Unlock the Secrets of a Rare Purple Betta Fish

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By Linh Nguyen Updated on 04 May 2023

Have you ever admired the beauty of an aqua-colored fish, but been curious about what a purple variant might look like? If so, then this is the Ultimate Guide for you! In this guide, we will discuss everything from why and how a purple beta fish is created to tips on caring for one in your own aquarium. Whether you are an experienced or beginner fish owner looking to add some color to their tank or just want some insight into these unique species of fish; this comprehensive guide has all the information needed to make sure your colorful new pet fishes thrive in their new home. So read on and let's dive into learning more about purple beta fishes!

1. What is a purple betta fish?

At first, glance, breeding purple fish seems to be a simple matter of applying a blue layer on top of a red one. Oftentimes, some shades of blue appear to have faded into purple or violet, and so it takes just one more small step to turn them into true purple. However, in practice, cross-breeding a red with a blue usually only gives the breeder a red wash or red-blue multi-color without any purple bettas. On the market today, there are a few different purple body/fin variants that have appeared, such as Purple Gas, Purple Popsicle, and Purple Salamander. Although it has a very attractive appearance and color, by definition this is not a purely monochromatic purple.


Purple perception may vary from person to person; even the ideal purple fish in this article (Mark Ibara's fish, edited by Saratha Chet) is more greenish and thus has Violet tones rather than the usual purples like lavender or lilac. Purple itself is controversial, as is the purple betta!

Many people look at blue with a purple tone, so in the past, blue fighting fish was also known as "Xiam Purple" or "Purple Charcoal Purple"! Even a Facebooker posted a picture of a purple fish, but when we looked closely, we saw that it was actually just a light blue fish. For simplicity and fairness, we will follow Wikipedia: Purple is a mixture of red and blue; without the presence of red, there can never be purple. This example demonstrates how people's perceptions of purple can be very different.

An ideal purple betta fish edited with Photoshop software.

An ideal purple betta fish edited with Photoshop software.

2. Are purple betta fish rare?

Purple bettas are amongst the rarest betta fish on the market today. It has been many years since Victoria Parnell mentioned purple in her famous article "The Elusive Purple Betta," and yet no true purple betta has appeared. This demonstrates that this color is very difficult to breed in a monochromatic direction.

However, we often see pink-purple tones appearing in lavender or salamander fish. Therefore, this effect seems to be more prominent in fish with light backgrounds. If crossbreeding is done in the direction of limiting the butterfly border, we will get a pink-purple. Practically speaking, we should accept the uneven purple color and extremely small white rims on the fins (though monochromatic purple is still a question mark).

To make this idea a reality, we finally get to see a purple fish that is very close to the definition of a monochrome purple betta! Pictured below is one of the most perfect and pure purple fish from a farm in Bangkok called Minburi Betta, owned by Mr. Chiawcharn Chaisaeng. This fish is probably from the lavender line, but its pinkish-purple color is evenly distributed throughout the body and fins and the butterfly border has almost disappeared, leaving only a hint of the fin edge.

A purple betta named Minburi Betta, bred by Mr. Chiawcharn Chaisaeng in Thailand.

A purple betta named Minburi Betta, bred by Mr. Chiawcharn Chaisaeng in Thailand.

3. Overview of purple betta

3.1. Variations

As mentioned above, "purple" itself is inherently controversial, so each person will have a different perception. Besides, the "true purple" betta fish - with all fins and scales having only one uniform purple color - to this day remains a mystery to all betta enthusiasts.

However, if you lower your standards and accept a few other colors in a small percentage, there are quite a few purple bettas you can choose from. Currently, betta fish often appear in two lines: Lavender and Salamander. In addition, there are also some blue bettas with a purple tint.

In the following sections of this article, I would also like to write about the popular purple bettas on the market today. Because the ideal purple betta has only appeared in Photoshop and not in real life.

3.2. Size

When it comes to size, purple bettas can vary greatly depending on their line, age, and gender. Adult males tend to be larger than females and can reach up to 3 inches in length while adult females will more often stay around the 1,5 - 2,5 inch range. The size of the tank they live in also has an effect on their size; those living in smaller tanks may not reach their full potential growth whereas those living in larger tanks can grow significantly larger.

