Understanding the difference
You cannot visit a stock page
without immediately running into these two words: "geno"
and "pheno". What do they mean and how can they affect
|pheno: (short for: phenotype)
A phenotype is a betta that shows certain traits. This betta
carries certain genes that have combined together to express
themselves in the current individual. Usually "pheno"
is not mentioned on stock pages because it goes without
saying LOL. For example a lot listed under "Black melano
male" means melano pheno male.|
|geno: (short for: genotype)
A genotype is a betta that does not show certain traits he
carries. This betta carries certain genes that will express
themselves in the following generation(s) (in its offspring).
Geno is used very often on stock pages to indicate the genetic
potential and background of a lot. For example, a melano geno
male will be a blue male that however carries melano genes and
will produce blacks.
For the sake of clarity let us
look at a very good example:
|Double Tail (DT) genes:
A betta with a Single Tail (ST) may be a DT geno if it carries
DT. This is often showed as ST/dt. The symbol means Single
Tail carrying Double Tail. If you were to look at two ST
bettas, one being a DT geno and one not being a DT geno, you
would not see any difference. Let us illustrate this:|
ST (not DT geno)
ST (DT geno)
As you see above both fish look
pretty similar. Unless the seller knows that the one to the right
carries a gene called DT and tells you , you will not know.
|Melano genes: A blue
betta may produce black bettas if he carries the melano genes.
He would then be a blue betta carrying melano, also called a melano
geno. A melano geno betta is NOT a black betta. It is a blue
bettas that carries the black and that will produce some black
offsprings. Let us illustrate this:
blue (melano geno)
blue (not carrying melano)
As you see above both fish look
pretty similar. Unless the seller knows that the one to the left
carries a gene called melano and tells you , you will not
|Butterfly (BF) genes: A
solid colored betta may produce beautiful butterfly bettas if it
carries the BF gene. It then referred to as a BF geno.
The above example show just how
important it is to purchase stock from a reputable breeder who knows
their lines well and understand the genes at work. You will not
usually be able to tell by just looking at it. Let us illustrate
blue (not a BF geno)
blue (BF geno)
Now let us look at the results you
could obtain by breeding the two above bettas to their respective
a Double Tail blue/white Butterfly
a Single Tail black melano betta :)))
The above example clearly shows
how a genotype can produce a phenotype that looks very different
from him. It shows that two seemingly identical bettas can
produce dramatically different results. It also
stresses the importance of purchasing ONLY from a reputable breeder:
He/she knows their lines genetic background inside out and can tell
you what the geno of your lot is as well as predict possible results
in future generations. Last but not least it clearly
demonstrates that a photo is not be your best asset when
picking stock ;).
greatly depending on the each lot's geno. Meaning that 3 bettas that
look seemingly identical may have very different prices! Once again
let us look at the above example and add one more blue betta to the
equation. This last betta is blue and does not carry anything else.
It is called a ST blue betta. Let us look at all 3 bettas and
show what their prices could potentially be (this is only an example
and is not meant to reflect current market rate of such
ST blue $20
ST melano geno $50
ST/dt blue BF geno $60
As you see, the prices are directly related to the gene pool each
betta carries (or does not carry). Hence looking at just a
photo of the betta will not explain why the prices are what they
are. Likewise, looking at your betta once it is delivered
will not help you understand why you paid the price you paid. When
you buy betta you buy genes.
When you buy bettas you
You buy into a
line, into a gene pool, into the hard work of a breeder who knows
their line well and is able to help you foresee the possible
color/pattern outcomes of future generations. This knowledge is
invaluable and worth spending the extra money for. A beginner may
sell his/her fish cheap but they also do not know what they are
doing and you may get the most surprising (and seldom desirable)
outcome when you spawn the lot. Novices are notorious for crossing
the most incompatible colors together, because they 'want to try
it'. Experienced breeders have tried it all and have learned the
does and don'ts and
know how to manipulate betta genes with precision and some predictability.
is imperative you see photos of what the strain has produced in the
past (BETTATALK provides such photos, plus an informative background
on each of the strains we sell on a consistent basis - see our
catalog). Remember that the same
genes run in the veins (if I may say) of your purchased lot! Genes
get passed from generation to generation (when handled by a
knowledgeable breeder, that is LOL). Seeing what the strain is
capable of producing will help you assess the potential of your lot.
