Of course, the name dragon scale is just a fancy term for colors. As you probably already know, there are many different types of colorful fish out there. But what makes these betta’s unique? What makes them special enough that they have an entire category to themselves?
Well, the answer to that question lies in the name. Their scales give them a shimmering, iridescent look, with beautiful shades of blue and purple. Also, it has long, flowing “streamers” that give the fish an elegant look.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through everything you need to know about dragon-scale betta fish. We’ll discuss their unique appearance and personality traits, how best to care for them, and even some tips on breeding these beautiful creatures!
Dragon Scale Betta-Overview
|Dragon Scale Betta Info|
|Scientific name||Betta splendens|
|Common names||Dragon Scale Betta|
|Size||2.5 -3 inches|
|Lifespan||2 to 3 years|
|Color||Thick scales which are metallic or silvery in color|
|Preferred food||Fresh, live, and dry protein foods|
|Feeding period||Feed them 12 hours apart, and make the fishes fast for 24 hours once every 10 -14 days|
|Aquarium size||10 gallons or bigger|
|Preferred temperature||23 to 30ºC (73 to 86°F degrees Fahrenheit)|
|pH level||6 to 8|
What Is a Dragon Scale Betta?
A Dragon Scale Betta is a type of fish that gets its name from the thick, white scales covering its body. This scale pattern is the result of a dragon gene present in these guys.
To be more specific, this breed’s top iridescent layers look like dragon scales. This particular sub-breed resulted from breeding a domesticated Betta Splendens with a wild Betta Mahachai.
The first Dragon Scale Betta debuted in 2004 to much success in Thailand. This fish quickly became one of the most popular aquatic pets, with many breeders striving to achieve different color patterns.
Dragon Scale Betta Origin
The Dragon Scale Betta is a newer breed that came about from cross-breeding different members of the Betta family. It’s said that the first Dragon Scale Betta was created when a breeder crossed a Betta Mahachai with a Copper Red PK.
This new breed of dragon quickly became popular for its beauty, but its characteristics weren’t purposely bred into them.
Instead, it was an accidental by-product that appeared later on. Nowadays, they come in any color–not just metallic original color–and each one is more beautiful than the last.
By line breeding, the breeders were able to not only strengthen the thickness and color of the scales but create the Dragon Scale Betta available today.
Dragon Scale Betta Behavior
The dragon scale betta male is notably combative, going after any other male bettas it perceives as a threat. It will protect what it considers its territory with little to no hesitation.
Given their aggressive temperament, you should isolate any dragon-scale betta males from the rest of your fish. This way, they can safely coexist without any risk of injury or violence.
When choosing fish to keep in an aquarium with your dragon scale betta, it’s important to be selective. Male betta should only share space with smaller fish that are known for being peaceful and calm.
To see if your dragon scale betta is feeling tranquil, observe its movement. If it’s swimming slowly and effortlessly, it’s likely content. However, if it’s zipping around erratically, it might mean it’s stressed–or worse, getting ready to attack!
Dragon Scale Betta Appearance
If you’re looking for a betta that will stand out from the rest, the dragon scale variety is perfect for you.
Although it shares some common features with other bettas, such as bright tail coloring, this fish has an entirely different look.
By cross-breeding different varietals of bettas, aquarists have been able to create new hybrids with unique colors and patterns. The intention behind this is twofold: to preserve the species and keep interest high among fish enthusiasts.
Even though their bodies are brightly colored, dragon-scale bettas don’t appear to be quite as striking because they’re covered with a layer of thick white scales that resemble dragon-like armor.
Also, these guys usually have red, orange, yellow, or green coloring beneath the scales.
Dragon Scale Betta Fish Size
Like many other bettas, dragon-scale bettas are fairly small fish, averaging between 2.5 and 3 inches in length. This makes them an ideal choice for beginners, as they require less space and are easier to care for.
Dragon Scale Betta Lifespan
A dragon scale betta lifespan is usually around 2-3 years as long as you’re providing proper care, including a clean tank with ample room to swim and plenty of food.
However, if you allow their water quality to decline or neglect their nutrition needs, this can reduce their lifespan significantly.
How to Care for Dragon Scale Betta Fish
When it comes to dragon scale betta care, water quality is one of the most important factors. To ensure that your dragon scale betta stays healthy, you’ll need to make sure the water is clean and free of toxins.
