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Another in my little series of "Let's Talk" threads, I might just make it a thing! But since there are no real good threads describing what a Dragon Scale is, I was requested to put the information here so people can have a reference to what is and what is not a Dragon Scale betta.

This is one of my favorite things to explain since I get to use pretty pictures!!

Okay, so the term dragonscale comes from the armor that used to be used way back when. It was called "dragon scale" because it mimicked what we believe dragon scales would look like. It was used for greater flexibility in the armor as the scales over lap each other but still provide enough room to maneuver comfortably for the wearer. These are dragon scale armwarmers, obviously not real armor but it gives a good idea of what the armor would have looked like. See how the scales overlap and look very thick and protective? Just like a dragon! Notice how it looks like...dragon scales!


So in the Betta world, these are fish with very thick scales, they can be almost any color not just metallic (Copper) although this is where they originated from. Originally it was said that a breeder crossed a Red Copper PK and a wild Betta spp. Mahachai to start the line of Dragons. Dragon scaling wasn't the intent of the spawn but it was the partial result, through line breeding they were able to strengthen the Dragon scales and bring them out to the full color and thickness they are today. There was some difficulty but they finally achieved it, it was publicly announced December 2004*

This boy here would be called a Red Dragon as his fins and under coat/color are red and his thick scaling on top is white. Most of the time when you see a Yellow Dragon or an Orange Dragon they are describing a fish with Yellow fins and white scales or Orange fins and white scales. But just notice how thick those white scales look on this boy, those are his "dragon" scales, they look like the gloves I posted above! What a coincidence!


Also that red stripe going up his back is called a Skunk Stripe, common on Dragon Scales, sometimes it will fill in as they get older. Here is one of my boy's; Aero who used to have a partial skunk stripe but it filled in as he aged!


You can see in this picture he still hasn't quite filled in his skunk stripe but this was a few months ago and it has been filled in since this picture!


Sometimes it can be hard to distinguish what is a dragon and what isn't a dragon when you aren't being told. Here is a Salamander coloration who is not a dragon, his scales look like it's on the thick side but he is still not a dragon. He may have some dragon genes in him since his scales are on the thicker side on the back half of his body but because the scaling does not extend to his face, he would not be considered a Dragon Scale.


Another note with dragon's, their scales will cover all the way up to their face as well where this Salamander boy up there did not. Sometimes when you get a fish that is only half Dragon (only one parent was a dragon and the other a normal scaled type) or partial dragon, the face isn't fully covered as the first boy and my boy are. You can see it here in one of my late girl's; Jewel


You can see it better here were Lady Deathstrike was flaring at her sister Jewel, both were partial dragons. Note the "holes" in the thicker scales where you can see the under color peaking through.


And remember when I was talking about the Skunk Stripe? Well when the face is fully filled in, it is called a Full Mask because...well that's what it is! lol Here is an example of a Red Dragon:


Also, you want to be careful if you ever buy Full Mask Dragon's, be sure that their eyes are clear like the above boy's. You could end up with a blind Betta because with Dragons sometimes their scales keep growing and they end up growing over their eyes, rendering them blind. Sometimes it only happens to one side and sometimes both. Steer clear from Dragons labeled as: Snake eyes, Dragon eyes, or Diamond eyes, those are the ones that will have scaling already starting to grow over the eyes so the seller tries to make them look appealing by labeling them something fancy to lure people in.

Here is an example of a Dragon Betta that would eventually scale over his eyes and become blind.


And here is one that is already scaled over:


**Note** pictures do not belong to me except of Aero, Jewel and Lady. Pictures were found from google, I do not own the rights.

*Information at starred point was taken from this site: http://www.bettaterritory.nl/BT-AABDragons.htm

Feel free to ask any questions or add information to this that you have found.
 

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wow, this was really helpful. Its really sad that the scales grow OVER their eyes though
 

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Discussion Starter #3
wow, this was really helpful. Its really sad that the scales grow OVER their eyes though
Glad to help! And yeah, it is sad this happens. I don't know if it's just me but it seems like the scaling over the eyes have reduced a little in the past year, again this could just be me though. Or at least, people on this forum don't seem to be getting Dragon Bettas that scale over or are already scaling over lately since we know more of what to look for and what to watch out for now.
 

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Very helpful! Thanks for doing this!
 

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Yay! I will do! I do have a few more topics I'd like to cover, the big one being the PetCo Baby Care Thread since I get questions on that all the time! I can make a "sexing baby Betta's" another one as well. I'll certainly take suggestions if people want to see more, I mean, I won't post something I don't quite know about until I educate myself of course but I love that people like these threads and I think they were needed too ^_^

Thanks all for the support!
 

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I'm a sucker for dragon scales :p I've got two of my own, but I'm always eyeing up all the others in the pet store that I work at xD
I also love these little "Let's Talk" threads. Keep them going! :)
 

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I hear you Sathori! I was at one of my LFS's the other day and they had some Dragon VT's that were bicolor blue and yellow and I was pretty sure I was drooling into their bowls XD
 

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I often "hide" my favourites behind the others so that I have time to debate in my head whether or not my husband would kill me if I brought home another. Having five tanks in the small apartment does not make much sense to him already, can't imagine having 6+ xD
 

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lol yeah, I've got eight tanks running at the moment although I'm attempting to condense them at my mom's house since my dad is moving out and we are as well so I'll just be going back to mom's. But yeah....I have lots of fish and couldn't imagine living in a small apartment with this many tanks! lol
 

