The pictures on this page are not necessarily of my fish but are images gathered from many places over time. I thank all those Betta growers and photographers whose pictures I have used for their assistance and co-operation. This is a free, educational page and all images are used for study purposes.
The Colours in Betta splendens
||Solid reds are non iridescent colours
have the colour spread evenly over the body. A clean red is
without iridescent colours and no fading.
Reds range in hue from beautiful, vermillion reds to deep crimson and red/brown colours. The quality of the colour varies among strains, with most red Bettas showing some iridescence or other colours to some degree.
Any opaque overlay detracts from a good
rise to muted reds and pinks.
|A brilliant cherry red is most desired
splendens without any iridescence or opaque colour to mask the
The Red Loss factor causes Bettas that
as juveniles to lose that colour as the mature. This factor is
in Cambodians and in yellows and apricot
A smoky Melano with some royal blue
|The ideal colour of a true Black Betta splendens
of the Black Mollie.
Black in Bettas is often a smoky black.
Black Lace forms have transparent, smoky fins.
Black is one of the most difficult colours to achieve, as the melano gene produces infertile Black females. Several crosses with other colours have tried to alleviate this problem, e.g. Melano x Celophane or yellows.
The Melano x Black Lace lines are infertile; Steel Blue females x Melano males and Royal Blue females x Melano males have produced Blacks with considerable iridescence present.
Double Tailed Steel Blues.
Notice the additional rays in the dorsal fin
of this Double-tailed type-- a characteristic
of the dt gene.
|Steel Blue is also sometimes called Metallic Blue.
This colour has a metallic iridescence when compared to the Royal Blue Betta. Steel Blue results from the allele combination blbl.
Steel Blue, Green, Royal Blue, Green and Turquoise Bettas have an interesting genetic inheritance pattern based on the Bl / bl alleles that show incomplete dominance and determine iridescence.
A green RT female.
|Green is the least fixed single colour and varies in shade
to fish and line to line. Most Green
Betta splendens have
a bluish green hue but less so than a Turquoise variant. It is
difficult to distinguish these two hues. Choice greens are dark
This and the turquoise hues derive from the same alleles (BlBl).
The much sought after, dark, forest green is rare.
A turquoise HM males
|A variant of the green, with a distinct blue hue.
colour across the fish is rare. The choice colour contains tones of
rather than any Green or Yellow shades, to distinguish them from the
Fish with colours close to turquoise are often found in Royal Blue and Steel Blue spawns.
The ideal is a dark shade of turquoise.
|Royal Blue and Corn-flower Blue
Royal Blue Male Veil Tail
|The consistent, solid royal blue is
choice form: the genotype Blbl or blBl gives a deep, rich royal blue in
the green/steel blue/royal blue complex. The most common form has
a dark head and royal blue body and fins. The ideal colour lacks
reds and greens.
Corn-flower blues are the same genotype as royal blues but with a dark head and corn-flower blue body.
Royal blues with red factors may appear violet or purple when young and will lose it if the red-loss factor is present and so produce royal blues. Red loss occurs also occurs in Steel Blue, Turquoise, and Green.
| Brilliant lemon yellows or even a butter yellow are the
yellow colours produced so far, although some breeders claim to have
a golden yellow. Colours that tend to be either a very pale
or a yellow-brown tinted are inferior colours.
Yellow results from a gene that transforms red so sometimes the presence of red is also visible.
Golden yellow Bettas, with golden iridescence, are rare. In my yellow/apricot strain, only the operculum is iridescent gold.
A lutino form exists, in which the eyes are yellow, too.
|Apricot and Peach
A Peach Male Betta.
|These are yellow pastels of varying intensities.
Apricot yellows have a distinct pale orange tint to the yellow.
Some yellow Bettas show a faint orange tint to the fins and are called Apricot.
To continue the fruity colours, "Pineapple" Bettas are yellows
|Clear or Cellophane||Has completely transparent fins, with body flesh-coloured; colour from the body organs can cause the fish to look pink. Eyes are pigmented (not albino).|
||Rare. A characteristic of any true Albino fish is that the body lacks all pigmentation, including the eyes which appear red. Like Cellophane, these are completely colourless fish and may appear pinkish white or solid white if the opaque factor is present. True albino Bettas have red eyes, with no pigmentation.|
|White (Not albino)
||Some solid, white Bettas are a truly beautiful dense white
due to the
Opaque factor. Whites may have black eyes if they are not albino.
The image, left, shows blue due to the colour rendering. The fish is white.
