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Lineage bettas – do you really know what they are?


What is a lineage betta?

We understand that the central concept of lineage betta corresponds to:

“Lineage betta is that specimen that transmits a set of visual characteristics (colors, arrangement of colors and formats) that is perpetuated in subsequent generations”.

Fix this concept well!

It will be important to understand what we bring in this article. Different concepts will be necessary to understand how the above statement is made.

Note: if you are Aquaculture Engineer, Biologist or Zootechnician, we emphasize that the concepts here were translated into simple language in order to explain to beginners the information set forth herein.

The concepts will be applied directly to bettas, summarized and simplified to the maximum for the purpose of this article, presented in an accessible and easy to understand language.

Read with attention:

  • Gene: it is the smallest unit of transmission of hereditary characteristics from parents to descendants.


  • Genotype: set of two or more genes that results in a certain characteristic (trait or phenotype);


  • Trait or phenotype: it is a characteristic of a living being, resulting from the genotype associated with this characteristic. In bettas, we can have traits for their colors, color arrangement and shapes. Note that there are traits that are not visible to our eyes, such as the functioning of the organism, and so on.

DNA: is where genetic information is stored. It resembles a propeller;

  • Chromosomes: it is an organized structure that contains DNA;
  • Locus: it is a fixed and specific position on a chromosome. Associate it as a measuring tape: 1, 2, 3, 4, … n.
  • Allele genes: are genes that are in the same position as the DNA of the father and mother (locus), which will be linked at the time of fertilization (sperm + oocyte);
  • Homozygosis: occurs when the genotype has the same genes. Ex: “A A” or “a a”;
  • Heterozygosis: occurs when the genotype has different genes. Ex: “A a” or “B b”;

 Returning to the lineage bettas, we have defined, then, that a lineage is composed of a set of visual characteristics (in practice, as a “photo of the betta”) that is perpetuated in subsequent generations.

Note that this definition is used for dogs, cats, and other animals that compete with each other at exhibitions and tournaments for their aesthetic beauty or other purpose.

Particularities in bettas regarding the concept of lineage betta

There are some particularities that exist in the betta world. It is important that you get to know them in order to better fix what lineage bettas are. Come on!

There are phenotypes that may or may not be perpetuated over subsequent generations. We highlight here the problems of betta melano, the different populations (example of bettas pink salamander) and unstable multicolored bettas (possessing the marble and / or red loss genes). Let’s go to the details …


The Melano Betta

The melanic trace is an exacerbation of the black pigments of any living being, in our case, specifically in bettas. In practice, it works on the phenotype as if it were a coal dust that is thrown on a surface with any color, covering it entirely.

In this case, we can have bettas with a blue or a red color and, on top of that, that “black powder”. When you see that “black betta” and you don’t know for sure its origin, the problem is created: in melano bettas we have multicolored bettas without any possibility of working genetically in order to fix a color.

It is important that, when the objective is to maintain this exacerbation of black – which are the melanic bettas – do the following:

  • Use a lineage of melanos of pure blue origin; OR
  • Use a line of melanos originating exclusively from red: those that become dark (Dark Red, slightly reddish, tending to brown), that darken over the generations until they reach black color during the crossings.

Let’s take an example: crossing of melanic bettas where the male is of red origin and the female of blue origin.

  • The male has a very dark red, almost brown, very difficult to identify;
  • In the black female, of blue origin, there are some scales with a slightly blue or turquoise hue, predominantly black.

In this case, you will be crossing matrices that, over future generations, will give rise to multicolored bettas.

The Pink Salamander betta

The problem of different populations (one betta from China and one from England), both Pink Salamander, results in specimens that may not be lineage bettas, because when crossed, they result in a significant amount of fish in the litter with a different phenotype from the matrices (without lipstick – that white mark on the mouth – and other features).

The Unstable multicolored bettas

Additionally, unstable multicolored bettas, with red loss and / or marble genes, which modify the phenotype, in a random way, throughout the life of the betta resulting in unstable multicolored fish, we understand that they are not lineage bettas. There are still some peculiarities with these genes. In our article “A strategy for the eradication of the marble line” we present these phenotypes in more detail and the mixture of concepts currently involved.

Three possible strains in a single cross?

Royal blue bettas have a Bl bl genotype (a dominant and a recessive gene). The crossing between two royal blue bettas will give rise to:

resulting in 25% Bl Bl, 50% Blbl e 25% blbl.

In other words, 25% bettas blue turquoise, 50% bettas blue royal and 25% bettas blue steel, respectively.

From the interpretation of the Punnett Chart shown above, see the following:

  • Cross between two steel blue bettas -> always generates only steel blue bettas (homozygous lineage – see the concepts at the beginning of the article);
  • Cross between two turquoise blue bettas -> always generates only turquoise blue bettas (homozygous lineage – see the concepts at the beginning of the article);
  • Cross between two royal blue bettas -> always generates steel blue, turquoise and royal blue bettas (heterozygous lineage – see the concepts at the beginning of the article), as previously mentioned.


We concluded that, from the crossing of a lineage of royal blue bettas, we will have 3 different potential lineages: royal blue, turquoise blue and steel blue.

Returning to the royal blue bettas, which is our example in focus, we will have a stabilized royal blue lineage. In this case, we will have lineage bettas.


Predefined standards in betta trials

Now that we have the concept of lineage betta defined and amply clarified, it is important to emphasize that each lineage has its aesthetic pattern already defined – for decades!

Returning again to the central concept of the article:

“Lineage betta is that specimen that transmits a set of visual characteristics (colors, arrangement of colors and formats) that is perpetuated in subsequent generations”.

Note that you will also be able to create new lines, obeying the concepts exposed here.

If you are interested in betta judgment, visit our Betta Judgment section.

Have you managed to understand the essential difference between lineage bettas and those without lineage?

Want to know more? Join our Course on Betta Genetics.


Good luck with your bettas!



[1] Betta Project internal archive

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