Common Patterns in Bettas
By: Victoria Stark
By: Victoria Stark
Like color, a breeder of bettas is limited only by his or her own imagination with regards to pattern. They come in polka dotted, marbled, butterfly, streaked, and peppered. I think the only pattern I haven't yet seen is zebra-striped.
BICOLOR: Bettas can be available in either dark bicolor or light bicolor. Dark bicolor is a blue, green, red, black, brown, or steel betta with an entirely different color on its fins. Light bicolor is a flesh, white, yellow, pink, or orange betta with fins of a different color. Contrast is key, with the body and fin colors clearly separated at the junction between body and fin. There should be no other colors present other than the two primary Bicolors. The presence of another color, however slight, is considered a fault. Dark bicolor bettas include those that carry the strain names Chocolate (brown body/yellow fins),Mustard Gas (blue, green, or steel body/yellow fins - w/o BF pattern), and even some high iridescence melanos (blue body/black fins) and marbles. Light bicolors include Cambodian (flesh body/red fins),lavender, and certain pastels and marbles which show the pattern.
BUTTERFLY: This is a very popular and attractive betta pattern, and the best part is that it's not limited to the show types! It is common to find a nice butterfly betta at your local pet store. The term 'butterfly' (BF) refers to a pattern that affects the fins by producing 'bands' of contrasting color. Most butterflies only have two bands, but some can have three ('tribands') and more! The bands should be of more or less equal width (ideally 1/2 the area of the total fin) and symmetry. Lack of definition between the bands is considered a fault. Most common butterfly bettas are blue/white, green/white, steel/white, black/clear, cambodian/red/white, red/white, and yellow/white. In most BF patterns (except for cambodian) the band closest to the body is the same color as the body. The exception is when the band closest to the body is an entirely different color from the body. These are called 'Tutweilers' (named for the first breeder to create a cambodian/white/red betta) and, though once considered rare, are now being produced fairly regularly. The cambodian/white/red variety is still difficult to come by, however.
MARBLE: The marble betta has markings that are similar in appearance to a Pinto horse. Two types of Marbles exist, the Traditional Marble which is a dark bodied fish with a white head or face, and the Colored Marble which may have many other colors than just the Black/Flesh combination. They are also available in yellow marble, red marble, multicolor marble, and many other combinations. Though Cellophane is sometimes considered to be a genetic Marble variant, it is not classed as a Marble phenotypically. The fins and the body must show at least two colors. These must include a light and dark color mix. Fish exhibiting sharp 'edges' to the Marbling pattern are preferred over those with blended colours. 'Piebald' bettas also fall in the marble category, and are solid or marbled bettas with pale heads/faces. Marbles are beautiful and interesting, but subject to change without notice. Breeding marble to marble will usually give you some marbles, some solids, some cellophanes, and some butterflies. Any of these colors may change in a matter of weeks to become fully marbled, or lose their marble pattern to become solid or cellophane.
GRIZZLED: Grizzled bettas have been around for a long time and the pattern is commonly found in pet stores. The grizzling shows a random flecking, spotting, or peppering of any iridescent color over a pastel or opaque body. Each of the fins should demonstrate some grizzled pattern. Fins and body should show distinctly two shades of iridescent color (any one of the iridescent colors combined with the lighter pastel or opaque base color). Most grizzled fish are also pastels, hence the phrase "Pastel Grizzled".