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FAQs on Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish Identification/Varieties

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Related FAQs:  Betta System, Betta Behavior, Betta Compatibility, Betta Selection, Betta Feeding, Betta Reproduction, Betta Disease,

Sabrina Fullhart's fab pic/fish... Betta macrostoma.

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

Re: Hi! Question for the Bettas :); var.s       7/19/14
Hi again,
Sorry to bother you but i would like to have your opinion on the fish's tail. What is your opinion on that tail type? (veiltail, delta, roundtail, etc)
Thanks Again!
<Greetings. I have no great expertise at fancy Betta varieties I'm afraid, but would suggest this is (more or less) a "Plakat" style Betta. These have become quite popular in recent years. They are usually a bit easier to keep than the long-tail varieties. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Hi! Question for the Bettas :)      7/19/14

Thanks Neale! A little while after sending the email i noticed the small white egg spot on her underside.
<Indeed, but do bear in mind the genital papillae are visible on *both* sexes, though admittedly it's bigger and more obvious on females. Keep an open mind. Cheers, Neale.>

Hi! Question for the Bettas :)      7/18/14
I have recently purchased a male Betta imbellis from a local fish shop. (I am aware that if this is a hybrid at best) I am wondering if this indeed is a male Betta imbellis or a female Betta splendens. (Btw I have attempted to get the fish to flair, this had mixed results. The fish seemed to flare fins but not gills.)
I have attached a photo. (poor quality… I agree, btw the speck on the dorsal fin is actually food. I was attempting to wane)
Thanks for your time!
<Hello Kellan. Identifying Betta imbellis is hard, harder than many suppose because there's a lot of overlap with genuine wild-caught (or at least, wild-type, non-fancy) Betta splendens that have very similar colouration and fin lengths. However, male Betta imbellis typically have red edges to their fins and the green-blue colouration is distinctly stripy, on the gills, on the flanks, and on the unpaired fins. Yours appears to be a plain vanilla shortfin Betta splendens, so far as colouration goes. The blue is much deeper (less turquoise) than Betta imbellis, and it's solid rather than stripy. The red is simply "there" rather than discrete edging that tracks the streaky green-blue stripes on the fins. So bottom line, no, I don't think this is Betta imbellis in any meaningful sense. Unless you buy direct from a trusted breeder, or else from an aquarium shop known to deal in (usually expensively) wild-caught and/or high-quality oddball fish, then you can disregard any supposed Betta imbellis as, at best, murky hybrids. Critically, this means your Betta is unlikely to be as peaceful as true Betta imbellis. Cheers, Neale.>

   B. splendens RMF
Betta Grand Champ Aquarama 2013      5/31/13
 Betta Grand Champ in two different angles
 <Imagine the conditioning, the training employed here to urge this fish to display during the judging, show. BobF>
Re: Betta Grand Champ Aquarama 2013     5/31/13
Yes, I did not realize how beautiful the fish was until I downloaded the photo onto my PC

Fish Carnival 2012     12/9/12
 Pics from the last show of the year. This one won the best Half Moon of the show award
<Verra nice Perry. B>

Singapore Fish Carnival 2012     12/9/12
 This beauty won the Best Crowntail of the show
 Perry<A beauty. B>
Singapore Fish Carnival     12/9/12
 The Betta Grand Champion
<A female! B>

How to tell if my Betta is a pure Imbellis? 12/4/12
Hi! I keep Bettas, and I recently bought some Betta imbellis from someone who had mixed fry from two different batches. One of the batches of fry was pure and the other was hybrid. Is there any way to tell the difference between hybrids and pure bloods besides them having a red anal fin, red tail fin, and green bars on the cheeks? Also, one of them has black fins which is how I know it's a hybrid. Would that mean that all the hybrids would have black fins, or could some look exactly like pure imbellis?
Thanks so much!!
<Hi Josh. It's basically impossible (and I certainly can't help without photos!). Visual traits like the colours on fins are very variable anyway, so aren't always reliable ways to tell whether a given fish is either Betta imbellis or Betta splendens, let alone a hybrid between fancy Betta splendens and Betta imbellis of unknown provenance and/or pedigree. Do you know what the parent Betta splendens looked like? Both the male and the female? That'd help. But remember, a female Betta splendens may look drab, but she'd still be carrying genes for the bright colours seen on males, she simply doesn't express them in her phenotype. Over time it might be apparent which fry are pure and which aren't as they approach maturity, but as fry, Betta spp. all look pretty similar, and some traits might not be expressed at this stage. Frankly, if you want Betta imbellis, go choose stock you can be sure about. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: How to tell if my Betta is a pure Imbellis?       12/5/12

