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Betta Fish: Fighting Fish 101

Fighting fish are native to Asia. Also known as betta fish or Siamese fighting fish, these warriors thrive in shallow waters like ponds, streams, and marshlands.

They are also known as labyrinth fish due to an organ called the labyrinth organ which enables them to breathe air because their gills are unable to get oxygen from water. 

These fighting fishes are a popular choice for aquarium pets because of their colorful appearance. Kids find even a single betta in a small aquarium fascinating. They can leap out of the water and dart up against the tank making for lively entertainment. 

Bettas best tolerate small aquariums with regulated warm water. Be sure not to stress your bettas or they might leap out of the bowl or tank.

Betta fish belong to the gourami species and are known to be extremely aggressive and highly territorial.

If properly cared for, bettas can live up to 3 years. 

Why Do Betta Fishes Fight?

Both male and female bettas fight.

If joined by other fish, whether bettas or other species, male fighting fish simply can’t resist the urge to attack.

A male betta in a tank will always instigate a fight because they are so territorial. 

Bettas in the wild tend to show aggression to scare other fish. An attack is less likely as there will be plenty of space for fish to swim on or retreat. If the threat is ignored, though, a fight typically ensues.

The males fight for food, nests, or their eggs. They will also attack any fish that might be a hindrance in their quest for a female betta.

Once eggs are fertilized, the male creates bubble nests. It’s the male’s turn to take care of the eggs at this stage so its protective behavior becomes more intense and any possible danger to the eggs makes the male betta attack.

 It’s a bit different with female bettas. They show signs of aggressiveness but seldom attack preferring to chase an opponent. That said, they can also fight and kill.

Can You Put Other Fish In The Tank With Betta Fish?

Male bettas can’t tolerate other male bettas.

Females, on the other hand, can co-exist harmoniously with other species of fish or with female bettas. 

If the aquarium becomes too crowded, however, the female betta’s territorial instinct will be activated and it could attack other fish.

 Male bettas can share a tank with one or more females but the females shouldn’t touch his nest or the male betta won’t hesitate to attack.

To create a peaceful environment, the male should only be joined by a single female betta. Two or more is ideal purely for breeding purposes. Generally, though, male bettas are best left alone.


Betta fish are crossbred. This accounts for the beautiful variations of colors and tails.

Fighting fish are classified according to their colors, patterns and tails.


Betta fish come in an array of stunning colors. Some are single-toned but most are multicolored.


This is by far the rarest betta color and shouldn’t be confused with the white betta. They are the most popular choice of betta fish as pets.

Black Orchid 

This fish has a variety of dark colors with blue or purple highlights around its body. There are three variations of this type: the black lace, black melano and black metallic. 

  • Black Lace has dark colorations but not as dark and intense as those of the black melano. Their fins are opaque with a lacy appearance for which this black betta is named
  • Black Melano also have very dark black colors. The hue is so thick and strong that it sometimes appears blue/black 
  • The Black Metallic has glowing scales that give out opaque and copper colors


There are three types of blue bettas:

  • Blue Wash is also called the true blue betta
  • Royal Blue has the most striking bright blue color 
  • Steel Blue exhibits cold and grayish hues


There are three varieties of the green betta: 

  • Bright Green and Dark Green are very rare and products of selective breeding
  • Full Green is also a rare green betta and oftentimes it looks like turquoise rather than green

Mustard Gas 

These are extraordinary bi-colored bettas with a body color of blue or green and fins that are yellow or orange.


Purple bettas are considered very rare and are also difficult to find. They have deep purple or rich violet colorations. They come in all tail types and patterns.


The most common and dominant betta color is the full-blooded red betta. It’s undeniably the most striking color and can be also seen as highlights to other colors.


This is often confused with an albino betta because of its solid white body, fins, and tail color. They look very plain if the tail is also plain. But with a beautiful tail they look strikingly attractive.


One of the most common betta colors. This betta has a full yellow color from body to fins and tail. They come from light to darker yellow shade.


These fighting fish are further categorized through the variety of colored patterns on their bodies.


As the name implies, this type has only two colors with both light and dark colors on a single body. 


This betta has a single, solid body color that reaches up to the fins and tails. The color remarkably forms a split which gives out a two-toned hue.  

But, most often, their fins and tails are opaque or translucent in color around the edges.

Dragon Scale 

These bettas have prominent full-body color with scales similar to those of a dragon or lizard. 

Dragon scale bettas have a rich and bright base body color that’s typically red. This dragon pattern is thick with scales that are metallic, bright and opaque in color.


Marble bettas are in high demand because of their distinct and amazing colorations.

Most colors of this type have an irregular, blotchy appearance that compliments its light pale body color.

The marbling appears more on its body than the fins and some have translucent fins. 

They change colors in time but as these bettas age, that characteristic also diminishes.


Koi bettas are bred to look exactly like the famous pond fish, koi. They also resemble marble bettas. 

This type of betta fish is very rare which makes it correspondingly expensive.


These are bettas that possess three or more colors.


The solid betta is the type with only one solid color. 


The tail is arguably the most attractive part of a betta fish. 

Apart from its beautiful shape, the colors also bring about an enticing appearance. 

Betta fish are also classified according to the shape and size of tail. 

Here are the different tail types:


This betta has fins that extend into its fin webbing. It also possesses a fan-shaped caudal fin that spreads wider than a half sun tail.


It’s very easy to recognize a crowntail betta. This type has tails with strong and remarkably spiky appearance. They also have less webbing and super-extended rays.

 Delta Tail

This betta has a large tail and is named after the Greek letter delta because it looks like the shape of delta which is similar to a triangle. It has uniform tips with no combing or crowing of rays.


This betta has two unique tails that separates from its base. The fish has a shorter body with larger, longer dorsal fins.  

Dumbo/Elephant Ear

This type has a unique shaped tail with iridescent striking colors. Its pectoral fins are similar to that of an elephant’s ear. 

These betta can also be found in the wild but with rather dull colorations such as brown, dark green, and gray. 

Bettas bred as tank pets are bright blue, red and turquoise in color. 

Feather Tail

This betta’s tail has a more pronounced, ruffled appearance with a zigzag effect. 


The half-moon type can only be found in captivity. It has a large tail that forms a half circle like that of a half-moon. These are the more aggressive type and have larger dorsal and caudal fins prone to tearing and damage. 


This betta is the offspring of a half moon and crown tail breeding. Its tail has a full 180-degree spread of a half-moon and slightly extended caudal fins webbing like the crown tail.


This fish has a short but rounded tail that’s sometimes slightly pointed. It resembles bettas in the wild. Male bettas are often mistaken as female bettas because of their short tail. The male variety has sharp pointed anal fins and spherical caudal fins. 

Plakat is derived from the Thai word plakad which means fighting fish. This is the type widely used for breeding and fighting.


This type looks like the half-moon or extreme HM betta. Its caudal fins spread up to 180 degrees or more. The end tail branching also has ruffled looks like that of a rose’s ruffled petals. 


This betta is a cross between a delta and plakat due to its fully rounded tail. Its tail is longer and fuller than a plakat, though, and has no straight edges like those of the delta.


This type of betta has a rounded caudal tail that becomes pointed at the tips like the spade in a deck of cards.


This is a dominant tail type and is one of the easiest to breed. The males have long, flowing tails that swoops downwards. They are multi-colored and looks stunning. Females, on the other hand, have brighter and lighter colors with short fins and tails.

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Closing Words

We hope by now you have a sound overview of the many varieties of betta fish.

Don’t forget to bookmark Pet Gear Zone and come back next week when we’ll showcase the best food you can buy for your new fighting fish.


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