Yellow Betta Fish: How This Fish Got Its Cheerful Color

The betta splendens species comes in a wide variety of vibrant colors.

But none stand out more than the yellow betta fish.

This exciting color is like a bright ray of sunshine in the betta world.

It’s far from the drab olive-green body color in many wild bettas.

Achieving this yellow color in bettas is not easy. A yellow betta must have the right combination of genetics, many of which are recessive to other colors.

Let’s discover what makes the yellow betta special and how breeders created this cheerful color.

What Is a Yellow Betta Fish?

yellow betta fish

Yellow bettas display a variety of hues ranging from golden mustard to a bright lemon-yellow color.

A yellow betta usually has a solid color on the body and fins. Many yellow bettas also have specks of orange or brown on their bodies.

There are also yellow bi-color bettas with contrasting darker colors on the fins.

Yellow bettas do not have a set tail type, as many breeders focus on the color of the fish instead of the fins.

But long fin types like the halfmoon, crowntail, and veiltail are common in yellow bettas.

Color Variations

Breeders developed several dazzling color patterns in yellow bettas through selective breeding.

Since yellow is a challenging color in bettas, these beautiful patterns are no easy feat.

Some color variations are rare or look quite different from their original versions.


A pineapple betta may appear as a solid yellow fish from a distance.

But if you look closer, you see a black outline around the body scales.

The distinct dark outline around this betta’s body scales makes it look like a yellow pineapple.

It also classifies this fish as a bi-color betta.

Pineapple bettas are not rare, and they are very popular among betta enthusiasts.

Mustard Gas

The mustard gas betta is one of my favorite color patterns in these fish.

Mustard gas bettas have a dark blue or green body with bright, mustard-yellow fins and tails.

Sometimes, the fins have a band of body color on the outer edges.

The contrast between dark blue and bright yellow creates a striking color combination!

You may also see this betta advertised as a “paradise betta.” This is just a more cheerful name for the mustard gas pattern.

Mustard gas bettas you see now look slightly different from the original color pattern.

Much of the original mustard gas betta genes are lost due to selective breeding for more variegation in the fins.

This color variant is rare because of its high demand.


Chocolate bettas are sometimes confused for the mustard gas variant because their coloring is similar.

But chocolate bettas have a rich brown base color instead of dark blue or green.

The ideal chocolate betta should not have any iridescence on its body. Its fins should have a solid golden-yellow coloring without variegation or a butterfly pattern.

The fish is not a good example of a chocolate betta if the body is black.

Chocolate bettas are very popular among betta fish enthusiasts. But the International Betta Congress does not recognize the chocolate betta as a separate color form.

The IBC classifies the chocolate betta as a bi-color betta for show purposes.

Due to its popularity, chocolate betta is somewhat rare.


The gold betta is a new color variant of the yellow betta.

Gold bettas have the metallic gene. This comes from cross-breeding the betta splendens with wild-type bettas like the betta imbellis.

These bettas have shiny gold-colored bodies and fins.

Breeders also developed a rose-gold variant from this color strain.

Rose-gold bettas have a paler yellow coloring with undertones of red. This gives the rose-gold betta a metallic pinkish-yellow color.

Gold and rose-gold bettas are very rare because they are new on the market. Only a handful of betta breeders specialize in these color varieties.

The halfmoon tail type is the most common in gold and rose-gold bettas.

Are Yellow Betta Fish Rare?

The rarity of a yellow betta depends on its coloring.

Yellow bettas with bright lemon-yellow bodies are rarer than those with black or brown specks on the body.

Among yellow betta color variations, pineapple bettas are the most common.

Mustard gas, chocolate, and gold color varieties are very rare.

Breeding yellow bettas is a challenging task because of their complicated genetics.

Betta fish do not have a specific gene for the yellow color. These bettas must get their yellow color from bettas with non-red genes, which are recessive.

Average Cost of a Yellow Betta Fish

The average cost of a yellow betta fish ranges from $15 to $40.

