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Double Tail Betta Fish: Care Guide, Varieties, & Lifespan (With Pictures)

Sarah Psaradelis

By Sarah Psaradelis

double tailed halfmoon betta splendens

The double-tail betta fish is a long-finned and fancy betta fish breed that is found in a range of different colors and patterns. These betta fish are quite common, and their long flowing fins look mesmerizing in an aquarium. The main difference between a double-tailed betta fish in comparison to other types of betta fish is that instead of having one tail fin, they have two split tail fins instead.

If you are new to owning betta fish, then the double-tail betta might be more challenging to own. These typically heavy-finned bettas have slightly different care requirements than other betta fish since they may have difficulty swimming and their long fins are at risk of being damaged.

This is why we have created this article to help you care for this type of betta fish.

aquarium plant dividerQuick Facts About Double Tail Betta Fish

Species Name: Betta splendens
Family: Osphronemidae
Care Level: Beginner
Temperature: 75–80 degrees Fahrenheit
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Color Form: Black, blue, yellow, pink, white, purple, red, orange, green, gold, multi-colored
Lifespan: 2–4 years
Size: 2.5–3 inches
Diet: Carnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Tropical, freshwater fish tank
Compatibility: Cannot be housed with other betta fish

Double Tail Betta Fish Overview

The double-tail betta fish was first bred in Japan to be the koi fish in the betta world. They are a type of fancy betta fish, with two tails instead of one. All the fancy betta fish we see today are descendants from wild betta splendens that were discovered in Thailand, previously known as Siam at the time, in southeast Asia likely during the mid-1800s.

The first betta fish was only brought into the United States in 1910, and soon they were bred for their coloration and various fin types to make them more appealing. It is unclear when the first double-tail betta fish was created, but we do know that they are a variation of fancy betta breeds that were starting to be created in the late 1920s.

Soon betta fish gained popularity for their ease of keeping and endless color and fin variations that made them attractive pet fish to own.

double tail betta fish_Buddy BIGPhotographer, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Buddy BIGPhotographer, Shutterstock

How Much Do Double Tail Betta Fish Cost?

The average double-tail betta fish costs around $8 to $30 depending on the fish’s health and coloration. They are quite common in pet stores around the world, with long Double-tail bettas being the more common variety, and short double-tailed bettas being more expensive due to their unusual appearance. Most double-tail betta fish are fairly inexpensive, although some rarer color forms are expensive, and can be priced up to $50 or bid for on an auction.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Like all betta fish, the double-tail betta fish is semi-aggressive and highly territorial. This means that they do not get along with other betta fish once they mature and they will fight till death or severe injury. It is for this reason that betta fish are not recommended to be kept in the same aquarium.

However, when betta fish are kept in an appropriate aquarium with the right tank mates, they will display peaceful behaviors and are not highly active fish. Male double-tail bettas have heavy fins, which can weigh them down in the water and make them swim less. You may also find that these bettas spend more time relaxing on leaves which function as a “bed”, or they will slowly swim around the tank awaiting feeding time.

Appearance & Varieties

The double-tail betta fish is a beautiful fish to own, and they are found in a variety of different colors. The fin type is a split tail, so they have two separate tails at the end of their bodies. In males, these fins are long, but in females with short tails, the split between the two tails is quite distinctive. Male double-tail bettas are more common than females, with males being available in more patterns.

Both male and female double-tail betta fish are available in the following colors; red, blue, orange, yellow, gold, green, pink, purple, black, and white. Males are found with multiple colors, while females mostly have a solid color with lighter shades of the specific color throughout their bodies.

These betta fish grow to around 2.5 to 3 inches in size, although the long fins in males may make them appear larger. Female double-tail betta fish have larger bodies with shorter fins, while males have smaller bodies and fins that can be double the size of their bodies. Their spectacular fins frame their bodies, and they look especially attractive in male betta fish.

How to Take Care of Double Tail Betta Fish

Let’s take a look at the habitat, tank conditions, and setup needed for keeping your double-tail Betta happy and healthy.

Tank Size

A standard minimum tank size for betta fish is around 5 gallons. This is not an exception for double-tail betta fish who will also benefit from having a large aquarium. However, there should not be much open space in the tank, as their heavy fins make it difficult for them to swim without having to take a rest. Having a variety of plants and soft surfaces for them to rest on will be beneficial.

It is not recommended to keep them in a bowl or vase with less than 5 gallons of water and without a filter or heater.

Acrylic fish tank
Image Credit: BLUR LIFE 1975, Shutterstock

Water Quality & Conditions

Betta fish need good water conditions to stay healthy. This can be achieved by cycling the aquarium first before placing the betta fish inside. The nitrogen cycle can take anywhere between 4 to 12 weeks to fully cycle, so patience is key. Doing a fish-in cycle is not ideal, and it is the leading cause of sudden death in new betta fish due to high ammonia and nitrite.

