Scaly armor that shimmers under the sunlight is not something seen in just the mythical dragons they are also seen on the majestic, magical Dragons of the water as well, on the Dragon Scale Betta. Betta fish have been part of the aquatic trade for a long time and this ancient species gets an ancient makeover.
A Dragon Scale Betta is a fish that has thick, metallic, white scales that resembles a dragon scale armor. This unique appearance was made possible by crossbreeding Betta splendens with a wild species of Bettas called Betta mahachai. They share the aggressive nature of other Bettas.
Dragon Scale Betta is a fairly new addition to the Betta family. They are commonly referred to as Dragon Breeds. This species became very popular among breeders, especially in Thailand. These fish are known for their beautiful dragon-like scales and metallic coloration, which gives them a stoic appearance. However, they can come in any color and not just metallic copper color even though that is the original color.
Overview of Dragon Scale Betta
|Scientific name||Betta splendens|
|Common names||Dragon Scale Betta|
|Color||Thick scales which are metallic or silvery in color|
|Aquarium size||10 gallons or bigger|
|Preferred temperature||23 to 30ºC (73 to 86°F degrees Fahrenheit)|
|pH level||6 to 8|
|Fish Size||3 inches|
|Temperament||Peaceful when alone|
|Recommended tank mates||Black Tetras, Catfish, Bloodfin Tetras, Poecilia, and Rasboras.|
|Preferred food||fresh, live and dry protein foods|
|Feeding period||Feed 12 hours apart, make the fishes fast for 24 hours once every 10 -14 days|
Origin of Dragon Scale Betta
Dragon Scale Betta is a relatively new breed to come out of cross-breeding from the Betta family. It is said that a breeder originally cross-bred a Betta Mahachai with a Copper Red PK to make the first Dragon Scale Betta. Even though this turned out to be a popular breed, its main characteristic of dragon scale was not intentional. It was merely a delightful by-product that came with the breed and later has been developed to have any color on its body and not just the metallic original color.
With the help of line breeding, the breeders could strengthen the thickness and color of the scales and change it to the Dragon Scale Betta available today.
It is not much of a mystery where the name of the fish comes from. The name obviously comes from the dragon-like scale appearance of the Betta. The term dragon scale refers to the armor that used to be worn during ancient times, which resembled the scales of the mythical creature. They were known for their flexibility and strength.
The appearance of Dragon Scale Betta
Like other Bettas, the Dragon Scale Bettas are also a majestic beauty and wonder to look at. Their scales are thick and often have a metallic color and are the main distinguishing characteristic of this breed. Later various other colors were seen on this fish due to selective breeding.
Dragon Scale Betta has an elongated torpedo shape with large round fins. The males have a larger fin than the females. They grow up to three inches, between 6 and 7 centimeters in length.
Today the Dragon Scale Bettas are available in a wide variety of colors with beautiful majestic fins. There are mainly two mutations seen in Dragon Breed Bettas:
- Xanthorosa Form (Which has an excessive yellow pigmentation)
- Black Form
A wide range of colors such as white, black, yellow, orange, magenta, dark blue, dark green, turquoise with butterfly pattern is available now.
The naming of the fish depends on its base color. For example, a red dragon can have white scales, but the body and the fins will be red, resulting in the naming of the fish as a red dragon.
It is said that only the Betta with a layer of white scales can be considered as a true Dragon Scale Betta. However, many Bettas which has a metallic coloration are considered to be a Dragon Scale as well.
How to know if the Betta is a true Dragon Scale Betta?
Not all Bettas that have thick scales are Dragon Scales. Often Metallic Bettas are considered to be Dragon Scale. However, that is not true. Dragon Scale Bettas are not just Bettas with thick scales. They have thick, opaque metallic white scales with varied finnage. If the Betta does not have these characteristics, it cannot be considered a Dragon Scale.
However, the best way to determine whether a Betta is a pure Dragon Scale or not is to go to a Breeder as they will be able to say about the purity and tell whether the Betta is healthy or not.
Also, Read: Black Orchid Betta: The Aquatic Black Beauty
Best Tank Conditions for Dragon Scale Betta
Dragon Scale Bettas are very resistant fish with labyrinth breathing organs capable of surviving unclean aquarium; however, that could lead to many health issues for the fish. Therefore it is advised to keep the tank clean always and regularly change the water. A proper filtration system should be installed to make sure the water stays clean.
Even though a Betta can live in a small tank of 5 gallons, it is better to have a bigger tank to ensure enough space for the fish to swim around freely and comfortably. A bigger tank of 10 gallons or more with proper decorations could make sure the Betta can have a comfortable life.
Resting places and hiding places should be available in the tank to make the fish feel at home and make it have a comfortable life. Some sturdy aquatic plants in the tank could make the fish be happy, but proper care needs to be put to ensure there is enough space for the fish to swim up and breathe from the surface.
The illumination of the tank should be moderate, and the temperature should be between 23 to 30ºC. The pH of the water should be between 6 to 8 on the pH scale, and salty water should not be used.
Just like other Bettas, Dragon Scale Bettas are also not comfortable with water that has a strong current. To assure minimal water movement, one needs to make sure the outflow is regulated.
Also Read | Floating Petal: The Rose Petal Betta
Food & Feeding
Dragon Scale Bettas generally eat fresh, live, and dry protein foods. A balanced diet is necessary to ensure a good comfortable life for the fish. Food flakes and high-quality protein should be provided every day. Blood worms and salted shrimps are also recommended to be given once or twice a day along with Betta-specific food.
The beauty of the scales often turns out to be a curse when it comes to Dragon Scale, as those scales could result in the Betta going blind. The scales of these Bettas grow too fast and end up covering their eyes, making them go blind. This is known as diamond eye and cannot be treated completely. However, this does not mean the fish will not live its full life.
There is no guarantee that Dragon Scale Betta’s won’t go blind; however, one can notice if the scales are growing too close to the eyes before buying one to be safe.
Some sellers and breeders will advertise blind fish under different names and charge more for it. One needs to be aware of it before purchasing a fish to make sure they don’t fall for this scam.
Also, Read: Alien Betta: Beauty Which is Out of This World!
Commonly Asked Question
Are Dragon Scale Bettas aggressive?
Like all other betta fishes, Male Dragon Scale Bettas are aggressive and will attack other male Bettas or any fish that resembles a Betta. Females are less aggressive.
Do Dragon Scales change Betta color?
Sometimes Dragon Scales change color regardless of the color, and this is due to the marble genes present in the Dragon Scales as they are a crossbred species.
How long do Dragon Scale Betta fish live?
Bettas live for 2 to 5 years, and their lifespan is majorly affected by the environment they are living in and the care they are given.
What is the rarest Betta color?
Purple Bettas are the rarest Bettas known, and if one happens to find one, it will also be very costly.
Dragon Scale Bettas looks like an ancient mythical creature come to life; however, its exuberant beauty is a reason for its high cost. These fish are known for their thick white scales that cover their body almost completely and the variation of other colors on their fins and tail.
One thing to be kept in mind about the Dragon Betta is that it can easily go blind due to the fast growth rate of the scales. Therefore, one can take special care of these beautiful creatures to ensure they live a comfortable and happy life.