Dragon Scale Betta – Beauty (With A Price?)

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For those who have been mesmerized by a fish with gleaming, dragon-like scales and armor, the Dragon Scale Betta is sure to delight. These freshwater creatures are gaining popularity among aquarium aficionados due to their captivating yet intimidating appearance. However, within that beauty lies the price for their beauty with a condition called Diamond Eye. Are you ready to read about the history, the good, and the ugly? I’ll cover it all today and you can decide if this fish is worth purchasing. Let’s begin!

Key Takeaways

  • Dragon Scale Bettas have unique features and vibrant colors resembling dragon-like armor.
  • Provide a healthy environment for your fish by setting up a tank of at least 5 gallons, maintaining water parameters & temperature (78-80°F), and feeding them balanced dry/live/frozen foods.
  • Be aware of potential health issues like blindness in Dragon Scale Bettas and learn what to do about it
  • They are available in many finned betta fish varieties such as halfmoon and plakat varieties

Species Overview

Scientific NameBetta splendens
Common NamesDragon Scale Betta, Dragonscale Betta, Samurai Betta, Dragon Betta
Care LevelBeginner
ActivitySlow to Moderate
Lifespan2 – 5 years
TemperamentPeaceful (Aggressive to own kind)
Tank LevelMiddle to top
Minimum Tank Size5 gallon
Water Temperature Range76°-81°F
Water Hardness5 to 20 DH
pH Range6.5 – 8.0 (for most varieties)
Filtration/Water FlowLow
Water TypeFreshwater
Difficulty to BreedEasy to breed
CompatibilityCommunity fish (when with other species)
OK, for Planted Tanks?Yes


The majestic Dragon Scale Bettas are a rare and beautiful variation of Betta splendens (also known as siamese fighting fish), bred from different betta species through careful selection. This fish stands out among other types for its shimmering scales and long “streamers,” making them coveted by many aquarists in search of such special beauty. It is one of the few species where the female dragon scale bettas look amazing too. The first dragon scale betta fish were introduced in 2004 in Thailand.

Owning these delightful creatures can be rather demanding due to possible health issues like blindness that might arise. Which is why it’s important to know how best they should be taken care of before taking on this challenge! In this guide we will learn more about their origins, distinctive traits, and ways you can ensure your beloved dragon scale betta remains safe and healthy.

Origins And History

The Betta splendens, known as the Dragon Scale Betta, originated in Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. This variety of betta was not found naturally. It is a result of cross breeding domesticated species with wild strains from the family, such as Betta mahachai back in 2004.

Dragon Scales have become increasingly sought after for their spectacular appearance due to the line breeding techniques that make them stand out more than your average betta. This results in giving them an almost dragon-like armor look with thicker scales that gleam metallically compared to other members of its breed.

Unique Features (Appearance)

Dragon Betta

Dragon Scale Bettas are quite extraordinary compared to the average betta fish when it comes to their physical appearance due to the shiny armor-like scales that give them a standout out aura rarely seen in other fish. Originally, these bettas showcased red on their bellies and white on top of metallic dragon scale coating – Nowadays they come with multiple colors, marks and tail types!

It is important to make sure you purchase your Dragon Scale Betta from an experienced breeder so as not to get misled by others who may try passing off regular specimens for true ones possessing this distinct type of scaled armor. These incredible species have earned fame among aquarium enthusiasts, making them highly desirable, and expensive.


Dragon Scale Bettas can live an extended life of up to five years if provided the best care. Water quality, diet, and levels of stress are important for their well being. Thus, owners must ensure they keep tanks clean at all times while also maintaining a balanced diet in order to minimize any sources of worry that could affect them negatively.

Average Size

Dragon scale Bettas are quite the eye-catching addition to any aquarium thanks to their vibrant colors and metallic scales. These tropical freshwater fish measure between 2 and 3 inches in length (5 – 7.5 centimeters), making them a petite but impressive specimen compared with other bettas of similar size range.

You can expect these beauties to come in shades ranging from royal blues to whites or blacks for an amazing display piece as your centerpiece!

