Betta Anatomy (Find Out How Amazing These Fish Are!)

Bettas are fighting fish native to Southeast Asia, where they are known as Siamese fighting fish. A betta fish’s anatomy can be highly intricate. The external anatomy, internal anatomy, and differences between males and females of the species are all unique bodily components to consider. 

Continue reading to discover more about betta fish anatomy and the differences to note between the sexes. 

A Betta Fish’s External Anatomy

The Eye Anatomy of Betta Fish

Betta fish have two eyes. One on each side of their heads. A close study reveals that their eyeballs extend outwards, resembling a bubble.

A betta’s iris is black in color and quite noticeable. The color of the outer section varies with fish.

How Strong Is a Betta Fish’s Vision?

Bettas have excellent vision, as indicated by their flaring personalities that their owners can see. They see everything in full color, even though they don’t have eyelids or the capacity to blink.

According to scientists, nearsightedness is frequent in betta fish, and their acute vision is only useful up to 12 inches. Their keen eye complements their quirky and aggressive personality.

Betta Fish Mouth Anatomy

Betta fish have several tiny, sharp teeth in their mouth that help them chew down their food. Their lips are angled upwards to inhale air, build things called bubble nests, and consume food at the water’s surface.

During mating, males play an unusual function in which they suck the female’s unfertilized eggs inside their mouth after the female deposits her eggs at the bottom of the tank. This keeps the eggs warm and secure in a protected area. When they’re ready, the male will spit them out into what’s known as a bubble nest. The female eggs will be fertilized from here.

Opercula on Betta Fish

The operculum of the betta fish works as a defensive mechanism for the fish’s fragile gills. A betta beard, also known as the membrane, can be found here. In male bettas, the operculum protrudes. This makes it the male sexes’ more differentiating feature.

Betta fish flares their gills and lengthen their beard while in battle mode. This is a domineering motion used to make themselves appear larger and scarier.

Gill Anatomy of Betta Fish

Betta gills, like other fish, absorb oxygen molecules from the water.

Although having a labyrinth organ that allows them to get oxygen from above the water’s surface, Betta fish can also obtain oxygen by ingesting water. To only obtain the oxygen molecules and not drown, the Betta passes the water back out via their gills.

Your Betta may sleep underwater to let their gills absorb more oxygen.

Betta Fish Body Anatomy

The outer fish scales, or armor, are found on the body, which can reach a length of more than 2.5 inches. A healthy betta fish will have nutritional scales and brilliant color in captivity.

Sharp tank items and contacts with other aggressive fish can cause wounds on the body. 

You may observe horizontal lines going down the body of a stressed betta, especially in females. 

These horizontal lines can appear in babies or fry when still developing and are typically not cause for concern.

What is a Caudal Peduncle?

The caudal peduncle follows the body of a betta and ends right before the back fin. The caudal or tail fin, which comes in various forms, sizes, and colors, is required for water propulsion.

Betta Fish Fin Anatomy

Ventral Fin Anatomy of a Betta Fish

The ventral fins are a group of steering fins positioned around the pelvic area. As a result, they’re also known as pelvic fins. They are utilized for swimming, turning, stopping, ascending, and descending in the water. Female betta ventral fins are smaller than male betta ventral fins.

Pectoral Fins of a Betta Fish

If you have an elephant ear betta, you’re probably familiar with betta fish pectoral fins. As a betta moves throughout the water, its pectoral fins constantly move. These fins can also commonly be referred to as ears as a result. The size and color of a betta’s pectoral fins vary according to the species and age.

Dorsal Fin Anatomy of a Betta Fish

The dorsal fin, positioned on top of your betta fish, will vary in shape and size according to the species. The primary role of the dorsal fin is to stabilize the water as your fish moves along its planned course.

A fish would not be able to swim straight if it was missing its dorsal fin. 

Caudal Fin Anatomy of a Beta Fish

The caudal or tail fin, which comes in various shapes, sizes, and colors, is also essential for water propulsion. Betta fish’s magnificent caudal fins are one of the reasons they’ve become a must-have pet for your house.

A betta fish’s structure is very different in the wild, but they are deliberately developed in captivity to have enormous flowing and brightly colored fins.

These lengthy fins would be ineffective in nature since they would slow down bettas, making them easy prey.

Betta fish care can be challenging if you have no idea where to start. Click here to read a complete Betta fish care guide!

The Internal Anatomy of a Betta Fish

The Esophagus of a Betta Fish

Food, water, and air are transported into the body via the esophagus attached to the Betta’s mouth. The esophagus subsequently transports these nutrients into your Betta’s body and other organs.

