Types of Betta Fish - Planted Tank Mates
Multiple betta fish side profile on black background.

Types of Betta Fish

Overview

Also known as Siamese or Japanese Fighting Fish (B. splendens), there are many different types of Betta fish in the aquarium hobby.  Recognized for their vibrant colors and unique fins, betta fish can make a great centerpiece to a planted tank.  Identifying them can be a bit confusing, especially when there are so many varieties that have been selectively bred in the market.  Their appearance can consist of a combination of features that make them unique or hard to type. Three of the most common ways to identify bettas are by their tails, color, or specific body pattern.  

Types of Betta Fish Tails

Veil Tail Betta

Veil Tail Bettas are one of the most common and easily recognizable types of betta fish.  Their tail is typically longer than their body and is long and droopy.  The downward flowing appearance is compared to a “veil” which is how they got their name.  Typical colors red, blue, turquoise, yellow, and even marbling variations with metallic sheens.

Veil Tail Betta
Round & Spade Tail Betta

Spade Tail Betta, as the name suggests, has a tail fin in the shape of a spade or shovel.  It’s typically round in shape at the base and comes down to a narrow point at the end.  Round Tail Bettas are nearly identical, only the end of the tail is rounded and does not come to a point. They normally have longer dorsal and anal fins that complement their more stout tail appearance.  Similar to Veil Bettas, colors can vary from solids to marbling patterns and iridescent sheens.

Spade Tail Betta
Double Tail Betta

Double Tail Betta cab be abbreviated as DT Betta.  They’re a popular variety with two distinct tail lobes instead of one.  The tail symmetrically splits, while their dorsal and anal fins tend to run the full length of their body.  You can find Double Tail Bettas in various colors, patterns and metallic sheen.

Double Tail Betta
Crown Tail Betta

Crown Tail Bettas are visually striking and are popular for their distinctive tail appearance.  Their tails look long and spiky with large gaps in between, similar to a crown.  The crown-like fin patterns not only appear at the tail but continue across their dorsal and anal fins as well.  Their color and pattern variations are endless, but there’s no arguing when it comes to their distinctive appearance.

Crown Tail Betta
Half Sun | Comb Tail Betta

Half Sun Bettas are sometimes referred to as Comb Tail Bettas.  Their tail has an array of pointy edges connected by a web.  Unlike Crowntail bettas, the gaps between their spikes are shorter and less elongated.  They’re a crossbreed of Veiltail and Crowntail bettas, and come in a variety of colors.

Half-Sun | Comb Tail Betta
Delta Betta & Super Delta Betta

Delta (D) and Super Delta Bettas (SD) are nearly identical except for the radial degree of their tail.  D Bettas have a radial flare between 90° and 120°, while SD spans more than that but less than 180°.  This can start to get tricky as their type cannot be clearly identified unless their tail is in the full open position.  Colors and patterns vary across the board.

Delta Betta
Super Delta Tail Betta
Half Moon Betta & Over-Half Moon Betta

Half Moon (HM) and Over-Half Moon Bettas (OHM) can also be tricky to identify unless their tails are fully open.  HM have a radial tail spread that’s 180°.  OHM Betta’s tail spread exceeds a 180° radius, often extending into their dorsal and anal fins.  Both tend to have a smaller dorsal fin (top) while the anal fin (bottom) spans a majority of their abdomen.  Their delicate looking and flowy appearance come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Half Moon Betta

 

Over-Half Moon Betta
Rosetail Betta & Feathertail Betta

Rosetail and Feather tail Bettas add another level of complexity with their distinguished patterns.  They have glamorous, heavy-looking tails with a half moon spread.  Instead of a continuous and uniform looking tail, theirs appear to overlap or “branch” like rose petals or feathers.  Rose and Feathertail Bettas are somewhat controversial as the excessive tail growth can get heavy and hinder their ability to swim.  Colors and patterns vary from solids to marbling and sometimes even metallic in appearance.

