The Many Configurations of Betta Fish Tails
The variety of Betta fish that most of us are familiar with - regardless
of tail configuration - is technically referred to as "Betta splendens". These fish are bred for a variety of
of recessive and dominant characteristics that will have an affect on the shape, size, and number of "rays",
or long, comb-like protrusions that extend from the Bettas tail. These fish should not be confused with their
wild counterparts found in the rice paddies of South East Asia, they are a related, but separate breed of fish
that has been bred for color and tail variations. What follows is a brief rundown of the main types of Betta
fish tails one might come across when looking for a new pet.
The veil tail Betta fish, commonly called VT Bettas by breeders, is the most common tail configuration found in
Betta fish. The vast majority of male Betta fish sold at pet stores have the veil tail shape. Veil tailed Bettas
are the easiest, and thus the cheapest type of Betta fish one can acquire. The top dorsal fin is longer on the veil
tailed Betta than the bottom dorsal fin.
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The bottom fins usually have much longer rays which extend from the base of the dorsal fins. The arch-shaped
caudal, or tail fin, look a lot like a veil, hence where these fish get their name. While many collectors and
enthusiasts are not impressed by the humble veil tail, they are beautiful fish that have impressive displays when
feeling aggressive and will brighten up any home.
While round tailed Bettas are a bit harder to find than veil tailed, they are probably the second easiest type
of Betta to come by. Many high quality exotic pet stores or aquatics shops will carry this type of Betta fish. As
the name implies, the caudal fins on a round tail are exactly that, round. The rays on this type of Betta start to
extend towards the middle of the fish and get longest closest to the caudal fin. These are often misidentified as
delta tailed Betta fish. Another common name for a round tailed Betta is a "single tail" (ST) Betta.
The longest rays on this type of Betta fish are as long as the longest rays on the dorsal fin of the fish. The
caudal fin on a delta tail Betta appears almost triangular in shape, which is how it gets its name. The width of
the tail amongst delta tail Betta fish varies, and the wider the tail, the more coveted the fish.
Half Moon Tails
This type of Betta fish is best viewed as a very enhanced delta tail Betta. A half moon Betta is a delta tailed
Betta whose caudal fins are so wide that they form a half circle, and thus have a half moon shape. This is a very
highly coveted and rare type of fish and breeders and enthusiasts alike are very specific in the specifications
that must be met for these fish to be termed "half moon" Bettas. Both caudal fins must be 180 degrees apart so that
they form a perfect half circle. These fish are impressive to behold as they have a very dramatic look even when
not flared out.
A double tail Betta fish is probably the rarest configuration to be found in the world of different Betta fish
tails. The caudal fin is forked into two distinct tail fins. The dorsal fins on a double tail Betta fish are the
same length as the caudal fins. This tail configuration is a result of a recessive genetic mutation and this, as a
result, very difficult to breed for, which accounts for its rarity and high cost.
A crown tail Betta fish has a large number of distinct rays extending beyond the webbed, filmy part of the
fish's caudal fin. These rays give the fish a slightly "spiky" appearance, which adds to their aggressive look.
This is a fairly new type of Betta fish tail, first introduced in Indonesia in 1997. Some breeders will breed for a
double tail mutation in the crown fish, creating the rarest and most expensive Betta fish available.
While we are most familiar with the common veil tail Betta, the world of Betta fish is much larger than that.
There are a huge variety of Betta fish tails, and as more mutations are found and the genetics of Betta breeding
gets better, this trend will likely continue. For those who want a rarer, more exotic Betta, looking into reputable
exotic fish dealers to acquire them is the best option.
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