· About Us
· Podcast Archive
· About Bettas
· Betta Health & Care
· Breeding Bettas
· Raising Spawns
· Genetics Study
· Tail Forms & Finnage
· Colors and Patterns
· The Halfmoon
· The Crowntail
· The Plakat
· The Doubletail
· Wild Bettas
· Betta of the Month
· Betta Critique
· Betta Expressions
· Photo Gallery
· Mailing List/FAQ
· Strain Gallery
· NEW! This Month
Home > Breeding Bettas > The Hobbyist Method
Contact Us via Email
Send To Friend
Printer Friendly Version
|The Hobbyist Method|
By: Betty Splendens
This is the method that seems to be most heavily favored by the casual betta keeper and works the best with the limited space most of us are forced to confine our betta breeding operations to. This is intended to be used as a guideline only, since there are many good ways to spawn bettas and it may take some trial and error to find just the right one that works for you and your own unique set of circumstances.
|Female showing vertical barring pattern (V. Stark)|
|The horizontal striping typical of very young/submissive bettas, or females who are not receptive to spawning|
|A pair of reds embracing under the bubblenest|
A 5-10 gallon tank filled about halfway is the standard. Optimally, the tank should not be so small that the female can't escape, and not so large that the pair keep losing each other. Hiding places are provided in the form of rocks, caves, PVC pipes, pots, and live or artificial plants. Live plants are recommended, as they don't tear the fins of the male like plastic plants can, and they promote the growth of infusorians, which new fry like to eat. The tank should be bare-bottomed, so floating plants like Water Sprite or Java moss are excellent. The reason for the tank being bare is that it is harder to siphon all the waste through gravel, and it will be harder for the male to see and retrieve eggs and/or fry. Fry also can (and do!) get stuck down there in the gravel and die.
A seasoned sponge filter can be added if you wish, but it must be clamped so that the water turbulence doesn't scatter eggs and make nest tending difficult for the male. As long as it is very gently bubbling at all times, the beneficial bacterial colony in the filter that prevents ammonia and nitrate spikes will survive. Floating plants will also reduce surface water movement, but if you are very careful about not overfeeding and you clean the fry tank regularly, a filter really isn't necessary at this stage.
If the water in the room drops below 75 degrees or so, a heater should be used. Bettas in good health will usually spawn in water that is the same temperature they are used to, or with some slight rise in temperature, but the general consensus seems to be that more spawns occur at or around 82 degrees F. So you will usually have to use a heater, and since the water level is only at 5 inches or so, you'll need the submersible kind. Turn it on and wait for it to level out at about 82 degrees, adjusting as necessary. Do not add the pair until the temperature has leveled, or you may inadvertently cook your bettas.
Your last touch is to give the male something to build his nest under. I've tried all of these things as nest site:
Styrofoam cup cut in half lengthwise: The most popular hobbyist nest site, easy to make, and betta males seem to like it. It provides good protection for the nest and fry, and you can easily see new fry as black specks against the white of the cup.
Betta nest under styro cup, photo from SG Betta
Plastic lid: Studies show that most betta males prefer something that is round and yellowish in color as a nest site. This corresponds to some type of water plant found in the region. I've discovered that plastic lids from various products are excellent for this purpose, and you can wash and resuse 'em.
Indian Almond leaves: Bettas like to build nests under Indian Almond leaves, and may even decide to do this even if you don't want them to, if you are using them in your tank for their beneficial properties. Only problem with this is that once they become waterlogged, they may collapse or sink.
Bubble wrap: I started using bubble wrap as a nest site after it was suggested by a member of our betta forum, and I've never used anything else since. I've found that most males won't hesitate to build under it because it looks like a ready-made nest. They seem to just assume it is one of theirs and just configure it to suit their needs. It also impresses the girls. Just get the small-bubble type on rolls and cut little 3x3 squares to suit your needs. Float it bubble-side-down on the surface of your spawning tank, and laugh at your male feeling super-macho about it.
