March 9

Sarah Robertson

What is a Dragon Scale Betta? – About Betta Fish

The dragon scale betta is a particular breed of betta fish characterized by prominent scales and commonly metallic hues. The Betta imbellis and Betta splendens are the parents of the dragon scale betta.

The dragon scale betta is a wonder to look at. These bettas have prominent scales that are often a metallic color, resembling a thick layer of ‘dragon scale’ armor; these scales are usually lined with darker edges to give even more depth and prominence. While many dragon scales are copper metallic, they have been bred to express most color variations in several varieties of fin types and markings.

These bettas are often named after their base color instead of the sheen that makes up the ‘dragon scale’; for example, a red dragon betta might have white scales, but an overall red body and fins. Due to genetics, true blue dragon scales cannot exist as the top layer (blue) already is blue; in other words, a dragon scale betta cannot have a blue underlayer with white scales.

There are still some colors that haven't been identified yet in this type of dragon scale coloring that has been seen from various aquarium facilities. The most notable differences among these new dragon scales variants include the presence of two dorsal stripes and they will often have an albino appearance in addition to their mature colors for this dragon gene type. Some common patterns found in these new variants are:

  • Two longitudinal stripes at the base of the dorsal fin
  • Two solid longitudinal stripes along the body.
  • Two vertical stripes originate from between ventral fins, perpendicularly crossing the dorsum and continuing on to the caudal peduncle.

These new variants are still lacking in solid black color throughout their bodies but there is a possibility that they will develop into that given their genetic makeup.

The Complete Dragon Scale Betta Care Guide

Origin of Dragon Scale Betta

Dragon scales are a feature of the Dragon Scales Betta fish, which originate in Thailand. You won't find any wild Dragon Scales floating about, but you will encounter Dragon Scale Betta fish in aquariums. For the most part, these fish only exist in captivity.

Typical Behavior and Temperament

Dragon scale betta fish are like the usual betta in terms of behavior and temperament, though they can be slightly more aggressive fish than standard veiltails. They tend to flare at any type of live plant and will bother each other if put together in a small tank.


Dragon scales on betta fish have a lifespan of about 2-3 years which is similar to most bettas.

However, there are bettas that have survived up to 4 years old. A lot of factors contribute towards their lifespan such as living conditions and how well they were taken care of.

Appearance & Varieties

The Dragon Scale Betta is a kind of Betta fish. This variant contains a lot of variation, although it is mostly similar to other Bettas. They are comparable to typical Betta fish in most aspects, although they have glossy scales that distinguish them from the rest. Their behavior and requirements are exactly the same as those of ordinary Bettas such as Betta Channoides,

There are no distinguishable phenotypes yet found though different types of betta breeders have reported their unusual bettas to be dragon scale. There are many varieties of dragon scale betta and a few of them are mentioned below.

  • Purple Dragon Scale Betta
  • Lime Dragon Scale betta
  • Dragon Scale Betta
  • Lime Green Dragon Scale
  • Green Dragon Scale Betta
  • Red Dragon Scale
  • White Dragon Scale
  • Black Dragon Scale
  • Yellow Dragon Scale

Color Mutations

There is such a vast range of different color variations with this fish, so it can be quite hard to stay on top of all the new modifications. However, a general observation says that most Dragon Scale Bettas are available in bright colors. Also, Bettas can change their color patterns through different life stages.

Besides the red and blue colors which are certainly the most common, they can be found in orange, magenta, yellow, cream, light or dark blue, and green colorations.

If the dragon scale fish comes from green bettas, it will be more bluish in color. If it is red, it might have some orange tints to the green coloration. Sometimes, there are green dals that look brownish if they are not heterozygous for the Tapl gene.

Hatchling coloring will be brownish and green with little coloration.

Other Variations of Dragon Scale Betta

Other variations have the belief that they are either dominant or recessive.

Dominant dragon scale betta fish (homozygous) can show some irregularities in their color patterns when it comes to mating them with other bettas with recessive gene mutations.

A breeding of a purple dragon scale and yellow Halfmoon is most likely to result in no offspring that carry the recessive gene mutation.

