15 Types Of Betta Fish (With Pictures!)

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The Siamese fighting fish is a fish that gets so many aquarists hooked on this wonderful hobby. They are not only beginners fish, however. Bettas come in a huge range of types and colors, which makes collecting them an awesome activity!

In this article, I’ll be teaching you all about 15 amazing types of betta fish, and give you some solid advice on keeping them happy and healthy. So let’s get started!

What Is A Betta Fish?

The betta fish is also known as the Siamese fighting fish and is one of the most popular pets on the planet! These feisty fish have amazing looks and tonnes of personality.

If you’ve ever been to a pet store and seen fish with long fins kept on their own in tiny tanks or jars, they were definitely bettas. They usually look pretty sad in such a cramped environment, but they are a lot more lively and colorful when they have space to swim.

There are many different types (and even species) of bettas available in the aquarium hobby today, and that’s what I’ll be covering in this guide.

Before we move on to the awesome types of bettas that are available, let’s learn a little more about these fish and where they come from.

What Makes Bettas Such Great Pets?

Bettas have just about everything going for them. They can be kept in relatively small tanks, they are very interactive, and they look great!

These tropical fish don’t have any special care requirements and are pretty adaptable, provided you get the basics of tank size, water quality, flow, and parameters right.

Betta fish can even be taught to do tricks, which is a great way to bond with your pet. There are international competitions that you can get involved in to show off your favorite fish, so there is pretty much no limit to how far you can go in the betta fish-keeping hobby.

Where It All Started

Siamese fighting fish are native to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in Southeast Asia. There are many species of betta fish, but the one we know and love best is scientifically known as Betta splendens.

These fish have been kept by people for over 150 years, but they weren’t always kept for their beautiful looks. In fact, these fish were kept to fight with each other for sport, and people would bet on the winner. Thankfully, this practice is illegal in many parts of the world today.

Natural Habitat

Betta fish come from tropical areas of Southeast Asia where they live in shallow water bodies filled with aquatic vegetation. The size of these ponds varies hugely with the seasons as they flood and then shrink each year.

This kind of environment can be very low in oxygen, especially when the water is very shallow and warm. Luckily, bettas are a type of labyrinth fish, which means they can breathe air from the surface of the water.

Wild betta fish aren’t as aggressive as selectively bred fish, but they are still very territorial over the limited breeding space in their natural habitat.

15 Types Of Betta Fish For Your Aquarium

Now that you know more about the wonderful Siamese fighting fish, let’s dive right in and get to know 15 of the best types of bettas that you can keep.

The different variations are most obvious in selectively bred male fish, although I will be describing the females and wild type fish which are just as awesome in their own ways.

Just before we meet the different types, it’s important to introduce a few important fishy words to help you understand the differences a little better:

Important Terms:

  • Caudal fin: A fishes tail fin
  • Anal fin: The fin that runs from the fishes belly to its tail
  • Pelvic fin/ ventral fin: The paired fins just below the fishes gills
  • Pectoral fin: The two fins on either side of the fish’s body. Each pectoral fin is positioned just behind the gills
  • Dorsal fin: The fin on top of the fish’s back
  • Peduncle: The narrow point of the body where the tail fin begins

Now let’s get started!

1. Veil Tail Betta (VT)

Veil Tail Betta
  • Adult Size: 2.5-3 inches
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Dominant tail shape

Veil tails are one of the most common and popular betta fish breeds in the hobby. They were the first improved breed when the domestication of wild bettas began.

These fish have a large, asymmetrical tail that hangs down towards the tip. The gene for this breed is dominant among bettas, so breeding them is very easy. This makes them both easy to find and affordable.

The spade tail betta fish is very similar to the veil tail. These fish have long fins that flare outwards from the peduncle and then back to a point at the tip.

2. Half Moon Betta (HM)

Halfmoon Betta Fish
  • Adult Size: 2.5-3 inches
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Continuous finnage from pelvic to dorsal fins

The halfmoon betta fish gets its name from its large, semicircle or capital ‘D’ shaped tail. This breed has spectacular fins, and when fully flared, the fins actually overlap to look continuous from the dorsal fin all the way round to the pelvic fins under the head.

