Bettas are among the most popular freshwater aquarium fish, despite their somewhat nasty temperament. Crowntail betta is one of the most stunning representatives of this fish family you can get.
These fish are popular due to their stunning looks that leave everyone speechless. However, they have some specific requirements that can make them somewhat challenging for beginners.
If you plan on buying this gorgeous fish, there is a set of guidelines you need to follow. This is what this care guide is for!
Here’s everything you need to know about crowntail bettas and their care:
A crowntail betta is a subspecies of bettas (betta splendens), also known as the siamese fighting fish.
While bettas originate from Southeast Asia and regions such as Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia, crowntail betta is a domestically created morph that doesn’t exist in nature.
The first records of this species are from around 1997 when the breed was officially created by a breeder Achmad Yusuf.
This isn’t a rare morph. Quite the opposite – you can find crowntail bettas in most pet stores.
In fact, if a breeder is selling a fish named only ‘Betta’, chances are they are selling a crowntail betta.
Either way, they are among the most gorgeous fish you can find!
Crowntail bettas are known for their beautiful looks, even among other betta species.
They have a long, slender body that’s rather uniform, something that’s pretty typical for bettas. Their mouth is hinged and upturned – also known as supra-terminal mouth.
However, these fish are most notable for their fins and tails, especially males. The webbing between their fin rays is reduced, giving fins a spiky appearance that reminds some people of a crown.
The crown-like tail or caudal fin of crowntail bettas can be longer than the fish’s body! Even their anal fin is fairly long, especially when compared to most other fish species.
Their dorsal fin isn’t as wide as in many other bettas, but it’s set farther on the back of the fish, seemingly adding more volume to the fish’s tail.
There are several differences between male and female crowntail bettas. However, the most prominent one is in the length of their fins.
Males have much longer fins than females. This isn’t to say that females don’t look pretty or that their tails are short. They too look like their fins make a crown. However, their appearance is much less remarkable than that of males.
When it comes to colors, crowntail bettas can come in many shades. The most common ones are in blue and red, but you can easily find crowntails in neon blue, deep purple, metallic green, yellow, or even in pure black!
Bettas are medium-sized fish. They usually grow up to 2.5 inches in size, but some might reach a length of 3 inches.
Most of the length comes from betta’s long fins. Their body is fairly small, but their fins can be just as long as the body itself.
Female bettas appear to be smaller, but this is only due to the fin size. Other than that, their bodies are the same length.
Types of Crowntail Bettas
As bettas are among the most popular fish species in the market, you can find hundreds of various morphs. Some are even considered a whole different type of fish.
When it comes to crowntail bettas, according to the International Betta Congress (IBC), there are three known types differentiated by the shape of their fins – most notably, their tail
These types are:
- Single ray crowntail
- Double ray crowntail
- King crowntail
Some breeders are also selling three ray crowntails, but they are yet to be recognized.
Single Ray Crowntail
Single ray crowntails have a single webbing on their tails. The webbing is equal between rays with branches and primary rays, and the web margins are uniform.
Most crowntails you can find are considered single ray.
Double Ray Crowntail
Double ray crowntails are crowntails with webbing on two levels. The first webbing is located between a pair of rays, while the other is between two ray branches.
This effect is usually confined to the fish’s tail, but it’s possible to find it on other fins, as well.
King Crowntail Betta
The final and rarest type of crowntails is the king crowntail betta, also known as the cross ray betta.
These betas have a tail in the shape of a cross ray, with extensions that curve over each other. Compared to them, most other crowntails have a much straighter caudal fin.
Due to the name, you might think that these are larger crowntails, as is often the case with fish that have a king prefix. However, this isn’t the case, as king bettas are the same size as regular bettas.
Also, these fish are not to be confused with standard king bettas that belong to the betta imbellis family.
Temperament and Behavior
Bettas have a rather peculiar temperament that makes them stand out from other fish species. They can create a unique bond with their owners and occasionally it seems like they can truly love us.
They can have various personalities, just like other animals. Some are curious fish that love to explore and that will always be happy to come to the tank glass when you are nearby. Others are shyer and will prefer to stay hidden.
Some bettas can even suffer from anxiety that will result in them biting their own fins! They will always be nervous, no matter how you treat them.
All bettas are prone to boredom, so you need to provide them with lots of toys and entertainment – especially as they are usually kept as single fish.
Fish keepers have also reported numerous behaviors they have observed in their betta fish. This includes tank pacing or repeated actions, flinching once the lights turn on or off, even greeting their owners!
Are Crowntail Bettas Aggressive?
By now, everyone knows that one thing is true about bettas: These fish are aggressive. It’s no surprise they were initially bred for fish fighting and gambling!
Crowntail bettas are not afraid to fight anyone and anything. They’ll bite, push, and tear any fish or aquatic animal they run into.
You’ll know that a betta is angry by the position of its gills. If the gills are flared out, you’ll know your betta is ready to make some trouble!
Bettas will fight to the death. This is mostly true for males, but even females will rarely tolerate one another.
