Top 5 Rarest and Most Expensive Betta Fish Types in the World


Top-5-Rarest-Most-Expensive-Betta-Fish-Types

Betta fish have a reputation for being one of the most affordable pet store fish. However, some of these colorful and solitary fish cost hundreds (or thousands) of dollars. But what is the most expensive Betta fish?

The most expensive Betta fish tend to have Halfmoon Plakat tail shapes and koi colorings. However, the priciest Betta fish ever sold was a Halfmoon Plakat in the colors of the Thai flag (red, white, and blue). It sold for about $1,500 during an online auction.

If you’d like to own a rare and visually stunning Betta fish, this ranking could act as a helpful guide. So, without further ado, let’s discover which Betta fish fetch the highest prices!

How Much Does the Average Betta Fish Cost?

The average pet store Veiltail Betta fish costs about $3.50. But individual fish prices range between $4 and $60. Occasionally, you’ll even find a Betta fish that costs hundreds of dollars.

But why are some Betta fish far pricier?

Like other animals, the most expensive types of Betta fish tend to exhibit unusual features, making them rare. And the more unique the animal, the more desirable it is to buyers and breeders.

Unusual fin shapes or color patterns can immensely increase a Betta fish’s value.

Why Are Some Betta Fish So Expensive?

There are a handful of factors that influence a Betta fish’s price. The most significant and influential of these factors include:

  • Tail shape
  • Scale pattern
  • Breeder reputation

Let’s take a moment to discuss each of the above to understand why some Betta fish cost $4 while others cost more than $1,000.

Tail Shape

A Betta fish’s tail shape might be the essential factor influencing price.

For example, Veiltail and Crowntail Betta fish are prevalent, and they’re also some of the most affordable types of Betta fish. These fish might only cost about $5 each.

But fish with Halfmoon or Halfmoon Plakat tails can cost several hundred dollars each, as those tail shapes aren’t as common. Still, the rarest type of Betta fish is the Fantail.

This subtype essentially has a unique mutation that gives it two caudal fins. These fins are joined in the middle, forming a fan-like shape.

These fish are such a new type of Betta fish that they aren’t yet for sale. However, that may change over the next few years. But when this subtype does hit the market, you can expect them to cost several thousand dollars each.

But while tail shape is incredibly influential when it comes to price, scale pattern can also influence a Betta fish’s price.

Scale Pattern

Bi-colored Betta fish tend to be the least expensive. These are often the Betta fish you see in chain pet stores.

But multi-colored and solid-colored specimens can fetch hundreds of dollars. The costliest Betta ever sold was a multi-colored fish that resembled the Thai flag. It sold for about $1,500 back in 2016.

Bright, attractive scale colors also increase a Betta fish’s value. For example, a solid-colored electric blue Betta fish is almost worth more than a blue and purple bi-colored fish.

Still, tail shape and scale pattern (and color) aren’t the only factors affecting a Betta fish’s price. Who you choose to purchase your fish from also influences how much you’ll spend.

Breeder Reputation

A breeder’s reputation also influences fish prices. Generally, the most reputable breeders can sell their Betta fish for hundreds of dollars more than new or potentially lackluster breeders.

But the best Betta fish breeders tend to live and work in Thailand. So, like the most expensive types of wood, the location of your preferred Betta fish can also affect its price.

Notably, Betta fish originated from Thailand and Vietnam. As a result, some of the world’s most experienced Betta fish breeders come from these areas.

So, if you’re looking to own a high-quality Betta fish worth far more than the average pet store specimen, you may want to purchase from a Thai Betta fish breeder.

Here Are the Top 5 Most Expensive Betta Fish Tail Types:

  1. Halfmoon Plakat
  2. Halfmoon
  3. Feather Tail
  4. Dumbo (Elephant Ear)
  5. Rosetail

5. Rosetail

Rosetail-Betta

The most expensive bonsai trees have unique and captivating shapes, which is true of the priciest Betta fish. The Rosetail Betta fish’s fins fan out beautifully, accounting for more than half of the fish’s body size.

