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Betta Genetics is quite complicated in the sense that bettas have excessively been mixed bred for years. A betta with pure base genetic codes is very rare. Consequently it’s very difficult to predict the outcome of spawns, specially when mixing colors. To add to this complication, one female can lay between 700 – 1300 eggs per spawn. But only few will survive to adulthood thus arrises the question of which genetic codes survived.

As a general guide I wish to compile spawn outcomes to give people a general idea of what their pair will produce – a non scientific source of information, easy to understand. Therefore I’m asking all you breeders to help post your breeding pair and their results to get as many spawn varieties as possible. Such knowledge has helped me understand genetic make ups, and hopefully this will to some extent help others too.

I don’t mean to be rude but since this is meant to be an information thread only, I’d appreciate it if you don’t post non information here. Please ask any questions on a new thread so people searching possible outcomes will not have to read pages of non informational comments.

I wish to thank members on this forum for giving me ideas/opinions (too many to mention).

I’ll start off with some threoretical (mainly from and experience based probabilities. I will group them according to their layer;

Iridescence layer (Green, Steel blue, and Royal blue)

These colors are found on the top layer and would create relatively similar variations when crossed to other colors. This layer is dominant over all colors and will physically effect coloration.

True green genes should produce green fry
True steel blue genes should produce steel blue fry
True royal blue genes should produce a combination of royal blue, green and steel blue.

Though most have mixed genetic codes, nevertheless mixing irid colors should produce these three colors. A “stray” due to mixed genes might be a dark blackish/brownish body with a tint of blue or green on the body or fins.

* Irid colors x cherry red = mostly irid colored body with red fins (both full or partial), irid colors and cherry red (both with or without irid markings on the body).

* Irid colors x black = irid colors, black, and black with irid colors through out the body and fins – traditional/wild colors
- Irid x black + some red = same as above plus multis with red fins.

* Irid colors x Cambodian = irid with red fins, red cambodian (with or without irid layer), cambodian like colors with irid fins, celophane/whitish with irid layer on it, irid colors (often softer shade), pastel.


BY purple I mean a true purple, not a blue, salamander/lavender, copper or any other color with a purple-ish shade.

Marcus Gutzeit : pinkish male from a multicolor line x red female = bubblegum/light purple.

Victoria Parnell : A purple-ish shade of royal blue male from a BF line x blue-red female from a black-red and steel (melano geno) cross = violet blue

Local breeders in my area has produced multi purples from a salamander line. The color has yet to be perfected and doesn’t breed true.

Black layer (cambodian, Blond, and Melano)

Scientifically speaking, this layer carries at least one of three main color genes; ie. Cambodian, blond, and melano which are said to be recessive (Chris Yew, Basic color genetics of betta, Most recessive is the blond, followed by cambodian and then black (Jim Sonnier + experience). Unlike irid colors, mix breeding this color layer with other colors will produce contrasting results.


* Cambodian x irid color = irid-red multi, red cambodian (with or without irid layer), cambodian like colors with irid fins, celophane/whitish with irid layer on it, irid colors (often softer shade), pastel.

* Cambodian x cherry red = cherry red, cambodian, a lighter shade of red or darker shade of cambodian (with and without tints of iridescence – depending on the cmabodian’s background).
*** a combined genetic cambodian may also throw yellow and orange

* Cambodian x bright red = mostly cambodian like colors with more red on the body, a few red, yellow and orange (often rather pale - depends on the background of both)

* Cambodian x black = multi black with red fins. Some may have a rather dominant irid layer on the body, some may show less color (what ever color) which may indicate “blond” effect, cambodian like colors


I have no experience with blond genes or do not realise having any sinse it’s not physically visible like the cambodian - so I can’t give any examples. Instead I’ve quoted Joep’s explanation to give an idea of what to mix breed to create certain colors related to this gene.

Blond bettas show a reduced density of black pigment on the body (between cambodian and black). The mutation that is responsible for the blond trait is recessive to the normal black gene. Some colors like pastels, yellows and opaques are associated with the blond gene.But the blond gene can also be found in combination with other colors like black, steel blue and red. Blonde steels will appear silver, blonde blacks will look washed out and pale and blonde reds exhibit a bright Red color, rather than the usual dark "Cherry" Red.
(Joep van Esch, Color definition & genetics, in


Scientifically this gene is said to show intense black. But physically, IMO, the regular black looks darker but displays too much iridescence. Sinse most female melanos are infertile, to produce melanos, you have to cross melano males to steel blue females (or other colored females)– the reason many melanos physically have steel blue layer on the body.