Types Of Dragonscale Bettas

Dragon Scale Bettas are popular for their armor like scales that give them the distinctive “dragon” look. They can also come in a variety of other colors and some even have the marble gene, allowing them to change color over time. When selecting one, it is important to choose according to your preferences as well as the environment you will create for this fish, each type offering its own unique beauty! Here are examples of color types and fin types you can shop for:

  • Plakat Dragon Scale Betta
  • Black Copper Dragon
  • Red Dragon Betta (showed in the featured photo)
  • Blue Dragons – With a true dragon scale having white metallic scales with a blue base color
  • Halfmoon
  • Butterflies
  • Overhalfmoon
  • Fancy Dragons
  • Dragon Platinum

Caring For Your Dragon Scale Betta

Caring for your Dragon Scale Betta is essential in order to ensure their optimal health and well being. The setup of the tank, as well as proper filtration and maintenance of water parameters, are just some critical aspects when it comes to providing an ideal environment for these stunning fish.

Tank Set Up And Size

A safe environment for a Dragon Scale Betta should be no less than 5-10 gallons, with live plants and hiding spots. By providing more room to swim around in and explore, larger tanks are easier to keep stable as well. Not only do the greenery give your aquarium an attractive look, but they also provide places of refuge while keeping up good water quality as well.

When setting the decor, watch out for sharp decorations. Fake plastic plants can pose a problem for your Dragon scale betta. Stick to silk plants instead. If you decide to use driftwood, make sure all the edges are smooth. Also, avoid rocks with sharp edges.


Having a proper filtration system is absolutely essential for Dragon Scale Bettas to thrive in their environment. To ensure this, using either an internal or sponge filter works best due to its minimal current flow that won’t overly stress the scale betta. Remember, it’s important not to have too strong of currents as these fish cannot withstand them.

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For planted tanks, you will need to put a sponge on the tank filter and give the betta plenty of shelter in the plants so they can live in the slower current sections of the tank and build their nests. It is still possible to keep these fish with a canister and hang on the back filtration if you take the proper precautions and set up the tank correctly.

Water Parameters And Temperature

Providing a suitable habitat for your Dragon Scale Betta is fundamental in order to ensure its comfort and good health. The ideal pH level of their aquarium should be within the 6.5-7.2 range with softer water. Acclimatizing them gradually by floating inside the tank while altering small amounts of water at a time can help reach these levels safely. Similarly, stabilizing their temperature needs to occur: an environment that ranges from 75°F – 80°F will facilitate optimal conditions necessary for keeping this kind of scale healthy and relaxed.

For nutrient parameters, keep to these guidelines below to prevent your fish from getting stressed:

Always do water changes to maintain these tank conditions. Regularly test your water to keep an eye to ensure nothing is off balance.

Feeding And Nutrition

Dragon Scale Bettas are carnivorous, meaning that their diet should be full of rich protein foods. This can be accomplished with live and frozen food items like worms, small crustaceans, insect larvae, or tiny fish such as brine shrimp and mosquito larvae.

A healthy quantity for your Dragon Scale Betta is two to three pellets per feeding. Make sure you thaw any frozen fare before offering it up so the floating bits won’t end up on the tank floor decaying away! Our recommended staple food is Fluval bug bites, specifically designed for betta fish.

Social Behavior And Tank Mates

When it comes to dragon scale bettas, their territorial and aggressive fish behavior is something that needs to be taken into account when choosing compatible tank mates. The dragon scale betta male of this species can show aggression towards other male bettas as well as fish that look like like them. However, other territorial fish will often time be able to bully these fish and due to their flowy fins they are proned to getting nipped.

It’s important for owners to pick peaceful non-aggressive varieties if they want a successful cohabitation environment with these stunning creatures.

Compatible Tank Mates

When it comes to tank mates for your Dragon Scale Betta, you should opt for smaller and placid creatures that won’t cause animosity or agitation in the fish. Some suitable options include:

Bad Tank Mates

There are various fish that are ill-suited to be housed with bettas. here are a fish bad choices:

  • Tiger barbs
  • Aggressive and territorial Cichlids
  • Gourami fish
  • Any surface dwelling fish such as hatchet fish
  • Any fish that can fit your dragon bettas in its mouth
  • Any fish that isn’t suited to tropical temperatures (76+ degrees F)

Breeding Dragon Scale Bettas

For fish enthusiasts, breeding Dragon Scale Bettas can be an enjoyable experience that comes with its own set of trials and genetic components to think over. The male betta will usually create a bubble nest where he’ll keep the eggs. After this point, he’ll watch the eggs until they hatch. Remove the female dragon scale betta as soon as mating is done and the eggs are placed in the nest.

It is important to understand that these remarkable dragon-like scales are due only to careful selective breeding procedures, not all fry will possess such characteristics. Even so, if you invest time and energy into correctly executing their reproduction process, it’s achievable to produce offspring possessing those marvelous dragon-like armors – which are what makes them so mesmerizing!