3.3. Lifespan

The characteristic purple color is the result of natural selection, not mutation, so purple bettas have a similar lifespan to other common betta strains.

In captivity, they can live up to 3 years or even longer with proper care and nutrition. With the right environment and diet, these beautiful fish can reach an exceptional 5-year.

To ensure your purple betta lives as long as possible, it is important to provide them with a healthy environment. Proper water temperature, cleanliness of the tank, diet, and overall health are all important factors in a betta's lifespan.

3.4. The behavior

Purple bettas are known to be more aggressive and territorial in comparison to other varieties of the species. They tend to show aggression towards any nearby fish, including their own species, which is why it’s important for them to be raised alone rather than in a community tank.

These fish can be very active swimmers, so it’s beneficial to have plenty of hiding spots for them among plants or decorations. They usually live near the surface, where they will often flare their fins at other fish or creatures passing by. Providing enrichment activities such as tunnels or pieces of driftwood can help keep them from getting bored and becoming more aggressive.

3.5. Prices

Their vibrant purple coloration and hardiness make them an attractive option for many aquarists. Due to their rare and the rarity of finding wild specimens, it is not uncommon for people to pay a premium price for these fish.

On average, a standard purple betta (bright purple and mixed with a few other colors in small proportions) will cost between $20-25 depending on its size and age. However, some rarer varieties can cost upwards of $50 or more! This price range makes them comparable with other fancy varieties such as crown tail or half-moon bettas which tend to cost anywhere from $7-20 per fish.

In comparison to more common bettas such as the veil tail variety, purple bettas tend to be much pricier. These fish usually cost only $2-8 dollars per fish and can often be found in pet stores or online retailers.

In addition, purple bettas are rarely found at pet stores. They usually only appear at aquarium auctions or from professional breeders.

A Lilac Halfmoon betta by Karen MacAuley.

A Lilac Halfmoon betta by Karen MacAuley.

4. Care

4.1. Habitat, water quality, and temperature

Purple bettas are native to the warm waters of Southeast Asia and can survive in a wide range of temperatures, from 74-82°F (23-28°C). To keep them healthy and happy, their habitat should provide plenty of hiding spots such as rocks, caves, and plants. The ideal water for purple bettas is slightly acidic to neutral with a pH around 6.5-7.5. Water hardness should be kept between 5 and 15 dGH (degrees general hardness). Though they can tolerate fluctuations in temperature and pH levels, maintaining a consistent environment is important to prevent stress on these vibrant creatures. In addition to a suitable environment, proper filtration and regular partial water changes are essential for keeping their water clean and clear. With plenty of hiding spots and a stable environment, your purple betta is sure to thrive!

4.2. Food and nutrition

Raising purple betta fish requires a varied diet and appropriate nutrition to ensure optimal health. A balanced diet is critical for keeping your betta happy, healthy, and vibrant in color. A variety of high-quality prepared foods, live/frozen foods, and even some vegetables can provide the perfect balance of nutrients that a betta needs. 

When it comes to prepared foods, look for options with quality proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other necessary ingredients. Specialized pellets formulated specifically for bettas are often recommended as they contain all the essential components needed by this species of fish such as Omega 3 fatty acids, amino acids, pigments, vitamins, and more.

Live or frozen food should also be included in a betta's diet. Live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia provide a great source of protein and natural enrichment. Frozen food is also an important part of the betta’s diet and should be chosen based on the individual dietary needs of your fish.

Vegetables can also form an important part of a betta’s diet. Freshly blanched peas are often recommended for their high nutrition content but other vegetables in small pieces (e.g., lettuce, spinach) can also be offered to satisfy their dietary need for plant material.

To ensure that your purple betta receives all the nutrients it needs to thrive, feed them only once or twice daily with portion sizes no larger than its eyeball. This will help to prevent overfeeding which could lead to health problems and/or reduced coloration.

4.3. Tank setup and maintenance

When acquiring a purple betta fish for an aquarium, it is important to make sure the tank size is large enough for the type of fish being kept. A good rule of thumb is about 2 gallons per inch of fish length.

