Betta fish are some of the most popular fish in the aquarium industry due to their small size and beautiful coloration. Of course, they do have some downsides, primarily the fact that you cannot, in most circumstances, house them with one another. Aside from that, they have some of the easiest care requirements out of any fish, so it’s no surprise that they are extremely popular.
In terms of which betta fish is most popular, people generally refer to the style of the fins and coloration pattern, of which there are hundreds. The names for each specific mix and match range from Samurai to Halfmoon to Mustard Gas and many more, even changing with each region. Despite this, there are distinct bettas that rise in popularity in spurts across the world, and there are some that have always been and likely will always be popular. The half-moon betta is always a fan favorite, replacing the long-time previous champion; the veil tail.
Long Finned Bettas
Most wild bettas have very short fins, however, the selectively bred domesticated bettas tend to have very long fins, especially the males. These long fins have always been attractive and viewed as valuable and beautiful.
The longfin bettas, and different variants of the longfin bettas are usually always held in higher regard than the shorter finned bettas, whether they are plackets or wilds. While they will always be in the top ranks somewhere, there has been a significant trend of experienced keepers switching over to shorter finned bettas.
Well, of course, this means the newer keepers are most likely going to keep the longer finned varieties, the shorter finned ones are becoming more attractive due to their resistance to disease, especially fin rot. The fins of the longfin bettas can be so long that they actually cut off their own circulation and rot on the body of the fish.
As you may imagine, this is quite bad, and can be difficult to treat. Since this can be caused by circulation problems, some fish will never be able to fully recover and will have reoccurring problems for the entirety of their lives. Others will recover if the cause of the fin rot was something environmental.
Halfmoon bettas have always been, and probably will always be, extremely popular. These are the bettas with long, rounded fins. When they flare, their fin will extend to a perfect 180 degrees, or half a moon, hence the name.
They come in every color variety and type, including some of the more extravagant ones, and this has helped them stay relevant throughout the years. Recently, the mustard gas half moon has been extremely popular, and high-quality specimens sell for well over one hundred dollars.
Not only are the colors versatile, but the scales are as well, meaning you can get a normal scale, metallic, or even dragon scale betta that is also a half-moon. In addition, while “half moon” often refers to the long finned betta, high-quality Plakat bettas need to have that half moon shape in the tail.
Veil Tail Bettas
Veil Tails were once the most popular tail type, with their long flowing tails and coloration. Their colors do not vary as much as the half-moon, primarily because designer breeders have not been supplying as many veil tails lately.
The issue with veil tails is that they now lack a wide variety of colors, and any betta bred with a veil tail produces more (100-300) veil tails. This quickly saturated the market, especially because many were also only red or blue, which is also a dominant trait.
The market is still oversaturated with veil tails, so sellers had to drop the price significantly, which also resulted in the veil tails receiving less care and becoming ill more often. They are now seen as a drab tail type, given that they do not carry the genes for all the new colorations. This, coupled with the oversaturated market, has led to them being viewed as one of the least desirable tail types, especially to breeders.
A Plakat betta is betta that has a short tail, either rounded or spade-shaped. This primarily applies to male bettas, as female bettas already have very short tails, though they can be many different tail types.
The Plakats are rising in popularity and coloration types and some truly stunning bettas have recently emerged. Thailand and the surrounding regions have always been leading exporters of bettas, as they are able to raise the bettas outdoors cheaply.
Plakat bettas have about the same number of different color and scale types as the half moon bettas, though the Plakat bettas seem to have more bold colors and metallic patterns. The koi Plakat is a recent example of this, as they have bolder colors in Plakats, while the long finned half moon koi tend to have areas of transparency in the fins.
Both types of koi are desirable, but the Plakat koi has been more popular on the market recently. As previously mentioned, Plakats also do not have as many health problems as the half moon bettas do, largely due to their shorter, more natural tails.
Without all the excess flesh, their circulation is better, and the ends of their fins rarely rot. In addition, they are a much more active and interactive fish as they do not have the extra weight preventing their movements.
Males vs Females
Male bettas have always been more popular than female bettas. Female bettas are incapable of growing long and flowing fins and are not as brightly colored as the male bettas are. While there are some exceptions to this rule, such as Plakat male and female bettas having tail fins of similar lengths, these are few and far between.
When people buy bettas, they are looking for gorgeous flowing fins and bright colorations. Female bettas simply lack this, so they are a less popular choice. However, if you want to keep a group of bettas together, you will have much more success with a large female betta sorority than a group of males.
Female bettas are only a more popular choice when it comes to keeping them together or if someone is looking to breed bettas. Even then, the more brightly colored females are more likely to be chosen than the duller colored ones.
Wild bettas are unpopular among the average aquarist, but they are normally quite prized amongst the more experienced fish keepers. While several species are easy to keep, they do not have a huge color profile like the domesticated bettas.
On the other hand, they are quite beautiful in their own regard, and some even have the ability to change colors, something the domesticated bettas do not. Seeing a betta change colors is truly fascinating and is not something many people have the pleasure of seeing.
For example, the Betta Imbellis is a species that commonly appears as brown with some slight iridescence on the scales, but if the fish becomes excited it will turn a dazzling green with brightly colored fins.
The main reason that they are not as common as the domesticated ones is simply due to their care. They are more difficult to take care of and are not as adaptable to every pH. Many are wild caught and will require live food daily for several months.
In addition to this, some species reproduce incredibly slowly and are nearly impossible to raise in captivity. This means that any you can buy are likely wild caught, which results in limited quantities both in the aquarium trade and their natural habitats.
In conclusion, the most popular betta is either the long finned half moon or the Plakat, as both come in a massive variety of colors and scale types. The half moon is more of a showy fish, so it is more popular with beginners, while the Plakat tends to have fewer health issues and is more popular with experienced keepers.