If you are considering a betta fish, consider doubling your joy with a double tail betta.
While unique, double tail bettas are still part of the Betta splendens family, which means they don’t require any more care than your average betta fish.
Nevertheless, all varieties of betta fish need a lot of care, and they can be difficult to keep and breed due to their aggression.
|Double Tail Betta Info|
|Common Names||Double-tail betta|
|Scientific Name||Betta splendens|
|Minimum Tank Size||5 to 10 gallons|
|Lifespan||2 to 5 years|
|Diet||Omnivore but primarily carnivorous|
|Water temperature||74° to 82°F|
|pH level||pH 6.5 to 7.5|
|Water hardness||5 to 15 dKH|
What Is a Double Tail Betta?
A double-tail betta is exactly what it sounds like — a Betta splendens with two tails!
Due to a genetic mutation, double-tail bettas have a tail (or caudal fin) that splits down the middle. Some double-tail bettas even grow two different caudal fin lobes and have two distinct-looking tails.
Betta breeders have encouraged the double tail mutation because the resulting fish are so beautiful!
Are Double-Tail Bettas Rare?
Yes and no. There are fewer double-tail bettas in the world because betta babies (fry) can have trouble surviving into adulthood, but you can still get a double-tail betta at most pet stores.
While a double-tail betta likely wouldn’t make it in the wild, careful breeding means there is plenty of these fish on the market.
The market aside, double-tail bettas are still unique fish that look different than your standard Betta splendens.
Halfmoon double tail bettas are extra special, and the two tails make for some amazing color schemes — many of which are coveted by betta collectors.
How Large Do Double-Tailed Bettas Get?
Because double-tailed bettas are Betta splendens, they stay in the standard size range of 2 to 3 inches. Even with two tails, your betta won’t grow bigger than 3 inches long.
Full-grown bettas usually weigh about 3 ounces. Overall, double-tail bettas are small tropical fish — just like all Betta splendens.
How Long Do Double-Tail Betta Fish Live?
Double-tail betta fish can live from 2 to 5 years. On average, betta fish live for about 3 years.
Your betta’s lifespan depends almost entirely on how well you take care of it. With a comfortable habitat and ideal water parameters, your betta buddy will stay happy and healthy for quite some time.
Caring for Your Double Tail Betta
The best way to care for your double-tail betta is to mimic the conditions Betta splendens enjoy in the wild and acknowledge that your fish has been bred for different traits, like its double tail!
For example, wild bettas are usually less aggressive than double tails, so they have different ways of living.
However, both wild bettas and your double-tail betta will enjoy live plants in their tank and a special snack every so often.
Mirroring Your Double-Tail Betta’s Natural Habitat
According to National Geographic:
“Betta fish originated from Thailand but can be found in nearby countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Wild bettas live in shallow, freshwater areas such as rice paddies, stagnant ponds, marshes, and slow-moving streams.”
This means your double-tail betta will enjoy warm, fresh, slow-moving water with heavy plant life. Think of the bottom of a pond or stream and try to recreate this environment in your fish tank.
Alternatively, you can recreate rice paddies by adding floating plants (like water lettuce) to the top of your betta tank and letting the roots hang down.
Thanks to modern science, you can even fill your tank with brightly colored, artificial decorations, and your fish will be just fine (Just keep a silk plant in your tank!).
Tank Size and Setup
For the best results, give your double-tail betta a 10-gallon tank — or a larger one. In the wild, bettas enjoy carving out their space, and they can even hop from puddle to puddle, so bigger is always better.
Never keep any kind of betta fish in a tank under 5 gallons and always add extra room if you are adding tank mates and decorations.
Speaking of, live plants are the best decoration for your betta tank. Driftwood is also great because it can give your betta a natural place to hide.
You might even consider installing a betta hammock to make your fishy friend feel at home.
Water Parameters for Double-Tail Betta
Before adding water to your tank, filter and treat it so that it’s betta safe. Add your substrate, plants, and decorations, then allow the water to go through the nitrogen cycle a couple of times before introducing your fish.
Test your water using aquarium test strips and a thermometer. Your water should have the following features:
- A temperature between 74 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit
- Water hardness of 5 to 15 dGH
- A neutral pH between 6.5 and 7.5
- Ammonia and nitrite levels below 0.5 ppm
- Nitrate levels below 20 ppm
Bettas like warm, soft water free of contaminants and with a neutral pH. Sometimes, decaying plant matter adds a tiny bit of acidity to the water but doesn’t go under 6.5 pH.
Plants can also convert nitrates into oxygen, which can help your tank stay clean and oxygenated.
Still, you should install a sponge filter and an air pump or air stone to help maintain your tank.
Maintain your double-tail betta fish tank daily by removing uneaten food and other visible debris, perhaps with an aquarium vacuum. Every week, change 10 to 20% of the water, and once a month, consider a 30% change.
