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Old 07-20-2012, 12:19 PM   #1 
MollyJean
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Lightbulb Controversial breeding

Before this thing gets going, let me set one rule;

NO ARGUING!

If you do not know how to have a debate without turning it into an argument, I suggest that you just read and not post. This is a touchy subject and I want to get to the roots of it, not stay stuck on the gut reactions to taboo practices.

I also want to make something clear. This is all theory. I have no intention of breeding any defective fish. At this point I haven't the knowledge or experience to do so. So consider anything said here-in as purely theory and fact gathering.



Over the years, betta have changed from the very simple vale-tails we had as children to many different types. We now have crown-tails and comb-tails that range from a few single spikes at the ends of the tail to double and triple branching, extra long spikes and some very strange and interesting shapes. Double-tails where almost unheard of when I was young, and now they are everywhere, and what's more, we know HOW this mutation happened and how to reproduce it. Half-moon and deltas are common, and we have the knowledge to understand and prevent rose-tails, even though they are beautiful fish. All of this came from one practice; breeding deformities. There is NOTHING like the double-tail, rose-tail and comb-tail betta in the wild, these things have been selectively bred for decades to produce a look that is favorable and, for the most part, healthy.

Of course, each type has it's issues. The comb-tail is prone to curling in the wrong water, and the long spikes can be damaged easily; The delta and half-moon can, with improper breeding, create a rose-tail, which is a beautiful fish, but not without it's own problems. And the double-tail; In my opinion it is the greatest achievement for betta breeders, but the health risks are great, a double-tail can have a very short body, and much of a betta's body contains the swim bladder, which if damaged or deformed can cause serious and life threatening problems. But we love these fish regardless, and are willing to deal with the problems as they come.

At some point, each of these breeds was nothing more then an idea, and some brave person decided to accept the challenge of breeding and refining their stock into something new and interesting. And betta aren't the only fish affected by this. Most notably, goldfish have evolved over the years into some very strange, and some scary, mutations.

But when are these experiments acceptable? When the first breeders of double-tails decided to take the chances on this form of betta, where they ridiculed and shunned? I have to think so. We are taught that it is bad to breed an imperfect fish. Our chosen breeding stock has even fins, a full body, a straight line to the nose, ect; Breeding to create a deformity is wrong on a primal level.

Why?

Many of us have come across deformities that are not normally seen in Betta. Most breeders cull these imperfections at an early age. But there are those who keep the imperfect fish and some that slip through the cracks. And some of these imperfections are not life threatening. So when is it acceptable to breed a mutation?

I have been struggling with these questions lately. I have recently started breeding, and my first pair will be ready tomorrow, after a week of preparation. They are healthy representatives of their species, both large, in the prime of their lives, both physically fit and whole; An acceptable breeding pair. There will likely be a few deformed fry.... and this is the part where the lines blur;

In your opinion, what should be culled?
what are your thoughts on breeding imperfect fish for a specific deformity?

At this point, I am of the opinion that if the fish is healthy and able to live a full life, it should be allowed to do so. Case in point, Tidbit; a female who was born without a tail. This would seem to be a major deformity.. but it isn't life threatening and does not detract at all from her quality of life. In fact, this deformity might give her an edge over the other females in her group. So I know when coming across this deformity that it isn't always life threatening and any fry born like this will be spared, unless other deformities manifest that are damaging. But should this deformity be cultivated? I could easily breed Tidbit to produce more of her type, as was done with double-tail and crown-tail bettas in the past, but on a moral and ethical level, is it acceptable? I would like as much input as possible, please. :)

Last edited by MollyJean; 07-20-2012 at 12:22 PM.
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Old 07-20-2012, 12:54 PM   #2 
Creat
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I guess I am one of the few people left that feels it okay to breed pet store, or genetically unknown fish. I think that if a deformity is non life threatening nor takes away from quality of life its fine. I wouldnt breed tail-less fish because a) its probably extremely ressesive and b) I think it takes away from quality of life. I think a fish without a tail has to compensate which might lead to a shorter life.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:07 PM   #3 
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I thought the same thing, but Tidbit has no problems at all swimming. I had gotten a short tank for her at first, and quickly moved her out. For one, she is faster then my other fish, even the girls, and jumps much higher. And she has no tail to bite, so doesn't get damaged in scruffs with the other girls. I honestly believe she has an excellent quality of life, which is what brought this on; She is healthy, the deformity is not reducing her quality of life, so what are other reasons for or against breeding such a deformity. And not just this one, others like the extra tendrils on the sides of betta's tail, which I have seen in several bettas now.

