Veiltail Betta: A Complete Care Guide Plus FAQ

The veiltail is the first long-finned betta fish breed on record.

This betta tail type was first introduced to the United States in the 1920s.

Despite not being as popular as other tail types, the veiltail betta is still beloved by many betta fish owners.

Keep reading to learn what makes the veiltail betta fish so different from other tail types.


veiltail betta appearance

One of the most notable features of the veiltail betta fish is its long, asymmetrical caudal fin.

The caudal fin droops downward, resembling a bridal veil. This is how the veiltail betta got its name.

Female veiltail bettas lack the long, drooping caudal fin. They also have shorter anal fins.

Royal blue and turquoise are the most common colors of veiltail bettas.

But thanks to selective breeding, veiltails also come in other vibrant colors, such as:

  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Emerald green
  • Deep purple

Veiltail betta fish usually have an iridescent sheen. This is because iridescence is a dominant gene present in the first of four color layers.

The iridescent sheen gives the betta’s beautiful tail a shimmery, translucent appearance.

Unique Differences

Since veiltail bettas have long fins, they have more trouble swimming than short-finned varieties.

Ensure the water flow in your betta tank is not too strong. Make adjustments to your aquarium filter so it is at its lowest setting.

If your veiltail betta still struggles when it’s swimming, add a filter sponge to the output nozzle for a slower current.

Place betta hammocks or broadleaf aquatic plants near the top of the tank. This provides your betta with resting spots as it swims to the surface for fresh air.

You must also protect your veiltail betta’s delicate fins from getting torn.

Avoid tank decorations and plastic plants with sharp edges. If your aquarium net gets snagged on an object, it is too sharp for your betta.

Consider placing a pre-filter sponge on your aquarium filter’s intake nozzle. This prevents your betta’s fins from getting sucked into the filter intake and getting damaged.


Veiltail betta fish have an average lifespan of 2-4 years.

With proper care, bettas can live for five years or more.

Inbreeding is less common in veiltail bettas, so they have a lower risk of genetic defects.

This means veiltail bettas may have a longer lifespan than some of the more fancy betta breeds.

Average Size

Veiltail bettas are usually smaller than other types of bettas.

The average size of male veiltail bettas is between 2.5-3″ inches long.

A female veiltail betta is a bit smaller with an average length of 1.5-2″ inches.

Veiltail Betta Care

veiltail betta care

Veiltail bettas have the same basic care needs as other betta types.

Be mindful of their long fins and ensure you create a safe environment for them.

Below is a helpful guide with tips for keeping your veiltail betta healthy and comfortable.

Learn more details about setting up your betta tank by clicking on the link.

Tank Size

The smallest recommended tank size for a veiltail betta fish is 5 gallons.

If you want a community tank for your veiltail betta, you must have at least a 10-gallon tank.

Choose a tank with plenty of horizontal space.

Long-finned bettas like veiltails have trouble swimming, so portrait tanks are not ideal.

Ensure your aquarium has a lid. Betta fish are excellent jumpers and can make a quick escape in an open tank.

Do not fill your fish tank up to the rim with water. Your betta needs some space for breathing fresh air through its labyrinth organ.

Water Parameters

A dirty environment can cause various health issues in your veiltail betta.

Maintain a healthy environment with a weekly cleaning routine and partial water changes.

Ideal water parameters for a betta are:

Ideal Water Parameters for a Betta Fish Tank Include the following:

  • Temperature: 78-80° degrees Fahrenheit (25.5-27° C)
  • pH: 6.5-7.5
  • Ammonia and Nitrite: 0 ppm
  • Nitrate: < 40 ppm
  • gH: 3-4 dGH (50-66.7 ppm)
  • kH: 3-5 dKH (53.6-89.4 ppm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 5 Gallons

Ammonia and nitrite levels above 0 ppm are toxic to bettas. Nitrates are less harmful in small amounts.

The nitrogen cycle plays a vital role in preventing increased levels of ammonia and nitrite.

As a part of the nitrogen cycle, beneficial bacteria convert ammonia into nitrite and then convert nitrite into nitrate. Live plants consume excess nitrate during photosynthesis.

It may take 6-8 weeks for the formation of beneficial bacteria colonies.

Do not add your veiltail betta to the aquarium until the nitrogen cycle is complete. This prevents your betta from getting a severe illness or dying.

