A-Z Betta Glossary: Vital Terminology & Disease Guide

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Dive into the fascinating world of Betta fish with our comprehensive glossary. We’ve curated a detailed list to help enthusiasts and beginners alike understand the various types of Betta fish, their diseases, and care requirements. Explore the table below to kickstart your Betta-keeping journey, and stay tuned as we delve deeper into ensuring a healthy and vibrant environment for your aquatic companions.

Betta Types Defined

Betta Fish Type Definition
Veiltail Long, flowing, downward swooping tail.
Crowntail Spiky fins resembling a crown.
Combtail Long rays with less webbing, fan-like tail.
Double Tail Two distinct tails.
Spade Tail Tail shaped like a spade.
Halfmoon 180-degree spread tail resembling a D shape.
Over-Half Moon Tail spreads over 180 degrees.
Delta Tail Triangular-shaped tail.
Super Delta Flared tail, less than 180-degree spread.
Half Sun Cross between Crowntail and Halfmoon.
Rosetail Excessive branching on fins, rose-like appearance.
Feather Tail Ruffled fins resembling feathers.
Plakat/Shortfin Short fin and tiny round body.
Dumbo Ear/Elephant Ear Extra-large pectoral fins resembling elephant ears.
Blue Betta Common color, with shades ranging from steel blue to royal blue.
Black Orchid Betta Black coloration with iridescent blue streaks.
Red Betta Dominant red color, vibrant appearance.
White Betta White color, often paired with dramatic tail types.
Yellow Betta Ranges from vibrant sunshine to soft butter yellow.
Green Betta Solid color, sometimes with metallic overlay.
Purple Betta Rare, ranging from violet to blue with copper and black variations.
Clear/Cellophane Translucent skin, slight pink tinge from visible organs.
Cambodian Betta Pale-pink body with bright red fins.
Dragon Scale Betta Bright metallic color with thick, armor-like scales.
Butterfly Betta Color fades from body to fins, with white edges.
Marble Betta Pale body with solid color blotches, changes over time.
Dalmatian Betta White body with black spots.
Koi Betta Resembles koi patterns, often red, white, and black mix.

Diseases & Health Issues

Disease/Issue Definition
Ich Small white spots on the fish, often likened to grains of salt.
Popeye One or both eyes bulge out, resembling a cartoonish “popeye” look.
Cloudy Eye Eyes appear milky or cloudy, often a sign of a bacterial infection.
Columnaris Cotton-like growths on the skin, gills, and mouth, also known as “Cotton Wool Disease”.
Tuberculosis Rare but severe, causes loss of color, weight loss, and sluggishness.
Hole In The Head Small holes or pits appear in the head and body.
Gill Flukes Parasitic infection causing gill damage, visible as red or swollen gills.
Anchor Worms Small worm-like parasites visible on the skin.
Tumors Abnormal growths, can occur anywhere on the body.
Hemorrhagic Severe internal bacterial infection, often fatal.
Mouth Rot Mouth appears “cottony”, often due to a fungal or bacterial infection.
Swim Bladder Disease Difficulty swimming or floating, often due to overfeeding or constipation.
Fin Rot Fins fray and rot away, often due to poor water quality.
Constipation Bloating and difficulty passing waste, often due to overfeeding.
Dropsy Severe bloating and raised scales, often a sign of kidney failure.
Velvet Dusty gold or rust appearance on the skin, caused by a parasitic infection.

Betta Fish Care

Term Definition
Pellet Food Small, compact food pieces designed for Betta fish nutrition.
Flake Food Thin, flat food pieces; not ideal for Bettas as they prefer pellets.
Live/Frozen Food Bugs and small creatures like brine shrimp, given as treats.
Overfeeding Giving too much food, which can cause bloating and other issues.
Fasting Skipping feeding for a day weekly to help with digestion.
pH Level Indicates if water is acidic or alkaline; around 7.0 is good for Bettas.
Hardness Amount of minerals in water; Bettas like soft to slightly hard water.
Ammonia Harmful waste from fish and leftovers; keep it to zero for healthy water.
Nitrites Another harmful waste; also should be kept to zero with good filtration.
Nitrates Lesser harmful waste, but keep it low for healthy water.
Water Conditioner Chemicals to remove harmful stuff like chlorine from tap water.
Heater Device to keep water warm, as Bettas like it between 76-80°F.
Thermometer Tool to check water temperature, ensuring it’s comfy for Bettas.


Term Definition
Flaring When Bettas spread their fins and gills to look bigger, usually when threatened or seeing their reflection.
Bubble Nesting Male Betta’s behavior of blowing bubbles at the water surface to create a nest for eggs.
Hiding Seeking shelter or hiding spots, common behavior indicating the need for rest or stress reduction.
Schooling Unlike some fish, Betas are solitary and don’t engage in schooling behavior.
Aggression Bettas are territorial and can show aggression, especially males towards other males.
Tail Biting Biting their own tail due to stress, boredom, or water quality issues; indicative of a problem.
Surface Breathing Betas have a special organ to breathe air from the surface when needed.
Color Changing Changes in color due to mood, health, or environmental conditions.
Glass Surfing Swimming up and down the glass, possibly due to stress or poor water conditions.


