1. Please double check and update your email address --> http://www.aquariacentral.com/forums/index.php?account/contact-details
    Dismiss Notice

newbie to brreding bettas

Discussion in 'Anabantoids' started by imtrying, Apr 7, 2007.

  1. imtrying

    imtrying AC Members

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    hi all im new to breeding bettas i have currently 2 breeding pairs and without fail every 3 days there is new fry. I keep around 100 fry alive per spawn but i still lose a hell of alot of fry. I have got around a thousand fry at this moment and are all alive and well. there i have 2 lots at 3 weeks old 2 lots at 2 weeks old and 4 lots under 2 weeks old. Im looking for advise to increase the survival rate. I have now 8, 30lt tanks but cause im worried about losing fry to a filter im regually cleaning out the tanks and its a mission. Hope there is some people out there that can give me some advice and im sure i can help some people out with starting there betta breeding. But as i said i only know how to quickly breed them to get fry but any time after the first week i can only keep around 100 alive.
     
  2. Dwarf Puffers

    Dwarf Puffers Registered user

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    3,978
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    NS, Canada
    Wow...

    if you planned to sell them, you could get 2$ per female and 5$ per male maybe...

    even if its only a hundred that sell, its ruffly 350$ :) :) :) :) :)
     
  3. imtrying

    imtrying AC Members

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Cheers man, there is 3 pet stores that want to take them off my hands for me theres just so much work that goes with it lol. it took me a month now i have a system of keeping them alive. What fish do u breed?
     
  4. muddskipper26

    muddskipper26 Mudskipper Man

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Messages:
    371
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    michigan
    I have yet to breed anything in the 5 months in this hobby...Good job tho.
     
  5. imtrying

    imtrying AC Members

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    u should try breeding bettas there easy as hey
     
  6. Kyohti

    Kyohti Curiouser and Curiouser...

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    1,065
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northeastern Oklahoma
    Reposted from 'Betta Setup' by Nickmcmechan

    Oh, it is quite fascinating, to be sure... but it is also QUITE expensive, demanding, and complicated to do with the best results!! Nothing I'd tell anyone to go into lightly, no matter what their experience was with breeding other fish.

    Firstly, considering their anatomy... bettas are labrynth fishes. They have a special organ that allows them to breathe atmospheric oxygen. They actually derive more of their daily requirement of oxygen from the air than they do the water, even in aerated aquariums. This is actually one of many reasons why they keep their fry in bubble nests. Firstly, it's a very good defense mechanism for the helpless babies. But most importantly, it provides thousands of completely protected air surfaces for the babies to breathe from when they hatch. You see, betta fry are so incredably delicate when they are first hatched out that rippling water, vibrations, or even a cold draft of air over the water's surface can cause their labrynth organ to be damaged at best and ruptured at worst! But I'm getting ahead of myself here... Let's start with the male and female betta... conditioning them for breeding and preparing the breeding tank.

    Firstly, I'm a staunch supporter of the ideal that if you're going to be a breeder, you should breed with a specific goal in mind and FOCUS on that goal. Don't just go "He's pretty and red and she's pretty and blue... let's see what comes out!!" because that isn't very helpful to the breeds and color-types. Even if you have babies that come out solid red or solid blue, they now carry red or blue factors that could spoil true color in any generations that come after them.

    It's like taking a purebred cocker spaniel and breeding it with a purebred king charles spaniel. They're both toy spaniels of a similar lineage and the puppies may come out looking a lot like one or the other... but they're 'mongrels' all the same and it would take generations of breeding to return their offspring to a pure status. It's so hard anymore to find true colored bettas that breed their true colors consistently because of this. So have a color goal... or a tail-shape... or size... something you think would either help your line of bettas conform to your idea of the 'perfect betta' for it's type, be it veil tail, crown tail, true red, mustard, double-tail... whatever it is.

    Me, I wanted to create a better body coloring for 'lavendar' colored bettas, since most have lovely fins, but a blotchy body coloring that I found unattractive. So I started with a fantastic, full-tailed lavendar male with a solid deep lilac body and classic lavendar fins (pink with blue shimmer). And I purchased three different females. One solid red, one solid royal blue, and one solid light pink with lavendar butterfly-style fins (half colored, half white) The male was homozygous for crowntail though he was actually a veiltail himself. He had a very small fringe and double splits in the rays of his tail with a fuller finnage than a normal veiltail... but I admired this quality and wanted it passed to his offspring, so when I chose females, I looked for long, full female finnage as well as good solid color.

