The best breeding fish are between six months and a year. During the courtship time of the male betta fish he continually makes funny bubbles on the top of the aquarium; this is just his way of making a nest. The male betta fish when in the wild makes bubble nests so that when the female happens by he does his tribal dance with his fins flashing to suitably impress her, when she is suitably so impressed she will spawn after which he will fertilise the eggs.
It is highly recommended that you purchase a breeding tank if you wish to breed betta fish. A ten gallon bare bottomed tank will be sufficient, but if necessary you can do it with a smaller tank. It is not a complicated chore, but you should condition your betta fish before the breeding commences. This is simply introducing them to live foods.
Introductions are necessary and to do this you must place your bettas in adjoining containers or purchase special tank dividers so that they can see each other without coming into contact. Don’t want them disgracing themselves on their first date do we 🙂
The male will be doing all the one liners whilst the female will turn her back on him in disgust – playing hard to get really, that is of course unless he is really handsome devil. This usually lasts between 3 and 5 days, sometimes a little longer. When they have got to know each other you can put them together in the same tank.
Don’t forget that betta fish like shallow water, so the water should only be about 5 inches deep. In order to help the male make his bubble nest is to put a large leaf in the tank. The pH level should be around 7.0 and the temperature slightly higher than 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
The breeding tank should be about 5 inches deep. Place a large leaf or a piece of foam in it to aid the male in building the bubble nest. When you are selecting the pair of fish you want to breed, take into consideration your favourite shaped fish and its colour that appeals to you. Also take into consideration that the male should be larger than the female and have lots of energy and the more vibrant the colour the better. You will know when the male is ready; he starts to make the bubble nest. The female can lay upwards of 500 eggs and you will notice when she is ready, her stomach will distend and will culminate at the ovipositor – this is the white egg spot that protrudes from the abdomen. When you see vertical stripes on her flanks you will know that she is ready to lay the eggs. If they are horizontal stripes it will mean that she feeling stressful.
It should only take the male betta about 1 or 2 days to blow his bubble nest. Make sure there is a hiding place for the female so that she can make herself scarce after she lays her eggs. Place plants in the tank and this will provide shelter for her. The reason she needs this hiding place is because the male can become very aggressive during the courtship. Typical of us men really 🙂
The two of them circle each other under the bubble nest during the courtship, the male displaying his intense colouring and puffing his fins out to make himself more enticing. For the female to have her fins frayed an losing a few scales is not unusual during the spawning period.
The female will turn over and the male will literally wrap himself around her as she lays her eggs. The female is apt to become sluggish and lethargic, floating to the surface, so don’t be alarmed. This laying her eggs is an exhausting job. The female takes a while to finish the process and this will happen a few times before the job is done. The eggs being fertilised will sink to the bottom. This is when the male will take over and scoop up the eggs in his mouth in order to carry them up to the bubble nest. It is the male who will then become broody and look after his young.
The eggs are fertilized and will sink to the bottom of the tank. Then being the perfect dad he will pick the eggs up in his mouth and place them tenderly into his bubble nest. That’s it; interlude over it was their ‘Brief Encounter’. If the female doesn’t then turn tail and get out of there as quick as possible, the male, just like the female black widow spider will turn on her male partner, the male betta will turn on the female. It is the male beta who cares for the eggs until they hatch, after which he may or may not choose to devour some of his young, so much for being the perfect dad!!
As soon as the mating is over you must remove the female and return her to her own tank or partition of the tank. Please be careful when you do this so that you don’t disturb the nest. It is whilst he is tending to his young that he will show greater aggression to the female. If any of the eggs fall out of the nest the male will scoop them back up and return them to the nest. Within a couple of days the eggs will hatch and the fry (young fish) will hang from the nest with their tails pointing downwards. The fry will live on the yolk sack of their eggs for another couple of days. If they fall out of the nest, just as when they were eggs, the male will scoop them up and put them back.
It takes the fry 3 or 4 days to start swimming, it is when they start to swim freely that you should remove the male or he will EAT THEM. The fry will need feeding twice a day, you can get a supply of baby brine shrimp or a very fine baby food called Daphnia from your pet stores. Alternatively you can feed them a dry mixture called Tetra. Tetra is designed for egg-laying fish, but is very good for the fry. This can also be got from your pet store.
At 2 weeks old you can start changing the water, but be extra careful because they are still very small and fragile. Remember they are still very small and fragile. Remember to be extra careful because fish or a very fine baby food called Daphnia from your pet shop.
You can also feed them Tetra. Tetra is normally for egg-laying fish, but is very good for fry. When the fry reach 2 weeks you can begin small water changes but do be careful as the fry are still very small. Remember that you must never over-feed your fish as the water will become foul very quickly and can be lethal to your fry.