Rose tail | Feather Tail Betta
Plakat Betta

Plakat Bettas are often short and stout in appearance.  They’re frequently confused with female bettas which also do not have large and glamorous tails like male.  To distinguish a Plakat, look for the longer ventral fin in the front and more pointy anal fin in the back.  Unfortunately, the Plakat’s stocky and strong physique made them a popular choice for fighting.  The history of selective breeding increases the potential for them to be more aggressive in nature.  Their color and pattern variations are endless, but be observant and take extra care when adding them to a community.

Plakat Betta

Types of Betta Fish Colors

Betta fish comes in all sorts of colors.  One way to identify them is by their matching body and tail colors, such as all red, blue, yellow, and white.  Some color variations have iridescent or metallic sheen making them a great feature fish. Some rare and exotic colors include True Purple, black, orange and green bettas. 

red betta fish side profile
Red Betta

 Types of Betta Fish Patterns

Bi-Color Betta

Bi-Color Bettas tend to consist of only 2 colors.  It can be a combination of any, but generally their body has one uniform color while their fins are another color.  Typically, a lighter colored body would have darker color fins to contrast.  Vice versa, dark body colors tend to have lighter and brighter fins, sometimes even transparent.  

Bi-Color Betta
Marble Betta

Marble Bettas tend to have a solid, white body with irregular color blotches.  The color blotches, marbling, are commonly red, blue or purple but can change over time.  Marble bettas have a specialized gene that can actually change their color patterns over time.  It’s completely normal and healthy, as well as unpredictable.  

Marble Betta
Koi Betta

Koi Bettas are a type of Marble Betta but with the coloration and patterns resembling a Japanese Koi fish.  There is no cross-breeding or relationship between a Koi Betta and actual Koi fish other than their resembling color and patterns.  Koi Bettas can also carry the special jumping gene and are also susceptible to color changing throughout their lifespan.

Koi Betta
Dragon Betta

Dragon Bettas are quickly gaining popularity with their metallic-like bodies.  Their shiny scales make them appear to have reptilian or dragon scale-like body armor.  While their bodies are often white, their tails can vary in pattern and color.  It can be challenging to delineate a Dragon Betta from a metallic color betta, so it’s best to purchase from a reputable breeder. 

dragon scale betta fish side profile
Dragon Scale Fish
Butterfly Betta

Butterfly Bettas are recognized by the color patterns on their fins.  Their solid body color often extends to the base of their fins, which then transitions to a paler or translucent outer edge.  The colors on their fully spread tails and fins resemble butterfly wings, hence the name.

butterfly betta fish side profile
Butterfly Betta

Cambodian Betta

The Cambodian Betta has a very distinct coloration.  This generally includes a solid white or pale color body followed by red or pinkish fins.  The fin colors may range in intensity, but often a gradient of that tone.  They can have a variety of tail types including Veil and crown tail, but their color pattern is what identifies them.

cambodian betta fish side profile
Cambodian Betta
Mustard Gas Betta

The Mustard Gas Betta is another fish with a specific coloration.  They typically have a solid blue or teal body, followed by contrasting yellow fins.  The fins can be a range of yellow hues and when fully spread resembles a puff of mustard gas. The opposing blue and yellow colors make them a visually striking betta.

mustard gas betta fish side profile
Mustard Gas Betta
Orange Dalmation Betta

The Orange Dalmation Betta can be one of the rarest bettas in the hobby.  They have bright orange and red coloration that resembles dalmatian spots.  Their bodies are typically a paler orange and solid color while their tails and fins carry the spotted pattern.  Sometimes also known as Orange Spotted Betta.

dalmation betta fish side profile
Dalmation | Orange Spotted Betta

All Things Considered

There are hundreds of types of betta fish.  Even though they’re aggressive, each has their own individual personality and temperament.  Whether or not they are aggressive with tank mates or eat dwarf shrimp is trial and error.  Never keep male bettas together.  Females can be kept in groups called sororities, but that condition needs to be monitored closely.  Provide them with lots of hiding spaces and ample room to move.  Bettas are explorers, so provide lots of plants and decor with smooth edges to avoid damage to their fins.  Regardless of what you see in box retail stores, never provide anything less than a 5 gallon tank for your betta.

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