Among aquarium enthusiasts who keep bettas, it is usually the male fish that are known as the "colorful ones." Oftentimes the males are favored over the females not only for their color but also because males have longer tails and more dominating personalities. But this doesn't mean that the females are all drab, colorless fish.
The betta fish is native to Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia, and while most of the bettas sold in pet stores today are only distantly related to natives of Southeast Asia, they still have some features in common. The female bettas tend to have simpler coloring and features, and over the years these differences have been exaggerated through breeding, with males increasingly bred for bright coloration and long, flowing fins and tails. Little effort has been made to selectively breed such traits in the female fish.
Nevertheless, female betta fish are lovely, colorful, and anything but boring! This gallery of photos features different colors of female bettas taken by their breeder, Daniella Vereeken.
Here is a key to the abbreviations used in the fish names:
- CTPK = Crowntail Plakat
- HM = Half Moon
- BF = Butterfly
- HMPK = Half Moon Plakat
- PK = Plakat
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Traditional PK Yellow Dragon Female
This is a traditional plakat yellow dragon female, a variety of betta with shorter fins. Because of its shorter fins, this variety is also known as a short-finned fighter. In certain parts of the world, these fish are actually bred to fight. Males of this variety are bigger and thicker, with a gill beard that drops down below the chin. Females lack this feature and are smaller and thinner.
The term plakat comes from the Thai word plakad, which means "fighting fish." The term also applies to other strains of betta fish.Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
Traditional PK Red Dragon Female
This plakat betta is a bright red hue. Many plakats are more active than the long-finned version of bettas because they aren't held back by excessive flowing fins. This type is also quite resistant to disease, making it a favorite among betta collectors and pet owners.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
HMPK Turquoise Female
The half-moon plakat features the shorter fins typical of the plakat variety but has a tail shaped like a half moon. When these traits are combined, it produces a fish that can still zoom around in the water even though it has a partially flowing, ornate tail.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
04 of 08
HMPK Marble Female
This silvery half moon plakat displays the signature shorter fins of the typical plakat betta as well as the half moon's tail. HMPKs come in various colors and are available as either males or females. Their relative durability among betta varieties makes them and other plakats popular with pet owners.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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HMPK Copper Female
This half moon plakat betta has a coppery sheen in her scales. Overall, this female betta shows all the colors of the rainbow in subtle tints within her metallic sheen.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
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HM Red Dragon Female
The half moon bettas were developed by Peter Goettner, an American breeder. This variety is not as aggressive as the plakat and is slightly more difficult to breed. Half moon males are bred for fuller tails, which have a wide span and flowing shape. The female exhibits a more conservative tail with the characteristic half-moon shape.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
07 of 08
HM Red BF Female
This brightly-hued red half-moon butterfly betta is recognized as a butterfly because of the distinctive bands of color on the tail and fins. For this red female, the darkest tinge begins at the base of her tail and fins and extends until it reaches a band of silvery white on its edges.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
CTPK Multicolor Female
Also sometimes known as a fringetail, the crowntail plakat owes its name to the fin rays that give the tail the appearance of a crown. Full crowntails have longer fins and tails, but this plakat variety has the typical crown-shaped tail but with the shorter fins of the typical plakat.