all in the fins, baby! :)
As you already know, male
bettas originally had short fins. In the wild, all bettas still do. Long
fins was a mutation from the original form and (surprisingly) is dominant.
Selective breeding has created many different shapes of tails and finnage
variations and I know
some breeders who are focusing all their efforts in obtaining specific
tail shapes. As years go by, the standards of what is a desirable tail
shape have changed, and continue changing. The "droopy" veil
tails have been replaced by the more showy fan tails, then by Delta tails,
Super Delta tails and full Halfmoon tail spans. Last but not least teh
latest finnage variation is the crowntail, which was created by
selectively breeding combtails. confused and lost? :) Don't worry, by
the time you have looked at all the photos I am going to provide you
with here, you will become quite the betta finnage expert (or at least
think you are LOL).
So here are a few pictures to illustrate these otherwise
abstract shape names:
Initially , ALL
bettas had short tails. The small fins of a fully grown wild male betta
may not be showy but think about it, would you rather be beautiful, or be
alive? In the wild bettas need to be fast to escape predators and the long
fins would be nothing but trouble. Kind of like going to a war zone in a
wedding dress!! These short finned bettas look like our female bettas,
which as you know, don't grow long fins. Perhaps in the future this also,
caused short finned bettas to have longer fins. And the veil tail was
created. Veil tails hang down when the betta is not flaring, and are not
much to look at even when bettas flare. The tail is larger at the base,
but almost immediately narrows down. It is asymmetrical, meaning that
if you divide the tail horizontally (see red line) you would end up with
2 non identical parts. All pet store bettas are veil tail, and veil
tai is no longer a desirable tail shape. It is my understanding that veil
tails are not even allowed to compete on the show circuit anymore. Hence,
breeding pet store bettas is a huge waste of your time because you will
never get quality finnage.
A fan tail, or
round tail, looks like a fan with rounded edges. It is much wider at the
ends than it is at the base, resulting in a tail that spreads out open
beautifully. If you divide the tail horizontally with an imaginary line,
you will have 2 symmetrical parts. Again, there is roundness of the edges
(unlike the delta tail which has sharp edges). The tail angle may be wider
or narrower, depending on the quality of the line. Now a day a rounded
tail is considered a fault and so you will notice that I never
sell any on my stock page. I pride myself on selecting only
bettas with halfmoon genes, showing good tail shape and sharp
Delta tail was
the first step before achieving halfmoons (see below). Delta tail shape
ism like its name indicate more of a delta or a triangular shape
if you will. It is like a fan
tail but with crisp, sharp angles at the tail edges. The sharper, the better.
Delta tail are also symmetrical, and the angle may vary, but of course the
wider the angle, the better. If the angle is wide, say above 130°, then we have
what we call a "super delta tail" (see below). And if the angle reaches a
perfect 180° (or more) then we have a halfmoon!
super delta tail is one step above a delta tail and one step
below a halfmoon. In short it is an almost halfmoon, but not
quite fish. The tail shape is the same, it is just the span that
ranges between a wide delta and about 170 degrees or so. Super
delta tails are very desirable, although of course not quite as
desirable as a full halfmoons. they are however less pricey and
easier to produce. A super delta tail can also be called a
"halmoon geno" because it usually carries the same
genes as its halfmoon siblings. here agin, look for crisp edges
and avoid rounded tails!!
were once very rare but now, thanks to the efforts of many top
breeders, we have them in almost all color variations. Halfmoons
remain the standard by which all bettas are measured. A
Halfmoon, like its name indicates, is a betta with a tail in the
shape of half a moon (or 180 degree tail span). Generally
speaking bettas with spans of about 170 and above are tagged
"halfmoons". By far the most beautiful of tail
variations, it is also the hardest to produce and the most
fragile. With that big of a tail, bettas usually end up tearing
them, a phenomenon called "blowing a tail". It is very
common of halfmoons. The orange male on the left does not have
very heavy finnage but I selected his photo because his fins are
sheer so you can very clearly see the tail rays and see how they
branch (4 branching or more) to create the wide span.
gene all my strains carry is the double tail gene, my all time favorite. A
Double Tail betta (dt) has two tail lobes instead of one. It also has
twice (sometimes more) as many rays in the dorsal fin (top fin) as a
regular Single Tail (ST) betta, resulting in a dorsal fin that is twice
(or more) larger than a ST betta. Yes, you get twice as much for the price
of one! hehehehe. The ideal Double Tail betta is one with two large even
lobes (such as the yellow betta to the left, born in my fishroom and with
which I started my Gorgeous Yellow line). Notice how even both lobes are,
and how the entire finnage looks like a perfect circle. This is an
outstanding Double Tail. DT is recessive, but ST bettas that carry
the DT gene have better finnage and larger dorsals then bettas who don't
carry DT. Pretty much all my ST bettas carry the DT gene. (indicated by the symbol: ST/dt).
Comb tail is not
a tail shape per say but it does affect the way finnage looks so I wanted
to cover it here. Combtail is a genetic trait that extends the ray beyond the fin edge,
hence making the edge of the fins look like a comb. It can be observed in
any betta tail shape variation. I personally always loved the combtail trait and
was thrilled when breeders starting working on improving it and
tried to create a version with exaggerated long extending rays
is the newest fin variation and originated from the far East. By
selectively breeding together bettas that showed strong combtail
traits the first crowntails were created. Fringes can get very
long and are very striking looking. Crowntails can be found in a
single ray variation, or double ray or even double double ray.
On the left we have a double ray pictured: Notice that each
fringe is made out of two ray (fork). Now a day crowntails come
in almost all colors :). And their advantage is that they do not
blow their tails. the downside is that they remain quite
aggressive and may be a bit more challenging to spawn.
I have never
seen this mutation other than in this picture. This betta was bred by Mr.
Tanaka, a Japanese breeder. Although the lobes seem to be split I wonder
whether we are not actually looking at a regular DT betta with clear spots
on his marbled fins, which is quite common in marbles. Note: the top lobe
is considerably smaller than the lower lobe, which is a fault.
This is a lyre
tail betta and is also one of Mr.
Tanaka's bettas. Mr Tanaka had, by the way, some amazing bettas!!
This to the left is a blue cambodian. I have actually never
seen a tail like this one in real life but it seemed worthy of being
displayed on this page! Whether it would breed true (and therefore could be
propagated) is another issue altogether.
Well, that sums it
up. If you have a betta with a yet to be discovered tail shape, email me!! Till then,