The crowntail betta fish is one of the most popular small freshwater species in the US for one main reason: their beautiful caudal fins!
Crowntail bettas are one of the most common species of betta fish and are colloquially referred to simply as bettas, or their behavioral name, Siamese fighting fish.
The fish’s ancestors are known to be native to Thailand (formally Siam) and other parts of South-East Asia (e.g. Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia). They are renowned for their beautiful, and often colorful, ray-finned caudal and their aggressive nature; this can make keeping them as a beginner challenging.
Keep reading to learn about their behavior, care requirements, dietary needs, optimum tank conditions, and ideal tank mates.
If you’re in a hurry, then take a quick glance at the summary table below for a brief overview of crowntail bettas.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Crowntail Betta Facts & Overview
|Care Level:||Moderate to high|
|Color Form:||Multiple; typically blue and red|
|Diet:||Carnivore (high protein)|
|Minimum Tank Size:||5 gallons|
|Tank Set-Up:||Freshwater: floating water plants|
The Crowntail Betta is a small freshwater fighting fish that has origins back to South Asia.
The Crowntail was first bred by Indonesian breeder Achmad Yusuf in 1997 when he named the fish ‘Cupang Serit’ at an International Betta Congress.
They are known for their aggressive nature and specific fin characteristics; especially their huge caudal fin.
A male Crowntail Betta can become the centerpiece of any small home aquarium with its vivid red and blue caudal fin and large fin extensions. This fish is suitable for new fish keepers; however, it’s suggested if you’re looking to introduce tank mates that you have two years of experience.
The Crowntail originates from the shallow rice paddies of Thailand and other parts of South-East Asia (Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia), where its name was coined from its visibly spiky tail and caudal fins.
This distinguishing caudal fin was bred originally by Achmad Yusuf, an Indonesian betta breeder, in 1997. The native wild ancestors had smaller fin characteristics and less vibrant fin colors.
You should expect that your Crowntail Betta will grow to a maximum of 3”, more realistically 2.5” in length. With a lifespan of 2-3 years, a Crowntail Betta has a typical lifespan for a smaller tropical freshwater fish.
In terms of cost, expect to pay between $5-$30 for your Crowntail depending upon its size, sex, color vibrancy and dealer reputation.
The Crowntail Betta, despite only being 20 years old as a species, earned its famous name due to its vibrant tail fin.
Their caudal fin has large extensions and can sometimes be 8 inches in diameter; that’s 3x the size of its body!
What’s also impressive, is the significantly reduced webbing between the Crowntail’s rays on their caudal fin; giving a crown like appearance. This crown like appearance comes from the Crowntail’s spiky separate tips on their fins.
You should expect it to grow to 2.5 inches when fully matured, though some can grow to become 3 inches in size.
Whist they come in a mirage of vibrant colors; the most prominent colors have become dark shades of blues and reds.
Like other female betta fish, female crowntails will have smaller bodies and fins, and have more subdued colors than males.
The crowntail betta fish is just one of many types of bettas that have been bred to have a large variety of caudal fins;
- Red Betta
- Rose Tail
- Delta and Super Delta
- Spade Tail
- Paradise betta
All of these Betta’s have a beautiful distinct appearance.
To understand their behavior, you’re best first to understand their ancestors’ history. Crowntail Bettas originate from the Betta species, also known as Siamese fighting fish.
Siamese because they are a native of Siam (now known as Thailand) and fighting fish because they used to fight!
Known as a plakat, wild bettas are a tearing and biting fish, which were bred for their fighting tendencies.
People of South Asia used to collect Siamese fighting fish as a hobby, from rice paddies, and then conduct fish fights. This pastime has fostered aggressive behavioral patterns with all bettas; the Crowntail is no exception.
The Crowntail Betta is most certainly an aggressive species which frequently portrays behavioral problems of dominance, aggression, and territorial tendencies.
They like to live alone and have a very large territorial standing. Although aggressive, bettas can have tank mates; read the tank mates section for more information.
Habitat and Tank Requirements
As a minimum, if you aren’t thinking of introducing tank mates, we would suggest you use a 10-gallon tank. Anything smaller than a 10-gallon tank will cause your crowntail to crash frequently and damage its fins.
If you’re using a 10-gallon tank, then make sure to change the water every 2-3 days, but don’t destroy the beneficial bacteria by replacing all the water in the aquarium at once.
Their natural environment in South-Asia is filled with vegetation, paddy rice fields and slow moving streams which naturally filters the water. When it comes to water in their aquarium, you will want to add Indian almond leaves. This will release plenty of beneficial natural acids for your betta.
The Crowntail Betta is an active freshwater species; also, they are notoriously good jumpers.
So much in-fact, they can leap out from the tank to their death. Due to their jumping nature, it is necessary to keep a well fitted lid on your tank.
Finally, Crowntails, and bettas in general, are labyrinth breathers. This means they can breathe oxygen from both the air and water. This means you shouldn’t use any aeration systems in your tank. This will also prevent your bettas beautiful caudal fins from becoming damaged in strong tank currents.
The specific tank conditions for your Crowntail are very important as it’s a freshwater species. You should control three variables within your tank.