There are a few similar variations to the popular halfmoon bettas that I’ll briefly describe below:

  • Over Half Moon Betta Fish

These bettas have tails that extend past 180 degrees.

  • Delta Betta Fish

The tail of a delta betta is also rounded but does not reach the full 180-degree spread.

  • Super Delta Betta Fish

Super delta betta fish have tails that almost reach 180 degrees but do not fully qualify as half-moons.

  • Half Sun Betta Fish

The half sun betta has a tail that spreads the full 180 degrees just like the half moon. The difference is that the outside edge is spiky, like the rays of the sun.

3. Rose Tail Betta (RT)

Rose Tail Betta
  • Adult Size: 2.5-3 inches
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Most extensive finnage of all types

The rose tail betta fish is also known as the feather tail. These fish take the extreme finnage of the half moon to the next level. Their tail also spreads a full 180 degrees, but their fins have much more texture, similar to the petals of a flower.

Such big fins do have a downside, however. Swimming is hard work for these fish, and they can tire easily. A tank set up with very slow water flow is recommended to take care of these ornamental fish.

4. Plakat (PK)

Plakat Betta Fish
  • Adult Size: 2.5 inches
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: More aggressive, strong swimmer

The Plakat betta fish is a short-finned variety that was bred for fighting. Their Thai name translates as ‘biting fish’. This breed often has a stronger body and jaw than other types like the veil tail.

Plakat bettas have 180-degree caudal fins like the half-moons, but their tails are much smaller overall. With their small round tail and rounded dorsal fins, these fish are much more nimble, which makes them better fighters. Plakat betta fish are also less likely to have fin problems from tearing.

5. Elephant Ear Betta (EE)

Elephant Ear Betta
  • Adult Size: 2-3 inches
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Enlarged pectoral fins

The elephant ear betta or dumbo betta fish gets its name from its large pectoral fins. When flared out, these fins look like huge ears when the fish is facing you.

The size and shape of the other fins are variable in this breed, but having such big fins can make swimming difficult. Like the rose tails, these fish should be kept in very still water so that they don’t have to fight against the current.

6. Crowntail Betta (CT)

Crowntail Betta
  • Adult Size: 2.5-3 inches
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Spiky fins

The crowntail betta is a breed with a unique, spiky appearance. They get this look because the fin rays of the tail fin, dorsal and anal fin are long, but the webbing between them is reduced by over a third.

While they are beautiful, long-finned varieties like the crown tail will occasionally nip their own tails, and their fin rays tend to curl in poor water quality. They are stronger swimmers than some other varieties but still need a still water environment to be comfortable.

There is also a very similar type of betta known as the combtail. Combtails differ by having less than a third of their fin rays exposed.

7. Koi Betta

Galaxy Koi Betta
  • Adult Size: 2-3 inches
  • Color Pattern: marble, bicolor, multicolor
  • Unique Traits: Patchy colors like real koi fish

The koi betta gets its name because it has markings just like the koi fish. For all the koi lovers out there, this is one fish you can keep on your desk instead of in a large pond! Interestingly, the colors and patterns of this type of betta will change over its lifespan.

Koi often have blotched, spotted, and speckled patterns and are typically composed of three colors, black, white, and orange. Additionally, yellow, red, and blue is also seen in koi bettas.

8. Alien Betta

Alien Betta Male
  • Adult Size: 2-3 inches
  • Color Pattern: Black and metallic silver, blue, or green
  • Unique Traits: Slightly less aggressive than regular B. splendens

Alien Bettas are hybrids between different betta species. They are not as colorful as regular Betta splendens breeds but have an incredible metallic sheen to them with boldly marked fins and black-edged scales.

9. Giant Betta

Giant Betta
  • Adult Size: 5 inches
  • Color Pattern: Solid dark color with some iridescence
  • Unique Traits: Largest betta, peaceful

While some keepers refer to unusually large regular bettas as giants, the real giant betta is actually a different species to your regular Siamese fighting fish. These rare fish are native to Indonesia and Malaysia and are technically known as Betta anabantoides (picture from IBC).

These large wild bettas need a much larger tank than regular B. splendens but are otherwise pretty easy to care for.

