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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!
I'm really interested in learning how to critique bettas. So I thought maybe I would make a thread where people can post pictures of bettas (even if they're just random ones off Google) and other people can critique them. This would give the opportunity for betta showing newbies (like me) to get used to identifying positive and negative traits in betta spendens.

I debated posting this on the "Betta Chat" forum but I thought it was more appropriate here. If a someone disagrees feel free to request a mod to move the thread.

Let's get started, shall we? Since Gabriel won't flare for me I'll begin with someone's flaring fish from online:
View attachment 602722
Okay, so...right off the top of my head I's say his anal is too long. Perhaps he's a little bit spoonheaded? His ventrals seem a bit spindly, and his dorsal both doesn't reach the 180 mark and doesn't transition smoothly into the caudal.

Have fun everyone!

OFL
 

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I look at fish #1, the blue fish, and I see the following flaws for HM:

Long Anal
Backswept dorsal with stairstep rays (Ideal is as straight or tilted forward, if possible)
Uneven Caudal & less than 180 degrees.

Pet quality.

Fish #2, Traditional Plakat form

Pose with ruler or state size for evaluation of the giant. There are specific body mass and length requirements. "King" is just a trade name for giant geno, sometimes they do reach full giant size.

Dorsal's not bad. I would like to see it either a little more rounded, or a little more pointed. It seems more tall than round.

I like the caudal. 4-ray, which is the maximum allowable for traditional plakat. Excellent shape and spread.

Anal needs work. You want a really strict trapezoid shape, narrower at the front and broader at the back, with a SHARP point that extends at the bottom end of the anal. That point should come roughly even to the ventrals.

Vents look good, I don't see any splitting and the length looks right.

This fish is quite stout, and I like his top line. While the anal rules out showing to me, I'd pair him with a female with a bit of a longer body, and a better anal. Try to fix those flaws to show in the next generation.
 
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Discussion Starter #4
I've just spent two minutes scrolling back and forth from your critiques to the fish pics and trying to see what you're seeing. Definitely a learning curve for me! I can't understand the rays. How can you tell how many there are? It looks to me like there are at least 16 on that plakat but I guess I'm mistaking pattern for rays. Which are the real rays?

Here's another fish up for critiquing:
View attachment 604602
All his fins are pretty uneven and wonky, and I don't know what's going on with the flat caudal. His topline and vents are pretty good though I think.
 

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Here is a map for counting rays.

That second fish ... his flaws are so glaring, it's hard to pick out anything to say. If there are so many flaws that you have to count the good points instead of the bad points, the fish is not worth your time.
 

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Here is a map for counting rays.

That second fish ... his flaws are so glaring, it's hard to pick out anything to say. If there are so many flaws that you have to count the good points instead of the bad points, the fish is not worth your time.
That makes it so clear! I understand now. Could you do the same for veil, half moon and rose tail? How many divisions does each Ray have in those?
 

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Tail type past VT (1 division, 2-ray) is determined by caudal shape and spread rather than number of rays. I have seen an over-halfmoon with only 4 rays. I have seen a delta with 8. A good halfmoon has a caudal shaped like a capital D. Less than 180* spread is either a super delta (if it almost makes it but not quite) or a delta (not even close to 180). Those are not acceptable for show.

Rosetails have so much branching you simply cannot count it, and the edge of the caudal looks like rose petals from the excess branching. Feather tails are so extreme that their caudal looks like bird feathers. The branching changes configuration to come directly from the rays.
 

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Fish #2, Traditional Plakat form

Pose with ruler or state size for evaluation of the giant. There are specific body mass and length requirements. "King" is just a trade name for giant geno, sometimes they do reach full giant size.

Dorsal's not bad. I would like to see it either a little more rounded, or a little more pointed. It seems more tall than round.

I like the caudal. 4-ray, which is the maximum allowable for traditional plakat. Excellent shape and spread.

Anal needs work. You want a really strict trapezoid shape, narrower at the front and broader at the back, with a SHARP point that extends at the bottom end of the anal. That point should come roughly even to the ventrals.

Vents look good, I don't see any splitting and the length looks right.

This fish is quite stout, and I like his top line. While the anal rules out showing to me, I'd pair him with a female with a bit of a longer body, and a better anal. Try to fix those flaws to show in the next generation.
Wow! Thank you so much! I knew he was pretty close to show quality! His body is a good 2.5 inches, I'll remeasure just to double check.
Is there anything that I could do to fix the anal?
Maybe sometime in the future I'll breed him. Could you provide pictures of a female as an example for what to look for if I breed?
 

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I can't, because I am not good enough at evaluating females. But, basically, a good PK female will have a super straight anal with an accentuated point at the end. Something like that will fix his flaws. A female traditional PK should look very similar to a male, but she will have shorter ventrals, and a shorter anal. They can be a challenge to pick out from VT and HM girls, but you can start spotting them with practice.

