Aquarium Maintenance

All About Marble Betta Fish & Colour Changes

marble betta

Marble Betta Fish come in an incredible variety of types and colors, each of which has a unique history and genetic profile due to differences in their gene.

However, there is one betta issue that is unique to hobbyists, and that is the marble betta, which can be good or bad depending on your perspective.

So, where does betta marbling come from, and how easy is it, or not, to reproduce?

Betta marbling’s origin

Orville Gulley is recognized as the legitimate creator of marble betta fish. He was incarcerated at the time, and it was while he was caring for his betta fish in an empty jar of peanut butter that an unintended discovery of a marbled gene was made.

They are solidly colored and have dark spots on a white body or flesh color, or vice versa. They can also have spots on white bodies. Since that time, the variety has developed into the most stunning in the unimaginable shade.

How are they able to accomplish this?

They possess a unique gene known as a jumping gene, which has the ability to obstruct the movement of black pigment.

Mine was initially white, but it soon turned blue and purple. It is reasonable to assume that the amount of the black pigment blocker has diminished.

In fact, marbling is normal. Since it is a genetically modified gene, the only way to get marbled fry is to breed a genetic betta with a non-marbling betta.

Let’s say you decide to breed two marbled betta fish. You can count on receiving at the very least a quarter of marbled fries. However, each of them carries a copy of the gene.

Breeding Marbles

Therefore, breeding marbles with strong betta fish will frequently result in the discovery of strong colored fish with a few marble patterned betta in the mix. This is because marbles and strong betta fish have similar genetic makeups.

When one of the parent of a solid-colored parent betta carries a marble gene, the likelihood that their fry will have marbled coloring increases.

A strong color can be influenced in unanticipated ways by the type of marble, which makes it possible for a new color to be combined with an existing pattern.

Crossbreeding marbles often create strong black bodied colors, a few strong bright colors, some marbles, and some butterflies.

That is, when two butterflies of the same solid color, descended from the same solid color line, are used to breed another pair of butterflies, the offspring will all carry a butterfly partial dominant gene.

There will be three distinct offspring colorations produced from the spawns of either black or light betta fish that are derived from the marble stock. They will consistently give rise to a vibrant color, the occasional marble, and fish with a distinct coloring.

If the genetics of marble are introduced into a line of betta-colored fish that is allowed to reproduce, it will be impossible for the breeder to return his breeding stock to the solid-colored strain that is pure-bred.

These fish frequently give the appearance of having a few marbled offspring or particolored offspring. A smile effect on a non-marbling betta pattern can be created through the breeding of a non-marbling betta with a marble stock betta of one color.

The gene for jumping.

Recent years have seen the development of genetic science. Transposable elements, also referred to as “jumping genes,” have been identified as a real phenomenon by scientific investigation.

What is jumping gene

These so-called “jumping genes” have the ability to relocate themselves from one chromosome in the body to another.

Sometimes what are known as “jumping genes” will show up in places where they can change the expression of genetic material.

They accomplish this by rendering the cells and the daughter cells of those cells unable to carry out the specified functions.

Nevertheless, the “jumping gene” function that is carried out by a specific location in the chromosome is only temporary.

How does it work?

If there is a “jumping gene” that interferes with the gene that is responsible for producing black pigmentation (melano), then it is possible for the production of black pigmentation to be stopped (melano).

This results in the non-black patch appearing on the fish, which can appear as a cellophane or white spot depending on the lighting.

And the converse is also possible in certain circumstances! The “jumping gene” has the ability to stop the formation of black melanin and then disappear.

After that, the offspring of that cell, also known as a clone of cells, will be able to produce black (melano), as well as other colors (reverse). As a direct consequence of this, a dark spot (also known as a melano) will develop.

On occasion, a black spot that reflected itself in a bright marble fish would form a bright spot in the middle, giving the impression that the spot was shaped like a bullseye.

When the “jumping gene” in a developing fish leaves a melanin-producing gene, the fish begin producing melanin again, which results in the formation of a dark patch.

A new “jumping gene” is introduced later on in the fish’s development. This new gene has an effect on the production of melanin in a small group of cells, which results in the formation of an inner light spot within the dark patch.How Does It Affect Marbling?

Because of this, the theory of the “jumping gene” also helps to explain why some marble bettas never marble in the first place.

If the “jumping gene” does not successfully insert into any fish cell, as it does in the case of a dark-bodied fish, or if it leaves the cell, as it does in the case of a light-bodied fish, marbling will not take place.

It’s possible that this could work with other pigments, specifically the capacity to produce blue, green, blue, and red pigments. It is possible to insert “jumping genes” into the genes that are responsible for the production of those pigments; this can either open or close the pigment production capacity of groups of growing cells in fish that are still developing.

Why You should examine further if it is marbling

In the first scenario, the fish would not be raised, and they would each have a white spot somewhere on their body or fins.

It’s possible that the pale Betta fish Betta fish still have their original color, but it will look like it’s fading away.

Because it is just one of the many random colors that a Marble Betta can acquire, genetic change is not something you should be concerned about.

Turning  Pale

If your Betta fish continues to exhibit lethargic behavior, laying at the bottom of the tank, and a pale color, then you should continue to investigate the cause of the problem with your Betta fish.

These conditions are most frequently brought on by either the underlying disease or the pressure brought on by sudden changes in the parameters of the aquarium water.

In the event that your Betta stops eating, you can be certain that the disease is making its way to it. In order to get a better idea of the scope of the issue, the first thing that needs to be done is to perform some tests on the water using a fluid test kit.

Water test strips have a well-deserved reputation for producing erroneous readings, so in this instance, you may be interested in determining the gravity of the issue.

Determine the skin condition and appropriate treatment

It is likely that your Betta fish has a skin condition if the fish is covered in raised white spots or lesions that have their own distinct texture.

This skin condition can be brought on by a wide variety of fungal or bacterial organisms, especially those that live in water.

The condition known as Ich, also known as White Spot Disease, is the most common of these and is brought on by the freshwater bacteria Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.

If the disease causes your Betta’s color to change to white, you should make treating your sick fish your top priority as soon as you notice the change.


There is a substantial evidence that transposable genetic elements, also known as “jumping genes,” may be to blame for the marbling effect observed in betta fish. However, providing evidence of that might be difficult.

Nevertheless, one thing is certain: regardless of whether or not you are interested in the genetics of marble bettas or any other legacy tool, there is no denying that marble betta fish are stunningly beautiful. And fans of betta fish can take pleasure in that!