Common Bettas are world-famous for their vibrant colors and extensive finnage but the Crowntail Betta takes things one step further!
They get their name from their extended fin rays, giving their dorsal, anal, and caudal (tail) fin a spiky comb-like structure!
Getting to Know the Crowntail Betta
Crowntail Betta fish are a more recent breed, first stabilized in 1997. They have since risen in popularity to become one of the most popular new breeds of betta in the hobby, right alongside Alien Bettas and Plakat Betta fish!
While they look slightly more delicate than their standard finned cousins, Crowntail Bettas are just as hardy and easy to care for. They are excellent beginner fish and well worth a place in your aquarium or bowl!
- Scientific Name: Betta splendens
- Origin: Thailand, Southeast Asia
- Length: 2 ½ to 3 inches
- Aquarium Size: 2+ gallons
- Temperament: Peaceful to Semi-aggressive
- Ease of Care: Very Easy
Caring for Crown Betta Fish
Aquarium Size for Crowntail Bettas
An aquarium for a Crown Betta fish can be of just about any size! That said, I always recommend giving your betta as much space as you can afford to. In pet stores we often find bettas crowded on shelves in tiny bowls just large enough for them to comfortably turn around in.
These bare betta bowls offer little in the way of exercise, stimulation, or good water quality. Once we take home our new Crowntail male betta we should be offering at least 2 gallons of space, with a 5 gallon desktop aquarium being ideal for them.
In the wild, bettas are found in shallow, stagnant bodies of water full of aquatic weeds. So they don’t have massive space requirements. But we should never opt to provide the bare minimum for our pets.
If you plan on keeping your Crown Betta alongside other tank mates then you should increase this to a minimum of 10 gallons.
Bettas are on the small end of medium sized and we don’t want to crowd the tank, which will cause a rapid rise in ammonia and other water pollutants.
Crowntail Betta and Aquascaping
Crowntail Bettas are not too picky when it comes to aquascaping. Whether you prefer live or plastic plants, a little cover is always recommended.
Rocks and driftwood are ideal if you prefer naturalistic aquascaping. Just be aware of the potential for both to alter your water chemistry.
Aquarium rocks often have water-soluble minerals that may cause the pH to rise or fall. And aquarium driftwood may contain plant tannins in varying amounts that will buffer the water towards acidity and may even darken the tank water a deep shade of brown!
One of the best additions to a Crowntail Betta tank are live plants! Plants provide several benefits to all aquarium fish. They provide cover and shade, helping your fish feel more secure about swimming in the open. Plants use nitrogenous waste (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate) as fertilizer, fixing it inside their bodies to help clean your aquarium water. They consume carbon dioxide, turning it into oxygen for fish to breathe via photosynthesis.
And best of all they look beautiful and natural alongside your betta. The cover that plants create also provides a Crowntail male Betta with a place to anchor his bubble nest. Most healthy bettas will build floating rafts of bubbles to impress mates and secure their territory, which we will discuss in greater detail below!
When it comes to substrate choices Crowntail Bettas are not at all picky. Bettas will swim in all areas of the water column looking for food.
A fine gravel or sand substrate does allow fallen food to remain unhidden and more likely to be eaten rather than going to rot. But if you prefer larger grains of gravel that is also fine!
Water Conditions for Crowntail Bettas
Crowntail Bettas are extremely hardy and will thrive in a wide range of water temperatures and chemistries. Temperature is the most important parameter for them because bettas strongly prefer warmer conditions. Remember, these fish are normally found in shallow, often stagnant bodies of water in tropical Asia.
Water temperature rarely falls below 70℉, with 75-85℉ being a good range for them. Betta fish should always be kept in tanks with a heater.
When the temperature gets too low you will see the appetite of your Crowntail Betta begin to diminish. Like all fish they are ectothermic, meaning their metabolisms are regulated by the environment.
Food digestion also slows considerably; sometimes it slows enough that food starts to rot before it is expelled as feces. When this happens intestinal bloating disease becomes an issue. Crowntail Bettas kept too cold also develop ich, fin fungus, bacterial disorders, and other opportunistic diseases more easily.
Crowntail Betta Water Chemistry
In terms of water chemistry, Crowntail Bettas are very flexible. They do prefer soft water that is low in dissolved minerals, with a pH that is neutral to acidic (pH 5.5-7.0). Which is, unfortunately, the opposite of tap water in most countries. Tap water tends to be hard and alkaline, with loads of dissolved minerals and a pH above 7.0.
If you wish, you can use reverse osmosis (R.O.) or distilled water when doing water changes, especially if you want to breed your bettas. But it’s not necessary.
Crowntail Bettas have been raised in alkaline conditions for many generations and usually thrive in alkaline conditions.
Like all bettas they are also much more resistant than most fish to higher levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. This resistance does not mean you should become lazy with changing the water or performing filter maintenance, though!
Crowntail Bettas still suffer stress from constantly swimming in their own waste and their disease resistance and appetite are both diminished.
Crowntail Betta Tank Mates
As many betta owners already know, Crowntail Betta fish are very diverse in temperament. Sometimes you will get a male that is extremely peaceful and ignores all of his neighbors. Other times you might have a betta that flares his gills and chases anything that moves. It depends on their individual mood.