As a freshwater and tropical fish, the double-tail betta needs warm water from an aquarium heater, along with water that does not have any salt. Tap and well water should be treated with a de-chlorinator to remove heavy metals, chloramine, and chlorine.

A pH of 6.5 to 7.5 is ideal for these fish, with a stable temperature between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.


Substrate

Betta fish are not too fussy with the type of substrate in the aquarium, so sand, soil, and gravel will suffice. Avoid colorful or painted gravel in the aquarium, as these substrates may leach colors into the water over time which can harm your fish. Any sharp gravel should be avoided, as a double-tailed betta can get their fins scraped along the gravel leading to injury.

pumping-out-water-to-clean-up-the-substrate-in-his-aquarium
Image Credit: Ladanifer, Shutterstock

Plants

Creating a heavily planted aquarium for double-tailed bettas is ideal, and they require lots of soft plants to rest on. If you don’t want to use live plants, opt for lots of silk plants instead. Normal plastic plants and decorations can damage double-tailed bettas’ fins and make it difficult for them to comfortably rest on the leaves or rough surfaces on the decoration.


Lighting

Bettas do not require much lighting, and they may get stressed with bright lights over their aquarium. Natural window light may suffice for betta fish as long as the tank receives no direct sunlight, but an LED aquarium light works well for planted tanks

Light can also make it easier to see your betta fish’s color. Make sure the light is not kept on for more than 10 hours a day, and that your betta fish has complete darkness at night to rest.

Anubias Nana Petite in the tank
Image Credit: nuzaa, Shutterstock

Filtration

Double-tail betta fish need a filter to help keep the water clean. The filter should not be too strong or produce a current, as the current can make it difficult for male double-tail bettas to swim around since their fins are long and heavy. A strong suction by the filter can also suck your betta’s fins in and rip them.

A sponge filter run by airline tubing and an air pump is a safe type of filtration to run on most betta fish aquariums.

starfish-divider-ahAre Double Tail Betta Fish Good Tank Mates?

With the right tank mates, the double-tail betta fish can be a good tank mate. Keep in mind that the more tank mates you add with your double-tail betta fish, the larger the aquarium needs to be. Avoid keeping double-tail betta fish together, as betta fish should never be housed together since they will fight.

Peaceful and bottom-dwelling tank mates are ideal for double-tail bettas, this includes invertebrates such as snails or shrimp. You can also keep small loaches or cory catfish in the aquarium if it is large enough.

Keeping other fish with a double-tail betta puts them at risk of having their fins nipped by other fish, especially since males have long fins that are appealing for other fish to bite.

Double-Tail Halfmoon betta
Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock

What to Feed Your Double Tail Betta Fish

The double-tail betta fish is a carnivore in the wild, so they should be fed a diet rich in animal-based protein in captivity. Some ideal foods for double-tail bettas include pellets, granules, freeze-dried or live foods formulated for betta fish. A bit of plant-based ingredients in commercial betta fish foods isn’t harmful to them.

Live or freeze-dried food like bloodworms and shrimp can be fed to supplement your double-tailed betta’s diet a few times a week. Avoid overfeeding these bettas as it can lead to bloat.

Keeping Your Double Tail Betta Fish Healthy

Keeping your double-tail betta happy and healthy is quite simple. All you need to do is provide them with a tank around 5 gallons in size that has undergone the nitrogen cycle. Fill the tank with plenty of soft plants that can be live or silk to give them a place to rest in between swimming.

There should be few open spaces in the fish tank, especially if it is large as this can cause your double-tailed betta to become stressed and hide. The tank should have a heater since they are tropical fish, along with a filter to maintain good water quality.

If the filter’s current is too strong or there are not enough resting places, your double-tail betta may start fin-nipping because they are having difficulty swimming.

Breeding

Breeding healthy bettas is best left to expert betta fish breeders, and it can be quite tricky for the average fish keeper. Male double-tail bettas will create a bubble nest when they are ready to breed at around 4 to 6 months of age.

When introduced to a female for breeding purposes, as bettas should not be housed together, the male will squeeze the female in his body until she releases eggs that can be fertilized.

These eggs will float to the bottom of the tank and the male will then pick up the eggs to place in the bubble nest. The male will then protect the eggs, and the female should be removed from the tank before they fight with each other.

aquarium plant divider

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a fascinating betta fish that has a unique tail, then the double-tail betta fish is worth checking out. Double-tailed bettas are not the most active bettas since the male’s long fins can weigh them down, but they still look great in aquariums with live plants and other invertebrates.

Since they aren’t the best community fish due to their aggressiveness and risk of being fin-nipped by other fish, double-tailed bettas will do best in their own heated and filtered aquarium or with small and peaceful bottom-dwelling tank mates.


Featured Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock

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