Although you should do water changes regularly, only change 25% of the water once a week. Betta fish are very sensitive to any alterations in their environment, so too many changes can be stressful for them.
Plus, too many water changes can disturb the delicate nitrogen cycle in the tank by killing off good bacteria in the water. This is harmful to your dragon scale betta and may cause ammonia buildup or other health problems.
To avoid any complications, be sure to use a high-quality water conditioner when you’re performing your weekly water changes. This will ensure that the new water is safe for your dragon scale betta without harming the beneficial bacteria in your tank.
Obviously, a tank filter is necessary. However, similar to all betta fish, dragon scales can’t tolerate water with harsh currents, so ensure the filter’s current isn’t too strong.
These pals prefer slightly warm water between 73-86 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water dips below this range or goes above, your dragon scale betta can go through a shock or even die.
To ensure you’re providing the ideal temperature for dragon scales, invest in a temperature-controlled heater. This will allow you to set the water temperature exactly where your dragon scale needs it to be, without having to constantly monitor it.
Also, you should keep the tank away from any windows or other sources of direct sunlight. This can cause rapid, uneven temperature changes that make your dragon scale feel stressed and uncomfortable.
When it comes to dragon scale betta care, pH level is another important factor to consider. Ideally, the water should have a slightly acidic pH of around 6.0-8.0.
To make sure the water in their tank has the ideal pH level, you can use special test strips or invest in a pH tester kit. This will allow you to keep track of any fluctuations in the water and make adjustments as needed.
Dragon Scale Bettas don’t do well in water that has a high degree of hardness, so it’s best to aim for hardness levels between 5 and 20.
To test the hardness levels, you can use a simple test kit, or you can purchase a water conditioner that will automatically balance the hardness levels in your dragon scale’s tank.
Although dragon scales are fairly small fish, you’ll still need a tank that’s at least 10 gallons. This will give them plenty of room to swim and exercise, without having to worry about them bumping into the sides or jumping out.
Also, adequate tank size will lessen their aggressive tendencies, as they will have plenty of space to spread out and establish their own territories.
As well, this will make it easier for you to clean the tank and perform regular water changes, as you’ll be able to access all areas of the tank more easily.
Decorations & Hiding Places
Recreating dragon scale’s natural habitat is crucial to their well-being. To do this, be sure to include plenty of live or fake plants in betta tank. This will give dragon scales a place to hide from other fish and feel safe in their environment.
In addition to plants, you can also add rocks, driftwood, and other decorative items that will make the tank look more natural and provide your dragon scales with plenty of places to explore.
Further, this will give them hiding spots to escape from any potential threats, such as aggressive tank mates or overly-curious children!
Dragon-scale bettas tend to have shady, nocturnal behaviors, so a lower level of lighting may be ideal for your dragon scale.
To achieve this, you can use a dimmer switch on your tank’s light, or choose to keep the lights off during their active periods in the evening and during the night.
Whatever approach you choose, just make sure that dragon scales are able to see clearly and navigate the tank easily.
Dragon Scale Betta Fish Compatibility
As I stated above, male dragon scale bettas are pretty aggressive and territorial, making them a poor choice for community aquariums.
However, they can adapt to a community tank with other species if you perform careful introductions and limit the number of dragon-scale betta to only one.
In contrast, female dragon scale bettas are generally more mellow and can easily coexist with other fish species, making them a good choice for community tanks.
Although the male and female dragon scale betta probably won’t fight, you should still monitor them to ensure a harmonious living situation.
Good tank mates for dragon scale betta fish include:
Dragon Scale Betta Fish Diet & Feeding
Dragon scales are carnivores in nature, so their diet is primarily composed of live and frozen foods. In the wild, dragon scales feed on worms, small crustaceans, insect larvae, and tiny fish.
While bettas can have pellets and flakes as part of their diet, you should make sure that the main food is meat.
Also, if you opt for pellets, get a product where the pellets float. Otherwise, there is a risk of uneaten food sinking to the bottom of the tank, which can lead to decay and water contamination.
To ensure your dragon scale betta has a balanced diet, try offering them a variety of live and frozen foods, including:
On the occasion you give your dragon scales frozen foods, make sure to thaw them out first. Ideally, you should take some of the frozen food out and leave it at room temperature for a while to allow it to soften up before feeding it to your betta fish.
Breeding the Dragon Scale Betta
Breeding dragon scale bettas can be difficult because they have been cross-bred to achieve their unique appearance.