Gill Arch of a Betta Fish

All betta fish have a gill-arch. A gill-arch is a bone support structure where both gills collaborate to convey oxygen-rich air. This air passes via the esophagus and into the labyrinth. The gill arch connects the gill rakers and gill filaments.

Labyrinth of a Betta Fish

The labyrinth is one of the most intriguing characteristics of a betta fish. It developed over time in slow-moving, low-oxygen habitats. Thanks to the labyrinth, Betta fish can take in oxygen molecules from outside the tank and absorb them via the water.

Since bettas have a labyrinth, betta fish are classed as anabantoids. Other fish, not classified as anabantoids, rely only on their external gills to take in oxygen. 

Liver of a Betta Fish

A betta fish’s liver assists in the storage and processing of nutrients throughout the body. Food is processed in their stomach before being transferred to their intestine. To aid in the breakdown of nutrients eaten, the liver secretes enzymes known as bile.

Intestines of a Betta Fish

Food is digested chemically in your Betta’s stomach before passing through its intestine. It is then processed before being absorbed by the gut. In the stomach, vitamins and protein, for example, are all absorbed by the intestine and utilized as fuel.

Kidney of a Betta Fish

A betta fish’s kidney serves as a living filter, removing pollutants from the circulation. Betta fish can also experience kidney failure due to illnesses like dropsy.

Swim Bladder of a Betta Fish

The swim bladder is placed along the rear of your Betta’s body. It runs down along the spine. It will grow in size as your betta fish matures. It appears like an elongated balloon that betta fish use to alter their buoyancy in the water.

If your Betta didn’t have a swim bladder, your fish would be floating on their side or near the top of their tank.

Swim-bladder disease (SBD), which manifests these symptoms, can be caused by overfeeding and an underdeveloped swim bladder.

Testes of a Betta Fish

Male reproductive organs are the testes. These organs are exclusively found in the species’ males.

The Bladder of a Betta Fish

A betta’s kidney filters the waste that has been stored in the urine bladder.

A Betta Fish’s Anus

Waste is what remains after your fish’s food has been digested and all vitamins and nutrients have been absorbed in the stomach. The anus excretes these betta fish feces. When stringy feces hang from the anus, this would suggest constipation or overfeeding.

Betta Fish’s Heart

The heart oversees circulating blood throughout the body. This steady pressure distributes oxygen to all your fish’s essential organs, keeping them healthy and fighting fit.

Males and Female Beta Fish Have Different and Distinctive Characteristics

Understanding the distinctions between the sexes of betta fish might help you determine if your betta fish is female or male. All keepers should understand the internal and external anatomy of betta fish. These characteristics will aid in identifying illness and explaining where parts of the body are afflicted.

Male and female betta fish are difficult to distinguish while they are young, but as they age, male and female betta fish develop to become significantly different. Betta fish begin to demonstrate a range of sexual traits at the age of two months.

Male Betta Fish Anatomy

Males have bigger bodies and longer fins than females. They have substantially bigger tails, anal fins, and dorsal fins than females. In captivity, males will have more colorful exterior coloration on their bodies and fins. Male bettas will also tend to have a noticeable beard.

Male betta fish will flare as he fights or tries to assert his supremacy. When the male lifts his gill covers, he exposes his beard, making him appear more noticeable and aggressive. Most betta fish beards are black in color. An exception to this theory will occur if your betta fish is colorless or has light coloration.

Female Betta Fish Anatomy

Female betta fish grow to measure around the same length as male betta fish. Once fully developed, however, their bodies tend to be slimmer than their male counterparts. Females also tend to have duller colorings than males.

The egg spots, also known as the ovipositor tube, are another distinguishing feature of female betta fish. A white-colored dot can be found near the ventral fins. The eggs will be discharged from this site during mating.

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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Betta Fish Anatomy

Do Betta Fish Have a Brain?

Betta fish do, in fact, have brains. Even when betta fish are battling, the findings imply that their brains interact and coordinate with one another.

What Is a Betta Beard?

The opercular membrane is a membrane that lies behind the gill plate cover in Bettas. When the betta fish flares its gill plates, a membrane appears looking like a “beard.” Males have a substantially thicker beard than females, which is typically noticeable even when the guy isn’t flaring.

Do Betta Fish Have Nostrils?

Betta fish have nares, which effectively fish nostrils, tiny apertures in their mouths. Pheromones and amino acids are used by fish to communicate and to eat. Betta fish can smell, but they do it differently than humans.

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