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Breeding Bettas


Caretta Rose

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Has anyone had any luck breeding Bettas? 

 

I am completely smitten with my boy, and knowing their short lifespans I am itching to produce an endless supply of him. (I'm odd, yea...). I'm not sure how old he was when I bought him in November. If I could clone him, I would a million times!!!!

 

I've been passively looking for a silver female, preferably a Halfmoon. I would love to hear from more experienced keepers in terms of difficulty, feeding, maintenance, etc. of fry and how much time and space this would take. 

Edited by Caretta Rose
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Average betta life span is about 2.5 years, but some do live longer than that (my oldest is about 2.8 now).

 

Below is info I've gathered from reading sites and a bettafish specific forum, I've never actually bred bettas but I did research it for a while (too lazy for all that work though >.> )

 

Before you decide to breed you really need to be committed to all the work that lies ahead, including possble damage or death to parents when trying to breed them, possibly a ton of babies, lots of water changes,

Betta fry can't be kept together in the same tank permanently, usually by the 2 month mark (or sooner) you'll have to start jarring the males, and possibly some rowdy females which quickly turns into a daunting task of daily water cahnges on every single jar + feeding each individual fish... might not seem bad if you keep goldfish and water change frequently but betta can have well over 100 babies.  You need to pre-plan where all your excess betta babies wil go when they're old enough, find a pet stores that will take them? ebay? local fish club? etc.

here are some photos from breeders in thailand, all those jars have 1 Betta in each container!

http://bettasource.com/forums/uploads/monthly_11_2014/post-541-0-48760000-1416585453.jpg

http://www.victoriabetta.com/uploads/7/0/4/6/7046952/7180371.jpg?430

 

You can't skimp on the water changes of the fry may not grow properly due to the growth stunting hormone all fry give off to try to out compete siblings to grow faster.  The tricky part will be heating all the individual jars/cups, unless you have some large bins you can put an aquarium heater in, fill shallow and put cups in there (with lids).  Another option is heating tape but I have no experience with that.

 

Before you even get to having babies you need to get yourself a gal betta and a tank for her to live in (she only spends a short time with your boy).  Conditioning bettas for breeding usually means feeding meat foods only like brine shrimp, blood worms, black worms, s  Male's tank will need plenty of cover in-case things don't go so smoothly many use a 10g.  Conditioning is working when female because loaded with eggs and male builds a bubble nest (though some males procrastinate on bubble nest building until the female wants to drop her eggs NOW).

 

When they're ready place the girl in a cup and float her int eh boys tank, let them get to know eachother from a safe distance first.  Some people schedule releasing their females in to breed around thunder storms as the pressure change can trigger mating behavior.  I've read some breeders will do a water change on the breeding tank and put in new water via watering pale or 'rain' system to simulate the rainy season (trigger breeding behavior) but if the male already has a bubble nest he may have to rebuild from the water disruption.

 

When female is released some breeders watch the two like a hawk as things can get bloody (I've seen some very mauled males, or females harasses/stressed to death), but others put a towel over the tank and leave them be as they claim the bettas will just look for food from the owner if they can see 'em.

 

 

When they breed the female will be 'wrapped' by the male and flipped onto her back, release egg,s eggs should (hopefully) be fertilized and float into the bubble nest, missed eggs ma be picked up by one or both bettas from the bottom and places in bubble nest (no substrate may be helpful as they can find fallen eggs easier).  it can take may wrap attempts for a virgin before they get it right, and they may do many or just a few successful wraps depending on how eggy the female is and if she doesn't get sick of him.

 

When the 'fun' is over the male becomes very protective of the bubble nest and will chase of the female, if she's left in too long past this point he may even kill her.  Female should be placed back in her tank and allowed to recover.

 

At this point the male should tend the nest, placing any eggs that drop out back in and such, but sometimes a new daddy will eat the eggs (sometimes from lack of experience, or because they were not fertilized).  You'll have to look up how long it takes for eggs to hatch, become free swimming, I can't recall the number of days.

