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14 Different Types of Betta Fish


Get to know all about the many different types of Betta fish and gain insights into why these beautiful and colorful fishes make up a huge chunk of the aquarium trade.

Two colorful betta fishes on white background.

Betta fish are freshwater species that are native to the region of Southeast Asia. They thrive in warm flood plains, drainage ditches, pools, and rice patties. The betta fish got its name from an ancient clan of warriors that were referred to as ‘Bettah’. The fish was an aggressive fighter, which is why it was given this combatant name in the 1850s. The sport quickly became so popular in Thailand that it was regulated and taxed by the then King of Siam.

The fish have adapted to the draughts and storm flooding in the Southeast region, making them quite hardy fish. The species has evolved into a labyrinth fish, meaning that it has the rare ability to breathe air, unlike many other fish species. It has a labyrinth organ, which even allows the fish to survive in the open air for short periods as long as it stays moist. It helps the fish survive in oxygen-deprived stagnant waters, which is its preferred habitat.

Siamese Fighting Fish

Two Siamese fighting fishes

The Siamese fighting fish is known as one of the most beautiful species of fish throughout the world. This Betta fish is really popular as an aquarium fish since it comes in really unique and vibrant colors; however, they are now listed as vulnerable under IUCN due to the overwhelming aquarium trade. The Siamese fish is part of the Gourami family, and they are native to Cambodian, Vietnamese, Thai, and Laos regions. They are mostly found in habitats like floodplains, canals, and rice paddies.

This fish is very territorial, so you should be careful about the other fish you add to the tank. The males are usually extremely aggressive and will fight with other Betta fish to the death. Depending on the size of the aquarium, the females may also become hostile to other Siamese fish as well.

The Siamese fighting fish has a diet consisting of zooplankton, mosquito, and other insect larvae. They breathe air via their labyrinth organs and build their nest in bubbles. This keeps the eggs safe from harm and moist.

The Emerald Green Betta Fish

The Emerald Green Betta Fish

The Emerald Green Betta Fish is also known as the blue betta fish. It is native to Laos and Thailand, especially in the basins of the main Mekong, Chao Phraya River. It is also found in the Chi and Mun rivers of the Thai region called Isan.

The species can grow up to 2.8 inches (7 cm) in length. It has a beautiful vibrant emerald green or blue color throughout its body. It has really large fins and tail, which look absolutely lovely due to the rich colors. Even the scales of the fish are an amazing green color.

The Peaceful Betta Fish

The Peaceful Betta Fish

The Peaceful Betta fish’s scientific name is Betta Imbellis but it is also commonly known as the Crescent betta. This name comes from their rounded caudal fin which is outlined on the edges with red making it look like a crescent shape. The fish is native to the Southeast Asian region where it can be commonly found in stagnant waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Southern Thailand. It has also been introduced in Singapore since it is a really beautiful fish. It mostly prefers habitats like pools, ditches, rice paddies, and swamps. The species can grow up to 2.4 inches or 6 cm in length.

This species is unique due to the labyrinth organs which resemble lungs. This actually allows the peaceful betta fish to breathe air. Stagnant waters are prone to a lack of oxygen and the crescent betta has adapted its respiratory system accordingly.

Betta Mahachaiensis

Betta Mahachaiensis

This betta fish is locally known in the Thai region as ikan bettah. This name comes from its native region of Samut Sakhon Province in Thailand. The Betta Mahachaiensis’ habitat near Bangkok is under extreme danger due to expansion projects, which is why it is listed as vulnerable. It prefers brackish freshwater like tidal, coastal swamps and mangrove regions.

Male fish tend to make bubble nests near the base of the tree or among the roots. This provides the fish shelter and protection from the running current of the water. It can grow to a maximum length of 4.4 cm. It has vibrant bluish-green to iridescent green parallel bars on its side and similar coloring on the anal fin. The rest of the fish is black which looks pretty against the green colors of the body.

The SpotFin Betta

The SpotFin Betta

The Spot Fin betta fish is a freshwater fish, known as the Betta macrostomia in the scientific community. It is part of the labyrinth fish species from the small island called Borneo. It prefers very-slow moving water in shallow streams, rivers, and pools. The species can grow up to 2.6 inches (6.7 cm) in length.

The fish has a red body with a black bar separating the anal fin from the rest of the fish. The anal fin also has black color around the edges. It is identified by the reddish spot at the base of its head where it connects to the rest of the body.

Betta Channoides

Betta Channoides

The Channoides are a generic name for the Channa fish, also known as the snakehead fish. They are part of the Osphronemidae family. These fish are native to the Mahakam river basin on the Borneo Island in Indonesia. The fish are commonly found in acidic, brownish water is mostly shallow forest streams. It grows up to 35 – 40 mm. It eats small insects, zooplankton, and small invertebrates.

They can fall prey to more vigorous or bigger fish since they are a small, peaceful species. Males have broader head shapes and are more colorful than female channoides. Males are scarlet in color while females have a brick red color. They have an accessory breathing organ called the labyrinth organ which allows it to breathe air and survive in oxygen-deprived water.

Betta Albimarginata

Betta Albimarginata

Albimarginata means white margin which means the fish is aptly named since it has white fin margins along its body. It belongs to the Perciformes order and the family of Osphronemidae. It is mostly found in Indonesia on the small island of Borneo. It prefers streams with a moderate flow of water which should be very shallow with a depth of 5-10 cm. it can grow up to a maximum standard length of 25 – 30 mm. It eats small insects, zooplankton, and small invertebrates.

It is recognized by the greyish-yellow dorsal section, orange spot on the opercle, ventrally blackish head, and fin patterning. It is almost completely red except for bright white band on its caudal fin and distal fin. The male fish is a brighter scarlet color while the female fish are mostly brick red color.