These fins have gentle ridges that resemble fine hairs or the curves of a rose, hence the name.

These large extended fins typically display a burst of color that makes Rosetail Betta fish aesthetically pleasing specimens that fetch higher-than-average prices. A Rosetail Betta costs between $20 and $50 depending on its color pattern, age, condition, and origin location.

Why It’s Expensive

Though Rosetail Betta fish aren’t the rarest type of Betta fish, they’re typically in high demand due to their beautiful rows of colorful fins. These fish are considered some of the most graceful Betta fish, making them pricier than the average specimen.

4. Dumbo (Elephant Ear)

Dumbo-Elephant-Ear-betta

Dumbo Betta Fish (also called Elephant Ear) don’t have gigantic ears. However, they do have larger-than-average front fins (pectoral fins). These big fins somewhat resemble floppy, semi-triangular elephant ears.

This slightly unusual fin shape makes Elephant Ear Betta fish somewhat pricier than their more commonly-shaped cousins, mainly Veiltail Betta fish.

Why It’s Expensive

The long, graceful pectoral fins of the Elephant Ear Betta fish give it a distinct look that easily differentiates it from common varieties. This noticeable difference in appearance makes it an attractive specimen for aquarists and fish collectors.

3. Feather Tail

Feather-Tail-Betta

The tail (caudal fin) of the Feather Tail Betta fish resembles fine yarn, hair, or slim feathers. That’s because this tail fin is split into several sections, each one with rippling small fins that make the Feather Tail Betta look more graceful and alert than the standard specimen.

Why It’s Expensive

The Feather Tail Betta is pricier than other types due to its unique multi-section caudal fin.

This mutation causes the fish’s tail fin to roll gently in the water, resembling a fan of feathers or string. In short, it’s a gorgeous and unique type of Betta fish, which increase its demand and value.

2. Halfmoon

yellow-halfmoon-betta

The Halfmoon Betta fish has a large fan-like tail that extends in a near-perfect semicircle. This “half-moon” shape is what gives the fish its name.

Betta fish with this tail tend to have long bottom fins (anal fins) and tall, peaked top fins (dorsal fins). While this fin shape isn’t the rarest, some scale patterns are incredibly rare on Halfmoon Betta fish.

Why It’s Expensive

The most expensive Halfmoon Betta fish tend to have koi colorations. Marble Halfmoon Betta fish are also rare, often costing hundreds of dollars.

These combinations are challenging to produce, making them desirable for the most dedicated Betta enthusiasts. And when you have dozens (or hundreds) of people trying to outbid each other to own a rare fish, prices will rise.

1. Halfmoon Plakat

Halfmoon-Plakat-Betta

The most expensive betta fish breed (tail type) is the Halfmoon Plakat. This is a hybrid between the Halfmoon tail and the Plakat tail Betta fish. Because it’s still a relatively new breed, buying opportunities are rare.

Dedicated buyers also tend to increase the cost of these fish, as many serious fish collectors are more than willing to join waiting lists or outbid competitors during auctions to own a Halfmoon Plakat Betta fish. The most expensive Betta ever sold is an excellent example of this trend.

Why It’s Expensive

High demand and low supply are the primary reasons Betta fish with a Halfmoon Plakat tail shape are so expensive. This hybrid subtype isn’t widely available, but it’s sought after by some of the most collectors and aquarists.

As we mentioned previously, the most expensive Betta fish ever sold was a Thai Halfmoon Plakat Betta fish. Besides its rare tail fin shape, this fish’s primary feature was its scale color and pattern, which resembled the Thai flag. These combined qualities made the fish a one-of-a-kind specimen.

But remember, while the tail shape is one of the factors influencing Betta fish price, it’s not the only quality buyers look for. Like the most expensive goldfish, scale pattern and color also affect a fish’s price.

Here Are the Top 5 Most Expensive Betta Fish Pattern Types:

  1. Koi
  2. Solid
  3. Full Mask
  4. Marble
  5. Butterfly

5. Butterfly

Butterfly-Betta

Butterfly Betta fish are often considered some of the most beautiful specimens. They have multi-colored bodies and fins with white or translucent (see-through) edges. They’re usually bright blue with yellow, red, white, or black tinges along the base of their fins.

