Betta fish have not only been bred for their beautiful colors, but hobbyists have also tried to create the most elegant and wavy fins and tails possible. As a result, the hobby has many different tail types that all have their distinctive look.
Some types of tails are easier to find than others and some can actually be bad for your fish's overall health. Knowing your betta's tail type can provide more insight into the genetics and care needed for your fish.
Keep reading to learn all about tail types and how to tell the difference between them!
The domesticated betta fish is scientifically known asBetta shines. These fish are native to the shallow waters of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia.
These fish grow to about 3 inches (7.6 cm) in size and are known for their bright colors and flowing fins.
In the wild, bettas are carnivores and feed mainly on insects, various types of larvae, and other small crustaceans. In the aquarium, they should be fed a similar diet to maintain their liveliness and personality.
These fishdo best in a 5 gallon (18.9 L) or larger tank, with live plants and a fine-grained gravel or sand substrate. They will appreciate live plants or other safe artificial decorations to rest on and create air bubble nests underneath.
Betta fish do have labyrinthine organs, or a lung-like organ that allows them to breathe atmospheric air, and they must have constant access to the surface of the water. If you notice your fish often gasping for air at the surface, check the water parameters for ammonia and nitrite.
Contrary to popular belief,bettas need a filterand an aquarium heater set to a constant 78-80°F (25.6-26.7°C) since they are tropical fish.
Anders,Betta shinesare some of the most beautiful and boisterous fish available in the aquarium hobby. With proper care, they will quickly fill up and bring life to any aquarium setup.
What are Tail Types?
Betta fish are largely named for the size and shape of their tail.
Most types of betta fish have been bred to display similar colors to tail types, so naming them by color can be difficult if they are not a designer breed. An exception to this would be somethinglike the dragon scale betta.
However, Betta fish genetics are complex and the science behind the tail is truly fascinating!
Why are there so many different types of betta fish?
The answer to this is simple, but complex.
Betta fish are prized for their beauty and breeders want to see how far they can take the natural genetics of this strain; it should be noted that some types of betta are the result of natural mutations, but most of the fish we see are selectively bred!
Genetically there are so many types of betta fish because betta fish have many different genes that can have many different combinations!
If you want to know how these genes interact and create the shapes and color patterns you see in your fish, take a look atour basics to betta fish color genes guide.
Most wild betta specieshave short fins. This is most likely because shorter fins are easier to handle and care for while still being attractive enough to find a mate.
Over the centuries, these fish have been bred to have longer fins, brighter colors, and increased aggression for commercial combat.
Plakat is usually interspersed with short fins to describe the length and shape of the tail. These fish have minimal fins that are usually rounded.
The term Plakat comes from the Thai word 'Plakad' which means fighting fish. Plakad can be wild-caught fish or captive-bred, but they originated in the rice patties all over Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand.
Since these fish were bred to fight, they have strong bodies, jaws and small fins for quick mobility. A hunter with smaller fins will also take less damage if paired with another male to fight.
In Thailand, both long-finned and short-finned bettas are called Plakat Thai. They specifically refer to the short-finned version as Plakat Morh and the regular long-finned variety as Plakat Cheen, which translates to "fighting fish from China".
crown tail (CT)
Crowntail betta fish are very common in local pet stores and are popular for their spiky appearance. Both males and females come in most colors, although red and blue are most prominent; females tend to be lighter in color and have shorter fins.
Crowntails are typically long-finned bettas, although some breeders are trying to make a short-finned variety where the tissue on the fins is reduced.
These fish have long, skinny rays that make the fins look like the top of a crown - hence the name. However, if the fin tissue exceeds 2/3 of the rays, then this is actually a different type of betta, the Combtail betta.
Unfortunately, both fish are prone to curling their rays in response to poor water conditions.
Combtail bettas are very similar in appearance to crowntails and it can be hard to tell the difference at first. They are a newer addition to the hobby and genetics are still being worked out for consistency.
The key to identifying them is by looking at how much tissue there is in relation to the rays. If it looks like the rays are more than half covered by bands, you're probably looking at a comb tail instead of a crown tail.
These fish don't seem to be as prone to curling as Crowntails, but they still need good water quality.
Veiltail betta fish are the poster tail type for the species.
These fish come in all colors and are easily identified by their downward sloping fins that come to a point. The fins are long and wavy and the tail curves up and over like a veil.
While probably the most popular aquarium fish of all time, this tail type is not a show fish in IBC competitions. It should also be noted that this tail type is genetically dominant over others which makes breeding Veiltails relatively easy.
Double Tail (DT)
Doubletails can be hard to find if you're looking for one. These fish arevery unique and have two separate tail lobesgiving rise to two flowing fins that are ideally completely symmetrical.
While not very popular, this tail type has expanded to almost all other betta varieties. This means you could potentially breed or find a Doubletail Veiltail, Doubletail Plakat, and so on.