Potential Health Issues

When selecting and caring for a Dragon Scale Betta, it is crucial to be aware of the potential health issues. I’ll discuss common fish diseases fish then move on to an aliment related to their breed.

Like all betta fish species, they are prone to fin rot and tail rot. Ich is another disease you will run into as well as digestive issues or even swim bladder issues. Cover disease in detail in our betta fish disease article.

Now let’s talk about an aliment that, while not super common, does happen with this breed – that is blindness.

Blindness (AKA Diamond Eye)

Caring for a Dragon Scale Betta can be complicated if its scales grow too quickly, as it has the potential to cover up and impair its vision. When selecting your betta fish, ensure both of their eyes are visible with no scaling on or near the face area in order to reduce the risk of blindness.

However, there is no way to truly predict or prevent blindness from occurring. The fish isn’t truly blind, though. The scales grow over their eye, which blocks their vision. Along with this breed, you will run into this condition with other bettas such as Metallic, marbles, and platinum breeds. I have noticed the industry is starting to relabel this condition as snake eyes to market it as a designer fish. I’ll go further into my beliefs of the ethics of this later in this article.

What To Do If Your Fish Goes Blind

There are several things you can do if your Dragon scale betta goes blind. Here are a few things you try to make its life easier:

  • Start conditioning your fish now – feed your Betta fish in the same spot every day
  • Flash a light before feeding and tap the tank – train your fish to know when it’s time to eat
  • User fish feeders – these feeder accessories will force you to place food in the same spot everyday
  • Use high contrast colorful foods – food like bloodworms and colored flakes help a lot
  • Don’t rescape your tank
  • Keep a smooth aquascape to prevent injuries
  • Maintain a low current

There is one way to cure blindness, which involves removing the overgrown scale. However, this is typically done by Betta breeders. We encourage you to research this procedure carefully and talk to other breeders about this, as it is a tricky procedure that could damage the eye of the fish and cause lots of stress (lots of fatalities occur with inexperienced hobbyists who have tried!).

Ethics With Diamond Eye Sensitive Fish

I’ll be honest: this article has been tough to write for me because I really feel for these fish. I know when I write articles and make YouTube videos, there is a high likelihood that you will find my articles in search. I believe it is the responsible thing to let you know about the risk. The practice of breeding this fish is not without controversy. There are several folks in the community who are highly against keeping them. Here is what you can do if you are not comfortable with this fish breed and others who are prone to diamond eye:

  • Stop breeding them
  • Don’t buy them from the pet stores
  • Encourage your store to stop selling them
  • Send a proposal to the IBC to encourage this breed to be disqualified from competitions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is dragon scale betta?

A dragon scale betta is a specific breed of Betta Fish that has scales that resemble dragon like armor. They are specially bred to have this genetic mutation and come in various color variations and tail forms.

Is dragon betta rare?

Yes, Dragon Scale Bettas and White Dragon King Crown Bettas are some of the most unusual Betta varieties to obtain. Their distinct look makes them stand out, yet so rare that they are harder to find. They commanded higher prices than more common betta varieties as a result

What betta fish is the rarest?

The True Purple Betta is an incredibly rare and highly sought-after species of fish. Its unique coloring makes it particularly desirable to hobbyists, so much so that it can be extremely expensive due to the immense amount of time needed for its creation.

It takes a considerable level of expertise and dedication in order to successfully produce one, leading many collectors striving after this elusive breed. The result, however. Is truly magnificent, a stunningly vivid purple hue that adds beauty and value on top of what was already great attributes from being part of the betta family making them even more desired by aquarists all over the world.

What is the ideal tank size for a Dragon Scale Betta?

A Dragon Scale Betta needs an aquarium that is 5-10 gallons in size to flourish. Larger tanks are preferred if you plan on keeping other fish with them

What type of filtration is best for a Dragon Scale Betta’s tank?

Sponge or internal filters are the optimal choices for a dragon scale betta’s tank. They provide an ideal environment to help keep these delicate fish healthy and vibrant!

Closing Thoughts

Caring for a Dragon Scale Betta can be challenging but is certainly rewarding. Providing the best possible environment, including appropriate tank size and compatible tankmates, as well as proper nutrition, are essential for this beautiful species to thrive in your aquarium. Taking these steps will ensure that you gain enjoyment from observing their spectacular presence each day they live there.

Have you kept this fish in the past? Let us know your experience in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

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