What To Put In Their Tank


Gravel is the most common substrate for betta tanks. But sand and aquarium soil are also options.

Aquarium gravel comes in several different colors and is easy to keep clean. It also anchors live plants and creates less of a mess than sand or aquarium soil.

If you have root-feeding aquatic plants in your gravel substrate, you must add a fertilizer.

Root tab fertilizers are the best choice. They provide essential nutrients to your plants without altering your water parameters.

Liquid fertilizers are another option, but they can add too many nutrients to the water column. This affects your water parameters as well as your betta’s health.

Avoid aquatic plant fertilizers containing copper if you have shrimp or snails in your betta tank. Copper is very toxic to these small invertebrates.


Your veiltail betta fish needs at least 8-10 hours of light every day.

A steady light cycle helps your fish regulate its eating and sleeping habits. Be sure you turn the lights off at night so your betta can get some sleep.

If you have trouble remembering, consider adding a light timer to your lighting setup. Light timers turn the aquarium lights on and off according to the schedule you set.

LED lights are the most common choice among fish keepers.

Unlike traditional fluorescent lighting, LED lights produce very little heat.

Betta fish do not enjoy bright light.

Many aquarium lighting setups are adjustable, so you may dim them according to your betta’s needs.

Floating plants like Brazilian pennywort and Amazon frogbit help provide your betta with some shade, as well.


veiltail betta filter

Aquarium filters help keep your betta tank clean by filtering out harmful organisms.

Water filters also circulate oxygen and heat throughout the tank.

An aquarium filter should circulate all the tank water around 4-6 times per hour. The label on the filter designates this as GPH, or gallons per hour.

This means you need a filter with a flow rating of 20-30 GPH for a 5-gallon tank.

Also, choose a filter with an adjustable flow rate.

Betta fish cannot swim well in strong currents, so you must keep the water flow as gentle as possible.

Sponges placed on the filter’s input and output nozzles can help maintain slow currents if your filter is still too strong.


A betta’s natural habitat includes rice paddies and slow-moving streams throughout Southeast Asia.

Since bettas are tropical fish, they need warm water temperatures in captivity.

The ideal temperature range for a betta is between 78-80° degrees Fahrenheit (25.5-27° C).

You need an aquarium heater in your betta tank for maintaining these warm temperatures.

Keep your betta’s water temperatures stable. Drastic fluctuations can lead to temperature shock and other illnesses in betta fish.

Aquarium heaters must have an output of 3-5 watts for every gallon of water.

For a 5-gallon tank, you need a water heater with 15-25 watts of power.

Most aquarium heaters have a built-in thermostat. But these thermostats are sometimes faulty, even in high-quality aquarium heaters.

Use a separate thermometer for checking tank temperatures from time to time. Place the thermometer in different parts of the tank for a more accurate reading.

You must ensure there are no cold spots in your betta tank.

Installing the heater next to the filter helps warm water circulate through the entire tank.

Plants and Decorations

Plants and decorations provide your betta with enrichment. This keeps your betta happy and reduces stress.

You may choose live or artificial plants for your betta tank. Avoid plastic plants, as they usually have sharp edges.

If you want artificial plants in your betta tank, choose ones made of silk.

Live aquatic plants are the best option for a betta tank.

They help create a more natural environment and oxygenate the tank water.

Some excellent live plant options include:

  • Java moss
  • Java fern
  • Amazon Sword
  • Anubias
  • Anacharis
  • Brazillian pennywort

Betta fish also need plenty of hiding places. Hiding places reduce stress by making your betta feel more secure.

Aquarium driftwood, smooth rocks, and ceramic caves are all great choices for your betta.

Always inspect aquarium decorations for sharp edges and rough surfaces. If your aquarium net snags on sharp objects, they are unsafe for your betta.

Check painted decorations for any signs of chipping or peeling. Some paints contain harmful chemicals and can leach toxins into the water column.

Possible Diseases

Veiltails are one of the hardiest types of betta fish.

Inbreeding is less likely in veiltail bettas because their tail type is a dominant trait. This reduces the chance of genetic defects in veiltails.

But due to their long, flowy tails, veiltail betta fish are more prone to fin and tail rot compared to short-finned betta varieties.

The main cause of fin rot is harmful bacteria, fungi, and toxins in the water. It also occurs when fin injuries are not treated.