Though I do agree, something like that might be very recessive. I have no idea how many of her siblings had the same issue, if any.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:35 PM   #4 
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I believe that as long as a deformity doesn't affect the quality of life, then by all means let the fish live. However, I don't think breeding for a tailless fish would be very sucessful, for one thing it would be very recessive, for another, most people buy their fish based on the fin color/form.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:46 PM   #5 
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To start....the domesticated Betta we keep are all deformed in away......The long fins are a deformity of sorts. You don't see long fin in the wild-that was a creation of man from selective breeding.

The weak, malformed, odd colored like albino in the wild are culled naturally-rarely do they survive since mother nature takes care of that. You still have a lot more deformities in the wild than you know since they don't survive for long.

When you have reproduction in a closed/controlled system-fish that normally would be culled in the wild-survive in our aquarium due to lack of predators and/or special care.

When breeding IMO.....you should have goals and what doesn't meet that goal should be culled. Culled doesn't always mean killing, however, in my fish room it does. I cull hard at several different stages.

My view with breeding this species is that I want quality not quantity-Lots of Betta that need homes and by keeping every single fry of low quality or that doesn't meet your goals isn't practical IMO...

My question is what are you going to do with the sever deformed offspring or the ones that don't meet your goals......

Quality of life-vs-poor quality of life....

Even the best quality breeders will produce some deformities in a spawn-just like in nature and IMO...its our job as responsible fish keepers to be mother nature in regards of culling-weak, deformed, poor quality....etc.....

Along with genetics you also have environmental factors that can play a big role in the game too....in my opinion/experience....


And Creat, your not alone...I am of the opinion that some pet shop Betta are fine to spawn too-provided that it meets your goals to improve what you are working on...especially if you are trying to create your own unique line. They either meet standards or they don't-IMO it just mystery genetic and it can be exciting to find out what is hidden-

MollyJean-if that female has quality life, is not suffering and you have the time and space to meet her special needs.....Nothing wrong with keeping her IMO, however, I wouldn't use her for spawning.....I have kept some pretty deformed Betta for pets that I normally would have culled because of their uniqueness.....
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:50 PM   #6 
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Im talking internaly she might strain organs from muscles having to compensate for no tail. But a shorter lifespan for one lucky fish isnt to bad.
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Old 07-20-2012, 01:57 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
To start....the domesticated Betta we keep are all deformed in away......The long fins are a deformity of sorts. You don't see long fin in the wild-that was a creation of man from selective breeding.

The weak, malformed, odd colored like albino in the wild are culled naturally-rarely do they survive since mother nature takes care of that. You still have a lot more deformities in the wild than you know since they don't survive for long.

When you have reproduction in a closed/controlled system-fish that normally would be culled in the wild-survive in our aquarium due to lack of predators and/or special care.

When breeding IMO.....you should have goals and what doesn't meet that goal should be culled. Culled doesn't always mean killing, however, in my fish room it does. I cull hard at several different stages.

My view with breeding this species is that I want quality not quantity-Lots of Betta that need homes and by keeping every single fry of low quality or that doesn't meet your goals isn't practical IMO...

My question is what are you going to do with the sever deformed offspring or the ones that don't meet your goals......

Quality of life-vs-poor quality of life....

Even the best quality breeders will produce some deformities in a spawn-just like in nature and IMO...its our job as responsible fish keepers to be mother nature in regards of culling-weak, deformed, poor quality....etc.....

Along with genetics you also have environmental factors that can play a big role in the game too....in my opinion/experience....


And Creat, your not alone...I am of the opinion that some pet shop Betta are fine to spawn too-provided that it meets your goals to improve what you are working on...especially if you are trying to create your own unique line. They either meet standards or they don't-IMO it just mystery genetic and it can be exciting to find out what is hidden-

MollyJean-if that female has quality life, is not suffering and you have the time and space to meet her special needs.....Nothing wrong with keeping her IMO, however, I wouldn't use her for spawning.....I have kept some pretty deformed Betta for pets that I normally would have culled because of their uniqueness.....
Thank you for the reply, but would you expand on it a little.. WHY would you prefer not to spawn her? Is it because it is a defect and your gut reaction is to avoid breeding defects, or is there another reason? I am trying to get to the reasons behind the reactions so many people have to breeding defects.

