MY BETTA BREEDING OVERVIEW
I use a 5 or 10 gallon Aquarium for a spawning tank.
I fill the aquarium to 4 inches with aged de-chlorinated water.(see water quality) And add fungus stop to protect the eggs.
Foreplay for Bettas includes chasing, and nipping, running and hiding. I use a fist full of Java moss for a hiding place, it gives the pursued a place to hide from the pursuer. It also provides some infusoria for the fry to eat.
The Male Betta has been well fed for the last 2 weeks, he has been blowing bubbles and flaring his fins.
I keep my fishroom at 82 deg, You will need to use a heater after the bettas are in the tank, slowly raise the temperature to 80-82 deg F and verify with a thermometer.
I use 1/3 of a Styrofoam coffee cup as a nest protector. This provides a protected place for the male to build a bubble nest. (see bubble nests)
After the pair spawn & I can see the eggs in the nest, I remove the female because the male may attack her to protect his nest / fry
After the fry can swim back to the nest on their own, I remove the male,
Add a small sponge filter set at minimum flow to keep the water clean, Cover the spawn tank to keep the humidity in and the drafts out.
During the first week I add microscopic food (green water, infusorians, microworms)and a few daphnia to make babies for the baby bettas to eat.
After 10 days I feed the baby bettas fresh hatched baby brine shrimp twice a day.
GATHER SUPPLIES BEFORE YOU START
Before you spawn Bettas, you need the following supplies on hand:
A Spawning Tank any watertight container with 6 or higher walls, anything from 2 to 15 gallons (a dark bottom is preferred because the eggs show up better)
A cover – The babies develop their labyrinth (lung) during the first weeks and require warm humid air at the surface. A draft across the top of the spawning tank can cause pneumonia and kill them. Glass,Plexiglas or even plastic wrap can be used to cover the top of the tank.
A heater, lamp or heat pad – Bettas like 80 to 82 deg F
A thermometer to monitor the temp
A nest protector A large leaf from one of your plants or 1/3 of a Styrofoam coffee cup or any similar floating object to build the nest under. (see bubble nests)
A hiding place Bettas can be aggressive when courting and after the spawn the Male is protective of the nest. Provide a bunch of plants, plastic or real for the female to hide in if the male gets too aggressive. (or vice versa)
Food for your fry – I prefer a infusorians culture or micro-worms, Some breeders use Liquifry for egg layers or even the yoke of a hard boiled egg.
Water conditioners & Medication – Maroxy or Methylne blue.
A small, short sponge filter,
Spawning drains a lot of energy from Bettas and therefore your breeders should be fat and healthy before attempting to spawn them.
Isolate the Male and female (place index cards around their jars so that they cannot see other bettas) and feed them high protein food, as much and asoften as they will eat.
Plan to condition them for 2 weeks but if they are in good shape and the Male starts to build a bubble nest, you can proceed to the next step.
Clean the spawning tank, steralize with a bleach solution and rinse well. Use dechlor to remove any traces of bleach before you add fish.
Fill with 4 inches of de-chlorinated water. Add water treatments, aquarium salt and Amquel+ as you would during water changes.
To prevent egg fungus, add any fungus stop medication.
Tape your bubble nest protector where you can watch everything.
Put your heater and hiding place in the opposite corner from the nest protector.
(If you do not have a submersible heater, fill a jar with water; place the heater in the jar and the jar in the spawning tank). Do not turn the heater on yet.
Place your thermometer away from the nest anchor but in a position that you can readily see it.
Put your female in a jar in the center of the tank
Release the male in the tank
Gradually raise the temperature to 80 82 deg F.
When they are ready, release the female.
READY OR NOT
To tell if your Bettas are ready to spawn, look for the following things;
The male has started to make bubble nest, He swims up to her jar and flashes his fins and retreats, inviting her to his nest.
The female watches him circle her jar and sometimes positions herself in a head down (subservient) position. Her oviduct is protruding.(A short white tube below the stomach bulge). If she is dark colored, she will have vertical lines on her body.
If they are ready, release the female but leave her jar in the tank.
If not, return one or both to the conditioning area, and try again in a few weeks.
After you release the female, flaring, chasing, tail nipping and other acts of foreplay begin. This is why a hiding place is necessary. If one of the pair becomes severely damaged, remove it and provide medication. Better luck next time.
24-48 – hrs the pair will spawn. The male will wrap himself around the female and squeeze. The female will release some eggs and swoon. The male will gather up the eggs and place them in the nest. When the female becomes active she will sometimes help and sometimes eat the eggs. After all the eggs have been placed in the nest, the pair will spawn again.
This cycle is repeated many times until the female is out of eggs. Spawns with over 100 eggs are not uncommon. When finnished the male will begin to protect the nest and chase the female away. If you dont see the spawn take place but the male is guarding the nest and the female is hiding, check the bottom of the nest with a flashlight and you should be able to see the eggs. Light colored bettas have light colored eggs and dark colored bettas have dark eggs.
After you have confirmed the spawn remove the female . I replace the existing warm jar with a new jar of water and place the female in the jar of warm water while I medicate her wounds. The new jar does two things, it maintains the water level for the nest and it provides warm water for the male when I remove him. Now is the time to place the cover on the spawning tank to protect the developing eggs & fry.
36-48 hrs During this time, some eggs will fall from the nest and sink to the bottom. The male will pick them up and return them to the nest. As the eggs hatch, the young fry will break free from the nest, try to swim but start to sink. Again papa will return them to the nest. Eventually, the fry will break free of the nest and start swimming. When the fry are able to make it back to the nest on their own, it is time to remove the male. The longer you wait, the greater the odds that papa will get totally frustrated trying to keep them all in the nest and eat the fry.
Place the male in the jar that is in the tank to avoid temperature shock and add a little medication, just in case. After the male is removed, add a new jar of water to maintain the water level, insert a sponge filter and adjust the airflow rate to its minimum. Baby bettas do not like strong currents. The sponge filter will help to keep the water clean, provide a home for infusorians which the fry eat and keep any film from developing on the water surface which makes it hard for the baby bettas to get air. Continue to keep the tank covered to protect the fry as their lungs develop.
3 days old The egg sack that fry are born with is gone and food is required. Add infusorians, green water, micro worms or other tiney food.
1 week Start feeding baby brine shrimp or small daphnia.
Increase the water level in the tank a little each day until the tank is full.
10 weeks Larger males start nipping other siblings.
Move the aggressive males to individual jars.
Starting feeding adult brine shrimp, black worms or large daphnia.
20 weeks Next generation, Do it all again.