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Bettas 181

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Siamese Fighting Fish or Betta Splendens, are a wonderful species for aquariums. They are relatively easy to care for (once you understand their particular requirements) and with their spectacularly beautiful colors and fin shapes it would be hard to find a more sought after species of freshwater tropical fish.
Betta fish are native to the Mekong basin in Southeast Asia. BETTA SPLENDENS, as they are commonly known,  can be supplied in many different colors with new strains constantly being developed by breeders across the world.

This is a Thai Video about my Thai Betta Breeder and Friend, Kit Watchara! He is truly a master at bettas and when you see this video-you'll know why I say so! It is in Thai, but the video is worth it! Enjoy & Look for him on name-AquaStar71

The name of the genus is derived from ikan bettah, taken from a local dialect of Thailand. The wild ancestors of this fish are native to the rice paddies of Thailand and Cambodia and are called pla-kad or trey krem ("Fighting Fish") in Thai.

My plakat male tending his tiny bubblenest!
Photo by Michael Randall

How To Breed Your Bettas!

There are a few basic steps to breeding bettas. These steps are the general procedures for breeding and not absolute, meaning once you gain experience, you can vary the steps as you prefer.

1. Before breeding the bettas, choose the pair of male and female with the characteristics that you would like to see in the fries. A pair with similar colour and fin type will produce better results than a mixed pair .

2. After that, the bettas have to be conditioned for breeding. Lots of live food will produce best results in a shorter time as compared to using processed food. Live food that can be used include bloodworms, tubifex worms and daphnias. Mosquitoes larvae are said to be the best food for conditioning but it is quite difficult to catch or culture these.  You can use other food like meat which are chopped up or small insects like fruit flies. Feed the pair more during this period of time. Feedings can be twice daily up to 4 times depending on amount of food at each feeding.

One convenient type of food that works very well is the frozen live food, like frozen brine shrimps and frozen bloodworms.

The bettas should be placed in two containers which allows them to see each other. Both bettas should start to flare at each other, with the male starting to build a bubble nest. The female will also put on "weight" by producing eggs in her belly. Her belly should swell to be quite big and become pale as the eggs strain against her belly. This will be fast if live food is used and slower with processed food. The conditioning period is about 1 week.  Some breeders prefer a longer period to let the female produce lots of eggs before mating them together. Check to see that the female's belly is big and the ovipositor is portruding out of her belly.

Note:Tubifex worms are suspected to be sources of disease and other undesirable bacterias. Not advisable to use them but they produce the fastest results. Daphnias (Monia) are known to produce a laxative effect on grown bettas when fed in excess.

3. The breeding tank can be from a 1 ft tank to a 2 ft tank. Roughly from about 8 to 15 gallons. The bottom should be bare to allow the male to pick up the eggs more easily. The water level should not be too deep to allow the fries to develop their bladder and labyrinth properly. The water level should be about 4 to 5 inches. Place a styrofoam cup that has been cut into half on the water surface and stick it to the side of the tank. This is for the male to build a bubble nest. Indian Almond Leaf can also be used for the male to build under.

4. At the end of the conditioning period, place the pair together in the tank. There will be lots of flaring and chasing and even some biting. After a while, the male will concentrate on building his nest and enticing the female to go over and take a look. Once everything is ok, they will mate.

The male will wrap his body around the female's and squeeze the eggs out and fertilizing them at the same time. A moment after that, both will seem to be stunned and male sink down and female float up. (This sinking and  floating of the male and female was what I observed, so not sure if it is always true) Then the male will usually recover first and pick up the eggs to his nest. the female will sometimes help the male in this task. There are cases of the female and male eating their eggs. So don't give up if this happens, just keep on trying.

The mating can last quite long, up to 2 to 4 hours. But may also be over before you know it, so keep an eye on the pair!

5. After the eggs are laid and placed in the nest, the male will chase the female away and guard the nest zealously. The female should be removed at this point of time, placed in clean water with some medication to heal her wounds (if she has any) and allowed to eat well.  The male remains in the tank and will guard the nest and pick up any eggs that drop from it. It is now in his hands to care for the coming fry!

