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Betta Breeding for the first time


Crabby
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Hi all!

I’m wanting to have a go at breeding bettas for the first time this weekend (there’s bad weather and a full moon, and I think they’re both ready)!

Forenote: my bettas are both young HMPK that are of breeding age. I got the male online, and the female from a breeder (he was already successfully using females from her batch as breeders). I’ve been conditioning for maybe a week or two now, with live and frozen foods.

I’ve consumed pretty much all the betta breeding content on the entire internet, from breeding logs on forums and blogs to YouTube to guides to podcasts, and spent probably up to 50 hours learning as much as I can about bettas and how to keep and breed them. But I want to run through my setup with some experienced betta breeders first, so I’ve got the highest chance of success.

So first off, I live in Melbourne, Australia, which means I’m currently in a lockdown said to last until next Tuesday. I’m hoping for it to go longer if I do successfully spawn my bettas, because I want to be able to have a good shot at raising the fry well. I’ve heard the first few weeks can be very delicate. Thanks to the lockdown I can carefully monitor my fish when I introduce them to each other. 

I’m planning on starting an infusoria culture today, and introducing the bettas to each other tomorrow by way of putting the male in the female’s tank with a divider (female will go on the side with more line-of-sight blocks). I’ve been feeding them both a good combination of live and frozen foods over the last couple weeks, and they look very healthy. The female has a massive egg-spot, is very plump, and is showing her ovipositor clearly. She’s a light colour so I can’t see any barring yet. I’m hoping it will develop a little once the male is introduced.

From there my hope is to make my way out to the LFS tomorrow or on Friday to pick up some IAL, and to find somewhere to get a styrofoam cup. I’m going to try the somewhat classic setup in a shallow 2.5 gallon tub with an IAL or two, a turned off sponge filter, some moss, a cave and another sort of line of sight block, and half of a styrofoam cup for the bubble nest. I’ll do the usual method of keeping the female in a bottle with holes in it, and then release her when the male has a decent bubble nest. So I would probably introduce them to this container on Friday night, with the hopes of putting them together midday on Saturday and of them breeding on Saturday night during the full moon, with the option of leaving them a couple more days if they don’t breed immediately and aren’t showing any problems.

I’m gonna go with kind of neutral parameters, and pump the temperature up to about 80°F (26ish Celsius).

Does this sound okay? Is there anything I’m missing? Any extra tips or recommendations from anyone?
Let me know if it would be helpful for me to share images of the fish and setup/s.

Cheers!

Edited by Crabby
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On 7/19/2021 at 10:02 PM, Crabby said:

Hi all!

I’m wanting to have a go at breeding bettas for the first time this weekend (there’s bad weather and a full moon, and I think they’re both ready)!

Forenote: my bettas are both young HMPK that are of breeding age. I got the male online, and the female from a breeder (he was already successfully using females from her batch as breeders). I’ve been conditioning for maybe a week or two now, with live and frozen foods.

I’ve consumed pretty much all the betta breeding content on the entire internet, from breeding logs on forums and blogs to YouTube to guides to podcasts, and spent probably up to 50 hours learning as much as I can about bettas and how to keep and breed them. But I want to run through my setup with some experienced betta breeders first, so I’ve got the highest chance of success.

So first off, I live in Melbourne, Australia, which means I’m currently in a lockdown said to last until next Tuesday. I’m hoping for it to go longer if I do successfully spawn my bettas, because I want to be able to have a good shot at raising the fry well. I’ve heard the first few weeks can be very delicate. Thanks to the lockdown I can carefully monitor my fish when I introduce them to each other. 

I’m planning on starting an infusoria culture today, and introducing the bettas to each other tomorrow by way of putting the male in the female’s tank with a divider (female will go on the side with more line-of-sight blocks). I’ve been feeding them both a good combination of live and frozen foods over the last couple weeks, and they look very healthy. The female has a massive egg-spot, is very plump, and is showing her ovipositor clearly. She’s a light colour so I can’t see any barring yet. I’m hoping it will develop a little once the male is introduced.