10. Half Moon Plakat (HMPK)

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  • Adult Size: 2.5-3 inches
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Fuller tail than regular plakat

While most plakat bettas have relatively short fins, this isn’t always the case! The half moon plakat is a great compromise between the more active plakat and the more ornamental longer finned varieties.

These fish generally have much smaller anal and dorsal fins than other betta breeds and the caudal fin is shorter, even though it has a half moon shape. Sure, they don’t have the same incredible fins as something like a rose tail, but they are much less prone to a few common betta health problems.

11. Dragon Betta

Dragon Betta
  • Adult Size: 2-3 inches
  • Color Pattern: bi-colored
  • Unique Traits: Thick, metallic scales

Dragons bettas are also known as dragon scale betta fish. They are one of the newer betta fish breeds available, and definitely one of the most interesting. They get their name from their large, dragon-like scales.

These fish have thick, shining metallic scales with a silvery-white color. The coloration of the fins and the skin between the scales often varies from black to yellow or red, although many other colors are available.

12. Double Tail (DT)

Double Tailed Betta
  • Adult Size: 2.5-3 inches
  • Color Pattern: Variable
  • Unique Traits: Double tail fin

The double tail betta fish is one of the most unusual betta breeds available. They have two distinct tails (caudal fins).

Bettas with this tail type have their caudal fin split to the base of the caudal peduncle. Apart from their double tails, these fish also have larger dorsal fins and shorter, thicker bodies.

13. Female Betta

Female Betta Fish
  • Adult Size: 2-2.25 inches
  • Color Pattern: Variable
  • Unique Traits: Slightly less aggressive, smaller fins

Female betta fish tend to be a lot less colorful than males. They also usually have much smaller fins, and this makes them less popular. This might be a little unfair, however, because female bettas are still great-looking fish, and even have some advantages over males.

Not all female bettas are drab. If you look around, there are some specimens with colors just as bright as the males.

Female bettas have a small spot under their bellies known as an egg spot. The presence of this spot is probably the most reliable way to identify the sex of a betta.

Females are a little less aggressive than males, and this makes it possible to keep more than one in the same tank. This can still be risky though, so careful planning is necessary before setting up a betta sorority tank.

14. Wild Bettas

Wild Betta Fish
  • Adult Size: 1.2-4 inches
  • Color Pattern: Varied
  • Unique Traits: Less aggressive

There is a huge number of different betta species found in the wild and many of them make incredible aquarium fish. They can be hard to find, and don’t have the enlarged fins and range of colors that domesticated B. splendens have.

One of the benefits of the other wild betta species is that they have not been bred to be aggressive, and that makes it possible to keep them together in male and female pairs. The larger species are predators that will eat smaller fish, so it is best to keep them in species-only tanks.

Here’s a list of some of the better known wild betta species in the hobby:

  • Betta albimarginata
  • B. brownorum
  • B. smaragdina
  • B. imbellis
  • B. mahachaiensis

15. Mustard Gas (Mustard Tail) Betta

Mustard Tail Betta
  • Adult Size: 2-3 inches
  • Color Pattern: Bicolored
  • Unique Traits: Boldly contrasting colors

The mustard gas betta is known for its color rather than its tail shape. They get their name from the mustard yellow color of their fins.

Mustard gas bettas have a darker blue or green body, that can look black or even have hints of purple and turquoise in good light. The dramatic contrast between the bright fins and dark body of this betta type makes for a really eye-catching centerpiece fish!

What Colors Do Betta Fish Come In?

Now that you know a bit more about the different betta fish types available, let’s have a quick look at some of the colors and patterns these fish come in.

Solid Color Bettas

The solid bettas have the simplest color scheme, consisting of just one color. That doesn’t mean they aren’t great-looking animals of course. Some of the most stunning bettas are solid colors!

Bettas come in just about every color imaginable, except for maybe one exception. The true purple betta fish is still practically unheard of.

Many breeders have tried to develop this color through selective breeding, however. While many people claim to have seen solid purple bettas, they often turn out to be a royal blue betta in just the right kind of lighting.

The yellow betta is also pretty rare but certainly available. Some popular betta colors include:

  • Cellophane
  • White
  • Black
  • Gold
  • Copper
  • Orange
  • Red
  • Green
  • Turquoise

Albino Bettas

Albino betta fish are very rare. They are similar to solid color bettas, but have no color at all!