This can be due to dominant genes masking the recessive betta fish mutation, so it won't appear in their offspring.

When two mutated bettas with recessive genes are bred together, there is the possibility of getting offspring with their mutated gene.

A breeding of a purple dragon scale and yellow Halfmoon can possibly result in having one or more offspring who carry the recessive mutation for this type of genetic trait.

Gender Differences

Dragon scales are also one of the most difficult bettas to determine their genders because they are less pronounced compared to other types of bettas.

You can compare them with other males and females in your tank for better identification.

Males have a distinct concave section located behind their gills where the genital papilla is located. Females can be distinguished with a sleek appearance if they are carrying eggs in their bodies.

Tank Conditions

Dragon scale Bettas are tropical fish. They like temperatures around 75-76 degrees Fahrenheit.

They need about 2 1/2 tablespoons of aquarium salt for every gallon of water. The pH levels should range from 6.5 to 7.0, with ammonia and nitrate levels at 0 ppm, and nitrite levels at 0 ppm.

They need efficient filtration, an appropriate heater, and a thermometer in order to keep betta fish healthy and thriving in their aquariums.

What Size Aquarium Do They Need?

5 gallons of water is the minimum requirement for keeping a dragon betta fish alive and healthy.

However, you should aim to have at least a 10-gallon tank if you want your betta fish to grow bigger and be more active.

It might not be easy to get a full-grown betta fish out of their aquariums because they are quite territorial.

Tank Mates

Dragon scale bettas can be kept alongside cory catfish, ghost shrimp, guppies, and kuhli loaches.

However, the decision to add tank mates depends on their aggressiveness levels. Check with your local pet store if they have been exhibiting aggressive behaviors towards other fish before you decide to add them as tank mates.

You shouldn't house them with larger fish like cichlids because dragon scales can easily get eaten by these fish.

It is also not advisable to place them in an environment where there are a lot of aggressive or bigger fish swimming around.

Are Dragon Scale Betta Fish Good Tank Mates

Are Dragon Scale Betta Fish Good Tank Mates?

Dragon scales are not good tank mates for bettas that can nip at their fins, because they have long and colorful tails.

You should also avoid housing them with fish whose sizes might intimidate the dragon scales.


Before buying a dragon scale betta, you should ask the pet store workers about their feeding schedule.

Bettas have different feeding schedules depending on their tank mates and size. They can be fed once a day or every other day to reduce the amount of food they eat because overfeeding is dangerous for them as well.

It's good to feed them at least three times a day so they can get proper nutrition.

Some of their food should include frozen brine shrimp, tubifex worms, bloodworms, and daphnia. You can also buy betta pellets for your scaled friend because these are very nutritious.

If you have other tank mates who are smaller than the dragon scales, you might want to feed them in a separate tank or container instead of having them eat from the same betta food.

What to Feed Your Dragon Scale Betta Fish

Bettas are carnivorous animals. They eat insects, larvae, and other small animals that live in the water.

These include earthworms, bloodworms, tubifex worms, mosquito larvae, daphnia, brine shrimp, and black worms.

You can buy these food items from your local pet store because they are best suited for betta fish.

You should also add in some vegetables such as blanched zucchini, romaine lettuce, and shelled peas when feeding your betta fish to reduce the amount of protein they eat.

Dragon Scale Betta Fish Breeding Care

Dragon scale bettas are difficult to breed. This variety has already been crossbred in order to obtain its present form. If you want to breed more tropical fish with the same characteristic ‘dragon-like’ scales, you will need to ensure that both your male and female are true dragon scale bettas with strong dominant genes. They need a lot of special care and tank set up before you try breeding them.

First, you should separate them from other bettas and their tank mates. They might eat each other if they stay together for too long.

Tank Set-up for Breeding Dragon Scale Betta Fish

They need a tank with no gravel and plants because these can make it hard for them to breed.

You should also place two males in one aquarium and only introduce the female when they are showing signs of readiness to mate.

Also, you should add some peat moss into their tanks so you can soften up their water.