From there my hope is to make my way out to the LFS tomorrow or on Friday to pick up some IAL, and to find somewhere to get a styrofoam cup. I’m going to try the somewhat classic setup in a shallow 2.5 gallon tub with an IAL or two, a turned off sponge filter, some moss, a cave and another sort of line of sight block, and half of a styrofoam cup for the bubble nest. I’ll do the usual method of keeping the female in a bottle with holes in it, and then release her when the male has a decent bubble nest. So I would probably introduce them to this container on Friday night, with the hopes of putting them together midday on Saturday and of them breeding on Saturday night during the full moon, with the option of leaving them a couple more days if they don’t breed immediately and aren’t showing any problems.

I’m gonna go with kind of neutral parameters, and pump the temperature up to about 80°F (26ish Celsius).

Does this sound okay? Is there anything I’m missing? Any extra tips or recommendations from anyone?
Let me know if it would be helpful for me to share images of the fish and setup/s.

Cheers!

If you are a member of the YouTube channel I would watch that Gianne presentation from the weekend. I didn't know what I didn't know about betta until that. The genetics was simple to grasp for me it was well worth the 5 dollars. I have learned 80 degrees is perfect. I also suggest looking at her website is an amazing resource of everything betta breeding and care:  https://www.ingloriousbettas.com/spawning-bettas.html 

Edited by mountaintoppufferkeeper
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I have not bred bettas myself personally but I have done quite a bit of research on them. Your setup sounds a lot like what @Dean’s Fishroomdoes which he explains in this livestream: 

He keeps the water level about an inch or two below the lid to prevent them from jumping out. He also has a pro tip where you can use a large spoon to scoop out the bubble nest and transfer the eggs to a rearing tank (if you’re scared of the male eating the eggs/fry). 

In terms of parameters, I would say you are golden. My other piece of advice is to keep an eye on the pair as fins will get nipped and the female could very well lose her life if she is not removed promptly after the eggs have been transferred to the bubble nest. You’ll want to give both the parents some R&R and possibly add some salt (1 tbsp/gallon) if there are any ripped fins.

Good luck! It sounds like a fun project. 

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On 7/20/2021 at 10:01 PM, Patrick_G said:

@Crabby, I suspect most of the forum regulars were asleep when you posted. 😀

Whoops, forgot to check the time in the US 😂

On 7/21/2021 at 1:18 AM, mountaintoppufferkeeper said:

If you are a member of the YouTube channel I would watch that Gianne presentation from the weekend. I didn't know what I didn't know about betta until that. The genetics was simple to grasp for me it was well worth the 5 dollars. I have learned 80 degrees is perfect. I also suggest looking at her website is an amazing resource of everything betta breeding and care:  https://www.ingloriousbettas.com/spawning-bettas.html 

Unfortunately I am not a member of the co-op’s YouTube channel, but I would imagine Gianne covered similar things in that to what she covered in her episode of Randy’s ‘The Aquarist Podcast’, which I’ve listened to probably 3 times over. I’ve had a little look on her website but thanks for reminding me of that! I just had another look and there’s a load that I haven’t looked at yet that will be really valuable. Thanks mate!

 

On 7/21/2021 at 1:20 AM, AnimalNerd98 said:

I have not bred bettas myself personally but I have done quite a bit of research on them. Your setup sounds a lot like what @Dean’s Fishroomdoes which he explains in this livestream: 

He keeps the water level about an inch or two below the lid to prevent them from jumping out. He also has a pro tip where you can use a large spoon to scoop out the bubble nest and transfer the eggs to a rearing tank (if you’re scared of the male eating the eggs/fry). 

In terms of parameters, I would say you are golden. My other piece of advice is to keep an eye on the pair as fins will get nipped and the female could very well lose her life if she is not removed promptly after the eggs have been transferred to the bubble nest. You’ll want to give both the parents some R&R and possibly add some salt (1 tbsp/gallon) if there are any ripped fins.

Good luck! It sounds like a fun project. 

Yeah I got most of my information for the setup from Dean and Gianne (and a local breeder who uses a similar setup as well). Dean always had great advice. I don’t think I’ll remove fry this time, but if the male eats them then I will the next. Assuming I get a spawn. 
Thanks for the reminder on the salt, I’ll make sure to grab some aquarium salt when I’m at my lfs! Definitely going to be keeping a very close eye on the fish. I suspect they’ll spawn overnight, so I’m going to make an effort to get up early and check for a spawn. 
 

