Written by: Skylar Paige

IG: @skyzthe1imit

Store Bought vs Show Quality Betta Fish

What is the difference between your average pet store betta and a winning show quality betta fish? Passion. Show quality bettas are bred for quality, not quantity. A respected breeder focuses on raising the fish to reach their fullest potential in their size, color, fins, and personality. But how do you find the pick of the batch? Being able to spot a show quality betta from a bunch will take a little time and practice. So here are some tips to help guide you: 

Form is the most important thing when choosing a show-stopping betta. You might have seen sellers advertise “great form” and wondered what it was. Form is all of the different parts of the betta, their shape, and proportions of each part of the fish. Their form is easiest to see when your fish is flaring out. Put a mirror right next to their tank. Wait for them to see their reflection and puff out their fins to show off. 

Betta Fish Anatomy

  1. Torso/body – The spine needs to be straight. The tallest part of the body should be above their pectoral fins. The top line of their torso should be smooth all the way to the lips. Lookout for lumps or bumps on the fish’s body. 
  2. Dorsal fin – The dorsal fin can be any shape but longer dorsal fins are preferred.
  3. Caudal (Tail) fin – Caudal form will differ depending on what tail type your betta has. For halfmoons and halfmoon plakats, the fin needs to be D-shaped with sharp upper and lower corners. The shape of the fin should be uniform and have evenly spread rays
  4. Anal fin – Should be flat along the bottom or minorly trapezoid shaped. The edges need to be sharp and not rounded.
  5. Ventral fins – The ventral fins will vary in shape and width. They should be at least as tall as the greatest height of the anal fin and only have one point.
choose a show quality betta fish

Top line

Dorsal Fin

Caudal Fin

Anal Fin 

Ventral Fins 

To see the qualifications of form of other tail types (veiltail, crowntail, doubletail, etc.), you can find the full details on the International Betta Congress (IBC) website. <https://www.ibcbettas.org/upcoming-shows/standards/ 

Betta Fish Coloration Standards

Once you find a betta with good form, the next thing you’ll want to look for is coloration. There are many awesome coloration patterns but the intensity of the colors is most important. Concentrated and bright coloration is favorable and most pleasing to the eye. Dull coloration can be an indicator of sickness or poor health so you’ll want to pick a very bright and colorful betta.

show quality betta fish

Blizzard’s fins may look ragged and torn at first but look a little closer and you’ll see the fin rays extend beyond the blue parts of his fins. The clear parts lacking color are called cellophane and are completely normal. The clearer the cellophane parts, the better.

Judging the Betta’s Attitude

Believe it or not, attitude is the final standard that is graded. They look for a betta that is active, aggressive, and responsive to other bettas or their own reflection. Being able to flare on cue is an important part of the judging process, as it allows the judges and viewers to see their form and coloration the best.

One way you can flare train your betta is to place a mirror right next to their tank where they can see themselves and let them flare for 5-10 minutes a day. You can also use a pen or pencil to get them to flare. If it doesn’t work at first, present the pen when you place the mirror next to their tank. Judges will often use this technique to cue the bettas to flare in a competition. For this reason, t’s a good idea to train your fish to flare on command at the sight of a pen before a competition.

show quality betta fish standards

Where to get Show Quality Betta Fish

So where do you get these high-quality bettas? Check online to see if you have a local breeder who breeds and sells quality bettas. It’s always a great idea to support your local small businesses and hobbyists. 

Another option is to get your bettas shipped from countries that are known for their betta breeders including (but not limited to) Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. However, on top of paying for the betta itself, you have to pay for the breeder to ship your fish from the transhipper in their country to the transhipper in your country. Once the fish reaches the transhipper in your country you must pay an import fee and shipping for the fish to get to you. All of these costs can add up quickly, but can be worth it to get a high-quality betta!

Betta Importers Lower Shipping Risk

Importers, like myself, make it easier to obtain show quality bettas from overseas without the hassle of extra importing and shipping fees. It’s often less risky since the fish does not spend as long in the shipping process as they did when they came from overseas in the first place. I buy my bettas from respected breeders in Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam, and never use any color filters on any of my fish to ensure that you get the betta you fell in love with. Sometimes I can even find you a betta that you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to ask if I can find you your dream betta. You can contact me by messaging me on Instagram @skyzthe1imit.

Thanks for reading on how to choose a show quality betta fish! You can find more featured articles in our Tips from the Pros section.

Written by: Skylar Paige

IG: @skyzthe1imit