* Melano x any color = multi colored (melano geno – F1)
* Inbreed F1 (melano geno) = some melano, melano geno, regular
* Inbreed F2 melano x melano geno = Black melano, melano geno

Black lace (recessive to normal dark colors - Joep van Esch)

Is considered to have less black and always have too much irid layer on body and fin. The end of the fins should fade to a clear or smoke appearance.

* Black lace x irid = Multi - darker shade of irid with or without black/dark fins, irid, if either carry red genes – multi with red fins, traditional colors – black/irid body with red, black or irid fins.
* Black lace x cambodian = multi black, multi irid, cambodian,
* Black lace x red = black body with red fins, multi black (wild color), darker shade of cherry red, regular cherry red (with or without black marking/irid. on the scale’s edges)

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Discussion Starter #2
Red layer (Extended red, Reduced red, Non red, Variegated fins)

The traditional or common red color we see is the classic cherry red, a darker shade of red due to pigments in the black layer.
A brighter shade of red , extended red, has a denser spread of red pigments. One way to achieve this color is by crossing regular red to a cambodian with blond genes.

* Cherry Red x Red cambodian with no iridescence = cherry red, cambodian, a lighter shade of red or darker shade of cambodian.

*** Since there aren’t any bettas with true/original genes – the above pair will often produce yellow, orange, cherry red, extended red, and cambodian like colors of different shades. Inbreed the cambodian like color with more red on it either to the same color or to a rather bright red to get extended reds

***Red is partially dominant over all colors in the sense that they will always show red markings, at least on the fins. Like iridescence color, it is difficult to absolutely clean red out of a line.

***Extended red is dominant over normal red

Red loss/reduced red

is a trait seldom, if ever, discussed in this forum and seems to be undesired. It works similarly to the marble gene but only eliminates red pigments, bringing out the black layer. It is dominant over all red except extended.

Non red (Yellow, Orange)

Although non red genes have been identified (nr1, nr2), but for either yellow or orange to apear physically involves a combination of genes. This color is highly recessive towards all colors thus will unlikely show when crossed to other colors.

* To achieve this coloration extended red x cambodian (pale body/no iridescence – nr genes) – F2 or F3 should throw some yellow and or orange.
* Breeding yellow x yellow or orange x orange will eventually wear the color to a dull shade. To regain it’s intensity, you must breed back to nr2 cambodian and repeat the above.

Dalmation (Orange)

Dalmation works similarly to marbles in that they are unpredictable. But unlike marbles that are partially dominant, dalmation spotting are dominant affecting most of the batch (Victoria Parnell, bettysplendens).

Dalmation can be achieved from crossing a melano to a yellow. F1 will produce multi colors. F2 will produce only a few dalmation. F3 will produce dominantly dalmations.

Bettarainbow (
“To get dalm. the male gene need to be 100% dalm + a full solid orange female then you will get dalm or a solid orange male + a female with gene 100% dalm = dalm”.

Dalmation male x dalmation female = NO dalmation
100% Dalmation male x solid orange female = dalmation

Opaque and Pastel

Both are from a steel blue line and need the cambodian/non red gene.

* The genetic make up of Opaque White is C Bl Si Nr Op. (full mask white)

* The genetic make up of Pastel is C Bl Si Nr + very slight Op. (not full masked with more iridescence body)

The difference between the two colors is the amount of Op genes present. Pastels only need a small amount of Op factor.

* Opaque/pastel x iridescence = pastel (mostly with more iridescence), irid-cambodian like colors, iridescence

Variegated fins (Butterfly)

This gene is more of a pattern than a color. It causes the end of the fins to be clear or white (sometimes black on melano cariers). This gene is partially dominant over all colors and will produce butterfly patterns for generations.


genes causes unpredictable color changes. Often this “jumping gene” stops when the betta is fully grown but sometimes it continues to a later age.
In earlier cases I’ve seen, marbling causes the color to fade and change into a felshy color leaving only slight dark coloration. But lately I see them change from dark colors to flesh then turn dark again (both regaining the original color or changing into a different darker color)

This gene is partially dominant and will produce marbles for generations.

* Cellophane is a clear or fleshy color, often achieved from marble genes. But IME, they can also be produced from the cambodian line.