Do not expect your lot to look like these top specimen produced over
the years. DO expect, however, that the genes necessary to duplicate
that specific look are included in the DNA of your bettas :).
Although your specific bettas may look very different from the
ideal phenotype of the strain, your betta carry the gene necessary
to produce the look. Let us illustrate this very important notion
with my very popular Apache line.
this otherwise plain looking, red Apache betta produced:
these exciting looking Apaches!
The above example illustrates the
fact that the plain looking red apache may not have looked like the
top specimen displayed on the Apache catalog page, but it possessed
the DNA necessary to produce some of the best Apaches produced to
date! Hence when you are purchasing Apaches on the stock page, and
they are described as solid reds for example, you may think when you
receive them that you paid a lot for plain red bettas. That is
because you are unable to see the genes carried and foresee
the outcome. Trusting the expertise of your seller is of the utmost importance.
Trust that the seasoned, successful breeder knows the genes of their
lines and prices his/her lots accordingly.
Should I buy pheno or geno?
can buy a phenotype or a genotype from a strain and in the end, both
will give you similar results. So you could go either way. Each way
has, however, some pros and cons:
|buying phenotypes. If
phenotypes are available and you have the budget (they will be
significantly more expensive), then by all means do select a
phenotype lot. Meaning that if you want to work with melano and
find a pheno melano (a betta that is actually black melano
himself), and if you can afford it, then buy it. You will spend
more money but get faster results. Phenotypes will also usually
produce a greater percentage of what you are after.|
|buying genotypes. If
phenotypes of the strains are not available or if you do not
have a big budget, then a geno pair is a great way to go. A geno
pair will cost you less (you save $$), but you still have the
same genes. If you have the budget, you can sometimes get 2 geno
pairs for what you might pay for 1 pheno pair, hence doubling
your chance of a successful spawn! As you see there are some
major advantages going this route. Downside: There will be a
period of wait before you produce your first phenotypes. For
example, if you cannot afford a black melano, or cannot find
one, you can purchase a melano geno. This blue betta carries
melano and when spawned with a sister who also carries melano,
will produce a percentage of black melano bettas (phenos). Then
you take one of your black melano offspring and off you go :).
Extra time invested: 1 spawn = 4 months. In the great picture, 4
months is nothing, especially when you are going to be working
with the strain for YEARS to come!
Let us illustrate above with this
to produce what you want
|| costs more
higher % of the desired look
|| costs less
smaller % of the desired look
|| wait one
Either way you go, you will, in
the end, get the same results.
Note that many sought after betta
looks are extremely hard to produce (ex: Apache phenos and
Dreamcatcher phenos, true halfmoon BFs, etc...). Bettas that are
phenotypes are oftentimes needed by the breeder to insure the
survival of the strain. If extra ones are available, then
they will be put up for sale but the prices are usually very high
(duh!). If no
phenotypes are available, should one be very patient and wait
for some? My advice: Do not wait for a phenotype to become
available! You might never get one. Remember that a billion other
people want one too so they are so hard to snatch! Instead, do get a
geno pair, trust in the breeder's knowledge and revel in the
knowledge that your smilingly 'boring looking' pair is going to give
you a number of the marvelous betta look you are after. Roll up your
sleeve and get to work! LOL
I hope the above has helped all of
you understand all the ever so settle and ever so confusing betta
gene nuances as well as betta pricing in general. And remember:
Photos will not show you what you are really buying!