Common Health Issues
Unfortunately, all betta fish are prone to numerous health issues, and this includes crowntail bettas, as well. These health issues can be bacterial, viral, parasitic, or fungal.
Bacterial conditions are usually the result of unclean water and poor maintenance. They can include:
- Fin and tail rot (although this condition can also be caused by fungi)
- Cloudy eye
Although viral diseases are rather rare, some might still affect your betta. The most common one is Hemorrhagic septicemia.
Parasitic infections are usually spread by introducing new fish to the tank. They are highly contagious and can easily spread to your entire tank. Some parasites that can plague betta fish are:
- Fish lice
- Fish ich (white spot disease)
- Anchor worms
Fungal infections are usually a consequence of previous health conditions or poor immune systems. These include:
- Columnaris (saddleback disease)
- Mouth fungus
Fortunately, most of these conditions are treatable. However, it’s essential to quarantine sick fish so the disease doesn’t spread to the rest of your tank.
Using aquarium salt or its homemade equivalents is a good way to treat most mild conditions. For more severe ones, you’ll need to purchase adequate medicine at a local pet shot.
Sadly, crowntail betta fish are also prone to tumors. Unfortunately, most of the time there is nothing you can do to help a fish with a tumor.
Sadly, crowntail bettas are a product of inbreeding, so they aren’t the longest-living fish out there. Their lifespan is up to three years, but many won’t live that long.
In general, their life expectancy depends on their genetics and the care you provide them with. With proper care, they can live a bit longer than most, but nothing is a guarantee.
Crowntail Betta Care Sheet
Crowntail bettas aren’t the easiest fish when it comes to care. The main issue is their feisty temperament. They aren’t the best for first-time fish keepers that might make the mistake of combining them with unsuitable tankmates.
Fortunately, once you get a hold of some care basics, you can easily provide your crowntail with everything it might require!
Crowntails have the same care requirements as all other betta fish. If you’ve kept any betta species, you’ll probably be prepared for crowntails, as well.
If this is your first time keeping a betta, or if you’d like to refresh your memory, here are the basics of taking care of crowntail betta fish.
Betta fish are usually considered carnivores as they require a high-protein diet. They can survive a certain amount of time eating plant-based meals, but without meat protein, they’ll get sick or even die.
Crowntails are picky eaters and they might not like all the food you get them. Try different types and brands of food until you find something your fish will love eating.
In general, they love foods such as mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. They won’t mind dry pellets of flakes, but from my experience, they want more variety in their food. My bettas will refuse to eat pellets after a few days, so I need to constantly change their daily meals.
Also, they won’t mind both frozen and live foods, as long as they contain enough proteins.
Just keep in mind that once you find a food your betta will like, the fish will eat like there’s no tomorrow! Crowntails seem to eat all the food you give them, no matter the amount.
Carnivorous fish have smaller stomachs and shorter guts than omnivorous fish. This means they are at a high risk of becoming obese or constipated. Pay close attention to the amount of food you’re giving them.
If there is still food a few minutes afterwards, take it out of the water. Otherwise, you’re risking stomach bloating that is often fatal.
This is something where most fish keepers make a mistake.
As betta fish are usually kept on their own, there is a misconception that you can keep them in a small tank. Theoretically, you can keep one betta fish in a 5-gallon tank, but this isn’t enough for this fish to thrive.
Bettas should be kept in a 10-gallon tank, or even more. While they can survive in smaller tanks, they won’t have enough space to roam and swim around. This can make them stressed out.
The shape of the tank is also important. It would be better to keep your bettas in a shallow tank instead of opting for a taller one.
While their fins look impressive, they aren’t made for deep swimming. Instead, they prefer to have a shallow tank with lots of space. As bettas originate from shallow rice paddies in Asia, this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Never keep your crowntail betta in a bowl! While there are many images online of people keeping bettas in round bowls, this is extremely harmful to the fish.
Fish can easily suffocate in a round bowl as there isn’t enough water surface for gas exchange.
Even if you provide your fish with a proper filtration system, round tanks are still unnatural environments for fish.
Crowntail bettas prefer warm waters that resemble their natural habitats. This includes neutral pH and fairly soft water.
Betta fish don’t deal well with changes in water parameters. Temperature fluctuations will stress them out and lead to health issues. They can enter a temperature shock if the water temperature drops too low or gets too high.
Not just that, but they can die due to the slightest ammonia and nitrite changes.
This is yet another reason why a larger tank is a better option. Smaller tanks are more sensitive and water parameter fluctuations are much more common. Minor changes won’t disrupt larger tanks in the same way.
Having a proper testing kit is a must when you have a betta. This is the safest way to make sure your water parameters are stable.
In general, desired water parameters for crowntails are:
|Water temperature:||Between 75°F and 80°F|
|pH levels:||6.0 to 8.0, with neutral pH being the safest choice|
|Water hardness:||2 to 5 dKH|
Choosing an adequate filter is very important when you’re keeping bettas. They require lots of oxygen in their tank, so the water needs to be filtered all the time.