Whites of this type have black eyes.
||The Opaque allele gives the fish a milky white overlay that
the underlaying colours to pastel shades, including the eye colour in
There is an opaque form of each of the main colour types if the Op allele is present. White Opaques appear dense white to opaque steel blue.
Pastels can be almost any pastel colour.
||Chocolate Betta splendens look brown to the eye, but
a black and yellow mix.
Chocolate variants can be bred to yellow to improve colour of
yellow and the chocolate fry.
|Orange Bettas are a new strain of Betta splendens, and
of "orange" varies with individual breeders. I have not seen any
true orange Bettas in Australia, except for light reds that look more
than true orange and yellows that have a slight wash of
How "orange" is orange?
Perhaps an agreed colour chart would help distinguish true colour classification.
|Lavender, Purple and Violet
|A lavender Betta is genetically a Cambodian Betta
with extended Red and a layer of light iridescent blue-green.
Truly Purple Betta splendens are also very new and rare and it appears that the colour results from blending red and blue.
My Royal Blue strain throws purple or violet fry that appear violet at their first show of colour and darken to royal blues within a few months, as the red fades (due to the red-loss factor, L) as the fish mature .
Truly violet coloured Bettas are rare.
Betta splendens or Betta imbellis?
|The typical red/brown Betta splendens is a dull red,
blue/green iridescence. Pictured is a specimen sold to me as a
Betta splendens but it looks very much like B. imbellis.
The two species are closely related and the modern varieties of Betta
splendens may descend from a hybrid of B. imbellis.
||Any continuous, solid colour covering
body as well as the fins gives a fish of one colour. Includes
iridescent and non-iridescent colours, the main colours being red,
blue, royal blue, yellow, steel blue, green, turquoise, purple,
chocolate brown, black and white.
Solid colour forms should have no colour breaks or
Light body - dark fins type bi-colour
|Essentially, the body is one colour and the fins and
another colour. The body and fins can be any combination of the
solid colours .
There are two types of Bi-coloured Betta:
In each case, only two colours should appear on the fish. These colours should be well defined and high in contrast
The butterfly type is a variety of bi-coloured patterning in Bettas.
Cambodian Crown-tailed Betta
|The pla kat kmer: a pinkish or white body with
(normally red) was the original Cambodian. This is a sub-group of the
||A bi-coloured form in which the colour pattern of the body
be of any colour) partially blends into the transparent or white fins
tail (body / blend / fin edges). The effect is to create an oval band
the fish, which ideally is separated from the body by a narrow, white
Choice Butterfies have a coloured body with a white blend into the fins and then a final blend back to the body colour towards the edge of the fins. Fins should display a distinct banded pattern, with strong contrast and well defined edges. The bands should also encircle the body of the fish with a well defined oval shape.
|new variegated types
Butterfly: a variegated butterfly type in which the band near the body is particularly wide.
|<< Pictured is a beautiful fish, displayed on the
Betta Society web page. It shows the trend in modern breeding
lines for colour and pattern development.
BettaBiz displays some choice new varieties.
Variegated types show beautiful patterning that may
|tri-coloured Butterflies (incl. the "Tutweiler" BF)
||<< Beautiful tri-coloured "Butterfly" types:
a true BF in the strict sense, this pattening is more frequently
Some butterfly trains are tri-coloured. Both light bodied and dark bodied forms exist.
"Tutweiler" BF Crown Tail
A notable early expression of this pattern was in Tutweiler"s BF, in which the body is paler than the band closest to the body. However, that pattern was not a fixed strain.
Above, is Diwa's "Tutweiler", a modern attempt at reproducing the Tutweiler BF in Crown tails bred in Indonesia. The strain is Cambodian based and not yet stable.
A Coloured Marble
|White or salmon pink faced Bettas in which the colours are
or blotched with no defined borders between the body and the fins or
Two types of Marble Betta exist:
||"Multicoloured" includes those fish that do not fit into any
above mentioned pattern categories and have two or more contrasting
Tri-colours fit in this category.
<< Pictured left: a tricolour with Cambodian, opaque and variegated alleles. A true butterfly would have a well defined colour break where the fins are blue in this specimen.
Many modern Bettas fit this category.
|speckled||In this colour pattern, the body and fins are speckled with irrigular, dark spots like freckles.|
There are four layers of color--the yellow is the bottom most, then black, red, and the iridescent layer is upper most.