6. After one to two days, the eggs should hatch. The fry still have their embryos and will feed on them for up to two days. The time frame are estimated as it depends on the temperature of their surroundings. In most cases, higher temperature translates to faster hatching and growth rate. The fry will seem to hang from the nest and are almost vertical.

7. After their embryos are consumed, they will start to swim horizontally. This can be as fast as two days up to 4 days. As the tank will contain some infusoria, those that grow and consume their embryo faster will eat these. But to ensure that they do not starve, other forms of food have to be prepared for them.

After about four days, the male should be removed. Make sure the fry are in a horizontal position and swimming on their own without sinking. Place the male in clean water with a bit of  aquarium salt or Melafix and feed him well, he deserves it! 

Captive bred BETTA FISH have several different tail shapes including Veiltail, Crowntail, Half-moon, and Double-tail. Double-tail BETTAS also have a significantly elongated dorsal fin.

Because of the aggressive nature of BETTA FISH, particularly the males who are very territorial, other aquarium residents must be carefully chosen and two male BETTA SPLENDENS should never be housed in the same tank unless they are separated by a dividing wall.

What To Feed The Babies!

Our fry are fed Baby Brine Shrimp for three weeks or more, thereafter other food can be used. Frozen brine shrimps and bloodworms can be fed after two weeks. But the fry must be large enough to eat them, if not, continue feeding with bbs. There are many other live foods suitable for young fry. We do not use these cultures, but many breeders do with much success. Remember, what we write here is not a law-it is our way of breeding-you will learn your own ways as you go along! 

At about 1 month old, the males can be jarred. This will be the time when they start to show their potential in terms of colour and finnage. The males will start to squabble and fight among each other. To prevent fin damage, the more aggresive ones should be jarred right away. *Age of young bettas varies on the growth of the fish-you watch them and be the judge! 


Infusoria is a term for microscopic organism found in water. If you want to increase the amount of infusoria in your tank, just add a lot of plants or Liquifry. You could culture it too.

To start a culture take a cup of aquarium

water or aged water and put a crushed lettuce leaf in the jar. Leave it at a place that receives lots of sunlight. The culture will develop after a few days. As to where these organism comes from, wonder on. Within a week the water should become cloudy. That means that bacteria is growing. Then the water will start to clear up as the infusoria is growing and eating the bacteria. Once the water is totally clear you will be able to see patches or areas that are filled with infusoria. Siphon them out and put them in your fry tank.

From my experience, the infusoria is only good for maybe the first one or two days. After that I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND baby brine shrimp for your fry. 

Baby brine shrimps (BBS)

After a few days, (IMO two days the most) infusoria will not be enough to support them alone. The most popular and the best (in a lot of people's opinion) food to add at this point is live baby brine shrimp.

Brine shrimp aka Sea Monkeys are small aquatic crustaceans. Freshly hatched brine shrimp nauplii have a nutrient-rich yolk which is good for young fries. Brine shrimp can live in freshwater for around 5 hours before they die.

Buy some brine shrimp eggs from your LFS and salt (common table salt would do). Put water in a 1 or 2 L bottle and add salt according to instructions on bottle. Aerate the mixture vigorously w/o airstone.Depending on temperature and egg quality, hatching time should be about 24 - 48 hours. The quality of the eggs would affect the hatch rate. e.g.. 70% of the batch would hatch for average quality.

Careful siphoning is necessary because unhatched eggs and shells cannot be digested and may become caught in the stomach of small fish, thus leading to mortalities. Leave the solution to settle for about 10 - 15 minutes. This will separate the egg shells, unhatched eggs and bbs. The bbs would most likely be in the middle part of the bottle, with egg shells on top of the water and unhatched eggs on the bottom. Feed them to your fry 3 times a day.

Brine shrimp eggs should be maintained in a dry condition at all times. Store opened eggs in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or in a cool dry place.


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