If, for example (consider this rhetorical) I had the goal to breed a line of betta like Tidbit, or experiment with her genetics to see what other breedable deformaties I could produce, the gut reaction is don't do it, but why?

It would produce unwanted fry, and yes, many of them would have to be culled due to the poor quality of life many defects create, but this is the process used for producing double-tail, crown-tail and, outside of the betta species, many varieties of fish. Is it simply the idea that so many fish will need to be culled that leaves most people unwilling to attempt these pairings, or is it something more?

At this point, and I am sure at all points, my goal will be healthy fish, no matter what the spawning pair is. It's safe to say this is true of most breeders. Where is the line drawn though? When is it acceptable to attempt production of a new line of betta? When is it acceptable to breed a deformity?
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:11 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creat View Post
Im talking internaly she might strain organs from muscles having to compensate for no tail. But a shorter lifespan for one lucky fish isnt to bad.
Betta with over excessive fins, uneven double-tails and rose-tails all have the potential for the problem you speak of, yet these betta are very popular. Watching Tidbit, she seems to have little problem swimming, she doesn't move as much because she doesn't have a fin which can be cumbersome. But Robin, my red half-moon, has so much trouble swimming it's heartbreaking. He spends much time resting on his heater or his leaf hammock and when he does swim, it's like he's fighting a current, but he is, in the public eye, an acceptable fish. He simply has fins that are SO LONG they slow him down.

I suppose there is no real answer for these questions. A fish can not say he or she is in pain, and we can only go by how they look and act, but there are markers for such things. A fish with a mouth or stomach problem will not eat normally, a fish with a fin or body problem will not swim normally, and will not swim much; ect;.

But there is something I am missing from the process, because double-tails are naturally prone to problems, short bodies produce swim bladder disorders and spine problems, yet these fish are bred and bred again for the trait. Why is it acceptable to breed this deformity and so taboo to breed others?

Perhaps my present goal should be breeding healthy double-tails; Make an attempt to lengthen bodies and straighten spines, as this deformity has not gotten the attention it needs in breeding.
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Old 07-20-2012, 02:44 PM   #9 
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Creation of your own special unique line to improve on what we have is one thing....but to create a line without tails Why-how is that going to improve the Betta-who will you market them too.....And while I am a firm believer in creation-I also feel that what you are wanting to create is something left to the more advanced keeper-but honestly it shouldn't be done at all IMO.

If you spawn her-this at least might tell you if it is genetic-but to understand your goal....you want to see how deformed you can make a Betta and it still live...correct....

No matter what tail type you are working with you will get some deformities that will vary from minor to extreme-The difference is that not all will have that deformity and will meet the standard set forth by the IBC....Like with the doubletails, I work with the doubletail and I will get 1:50 average with bent spines that vary in degree, however, if that was reversed and I only got 1:50 straight spine-then I would draw that line.....
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Old 07-20-2012, 03:04 PM   #10 
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Okay, I do not believe the question was whether or not to breed for tail-less bettas, I think that animal was an example of a non-life-threatening deformity that can leave a fish still capable of enjoying life. That said, I also breed petstore fish. However, IMO, if one is going to breed any animal, careful choice of parents for specific traits is requisite. I choose pet-store fish because I can see them. However, I look for specific colors, traits, etc, and only breed healthy, quarantined fish that I have spent time getting to know. I also take great care to keep the female from sustaining damage, and remove her if she begins to suffer. I have beautiful fish, but I do cull my fry. My rules are as follows:
1. Anything that has a grossly crooked spine
2. Any fish with lock-jaw or difficulty eating enough to survive
3. Any fish suffering from swim bladder disorder that does not recover after treatment (congenital)
4. Any other deformity incompatible with life

Now while some of these seem harsh, it must be noted that I use a larger fish to cull for me. Hannibal is very efficient and the fish suffer much less than they do starving slowly. As for those with swim bladder (not common here, but happened once to a large group), I feed everyone in the tank daphnia, a lower-protein food that encourages defecation. Most fry will then recover quickly. As they get older, those that do not usually are weaker and lay on their side most of the time. I cull these, as they are not acting as they should. Fish that act normally and scoot along eating properly but are not buoyant should be kept; many seem to just prefer the bottom, and can be incorrectly culled if one is not careful.

As for breeding for mutation: I think that one must do genetic research before dabbling in mutation. This said, interesting colors, fin patterns and types, and the like? I say go for it as long as the fish can be happy and healthy. :)
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