    So my goal was: Lavendar bettas with solid body color, fuller 'veil-tail' appearance, and colorful longer-finned females. Drawbacks to my goal would be bettas with blotchy bodies, narrow veil tails, and dull female colors.

    This accomplished, I set about preparation. I chose the first of the females I would breed to him and I began to power feed them. They would get very protein rich foods. Beef heart, slivers of raw fish and steamed cocktail shrimp along with live foods like waterfleas and baby brine shrimp. Fleshy foods are best if you can't provide live food. This helps them to gain a lot of weight and the female to produce a good clutch of eggs in her belly. She should get good and round with them... and I mean she will look like she's fit to burst! Condition them for the next 2-3 weeks. While they are conditioning, you can begin setting up for your first brood!

    This is what I used, based on several sources I read and spoke to at the time. You'll need a 10-gallon tank initially and a 50-gallon later on (along with individual cups, jars, etc for the males), A submersible heater, Tank thermometer, a sumbersible sponge filter, 1 small fake plant (a little taller than 4-5 inches), a small rock or brick thoroughly disinfected, a clear plastic container (like a betta-hex), blackwater extract or almond leaves, saran wrap, a turkey baster or large syringe with a 5" length of air tube attatched to the end, java moss, aquarium salt, brine shrimp eggs, and 4 mason jars.

    As a sidenote, no substrate is needed or necessary for betta breeding. Just paint the tank bottoms black. It reduces stress related to light glare from the tank bottom.

    Firsly, wash the mason jars and disinfect. Fill each one 3/4 of the way full with old tank water from any established aquarium. Then, boil 4-6 lettuce leaves until the leaves are limp and transparent, allow them to cool, and place them inside the jars. Cover the tops with saran wrap, cut a slit on the top for ventilation, and place them in a sunny window. BEWARE!! You are growing live bacteria cultures, so they will rot, stink, and possibly be hazardous if they come in contact with your eyes or mouth. These paramecium and other microorganisms are going to be your baby fry's food for the first month or so of their lives. You can buy this stuff online or from really nice specialty fish stores... but this is a cheap (if smelly) way of doing it yourself. You might want a microscope or magnefying glass to monitor the progress of your cultures.

    Now the breeding tank. It should be a plain 10-15 gallon tank. You can use a smaller one, but I found the spaciousness of this tank much easier to keep clean. This tank will be filled with 1gallon of old tank water and filled the rest of the way (to a MAXIMUM of 4-5 inches of depth... no more!) with water conditioned as normal, except for adding either a half teaspoon of blackwater extract or a cup of water steeped in almond leaves. The water should have a low, acidic pH and be heated via sumbersible heater to a temperature of no less than 78-82 degrees. It might be slightly yellowish from the tannins. That's fine. You'll position the fake plant in one corner with it's leaves hopefully reaching up to touch the water's surface. The brick or rock will be placed at the opposite corner. This will be a hiding place for the female later on. Place the betta-hex or other container (filled with treated water) at the center of the tank. You can have lighting positioned over the tank to see better, but a hood would only be disruptive. I used a clip-on incandescent desk light for this purpose. FYI: Instead of a fake plant, you can also use 1/2 of a plastic cup taped just above the water's surface so the cut edges of the cup are down in the water, creating a 'U' shaped space for the betta to make his bubblenest in.

    Once your male and female are fat and ready, introduce the male into the tank. Allow him 4-6 days to acclimate, etablish himself comfortably, and build a sizeable bubblenest. The water conditions should induce this behavior in him naturally. Feed sparingly and suck out any uneaten food and poop with the baster/syringe. If he doesn't after 6 days are up, you'll just have to go back to power feeding him and see if he's up to it later. If he does nest, you can add the female into the container at the center of the tank on the seventh day. You might want to put saranwrap (with a ventilation slit!) or a lid of some sort on this container so they don't try to get at each other too early. Both wiill probably be aggressive initially. Give them about three days of him flaring and building up his nest for her. Feed them both very sparingly and remove uneaten food and poop.

