Betta Fish Breeding Basics
Breeding fish can be quite complicated, but these basics for breeding your Betta fish should help ease you into the process. The more experience you have with breeding your Betta the easier and less complicated it will all seem. Witnessing nature as it takes its course can be fun, exciting, and a true educational experience for people of all ages. Seeing the offspring of your beloved Betta spring into action invokes a sense of pride and satisfaction all its own!
Your Betta should be at least five months old and in good health before you attempt to breed. If you attempt breeding with Betta’s that are less than five months old or in poor health you’ll end up frustrated, and your Betta will, too!
If you just bought your Betta from a pet store or had it shipped through the mail, you may need to wait a couple of weeks before attempting to breed. Pet store conditions are usually less than ideal and being mailed is, of course, very stressful and your fish will need some time to get acclimated.
Before you attempt to breed you need to do some conditioning. The water must be clear and as clean as you can possibly get it. You should increase feedings to four times a day and feed as much protein as possible, preferably live bait such as bloodworms.
At least a week before you attempt to breed your Betta you should place them in two separate containers where they can view each other. Allowing them to see one another will usually keep them from being aggressive when you put them in a spawning tank together.
Once you expose the two fish to one another the male may start forming a bubble net at the top of his bowl, this is normal behavior. The female will often get stripes on her body and you will know she is ready to breed when she begins to swim as if dancing on her nose; following the males’ every move. Her belly will be obviously filled with eggs. These are signs that she is ready and willing to breed.
Set up the tank two or three days before you are ready to begin the spawning phase of breeding. You’ll want to keep the spawning tank away from all sources of heat or air conditioning, and it should be on a stable surface. Add three to six inches of aged water to the tank.
Place your submersible heater into the water. Remember, most heaters of this type have to be submerged for a while before turning on the unit, at least twenty minutes. When you turn the heater on set it to about 80-82 degrees. Also add a thermometer, plants, a rock to hide behind, and half a Styrofoam cup for the male to build his nest under.
You’ll want to place the chimney in the center of the tank for the female. The chimney is a great place to let the two fish get acquainted before the actual spawning begins.
Place the male in the spawning tank a day ahead of the female. Let him get acclimated to the water. When he seems comfortable, it’s safe to add the female to the chimney. Leaving a light on will stimulate a hormone that will encourages spawning activity.
When you first release the female she may hide from the male. But, most likely they will swim toward one another and try to find the right position by swimming in circles around one another. It may take them a couple of tries to get it just right. As the male squeezes the female she’ll probably release about thirty eggs. After she expels these eggs both the fish may stop moving, and that is normal. Once they start moving again the male will start blowing the eggs up into the bubble nest; most females help with this process, too. The spawning process can last many hours and they will continue this cycle until she has released all her eggs.
Once the eggs have all been released the female can be removed from the tank. The male will continue to care for their bubble nest and eggs until they hatch in about 24-48 hours. Once the fry are all free and swimming the male must be removed or he may eat them.
Remember that you should be offering food to the Betta’s throughout the spawning process.
There! You’ve done it! You’ve just bred your first Betta fish! All of the fry may not survive but as long as temperatures are kept just right you’ll end up with more than a handful for which to care.
About the Author
Amanda Fenton is a Betta fish lover and contributing writer to http://www.bettafishcenter.com, a site providing information and tips on betta fish care.