If you want your tropical fish offspring to display the same ‘dragon-like’ scales, both the male and female parent must possess strong dominant genes for this characteristic.
Unfortunately, this might mean that the dragon scales won’t be as prominent in their offspring if they don’t have dragon-scale parents.
Common Dragon Scale Betta Health Issues
Although common health concerns for bettas are similar to those of other fish, there is one exception—dragon bettas seem to be more fragile when it comes to developing blindness or dropsy. This may be due in part to their metallic scales.
Basically, dropsy is a bacterial infection that causes fish to have swollen abdomens and sunken eyes. In some cases, the scales on the fish will grow until they cover the eyes, causing blindness.
Not only are dragon scale bettas susceptible to the two aforementioned diseases, but they can get any other health complications just as any other Betta fish species. These health concerns are mostly a result of poor water maintenance.
Consequently, it is crucial to keep the dragon scale betta’s tank clean and provide your fish with a high-quality diet. Additionally, it’s advisable to quarantine any new dragon scales you get before introducing them into your main tank to reduce the risk of infection.
How Can I Care for a Blind Dragon Scale Betta Fish?
Cross-breeding often has negative consequences, one of which is that bettas have a high chance of going blind. If your betta loses its sight, there are some ways you can make sure it still lives a quality life:
- Isolate It: One of the best ways to help your dragon scale betta adjust to being blind is by keeping it in a separate tank. This will prevent any other fish from accidentally injuring or eating it, and will also make sure that its living space is free of clutter so that it can navigate more easily
- Feed It in the Same Spot: Since dragon scales have a great sense of smell, it is best to feed them in the same spot each day. This way they will be able to detect the food’s location by following its scent and find their preferred dining spot more easily
- Use Cues: You can tap the tank to signal when it’s feeding time, or gently blow on the dragon scale betta’s face in order to help it find food
- Maintain a Stable Environment: Your blind dragon scale betta is also likely to be stressed or confused in a tank that changes frequently, so try your best to keep its environment as familiar and predictable as possible
- Remove Obstacles: If your dragon scale betta is swimming into any sharp or otherwise hazardous objects like rocks, it’s a good idea to remove them from the tank. This will ensure that it doesn’t hurt itself and can move around freely without getting lost in the tank
- Adjust the pH Levels: Try tweaking the pH levels to make the water softer. Water with lower pH levels may help dissolve scales, potentially getting rid of ones obscuring your betta’s eyes
- Try Tannins: Introduce tannins, like almond leaves, into the fish tank water. They may thin the scales of your fish, but it’s a minor price to pay for their health and longevity
Why Has My Dragon Scale Betta’s Color Changed to White?
The top reasons dragon scale bettas lose their color and turn white are stress, anchor worms, ich, fin rot, and columnaris.
However, you can bring back your betta’s bright colors by changing the water regularly to keep the water parameters balanced, feeding it nutrient-rich foods that aid in color vibrancy, and being careful not to overstock your tank.
Do Dragon Scale Bettas Have the Ability to Change Colors?
The colors of these betta fish can fluctuate due to the marble genes affecting their scales.
What Distinguishes Dragon Scales from Metallic Ones?
Similar to Dragon Scale, metallic-scaled bettas are a result of cross-breeding in order to create new variations.
In this case, betta splendens was bred with betta mahachai and betta imbellis, which then resulted in an iridescently scaled betta fish.
Do Dragon Scale Bettas Tend to be Aggressive?
All betta fish are territorial by nature, and the males are especially aggressive. They will attack other male bettas or any fish that resemble a betta in appearance. However, the females aren’t as bad, but they’re still more temperamental than most.
Do Dragon Scale Bettas Go Blind?
Dragon scales are susceptible to going blind due to the genetic mutations that have occurred during their cross-breeding. However, there are ways you can help keep your dragon scale betta healthy and comfortable even if it’s blind.
By feeding it in the same spot each day, using cues like tapping or blowing on its face, maintaining a stable environment, and removing any hazardous objects from its tank, you can ensure that your dragon scale betta lives a full and happy life despite being blind.
Phew! That was a lot of information to cover. We hope that this guide has given you some helpful tips and insights on dragon scale betta fish care, and how you can best support your blind Betta in its unique needs.
By following these tips and providing your dragon scale betta with the right conditions, you can help it thrive in its new home and enjoy a long and happy life.
If you have any additional questions about dragon scale betta care, feel free to reach out to us. We’re always happy to help!