Halve Maan (HM)
The Halfmoon betta has a tail with a spread of at least 180 degrees, with the caudal fin overlapping the dorsal and anal fins. These fin types come in all colors, but females have dramatically smaller fins.
Any tail spread that doesn't reach the full 180 degrees is called a delta, which we'll discuss later.
Ideally, the crescent tail should look like a big capital "D," or half of the moon or circle when fully extended.
Delta tail types are similar to Halfmoons, but do not reach the full 180 degree spread.
Instead, these fish have triangular tails where they are narrow towards the base and then expand as you get further away from the body. Tails usually spread out 120 degrees.
Super Delta tails are between Halfmoon and Delta types and usually have a spread between 120 and 160 degrees.
These fins have a different shape than the traditional Veiltail because they have no arch and no droop. Instead, these tails are still branched and shaped like the crescent moon, just falling short of the branching needed to make that 180-degree spread.
Over-Halfmoons have a vague description, which can make it quite difficult to identify them without getting exact measurements of their tails.
These fish have a tail that is more than 180 degrees when fully spread out.
OfRozestart bettahas excessive fins. Because of this, they quickly tire when swimming and should only be kept by hobbyists who have set up an aquarium around this breed.
The rosetail is a variation of the crescent, with excessive branching and ruffles giving them a floral appearance.
Although they are a recent addition to the hobby, they come in most colors. Again, the females have much shorter tails, but can still be longer than some short-finned species.
The Feathertail is a more extreme Rosetail with even more branching and an even more wavy appearance.
Dumbo/Elephant Ear betta fish are not a tail type, but they make this list because of their enlarged pectoral fins, or the set of fins found near the gills.
These fish get their name from these fins, which can resemble elephant ears when viewed from the front.
Like other extreme fin species, these betta fish require some attention when setting up an aquarium. It's also best to use a Dumbo that has a smaller tail fin so the fish isn't overstressed by the excessive fins.
Other types of bettas
New betta fish tail shapes and colors are being bred every day to push the boundaries of what is possible. As a result, there are many niches of designer tails and those that don't seem to fit into just one category.
Some of these are:
- Spade tail.These betta fish have a tail that belongs on a deck of cards. The tail starts wide at the base of the fin and then reaches a point in the middle. They are believed to be the result of Veiltail crosses.
- Halfzon.The Half-Sun betta fish is truly beautiful and is a cross between the Halfmoon and Crowntail varieties of betta. The full spread of 180 degrees is achieved, but instead of rounded edges, the fins have a slight bulge.
- roundtail.While a roundtail may seem easy to breed, these fish are actually hard to find. They are a variation of Delta, but have very smooth edges on their fins.
Which betta has the largest tail?
It is widely agreed that Rosetail betta fish have the longest tails, with Feathertails a close second. This is why most hobbyists shy away from keeping them and why it is recommended that atank setupspecifically with them in mind.
If you plan to keep a Rosetail betta fish,the tank should have a minimum water flowto make swimming as easy as possible for your fish.
The surface must be smooth to prevent dragging and laterend broken. Aquarium decorations should be natural and safe to rest when needed.
Although this type of betta has a nice tail, its beauty comes at the expense of its maneuverability and overall elegance.
Why don't wild betta fish have these traits?
Some wild betta fish have striking colors and fins, but most have duller colors such as gray and brown.
These fish have been bred for hundreds of years for their shape, color and aggression through selective breeding.
The wild Siamese fighting fish was originally graced in Thailand (formerly Siam) nearly 200 years ago. They were then challenged against each other in aggressive competition, but eventually became loved for their beauty by scientists and the aquarium hobby.
What is the best betta tail type?
With so many types of bettas to choose from, which one is the best for looks and behavior?
The short answer is all of them. It doesn't matter if you have the rarest color or the longest fins, a betta fish kept in the right tank that accentuates their beauty will always take your breath away; even heavy-tailed betta varieties can flow effortlessly under the right conditions.
While each fish has its own beauty, there are a few popular betta keeper choices.
In general, hobbyists prefer Halfmoons, Crowntails and Plakats. Halfmoon betta types embrace the smoothness of selective breeding without being too over the top, while Crowntail bettas have interest and contour.
There is a section of the aquarium hobby that favors the more natural, wild type of betta, the Plakat betta. Some hobbyists even keep other species of theBettagender, likeBetta doesn't fightInBetta mahachaiensis.
There are many different tail types that can be seen in different colors. While one may look prettier than the other, your betta fish will shine just as muchthe correct tank setup and water conditions.
While it's not necessary to know your fish's exact tail type, if you have a long-finned variety, it might be worth knowing how to care for your betta before it damages its fins.
If you have questions about betta tail varieties, the many different onescolors in which bettas can appear, or have experience keeping a rare type of fin yourself, don't hesitate to leave a comment below!