Test your water every 7 to 10 days to make sure the water parameters are just right.
Further, remember to always filter, heat, and dechlorinate new water before adding it to your betta tank.
For a full overview of tank maintenance, please see our, “Basic Guide In Cleaning Your Betta Fish Tank.”
Feeding Your Double-Tail Betta
Double-tail bettas are omnivorous, which means they will nibble plant roots and appreciate some fiber in their diet.
In the wild, however, Betta splendens mostly eat insects, so half-tail betta fish are primarily carnivorous.
Therefore, make sure to feed your double tail betta a balanced, high-protein diet.
Betta pellets are specially designed to meet your fish’s dietary needs, but you can — and should — supplement them with special treats for your betta buddy.
For example, your double tail’s favorite food is mosquito larvae, and bettas also appreciate daphnia (water fleas) and bloodworms.
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t overfeed your betta! Your fish’s stomach is only as big as its eye, so you should never feed them more than that in one sitting.
Feed your betta teeny tiny meals once or twice a day, and switch between specially formulated betta food and tasty insect treats to create a balanced diet.
Remove any uneaten food from the tank after 2 minutes, and if your betta is looking bloated, skip a few feedings so they can get back on track.
Keep live plants in your tank, as well, because bettas can snack on them if they are really hungry — or use plant fiber to sort out their digestive systems.
Tank Mates and Temperament
Like other Betta splendens, double tails are aggressive and highly territorial.
Do not, under any circumstances, place one double-tail male with another. The fish will fight each other and may injure or kill one another in the process.
Also called “Siamese fighting fish,” betta fish were originally bred to entertain Thai royalty in fish fights (similar to cockfights). Although betta fighting is now illegal in most countries, betta fish cannot shake off their history.
For this reason, you must be extremely cautious when breeding double-tail bettas or introducing tank mates.
Betta’s behavior can be unpredictable, and even the most appropriate tank mates may not work out as planned.
For example, my betta fish once killed and ate a ghost shrimp after months of sharing its tank with no problems. All this to say that it is safer to house double tail bettas alone. Don’t worry, they won’t get lonely!
Double-Tail Betta Breeding and Behavior
Double-tail bettas are naturally curious and energetic. They will swim all over their tanks, take adorable naps in aquarium plants, flash their fins at you, and even jump at the surface of their tank.
When male bettas are happy, they will also create bubble nests, which is a sure sign they’re ready to breed.
If you want to breed your betta fish, set up a separate breeding tank and carefully introduce your male to a female. Keep a careful eye on all fish involved because females can be quite persistent, and your male betta may need a break.
Unfortunately, betta parents usually have to be separated from their eggs, too, as male bettas might eat them at any sign of stress or trouble.
Read more about betta breeding to help ensure you get it right.
Health Problems to Watch Out For
You don’t have to breed your double-tail bettas if you don’t want to. Betta breeding is an advanced fish-keeping technique, and these fish can be challenging enough if you’re just starting.
You do, on the other hand, need to keep an eye out for health problems. Like other bettas, double tails are prone to overfeeding, which leads to bloating and constipation.
Sometimes, these problems go away on their own, but other times, they may develop into a tumor or otherwise require veterinary attention.
Other problems your fish could face include ich (white spots) and fin rot. The best way to prevent fungal, bacterial, and parasitic diseases like these is by keeping your tank clean and maintaining the correct water parameters.
If your fish does get ich or experience fin rot, you can usually solve the problem by adding special drops directly to your tank. You can sometimes intervene immediately by increasing your water temperature to help eliminate parasites.
However, when in doubt, always call your veterinarian first.
Adding a Double-Tail Betta to Your Tank
If you want to keep a double-tail betta, prepare a tank, especially for your new fish. Do not expect to add tank mates, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience with bettas already.
Contrary to popular belief, double tails and other betta are NOT good starter pets. They require lots of special care, and you can only keep one fish at a time unless you are an extremely advanced fish keeper.
Still, keeping one betta is a delightful and rewarding experience for the owner. Your double tail betta will make all the hard work worth it.
How Much Does a Doubletail Betta Cost
Double-tail males cost between $8 and $20 at pet stores and online. If you are buying from a specialty breeder, you may pay a little bit more. Similarly, uncommon colors and patterns are always a bit more expensive.
Double-tail bettas are popular pets because they are unique without being prohibitively expensive.
Is a Double-Tail Betta Right for Me?
If you’re ready to do all the hard work to set up and maintain a double-tail betta tank — and you accept that you can only keep one double tail at a time — there’s no reason not to get a double-tail betta.
At the end of the day, only you can decide whether a double-tail betta is right for you. Remember that double-tail bettas are small, aggressive tropical fish who like calm, soft freshwater, live plants, and insect snacks.
If you can handle everything you read in this care guide, and you still want a betta buddy, start setting up your tank today!