You will need to stay within a pH level between 6.4 to 7.0, with water hardness of 2 to 5 carbonate hardness (dKh) and a water temperature between 76°F to 80°F.
With crowntails you will need to keep a close eye on the water temperature. This is essential as it will ensure the betta’s metabolism is correct. Sudden changes or movements outside of +- 2°F of the suggested range can cause harm.
Tank-Tip: The tank’s light level conditions should be dim.
As for substrate, gravel, fine sand or a bare-bottom are all great for bettas. Bettas are best suited to sand as this can replicate their traditional habitat.
Compatibility and Tankmates
First rule, don’t overcrowd the tank.
Bettas love to be territorial and have their personal space.
As a rule, never place more than a single male Crowntail in a tank with another. As adults, they will fight against each other until one dies.
Crowntail Bettas typically like to live alone; however, if you’re looking to introduce friends, and populate your aquarium with some diversity, then you have a few options.
Top-tip: Crowntails will fight with any fish that mirrors its own behavior; dominance, aggression, territorial and larger in size.
If you’re looking towards compatibility then look specifically towards fish species that like to swim in a different stratus of the aquarium. As Crowntails dwell in the middle and upper stratus of your aquarium, we’re specifically looking for bottom-dwellers that are peaceful and calm:
- Neon-tetras are a good option
- Guppies are too – they are very fast and will get out of the bettas direction
- Shrimp (e.g. Ghost or Red Cherry)
- Frogs (e.g. African Dwarf Frogs)
If you are introducing a betta to an existing aquarium, don’t place them into the tank straight away.
Use a betta cup, or plastic cup, floating on-top of the tank for 30 minutes with your betta inside.
Watch how it behaves around other fish. If your Crowntail Betta is overly aggressive (e.g. gills puffing) then it shouldn’t be in the tank.
Once in the tank, make sure the betta isn’t overly aggressive to other fish.
Diet and Feeding Requirements
Betta fish care and feeding requirements can range from moderate to high. A crowntail betta is a carnivorous fish that requires a high protein diet to thrive.
As they have small stomachs you will want to feed them small portions frequently. Ideally, three times per day. At a minimum two. Avoid large feeding sessions.
You will want to aim to provide a maximum of 2 minutes’ worth of food to your Betta in each feeding session.
So, if it takes your betta more than 2 minute to devour; you’re overfeeding them. Remove any food that your betta hasn’t finished during a 2 minute time period.
A common sign of overfeeding is your Crowntail will become constipated which will show two symptoms;
- Body looks swollen
- Eyes popping out of their head
Overfeeding will lead to an incorrect nitrogen cycle and will make your Crowntail fish sick and ultimately constipation, which is a major killer for bettas.
Like for all tropical fish, variety in food is always a good thing.
Feeding them live foods, pellets, flakes, and frozen foods are all good options as long as your bettas are fed in moderation. Betta fish are fussy eaters, so we have compiled a list of the best betta fish foods below:
Frozen Foods (Best for snacks and treats and not typical meals)
- Blood Worms
- Black Worms
- Black Mosquito Larvae
- Brine Shrimp
- Wingless Fruit Flies
- White Worms
- Insect Larvae
- Mosquito Larva
- Betta pellets (2-3 pellets per feeding session)
In the wild, Crowntail Bettas are very hardy and will eat most food sources in their environment; as there is a limited choice of food. Their typical diet in the wild consists of worms, mosquitos, larvae, and insects.
One final note.
Like with all juvenile fish. For vibrant colors and optimum growth, you will want to promote a varied diet, with high protein, and never restrict fatty amino acids.
As crowntails are part of the betta fish family, breeding them is very similar to breeding betta fish.
Where you have a crowntail betta you are likely to observe clusters of bubbles (i.e. bubble nest) floating on-top of the tank.
This is a positive sign for two reasons;
- It can indicate that your fish is healthy.
- It can also indicate your betta is now preparing for breeding.
Their breeding process is unique.
Your male Crowntail Betta will construct a bubble nest nearby the floating plants which they then later fertilize.
You will want a breeding pair of Crowntail bettas. Ideally, 14 months of age. If your betta is less than 2” in length, then it isn’t sexually mature yet.
Breeding Crowntail Bettas is entirely possible; however, their aggressiveness nature in confined aquariums can make the process more challenging. Breeding is also very time consuming and expensive!
You can expect to outlay over $2,000 for a single spawn of Crowntail Bettas and it will be hugely time consuming.
A full guide to betta breeding can be read here.
Should you get a Crowntail Betta?
The Crowntail Betta has become one of the most popular fishes in the U.S. Join the rest of the world and set-up a small planted tank for a betta! They are fun to keep and help improve your mental health.
Your crowntail betta should grow to a maximum of 3” and live for around 2-3 years, which is comparable to the normal betta fish lifespan.
Without a doubt, their beautiful caudal fins will keep you entertained as this active small freshwater tropical fish moves around the aquarium.
Whist Crowntail are known for their behavioral problems of dominance and aggression, they can co-exist with tank mates who are peaceful bottom-dwellers.
A crowntail can come in more than 25 different colors, so be sure to give yours a unique betta fish name!
Do you have Crowntail Betta in your aquarium? Let us know below in the comment section below…