Betta Fish are one of the most popular aquarium fish due to their vibrant color and the vast amount of different varieties that are available. They also don’t require a large tank, so are a popular beginner fish.
The main features which sets each of these beautiful fish apart, is the shape of their tail and the rich colors which they come in.
Also known as the Siamese fighting fish, this fish rose to popularity in Southeast Asia, where they live in rice paddies and shallows waters.
The wild species aren’t as vivid in color as the ones you’ll see for sale in pet stores; the reason for this is that they have been specifically bred to bring out incredible colors and tail shapes.
It’s the males which are the colorful gender of this species; females tend to be drabber in color and kept less often.
NOTE: If you’re thinking of buying fish, or fish food and accessories, check out our article “19 of the Best Online Fish Stores”
Let’s take a look at 7 of the most beautiful and colorful Betta Fish available, and then how to care for them.
1. Crown Tail Betta
The Crown Tail Betta is only 20 years old as a variant of the species, and earned its name due to its vibrant fin tail.
Their tail has large rays which extend past the webbed part of the tail. Their tail alone can measure up to 8 inches in diameter, that’s almost 3 times the size of its whole body!
The webbing between the rays on the tail makes it look like a crown, hence the beautiful name. This fish will grow up to 2.5 inches and comes in a vast array of colors, from deep reds to bright blues.
2. Halfmoon Betta
Halfmoon Bettas have a gorgeous 180 degree fan like tail. Their D shaped caudal (tail) fin has crisp and straight edges, unlike some of the other variants.
This fish is one of the most sought after Bettas due to the perfect half circle shape the tail creates when it is flared.
Similarly to other Bettas, they can grow up to 2.5 inches, are relatively easy to care for and they come in a range of colors from green, to blue to purple.
3. Veil Tail Betta
The Veil Tail Betta is the most commonly available variant of this fish. If you walk into a pet store, the Betta you’re most likely to come across is the Veil Tail.
These fish have long flowing caudal fins which swoop downwards, flowing very elegantly in the water as they swim around.
Their bodies are the same shape as other Bettas, and come in a range of colors, sometimes they are uniform in color and have the same shade all over, and sometimes the tail is a different color to the body which makes for an even more impressive fish.
4. Double Tail Betta
Double Tail Bettas have two very distinct tails which are separated at the base. Perhaps the most common color for this fish is a bright blue.
Their tail forms two separate circular shapes, and the dorsal fin is also usually bigger in this fish.
A really stunning color variation in tis Betta is a shimmering white fish, with white, almost see through fines which trial in the water behind them as the gracefully swim along.
5. Spade Tail Betta
It’s not difficult to figure out where the Spade Tail Betta got its name from.
This beautifully shaped tail looks exactly like a spade, with a full round base and a pointed tip.
Like all other species of Bettas, the male is much more colorful than their female counterparts. However, with more color, comes more aggression and the males are certainly very territorial.
That’s why it’s important to just keep one of these males per tank.
6. Comb Tail Betta
The Comb Tail Betta looks very similar to the Crown Tail Betta, in that their rays extend past the end of the tail.
However, the Comb Tail Betta’s tail is much more subtle, and the rays only extend a little bit past the webbing part.
Crown Tail’s rays extend much further, creating much larger rays. The rule of thumb is that if the webbing reaches further than 2/3 up the tail, then it is a Comb Tail rather than a Crown Tail.
7. Dumbo Ear Betta
Whilst the rest of this list focus on the difference in the tail variations, this unique fish has actually be bred to have Dumbo like ears.
These fish’s pectoral fins are extra-large and stick out on either side of the face creating the illusion that it has Dumbo-type ears.
What looks even more spectacular is when these fins are a contrasting color to the main body of the fish. For example if the body is a deep blue color, and the ‘ear’ fins are a crisp white.
Tank Size Requirements for Betta Fish
You’ll often see Betta Fish available for sale in tiny tubs, and shops selling tiny one gallon tanks which they advertise as being suitable for your Betta Fish.
People assume that because their natural habitat is a shallow puddle or rice paddy, that they don’t need much space to thrive but this isn’t true.
Bettas need at least a 5 gallon tank. They might live in shallow waters, but the waters are clean, and they have miles and miles to explore. They will not live a happy and healthy life in a tank which is smaller than 5 gallons.
