Tail Types of Betta Fighting Fish

Author: Kristy Walker   Date Posted: 2 October 2018 

Learn about the exciting and often exotic tail types of the Betta (Siamese Fighting Fish). Learn about the exciting and often exotic tail types of the Betta (Siamese Fighting Fish).

BETTA SPLENDENS (Siamese Fighting Fish)

Bettas, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, are a popular and beautiful tropical fish commonly kept by aquarium hobbyists.  

They are known to be full of personality and can even be trained to do a number of tricks.

While bettas can be an easy pet to take care of, they thrive in an appropriately sized tank, good water conditions at the right temperature. They also require some set-up and maintenance to thrive.

Bettas are well known and very popular in part due to their often striking colours and impressive tails. There are many varieties of colours and tail types available, all of which are sure to brighten up your aquarium!

Betta Tail & Fin Anatomy

Betta Tail Types

There are a number of beautiful and exotic tail types, including:

Combtail Betta

Combtails are similar to Crowntails, seen below, as the tail’s rays are longer than the fin webbing. 

They are less dramatic than a Crowntail, with larger fins and smaller rays. Their tail can droop, similar to a Veiltail, but it’s preferable to not droop.

 

Crowntail Betta (CT)

Crowntails have spiky tail rays which are longer than the fin webbing. An important distinction between a Combtail and a Crowntail is the fin webbing - if it reaches further than ⅔ up the tail’s ray, your Betta is not a true Crowntail.

Given the spiky nature of their tail rays, these Bettas were named “Crowntail” in 1997 when they were first discovered in Indonesia. Within the Crowntail variety, there can be double, triple, crossed and quadruple ray extensions. 

Delta and Super Delta Betta (D), (SD)

A Delta Betta’s tail begins narrowly at the body of the betta, widening out to form a triangular shape.

Super Delta Bettafeatures many similarities to the Delta, except that its tail will flare to an impressive 120 to 180°!

A key feature of both Delta and Super Deltas is that their tail should be symmetrical and evenly spread - with an equal amount of tail above and below the middle of its body. Their tails should include webbing to the very tip of the tail, with no combing or crowning. 

Double Tail (DT)

The Double Tail is recognised by two, distinct tails, which are separated at the body of the betta. This is a double caudal fin and not just a split fin - a true double tail with two caudal peduncles. The two caudal fins are not necessarily the same size, although this is preferred for showing purposes.

DTs also typically have shorter bodies and broader fins than your average Betta, with anlarger than average dorsal fin. 

 

 Dumbo Ear (“Elephant” Ear)

While Dumbo Ears are typically not a different tail type to other Bettas, they are distinct enough to warrant their own category.

Dumbo Ears have extra large pectoral fins, affectionately thought of as “elephant ears”. They are a relatively new type of Betta, and the enlarged pectoral fin, just behind their head, gives them a unique and exotic look. 

Feathertail 

Feathertails, although similar to Rosetails in appearance, have even more branching of the fin rays, providing an extra ruffled and ‘feathery’ look. 

Feathertails were initially discovered as an extreme variation of a Halfmoon. They are difficult to breed as the excessive mutations which cause their ruffled appearance can lead to poor scales and short ventral fin mutations. In unfortunate cases, Feathertails can have difficulty swimming due to the excessive fin ray branching. 

 

 Halfmoon (HM) and Over-Halfmoon (OHM)

Halfmoon Bettas are one of the most popular types of Betta. 

Their caudal tails are huge, and fan to an impressive 180° when fully flared. This gives the caudal tail a ‘halfmoon’ shape. The caudal tail should form a ‘D’ shape with straight edging when flared. Both the dorsal and anal fins will also be noticeably larger than other tail types. Due to the size of their tail and fins, Halfmoons can be plagued by tail-biting and fin damage. Unfortunately, some Halfmoons can have difficulty with free movement, due to large, unnatural fins. They can also be difficult to successfully breed.

Over-Halfmoons are a more extreme version of a Halfmoon Betta. When flared, their caudal tail flares over 180°, which can be seen in both long fin and Plakat Halfmoons. 

Plakat (PK) 

Plakats are a short-finned version of common Bettasand are often thought to be more active than their long-finned relatives, which may be due to not having long, flowing fins to restrict their movements. 

Plakats have short, round tails and short fins without the flare or flow of regular Bettas. They are the most closely related Betta to wild or traditional Bettas. While with a passing glance a male Plakat could be mistaken for a female, the males can be identified by their elongated ventral fins, rounded caudal fin and a sharp, pointed anal fin. Due to selective and cross breeding, the Plakat type now also includes Halfmoon and Crown Tail Plakats, which feature the same characteristics as the regular Halfmoon and Crown Tails, although in a shorter package!

Rosetail

Rosetail Bettas were originally discovered during attempts to breed the perfect Halfmoon. They appear as a Halfmoon with extreme and excessive branching of their rays, which gives their tails a ruffled appearance. The overlapping rays of the fins can give a “rose” appearance, hence the name Rosetail.

Unfortunately, much like Feathertails, the mutations which cause this ray branching can also cause poor scales, short ventral fins and difficulty swimming. They are also difficult to breed on. 

Spadetail 

Spadetail Bettas have a clear ‘spade’ appearance in their caudal fin, with a wide base, narrowing smoothly to a spaded point. They have an equal spread on either side of the fin. 

Spadetail Bettas have decreased in popularity and are less common than they were several years ago, making them a slightly special find these days. They can sometimes be found mistakenly marked as the much more common Veiltail Betta. Spadetails are thought to be a recessive gene, which could contribute to their declining numbers. 

Veiltail (VT)

The Veiltail Betta is the most common variety found for purchase today. Wild shortfin bettas are selectively bred to artificially lengthen the fins, and the Veiltail is the natural form taken by the fins in this process. As Veiltail is the dominant tail type of over tail types, it is considered undesirable for breeding and show Bettas. 

 

The Veiltail’s caudal fin arches and slopes downwards and is easily recognised for its flowing, long, swooping tail. 

While a common type and not as fancy as other tail types, the Veiltail is an attractive type in its own right and is just as active as enjoyable as its fancier relatives. 

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