I received an email saying that the father of the hybrids was black and green which matches with the hybrid I know about. Thanks a lot! I believe that I have 5 pure imbellis. Can't wait to breed them. Is there any special way of breeding them?
<Not really; they are closely related to B. splendens and breeding is much similar, though of course the juvenile males will be less aggressive and consequently easier to house together. The real problem with Betta species is feeding the fry; do read up on how to culture infusoria, because that's key to success. The fry need to be some days old before they're big enough for baby brine shrimp. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta fish identification  - 12/02/2012
Dear Crew at WWM,
I've had my Betta (named Alpha) for a couple of months now and have began to wonder what type specifically he is. I acquired him at a local PetCo and no longer remember the hasty classification they gave him. He is pale red on the head blending through pink to purple and finally to blue on the fins. I've been searching online for colorations like his but am having no luck. Anything is helpful to satisfy my curiosity.
<Hello Danielle. Alpha is a fancy Betta splendens, and like all the ones sold in chain stores and most of the ones in aquarium shops, he's a "moggie" rather than a show quality pedigree specimen. So go ahead and make up a name for his variety if you want! There are several clubs and associations dedicated to fancy Bettas, of which the most notable is probably the International Betta Congress:
They have an online forum as well a various local chapters, and if you really want to pin down the possible ancestors of your specimen, they're the people to contact. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta... ID    12/31/09
this may be a dumb question since I don't have a picture to attach but I just got a female Betta (that's what it came to the store labeled as) but I am positive it's not a female Betta splendens. It definitely looks like a female of some sort from the research I've done but it has an upward curved mouth and is white with some green scales and light green fins. It is also double the size of the female Bettas I have. I know your not going to be able to identify it for me based on that, I was just wondering if it is possible it could be a wild species that got sent to the store by accident.
<To be honest, it's extremely unlikely generic pet stores will carry Betta species other than Betta splendens. There certainly are lots of other Betta species, including some relative giants up to 14 cm in length, such as Betta akarensis and Betta anabatoides, but these are only traded in the very best aquarium stores and usually have notably different prices than the farmed Betta splendens pumped out by the million. Female Betta splendens get to about 3-4 cm, so if you have a fish twice that size, it's probably not Betta splendens. A photo would be useful. Otherwise a little
time spent on Fishbase might be useful.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Betta ID    12/31/09
Thanks for answering =) I'll try to figure it out/ get a picture and let you know
<Look forward to seeing the photos. Do note that we prefer images 500 KB or smaller in size, so don't send the original 1, 2, 3 MB photo. Large photos fill up our e-mail space, bouncing back messages from other people. Cheers, Neale.>

Betta   12/31/09
bad picture I know
<It looks a lot like one of the "mouthbrooding Bettas", and if somewhere between 5 and 12 cm in size, that's certainly the case. These Betta species have proportionally larger mouths, as well as greater overall size, than
the bubblenest building Betta species. Note that mouthbrooding Bettas come from flowing rather than still water habitats -- that's why they mouthbrood their eggs rather than build bubblenests -- so the aquarium should offer a
decent water current, somewhat lower water temperature, and lots of oxygen. Look over that Fishbase page mentioned earlier to identify the species you have; I really can't from the photo you sent. Again, please reduce image size to 500 HB next time. Some of the less charitable crewmembers simply bounce back messages with overly large images. I'm a nice guy, but best to stick to the rules. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Betta
Yeah I didn't receive the image size email until I had already sent it =(
sorry I'll keep looking on that site for the exact name although I haven't had any luck yet. Very odd a pet store that only gets b. splenda got that in but goof for me =) Thanks for the help
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Big female Betta + Happy New Year 1/1/2010
Happy New Year to everyone at WWM!
<Hello Jen,>
I was just reading the freshwater daily FAQs, and while I have no firm ID on the recent Betta photo, I may have a potentially useful reference photo of a large female Betta splendens I owned.
<Is indeed a female Betta splendens. On the other hand, the female Betta we were discussing yesterday has a more tapering body and a proportionally larger head, classic features of mouthbrooding Bettas.>
I assume she was at the larger end of the normal size range, and had some of the longest fins I've seen on a female
<There is a trend towards brighter colours and longer fins in female Betta splendens; indeed, this makes them rather good alternatives to things like Dwarf Gouramis in small community tanks, and certainly easier to keep thus than male Betta splendens.>
- I think you can still make out the white ovipositor spot in this scaled down version.
<Indeed, and for whatever reason, this feature is quite commonly visible on Betta splendens.>
She recovered from the mild tail splitting/rot in the photo -- thanks again to WWM reference and good old upped water changes.
Take care and happy fishkeeping in 2010!
<Likewise, I'm sure.>
- Jen
<Thanks for writing! Cheers, Neale.>

