Purple Betta Fish: What Makes This Rare Color So Unique?

Wild betta fish usually have dull colors so they can blend into their environment.

When betta splendens became domesticated, breeders discovered how to manipulate their complex genes.

Selective breeding unlocked the potential for rare colors in betta fish.

Modern bettas come in countless color varieties and fin types.

One of the rarest colors of betta fish is purple.

But do true-purple betta fish exist, or are they just a myth?

There is a lot of debate among the fishkeeping community about the existence of true-purple fighting fish.

Let’s dive into what a purple betta fish looks like and get a basic understanding of their complicated genetics.

What Is a Purple Betta?

purple betta fish appearance

There are two types of purple betta fish.

Blue-purple bettas are the most common. These betta fish look purple, but if you shine a light on them they have a blue sheen.

True-purple bettas appear purple in any type of lighting situation. Betta fish with true-purple coloring is very rare.

Many of the purple bettas you encounter are likely of the blue-purple variety.

Purple betta fish can have any fin and tail type. The most common tail shapes are the halfmoon and the crowntail.

There are also different color patterns in purple bettas. These include solid colors, butterfly variegation, and bi-colors.

Purple bettas can have varying shades of purple coloration ranging from lavender to deep violet.

The three most popular varieties of purple betta fish include the Purple Popsicle, Purple Salamander, and Purple Gas.

Varieties of Purple Bettas

Purple Popsicle

A Purple Popsicle betta has a mixture of purple, blue, and red colors.

Blue is usually the dominant color with swirls of purple and red accents.

The purple coloration on these beautiful fish is usually a deep violet shade. This is the result of the red and blue colors overlapping each other.

These bettas have a royal blue betta as one of the parents. Due to these genetics, Purple Popsicle bettas may have blue iridescent scales with a reddish tint.

Purple Salamander

Purple Salamander bettas have purple, red, and white colors.

Unlike the Purple Popscicle bettas, Purple Salamanders have more distinction between colors.

The body color of this betta is purple, and the fins have a red base with white edges.

Purple Gas

Purple Gas bettas are the result of breeding a yellow Mustard Gas betta with a solid purple betta.

This betta has a striking color combination with a purple body and golden-yellow fins.

The breeding process for Purple Gas bettas is a challenge, making this pattern type the rarest.

Are Purple Bettas Rare?

Purple betta fish are one of the rarest colors in existence.

This is because of the rare genetic mutation causing the purple coloration.

The purple coloration does not exist in wild bettas. It is only achieved through careful selective breeding.

Genetic mutations are unpredictable, making breeding purple betta fish challenging.

Breeding the right colors of bettas can increase your chances of purple offspring.

But for the most part, breeding purple bettas involves a lot of trial and error.

Your local fish store likely won’t have purple bettas for sale. You must find a specialty breeder if you have your heart set on this purple fish.

Average Cost of a Purple Betta Fish

Purple is one of the most coveted betta fish colors. This means these purple fish can fetch quite a high price compared to other variations of betta fish.

The average price of a purple betta ranges from $40 to $65.

True purple bettas cost more than blue-purple bettas because they are rarer.

How much a purple betta costs also depends on the pattern and tail type.

Purple Gas bettas with a halfmoon tail type have a higher price than other purple betta varieties.

Male purple bettas also cost more than females because of their flashier colors and longer fins.

Finding a pure purple betta fish in person is almost impossible. If you do find one, expect a very expensive fish.

The Breeding History of Purple Bettas

Since purple bettas are a hot commodity, betta fish breeders usually do not share their genetic information.

If professional breeders share the exact genetics of their purple bettas, other breeders can achieve the same results. This means less money for the breeders because of the increase in purple betta fish on the market.

The earliest purple bettas were likely produced by breeding a royal blue male betta with a bluish-red female betta.

But breeding blue and red bettas does not always produce purple baby bettas. Even if the babies look purple, they likely have a blue or red tint under certain lighting.

If the breeding pair consists of a yellow Mustard Gas betta and a red or blue betta, there is a small chance of purple offspring. But this breeding pair may produce orange, pinkish, or green betta fish instead.

Breeding purple bettas from non-purple color lines is an almost impossible task.

Purple Betta Breeding Theories

breed purple betta fish

There are several theories surrounding the best possible breeding pairs for true-purple offspring.

This is not a task for first-time fish breeders.

Color line breeding is a complicated process.

You must have a basic understanding of betta fish genetics for the best results.

Let’s start with the different color layers in bettas.

Betta Fish Color Layers

Betta fish have four layers of color cells. These color layers interact and create solid colors, iridescence, or a combination of colors and shine.

Iridescent Layer

This top layer of color controls the metallic sheen of a betta’s scales.

Blue and green cells called guanophores make up this layer.

Bettas with a lot of guanophores appear as royal blue or green.

Black Layer

This layer contains melanophores and controls how light or dark a betta’s color is.

Bettas with a lot of melanophores are usually darker, more solid-colored fish.

A lack of melanophores produces a pastel or white betta.

Red Layer

The red layer contains color cells called erythrophores. These color cells control the amount of red coloring in a betta fish.

Erythrophores can appear as a solid red or patches of red on a betta.

A genetic mutation can mute these red cells. Bettas with this mutation have the “non-red” gene.

Yellow Layer

The yellow layer consists of xanthophores. Despite being on the yellow layer, xanthophores do not control the amount of yellow in a betta.

Instead, xanthophores control how opaque or transparent a betta’s color is.

How These Color Layers Translate to Purple Bettas

So far, there is no exact combination of these color cells suitable for producing true-purple betta fish.

The secret is having a breeding pair with the right combination of genetics. This increases your chances of producing a blue-purple betta.

Breeding Purple Bettas with Pink and Red Bettas

Breeding a pinkish male betta with a red female may produce a purple baby betta.

Finding a pink betta is a challenge of its own since this color is also rare.

Bettas with the Cambodian gene are the closest to having a pink color.

This color combination can produce a lavender-purple betta. Breeders hope they can produce a dark purple betta with further breeding of the offspring from this combination.

Breeding Purple Bettas with Blue and Red Bettas

Simple color theory tells us blue and red make purple.

But, this is not always true when breeding bettas.

For this breeding pair, you must choose the right colors of blue and red.

The blue betta must have a royal blue color line with an appearance leaning towards purple.

Breeders recently bred a male with this royal blue color with a blue-and-red female. The result was a betta with a violet-purple appearance.

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Toni Tedescucci is a freelance writer who loves all animals, especially betta fish. When she isn’t busy writing for Betta Fish Bay, she’s spending time with her family or getting cozy with her cats and a good book.

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