Copper Gold

Sherolyn-Basement Bettas

In 2003 a pair of Gold Bettas commanded the record high bid for bettas on — $1,000.00! The new color strain took the betta world by storm. Not only was the color completely unique and beautiful — a shiny, pure metallic gold — but it also seemed to breed true: Spawning two gold bettas usually produced 100% gold offspring. Because of the ease of perpetuation (and inspired by the record sale), more and more breeders started raising their own lines of golds, and now they are a common offering from stock shops and auction houses alike. 

The golds came from crossing Betta Splendens to other species of wild betta, namely Betta Imbellis and Betta Mahachai. The latter two species naturally have a higher degree of iridescence on the scales to compensate for the murkier waters of their native lands, and the subsequent outcrosses to Splendens produced a plakat betta with the first metallic scale trait. Asian breeders selectively bred the individuals which showed the most metallic, until the coppery color was very heavy and thick. The first batch of these that were breeding true were called ‘Copper Imbellis’, and although they became common on the overseas market in their shortfinned form, they didn’t gain much recognition in the United States and Europe, where hobbyists were still too enchanted with the Halfmoon form to give more than a casual glance at the metallic plakat. 

By more selective breeding, the zealous Asian breeders were able to develop the copper imbellis into a longfinned delta form, and elaborate on the finnage from there. Crossing the Copper longfin to Halfmoon green produced the first metallic green Halfmoons and Deltas, most of them with heavy red wash. Subsequent generations of brother/sister spawnings cleaned up the color, and then produced the green base with iridescent copper overlay, which appeared phenotypically as a bright gold color. Breeding these ‘golds’ onto pure iridescent turquoise, blue, and steel produced the ‘masked’ bettas — fish that were green, blue, or steel, but instead of having the typical dark head of the pure iridescent betta, the copper gene caused the spread of color into the entire face and head area of the fish. 

s of this writing, the IBC only recognizes the Solid Dark Bodied Copper Types for show purposes (gold, metallic green, metallic blue, metallic steel, metallic red, metallic black), but copper types are also available in ‘Platinum’ (copper over opaque), metallic bicolors, metallic marbles, metallic multicolors, and more.

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