Male Crowntails or Girls with Attitude?  11/05/09
Hi there! I'm having some Crowntail confusion. I recently came across a batch of Crowntails that look like females but act like males.
<There are fairly aggressive, territorial animals.>
They are very aggressive (as both male and female Crowntails are) and they are displaying their opercula (I've seen females do this as well).
They are not brightly colored (not pastels), but dark rich, red, blues, purples, etc. Very striking colors.
<Sound charming.>
Anyway, I'm very confused because they are very energetic with their displays, yet they have the shorter Crowntail caudal fin.<I see.>
Even the ones who seem rounder like females are also vigourously displaying. They are full adults, so they are done maturing.
<Since males are sent out to pet shops individually bagged, it seems to be rather unlikely they'd mix up males and females. I will make the observation here that mature females tend to show their white genital
papillae, even when not actively spawning, so a batch of female fish would have at least some fish with this obvious feature visible.>
Is there a male short fin Crowntail type that is out now?
<I'd expect so. I'm not an expert on these fancy Bettas, but my understanding is that some breeders do produce shorter-finned versions.
Cheers, Neale.>

Betta long side fins common? -- 4/12/08 Hello! im writing this is hopes you can answer a question for me, today i was looking to buy a few new Bettas and i saw one that to me seemed a little odd this Betta had extremely long (not large) side fins, they reminded me of the dorsal fins almost they were long and narrow bit short and wide like all the other Bettas i have seen, my question is, is this a common trait or s mutation 9 in a good way) it was a beautiful fish and i will adopt him but any info you could give me would be great thanks in advance Tommy <Have not seen this myself in Betta splendens, but such long-finned-ness has occurred spontaneously (and been capitalized on commercially) in other species (my fave example is Brachydanio rerio, the Zebra Danio...) and so, am not surprised. If such a genetic "anomaly" doesn't become too disadvantageous, this trait may well lead to new lines of breeding... If these fish are apparently doing well... I would keep them. Bob Fenner>

Re: long side fins common? Betta  4/13/08 thank you for the response!, that's awesome!.. am going to attempt to breed him not for any profit but to experiment to see if he will produce off spring of the same (condition?) i have included a rather boring picture ( only one i could get of him he wouldn't sit still lol) you can really see the extremely long pectoral fins i wrote to you about.. ill let you know how the breeding went thanks again.. <Real good. Cheers, BobF>

Sabrina's Betta macrostoma   2/3/08 Sab, howzit? <Going very well, actually. Busy, but very well. A piece of good fishy news: a close friend of mine works at a fish shop and called to let me know they had a *very* nice pair of Betta macrostoma.... the first fish I ever wanted (heh, when I was six and saw a picture, and didn't know they were unobtainable....!) and the only fish I had given up altogether on ever even seeing. So, three weeks and $300 later, <!!!> <<More than I would have initially wanted to spend.... But the pair is every bit of four, five inches, each. They really are *spectacular*. And since, in all my years of interest in fish, I have never even had the opportunity to *see* a macrostoma, I went ahead and took the risk. I'll attach a photo.... Not the best pic I've got, but it's of the male displaying while he was still in the shop. It's probably the best pic I've got of him displaying, as the tank I've got them in is currently very dimly lit.... as I slowly increase the lighting, I'll be able to get better pics, I hope. They look much better in a nice, big tank with live plants, rather than in an icky store tank full of plastic plants!>> >Very nice< I went in to see them, and home they came. It's only been two weeks today that I've had them, but they appear to be doing well thus far. They have spawned once already, but the pH was still too high and the boy swallowed the eggs. I am hopeful that they will remain in good health and be happy enough to spawn again, now that the pH is nice and low. I have taken hundreds of photos, and a few have turned out very, very nice - I would gladly send them to you if they will be of any use in WWM.> <My usual goosing here re your writing all up...> <<Consider me goosed, then! I've been keeping a lot of records since bringing them home, and will surely write something up, even if it's nothing more than a "here's what I did" sort of thin. But - FIRST - I have to keep them alive, eh? They look good tonight.... The female is in full breeding dress, and the male displaying very nicely. Hopefully my macros will be getting' lucky!>> >Good< > > Am out in HI... yes, still working on the KAEC... > > <Good, good!! The KAEC is always in the back of my mind.... and I am still and always ready to be there at the drop of a hat!> <This may indeed happen...> <<Oh? Yes? Any new news? Things progressing well or at all? I'll be there in a heartbeat when you need me.... Oh! And it is legal for me to bring macrostomas into Hawai'i! I have been having dreams of spawning them in huge outdoor vats in Hawai'i.... Sigh! Perhaps some day....>> >Still working on the land and money aspects, but some progress... So, don't lose faith. B<