These fish appear white but are not the same as your standard solid white fish. The most visible difference is in eye color. An albino betta will have red eyes, while a solid white betta has black eyes.

Betta Color Patterns

Bicolor Bettas

Bicolor bettas have two dominant colors. Usually, the body is a different color to the fins. The beautiful mustard gas betta fish is a great example of a bicolor.

Butterfly Bettas

The butterfly betta is a really interesting-looking color form. These fish are similar to bicolor bettas but they have solid color bodies, and completely or partially cellophane(clear) colored fins.

Marble

Marble bettas are the chameleons of the betta world. These fish actually change color and markings during their lifetime, and the differences can be pretty extreme!

Piebald

Piebald bettas have a white or light pink-colored face and a darker body.

Grizzle

Grizzle bettas are rare but beautiful fish that have two colors. Unlike the bicolor, these fish have fine speckling and the two colors should be a pastel and an iridescent shade.

Betta Tank Setup

Betta in Fish Tank

Even though you may buy your betta in a cup or some other tiny container, they will not survive for the long term without a proper home.

There are some amazing complete kits out there that contain everything you need, but if you prefer to set up your own tank, you can learn how here!

Tank Size

Although many betta keepers house their fish in very small tanks, I would not recommend anything less than about 5 gallons to start out. Anything smaller than this is very susceptible to rapid changes in water quality that can be dangerous for your betta fish.

In the aquarium hobby, bigger is always better, so if you have the room, a 10 or even 20 gallon would work great too! Bettas are surprisingly strong jumpers, so make sure your aquarium has a secure lid.

Filtration

It is not true that bettas don’t need filters.

All pets deserve a safe and healthy environment to live in, and that’s exactly what an aquarium filter can provide. The type of filter you choose is very important too because filters create water movement, and bettas aren’t great swimmers.

If you’re keeping females, or a smaller finned type of betta like a plakat, a small hang-on back filter is ideal. Choose a model that is designed to match your tank size and has an adjustable flow rate.

For the very long-finned varieties like Rose tails, Half moons, and Elephant ears, I would advise using a simple sponge filter.

Heating

Bettas are tropical fish. Unless you live in a tropical area or keep your home really warm, you’ll need a small heater to keep your fish happy and healthy.

Set your heater to a temperature of between 75°F and 82°F to make your fish feel right at home, and consider picking up an inexpensive aquarium thermometer to make monitoring your water temperature easier.

Other Important Parameters

  • PH: 6.5-7.5
  • Hardness: 5-20dH
  • Ammonia: 0 ppm
  • Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: <20 ppm

Plants & Decorations

Betta fish come from environments with plenty of sticks, driftwood, and plants. Although you’ll often see them in pretty bare tanks, do your fish a favor and provide it with some structure to hide in and explore.

Easy-to-grow live plants like Anubias nana and Java ferns are highly recommended, but if you prefer using ornaments, that’s perfectly fine too! Choose at least one decoration that creates a cave or tunnel where your betta fish can hide.

SunGrow Betta Caves

These Coconut shells are ideal Betta fish homes. Smooth to the touch, these will not damage your Bettas delicate fins

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The most important consideration when adding decorations or even rocks and driftwood to your tank has to do with your fish’s fins. Betta fins are soft and fragile, which means they can tear easily if they get caught on anything sharp.

To be safe, feel all the surfaces carefully and file away any sharp edges before adding anything to your tank.

How To Care For Your Betta

Betta fish keeping is easy once you understand their needs and behavior. Let’s take a closer look at the most important things you need to know.

Feeding Your Betta

Betta fish are carnivorous which means they feed on tiny animals like worms, insects, and shrimps. Feed your fish a high-quality, protein-rich food source like micro-pellets and flakes as their staple diet.

Variety is very important as well, so supplement their diet with some live/frozen foods like bloodworms and black worms to keep them at their best.

It is best to feed your fish 2 or 3 smaller meals each day instead of just one big meal.

Betta Tankmates

Bettas aren’t called Siamese fighting fish for nothing!

