The Elusive Purple Betta
Outwardly, breeding for purple seems to be a simple matter of covering up a layer of red pigment on bettas with a layer of blue. Oftentimes it seems that some shades of royal blue lean towards purple/violet, and therefore it should only be a small step to bring them to a true purple shade. However, introducing red into a line of royals will usually only give the breeder blues with excessive red wash, or red/blue multicolors, NO purple bettas. Some variations of purple body/secondary color fins have come out under the various names of Purple Gas, Purple Popsicle, Purple Salamander and the like, and these are very attractive fish, but are not by definition a pure, solid-colored purple. (Photo: Artist's concept of a perfect purple betta (fish bred by Mark Ibara, enhancement by Saratha Chet)
Theoretically, a purple betta could be created out of the Mustard Gas line by choosing two fish from this line with high iridescence in the body and a lessening of yellow in the fins, but these crosses have proved unstable, giving the breeder a majority of the typical color seen in MG, i.e. blue, green, and black.
Marcus Gutzeit in Germany has achieved a tentative line of purple fish from taking a pinkish-colored HM male from a multicolor line and crossing it with a red female. The result was a light, bubblegum purple that may be the first step in creating the deeply-colored purple we are looking for.
In our own experiments with creating a true purple betta, we started with a royal blue male that came out of a blue butterfly spawn, and displayed a more 'purplish' shade of royal than the typical blue coloration. We crossed him onto a blue/red female that came out of a Black Devil (black/red) and steel (melano geno) cross, and the result was a very violet blue fish, very close to our ideal. At the same time, another spawn had been raised from the same blue/red female that produced our violet male and a pink/blue pastel male. What we got out of it were a bunch of grizzled pastels with varying degrees of red wash, some red/white/blues, and pinkish pastels. However, three of the fish had a distinct purple body with red fins. The best of these females was bred to her half brother, the violet blue male. Most of this lot were light or brownish purple fish, but a few showed a definite breakthrough in color, as they had both the purple bodies and purple fins. This group is growing out right now, and we are eagerly waiting to see if we can get them to start breeding true using sibling crosses. (Photo: Minburibetta's gorgeous purple HM)
One of the most pure and perfect purples have come out of a farm in Bangkok called Minburi Betta owned by Mr. Chiawcharn Chaisaeng. If we all endeavor to breed for a purple as good as Mr. Chaisaeng's, the color could be cemented into another fine betta line in no time!
- BettySplendens. "The Elusive Purple Betta" BettySplendens.com, December 31 1969. Accessed - November 15 2013 <http://web.archive.org/web/20101120204443/http://bettysplendens.com/articles/page.imp?articleid=757>