Thanks everybody! If anyone else has any other tips or ideas, please let me know 🙂

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Posted (edited)

Oh yeah, that video is great. KFS makes some really informative content about breeding. 
She isn’t lunging, just dancing and flaring for him periodically. Then she goes off and relaxes somewhere for a couple minutes, before going back to it. So I think it might just be right 🙂

Likewise, he’s flaring for her (what a handsome boy!!!) and he’s already made a great little bubble nest for me to steal for their actual spawning attempt! I was so happy to see that this morning when I woke up. I’ve got everything I need for the spawn now, so I’m going to set it up and get everything ready for them to transition into that tub tomorrow evening!!! This is so exciting!

Edit: just noticed that she is chockers full of eggs!!! She was holding some before, but she’s totally just amped up her egg production since meeting the male. 

Edited by Crabby
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Posted (edited)

Ah!! She’s so full of eggs she’s dropping them! Do I try to spawn tomorrow instead, or still wait for Saturday? She’s already dropped 50 or so!

@Dean’s Fishroom sorry to bother you, but you’re the only person on the forum that I’m certain has experienced this before, would you mind letting me know your opinion? I’m really worried for my fish. I would prefer to wait until Saturday so I know my infusoria culture will be ready for the fry, but I’m also scared that being this full of eggs is detrimental to the fish’s health. 

Edited by Crabby
Decided to reach out to Dean
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So I got nervous last night and tried a spawn. They kept looking promising, then not promising, then promising again, and not promising again… and after 20 minutes I didn’t have a good feeling about it and decided to cork it. The male is staying in the tank so he can build up a nice bubble nest, and the female has gone back to her tank. Not sure whether to try again tomorrow or wait longer.

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Yeah I think I’ll still give it a go. If it doesn’t work out then I’ll wait a couple more weeks and restart the process.

I’m a little worried now about the female because she’s not only dropping eggs, but weird shapes that seem to be made of the egg-material. I can’t for the life of me work out what they are. But hopefully actually spawning might help to get it out of her system.

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I breed bettas and I never test the water or tested for temperature because unless your parameters are way off, you’ll be fine. I take a pair put them in a bucket and put the female in a jar and the male out, put a plants and cover the whole thing so no light or little light enters and after two days release them. obviously you gota feed them really well and get the female nice and plump.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah I’m not bothering with testing parameters. I’ve heard some great breeders talk about temp being important so I’m trying to aim for 26°C but it’s a loose goal. We’re in winter right now so it’s hard to get that temp, but I’m getting 24+ at least.

The female was VERY plump before dropping all those infertile eggs, and she’s back to normal size now (which I think is semi-plump anyways?) so I'm hoping she’s still ready. 
 

I’ve decided to use a divider instead of separating with the female in a bottle, and she’s instantly way more interactive with the male, and the male is now equally interested in her and in the styrofoam piece I put in there for his bubble nest. Maybe it’s not the conventional method, but I’m getting a much better response from the fish already. I think I should be able to attempt a spawn tomorrow. Hopes are very high.

Edited by Crabby
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@Adrian Rodriguezif they haven’t spawned yet after 10 hours but they don’t look like they’re being very aggressive (male is chasing the female a little but he just darts after her then leaves her alone) I should be fine to leave them together, right?

Also is there anything I can do to stop the male from chasing the female every time she checks out the bubble nest? Cuz it’s meant to be good when she does that, but every time he chases her away. He’s very possessive of it. And I’m almost positive they haven’t spawned yet. He just wants to keep making it bigger and bigger, for seemingly no purpose.

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On 7/25/2021 at 5:56 AM, Crabby said:

@Adrian Rodriguezif they haven’t spawned yet after 10 hours but they don’t look like they’re being very aggressive (male is chasing the female a little but he just darts after her then leaves her alone) I should be fine to leave them together, right?