It is important to create an environment that mimics the natural habitat of your purple betta fish. This means providing plenty of hiding places such as plants, rocks, caves, and other decorations. This helps the fish feel secure while they explore their surroundings. A light source should also be provided so that the betta can see what it's doing and feel comfortable in its home.

Let's remember to keep up with regular maintenance on the aquarium in order to ensure proper care for your purple betta fish. The water should be changed every one to two weeks and any debris should be removed. The filter should also be cleaned regularly, as well as the gravel or substrate. Additionally, uneaten food should be immediately removed from the tank or it can cause a toxic buildup of ammonia.


A "purple" betta in a Royal Blue style with a light background, very little red, close to indigo.

5. Diseases

Just like other common bettas, they can be prone to a number of different diseases and illnesses if not cared for properly. Common diseases in purple bettas include Ich (also known as white spot disease or ick), velvet disease (Ophistobothriasis), Columnaris, bacterial fin rot, Lymphocystis virus, and gill flukes.

To help prevent common diseases in your betta, it is important to maintain a clean aquarium environment with proper water parameters such as temperature and pH levels. Regular partial water changes every two weeks should also be done to keep the tank clean and free from toxins. Additionally, be sure to feed your fish with a nutritious diet of high-quality pellets or flakes.

If you start to notice any signs of illness in your betta, let's take them to the vet as soon as possible for an examination and diagnosis. Signs of disease in bettas may include changes in balance or swimming ability, loss of appetite, lethargy, fin and/or tail rot, red or white spots on the body, and gill issues. Any treatments prescribed by your vet should be followed carefully to ensure a successful recovery.

6. Breeding

Breeding purple bettas is extremely difficult, and the hybrid lines lack stability. Theoretically, we can produce purple by crossbreeding from the Mustard Gas line. To do so, one should pick two bettas that have a lot of iridescence on the body and very little yellow on the fins and pair them together. However, in practice, it has been found that the hybrid offspring are very unstable, they usually only give breeders mostly Mustard Gas colors such as blue, green, and black.

Marcus Gutzeit in Germany achieved a purple test line by selecting a pinkish male HM from a multicolor line and crossing it with a red female. The result was a light bubblegum purple which is probably the first step toward creating the deep purple we are looking for.

In Victoria Parnell's experience breeding true purple fish, she started with a blue male from a flock of blue butterflies that had a "purple" blue tone. Then bred it with a blue/red female from a Black Devil (black/red) and steel blue (Melano geno) hybrid, and the result was a purple-blue fish very close to our ideal.

Besides, another test has also been set up. Another group was also bred from the blue/red female above the pink/blue pastel male. What we get from that is a grizzly pastel fish with all sorts of levels of red smudging, some red/white/blue, and pinkish pastel. However, three of them have striking purple bodies with red fins. The best female in this group was bred with a blue-violet, half-blood male. The majority of these pods are pale purple or purplish-brown fish. However, a few show a certain breakthrough in color, having both purple bodies and fins.

In summary, the breeding of purple bettas is still a question mark for betta enthusiasts. The known hybrids are very unstable and have not yet produced a true purple color. Hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, we will discover this secret.

A “purple” betta that I bred using Victoria Parnell's method

A “purple” betta that I bred using Victoria Parnell's method


The elusive true purple betta is a fish that hasn't been seen but certainly intrigues those that love to learn about the different breeds. As stated there are only a few lines of fish such as Lavender and Salamander that have some purple coloring, and these are extremely rare. But even more difficult is breeding these fish. Fish enthusiasts around the world have yet to figure out how to do this, leaving us restricted in our knowledge of this particular breed. Hopefully, in the future, we will be able to figure out a way to breed them and enjoy these beautiful fish with no other colors on them than shades of purple.

Until that day comes, why not share your own experiences with trying to breed a purple betta by commenting below? Who knows, it may even help us find more clarity on the artistry of breeding these incredibly beautiful fish! So if you’ve got any insights on this topic, let me know in the comments below, and let's keep dreaming together as we continue our pursuit of a royal purple betta!


1. The Elusive Purple Betta - By: Victoria Stark - Submitted: 12/10/2003


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