Examine the short length a Betta fish’s tail. Betta fishes have a variety of tail types. One simple way to identify a Betta fish is by the length of its tail. Short tails are common in wild type Bettas, as well as Bettas that are bred to fight.
- Short-finned Bettas, which are also called Plakats, are sometimes bred to have D-shaped tails.
- Since female Bettas typically have shorter tails than male Bettas, it can be challenging to determine the sex of short-finned Bettas.
- The veiltail is long and flowing. It arches up and over the body, resembling a veil. The tail is usually asymmetric and broad at its base, and more pointed at its outer edge.
- The halfmoon tail looks like a half circle, or a capital ‘D.’ The perfect halfmoon shape has a spread of exactly 180° between the top and bottom tail rays. Sometimes, the half-moon shape can only be seen when the betta flares. Halfmoon tails are usually very fragile.
- There are also ‘over half-moon’ tails, which extend beyond a 180° tail spread angle.
- Delta tails are in the shape of a D, but do not achieve a 180° tail spread angle. Delta tails are sometimes called ‘Super Deltas, ’ with a tail spread angle of 160° to 179°.
- The Delta tail usually has rounded edges, but the Super Delta tail tends to have a broad base and a wide end.
- With an even split at the tail base, the tail and unpaired fins should be mirror images of each other.
- The double tail is sometimes called a ‘full-moon’ tail.
- The rays of a crown tail are typically long and straight, but may start to curl in response to unfavorable water conditions.
- Crown tails may be long or short. They are typically shorter on female Bettas than male Bettas.
Method 2Observing the Color Pattern of a Betta Fish
- Look at the solid coloration of a Betta fish. Betta fish have been bred to come in a wide range of solid colors, including black, red, blue, and white. There can even be variations within a particular color family. For example, the coloration of a red Betta fish can range from bright to deep.
- Betta fish that are red as juveniles may lose their coloration as adults due to the Red Loss gene.
- For black Betta fish, the ideal coloration is pitch-black, or melano black. It is caused by a gene mutation that results in increased melanin. Melano females cannot breed eggs that will hatch, as the mutation kills the eggs.
- Black Betta fish are usually a smoky black.
- Some solid-colored Bettas will have a metallic look, due to pigment-containing cells called chromatophores.
- Identify different solid colors on the body and fins. A Betta fish with one solid color on its body and another on its fins is considered bi-colored. Either the body is dark with light fins, or vice versa. There should be a sharp contrast and divide between the two colors. Two types of bi-colored Betta are butterfly and Cambodian.
- Butterfly Bettas have solid colors on their bodies, which partially extends to their unpaired fins. The outer edge of the fins will be a different color, creating a distinct band of color.
- Some butterfly Bettas have three colors, and therefore do not fit the strict definition of bi-colored. The three colors will still be distinct. An example of a tri-colored Betta fish is the Thai Flag Betta (red, white, and blue).
- Cambodian Bettas have flesh-colored bodies and deep red fins. Cambodian Bettas have lost popularity as new color patterns have been introduced.
- Check for a marbled color pattern on a Betta fish. The marbled pattern will contain different colors with no distinct border between the colors. The colors usually look like splashes or blotches across the body and fins. Interestingly, the marbling can change from day to day.
- Most marbled Bettas have two colors.
- A tri-colored marbled Betta is known as a ‘koi.’ Koi usually have splotches of red and black on a light-colored body.
- Look for a copper color pattern. The copper pattern actually contains a variety of colors (e.g., lavender, turquoise, purple), and is most obvious with the light from a flashlight. Ideally, there should be a roughly even distribution of colors between the body and fins. The body of a copper Betta will usually be blue with a metallic cover.
- Identify flecks of color on a Betta fish. Betta fish with speckles or flecks of color are called grizzle Betta. Grizzle Betta will have random flecks or spots of color on their bodies and fins. The random coloration is usually iridescent.