Also is there anything I can do to stop the male from chasing the female every time she checks out the bubble nest? Cuz it’s meant to be good when she does that, but every time he chases her away. He’s very possessive of it. And I’m almost positive they haven’t spawned yet. He just wants to keep making it bigger and bigger, for seemingly no purpose.

The male is going to chase the female and thats why she needs a lot of cover but but after some time the male should start to want to breed and allow her to be close and might even swim towards her and flare up to try get the females attention but if after a day they are still darting all around you should remove the female so she doesn’t get beat up 

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On 7/25/2021 at 5:55 PM, Crabby said:

He’s certainly flaring for her, he seems pretty interested, but then he has these weird moments where he just gives up on his attempts to impress her and chases her off. Is there anything I can do to have a better chance of them spawning at this point?

how much time did u leave them separated and in what are u breeding them on? I recomend putting the female in a jar or bottle so they are always in sight, breed them in a bucket or top with a lot of floating plants like guppy grass, and I leave the female from 2-3 days. 2 if the male does the nest quick but if he takes longer i’ll leave them three days completely covered before letting the female out and the i cover it up again until they spawn

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On 7/26/2021 at 8:18 AM, Adrian Rodriguez said:

how much time did u leave them separated and in what are u breeding them on? I recomend putting the female in a jar or bottle so they are always in sight, breed them in a bucket or top with a lot of floating plants like guppy grass, and I leave the female from 2-3 days. 2 if the male does the nest quick but if he takes longer i’ll leave them three days completely covered before letting the female out and the i cover it up again until they spawn


I had them separated for 3 or 4 days before the female started dropping eggs, then I tried spawning them and the female was really not into it, so I took her out and left him in the tank. That was earlier this week. Then I reintroduced her to him for a day before trying this attempt. I tried the bottle method but she hated it, totally got freaked out because he wouldn’t leave her alone, so I changed it to a divider and they both acted much better (she was really into him, and he was still into her but finally started making his bubble nest.

He already had a good nest when I released her, but he’s insisted on making a fricking bubble mansion now, although I don’t think he realises it doesn’t matter if he keeps being weird and won’t let the female get close.

I’ve got them breeding in a 5 gallon tank filled halfway up with IAL + aquarium-salt water as recommended earlier in the thread. Couple of IAL, big bunch of Java moss behind one leaf so she can fully hide from him, a sponge filter turned off, and a little bit of duckweed. The duckweed wasn’t intentional of course… it’s duckweed. 

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On 7/25/2021 at 7:12 PM, Crabby said:


I had them separated for 3 or 4 days before the female started dropping eggs, then I tried spawning them and the female was really not into it, so I took her out and left him in the tank. That was earlier this week. Then I reintroduced her to him for a day before trying this attempt. I tried the bottle method but she hated it, totally got freaked out because he wouldn’t leave her alone, so I changed it to a divider and they both acted much better (she was really into him, and he was still into her but finally started making his bubble nest.

He already had a good nest when I released her, but he’s insisted on making a fricking bubble mansion now, although I don’t think he realises it doesn’t matter if he keeps being weird and won’t let the female get close.

I’ve got them breeding in a 5 gallon tank filled halfway up with IAL + aquarium-salt water as recommended earlier in the thread. Couple of IAL, big bunch of Java moss behind one leaf so she can fully hide from him, a sponge filter turned off, and a little bit of duckweed. The duckweed wasn’t intentional of course… it’s duckweed. 

if the female was dropping eggs it will probably won’t work. You’ll have to wait a week minimum and feed her rich foods. In the setup I would do the same but without the salt or additives but I don’t know your water so if you think it is a must do it and try to put some almond leaves as its beneficial for the fish. I actually try to always have almond leaves with my bettas because of the minerals it releases into the water. You’ll probably going to have many times that it doesn’t happen but that doesn’t mean the set up is bad, I had like 4 or 5 pairs of betta before I got a hang on breeding them.