Still, the priciest butterfly Betta fish tend to be blue, white, and black. These colors resemble those of the blue morpho butterfly.

Why It’s Expensive

Betta fish with this pattern are challenging to produce, as color patterns vary slightly from generation to generation. As such, they’re far rarer than bi-color Betta fish.

Like rare tail shapes, unusual patterns almost always result in a higher per-fish price.

4. Marble

Marble-Betta

Marble Betta fish start their life looking very similar to bi-colored Betta fish. But as they age, they develop a marbling of white scales across their body. This unique feature is what gives them their name and high price point.

Why It’s Expensive

Marble Betta fish possess a specific DNA that causes its scale colors to change over time. As such, it’s a type of Betta fish that carries a mutation that results in a unique physical change. This type of mutation is exceptionally uncommon, making it desirable to fish collectors.

The distinct look of marble Betta fish also boosts their value. Those who enjoy purchasing high-quality Betta fish due to their visual appeal won’t mind spending several hundred dollars to own specimens that change color.

3. Full Mask

Full-Mask-Betta

Have you ever wanted to own a Betta fish that looked like a colorful aquatic actor? If so, you might want to check out the full mask Betta.

This fish has a multi-colored body and multi-colored fins, but it has black coloration around its mouth that looks like a tiny mask. To some, this strip of darker scale might also look like a well-trimmed goatee or beard.

Why It’s Expensive

It’s almost impossible to predict an unborn Betta fish’s pattern. Though parents with an identical design are more likely to produce lookalike offspring, it’s not guaranteed.

So, producing a full mask Betta fish often takes time, persistence, and patience.

2. Solid

solid-red-betta

Solid-colored Betta fish are comparatively rare. After all, while some Betta fish might have scales that are mostly one color, there are often spots or patches of other hues.

Producing a completely solid-colored Betta fish requires years of dedicated fish breeding. Prolonged labor costs, high demand for solid-colored betta fish, and general scarcity contribute to their relatively high price.

Why It’s Expensive

Rarity and attractive coloration are why solid-colored Betta fish are often some of the most expensive specimens.

For example, bright blue or green colors are rare, especially when featured as a solid hue. Betta fish with rare solid colors can sell for hundreds of dollars due to their rarity and aesthetic appeal.

1. Koi

Koi-betta

The most expensive betta fish type is koi. This pattern typically consists of orange, white, and black scales. It’s reminiscent of the look of traditional koi fish, which is how it gets its name.

These fish are comparatively rare. Most originate from high-quality Thai fish breeders. You can expect to spend between $20 and $50 on one of these Betta fish.

Why It’s Expensive

There are three reasons why koi-patterned Betta fish cost more than other types of Betta fish. Firstly, these fish are far rarer than bi-colored Betta fish from the local pet store.

Secondly, you might have to purchase from a Thai breeder to own one of these fish, as they’re not commonly born outside of Thailand. Depending on where you live, transportation costs could be just as pricey as the fish!

Finally, these fish are aesthetically pleasing, as they look like much smaller, fancier koi fish. Overall, rarity, transport costs, and demand make this type of Betta fish pattern the costliest.

What Type of Betta Is the Most Expensive?

The most expensive Betta fish ever sold was a multicolor Halfmoon Plakat bred by Kachen Worachai. This particular red-white-and-blue specimen was likened to the Thai flag. In 2016, this fish fetched about $1,500 (฿53,500) during an online auction.

That said, the Fantail Betta fish will soon become the priciest variety. It’s so rare that breeders are still working to produce enough offspring for waiting buyers. As a result, these fish may sell for more than $5,000 per specimen.

Check out these related articles to learn more about the world’s priciest animals!

Eric Lyons

Eric is a subject-matter expert on the world's most expensive luxuries and collectibles. He has explored thousands of luxuries and collectibles over the past few years and now brings them to readers around the world.

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