Others got you covered.
I'd just like to add that if you think dad can't cope with fry . . . there should be hundreds, pull him out as soon as fry hatch. if you're worried about fry, reduce water level . . . but they should be OK.
I wouldn't disturb daddy unless I had to. IMO no water need to be added at this point.
He has extended his nest along the waterline, it seems he's shuffled it around during the night.
I've been leaving a very low-wattage light on near the tank overnight- I want him to be able to see, but not have the glare of a hood.
In fact, I dispensed w/a classic hood altogether. They are noisy when moving/turning light on/off. I just stuck a loose-fitting plastic tub top over the tank; I can move it gently & silently if I need to.
(I want his environment to be as much like a puddle as possible). I oriented the tank to a place in my front window, a SW exposure, so he gets a few filtered UV rays (if the sun is even out, which it hasn't been!) So no harsh glare of overhead lights. I hope I'm correct in this.
He did gobble up 3 black worms I offered him! He has been staring at me as if to say "what did you get me into?" so I caved & fed him.
Hey, congrats on your first spawn! You've really come a long way from just starting your sorority....hope it all goes well with the babies when they hatch!
Also - I'm sure you've heard this...make sure you keep the water really clean when you do the microworms. If there's a lot of uneaten food at the bottom of the fry tank, it can cause deformed/nonexisten ventral fins. I do not know this from breeding experience, but my boys both don't have ventrals due to that (the breeder admitted it, it's completely OK).
When I boought "Glow", my yellow-orange HM girl, I wanted a whole tank of her!
I searched for weeks but couldn't find the same color. I emailed her breeder in Thailand, but all he had to offer was some washed-out ones. BUT, in my searching, I found Jack in early Feb. I knew these two had to get together!!!
I only decided to breed after I got my 29 gal sorority to work 100%. I lost my original Petco baby betta, but whatever killed her turned out not to be contagious. She wouldn't have died if I pulled her out the MINUTE she started to look bloated. As it was, I gave it a day, and the other girls pulled her to pieces. So now I know: have a heated hospital tank available 24/7 & pull a girl even if she looks even slightly sick.
I don't know how to keep the bottom of the fry tank clean if I'm not supposed to touch things! I was going to add some of my RCS's, but maybe that's not a good idea??? I want to pick up the fish poop, but the eggs haven't hatched.
To continue, NOTHING is written about the period after the spawning and when they fry hatch. All the literature/posts/videos are about how to get a pair to spawn, and then after the fry hatch!
They mated Wed. between 3-5pm; when should I start looking for fry? I want to add water, clean the tank, feed the male, but I'm told I can't. I'm "pacing the waiting room"!!! I am controlling the urge to check on the eggs every 5 min.!!!! I can now relate to expectant fathers (even though I'm a female & mom to boot): you know your going to have "children", but have no control over the process!!
They should be hatching any time now.. 36-48hrs after spawning they may start to hatch, the time depends really on how warm you keep the temp. I had mine spawn mid day Saturday, by Monday night most of them had all hatched - I keep the temp at 84F.
You won't see them swimming around right away, you are going to want to look for tiny tails sticking down from the nest.. be tiny tiny strings almost. A magnifying glass helps for this sometimes. They will fall straight down out of the nest, some will dart back up to it, and the father will also help place them back up. They are very tiny... have to look for the black of their eyes to notice them.
About 2 days after hatching you should see most become horizontal. They won't be swimming around yet, but they will dart a short ways. The dad may still be trying to keep them in the nest at this point as well.
About 3 days after hatching look to see if you see their egg sacs.. if you don't see any then you can start feeding them. I would start off with micro worms, as they are smaller and easier for the fry. Some start with BBS right away, but some fry will smaller than others.. so I prefer to start with micro worms, vinegar eels.. after a few days of feeding that they should all be big enough for BBS, Banana worms, walter worms.. again, can start off with newly hatched BBS if you wish, I just go off of my personal preference. I feed 3-4 times a day.. I'm not doing a fast grow on them, but like to keep their bellies full.
To clean.. I started the day after they were horizontal... some start after 5 days, some a week+.. but I started as soon as I started feeding live food. I use an airline tubing with a clear straw on the end that goes into the water - this way you can guide the tubing to where you want it at with no problem. Can also see if you accidentally suck up a fry... some of them get curious or don't realize to swim away.. To help, I also keep my finger on the other hand over where the water comes out of over the bucket.. so if I see a fry accidentally get sucked up I quickly stop the water flow with that finger and either wait a moment to see if the fry realizes to swim out, or can just dump the water in the tubing back into the tank. It also comes in handy for when you want to get a certain spot, but there are stubborn fry.. use that finger to stop the flow of water and then use the straw end to nudge the fry out of the way.
Remember to keep the end the water is coming from below the tank, let gravity do the work.
To get the suction going I just use my mouth.. (mouthwash for the win!), keeping an eye on the tube and as soon as I see the water go over the tank side I stop sucking. Can also try a turkey baster to get it going.. I haven't had luck using it on the small airline tubing, but a bit larger of one it should work - I use the turkey baster on my drip system tubings just fine.
I also don't add my single snail into the fry tank until the day I start to feed them - help keep the ammonia at bay, as well as I have seen the snails on the IAL/nest anchors too often that it worries me they will be on it while there is a nest/eggs. Even with live plants in the tank I have seen it.. so I just wait until the fry start to eat then I add in a snail. I don't feed the snail while it is in the tank - force it to eat the leftover food from the fry. I feed before I turn out their lights at night (around 9-10pm), give them about 10-15 minutes to eat.. lights out.. and by morning the bottom of the tank is pretty well cleaned of food.
You will want to siphon at least once a day, if not more.. I know some do it an hour after feeding.. but I've seen some of the worm cultures live a few hours after feeding.. and with my snail I just do it once a day. Depending upon size of spawn I would recommend siphoning the bottom first, then remove the water from the top of the tank.. recommended is 30-60% water removal. Or do a few small ones a day of 10-20% if you wish.
To add new water I used a home made drip system, adding a drop of new water every 5-20 seconds. Takes a loooong time to fill up, but it's good to do it slowly. Others will float containers of new water into the tank to get them the same temp and then slooooowly release the water into the tank. I haven't tried it this way, as I'm worried about shock - pH will be different if you use IAL in the tank. So I put IAL into the water being dripped into the tank to help keep it close to the same.
I had a ton of live plants and a snail in there, had the sponge filter going since day one (bred in a tub in the tank, so by time I released them from the tub they could handle the sponge filter), IAL and a temp of 84F.
At 33/34 days of age I have only found 2 dead bodies, and that was once yesterday and once today.. but prior I had not found a single dead body (snail/fry could of eaten any - but it tells me I haven't had any big die-offs) doing it this way. Have 530-550 fry at last count on Tuesday when I moved them to the grow out. At this point I am now feeding BBS every once in a while, Banana and Walter worms, sometimes mixing in some fry flake food I got from the IBC and soon will start to add in frozen tubifex, brine shrimp, blood worms chopped up finely.
I was the same way.. learn all about preparing and breeding them.. but once you get them, you feel a bit lost and unsure and you can't seem to find a lot of info.. lol. But you'll be fine :)