The picture was in 2018 or 2017 when I was starting to breed fish but its just to show that it doesn’t need to be to fancy or complicated.64521523-64B6-4226-B3DD-40FEF2130BA7.jpeg.b021d2c43dea7887edee934c491be85d.jpegDAB3209C-8030-47CA-8231-650A33323162.png.a4494fa70af6c3da3477315de9bddd65.png

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On 7/26/2021 at 11:52 AM, Adrian Rodriguez said:

if the female was dropping eggs it will probably won’t work. You’ll have to wait a week minimum and feed her rich foods. In the setup I would do the same but without the salt or additives but I don’t know your water so if you think it is a must do it and try to put some almond leaves as its beneficial for the fish. I actually try to always have almond leaves with my bettas because of the minerals it releases into the water. You’ll probably going to have many times that it doesn’t happen but that doesn’t mean the set up is bad, I had like 4 or 5 pairs of betta before I got a hang on breeding them.

The picture was in 2018 or 2017 when I was starting to breed fish but its just to show that it doesn’t need to be to fancy or complicated.64521523-64B6-4226-B3DD-40FEF2130BA7.jpeg.b021d2c43dea7887edee934c491be85d.jpegDAB3209C-8030-47CA-8231-650A33323162.png.a4494fa70af6c3da3477315de9bddd65.png

The tank in the first image looks very similar to mine. Not sure if you’re aware but IAL is just an acronym for Indian almond leaf. I agree, they’re amazing for breeding all sorts of fish and shrimp!

If you don’t think it’ll work because she was dropping eggs, I’ll pull her now. Thanks for saying that, I wasn’t sure whether it would affect the spawning. I’ll go get some more mosquito larvae to re-condition her. Can I leave the male in the breeding tank?

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On 7/25/2021 at 10:34 PM, Crabby said:

The tank in the first image looks very similar to mine. Not sure if you’re aware but IAL is just an acronym for Indian almond leaf. I agree, they’re amazing for breeding all sorts of fish and shrimp!

If you don’t think it’ll work because she was dropping eggs, I’ll pull her now. Thanks for saying that, I wasn’t sure whether it would affect the spawning. I’ll go get some more mosquito larvae to re-condition her. Can I leave the male in the breeding tank?

I think you should pull her and give time to recondition. When the female drops the eggs and they don’t breed that day or the other (pushing) it wont work probably. That actually happened to me with the pair that was in the tank but I saw when she started dropping the eggs and released her right away and I don’t remember the exact time but like in less than an hour they were breeding. 

No, I didn’t know IAL was for indian almond leaves my bad 😂

I am going to start to breed bettas again to. As I kept growing in the hobby I wanted to breed other stuff and started concentrating in rams, apistos, angels ect.

It might be frustrating but if you keep trying I think you will get a hang of it sooner than later.

If you have any other problem or doubt let me know.

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On 7/26/2021 at 1:38 PM, Adrian Rodriguez said:

I think you should pull her and give time to recondition. When the female drops the eggs and they don’t breed that day or the other (pushing) it wont work probably. That actually happened to me with the pair that was in the tank but I saw when she started dropping the eggs and released her right away and I don’t remember the exact time but like in less than an hour they were breeding. 

No, I didn’t know IAL was for indian almond leaves my bad 😂

I am going to start to breed bettas again to. As I kept growing in the hobby I wanted to breed other stuff and started concentrating in rams, apistos, angels ect.

It might be frustrating but if you keep trying I think you will get a hang of it sooner than later.

If you have any other problem or doubt let me know.

Thank you so much for your advice mate. I really appreciate your time. 
Breeding fish is one of my favourite parts of the hobby, and bettas seem to have such a fascinating breeding process that I’m certainly going to keep trying until I get a successful spawn, at least. I actually started off breeding apistos, and they’re super cool in their own way, especially with their courtship and parenting. I hate to have favourites… but my apistogramma nijsseni pair are totally my favourite fish. What types of apistos did/do you keep and breed?

I regret not trying to breed immediately when I saw her dropping eggs. I did try maybe 12 hours later, but by then she was really exhausted and freaked out, and my male didn’t have time to build a bubble nest in the breeding tank. I think my takeaway from that experience is that I should simply introduce the fish to each other with a divider and it should be inside the breeding tank so that as soon as they’re ready to go, I am too. Your advice has been really helpful regarding this spawn attempt, and I reckon with your tips in mind I should be able to get a successful spawn next time.

Cheers!

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