2.5 inches, not including caudal is minimum "giant" body length for a male. Congratulations, if he is 2.5 inches BO (body only) you have a giant. 2.25 inches is the minimum "giant" body length for a female.
 

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I can't, because I am not good enough at evaluating females. But, basically, a good PK female will have a super straight anal with an accentuated point at the end. Something like that will fix his flaws. A female traditional PK should look very similar to a male, but she will have shorter ventrals, and a shorter anal. They can be a challenge to pick out from VT and HM girls, but you can start spotting them with practice.

2.5 inches, not including caudal is minimum "giant" body length for a male. Congratulations, if he is 2.5 inches BO (body only) you have a giant. 2.25 inches is the minimum "giant" body length for a female.
OK, Sure I can start practicing spotting them. Probably online, I'm not sure about our pet stores. Will the Anal be a giveaway that she's a PK?

I will definitely give him another measure! That's SO exciting!!
Would I have to breed him with a Giant female? Would breeders include the measurements?
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks so much hrutan with the ray example! I actually think I get it now! That's a breakthrough for me...I've always been baffled by rays because I've been counting how many rays there are instead of how many times each ray splits. You've been so helpful!
 

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OK, Sure I can start practicing spotting them. Probably online, I'm not sure about our pet stores. Will the Anal be a giveaway that she's a PK?

I will definitely give him another measure! That's SO exciting!!
Would I have to breed him with a Giant female? Would breeders include the measurements?
Yes, the anal will be your indication she is PK. If you look through the plakat section of Aquabid you may find giants. Expect to pay $40+ before shipping. They should provide measurement or don't buy. You can pair with a large PK female, but do not expect giants in the first generation. There are threads in the breeding section about this.
 

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Yes, the anal will be your indication she is PK. If you look through the plakat section of Aquabid you may find giants. Expect to pay $40+ before shipping. They should provide measurement or don't buy. You can pair with a large PK female, but do not expect giants in the first generation. There are threads in the breeding section about this.
I will for sure! I actually just measured him (with great difficulty) and saw that he is actually just under 2 inches. So could he be deemed a regular Plakat? Although his body is thicker than that of a normal Plakat.
I'll have to check out those breeding thread. All that stuff confuses me though. Also, what are rays?
 

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See page #1 for a ray illustration. Rays are the strong "ribs" or "branches" that give the caudal its strength and shape.

A male just under 2 inches would be a regular Plakat. He may have giant genes, but keep in mind that regular plakats are expected to have a good, stout body.

Remember that male fish don't reach show size until 1.5 inches body only, so a little under 2 inches isn't out of line.
 
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Discussion Starter #15
Okay let's start with a new fish, this one off EBay. I encourage everyone to pitch in with critiquing this time; we can't learn if we don't try, right? So here he is:
View attachment 606258
The only thing I can think of with him is the fact that his anal is a little long. Would he be classified as a rosetail?...his rays seem to split a lot. Love this fish btw... :)
 

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I love him, love him, love him -- or rather, I love his form...

Please include the seller if you're going to use a picture. Credit should be given.

He has a clean, smooth topline, a forward tilting dorsal, and beautiful symmetry. His anal is a little long, but not much.

Now, I do see some potential issues. His dorsal has a bit of a "stairstep." It's not bad, but it isn't good either. Those front rays need to be a bit longer.

The edges of his caudal are rounded, not sharp. Ideally, you want the the caudal to form a sharp D. Even in an OHM, you want good sharp edges there.

I think he's a rose tail. That sure looks like rose petals to me. Roses are judged by the same standard as HM.

What I don't like? His color. He doesn't have a good, clean division of color, and I'd like to see the perfect division - red on the fins, but blue on the body. No red patches or blotches on the body, no blue streaks on the fins. Butterfly banding should be an even 50/50 for a single band, or 33/33/33 for a triband. His doesn't match that, either.
 

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See page #1 for a ray illustration. Rays are the strong "ribs" or "branches" that give the caudal its strength and shape.

A male just under 2 inches would be a regular Plakat. He may have giant genes, but keep in mind that regular plakats are expected to have a good, stout body.

Remember that male fish don't reach show size until 1.5 inches body only, so a little under 2 inches isn't out of line.
the illustration confused me a little. Good to know what they are though. I'm not to good at being able to see them though.

Compared to my other Plakat Kip, he has a stouter body, so it's definitely possible he has the beginnings of giant genes. In the picture, does he appear to look like a regular Plakat?

That's great to know!! I wonder if showing for him would still be out of the question..
I'll have to have you critique my newest boy when he gets here. He definitely might have potential!
 

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Maybe someone should post a photo of traditional plakat females. Because all of mine are EASILY distinguishable from veils girls. Short, straight anal fins with a slight point at the end. Anal fins on a veil girl will actually slant and form a point. Them and female plakats are easy to identify
 
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