Fin rot is not usually a deadly disease unless it spreads to the betta’s body.

Signs of fin rot in betta fish include:

  • Ragged fins
  • Black or brown spots on the fins
  • Bloody fin edges
  • Cottony growths on the fins

Treatment for mild cases of fin rot involves administering aquarium salt to your betta in a quarantine tank. In severe cases of fin rot, your betta needs antibacterial or antifungal medications.

The most common cause of fin rot is poor water conditions.

Keep your betta fish tank clean with a weekly maintenance routine. This includes vacuuming debris from the substrate, removing algae, and a 20%-25% water change.

Food & Diet

veiltail betta food

Bettas are carnivores and need a diet rich in animal proteins.

High-quality betta pellets with at least 35% protein are the best choice for a staple food.

Feed your betta 2-4 pellets twice per day, at least 6-8 hours apart.

Remove uneaten food when feeding time is over. This prevents the food from rotting on the substrate and releasing toxic ammonia.

Bettas also enjoy variety in their diet in the form of live foods.

Some excellent live food choices include:

  • Brine shrimp
  • Daphnia
  • Bloodworms
  • Mosquito larvae

Substitute your betta’s pellet food with live foods 2-3 times per week.

Choose one day of the week for fasting your betta. Fasting lets your betta digest leftover food in its stomach.

This prevents bloating and constipation. Both conditions can lead to serious illnesses like swim bladder disorder and dropsy.

Behavior and Temperament

All betta fish are aggressive and territorial. Males are usually more aggressive than females.

Veiltails are one of the more docile varieties of betta fish.

Many betta fish owners say their veiltails have a more outgoing personality.

Your veiltail betta may swim towards you or wiggle its tail when you approach the tank.

But a veiltail betta’s personality varies from each individual fish. A betta’s genetics and environment determine how aggressive it is.

Tank Mates

Veiltail bettas do well in community tanks because of their more peaceful nature.

If you plan on keeping your veiltail betta in a community tank, you must create the ideal environment.

For tank mates like Amano shrimp, otocinclus, and nerite snails, you must have at least a 10-gallon tank.

When keeping your veiltail betta with schooling fish like neon tetras or rasboras, you need a 20-gallon tank or larger.

Avoid aggressive behaviors by providing plenty of aquatic plants and hiding places.

If you notice aggressive or territorial behavior, remove your betta to a separate aquarium right away.

Breeding History

We do not know much about the origins of the veiltail trait in betta fish.

Many scientists believe the veiltail betta has ancestry from Betta mahachaiensis, Betta smaragdina, and Betta imbellis.

The veiltail gene is a dominant trait. This means if you breed a veiltail betta with another tail type, all the offspring will have a veiltail.


Veiltail bettas are less expensive than other betta varieties. This is because demand for veiltail bettas is low.

The average price for a male veiltail betta is between $2.50 to $5.

Female veiltail bettas have a lower price range of $2 to $3.


Veiltail bettas are not rare, but they are less common than they were 10 years ago.

Many times, veiltail bettas get overlooked in pet stores in favor of more fancy bettas like the halfmoon, rosetail, and crowntail varieties.

Even large pet store chains carry fewer veiltail bettas these days.

Frequently Asked Questions About Veiltail Bettas

Can veiltail bettas compete in betta shows?

Most betta shows no longer have a category for veiltail bettas.

The reason for this has to do with the genetics of veiltail betta fish.

Veiltail bettas are very common and do not have distinct bloodlines. Some betta breeders in Australia are breeding veiltails in the hopes of bringing them back to the show circuit.

Are veiltail bettas in danger of becoming extinct?

At one time, the veiltail betta was the most common betta type found in pet stores.

But with the introduction of halfmoon and crowntail bettas, the veiltail’s popularity is declining.

Betta breeders usually favor more elaborate tail types because they provide a higher profit.

Fortunately, there is a renewed interest in veiltail bettas, so they are not likely to disappear any time soon.

How can you tell how old a veiltail betta is?

Buying your veiltail betta from a reputable breeder is the only way of knowing how old your fish is.

Many bettas sold in pet stores are around 6 months old. You may guess your betta’s age by watching its behavior.

Betta fish have an average lifespan of 2-5 years. They usually start slowing down after reaching three years of age.

If your betta seems less active and sleeps more than it used to, your fish is likely entering old age.

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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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