Colour Genotypes, notation:
[+ denotes wild or "normal" form; upper case denotes dominance over +; lower case denotes a recessive or semi-dominant trait. Thus, ++ or +w or w+ give normal coloured eyes and ww gives white eye.)
|w white eye||recessive||white outer ring to the eyes.|
|c Cambodian||recessive||limits black|
|b black or m melano||recessive||black males; deadly in females.|
|Si spread Iridocytes||dominant||causes spread of iridescence over body and fins|
|Op opaque||dominant||produces an opaque, white coating on the body and fins; present in all pastel colours.|
|bl||incomplete dominance||metallic blue-green iridescence*|
|Bl||incomplete dominance||green iridescence*|
|nr non-Red||recessive||removes red; present in yellow, white and some Cambodians|
|b blond||recessive||dilutes colours by reducing melanin;|
|L red-Loss||dominant||all red colour fades as the fish matures, revealing the other colours if present.|
|mb marbled pattern||recessive||colour blotches|
|Vf variegated fins||dominant||streaked fins and butterfly trait|
|ER (or R ) extended red||dominant||all red, colour varies from cherry red to vermillion, depending on other factors present.|
|*N.B. the Bl & bl alleles determines steel blue, blue-green, turquoise, corn-flower and royal blue colours. Blbl or blBl gives royal blue, BlBl gives green and blbl gives steel-blue.|
|How would you describe this fish?
bodied bi-colour or cellophane?
This is a fish showing the red-loss factor, L. It also has the recessive white eye and double-tail factors, ww & dtdt. It was bred from a Red strain.
Notice how the dorsal fin (upper most
matches the lower most, anal fin for size- an effect of the dt allele
imparts additional rays to the dorsal fin. Breeding from this
may improve colour depth in yellows and, of course, throw nice trailing
DTs if the female carries that allele, too. Even dt-splits from
line will show improved dorsal fins.
Female Round-tail Betta
|All alleles dominant or
recessive against this allele.
the "wild form" tail type
The specimen pictured at the right, has a tail form that is better than the wild form and approaches the delta-tail shape. >>
Round-tail Male juvenile.
|P veil tail
long, drooping tail
Above: DT Steel Blue Male
Heart Tails, Fuse Tails and
a true double caudal fin, in which there are two distinct tails (two caudal peduncles) and not just a split in a single tail:
the dorsal fin mirrors the anal fin in approx. size and shape and has additional rays.
Even dt-splits show an enhanced dorsal fin.
Heart Tails have a partially fused twin caudal fin that gives them their characteristic shape.
Fuse Tails have caudal, dorsal and anal fins fused as one entire fin (rare).
Triple Tails are very rare.
DT Melano-Yellow Butterfly
I have bred from a fish very similar to
the above specimen, except that the fins were outlined in royal blue. His
body was also pineapple patterned- each scale was outlined in black against a
The dt allele in a single dose is used in breeding to give improved tails and dorsal fin count (bred from one parent only and therefore not expressed as the recessive characteristic).
Greek D shaped tail, held well, with wide spread but less than 180o;
possibly a multiple factor inheritance.
I have no definite information regarding the allele(s) for this trait.
One of improved delta tails
| hm half moon
|recessive: Possibly a multiple factor
is expressed in this type:
tail shaped like a capital D; an enhanced form of the Delt tail, with multiple branching of the rays of the fins.
Dorsal and anal fins are also enhanced with this trait. straight edges to tail fin desired in this trait, to give a semi-circular outline with caudal fin spread of 180o.
Many so-called Half-Moons (HMs) do not have the full 180o spread and are sometimes known as "Super Delta" Tails.
A turquoise HM males: the tail spread is <180o, in this photograph.
|p comb tail
fin rays extend beyond the fin webbing:
usually a single, extending ray.
|crown tails; a new trait
Note the double-ray extentions in the
A new type originating in Asia in the 1990s.
This type is becoming
caudal fins have long, double ray extensions like an improved comb-tailed Betta.; other fins have long extensions.
There is considerable variation in this
Crown tails are also crossed with other tail forms such as short, long, double and delta-tailed forms to give considerable variation.
One of Indra's Java Crown Tails flaring.
Note the long, extended, double rays.
||The name "clown tails" is a corruption or 'crown' tails,
the attitudes and experience of some growers who have experienced
(and perhaps disappointing) results in the breeding of this
|Other tails types include spade tails,
heart tails, triple tails, and pla kat tail forms. I have no
regarding the allele for these traits.
|Maintenance for Bettas
More information about breeding Bettas
Diseases in Bettas
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