 

Techniques tend to split here as some people will keep the male in the tank with the fry others remove daddy when fry are free swimming (some even before eggs hatch). If you notice the male eating fry/fry #s dwindling you should remove their father.  Those that keep them in do so because fry seem to do better as parents themselves when raised with dad (father should be removed before fry start getting into their nippy teen stage).
I've read its best to keep tank shallowly filled when fry are free swimming, or even move them to a 5g, as a larger tank they can burn all their energy trying to swim across the tank to reach food, this is just or first week or two.  But as they grow they'll need a larger tank, some people will use a few 20g longs, 40g breeders, or even 55gs depending on # of fry.

 

Fun time.. fry food.. many people hatch baby brine shrimp for the betta fry, but this a huge pain.  I don't know how successfully it is but omega one has frozen baby brine shrimp that can be used as a substitute.  As the fry grow then y can get micro worms/vinegar eel (more live food culturing), and gradually move up to larger foods.  Again you'll have to look up specific ages/sizes fro these food transitions.  Other food option include egg yoke strained through a fine mesh (is messy may need a water change after feeding),  some use hikari first bites too.  A lot of people will keep moss in the fry grow out tank as it naturally grows infusoria which the tiny fry can eat.

 

Daily water changes to remove the growth stunting hormone is key here.  Oh and I forgot to add, best filter is a cycled air pump driven sponge filter-fry don't' get sucked in and turned into pate like HOBs and other filter options.

 

I've read that as early as 6 weeks to 2 month range you'll start seeing aggression and have to jar individuals.  Fry usually grow faster in warmer water (low 80sF) and especially clean water.
 

Culling... well that your call but its best to get rid of ones will messed up spines, missing ventrals, etc as they'll be harder to sell/find a home for but some people try to keep them all and just adopt out the deformed fry.

 

Did I mention daily water changes?-seriously keep up on these.

 

Ok that's all I can think of atm, but there is more!  But I'm freaking hungry so going to make lunch ^^''

I won't pot the forum link as I believe its against rules to link other forums, but there is a bettafish specific forum that has its own sub section for breeding 'how to's/breeding logs that's very helpful.

Edited by AquaAurora
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This is invaluable information, thank you SO much for this! 

 

...

 

Before you decide to breed you really need to be committed to all the work that lies ahead, including possble damage or death to parents when trying to breed them, possibly a ton of babies, lots of water changes....

 

 

 

...And that single-handedly changed my mind about the whole thing. He's a very sweet Betta, I bet he'd be toast the moment I looked away. :no:

 

 

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This is invaluable information, thank you SO much for this! 

 

...

 

Before you decide to breed you really need to be committed to all the work that lies ahead, including possble damage or death to parents when trying to breed them, possibly a ton of babies, lots of water changes....

 

 

 

...And that single-handedly changed my mind about the whole thing. He's a very sweet Betta, I bet he'd be toast the moment I looked away. :no:

Yeh i think that deters a lot of people from breeding their favorite 'pet' betta.  When they're bred for show/sale its just par for the corse , don't get too attached to anyone.

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Breeding can be extremely rewarding and betta aren't difficult as far as species go, but it is a big undertaking in room, supplies, and time. Oftentimes breeders do get minor to moderate fin damage. It heals but looks ghastly initially. And yes, death is a possibility too although somewhat rare if the breeding is closely supervised.

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Yes sorry if my post made it sound like death is a strong possibility, did not intend for that impression, but its still a possibility.

 

For what its worth I'd not want a betta that looks like one that just passed as I'd expect it to act the same as the now dead done, and would be disappointed when it did not, and be reminding its not the same as my now dead betta.. but that's just my opinion (and is why me and my hubby got a corgi instead of another black lab when ours was put down-to have something totally different and not put expectations on the new dog that it couldn't meet).  But plenty of people buy new bettas that look a lot like the one they just lost.

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