They also will need a filter to keep the tank water clean.
Their water parameters need to be:
- Temperature: 78°F – 80°F
- pH: 6.4 – 7.0
- Water Hardness (dKh): 2 – 5
To set up your tank, use a fine gravel or sand on the base of the tank and place some floating plants on the surface of the water.
Ideal plants include Anacharis, Java Fern and Java Moss.
Keep the light dim, and use a heater to maintain the water at the above temperature.
These fish like to jump so keep a tight fitting lid on your tank, and leave a gap of a couple of inches between the water level, and the lid so the fish can come up to the surface for oxygen.
Bettas are Labyrinth Fish which means they can draw oxygen from both the water and the air using their labyrinth organ which is similar to a lung.
Feeding Needs and Diet
Betta fish are carnivorous fish and in the wild they’ll eat pretty much any other small creatures which will fit in their mouths such as brine shrimp, tiny fish and daphnia.
It’s really easy to replicate this in your tank to make sure they remain healthy.
First of all, choose a good quality flake food which is high in protein. You should feed them this twice a day, an amount which they can finish in 2 minutes.
If you feed them for longer than this, you’ll either over feed them, or the left-over food will sit in the water and cause the water conditions to deteriorate which can affect your fish’s health.
Always remove any food which hasn’t been eaten within two minutes.
If you want to treat your Betta, you can do this up to three times a week by feeding them live, or frozen foods such as; bloodworms, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, fruit flies and white worms.
Whenever you decide to treat your Betta, just replace the flake food with the treat. For example, you could give them flake food in the morning and a treat of bloodworms in the evening.
Ideal Tank Mates
Bettas are quite aggressive fish, especially to their own species which is why you should only have one male per tank. They’re known as fighting fish for a reason!
The don’t mind living alone, so if you do want to keep just one male Betta in your tank, that is fine, they are very territorial and like have their own space.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t include them in community tanks, as long as you pick the tank mates carefully.
Don’t put them with other aggressive fish; Bettas are likely to fight anyone who mirrors their dominance, aggression and territorial behaviors.
You also shouldn’t house them with any fish which grow bigger than them because they’ll see them as a threat.
Tank mates will need to be peaceful and calm, and inhabit the lower to mid-levels of the tank.
Ideal examples include:
- Neon Tetras
- Cherry Shrimp
- Mystery Snails
- Cory Catfish
- Harlequin Rasbora
- African Dwarf Frog
- Ember Tetras
- Kuhli Loaches
If you’re introducing your Betta to an already established tank, float the Betta in a cup inside the tank for 30 minutes before adding him. Make sure he isn’t looking overly aggressive, for example puffing his gills, and observe him for a few hours after you’ve added him.
We have a whole guide dedicated to guppies. To learn more click here.
Betta Fish can live for up to 3 years if you care for them properly. Some top tips to ensure they live a long and happy life include:
1. Choose a Betta which looks healthy (bright color, no ripped or torn fins, no bulging eyes and responds when you place your hand on the tank).
2. Keep them in at least a 5 gallon tank.
3. Keep one male per tank (this reduces the risk of aggression and stress).
4. Use a filter and heater
5. Feed them a good varied diet
6. Include plants to provide them with oxygen
Benefits of Betta Fish
Betta Fish are one of the most popular fish available in the US.
They are easy to care for and can live up to 5 years which makes them an ideal first pet for children.
They come in a vast range of different colors and shapes and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
Whether you’re a beginner aquarist or an experienced aquarist who is looking for a challenge, to create a new variety of Betta, this fish is ideal for everyone.
Not only is this fish easy to care for, but keeping fish, has actually been proven to provide stress relieving benefits and improve people’s mental health.
Researchers from Plymouth University found that watching fish in aquariums “led to noticeable reductions in participants’ blood pressure and heart rate”.
These fish don’t require huge aquariums, so they are perfect for office spaces, in the kitchen, in a children’s bedroom – pretty much anywhere you want to put one!
Which is the Right Betta for you?
There’s no doubt about it that these fish are one of the most beautiful tropical fish available, they are easy to care for, take up next to no room and can provide you with stress relieving benefits.
The question is though, which one do you prefer? Is it the long flowing graceful tail of the Veil Tail, or is in the more rugged spiky appearance of the Crown Tail?