The Noble, Abused, Underrated FW Betta  7/21/07 What is the difference between a Fancy Betta Fish, and a Fighter Betta Fish? <Evening Renee, Andrea with you tonight. I hope you don't mind my using your query for a slight diatribe on one of my favorite fish. First off, allow me to point you to a fine source of information of the freshwater Betta splendens, our very own WetWebMedia.Com: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettafaqs.htm. Please feel free to read that, as well as the linked articles above. If you are considering a Betta, please, choose carefully and wisely, and provide it a proper home. Bettas are among the most misunderstood and mistreated animals in this hobby. I hope someday to write an article about the proper husbandry of these personable, beautiful and fascinating animals. In short, there is no difference. "Fancy" Bettas may be used to denote a more structured, bred Betta with a tail that is "Crowned", "Half-Moon", or "Plakat" among other types, or specifically bred for a color variant, such and the white lined "Butterfly" or the popular "Mustard Gas" color strain. The "Siamese Fighting Fish" is just another name for the Betta, and frequently what the "Betta in a cup" is sold as. Betta breeding is very popular in many countries overseas and is taking a foothold in the USA. These Bettas often sell for 10 to 20 times what you would pay at your local chain pet store, some upwards of hundreds of dollars, and quite worth the money if you ask me. If you are considering one of these fine animals for a pet, I encourage you to do plenty of research on providing them a proper life, and home, and please, come back and ask any questions you may have on doing so. I'll be happy to help you. > Kind Regards, Renee Kohncke <Thanks> <Andrea>

Betta (crowntail or tail rot)   3/4/07 Hey guys! <<Hello, Karley. Tom here.>>   A friend who works at an aquaria store nearby told me to ask you guys since he wasn't too sure how to help me. <<Okay.>> I have a male betta that I bought 3 months ago.  I'm not too sure what type it was but looked like one of your run of the mill bettas (not a crowntail).  I bought a 2 gallon tank for him, a couple silk plants, a small tank under gravel heater, and a filter.  The filter was rarely used since the tank was small and he doesn't like too much current.  I fed him a small amount of flakes twice a day.  (Let me just say that I am a complete fish virgin.)  I did weekly water changes but was too stupid to notice all the poo stuck to the bottom of the plants and gravel. <<Part of the problem with 'smallish' tanks is that they don't easily lend themselves to cleaning the substrate, etc.>> (Since then I've bought a saltwater reef tank with all the trimmings and actually learned a great deal about being a responsible fish owner.)   <<Glad to hear this, Karley.>> Because of the reef tank I have learned about ammonia and nitrites and all that jazz.  I bought a Hagen test kit with all the droppers etc... Anyway, Betta's ammonia levels were off the charts.   <<Oops'¦>> I did a 100% water change and he seemed to be doing great except for his tail was looking rather ragged.  And it seemed to be on all his fins. From all the pictures and research I assumed he had tail rot.   <<A reasonable assumption given the circumstances.>> I tried the BettaFix (tea tree oil) and nothing happened. So I bought a 10 gallon tank and "hospitalized" him. I medicated him for 5 days with Maracyn 2 (and the usual amount of freshwater salt). <<The salt is the safest way to go for this situation.>> After 7 days I did a 100% water change. I have a small filter on at all times and a proper Jaeger heater set at 79 1/2. He's still a happy guy, swimming and eating, but his tail looks the same.  It's been a month since I put him in the new 10 gal. tank. Water quality is top notch. (I have a tap water filter that I got for the reef tank.) No ammonia, nitrate, or nitrite, perfect pH. <<I like the sounds of that!>> Well, I was very confused, so I invited my aquarium friend over to look at him and maybe attempt some surgery if needed (cutting off the offending pieces). <<Eeek! There are rare occasions when a surgical procedure is the only way to save the animal's life but 'cosmetic' surgery is a good way to end its life.>> He looked at betta and said that he looks exactly like a crowntail betta and didn't want to do anything until I got some advice from you.   <<Whew.>> Looking at pics of other crowntail bettas he looks like them, but he definitely didn't when I bought him and it was kind of strange that this all started around the time of the ammonia incident.   <<Coincidental.>> So my very long winded question for you is, can a crowntail betta look like a normal one and a month later have those "special" looking fins?   <<Possibly. Bear in mind that same finnage traits that make Crowntail distinctive can be present in any Betta. The gene responsible is partially dominant which makes it a good bet that as long as one parent shares the gene, the offspring will share it as well. In other words, you'd have to be sure of the breeder to know that you're getting a 100% Crowntail Betta.>> Any response would be oh so helpful.  BTW, I love your site, it actually helped me out a lot with my clownfish. Very comprehensive. <<Thanks, Karley. We appreciate it and we're happy to have been of help.>> Thank you ever so much in advance,   Karley P.S. I've never had any other fish with him so he LOVES his 10 gallon tank to himself. <<A ten-gallon tank is about the optimum size for Bettas so I don't doubt for a moment that he's in 'fishy Heaven'. Best regards. Tom>>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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