Term Definition
Fins The delicate, flowing appendages used for swimming, with different types like dorsal, caudal, and pectoral fins.
Gills The breathing organs where oxygen is extracted from water.
Scales The small, protective plates covering a Betta’s body, often reflecting beautiful colors.
Swim Bladder An air-filled sac that helps Betta fish control their buoyancy and swim at different levels.
Labyrinth Organ A unique organ allowing Bettas to breathe air from the surface, useful in low-oxygen environments.
Eyes Betta fish have good vision and can recognize their owners.
Ventral Fins The pair of fins located on the underside of the body, helping with stability.
Dorsal Fin The fin on the top side of the body, aiding in balance.
Caudal Fin The tail fin, which propels the Betta forward and showcases beautiful color and type variations.
Pectoral Fins The pair of fins located on either side of the body, helping with steering and stopping.
Anal Fin The fin along the underside, often long and flowing in Betta fish.
Mouth Betta fish have an upturned mouth suited for surface feeding.


Term Definition
Spawning The act of producing eggs (female) and fertilizing them (male).
Fry Baby Betta fish, post hatching.
Egg-Binders Long fins of male Betta used to embrace the female during spawning.
Bubblenest A nest of bubbles created by the male to hold the fertilized eggs.
Breeding Tank A separate tank set up specifically for breeding purposes.
Conditioning Preparing adult Betta fish for breeding through proper feeding and environment.
Hatching The process of baby Betta emerging from their eggs.
Live Food Nutrient-rich food like brine shrimp or daphnia for feeding fry.
Grow-Out Tank A larger tank where fry are moved to grow once they are larger and stronger.
Sibling Aggression Common aggression among Betta siblings as they grow, may require separation.

Aquarium Setup

Term Definition
Tank Size The volume of the aquarium, with a recommended minimum of 5 gallons for Betta fish.
Filtration A system to clean and purify water, removing harmful waste and chemicals.
Lighting Aquarium lights to mimic natural daylight, aiding in fish and plant health.
Plants Live or artificial plants providing shelter, improving water quality, and enhancing aesthetics.
Substrate Material like gravel or sand at the bottom of the tank, necessary for live plants.
Decorations Items like rocks, caves, or driftwood added for aesthetic appeal and to provide hiding spots.
Air Pump Device to aerate water, improving oxygen levels, not usually necessary for Betta tanks.
Heater Device to maintain a stable temperature suitable for Betta fish (76-80°F).
Thermometer Tool to measure water temperature, ensuring it’s within the ideal range for Betta fish.
Water Conditioner Chemicals to neutralize harmful substances like chlorine in tap water.
Aquarium Lid Cover to prevent fish from jumping out and to reduce water evaporation.
Testing Kit Tools to test water parameters like pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, ensuring a safe environment.

Aquarium Maintenance

Term Definition
Water Changes Regular removal and replacement of a portion of tank water to reduce waste and improve water quality.
Tank Cleaning Routine cleaning to remove algae, uneaten food, and other debris from the substrate and decorations.
Filter Maintenance Cleaning or replacing filter media to ensure effective filtration and water clarity.
Algae Control Measures to prevent or remove algae growth, like reducing light or using algae-eating creatures.
Vacuuming Using a gravel vacuum to clean the substrate and remove debris.
Testing Water Using a testing kit to check water parameters like pH, ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.
Pruning Trimming live plants to keep them healthy and aesthetically pleasing.
Equipment Check Regular inspection of heater, filter, and other equipment to ensure they are working properly.
Quarantine Isolating new fish or plants before adding them to the main tank to prevent disease spread.
Medication Administering treatments for diseases or parasite infestations as needed.

Community & Tank Mates

Term Definition
Tank Mates Other fish or aquatic creatures living alongside Betta fish in the same tank.
Community Tank A tank housing multiple species of fish living together harmoniously.
Aggression A behavior in Betta fish, especially males, towards other fish, often due to territorial disputes.
Territorial The tendency of Betta fish to claim areas of the tank and defend them against intruders.
Compatible Species that can live peacefully with Betta fish without causing stress or harm.
Incompatible Species that can cause stress, harm, or are likely to fight with Betta fish.
Schooling Fish Fish that prefer to live and move together in groups; they can be good tank mates if the tank is large enough.
Bottom Dwellers Fish that live near the bottom of the tank, often compatible as they stay out of the Betta’s way.
Algae Eaters Fish or invertebrates that eat algae, helping to keep the tank clean.
Snails Slow-moving invertebrates that can be good tank mates as they are peaceful and help clean the tank.
Shrimp Small invertebrates that can live with Betta fish but might be eaten if they are too small.
Sorority A tank setup with female Betta fish living together; requires a larger tank and careful monitoring.

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