HomeFreshwater FishFreshwater Fish BreedsDragon Scale Betta Fish: Appearance, Breeds and Care Guide

Dragon Scale Betta Fish: Appearance, Breeds and Care Guide

The Dragon Scale Betta, often simply referred to as the dragon breed, is a relatively recent addition to the osphronemidae family. These fish are known for their pronounced scales and frequently metallic hues.

Keep reading to learn all about the Dragon Scale Betta and the care required to maintain one healthily in your own freshwater aquarium.

Dragon Scale Betta Fish Overview

Common Names Dragon Scale Betta
Scientific Name Betta splendens
Adult Size 2.5 to 3 inches (6.4 to 7.6 cm)
Lifespan 2 to 4 years
Family Osphronemidae
Origin Thailand
Temperament Generally Aggressive
Compatibility Best kept alone or with non-aggressive tankmates
Tank Mates Snails, peaceful shrimp, some bottom-dwelling fish
Minimum Tank Size 5 gallons (19 liters) or larger
Diet Carnivorous; Pellets, Flakes, Live/Frozen Foods
Prey Insects, Larvae, Small Crustaceans
Habitat Freshwater, slow-moving or still waters
Color Various, often iridescent and vivid
Skin Type Scaled
Care Level Intermediate
Breeding Requires separate breeding setup
pH Level 6.5 to 7.5
Water Hardness Soft to moderately hard
Temperature 78 to 82°F (25.5 to 27.8°C)
Favorite Food Live or Frozen Bloodworms, Brine Shrimp

With thick, white scales, Dragon Scale Betta mirrors the imagined appearance of a dragon’s armor. It’s not just about aesthetics though there’s an interesting genetic factor at play. This betta owes its distinct look to a specific ‘dragon gene’.

Introduced to the world in 2004 from Thailand, this breed quickly made waves in the aquatic pet community. Its unique aesthetic appealed to many, and soon after its introduction, it gained popularity. Breeders took note and began exploring different color patterns, further enhancing its appeal.

black dragon betta image
black dragon betta image


Dragon Scale bettas, while visually striking, possess strong territorial instincts, especially among males. This behavior, rooted in their wild survival instincts, can lead to aggression in shared tanks. Consequently, many recommend housing male Dragon Scales solo.

If you’re set on a community tank, pair them with unassertive species like neon tetras or ghost shrimp to minimize conflicts. Gauging their well-being is as simple as observing their swimming: fluid motions signal contentment, while quick or erratic movements might indicate stress or territorial challenges.

dragon scale betta behavior
dragon scale betta behavior


Despite boasting the radiant tail colors typical of bettas, the Dragon Scale betta has a uniquely distinguished look. This standout appearance is thanks to its defining thick, white, metallic scales, reminiscent of dragon armor, which overlay its bright base colors.

While its body color is muted by these scales, the original hues shine through around the tail, gills, and fins. The distinctively edged scales enhance its dramatic, armored aesthetic. Size-wise, males average 2 ½-3 inches in length, with females slightly smaller. This remarkable appearance is a testament to the innovative cross-breeding by dedicated aquarists aiming to keep the species captivating.

males gold dragon betta
males gold dragon betta average 2 ½-3 inches in length

Other Variations Of Dragon Scale Betta

Betta breeders, in their pursuit of unique appearances, have crafted the longfin Dragon Scale betta. With elongated fins contrasting its armor-like scales, it’s undeniably eye-catching.

However, beauty has its price. Excessively long fins can hinder their swimming, echoing challenges faced by dumbo and rosetail bettas. While seasoned hobbyists cater to their specific needs, others may overlook their well-being for aesthetics, leading to these fish struggling with cumbersome fins.

Adult Size: Dragon Scale Bettas

Dragon scale bettas grow to be about 2-3 inches, just like other betta types. They can be pretty feisty, like other bettas, so it’s often best to keep them alone in a tank. Make sure the tank is at least 5 gallons, has a heater, a good filter, and it’s great if you can add live plants too.

dragon scale betta vs normal
dragon scale betta vs normal

Lifespan: How Long Can Dragon Bettas Live?

Dragon scale bettas can live as long as other betta fish, which means they might reach 5 years or even more with the right care!

But, because they’ve been bred to look a certain way, some might not live as long. You could have a fish that only lives 2 or 3 years. Breeders have made changes to these fish to make them look prettier, but sometimes these changes can make it hard for the fish to swim, breathe, or eat.

One common problem is that dragon scale bettas can go blind, which can make their lives harder.

Dragon Scale Betta Care & Breeding

  • Taking care of a dragon scale betta isn’t hard, provided you adhere to the tank conditions outlined earlier “in section Dragon Scale Betta fish overview”
  • To prevent the accumulation of algae and harmful organisms, consistent tank cleaning is essential.
  • Continual monitoring of water conditions, including calcium and magnesium levels, remains essential. Adjust as necessary to sustain a favorable habitat.
male dragon scale betta
Male dragon scale betta

Creating Dragon betta fish breeds poses unique challenges because of their cross-bred origins that result in their distinct appearance.

  • Ensure both male and female dragon scale bettas are genuine dragon scale bettas.
  • Prioritize individuals with strong dominant genes for successful reproduction of the characteristic scales.

Approaching breeding with an understanding of their genetic background can make the process more fruitful.

female dragon scale betta red
Female dragon scale betta red


The dragon scale betta is undeniably a marvel with its medieval charm, marked by its white armored scales and vibrant hues. Yet, beauty sometimes comes with a cost. Their distinctive scales can, sadly, lead to blindness. But with attentive care and genuine appreciation, the challenges they face can be addressed, ensuring these splendid bettas lead a more comfortable life.

Rate this post
Further Reading
Kevin Mills, the founder of Nationalparkaquarium.org


-- Founder --

I'm Kevin Mills, the founder of Nationalparkaquarium.org, where I share my deep passion for aquariums and aquatic life. With over 20 years of experience in fishkeeping, covering everything from tending to saltwater and freshwater tanks.

Kathleen Wood


-- Interrogator --

Kathleen Wood, a seasoned marine biologist, possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in her field. Her research on tropical fish biodiversity spans over three decades, and she has contributed numerous scientific papers on aquatic life.