Aquarium Maintenance

All About Marble Betta Fish & Colour Changes

marble betta

Betta Fish comes with an amazing variety of types and colors, each with a different background and genetic profile. But there is one betta problem especially for hobbyists, and that is the marble betta which can be good or bad, depends on how you see it.

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

Origin of Betta marbling

Orville Gulley is the official founder of marble betta. He was a prisoner who raised his betta fish in an empty peanut butter jar which led to the discovery of a marbled gene accidentally.

They have dark solid coloured, with strong spots on the white body or flesh color or vice versa. Since then, the variety has grown to be the most beautiful in the unimaginable shade.

How do they do it?

They have a special gene, a jumping gene, which can block black pigment as it travels. Mine initially started out as white, but acquired blue and purple. We can assume that the black pigment blocker has decreased. That is quite unusual. In fact, marbling is normal. It is a genetically modified gene, so if you have a genetic betta and breed it with a non-marbling betta, you can get a few marbled fry. Now, suppose you breed two marbled betta. You will definitely get at least a quarter marbled fry. But they all carry the gene.

Breeding Marbles

Therefore, breeding marbles with strong betta fish will often result in the discovery of strong colored fish with a few marble patterned betta in the mix.

When a parent of solid-colored parent betta carries a marble gene, the percentage of marbled frys increases. The type of marble influences a strong color in unexpected ways, making the combination of color and new pattern possible.

Crossbreeding marbles often create strong black bodied colors, a few strong bright colors, some marbles, and some butterflies. That is, when butterflies are crossed in the same solid color from a solid color line, the spawn will all bear a butterfly partial dominant gene.

The spawns of either black or light betta fish from the marble stock will produce three different offspring colorations. They will always produce a strong color, some marble, and fish of a different color. If the genetics of marble are to be placed in a line of betta-colored fish that reproduce, it will be impossible for the breeder to return his breeding stock to the pure-breeding solid-colored strain.

These fish often appear to produce a few particolored offspring or marbles. Crossbreeding of a marble stock betta of one color can create a smile effect on a non-marbling betta pattern.

The jumping gene

Recently, a genetic science was discovered. Researchers have discovered the existence of ” transposable elements,”,” also known as “jumping genes.

What is jumping gene

These “jumping genes” can move from one of the body’s chromosomes to another. In some cases, “jumping genes” will appear in areas where they affect genetic expression. Here, they cause the cells and its daughter cells to be rendered unable to carry out specific tasks. However, the “jumping gene” function of a particular place in the chromosome is temporary.

How does this work

In the event that there is a “jumping gene” and interferes with the gene responsible for producing black pigmentation (melano), it can stop the production of black (melano). This causes the non-black patch to appear on the fish, presenting itself as cellophane or white spot.

And the opposite sometimes happens too! The “jumping gene” can prevent black formation (melano), and then leave. After that, the progeny of that cell (the clone of cells) will be able to produce black (melano) and (reverse). As a result, a black patch (melano) will appear. Occasionally, a black patch that reflected itself in a bright marble fish formed a bright spot in the center, appearing to resemble a bullseye.

When the “jumping gene” leaves a melanin-producing gene in the growing fish, melano production begins anew, forming a dark patch. Later in fish growth, a new “jumping gene” is introduced, which affects the production of melanin in a small group of cells, forming an inner ligh spot in the dark patch.

How is It Related to Marbling

Therefore, the theory of the “jumping gene” also goes a long way in explaining why some marble bettas never marble.

If the “jumping gene” fail to insert, such as in the case of a dark bodied fish, or leave, as in light bodied fish, in any fish cell then marbling will not occur.

That could work with other pigments, that is, the ability to produce blue, green, blue and red pigments. “Jumping genes” can be inserted into the genes responsible for creating those pigments, opening or closing the pigment production capacity of groups of growing cells in growing fish.

Why You should examine further if it is marbling

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

The pale Betta fish may have their original color, but they will appear to be fading.

Genetic change is not something you should worry about as it is one of the many random colors Marble Betta can accquire.

Turning  Pale

If the pale colour goes accompanied by laying at the bottom of the tank and lethargic behaviour, then you should continue to check what is wrong with your Betta fish.

The most common causes of these conditions are pressure from sudden changes in aquarium water parameters or the underlying disease.

If your Betta also does not eat you can be sure that the disease is on its way. The first action to take  should be to test the water using a fluid test kit to determine the magnitude of the problem. Water test strips are notorious for displaying inaccurate results, and in this case, you may want to know how serious the problem is.

Identify skin condition and treatment

If your Betta is covered with raised white spots or lesions that have their own texture then it is likely the fish has a skin condition.

This skin condition can be caused by a variety of water parasites, fungi, or bacteria.

The most common of these is Ich or White Spot Disease, a condition caused by freshwater bacteria Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.

If the color of your Betta turns white as a result of the disease, treating your sick fish should be a priority for you.

Final thoughts

There is ample evidence to suggest that transposable genetic elements, or “jumping genes,” can be responsible for the marbling effect in betta fish. However, proving that could be tricky.

However, one thing is certain, whether you are interested in the genetics of marble bettas and any other legacy tool, marble betta fish are undoubtedly beautiful. And all betta lovers can enjoy that!