Mustard gas

Was originally a blue-green body with dull yellow fins and blackish butterfly markings. Nowadays the term MG is used for any bi color with yellow fins.

* The genetic make up of MG’s is at least Si Bl Nr Vf
* Foo Hong suggests that black is one of the genes in the make up.


Was originally a cross between MG and other colors which produced coloration similar to MG. Due to “trade mark” issues, these where then called salamander. Today salamander refers to a multi blue-ish red color which many SE Asians call lavender.



This trait is present in the iridescence layer which is most visible on the green and sometimes steel blue color. Metallic coloration was developed by cross breeding splendens to imbillis (which reflected a different spectrum – yellow to yellow-green (Joep van Esch, in bettaterritory)), smaragdina, and mahachai

Amongst the first popular metallic color was the copper. It’s a steel-grey color that blends to a tint of red, giving it that copper look. Due to the nature of the metallic properties, it often exhibits different colors with different light angles – copper, gold, green.

* Genetically, metallic is dominant over normal color.
* Full mask is dominant over regular dark head.
* Red is partially dominant – will always show on the fins and sometimes on the body.

Copper has the same genetic code as a steel blue but with metallic genes (++). In the first few years of it’s creation; Copper was recessive over iridescence
Copper x green = mostly green (of different shades, both metallic and normal), very few copper and steel blue.
Copper x royal blue = green, steel blue, very few copper.
Copper x red = muti copper with red fins (mostly fully red)

***In the few years of working with copper and green, I have never produced full masking.

Copper has mutated and are now equally dominant.
* Copper x green = green (metallic and regular) and copper (fairly equal)
* White opaque x copper = platinum, copper, a mixture of both, strays are irid pastel/cambodian like colors, irid colors (both metallic and regular).

*** Keep in mind that copper has been excessively cross bred to different colors. Thus it’s safe to say that there are no longer pure copper genetics. That being said –
* Copper x platinum = traditional cambodian (with some iridescence), red cambodian, yellow, solid copper, copper with red fins (red copper), green (mainly multi), both green and copper with yellow fins, pastel like colors

* Copper x red cambodian (metallic line) = red copper, gold copper, silverish copper, cambodian (metallic and regular), cambodian-red copper mix, pastel like colors

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Discussion Starter #3
Dragon scale

Was produced from further cross breeding to wild types and selectively breeding their offspring. Dragons are metallic based bettas with thick looking scales covering the whole body (full masked dragon). This trait was designed to have white/silver body with different colored fins – which gives them their names;
Red dragon = white body with red fins
Yellow dragon = white body with yellow fins
Black dragon = silver/grey body with black fins ........ And so on
Iridescence colored dragons does not display this pattern. Instead iridescence color covers the whole body and fins. Thus a geen dragon has thick green scales and fins. A blue dragon has blue body and fins, etc.

Since dragons need double metallic allele, they are recessive. Crossing a dragon to a regular will produce dragon genos. Physically they will show partial dragon scales. Usually after inbreeding to F3 will return the full masked dragon feature.

Iridescence colored dragon works similarly to that of regular scale. So pure iridescence colored dragons:
* Green dragon x green dragon = green dragon
* Steel blue dragon x steel blue dragon = steel blue
* Blue dragon x blue dragon = green, steel blue, blue (all dragons)
***As repeatedly stated, there are no “pure bred” betta. It’s more likely that you will end up with other color variations as well.

* Ideal Red dragons are white body with red fins – no iridescence or other colors on the rays.
Many “red dragons” sold carry white or iridescence rays.
* Since dragons are metallic based plus the fact that they have been crossed bred:
Breeding red dragons (pure or otherwise) = red dragons (both pure and multi), yellow, orange, gold, platinum (mostly dragons, possibly some regular) – some more severely crossed may throw coppers.
It is said that adding marble may result in a dragon scale with darker shade of red (the whole body and fin) – sort of maroon (very rare).

* Breeding Black dragons may result : copper, green, steel blue (both dragon and regular), Platinum (solid and multi),
* It is said that stray (by adding marble) may result in super black (a totally black color). These super blacks have been selectively bred and are now breeding true. But for some reason, this coloration most often comes in a less perfect form.

***Something I’ve noticed is that some color combination; such as copper body with yellow fins, are easier to achieve through the dragon line. I’m not sure whether this is caused by new mutations due to excessive cross breeding or whether such combinations are common outcomes in the dragon line.
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