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Old 01-08-2013, 02:36 PM   #1 
LadyVictorian
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Breeding for pet vs show

Do any betta breeders actually breed to better the species? Or it it pretty much all just show? In the mouse world there are show breeders and though they breed beautiful show mice anyone who breeds to better the species avoids them like the plague. Because of heavy inbreeding show mice seldom live beyond a year and bloodlines are riddled with horrid genetic flaws and defects. Then you had the pet breeders who actually breed mice for the betterment of the species. Pet breeders still kept beautiful mice but they weeded out the flaws from bloodlines such as popular tumors and weak immune systems. Pet breeders mice also lived an average of 3 years, more than the general lifespan of mice which is 1-2 years.

It got me wondering do any better breeders do this? Breed for health and temperament quality over having perfect show betta's? I know most show betta's are horridly inbreed and have weaker immune systems than a fighter who will be more hardy so to me the fighter is actually the one being bred for the better of the species.

Some things I always thought were good pointers for breeding high quality pet betta's

Hardiness and health: Strong immune systems and fish who are less likely to get sick from stress.
Docile: Less aggressive animals that can be kept with other fish more easily.
Finnage: Sacrifice bigger fancy tails for lighter fins, easier to swim, less tail biting from heavy fins.
Longevity: Living longer than average for betta's

I know with pet breeders a lot of pet breeders have breed the aggression out of their mice. Most people don't know this but normally keeping two male mice together means they will kill each other. Male mice are very aggressive and territorial and will skin each other alive with their teeth and gnaw off each others limbs until one or both die. Like Betta's it will not always happen right away but it will happen. Pet breeders especially in the UK have breed this out COMPLETELY and can safely keep males together under the same conditions you can keep females together. No "you need 10 gallons per mouse and thousands of hiding spots or they will fight." but "You need 10 gallons for 3 mice, one hut...they will snuggle together for warmth at night." YEAH...that is kind of a big thing, even neutered male mice will kill each other but UK three intact males can live peacefully together because that was bred out of them.

It just hit me since i have studied near 5 years now to be a mouse breeder and am in the next few years getting my first bucks from a breeder in France because her bucks are basically 100% perfect for pet breeding stock and even show breeders buy from her because her quality physically and genetically is so superior they freak. Made me think if there are two versions of breeders in the mouse and even rat world then I questioned if there was a pet vs show breeder's in the betta world as well.

And when I say pet betta I don't mean breeders who just breed petco fish, I am talking about breeders who have tracked bloodlines for 10 years to make sure they have the healthiest animals they could possibly breed with the longest life lines. As pet mouse breeders actually tend to put MORE work into their bloodlines and are pickier than show breeders who don't care if their buck's died at 6 months from cancer.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:54 PM   #2 
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From the little I have read here, OldFishLady seems to be that kind of breeder.

OFL if you come in here do you sell your betta fish?
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Old 01-08-2013, 03:12 PM   #3 
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I have noticed OFL is a lot like a mouse breeder I know in Wisconsin. Was always the best breeder I got to meed in the stares. I wonder if there are many more breeders out there like that and they just slip onto the sidelines because showing seems to be more of the bigger deal.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:31 PM   #4 
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Hmm... I wonder that as well. I will and always only breed healthy, hardy, and strong, but I also want my fish to be attractive and sellable, so as a responsable you must find a balance between the two.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:56 PM   #5 
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That's the kind of breeder that I aim to be, whether it be rabbits, or bettas. Health and temperament is very important in the pet trade, and sometimes in show also. If your dog, goat, horse, cat or rabbit bites the judge, you are often disqualified!

Frequently, the health or temperament of a bloodline will fall to the wayside in favor of perfect conformation.
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Old 01-08-2013, 05:59 PM   #6 
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I wonder this too! So far OFL is the only one I'm aware of.

I myself when I finally get a good spawn will only breed healthy and happy fish, but I will be breeding to get the correct finnage and form as well.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:17 PM   #7 
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I wish more people bred for the betterment of the species. I have ofter fanticized about breeding my own type of betta. A new breed specifically bred for their health and temperment. Females who are better in sororities. Males without overburdened tails or bad spines. All with big personailities who interact with owners and could be placed in a community. The physical characteristics would evolve on their own. Ahhhh, I would love it so
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:26 PM   #8 
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Temperament you most likely won't be able to breed with these fish.. rodents have a higher IQ, fish live directly from instinct. Even their "personalities" are not a sign of individuals but of a learned behavior of association. That is about as far as we can go when it comes to changing the way a fish "thinks" and "acts".
Yes, some people are able to keep different sexed individuals together in a tank, but it's a process of picking out fish that aren't as aggressive (which happens in every animal), and the right set up. But in every spawn from two passive fish, almost all of them will be naturally aggressive. People like OFL still have troubles with many of their becoming aggressive. It isn't gone away at all - but rather the fish deal with it themselves.

What's to say that if we do breed these guys to be very passive, what would happen? Would people try to stick two or three into a one gallon tank, as they still only "live in puddles" but now are friendly to boot? Would their colors or fins not be as brilliant because they don't need to scare off intruders and show another male/female that he is bigger than the other? Would they still interact with us (which being alone most of the time encourages that behavior) or would they be like most of the other fish out there and in time ignore what is going on outside of the tank?

Why mess with nature?

Can breed for health - pick healthy adults and give the fry the best.. no reason not to. But even then you can't guarantee that every fish you sell will be healthy in a month or so because of a health issue internally that was not shown previously?

By breeding for a healthy betta with good genes, strong finnage you are bettering the species.. a breeder who breeds for show won't breed sickly, weak bettas. As for inbreeding, majority of the breeders only inbreed to a point. They know when to stop.. every animal out there in the world inbreeds if given the chance. If the bettas are strong and healthy then their offspring will be too. Again, breeders inbreed to a point and then they stop and bring in new genes.

Can't think of these little ones as if they all think and feel like us, have actual personalities.. they are simply animals with instincts, and good breeders will keep them healthy and beautiful. It's people who start to breed with no research, not the proper equipment who don't breed for the health and well being of the fish.. but those people will either give up after a spawn or two, so you don't have to worry about them, or will learn as they go and become good breeders. One doesn't spend the thousands it costs to breed bettas, and the hours each day you have to spend to care for them to breed bad bettas.

I personally would rather have my bettas be what they are, even though these are not bettas that you find in the wild, but they were created by us.. and I like the way they turned out.
So how about that? These fancy bettas aren't what mother nature created, but were created by humans.. so you gotta keep in mind that the people who spent years and years perfecting them do actually care about them.

As for deformities like bad spines and such..? Every living thing out there, humans included, give birth to deformities. One cannot simply stop that. Period. We humans have evolved to caring for our own who are deformed.. animals will either eat their deformed babies or nature kills them. But no one can stop that from happening, no matter how healthy the parents are.

:)

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Old 01-08-2013, 07:35 PM   #9 
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Yeah... I so went on a tangent.. lol sorry!

Having friendly bettas can be fun, but again, being how they are is what makes them stand out :)
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Old 01-08-2013, 07:40 PM   #10 
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There's a lot of social fish species who are still social with their keepers. Even "dumb" ones like goldfish. But the people who originated the breed, bred for aggressive fish. That is something controlled by breeding. Yes, there will be throwbacks, who will be more aggressive than other fish.

In all reality though, how many of the things that genuine breeders are working on, get out to the general public? There's a lot of varieties that I've only recently learned about, and some of it I learned here. I didn't know about the other betta species until I signed up with a forum in the first place.

In my honest opinion, we need to focus on the health and longevity of bettas before we try messing with temperament.
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