A yellow betta’s price depends on the purity of its yellow color and fin type.

Yellow bettas with the butterfly pattern are on the higher end of the pricing spectrum.

Solid yellow bettas with bright, pure colors cost more than bi-color or marble betta variants.

The exception to this is the mustard gas betta. Mustard gas bettas with show-quality colors cost anywhere from $35 to $65.

You likely won’t find many yellow bettas at your local pet store.

But several online breeders specialize in yellow bettas and their color variants.

If you buy a yellow betta from an online breeder, you must budget for the shipping costs.

Shipping costs from most online breeders are between $15 and $20.

The Breeding History of Yellow Betta Fish

Breeding yellow bettas is not as simple as pairing yellow with yellow.

While a yellow betta breeding pair does produce yellow offspring, the colors become dull over time.

Breeders started experimenting by breeding bettas with the extended red gene. To their surprise, some of the offspring had the Cambodian color pattern, and others were yellow.

Crossing two yellow bettas from this spawn produced 25% yellow offspring; the rest were Cambodian.

After further breeding experiments, breeders found they could produce yellow from Cambodian lines.

But these bettas were not the ideal yellow color. Many of the offspring had a pale, washed-out yellow color.

Breeding yellow bettas with Cambodian bettas carrying the nr2 gene can make the yellow coloring brighter.

Yellow Betta Fish Genetics

A domestic betta splendens has four color layers:

  • Iridescent
  • Black
  • Red
  • Yellow

It might seem like yellow bettas get their color from pigment cells on the yellow layer.

But this is not true at all! Despite its name, the yellow layer has no control over the yellow coloring in bettas.

The non-red gene produces a yellow color by removing red pigments.

Yellow bettas must have four alterations in certain pigment layers.

A yellow betta must have zero or very few pigment cells in the black and iridescent layers.

They also need the recessive non-red and Cambodian genes.

All these genes combined remove dark colors and let the yellow coloration appear.

Yellow Betta Fish Care

Yellow bettas look their best when given proper care.

Stress from poor water conditions can make your yellow betta look pale and dull.

The Right Tank Size

Start by providing your yellow betta with plenty of space for swimming.

The minimum tank size for bettas is 5 gallons, but a 10-gallon tank is even better.

Here’s our post reviewing the best betta fish tanks for you to check out.

Aquarium Heaters and Filters

Next, you must have an aquarium heater and filter in your betta tank.

Bettas are tropical fish that thrive in warm water temperatures between 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Avoid placing your betta tank near direct sunlight. Sunlight can increase tank temperatures too much and encourage algae growth.

An aquarium filter circulates oxygen through the tank water and helps remove bacteria and debris particles.

Choose a filter with an adjustable flow and use it on the lowest setting. Bettas cannot swim well in strong currents, especially if they have long fins.

You can check out our betta filter review here.

Plants and Decorations

Add some aquatic plant life for a more natural environment and provide plenty of hiding places.

Live aquatic plants are the best option. They provide extra benefits like oxygenating and filtering the tank water.

Hiding places make bettas feel more secure and reduce stress.

Avoid placing too many decorations in your betta tank.

Cramped conditions make a betta stressed and more prone to illness. Too many objects in the tank also increase the risk of torn fins.


Lighting is another essential item. Aquarium lighting helps your betta maintain its sleep cycle and encourages healthy plant growth.

Provide your betta with a day and night cycle of lighting with 8-10 hours of light during the day.

Here’s our article on an ideal tank setup for your betta.

Tank Maintenance

Above everything else, you must keep your betta tank clean.

Clean water creates a healthy environment and helps prevent many common betta diseases.

Maintain a clean tank by performing a partial water change and vacuuming the substrate with a weekly siphon.

During the water change, remove algae from the sides of the tank with an algae scraper.

Add a water conditioner to the freshwater before adding it to your betta tank. A water conditioner removes toxic chlorine and chloramine from tap water, making it safe for your betta.

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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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