Why Are Purple Betta Fish So Rare and How To Care For Them

purple betta fish So Rare


Purple betta fish may account for only 1% of all bettas sold, making them one of the rarest color varieties in the fish hobby. These iridescent, violet-hued fish capture the attention of betta enthusiasts and command premium prices due to their extreme rarity and breathtaking beauty.

The pursuit of the elusive purple betta, with its striking coloration and mystery, has become an obsession for many betta collectors. But what exactly makes purple bettas so rare and coveted?

Purple Betta Fish are Rare Due to Genetics.

One of the main reasons purple bettas are so rare is because of the genetics involved. For a betta fish to display purple coloration, it must inherit a recessive gene for purple from both its mother and its father. If the fish inherits only one copy of the purple gene from just one parent, it will not outwardly display the purple coloration. The parents themselves may not even be purple in color if they carry just one copy of the recessive purple gene.

For a purple betta to be produced, both parents must be carrying the recessive gene. When two such fish are bred together, each parent then contributes one copy of the purple gene to the offspring, giving the offspring two copies total. With two copies of the recessive purple gene, the fish will then begin to display the brilliant purple hues.

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The chances of any two betta fish randomly carrying this recessive gene are extremely low, which is why even the most experienced breeders struggle to produce purple bettas. The right combination of parent fish must be meticulously selected and bred in hopes of finally achieving the elusive purple offspring.

Breeding Difficulties

Even the most experienced betta breeders struggle to reliably produce purple betta fish. This is because the purple coloration requires the rare combination of both parents carrying the recessive gene for purple. The genetic lottery makes breeding true purple bettas incredibly challenging, even if both parents exhibit some purple hues themselves. While it is possible to selectively breed to increase purple offspring over generations, most purple betta fish today are the result of happy surprises rather than careful planning. The difficulty in controlling the genetics results in very low supplies of purple bettas across the world.

purple betta fish

Supply and Demand

The biggest factor driving up prices for purple bettas is basic economics – the laws of supply and demand. Even the most dedicated and skilled breeders struggle to consistently produce purple bettas. It requires both the male and female to carry the recessive gene for purple, and even when they do, only a small percentage of offspring exhibit the coveted purple hue. As a result, purple bettas remain extraordinarily rare with extremely limited supply.

Yet the demand for these stunning fish is enormous. Their jewel-toned iridescence and rarity makes purple bettas highly sought after in the aquatic trade. Betta enthusiasts eagerly seek out purple varieties and are willing to pay premium prices to add them to their collections. This mismatch between scarce supply and eager demand allows sellers to fetch very high prices for these uncommon purple beauties.

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Experts estimate only 1 in 10,000 bettas bred will exhibit natural purple coloration. With such miniscule odds of producing purples, breeders simply cannot keep up with market demand. Until more consistent breeding techniques are discovered, purple bettas will remain one of the rarest and most expensive color varieties.

Pigment Causes Color

The unique purple coloration seen in some bettas is caused by a rare layering of red and blue pigments in the fish’s scales. As this Reddit discussion explains, there is no true purple pigment that bettas can naturally produce. Rather, the overlapping of the red and blue pigments results in the appearance of a vibrant violet or purple hue.

While individual bettas may exhibit dominant blue or red colors, some special varieties have genetics that cause the pigments to blend together in the scales. This pairing manifests as stunning purplish tones. However, as FishLab notes, the distribution of pigments can be unpredictable, resulting in shifts between blue and purple areas on an individual fish.

Pigment Causes Color purple betta fish

Marble Varieties

Marble bettas exhibit an interesting phenomenon where their coloring changes and shifts over time. This is caused by a “jumping gene” that turns color pigment genes on or off randomly.

In marble varieties that display purple, the fish can shift between blue and violet/purple tones as they mature. The blue and red pigments combine to show vivid purple temporarily, before fading or shifting to exhibit more blue.

Marble Varieties and purple betta fish

Marble genetics produce an unstable purple coloring. But this shifting and fading of hues creates a beautiful, almost mystical effect in purple marble bettas.

The Different Shades of Purple Betta Fish

There are a few main types of purple tones seen in bettas:

True Purple

This is the most desirable and rare shade, exhibiting a vivid, consistent purple hue across the body and fins. These bettas have an even mix of blue and red pigments. True purple bettas typically command premium pricing due to their rarity.

The Different Shades of Purple betta fish

Bluish Purple

These bettas lean towards a bluer purple tone, with more blue pigment in their scales. The body may show various shades of violet-blue.

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How Much Does a Purple Betta Cost?

The price of a purple betta can vary dramatically based on the intensity and consistency of its coloration. True purple varieties with a vivid, unblemished hue often demand premium pricing.

According to most sources, true purple bettas can cost $200+ due to their extreme rarity. Only a handful of expert breeders have managed to develop a strong purple line.

Other shades of purple – like bluish purple, pinkish purple, or dark purple – tend to be more affordable in the $30 to $100 range. These “imperfect” shades are easier to produce, though they still attract interest for their unique colors.

In general, the price of any purple betta is driven by supply and demand. Purple coloration is still rare and limited even in diluted forms, so buyers are willing to pay a premium. But a true, unblemished purple remains the holy grail for enthusiasts and commands the highest prices.

Caring for Purple Bettas

Purple bettas have no special care requirements compared to other color varieties of betta fish. As with any betta, the most important aspect is providing high water quality and a stable tank environment.

Perform regular partial water changes, test water parameters often, and use a good filtration system to keep nitrogen levels low. Target an ideal pH around 7.0 and temperatures between 78-80°F. Decorations and plants can help naturally filter the water as well.

Caring for Purple Bettas

Focus on consistency in their care routine. Dramatic shifts in water conditions can stress purple bettas and cause health issues. Feed a high quality betta pellet and vary their diet with occasional frozen or live treats.

One tip for purple varieties is to avoid direct sunlight, which can cause the delicate purple pigments to fade more quickly. Moderate lighting is best to bring out their vibrant colors.

With the right tank setup and care, purple bettas can thrive and showcase their rare and exotic coloration.


The purple betta fish is certainly one of the most prized and coveted varieties in the betta world. As we’ve explored, their extreme rarity stems from the specific genetic conditions needed to produce bettas with purple coloration. Even the most experienced breeders struggle to reliably create these vibrant purple fish.

For now, the purple betta remains largely an enigma – surfacing occasionally to dazzle us with its vibrant hues before disappearing back into the aquatic depths. But who knows, perhaps dedicated breeders will someday unlock the secrets to making purple bettas more readily available. Until then, BettaFishy will have to admire them from afar and delight in the rare chance to encounter one.


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