    The female will show she is ready to mate by tilting her head down and displaying vertical stripes on her sides. Not horizontal! Horizontal only means that she is submissive and unwilling! So when she has her stripes going the right way (she may display both, that's ok) you can release her into the tank. He will chase and nip at her. As long as she doesn't attack back or become too damaged, allow them to do this. It's a part of the mating process for him to dominate her and make sure she is no threat to him and is under his control. He will eventually lead her over to the bubblenest and curl his body around her. They will 'embrace' and she will release some of her eggs. One or both may be temporarily stunned by this process. This is normal. The male will gather the eggs up from the tank bottom, roll them in his mouth to coat them in sticky saliva, and take them to the nest where he will spit them into the bubbles. The female may help him, remain motionless, or even eat some of her eggs. This is normal. They will mate several times releasing anywhere between 100-300 eggs or more before the male finally chases the female away. Wait until he's calmed down and is guarding the nest at the opposite end before retrieving her (she'll probably be hiding behind that convenient little rock you placed in the tank for her! Out of site, out of mind, right?)

    The male will attend to any eggs that fell from the nest at this point. Return the female to a solitary tank treated lightly with anti-fungal meds and feed vigorously to help her regrow any lost or damaged finnage and recover from the stressful ordeal!

    Once you have her isolated, go back and remove the rock, extra container... leave nothing but the male, the heater, and the nest (the plant if you have to). It makes cleaning easier later on. You can add the java moss now. Just place it in the center of the tank. Also at this point you will add the sponge filter (don't turn it on yet!) and cover the top of the tank with saran wrap. It'll save you some hassle later and the eggs and newly hatched fry will be sentitive to the cooler drafts passing over the 80-degree water's surface!!
    Be very gentle as you complete these tasks. You will see that every ripple will cause the eggs to fall from the nest. At this point, it's better not to feed the male. Most of the time he will ignore the food and just leave an unnecessary mess for you to clean up. All his focus will be on his brood. Bettas are very dedicated fathers.

    The eggs hatch within the next 2-3 days and the fry will probably look like nothing more than black hairs growing from the bubbles!! Their heads are about the size of the eyes on this smiley
    They will seem nearly lifeless, wiggling a bit and then falling from the bubbles. The didicated dad will pick them up from the bottom of the tank and put them back in the nest. If he eats some of them... well... this happens. But if he starts going to town on a baby buffet, that's bad and it probably means the end of this endeavor because the babies will need him until they are strong enough to swim on their own!! Once the babies are showing signs of being able to swim to the surface on their own, it's time to remove daddy. Be VERY careful! The babies are very delicate and can die if subjected to too much trough treatment or rippling of the water. Some casualties may occur. It happens.

    At this point, the betta fry will have absorbed all of their egg sac. Time to start adding in those bacteria you were cultivating!! Take a syringe and siphon off a full syringe of the foul water juuuust under the water's surface or along the rotted skin of the lettuce to get the most parameciums (which I believe this 'stuff' is called infusoria, for the record). Add 2-3 syringes full to one area of the tank 2-3 times a day at specific times. This ensures that the fry will know where and when to go for food. You'll be able to see the food in their bellies, as they are see-thru at this age. Be sure they have full bellies! It's VERY easy for them to starve to death if you feed too little or inconsistently. Remove any fungal growth, dead fry, and waste from the tank as you go. It's still too early to use the filter, so there can be no water changes or filtration other than what's provided by you and the java moss.

    Betta fry grow very slowly and improper care can stunt this growth at any time. You will lose some of them as you go along. Consider this natural selection if you will. Those were the ones that were not strong enough or smart enough to keep themselves fed and protected. Just make sure you clean out the bodies ASAP. This thinning will probably be helpful in the long-run anyways. Once they have gained a millimeter or two in size, you can diversify their diet by adding baby brine shrimp, daphnia, liquid fry food for egg layers, and microworms (once the babies look big enough to eat them, of course)

    I waited until they were this large to attempt filtration. I rigged a plastic cup (with the arms of the 'U' mentioned previously turned to the tank wall and held there with a strip of black electric tape) around the bubbles created by the filter to reduce the rippling effect. I also performed my first water changes, using a turkey baster to suck out about an inch of water, one baster full at a time (be sure to check the water in a bowl for fry before dumping it out) and then adding the new water (conditioned and temp same as in the tank!) by pouring it through a funnel whos tip was under the water's surface to reduce rippling. I did these changes at least once every 1-2 days, also still using my baster or syringe to siphon any uneaten food, waste, or dead fish (fewer of them by now).

