Though they aren't able to speak (though some do vocalize) or make facial expressions, fish have many other ways of communicating about their health and feelings. This section will introduce you to the body language of bettas, so that you can better understand your fish.
Male veiltail betta showing relaxed/happy body language. Fins are open, but not taut, allowing them to billow and fold in the water. Color is good. He appears to be swimming actively as well.
Male crowntail betta displaying bright colors and relaxed fins.
Female betta displaying stressed/sick body language - clamped fins, stress stripes and faded coloration.
Male veiltail betta with clamped fins and faded coloration
The pictures in the above collage are all of the same fish, illustrating the dramatic color loss that bettas, and other fish, can undergo when stressed or unwell.
A male veiltail betta flaring - gill covers are open with the "beard" membrane visible around them, and the fins are spread open as wide as possible.
Two male veiltail bettas share a securely divided tank. The orange betta on the left displays relaxed fins while the pink betta on the right is flaring, with fins spread wide, gill covers open and dark pink beard visible beneath.
Female betta with "breeding stripes/bars" or vertical barring visible
Note that she is also flaring.
Another female betta displaying vertical barring