Siamese Fighting Fish - Colors


B. splendens have been affectionately nicknamed "The Jewel of the Orient" due to their beauty and wide range of colors which are produced through selective breeding.

Wild fish exhibit strong colors only when agitated. Breeders have been able to make this coloration permanent, and a wide variety of hues breed true. Colors available to the aquarist include red, blue, black, turquoise, orange, yellow, green, bright blue with pink highlights, cream and even true white (the "Opaque" white, not to be confused with albino). The shades of blue, turquoise and green are slightly iridescent, and can appear to change color with different lighting conditions or viewing angles; this is because these colors (unlike black or red) are not due to pigments, but created through refraction within a layer of translucent guanine crystals. Breeders have also developed different color patterns such as marble and butterfly, as well as metallic shades like copper, gold, or platinum (these were obtained by crossing B. splendens to other Betta species).

Breeders around the world continue to develop new varieties. Often, the male of the species are sold preferentially in stores because of their beauty, compared to the females. Recently, breeders have developed in females the same range of colors previously only bred in males. Females never develop fins as showy as males of the same type and are often more subdued in coloration.

A true albino betta has been feverishly sought after since one recorded appearance in 1927, and another in 1953. Neither of these were able to establish a line of true albinos. In 1994, a hobbyist named Tanaka claimed to have successfully bred albino bettas.

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