Crowntail Betta: Care Guide, Lifespan, Facts and Compatibility

The Crowntail Betta fish is one of the most popular small freshwater species in the US for one main reason; their beautiful caudal fins!

As the most popular betta, a Crowntail is colloquially referred to as a Betta, or its behavioral name of the 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 aggressiveness 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.

Category Rating
Care Level: Moderate to High
Temperament: Very Aggressive
Color Form: Multiple; typically blue and red
Lifespan: 2-3 Years
Size: 3″
Diet: Carnivorous (High protein)
Family: Gourami
Minimum Tank Size: 5 Gallons
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater: Floating Water Plants
Compatibility: Aggressive

Overview of Crowntail Betta

Overview of BettasThe 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.

Crowntail Betta’s Appearance

Crowntail Betta AppearanceThe 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.

The Crowntail Betta fish is just one of many bettas that have been bred to have a large variety of caudal fins;

  1. Veil Tail
  2. Red Betta
  3. Half-Moon
  4. Rose Tail
  5. Delta and Super Delta
  6. Spade Tail

All of these Betta’s have a beautiful distinct appearance.

Typical Behavior

Behavior Crowntail BettaTo 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

Caring for your Crowntail Betta starts with the habitat. You can choose a different tank depending upon which species you plan to use as tank mates for your Crowntail.

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 their fins.

Betta Tank RequirementsIf 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.

Tank Conditions

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.

A good addition is always floating plants; this will help your Crowntail to build a more natural habitat with bubble nests.

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

Crowntail Betta fish are aggressive towards other fish. Certainly, not to be described as a friendly community fish!

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

The care level and feeding requirements for your Crowntail Betta can range from moderate to high. A Crowntail is a Carnivorous fish which 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;

  1. Body looks swollen
  2. 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.

Feeling them live foods, pellets, flakes and frozen foods are all good options… providing they are fed in moderation. Betta fish are a fussy eater, so we have compiled their favorite snacks, meals and nutritious foods for them;

Frozen Foods (Best for snacks and treats and not typical meals)

  • Blood Worms
  • Black Worms
  • Black Mosquito Larvae
  • Brine Shrimp

Live Foods

  • Wingless Fruit Flies
  • White Worms
  • Insect Larvae
  • Mosquito Larva

Pellets

  • 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.

Crowntail Betta Breeding

Breeding BettasAs discussed in the tank conditions section, 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;

  1. It can indicate that your fish is healthy.
  2. 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? (Summary)

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.

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 Betta can come in 25 different colors with the most prominent being red and blue.

Do you have Crowntail Betta in your aquarium? Let us know below in the comment section below…

Robert Woods Portrait
Robert Woods is the creator of FishKeeping World, a third generation fish keeper and a graduate in animal welfare and behavior. He is also a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Marine Aquarium Societies of North America and the Nature Conservancy.

16 Comments

  1. Just got a Crowntail Betta guy about a month ago! He’s in a 10 gallon tank with a floating log, betta leaf, a couple decorations, and about5 plants. (Anubis, dwarf sword, buce deep blue, and Water Wisteria) gonna add a crypt wendtii soon! Nice interactive fish. Hopefully I have Merlin for a while

  2. I bought a black crown Betta with huge fins at Halloween. He looks so creepy! My daughter called him Hannibal.
    He lives in a 60L tank with 5 balloon Mollies and 2 Bumblebees. They all do their own thing, exploring the caves, driftwood and rocks. They cohabit happily.

  3. I read a lot about Bettas, for the time I have Bettas I could tell you that each fish has its own personality and character.
    Your feeding should be controlled varied 1 ball a day or 3 worms a day and ready.
    I have 3 gallons and silicone and natural decoration.
    The Betta plays a lot with the snails and they respect each other.
    I change the water 10 @ 15 Percent every fifteen days and I add a little bit to it and it’s ready.
    Do not think that your fish has to act as you want, they also have happy and sad days.

  4. I have a new 10g tank (Less than 2 months), I started with a male Veiltail Betta and have since added 3 Cory catfish and 3 ghost shrimp along with 2 mystery snails. Everyone has gotten along great but for the last week my Betta has been eating my Cory’s food. Even if I feed him at the top at the same time he will go after their food before his. Of course then he overheats and gets fat.
    For him I have both Betta pellets and flakes, for the Cory’s and shrimp I have sinking shrimp pellets, and once a week I feed everyone frozen bloodworms (I do cut them up a bit as the Cory’s have a hard time with the full size).
    Any suggestions would be great, thanks.

    • Hi Jennifer, you could try using a screen to separate them during feeding time. Alternatively, Bettas love human interaction and they can be trained to come to your hand. Then you can place your hand on one side while the Betta comes to you, and feed the Cory’s on the other. Thanks, Robert

      • I will try what you suggested, but I have been attempting to get his attention and he doesn’t seem to care what I do as long as there is food in the aquarium. I’ve even tried to scare him away from the food with the net and he gets mad and attacks the net then goes back to the food. I’m thinking I’m going to have to get a breeding tank and put him in at feeding time, or he’s going to have a short life where he’s always fat. I’ve even noticed him eating algae and stuff off rocks, whatever the Cory’s eat he thinks is fair game.

  5. I purchased a bright red crowntail betta a week ago and ever since bringing him home he is more a dark purple colour. Will he regain the bright red colour?

    • Hi Anne, you can help him to regain his color by keeping the water conditions optimal (as listed above) and feeding him a good quality Betta feed. Thanks, Robert

  6. I woke up this morning to 1 less ghost shrimp and I’m positive my Betta killed and ate him last night. All three ghost shrimp were active and feeding when I went to bed last night but this morning the largest shrimp is now just the front of the shell with eyes. The Betta is fatter than he’s ever been (actually looks bloated this morning) and still went after the Cory’s food this morning. Does this mean the best thing would be to put him in his own tank?

  7. I have 2 crowntails. Their names are Sushi and Sashimi. 🙂
    They both seem to be happy and healthy, however every so often Sushi acts a bit odd. It seems like he has problems diving to the bottom of his tank, and they will go back to the top and sort of tip to his side, like his fins are too heavy, or he wants to take a nap like we do. Then he will be acting normal later. Could it be a temperature thing? Or maybe tummy troubles?

  8. May have Swimming Bladder! Need to give epsom salt bath. Look it up. Had a red one do exactly the same thing. After a few baths he got better. Thought we were gonna lose him until we gave him the baths. Hope this helps.

  9. Just bought a beautiful little red and white female crowntail betta. Named her Poppy. I have had bettas before, but never a crowntail, and they have been the easiest fish to take care of so far. Her tank is next to my desk and she will be keeping me company when I study and work from home.

  10. I work as housekeeping in some dorms and we recently confiscated a red crown tail male as pets are not permitted and we have to hold him for a week I plan on adopting him. He is in a small goldfish bowl with fake plants. I have been doing research and plan on buying a 5 gallon tank. He looks good right now but is there any suggestions for a first time betta owner

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