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
|Dragon Scale Betta
|2.5 to 3 inches (6.4 to 7.6 cm)
|2 to 4 years
|Best kept alone or with non-aggressive tankmates
|Snails, peaceful shrimp, some bottom-dwelling fish
|Minimum Tank Size
|5 gallons (19 liters) or larger
|Carnivorous; Pellets, Flakes, Live/Frozen Foods
|Insects, Larvae, Small Crustaceans
|Freshwater, slow-moving or still waters
|Various, often iridescent and vivid
|Requires separate breeding setup
|6.5 to 7.5
|Soft to moderately hard
|78 to 82°F (25.5 to 27.8°C)
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.