Float the object in the tank where it will give you a good view. You'll want to be able to monitor the nest later to make sure the male isn't eating eggs or fry, and that the fry are developing properly. Be warned, though, that many males do not appreciate being the center of attention when they are nesting, and will sometimes ignore the nest site you've picked out for them and go build a nest in the back corner of the tank.
Now you can introduce the pair. The usual method is to give the female some sort of protection from the male while still allowing her to be seen by him, and this is provided by placing her in a glass chimney (opened-topped, of course), floating her in a jar, or putting her on one side of a divider and him on another. The male is given the run of the tank, and he will usually poke around in the corners, nose under the lid, and patrol his perimeters before he even starts nest-building.
Once the pair discovers one another, the excitement begins. The male turns a deeper color and immediately presents the female with a side view of his fully-flared fins and open gills. He will soar by a couple of times to make sure she is adequately impressed, and then may start to wag his body at her. If she's receptive, her color will darken and she will display her 'barring' pattern - vertical stripes along her midsection that indicates her breeding readiness. Her ovipostor will be clearly visible as a speck of white (looks like a large granule of pretzel salt) between her ventral fins. If she's cheeky, she'll flare back at him and wag her body flirtatiously. Some girls are shy and will clamp their fins in submission or try to ignore the male. As long as they have the barring pattern and not the horizontal stripes, they should still be okay.
When the female displays her bars, this is usually the impetus for the male to begin nest-building. He'll alternate his time blowing bubbles in his chosen nest site and blustering at the female. At this point many breeders release the female. Once released, she will often swim right up and begin checking out the nest. If its not to her specifications, she will swim away or sometimes try to destroy it. When the male discovers he can reach the female, his display will become even more impressive, as he chases her around the tank and tries to engage her in the mating dance. When the pair do start dancing, the breeder is treated to a real visual delight, as both fish spread fins and swim side-by-side, stopping every few inches to flare their gills at one another and display their sides. If he doesn't feel she is suitably awestruck by his performance, the male will nip the female and chase her around for a bit before dancing for her again. At this point the female usually seeks a place to hide until she is ready to spawn, and there she will stay until the male discovers her and chases her out, or until she's inclined to approach the male under the nest.
Females initiate spawning in a multitude of different ways, according to the circumstances and the personalities of the fish. Some females swim right up with their heads down and fins clamped to show their submissiveness, others will boldly charge the nest, banners flaring, and basically challenge the male to spawn. Sometimes she will dart away again or the male will bite her and chase her away because he doesn't like her attitude. At any rate, spawning begins with the pair nosing into one another's sides until the male is able to flip the female upside down and wrap himself around her midsection. This may take several tries, especially for first-timers, but the male will eventually succeed in performing a successful embrace. You know he's doing it right when you see his body 'click' into place around her. The embracing pair will either float at the surface or sink to the bottom, and then the male releases her and waits for her to recover. The female will float sideways for a time, and will look for all the world like she is dead. When she does recover, she will usually check the bottom for fallen eggs before joining the male for another embrace. The first few embraces are usually eggless, but eventually the female will begin releasing eggs, a few at a time at first and then more as spawning continues. Contrary to popular belief, the male does not 'squeeze' the eggs out of the female, and the only purpose of the embrace is to place the ventrals within close proximity of each other so that there is a greater chance for fertilization. As they embrace, the male releases sperm as the female releases eggs, probably fertilizing most of them as soon as they leave her body.
When the male notices the eggs falling, he will gather them in his mouth and place them in the bubblenest. Females usually assist with egg-gathering, but seem more inclined to eat them than the males do. Females are typically meticulous about finding each and every egg that may have dropped to the bottom, whereas males are satisfied just catching the ones that are falling.