Crowntails are labyrinth fish. While they have gills, they also have an apparatus called the labyrinth that requires them to take oxygen from the surface from time to time. This also means they cannot survive in poorly oxygenated water.
It doesn’t really matter what type of filter you buy, as long as it’s highly efficient. While I prefer using a sponge filter for all my fish, you don’t have to use the same one. Pick a filter that works best for you and for your tank.
Also, don’t forget to check to make sure your filter is working properly from time to time. Many fishkeepers forget about maintaining their filters, which can lead to the death of their betta.
When it comes to the substrate, you don’t need to worry too much. Bettas aren’t bottom dwellers, so you can keep them on any type of substrate. You might even keep the bottom bare if you’d like!
If you choose to add substrate to your betta tank, use fine sand or gravel. Avoid larger rocks as these can harm the betta’s fins.
While betta fish love decorations, you need to be very careful with what you choose to put inside their tank. Crowntail’s fins are rather delicate and they can easily be damaged by harsh or sharp objects.
To stay on the safe side, make sure all the decorations are rounded. PVC pipes and rounded artificial caves are always a good option. Your betta will enjoy them without being harmed!
Bettas don’t require harsh light. Quite the opposite, they seem to like it the best if you keep the light dim. This means you can keep them with plants or large decorations that block the light.
In fact, bettas love live plants, especially floating ones such as water wisteria or java moss. They’ll use them for hiding and for nesting.
However, you should never block too much of the water’s surface. Bettas need to be able to reach the surface to breathe.
Betta fish also seem to love having natural tannins in their water. Add driftwood or Indian almond leaves for a happy betta!
Just keep in mind that tannins can lower the pH levels of the tank. Boil the driftwood before placing it under water or learn some other methods for raising the water pH to make sure your water parameters are stable.
Suitable Tank Mates
By now you’ve probably guessed it: Crowntail bettas are not a good choice for a community tank.
These fish don’t like having any company whatsoever, but they really seem to hate fish that are around the same size. Still, no fish is really safe from an angry betta!
Bettas will even attack fish of the same species. You can try to keep a male and a female together during the mating season, but even this can easily go wrong.
In general, you can never keep a male in a community tank. A male betta fish should always live alone in a tank.
Don’t worry, your crowntail won’t be lonely as a single fish. In fact, they prefer living this way. Fighting is stressful for bettas, and this is something that will always happen when there are other fish present.
Sometimes, female bettas can be kept in a sorority. This has its own risks, too, but females generally tend to be slightly more friendly than males.
If you really want to try keeping your female betta in a community tank, you need to be really careful with choosing suitable tankmates.
Avoid fin-nipping fish that will attack the long tails of crowntails, such as kribensis cichlids. Fast swimmers can trigger aggression in bettas, just like brightly colored fish. This means guppies and tetras are also out of the picture.
Fish that love to swim in the upper part of the tank are also a no-no. As bettas are territorial, they’ll feel endangered if there are other fish swimming in their living area.
While colorful bettas might look amazing with blue jelly shrimp or cherry shrimp, these carnivorous fish will happily eat any dwarf shrimp species.
You should also avoid fish that are the same size as bettas, as this can make them territorial and lead to an attack.
Are there any fish left?
Small bottom dwellers (but not too small, as bettas are predators) might be okay living with bettas. This includes plecos or corydoras catfish.
Larger shrimp species such as vampire shrimp might also be a good choice, as they are bottom dwellers that are too large to be eaten.
You can also try to keep a group of female bettas together, but make sure to monitor them closely for the first few days.
Also, if there happen to be any changes in the tank, keep an eye on the fish for a while. You can never know what can trigger bad behavior!
Crowntail bettas are bred in captivity. In fact, despite their temperament, they are fairly easy to breed once you know a few tricks.
These are bubble-nesting fish. The male will blow bubbles to create a nest underneath floating plants or in the tank’s corner. This is where the fish will spawn.
Once the eggs are hatched, the parents will place them in the bubble nest. The fry will hatch in about three days.
Crowntails are not the best parents out there. They won’t care about the babies once they are hatched. This is why it might be smart to keep baby fish in a separate tank, with warm water that is good for their development.
The Bottom Line
Crowntail bettas are unique fish that stand out from the rest. While they are undeniably gorgeous, what made me fall in love with this species is their unique personality.
Sure, they are unfriendly and temperamental, but this only adds to their charm. This is precisely why crowntail bettas are one of my favorite pets of all times.
While these fish might not be the best choice for beginners, they are not too challenging to keep. They require a bit more care than guppies or mollies, but they don’t require any special water parameters that are hard to achieve.
If you know a few tips and tricks regarding their care, crowntail bettas can be amazing pets that you’ll quickly fall in love with. What a shame they don’t have longer lives!
Hi fellow aquarists, I’m Ava and I’ve been an enthusiastic aquarium hobbyist for over four years now.
I’ve been amazed by these beautiful creatures since I was a kid and I’m thrilled to be sharing everything I’ve learned over the years with anyone who’s as passionate about the topic as I am.