But as a whole bettas are good community fish. They aren’t fast enough to catch most tank mates, nor do they have teeth capable of doing much harm. The only fish that you should be careful keeping them with are species that look too similar to a male betta. Fancy guppies, for instance, are poor tank mates for Crowntail Bettas. They also have long, flowing fins that look like small rival males and may inspire jealousy in your betta.
The shimmering, spiky fins of your Crowntail Betta will be too tempting a target. And when fins get nipped they open your betta up to fin rot and other infectious diseases.
Unfortunately, Crowntail Bettas can make poor tank mates for dwarf shrimp. While an adult Cherry Shrimp is too large to be threatened, baby shrimp are potential meals for a betta.
If you don’t mind an occasional baby going missing then it’s not an issue; Cherry Shrimp do create loads of babies. But it’s worth mentioning!
Lastly, never keep multiple Crowntail males unless you have a very large aquarium of 55 gallons or more. Bettas are viciously territorial.
They are called Siamese Fighting Fish because they have been selectively bred for aggression for centuries in Thailand. A small group of males in a spacious, well planted aquarium may be able to form natural territories that they can retreat to if they fight. But anything smaller is asking for one or two dead bettas.
Good Tank Mates for Crowntail Bettas:
- Gouramis, Killifish, Livebearers, Tetras, and other Community Fish
- Corydoras, Plecostomus, Otocinclus, and other Bottom Dwellers
- Snails and Clams
- Female Crowntail Bettas (with caution)
Poor Tank Mates for Crowntail Bettas:
- Tiger Barbs, Dwarf Cichlids, Danios, certain fin-nipping Tetras (ex. Mexican Tetras)
- Other male Crowntail Bettas
- Dwarf Shrimp
Feeding a Crowntail Betta
Bettas are known as micro predators: in the wild they feed on small invertebrates, fish fry, insect larvae, and other aquatic life. They are entirely carnivorous so always ignore aquarium articles that mention algae or plants as part of their diet: bettas do not naturally eat plants nor should you ever feed them peas or algae flakes!
When choosing food for your Crowntail Betta fish take some time to read the ingredients label. Are the first few ingredients animal protein sources? Whole fish meal, shrimp, salmon, black soldier fly larvae, krill, and other additives are all good signs. Stay away from brands that use potato starch, corn meal, wheat, and other cheap fillers that do your betta no good. Unlike us mammals fish have little ability to digest carbohydrates.
No matter how good your prepared formula is you should also supplement it with frozen and live fish foods. Daphnia, blood worms, brine shrimp, and tubifex worms are all much closer to what betta fish naturally find and eat.
Tubifex are a little high in fat and daphnia have indigestible chitinous shells that have a laxative effect so don’t feed these too often. But the rest are treats that can be fed whenever you wish! Especially carotenoid and astaxanthin-rich foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms, which pass on their vibrant red pigments to the Crowntail Betta that eats them!
Breeding Crowntail Bettas
Should you fall in love with your Crown Betta you might even decide to try breeding them! Fish breeding is in many ways the epitome of the aquarium hobby. And bettas are a great place to begin!
First things first: you need a female to live alongside your male Crowntail Betta. Telling the sexes apart is very easy to do, fortunately. Female bettas are smaller, less colorful, and never have the long fins of males. A female Crowntail Betta will have spiked crown-like fins though! She will often have a rounder belly even if you haven’t recently fed her, especially as her ovaries begin swelling with eggs.
If you are interested I discuss the differences between male and female bettas in much greater detail in this article!
Spawning Crowntail Bettas
The hardest part is introducing your female and male because Crowntail Bettas can be very touchy. Male bettas almost always start out as very eager and ready to breed. Once he has a bubble nest built he is already looking for a mate to swim by.
Female Crowntail Bettas are choosier. And if she doesn’t choose him right away he might simply drive her away. Since she can’t escape an aquarium he may even kill her if she denies him for too long. It’s best to keep several females alongside a single male so they all get a break from his attention. And if one female isn’t receptive to him at all, another might become so in the future.
Once your bettas pair off they will embrace under the bubble nest built by the male. The male fertilizes the buoyant eggs in the water column and then deposits them directly in the nest. Crowntail Betta fish eggs take a few days to hatch. The larvae are very tiny upon hatching and feed entirely on their stored yolk sack for the first 48 hours.
After their yolk sack has been entirely absorbed they will begin hunting for tiny prey items. And I do mean tiny; in fact, baby brine shrimp are too large for them in their first week.
You will need to cultivate infusoria for them, which is the name given to protists, plankton, and other single-celled organisms.
This planktonic soup is easy to make, though, and will get them through their first couple of weeks until they can eat baby brine shrimp and powdered flake food!
Frequently Asked Questions about Crowntail Bettas
Crowntail Betta fish have spiked fin rays. Both males and females have this distinctive crown-like finnage in their dorsal, anal, and caudal (tail) fins!
The rarest Betta fish are albino bettas. Albinos are common in many animals but not Betta fish!
Crowntail Bettas are fairly common these days but can sometimes be a little pricier than a Common Betta. Expect to pay $10-20 for a Crowntail Betta!
Crowntail Bettas are micro predators that normally feed on aquatic invertebrates. They will eat standard betta pellet and flake formulas, though!