Spawning takes from 2 to 6 hours, and when either partner decides to terminate the spawn, the female will retreat from the nest and go back into hiding. Now the male sees her as a threat to his clutch rather than a mate, and he will try to kill her if he sees her, so it is best to remove her and put her into some medicated water for her fins. The male will tend the nest, mouthing the eggs, blowing more bubbles, sometimes building a nest in another location and moving the eggs there, catching them when they fall, and eating eggs that are infertile so that they don't fungus and kill the rest of the eggs. Most of his time is spent just hovering under the nest looking bored, periodically checking to see if the eggs have hatched yet. Some males, especially first-timers, will eat the eggs or fry, leaving the breeder frustrated. But don't fillet your male just yet, in the great majority of cases the male will only eat the eggs if they haven't been properly fertilized or there is something wrong with them. He might just be doing his job, so give him the benefit of the doubt.
Alternately, some breeders choose to remove the male after spawning and raise the clutch without him (see 'Artificial Hatching').
As the fry hatch, their wriggling efforts will often shake them loose from the bubbles and they will start to fall. If he's sees them, their father will catch them and put them back. When they are all hatching at the same time, he is kept very busy darting around catching and replacing fry, and scanning the bottom for any he may have missed. In another day, the fry will be better able to stay in the nest. They will hang tail-down from the nest for their first couple of days, gradually taking on a horizontal swimming position. Once they are free-swimming, the male can be removed and the fry given their first feeding of infusoria, microworms, vinegar eels, bbs, or any of the other food options available to breeders of egg-layers.
|Category: Breeding Bettas|
Contact Us via Email
Send To Friend
Printer Friendly Version
|What's Your Opinion? |
Post your 2 cents here. Let us and your fellow readers hear your views on the articles we have here at bettysplendens.com. Your posts will appear on the front page along with a link to this article. It helps everyone participate in the conversations such posts generate.
HEJSAN FROM SWEDEN EVERYONE! Everything in Sweden is going well, although I'm still busy learning the language and coping with a newborn, so it will be a bit before I'm as active as I'd like with the fish. This is a Facebook update! I have created a new BettySplendens Facebook page that will be used exclusively for betta-related networking. On the 16th of August I will be going through and deleting most of the people on my personal Facebook page who are not actual friends or family (many of you have become friends through the course of the hobby, and of course will not be deleted). If for any reason you wish to remain on my personal page, please let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or FB email. Otherwise, go to the new BettySplendens Facebook page and click the 'like' button for more betta-related news and updates :).
Tack så mycket (that's ''Thank you very much'' in Svenskie-land ;))! ~Victoria~
Slight change of plans! I have decided that, instead of reinventing the wheel, I'm going to create a personal FB page and use the old one purely for betta stuff. So if you're on the original page (now called BettySplendens Bettas), please stay put! :P
For all the betta inquiries:
Just a reminder, I am not selling bettas in the US at the present time. I may begin to supply a few select bettas throughout Europe sometime in late Spring 2011. Cheers!
Spotting the Orange Dalmatian
Ever since it first started being widely seen in pet stores around late 2004, the spotted orange betta has taken the hobby by storm. But what exactly is it?
Bettas today come in a wide variety of forms, and new ones are being created all the time. Here are the most popular.
Choosing a Betta
There are basically three ways of purchasing bettas. Buying them from a pet store, buying them from a breeder, or buying them online. I'll run through some important things to consider in each of those options.
The True Story of the Halfmoon
The true story of the creation of the Halfmoon betta.
Defining a Good Crowntail
For the purpose of showing in the CT class, Crowntails are defined as bettas exhibiting at least 33% reduction in webbing versus ray length in each of the three primary fins (caudal, anal and dorsal). This requirement must be demonstrated in all three primary fins but does not need to be exhibited between all rays to meet the minimum requirement to be classified as a Crowntail betta.
Bringing Home Your New Betta
Buy a Betta at a pet store? Find out how to best introduce him to his new home.
© 2013 Victoria Parnell. All Rights Reserved. All Logos and Trademarks are property of their respective owners. Powered By The Alfred Web Publishing System v3.1