Q: What makes a female change from vibrant blue-green colors to a pale tan color with horizontal dark body stripe as she observes a male in container next to her?

Question submitted by Carol, Guilford - Vermont

A: DESIRE!!!  ;) hehehehehehehe...

If the male betta is a good looking young lad, the female will usually become shy, flustered, and possibly spill her drink, trip on her high heels, drop her handkerchief or find another way to get him to notice :). Come to think of it, a baseball bat works pretty good, too LOL.

Stripes are an interesting thing with bettas in general, but are especially noticeable with females. There are basically two types of stripes: Horizontal stripes and vertical stripes.

  • female blue.jpg (32681 bytes)Horizontal stripes: are always there on blue or green bettas. They are especially prominent on juvenile bettas (which have not colored up all the way yet) and lighter colored females. Usually as the bettas color up the stripes cannot be seen because a thicker layer of pigment (iridescence) will cover them up. However, should the female turn pale, as yours does, then the stripes will be more apparent. Your female is turning pale because she is reacting to the presence of the male near her. Part of it is excitement, but part of it might be anxiety. I know Mr.181 has that effect on me LOL.


  • Vertical stripes: are a sign of extreme excitement or fear. Females that are frightened or females that badly want to spawn will bear such stripes. On occasion, wimpy males will also 'bar up' because they are very intimidated by another male (dominant one) (boooooo). Vertical stripes on a female are very desirable, because it indicates she is wanting to spawn (hehehehehe)