Breeding Behavior

Dragon betta fish will display the usual breeding behavior of finding a cave to protect their eggs. The female dragon scales should be well conditioned with live food like mosquito larvae and brine shrimp before breeding to make sure she is healthy fish. It's best to have more than one male betta fish so the female dragon scales will have a chance to choose her mate.

Breeding Process

Unlike Betta Channoides, The male dragon betta builds a bubble nest on top of some water plants or inside an aquarium ornament where there is no current.

The female will then release her eggs after mating with the male. The male betta will fertilize these eggs and they will hatch within 24 to 48 hours.

You should scoop out the peat moss when the eggs have hatched and added in some more peat moss after two to four days.

After about a week, you should siphon all the peat moss together with the larvae into another container that has freshwater.

You can feed them with infusoria at this point until they are old enough to eat with the rest of your fish.

Common Diseases and Disorders

Dragon scale bettas are very hardy and rarely get sick or diseased if proper tank parameters, diet, and care are provided. However, they might suffer from fin rot due to stress or a sudden change in water parameters.

Dragon scale bettas are commonly affected by the following diseases:

  • Fin rot - usually caused by stress from a sudden change in environment, poor diet, and lack of vitamins
  • Fungal infections, velvet disease - due to lack of cleanliness or stress from overcrowding or bad water quality
  • Flashing or gasping at the surface of the water - this is mostly caused by low oxygen levels in the tank so it's best to check your filters and change the water regularly.

Common Treatments for Diseases and Disorders

All of these diseases and disorders can be treated at home as long as you keep a close eye on your fish and use the correct medication.

  • To prevent diseases, make sure your betta tank is clean and you provide them with a balanced diet
  • To treat fin rot or other bacterial infections, use aquarium salt at one tablespoon for every 5 gallons of water to reduce stress and swelling
  • For fungal infections or velvet disease, use a mixture of half water and half hydrogen peroxide. The dosage will vary depending on the severity of infection so check with your local pet store for more information
  • To treat flashing at the surface, you need to increase oxygen level by changing the water regularly and making sure there is a strong current in your tank

Quick Facts About the Dragon Scale Betta

  • The dragon scale betta is a crossbreed that resulted from crossing the betta splendens and the Betta imbellis.
  • Despite its name, it does not have any scales but has metallic coloring. They are sometimes mistaken for "black orchid bettas" due to their scarcity of availability in stores.
  • It has a life span of up to 3 years.
  • They are not recommended for beginners since they require special care.

Frequent Questions

Do Dragon Scale Bettas Go Blind?

Yes, dragon scale bettas have a propensity to go blind. Their scales may expand too rapidly and cover the eye, leaving the fish unable to see. This is known as diamond eye, which is irreversible and cannot be entirely treated, although the fish can live its expected lifespan if given some special attention.

How Do You Know if Your Betta Is a True Dragon Scale Bettas?

Dragon scale bettas can be identified by their appearance. They usually have a metallic body and dark, metallic bettas scales that look like overlapping fish scales. Like any other species of betta, dragon scales come in a variety of colors and patterns. The most common types are red dragonscale bettas with black or maroon scales and blue or green scales with black or maroon scales too.

How Big Do Dragon Scale Bettas Get?

Dragon scale betta males reach up to 3 inches in length while female dragon scale bettas can grow up to 2 inches in length.

Are Dragon Scale Bettas Aggressive?

Dragon scale betta males are not recommended for community tanks as they can be aggressive but female bettas are suitable for community tanks with other non-betta fish species.


Dragon scale betta fish is a crossbreed between the Betta imbellis and Betta splendens. They have a metallic body with dark, overlapping scales that look like fish scales. Male dragon scale bettas can be aggressive but female bettas are suitable for community tanks with other non-betta fish species.
Dragon Scale Bettas require special care so they're not recommended as beginner pets due to their rarity in stores or online communities. Dragon scale bettas can live up to 3 years and grow up to 3 inches in length. They're available in two colors: red and blue/green with metallic, fish scale-like scales.

Sarah Robertson

I am a passionate blogger who also happens to be a fish keeping enthusiast. Writing about my hobby is something that I absolutely love to do, and it's no secret that my chosen topic is always centered around fish keeping.

Sarah Robertson

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