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Betta Splendens, aka Siamese Fighting Fish

Updated on September 13, 2013

Fans just call them "Bettas"

Pictures of Siamese Fighting Fish, as Betta splendens are commonly called, most often show the male of the species.  The males are the more brightly-colored with full fins that they expand for mating and fighting displays.  Their unique habits, colorful appearance and low-care requirements make Bettas popular pets for the beginner or experienced fish owner alike. If you get really serious about owning bettas, there are endless variations in color or fin styles for to consider and collect.

Fins and Tails

Bettas have been bred to have specialized fin shapes and placements. The males are the half of the species with the fancy fins, some long and sleek, and others very frilly and rippled.

  • Round Tail - this shape is found on wild Bettas.
  • Veil Tail - a long trailing tail, like a scarf dragging behind.
  • Comb Tail - the fin edges have little points that extend beyond the fin webs.
  • Crown Tail - a longer more dramatic variation on the Comb Tail.
  • Double Tail - a double caudal fin, which has two distinct tails.
  • Fuse Tail - the caudal, dorsal and anal fins are all fused together.
  • Half Moon Tail - the dorsal and anal fins are longer, so they line up with the caudal fin when spread, making a half moon shape.
  • Heart Tail - partially fusing of the two caudal fins makes them appear to have a heart shape.
  • Spade Tail - think of the shovel or card suit shape.

Books About Betta Splendens - Get fish care advice from the pros

The popularity of Siamese fighting fish means it's easy to find fish care books that focus on Bettas. I recommend that folks read up on Bettas *before* they purchase any fish, and not just get the fish and book and then go home. It often makes for a longer-lived first generation of pet fish, seriously....

Betta Colors

Selective breeding has producing a rainbow array of colors for Bettas. Some of the options are listed below, but you can find more variations from breeders.

  •  Red - red shades run from bright true reds to dark burgundy and brown

  •  Apricot - sometimes called peach too. This is a soft pastel shade.

  •  Yellow - from golden to lemon. A Betta that is a mix of yellow and black can be a Chocolate if pretty solid-colored, but if the yellow scales are outlined, it's called a Pineapple Betta.

  •  Green - the color turquoise is a genetic variant on green. A very dark green is very rare and highly prized.

  •  Blue - royal blue, cornflower blue, and steel blue shades are all available.

  •  Purple - colors can be pale (lavender) to dark (violet).

  •  Black - solid smokey or with lighter fins, called Black Lace.

  •  White - this opaque color is not albinism, and you can tell as these Bettas will have black eyes.

  •  Albino - a rare but natural occurrence like with other fish and animals. A true albino will have red eyes.

  •  Multi-colored - these Bettas have mixed colors, and this name covers all fish that have no predominant color-tone.

Live Betta Sales - live betta fish for sale

Looking for something more exotic than what you can find at your local pet store? Here are auctions of live Betta fish. Be sure to check specifics of shipping before you bid!

Why I Love Bettas

I don't know what got my dad started with a fish tank, but when I was a kid, he kept one for many years. We'd get to go to the pet store and pick out fish we wanted for the tank. I also can't recall exactly how we first got a Betta splendens, but I wouldn't be surprised if my choice had something to do with it.

The males are flashy, with full fins and bold colors. The females are a bit smaller and have much plainer fins. My dad must have liked the Bettas too, as he got to breeding them. It's tricky and we wound up with more tanks as the population grew and we had to keep the males apart from each other.

I went away to college, and my dad moved on to other hobbies, but I still liked Bettas. In fact, I like them so much, there came a day when I decided to make them a part of my tattoo collection. Yep, that's my right shoulder with two male Bettas tattooed on it.

Betta Fish Videos - Short home movies of Betta splendens, courtesy of

The fin displays of courting or the quick movements battling Siamese Fighting Fish can be fascinating to watch. The mating rituals are often hypnotic and slow, spanning several hours.

Tell us all about your pet siamese fighting fish!

Betta Fan Club

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love bettas.I used to have hundreds of them when I was a kid.

    • ApplianceRepairsB profile image

      ApplianceRepairsB 5 years ago

      bettas look amazing! great lens

    • profile image

      batsdragon 6 years ago

      I have two Siamese Fighting fish Othello is normal size and is Purple Draycos is rich Red and Blue he is a Giant Siamese I named him after reading the Dragonback series by Timothy Zahn it seems to suit him did have others like Sumo or Goth loved to hear from other owners too

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      hi im witch silverfox and i live in california and was wanting to know if i have two rare betta first off the two betta i have are named Legolas and (Gandalf aka: the Demon of Salem) and here are their colors

      Legolas: pure purple with small white streak under his chin ,

      Gandalf: head starts out pure bask then goes to dark blue to light blue to light yellow to white and his fins all have yellow inline and a beautiful beautiful beautiful crimson ble trim

    • CleftyToo profile image

      CleftyToo 9 years ago

      Hi. What a great lens. Full of great links for information about betta care :)

      I actually started a lens on the betta enthusiast group called "Betta Breeders Canada". If you're interested, it's at

      I've rated you a 5star lens!

    • WebGazelle LM profile image

      WebGazelle LM 9 years ago

      Great lens! You should submit it to my aquatic pets group(

    • schwarz profile image

      Rae Schwarz 9 years ago from Seattle, WA

      It's best to have some sort of cover or lid on your fish tank, as fish that jump out of their bowls are often killed or injured by the impact.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      i live in malaysia,ihave seventh bettas in my home.Today i`m very shock because one of them jumped out from his tank.It was my marble plakat betta.Somebody plz tell me what is the best should i do to make my betta happy n healthy again.Bcause now he look so stres n dsnt wnt to eat..i`m so worried!