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The Modern-Day Betta Colors

bright green and teal betta fish

1:40 PM - January 22, 2013 by Adam Short

Bettas have always been known as beautifully-colored fish even in their natural habitat. However, over the years, breeding has created different patterns and an array of even more vibrant colors. In an effort to create specific colors and iridescence, many hues have ultimately emerged which are unique and stunning in your aquarium.

Plakat Thai Betta


Although the Plakat Betta is beautiful naturally, recently this fish has been bred to display even more ornamental colors. A variety of these are striking, as their bodies are metallic copper and platinum.

These fish have shorter fins (hence the name “plakat”) and are a true fighting fish. And even though breeders have long tried to extend the length of their fins, the original short-finned variety is now becoming very popular.

Modern Fancy Betta


Wild Betta splendens, the most popular of the Bettas, are pretty fish with green, red and blue coloration and long, flowing fins. Since domestication and breeding has evolved, this type can come in just about any color imaginable, including metallic variations. If you combined all of the different colors and unique fin types, there are over 20,000 possible varieties of Bettas you can choose.

red blue and yellow betta fish image

Colored Pigments


Yellow Pigment


Although the deepest color displayed on Bettas is yellow, it is the least visible to the human eye. If their additional colors are lighter or completely absent, these Bettas will appear golden and bright and have an interesting “cellophane” quality to them where they look almost transparent.

Red Pigment


There are several mutations that make up the group of red-pigment Bettas. Most of these fish are a bright, solid, cherry red with only streaks of other colors on their fins and bodies. This color is much more opaque than iridescent.

Black Pigment


Interestingly enough, breeders have found that when a female is at the level of black or “melano,” they are usually sterile. When a Betta is pure black with no other color showing, they are highly desirable and some hobbyists will pay a high price for them.

Iridescent Pigment


The final pigment color breeders have created is the iridescent level. Because of the crystal-like pigment exhibited on this Betta, they tend to refract light which produces a unique, bluish-green coloration. As the fish moves through the water and into different light sources, the colors seem to change creating a dazzling rainbow of shimmer.

This pigment is not easy to breed due to an exact combination of colors that easily varies. Usually, the mutations that occur cause the pigment to separate, which creates the more common colors of blue, steel blue, turquoise and marble.

Other Genetic Factors


Other practices involved in breeding this new Betta are adding opaque (a milky-looking substance), butterfly (two-toned fins) as well as every possible combination of colors available. With the creation of this new breeding, it is true that a Betta fish can come in any color of the rainbow.

What color is your betta?

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