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Fish Tank Forum • View topic - Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)
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Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)

Planning on breeding fish or already breeding them.

Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)

Postby Mick » Tue Apr 07, 2009 11:15 am

Many of us have seen the male Betta Splendens with his long flowing fins and placed one in a tank without considering the challenge of actually breeding them. Unfortunately as the male displays the best finnage and brightest colouration it is nearly always the males that are sold in the pet stores. Females are available to buy but never just place them both together in a tank expecting them to breed, the male will probably kill the female if they are not prepared properly and introduced together at the right time.

When you have purchased the male you wish to breed, place him in his own tank, a small 5 gallon tank should be adequate. Make sure the fish can reach the water surface, these are Labyrinth fish so will need to rise for a gulp of air occassionally.Keep the water filtered and oxygenated and you should have no problems.
Females can be kept together if you wish to decide which one to breed with the male at a later date. The tank you keep them in should be larger, allow 3-4 gallons per fish and add some decor for the fish to have cover if required.

Conditioning the fish
Bettas will accept live or frozen foods like blood worm and micro worms, quality granules and flakes designed for Bettas are also available to buy. You need to build up the fish ready for the rigours of breeding, it will pay off in the end. Bettas definately have a soft spot for black worms, if you can raise these yourself, all the better. Conditioning will take about 2 weeks so during this time you can set up your breeding tank.

The breeding tank
A 10 gallon tank is about the right size for breeding these fish, it gives the female the chance of a bit of room if things do turn nasty and the male attacks her. Add a sponge filter and a couple of plants, also an heater set to 80-82 deg. The water level should about 6 inches but make sure you add conditioner to it. The addition of floating plants or a piece of polystyrene cup will aid the male to create his bubble nest but make sure that it is floating still and not moving all over the tank.
To initially keep the male & female seperate you may wish to add a tank divider or the female can be placed in a glass jar.

Introducing the fish
Now for the fun bit :-):
Turn off the sponge filter!!
Add the male to the tank first and give him a bit of time to settle in before adding the female. Either place the female on the other side of the divider or "float " her in a seperate glass jar.If the fish are ready to breed, the male will display to the female by flaring his fins, at the same time creating his bubble nest, the female should develop vertical bars on her body. If this is happening, good news, in the evening release the female to the male so that the courtship can begin. The male will chase the female, nipping at her, it looks very violent but is perfectly normal and this can carry on for 24-48 hours.
When the female is ready, she wil swim to the male, head down and follow him about. After 48 hours if there are no signs of the fish being interested, remove them and re-condition to try again at a later date.

The spawning process
If both parties are ready, the female will swim to the nest and the male will wrap hmself around her. Do not panic if the fish appear dead, they are not- they just appear paralyzed temporarily while spawning. This will be repeated until the female has dispelled all of her eggs. She will then swim away from the nest, now is the time to remove her. Try not to interfere with the male while you are doing this.
The male will take on all parenting and will keep replacing any fallen eggs for the next 24-36 hours.

Raising the fry
After the eggs have hatch, the fry should be free swimming in about 4 days, now is the time to turn back on the sponge filter, keep it as low as possible by means of an air flow regulator. Remove the male back to his tank and start feeding the fry making sure they have consumed their yolk sacs. Micro worms are ideal for the first few feeds and any uneaten food should be carefully syphoned out. They will need feeding every 4-6 hours so you may need to ask for some help with the feeding schedule.
Carry on with the microworms for 3-4 weeks and then try the fry with chopped blood worms as well. By this time, as the fry grow start adding more water to the breeding tank.
In two months your baby bettas will need sexing, the males will be very aggressive, they need seperating from the females but the females can be kept together.

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Re: Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)

Postby weirdartist » Mon May 04, 2009 12:16 pm

just a couple of things: when buying females BE Careful, many retailers accidentally sell short finned males as females. It saves them being killed, but could cost you fish, as the short fins tend to be more aggressive and are bred for fighting. Look for a white dot by the anal fin (this is where the eggs come from on a female). Also look at the front lower fins, if they are long, they are almost certainly male, if they are a couple of centimeters thats fine. if you take a small mirror that is probably the best identification method. hold the mirror facing the fish, a male will flare its gill flap and show off as much finnage as possible to make itself look bigger. A female may react with a mild aggression, but the gill flaring is usually a tell-tale sign of a male. while a female is usually paler/drabber, I have come across very pretty bright/dark females.

on other thing I would say is some females will help the males place the eggs in the nest, so dont be allarmed! And one of the things my fish love (especially when conditioning) is daphnia (I usually use frozen or sachets).

Remember to keep the air above the tank warm, as the new fry will be suceptable to pnumonia or will have labrynth problems if they breath in cold air while in the nest (partly why polystyrine cups work well, the trapped air keeps warm even when the lid of the ta is lifted.

Also, although I dont think its that nessicary I like to leave a blue nightlight near my fishtank while the male is eggwatching, to emulate a moon, this gives him some help finding dropped eggs.

Very black females in particular (but also males sometimes) are often infertile. If you are looking to breed black fish, your best option may be a black male and either black&steel blue, chocolate or slate female.
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Re: Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)

Postby malakye » Mon May 04, 2009 2:11 pm

Thanks for adding that weirdartist, very interesting.
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Re: Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)

Postby colematthewmalaka » Sat May 23, 2009 5:55 am

I love breeding bettas. Seeing them spawn is so fascinating. :jump:
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Re: Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)

Postby Mick » Sat May 23, 2009 6:01 am

Have to agree there, very challenging as well
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Re: Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)

Postby NightwishRaven999 » Wed May 27, 2009 4:09 pm

Thanks for the walkthrough Mick !

I must admit, I have always wanted to breed bettas, but never found the courage to.
Males are sometimes overly aggressive with females, though your introduction method looks good...guess it only works if female is ready to spawn.
10 Gallon tank is also very suited as you said.

I know that like Gouramis and other Anabantids, bettas lay lots of eggs.
I know some gouramis lay up to 1000...but apparently they are so small and the fry are almost as small as newly hatched baby brine shrimp.

Was considering trying to breed Dwarf gouramis since they are quite similar but the success rate in breeding gouramis is so low...all it would be doing is stressing out the female.


Great article, as always.
The fact that it is separated in sections makes it very easy to read.
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Re: Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)

Postby weirdartist » Thu May 28, 2009 10:58 pm

usually the female becomes ready to mate when she acclimatises to the warmer temperatures of the new tank, so it really is relatively easy once you get a good tank set up. Im a very busy person, but managed to successfully breed bettas alright. dont be scared!
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Re: Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)

Postby NightwishRaven999 » Thu May 28, 2009 11:06 pm

Lol....not scared :blus:
Just dont see myself breeding them.
Have bred Dwarf Gouramis before, but never came close to raising the fry.
They are numerous but are about 1/3 the size of cichlid fry and are much less hardy.

I have kept bettas females together in one tank and a male betta in another tank.
Always wanted to try it, but I knew I would never get anywhere even if they spawn.
All I would be doing is stressing the female out, since the males are quite rough even during the actual spawning (this is according to what I have read and heard)
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Re: Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)

Postby Mick » Thu May 28, 2009 11:07 pm

Have you ever attempted the mouth brooders, Ive always fancied having a go at them
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Re: Breeding Bettas (Bubble Nest Builders)

Postby weirdartist » Fri May 29, 2009 11:46 am

no, getting ahold of betta mouth brooders is a little trickier, then theres the way they are treated with similar disregard as betta splendens, but are less hardy. They really are a bit more specialist from what Iv read.
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