    At 2 months of age, this 'babying' can relax some. You can remove the cup from the sponge filter and let the water ripple a little. You can also do water changes without all the hassle as long as you're gentle about it. Once you start seeing finnage on your little babies, it's time to move them into a 50 gallon or larger tank (again, plain bottom and painted black is best!) with gentle, submerged heating and filtering. They will need the extra growing space to develop properly at this point. Just set up the tank like you did before with the breeding tank. Use some of the old water from the breeding tank to establish it and fill it the rest of the way (10-inch depth to start) with conditioned water like before. Give it some time to cycle, then slurp your betta babies up in your turkey baster a few at a time and add them into the larger tank. Try to feed them in a similar area of this tank as you did in the smaller one so they will know where to go for food!!

    It will probably be at least 4 months before they begin to exhibit actual color and an appreciably 'betta-looking' shape to them (some develop the 'shimmer' in their scales before they show true color). The males will start flaring at this point, if I remember correctly, and it'll be time to separate them into individual containers. At this age you can feed brine shrimp, waterfleas, pulverized betta food, etc. It's best to start getting them used to eating at least some dry foods every once and a while now, considering that will probably be a lot of their diet once they are grown and adopted out.

    At this point, small as they are, they need no special treatment other than regular feeding, frequent water changes, and a warm room temperature for the segregated boys. You may also want to separate any overly antagonistic females, too, as they are either REALLY mean... or are boys with poor finnage.

    It is suggested at this stage that any fish displaying undesireable characteristics... ones against what you wished to breed... be culled. I only culled the most disappointing ones from my broods, leaving the rest as 'pet-quality' bettas. I sold my males to the LFS who refused to sell any females because I was telling her (my friend/store-owner)about the breeding process (my successes and my failures) and she agreed that it wasn't 'novice stuff'. My females I sold to a few other local locations that were knowledgable enough about bettas not to advise customers against attempting breeding pairs.

    I never did it for a profit, so I sold my offspring off only to break even with expense for the next breeding set. I did this for 2 1/2 years and of all the fish that came and went in that time, I only had maybe 10 that came out the way I wanted them to. These I sold privately for top-dollar. But it always came to a loss rather than a gain and I learned enough at that point to know it was hard work and heart-breaking when it went wrong. I probably only had 1/3 of any batch survive... out of 200 + eggs in each batch, it wasn't too bad a yield. Not for a teenager on a strict time-line who was still in highschool!!!

    But I am humble enough to admit my first 3-4 tries were total losses and the one after those only had 6 stunted babies survive to be an inch in length before my mother made the fatal mistake of tossing them all together into my community tank while I was out of town for a week. Yup, tossed 'em in the tank... with three mature betta females, among other fish!!! They didn't make it out alive from that.

    So I retired the whole thing. Gave my breeding tanks away (I had 4 10-gallon tanks and 2 40-50-gallons JUST for bettas in my bedroom along with my adult and juvenile male containers!!) and I kept my males and females to their ripe and content old ages and buried them in my back yard in their own special place under my flowering dogwood tree when they did finally pass away.

    The lessons were invaluable and I'm glad to share my triumph and my loss. It was exhausting, exasperating, and exhilarating all at once on more than one occasion. If I had all the money in the world, I'd probably sit down and create my own color-type just for love of it... but it's just too expensive and too demanding of my time and resources at this point in my life.

    So there you have it. It can be done differently. I've seen more than a few methods, some which yeild better but most that yeild worse. This is a combination of the techniques I tried that worked the best for me and my lifestyle and yielded the best results, both in quantity and quality of fish. I could probably write a textbook on what not to do as well, but I figured this is enough for anyone to try it... if they are willing to shoulder the responsibility.
     
  7. FishorFoe

    FishorFoe AC Members

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2007
    Messages:
    47
    Likes Received:
    0
    No idea how to make the life span of the fry longer...but...what size tanks do you have these guys in and who do you plan on selling them to???
     
  8. beefsteak

    beefsteak AC Members

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Messages:
    188
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    California, USA
    Kyohti, I'd love to see pictures of a few of the 10 or so "successful" fry that you bred. Lavender has always been one of, if not my favorite betta coloration. I've only ever seen a small handful of lavender females and one male and even then it was only the fins.
     
  9. nick_flano

    nick_flano AC Members

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2006
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wagga Wagga, Australia
    Kyohti, thanks for sharing, it was much appreciated, sure helped me to understand how rewarding fish keeping can be even if it doesn't work out your way. Congrats on your hard work, loved the story =)
     

Share This Page