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I eventually made one of the couch benches, that we bought from Ikea, into my "fish table" xD It's currently holding my 10gal with two 3gals on each side of the 10. Then I have Natsu in his 1.5gal right beside the couch bench on a small coffee table.
My newest boy, Mystogan, is in a 2gal bowl in the bedroom, which is off limits to my cat when I'm not in there. He was getting scared senseless by my cat, who seems attracted to his flashy colours. To me, it doesn't look like I have a lot, but they do take up space lol

I do have a 3 gallon still in its box, I'm saving that one for an elephant ear, if I ever find one T-T
 

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very great introduction lilnaugrim!
one thing that I would add in is the genetics aspect of dragons, and which layer of skin the dragon scale occurs over.

dragon scaling occurs on the top and most superficial layer (blue) of the betta. recall the layers of a betta's color: (inner) cellophane/red/black/blue (top)

thus, the scaling can only occur wherever blue (or its variations) is present. this is also why there is no such thing as a true metallic black, or a metallic red. in other words, that red, copper, black dragon you're seeing is actually a blue betta with a yellow/red/black wash.
white, green/turq, royal blue, steel blue, and copper, are all variants of the blue layer and therefore these colors are what you will find dragons in.

use the info on breeding blue bettas to help you determine what color your metallics will be in.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you for that amphirion! Knew I would forget something ^_^

Are you talking about my girl Lady Deathstrike or the first boy I had posted?

That is also why there is no such thing as a true Blue Dragon as well, the color layering does not allow for blue fins and another color to be on top since blue IS the top layer, the fish would come out all blue or some slight variation thereof.
 

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Actually lilnaugrim, I believe my statement applies to every single betta you shared except for the salamander. The red dragon has metallic white and red fins right? Without the dragon scale, it would have been a milky opaque or copper betta with a red wash on its fins. White is a mutation residing in the blue layer. Same thing with lady death strike, she could be a steel blue or copper betta without the dragon scale gene. You noted that the shiny layer is thicker, but notice which layers aren't: black and red. :)

I hate to correct you with concern to blues, but if you recall, the marble gene can cause different manifestations of blue to appear on the same fish. I've seen quite a few bettas on aquabid that sport turquoise, royal blue, and white (not cello) on their bodies. Note in all instances though that the dragon scale affects all these colors. Or maybe I'm not understanding you correctly? You're right that the blue layer is the last and no other color can be placed on top of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Actually lilnaugrim, I believe my statement applies to every single betta you shared except for the salamander. The red dragon has metallic white and red fins right? Without the dragon scale, it would have been a milky opaque or copper betta with a red wash on its fins. White is a mutation residing in the blue layer. Same thing with lady death strike, she could be a steel blue or copper betta without the dragon scale gene. You noted that the shiny layer is thicker, but notice which layers aren't: black and red. :)

I hate to correct you with concern to blues, but if you recall, the marble gene can cause different manifestations of blue to appear on the same fish. I've seen quite a few bettas on aquabid that sport turquoise, royal blue, and white (not cello) on their bodies. Note in all instances though that the dragon scale affects all these colors. Or maybe I'm not understanding you correctly? You're right that the blue layer is the last and no other color can be placed on top of that.
Previously you had said: "...that red, copper, black dragon you're seeing is actually a blue betta with a yellow/red/black wash..." which seemed to imply you were looking at a certain fish, I was asking which one you were looking at or if you were just talking in general?

And I don't mean all Blue Dragons, I mean the ones that are labeled such as Yellow Dragon, Black Dragon, etc. their color of having, say it was a Black Dragon, black on the bottom and the thick white dragon scaling on top. I was talking of the coloration name itself, not that there can't be blue dragon scales in general but there can't be a Blue Dragon that has blue fins and the white dragon scaling on top as a Black Dragon would or a Red Dragon, Orange Dragon, etc., because blue would be on top and it would even trump the variation of white if I am understanding correctly. Does that make more sense now or am I digging a deeper hole for myself? lol
 

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Okay! Phew, thought I was going crazy for a moment! Hmm, if white and blue operate on the same layer, why can't we breed Blue Dragon's? Or do they not operate equally and blue is just more dominant than white, which is what I suspect but I don't know for sure? Or perhaps we've tried but none have been successful as of yet?
 

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I often "hide" my favourites behind the others so that I have time to debate in my head whether or not my husband would kill me if I brought home another. Having five tanks in the small apartment does not make much sense to him already, can't imagine having 6+ xD
Haha!! I used 2 hide the ones I like 2... But the staff at my LFS all know I will most likely come back for them now, and lock them in the office, away from prying eyes, lol!! I'm in the same boat as u w/ multiple tanks... And my mother-in-law is starting to complain about all the fish! I'm so glad I'm not the only betta lover that's passion defies all reason :p! That's y I love this forum so much... Everyone here shares the same love for bettas as me!
 

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very interesting thread, I loved the orange hm dragon, and lovely clear eyes. Don't see many with eyes that clear on AB
 

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Okay! Phew, thought I was going crazy for a moment! Hmm, if white and blue operate on the same layer, why can't we breed Blue Dragon's? Or do they not operate equally and blue is just more dominant than white, which is what I suspect but I don't know for sure? Or perhaps we've tried but none have been successful as of yet?
I suspect it has to do with the fact that we've never seen multicolored blues like a steel blue body and royal blue/turquoise fins. The fact that there is only one gene responsible for blue yields only one type of color. The marble gene might operate similar to a calico cat though the genes activate/deactivate over a given period of time. Royal blue is heterozygous dominant which is how can find metallic bettas with white, turquoise/green, and royal blue all on the same body. In contrast, there's steel blue, which I believe is recessive so you won't get variance in blues there.

There is a possibility of creating real blue dragons in theory, but it cannot be done the traditional way via breeding. This alternate method to achieve blue dragons will most likely require the creation of chimeras.
 
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