Krabi Mouth-Brooding Betta

Krabi Mouth-Brooding Betta

The Krabi Mouth-Brooding Betta is scientifically known as the Betta Simplex. It is found in the Krabi Province of Thailand and can grow up to 3 inches (8 cm). It thrives in the vegetation near the banks of wetlands and karst springs. The species is popular in the aquarium trade and is often taken from the wild. Due to over-exploitation and habitat degradation, this species is labeled as critically endangered by the IUCN.

This betta fish has rounded fins and a greyish-brown or yellowish-brown color. It has three pale longitudinal stripes and the gills of the fish are a bluish-green color. Even the fins have a vibrant blue iridescence color.

Like other betta fish, they have labyrinth organs in the head which allows them to get oxygen from the air. The Krabi Mouth-Brooding Betta is a very efficient jumper, which allows it to fly through the air for oxygen. The fish is known as mouth brooder since it keeps fertilized eggs in its mouth until their hatch.

Betta Pugnax

The Betta Pugnax is also known as the Penang betta. It is native to Southeast Asia and used to be found in the Riau Islands, Sumatra, Thailand, and the Malay Peninsula. They lived in the vegetation along the banks of swift-flowing forest streams. Their numbers have depleted due to the overwhelming aquarium trade and habitat degradation. It can grow up to 2.6 inches (6.7 cm) and is part of the mouth-brooding Betta species. It is a natural predator of the mosquito larvae, which is why it is often used to control mosquito populations.

Pugnax betta fish have an upturned mouth since they are top feeders. The flakes, pellets, daphnia, bloodworms, and mosquito larvae on the surface of the water are their main diet. They build nests near bubbles since that keeps the eggs safe, moist, and together in one place. The bubble also proves to be a great source of oxygen for the eggs.

Betta Pallifina

Betta Pallifina

The Betta Pallifina comes from the island of Borneo and can grow up to 2.6 inches (6.6 cm). They have 7-9 soft rays and around 32 scales. They have a vivid color of green and blue iridescence with a tan-brown body. The color is less noticeable in the females of the Betta Pallifina. The gill plates of the adult males have metallic scales that can be gold or sky blue depending on the lighting.

The Betta Pallifina is found in clear forest stream in the Barito River basin of Indonesia. They linger near the aquatic vegetation and marginal plants. They are a mouth-brooding which means that males carry the fry in his mouth for three weeks until they hatch.

Betta Persephone

Betta Persephone

The Betta Persephone is found in Malaysia where it is colloquially known as the Johar fish. It is in limited distribution due to habitat degradation and over-exploitation. It is listed as critically endangered by the IUCN since it has almost disappeared in the wild. They thrive in closed-canopy forests where there is thick aquatic vegetation in streams and swamps.  It is known as the Persephone fish due to its blackish coloration after the Greek goddess Persephone who was the Queen of the Underworld.

It is a really small fish with a maximum standard length of 1 inch (2.6 cm). The males usually are more vivid in color and have a blue-black body while the females have a browner tone. It feeds on small invertebrates and insects. It lays its eggs in small bubbles within the submerged vegetation.

Betta Livida

The Betta Livida comes from the Latin word meaning jealousy, due to the green eyes that this species has. It is native to the small region of Selangor state in Malaysia in blackwater streams and peat swamps. Its habitat has been almost completely destroyed due to rubber plantations and oil palm extraction, which is why it has been listed as endangered by the IUCN.

It can grow up to a maximum length of 36.3 mm. They eat small invertebrates and insects in the wild while in captivity they can eat dried foods, blood worms, daphnia, and Artemia. Some can squabble over their territory, but physical altercation is very rare. Males of the Betta Livida have more extended fins and are more colorful than females. They are mostly red in, color and their patterning is a lot like the B. Persephone and B. Miniopinna. They nest in or near bubbles near vegetation for shelter and protection.

Slender Betta

Slender Betta

The Betta bellica means warlike in, Latin and the fish is commonly known as the Slender Betta fish. It is part of the family of Anabantidae and belongs to the order of Perciformes. It is found in different provinces of Malaysia and Indonesia. It prefers forest swaps that have heavy vegetation or blackwater streams. On rare occasions, they can be found in freshwater swamp forests.

It grows up to a maximum standard length of 80–90 mm. In the wild, the Slender Betta fish survives only on insects, especially the larvae of the damselfly. It is an efficient jumper and tends to leap out of the water to catch potential prey. It nests in bubbles or near bubbles since it keeps the fry safe, moist, and together. It has the labyrinth organ which allows it to breathe air. Males have more vivid color pigments and extended fins as compared to females. Their body is usually dark brown except for the iridescent green marks on the sides.

Betta Ibanorum

Betta Ibanorum

The Betta Ibanorum is named after the indigenous people living in Borneo. It belongs to the family of Osphronemidae and the order of Perciformes. It is found in Borneo and other areas of Indonesia. It usually lives in clear streams that have flowing water. They can also be found in roadside ditches, ancient peat swamp, black water, and small pools.

They grow up to a maximum length of 75–85 mm. They mostly feed on small invertebrates and insects in the wild. The males of the species have broader heads, extended fins, and bigger bodies. The males also carry the fry of eggs in their mouths until they hatch. It has transverse bars on the caudal fin and bluish or greenish iridescent scales.

 

Betta fish are really beautiful creatures with brilliant shades of colors. The big fins and tails dance in the water, which looks absolutely memorizing. However, due to this reason, they are often over-exploited for the aquarium trade. A lot of species of the betta fish are critically endangered since their habitats are under constant threat. More effort should be made to restore their habitats and numbers since they are such delicate, beautiful creatures.

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