pattern and they also have a unique trick up their sleeves. They actually change colors over their lifetime! The genes that make this transformation possible are known as jumping genes, or Transposons. 

  • Mask

Mask bettas are unusual, but not quite rare. They’re named for the fact that their faces are darker colored than the rest of their bodies, creating a “mask” appearance.

  • Multicolored/Tricolored

Very common, and some of the most popular color variations of bettas. These bettas come in a seemingly random mix of three different colors and they can be quite impressive.

  • Piebald

Piebald bettas are a rarer betta. Their heads are usually white to cream colored. Their bodies can come in a variety of colors; blue or red most frequently.

  • Solid

Solid bettas are very common. As the name suggests, Solid bettas are one color throughout their fins and body and come in a wide array of colors. 

  • Wild Type

Wild Type bettas are rare, often with a metallic color to their body. They tend to have darker colors along their bellies and caudal fins. 

Red Betta Fish

Types of Betta fish

Combtail 

Combtail bettas are unusual, but not quite rare. They have webbing around their fins that is pronounced enough to notice, but not nearly as deep or pronounced as their kin, the crowntail betta. 

Combtails came about through a crossbreeding of Crowntail Bettas with another species. Due to their less elaborate appearance, they’re often considered less desirable than crowntails. 

Crowntail 

Crowntail bettas are common. They’re also known for being incredibly aggressive. They’re also known for being susceptible to diseases, unfortunately.

They have long trailing fins that extend out in rays past the webbed sections of the fins. These fins are vibrant in color and also come in different webbing variations, including double rayed, single rayed, and cross rayed. 

Delta 

Delta bettas are incredibly common and are often cheaper bettas at the pet store. But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve love too!

Delta bettas have a narrow body with upper and lower fins that drape down, similar to that of a veiltail. Sometimes, their caudal fin is rounded and similar to that of a halfmoon betta, albeit somewhat less elaborate.

Double Tail Betta

Double tail bettas are common, but also magnificent! What sets them apart from others is that they have what appears to be two caudal fins.

Unfortunately, these fish are susceptible to disease and frequently have health issues. 

Dumbo Ear Betta

Dumbo Ear bettas are uncommon. They’re some of the most impressive and ornate varieties around. Their over-the-top pectoral fins are the source of the name “dumbo” or “elephant ear” betta. 

Elephant ear bettas tend to be on the pricier side. They also have some of the more spectacular female betta variations. Female Dumbos could almost be confused with a less elaborate male Betta of a different variety.

These fish are more aggressive than most variations. 

Feather Tail 

Feathertail bettas are quite stunning and quite rare. The Feathertail is named for its beautiful caudal fin that branches out at the ends, creating a feathery or flower-like appearance. 

Over time, Feathertail Bettas are susceptible to fin biting due to their large beautiful fins. They’re also prone to fin rot. 

Blue Betta Fish

Giant Betta

Giant bettas are unusual and more expensive than regular bettas. However, they’re also in very high demand in the trade. 

Giant bettas live up to five years and reach lengths of about 15cm. Giant bettas are sometimes sold as King Bettas and come in various fin variations, although they usually have a simple rounded caudal fin.

Half Moon 

Half Moon bettas are less common and quite remarkable. They feature a gorgeous 180 degree caudal fin, which creates the half-moon shape. 

These fish fall victim to fin rot and fin biting due to their intrusive caudal fins. They come in a vibrant array of colors that range from vibrant to iridescent. 

Half Sun Betta

Half Sun bettas are extremely rare and often mistaken for Half Moon betta fish. This is because they also feature a 180-degree caudal fin.The main difference is that the edges of the caudal fin are slightly rayed or wavy.

Half Sun bettas are unique and also expensive. You won’t find them often in pet stores. 

Over-Half Moon 

Over-Half Moon Bettas are a variation of the Half Moon variety. These beauties take things a step further, as their caudal fins are OVER 180 degrees. 

You won’t find these varieties around very often, though they are quite impressive.

Plakat

The Plakat betta is common and closely related to their wild counterparts. Plakat bettas come in different variations, including Halfmoon and double Halfmoon.

They have a smaller caudal fin compared to many bred bettas and short rounded dorsal fins. 

Rosetail 

This unique fish is uncommon and it has a fantastic caudal fin that resembles a rose, hence the name. Their caudal fin expands more than 180 degrees. 

Rosetails are spectacular in appearance, but their long intrusive tails cause them to nip at their caudal fins as they get older. 

Round Tail Betta

Round Tail bettas are less common and appear just as their name suggests. 

They have a rounded caudal fin shape that is more similar to a circle than the halfmoon betta, which is more frayed and flamboyant. 

Spadetail Betta

Spadetail bettas are extremely rare and will sell for a pretty penny. Their name is indicative of their caudal fin that resembles a Spade. 

Their unique tail shape makes them quite coveted in fishkeeping communities. 

Super Delta (SD)

Super Delta bettas are rare and uncommon in pet stores. 

Super Deltas are similar to their Delta counterparts with a narrow body and upper and lower fins similar to that of a Veiltail Betta. However, the difference between a Delta and Super Delta is that the caudal fin expands further than that of a Delta. Although still not as expansive as a Halfmoon Betta.

Veiltail 

Veiltail bettas are incredibly common and often very cheap! Their fins are long and come to a point at the ends. These fins often droop and come in a spectacular array of colors. 

This variation is the most common in the fishkeeping world, which has lead to the decrease of demand and their lesser expense. 

Multicolored Bettas

Final Word

There are tons of Bettas to choose from, with limitless variations possible. Common, uncommon, rare; don’t worry too much about these words when choosing your fish.

Pick the one that stands out to you and then give it the happy home that it deserves! 

Thanks for reading! I hope you learned a thing or two today about the wild and expansive world of Betta fish. Be sure to leave a comment if you have any questions.

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