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All About the Siamese Fighting Fish

Updated on July 16, 2014

The betta fish, also known as the Siamese Fighting Fish, has become one of the most popular fish in the aquarium. Originally from Thailand, they have taken over the hearts of fish enthusiasts all over the world. They acclimate to most tanks and aquariums, and will eat just about anything (although they are big carnivores). This has made them a fish favorite to many.

The History of the Siamese Fighting Fish

It is very important for us to learn a bit about betta fish history.

So where do these beautiful fish come from?

In 1910 they were imported from Thailand, but they instantly became a favorite in America. In 1927, a white betta was distributed to America and called Betta Camobodia, but soon after, it was recognized to be a new color of Siamese Fighting Fish.

What Makes This Fish So Beautiful?

Although the male and females are both beautiful fish, the male coloring is more stunning. The males are the most pursued fish because of their beautiful, deep pigments such as orange, black, red, turquoise, blue, bright blue and pink. Their fins are much longer than their female counterparts, and they’re much more lavish. Females, on the other hand, have shorter fins and are not nearly as colorful. The most common color among the females is a yellowish-brown, but breeders are working to change this and create more spectacular colors that can rival the males.

How “Fighting Fish” Started

Although the betta is a loved fish, Siamese Fighting Fish got their name for a reason. By nature, they are aggressive and often the males would fight with each other. They are very territorial, so when more than one male is together in a close vicinity, they will battle until one can claim that space. This behavior triggered owners to create a business with the Siamese Fighting Fish. They started breeding these fish for the purpose of fighting, and many people placed bets on a fighting fish.

To get the Siamese Fighting Fish ready for the big fight, breeders will separate the fighting males and put them in small, shielded jars for a long period of time. That takes place for a month or more. When it’s time for the showdown, the owners take the Siamese Fighting Fish and place them into a larger tank. The fish then fought to the death to win this new space.

Breeders are consistently raising new fish because after one fight, the living fish retires. Contributors breed the winners for their young, and keep the defeated fish as pets. Fish fighting is illegal in America; however, it is still practiced in many areas of the world. In some places, it is a complete sport with many betters and viewers.

Siamese Fighting Fish are a magnificent addition to any fish tank. Their distinctive personality, beauty, and radiant colors make them a very popular fish all over the world.

The Many Different Betta Colors

There are many different types of betta colors and varieties. One of the most exciting factors when choosing a betta is being able to pick from the large selection of beautiful colors! It’s no wonder bettas are known to be one of the most beautiful fish in the world.

What is truly remarkable is that of all the different varieties that exist, there are really only two variations: the bi-color and the solid.

Here is a list of some betta varieties:

  1. Pastel – any pastel color or white with pastel fins

  2. Chocolate – usually a brownish color that is a mix of black and yellow

  3. Melano – black and very hard to acquire because most female melanos are sterile

  4. Royal Blue – a blue that is darker, looks almost purple

  5. White – both solid and opaque; most have black eyes

  6. Various Patterned Varieties – marble, variegated, piebald (white face) speckled, butterfly

  7. Mustard Gas – bi-colored with blue, green and body that is steel blue

  8. Red – red that is pure is the most desirable but other variations come in red/brown and deep crimson

  9. Orange – a new color that leans toward red

  10. Steel Blue – a cooler blue with hints of grey; sometimes known as metallic blue

  11. Cellophane – no pigmentation, transparent fins, almost completely clear

  12. Yellow – different shades of yellow, but golden is rare


Plakat Betta

The Plakat Betta is one of the most naturally beautiful betta fish and it has been bred to display many different colors. The plakat bettas can be very striking with their platinum and metallic copper bodies. They have fins that are shorter, which is how they got the name “plakat.” Many breeders have attempted to lengthen their fins, but now short-finned has become popular.

Wild Betta Splendens

The wild Betta Splendens is a popular betta fish. They come in beautiful colors such as blue, green and red with flowing, long fins. Over the years, breeding and domestication has evolved, which means this fish can come in any color including exquisite metallic colors. If you were to add up every type of betta fish, there would be over 20,000 choices for you to choose.

The Many Betta Colors

There are many different betta colors, from yellow, red, and black to iridescent. Although yellow is one of the brightest colors, it can actually appear golden with a cellophane characteristic which makes it appear almost transparent. Red-pigmented bettas come in many different shades. They can be solid, bright or even cherry red with other colors streaking through their bodies and fins. Black is an interesting color when it comes to betta fish because when a female is black, it means she is most likely sterile. However, betta fish that are pure black are quite popular and can be expensive, as many betta lovers desire them. Iridescent bettas have a pigment that is crystal-like. These fish refract light, which allows them to display a bluish-green tint. As this fish swims through the tank, you will notice many different rainbow colors shimmering through their bodies.

What is the color of your betta?


Learn more about the beautiful betta by watching these betta fish care videos.

Betta Fish Colors

Which is your favorite betta fish color?

See results

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