Betta Fish Breeding
Last time we looked at how to take care your betta fish and now today we will take a look at how to breed betta fish. Breeding Betta fish is challenging but it can be an extremely fulfilling challenge if you take all proper precautions and do it in the right manner. If your efforts bear fruit, you will be responsible for bringing some of the most beautiful looking, brilliantly colorful freshwater fish into this world.
How’s that for a challenge?
There are entire books on how to breed Betta fish. Keep in mind that you need to be careful and pay attention at every step in order to successfully breed Betta fish. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you breed Betta fish.
Prepare the Site
Before you even think of buying Betta fish for breeding, you need to prepare a suitable breeding site. Ideally it should be a small aquarium up to 10 gallons but you may also use a watertight plastic box. Make sure the box is able to hold at least 3 gallons of water. Also, the aquarium should allow for a minimum water depth of 6 inches, you can also refer to our other post on aquarium tank setup.
Some Betta fish have aggressive tendencies and you will need to provide some hiding spots in the aquarium to shelter less aggressive fish. You may use live plants or plastic plants or other such things. You will also need a clear plastic piece that will act as a divider and a plastic lid that will float on the surface where the male is going to build his bubble nest.
Choose the Right Betta Fish
You will need a healthy male and female Betta fish to breed. It is recommended to select the most beautiful parents you can find in order to get the most beautiful baby fish. It is not recommended to buy the fish from a pet store as they are usually older. Therefore, you should find a trusted breeder who can provide you with beautiful and genetically pure Betta fish for breeding.
The age of Betta fish should be less than 14 months for successful breeding. You should try to get 6 to 8 months old fish for best results. Red and blue are the main dominant colors in this fish. Keep this in mind when you are choosing your breeding pair.
Set up the Tank
You will need to prepare two tanks, one each for male and female. Setup the tank like a regular Betta tank. However, it is not recommended to place gravel in the female tank. It is also recommended to place live plants or other plastic parts in the female tank to allow the female to hide from the male, if needed. Live plants will also allow the female to hide from the male. The temperature of water should be set at 80 degrees F. Take the plastic lid and float it in the breeding tank.
It is important to condition the fish before you start breeding. It is recommended to feed the fish live food items such as roaches, blood worms, crickets or live brine shrimp and other such things. You may also use frozen food in case live food is not available. Experts recommend conditioning for around a week before you introduce the pair to each other.
The next step is introducing the pair. You need to make sure the male and female are able to see each other but cannot come in contact with each other. You can do this by placing them in the same tank on opposite sides with a clear divided or by placing their separate tanks next to each other. This is an extremely important step and you need to make sure they are able to see each other before you put them together in the same tank as it helps in minimizing the risk of injury.
Keep them against each other for a few days. Both male and female will give some signals when they are ready to start reading.
Female Betta may start chasing the male or she will move into position and keep her head down or vertical stripes will start appearing on the body of the female Betta fish. On the other hand, when male is ready to start breeding, he will start chasing the female, he may have already built his nest and he will flare. So, when you notice one or more of these signals, it is time to bring them together to start the process of breeding.
Bring Them Together
Once the male has built a big bubble nest, it is time to remove the divider and bring the pair together. Bring the female onto the male side but it is important that you keep an eye on them. The male may sometimes try to nip at the female’s fins and he may chase her around. This activity may last for several hours and in some cases, even days. Check several times a day to make sure to prevent any serious injuries.
The male fish will catch the female and wrap his body around the female fish to attempt fertilization. It might take a few tries. Once the fertilization happens, the eggs will start to drop out from female and the male will start placing them in the bubble nest. Make sure the females do not eat the eggs.
You should remove her from the tank if she tries to do that. However, female should also help the male place the eggs in the bubble nest. If female is not interested in the male, she may also attempt to destroy the bubble nest.
Remove the Female
If everything goes well and eggs have been successfully placed in the bubble nest, it is time to remove the female fish from the breeding tank and put her into her own tank. It is important that you do not feed anything to the male as it helps in reducing the risk of male fish eating the eggs. If you do offer some food to the male fish in this period, make sure to remove the uneaten food.
The fry will start free swimming in a few days after losing their yolk-sacs. This is the right time for you to start feeding them.
So, if you are planning to breed Betta fish, follow the above guide for successful breeding. Keep in mind that even slight changes in the environment can undo all your efforts. So, try to read as much as you can before you start the process of breeding. Also, it will take a lot of time and you should take it up only when you are not going on holidays and not dealing with any stressful events in the coming weeks.