These fish can be very aggressive, especially when more than one individual is kept in the same tank. It is best to keep just one betta in a tank, although keeping a snail with the fish is generally a safe bet.

In larger tanks, many keepers have been able to house bettas together with other peaceful fish, but at the end of the day, your success will have a lot to do with the temperament of your individual fish.

Breeding Betta Fish

Betta fish are pretty easy to breed at home, and selective breeding for specific types of bettas is a popular hobby among aquarists. Bettas are bubble nesters, and the male is actually a really great dad.

In this section, I’ll give you a brief breakdown of just one popular method. Make sure you are able to care for the fry and find homes for them before attempting to breed your bettas.

Conditioning

Before breeding your fish, they must be conditioned by feeding them high-quality foods including live/frozen foods. Once they have bulked up a little, they can be introduced into the breeding tank.

Breeding Tank Setup

The breeding tank should include a small heater, a divider to keep the male and female separate, a small piece of bubble wrap of about 3×3 inches, and an Indian almond leaf to stain and acidify the water slightly.

Introducing The Pair

Once the tank is set up, start by adding the male. Allow him to spend the night alone in the tank before introducing the female the next day. Keep them separated at first while the male builds his bubble nest under the bubble wrap.

Once the bubble nest has been built, you can move the female over and, if you’re lucky, mating should take place. This can be a slow process, and mating can take all day.

The Mating Process

During mating (video source – from Oh My Gosh! channel), the male and female will lock together and the female will drop her eggs to the bottom of the tank. Once this is complete, the female’s job is over and she can be moved back to her own tank. The male will now collect all the eggs and place them into the foam of his nest until the fry hatch out.

Betta Health Problems

Bettas can be affected by all the regular bacterial, fungal, and parasite issues that we see in tropical fish. One of the main causes of these problems is stress from low water quality or unsuitable parameters.

Stressed bettas typically show horizontal lines on their body. This shouldn’t be confused with vertical lines, however, which indicate readiness to breed in females.

You can prevent a lot of stress-related issues by keeping up with regular water maintenance and testing your water. By keeping just one betta in a tank, you can also avoid injuries and stress from fighting.

Bettas can be prone to some particular issues because of their unnaturally large fins. Some of the more typical conditions include:

  • Fin ray curling
  • Fin rot
  • Fin biting
  • Fin tearing

Where To Buy Bettas

Betta fish are really easy to find and most local fish and pet stores stock them. There are also some amazing online sources like Glassaqua.com. They carry great quality stock and even provide footage and pictures of the individual fish so you can really make a perfect choice!

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Betta Fish are one of the most beautiful varieties of freshwater fish available in the hobby. Easy to care for with plently of varieties!

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FAQS

What type of betta is the least aggressive?

Wild bettas tend to be the least aggressive because they have not been bred to fight. Aggression levels generally depend on the personality of the individual betta more than the specific type.

How do I know what type of Betta I have?

You will need to identify your fish’s tail type and color pattern to figure out what kind of betta you have. Your fish can be named as a combination of these two features. For example, you might have a red veil tail betta or a chocolate half-moon.

What type of Betta is healthiest?

The wild type and plakat bettas are generally the healthiest simply because they don’t have the large, fragile fins of the long-finned breeds. Large fins can also be quite tiring to your fish, which adds to their stress levels a little.

What is the rarest betta fish tail?

Of all the tail types, the least common betta tail type is probably the double tail betta.

How many types of betta fish are there?

There are over 70 known wild betta species. When it comes to regular domesticated betta fish, there is an almost limitless variety of color and shape combinations!

Final Thoughts

The Siamese fighting fish will always be one of the most popular aquarium fish out there. I just love all the different betta fish types, which makes it too tough to choose a favorite!

Which is your favorite betta type? Let me know below in the comments!

by Mark

Mark is the founder of Aquarium Store Depot. He started in the aquarium hobby at the age of 11 and along the way worked at local fish stores. He has kept freshwater tanks, ponds, and reef tanks for over 25 years. His site was created to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale. He has worked on making aquarium and pond keeping approachable. Mark has been featured in two books about aquarium keeping - both best sellers on Amazon. Each year, he continues to help his readers and clients with knowledge, professional builds, and troubleshooting.

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