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Home » Betta Fish, Freshwater Fish

Breeding Betta Fish Part 1

Submitted by AquariumsLife.com on January 13, 2010 – 10:35 amOne Comment

Table of content:

Introduction Betta Fish
The Ideal Tank For Betta Fish
Water Changes For The Betta Tank
Feeding Betta Fish
Breeding Betta Fish Part 1
Breeding Betta Fish Part 2
Betta Fry Videos



betta fish nestIntroduction
Betta Splendens, also known as the Siamese fighting fish, is one of the most popular hobbyist fish in the world. Known for their spectacular, fan-like fins and ferocious attitude, the brilliant betta fish began its career in the swamps and rice paddies of Asia. Since their discovery, bettas has been heavily cultivated and bred for both fighting instinct and color variants. One of the contributing factor to the betta’s popularity is their spawning habits. Unfortunately, Betta fish are not the easiest fish to breed. Some other species are much easier to breed than the betta (Guppies, for example, seem to just multiply in your fish tank overnight), but their courtship, spawning, and nesting activities are fascinating to watch. The more experience you get at breeding your Betta the easier and less complicated it will be.

Choosing The Right Couple
Your male and female Betta should be between 5 and 18 months old and in good health before you attempt to breed. Chose a male and female of roughly the same size and remember to choose them in the color you wish to breed for. An other important thing when choosing a breeding pair is to look at their level of activity. You want them to be active!

The Breeding Tank
Material needed: 10 gallon tank, hood with lights, plants (fake or real), submersible heater, aquarium salt, dechlorinator, sponge filter (or any small internal filter), thermometer, tank divider, styrofoam cup cut in half (lengthwise).
Required food: live baby brine shrimp, vinegar eels/microworms.
Tank setup: Fill half the tank with cycled water. Place the filter in the right corner (don’t turn it on right now). The filter will be used later to slowly circulate the water and keep fry off the bottom. Place the plants in the aquarium. Place the heater and set to 80F (26.6C). Place the thermometer in the tank. Tape the styrofoam cup in the left corner (right at the surface of the water). The styrofoam cup will be used to protect the male’s bubble nest. Put the hood on and turn on the light. The lights will be left on 24/24 until the fry are 2 weeks old. Put the tank divider right in the middle of the tank.

There are a few specifics that need to be in place before you get the happy couple together for the big event. A ten gallon aquarium is the ideal size for a breeding tank, providing enough room for the female to escape the male’s insistent aggression while still keeping them in relatively close proximity. The tank should have a tight fitting cover to prevent cool drafts over the fry at the critical time when they’re developing their labyrinth organs. Plants act as cover for the female to take breaks during the active courtship. Gravel makes it hard for the male to spot the eggs as they fall after the spawning embrace, so it’s better to have a bare tank bottom. A plastic or Styrofoam cup cut in half and taped to the side of the tank provides an excellent, stable and protected area where the male can build his nest.
Water conditions are crucial to the health of your fish, whether they’re breeding or not. The water should be properly cycled, with the correct chemistry, pH, and bacterial filter before you start breeding bettas. For spawning bettas, the water temperature should be at 80-82F. A heater is highly recommended to maintain a consistent temperature, since fluctuating temps can interfere with the adult bettas health and cause the death of the fry.

Get your Couple Ready
To get your chosen couple ready for the big day, they should be conditioned with plenty of nutritious foods, given in frequent, small amounts. Feed them four times a day and feed as much protein as possible, preferably frozen or live bait such as bloodworms. It also helps to have the two in the same tank, but separated by a clear partition, since visual contact will stimulate the male to build his nest and the female to create eggs. The separation keeps the male interested and keeps the female protected from his violent amorous advances. During that period, the male will be busy building a nest made out of bubbles where the eggs will be incubated and hatch into fry.

betta femaleBreeding
When the bubble nest is ready and the female is well-rounded and often has vertical barred markings, it is time to remove the division so they can be introduced. The male entice the female with sometimes brutally aggressive courtship to join him under the nest. The female may hide from the male at first but, most likely they will swim toward one another pretty soon. The courting behavior is a spectacular display on the part of the male, and even the female can become intensely colored and flashy. The male spreads his fins, flares out his gill covers, and dances in an “S” pattern. The male can get so rough that he can cause damage to the female, torn fins and scales, but when the female is ready to spawn, their courtship gentles considerably. The female meets the male under the nest for the intricate dance of spawning. The two often dance in further courtship before the male wrap the female in an embrace, squeezing out her eggs while he fertilizes them. The spawning process can last many hours and they will continue this cycle until the female has released all her eggs. Remember that you should be offering food to the Betta’s throughout the spawning process.

After the female expels the eggs both fish may stop moving (that is normal). Once they start moving again the male gathers the eggs, blowing each one up into the bubble nest for protection and incubation. Most females help with this process. Once the eggs have all been released and gathered the female can be removed from the tank. The male will continue to care for the nest and eggs until they hatch after (24-36 hours) and become free swimming (after 48-72 hours).

Hatching
The eggs hatch 24 to 36 hours after spawning, depending on the water temperature. Once the fry are all free and swimming (after 48-72 hours) the male must be removed or he may start to devour them. Do not attempt to spawn the male and female for a few weeks, and take good care of them for a week (like you would be conditioning them). Continue reading…

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Related Posts

  1. Breeding Betta Fish Part 2 (Raising Betta Fry)
  2. Feeding Betta Fish
  3. The Ideal Tank For Betta Fish
  4. Water Changes For The Betta Tank
  5. Betta Fry Videos

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