The $20 a year will help people in learning how to properly breed, and what to look for.. in making goals and making lots of new friends.
Majority of betta owners want a male.. the female trade is okay, but not as wide spread as you may think in order to say killing thousands of males is fine because you are finding thousands of females homes. Just my opinion.. What did you do with your other spawns?
Culling isn't easy, and it won't be once they get to the age where they are dancing for you and showing their personality, which is when you can start to guess a little more accurately their sex. So you will be raising these little ones for a long time before you will know with certain their sex.. you may have issue killing the ones you become attached to. I cull deformities and stunts.. it's necessary if you are wanting to breed healthy fry and to be able to find homes for them. But if they are healthy, why not try to find them homes? Help put a little change in the pocket to continue the ever growing expenses it takes to breed.
There are a couple breeders out there that will kill any that aren't "perfect", and those breeders are pretty much shunned from most of the breeding community. Breeding these animals, the hours per day it takes, the hundreds and thousands of dollars spent to breed, etc.. it's a love. You don't make money on it at all but spend a lot.. you will soon learn that giving away every fish for free will be hard on the wallet unless you are rich or have a great job. Majority of the breeders here breed these fish because they love the species and want to improve and enjoy them. It's hard for most of them to accept that someone will breed them just to kill them because they are boys.. if you are already talking like this, then you may not have the time and dedication it takes at finding them homes.. which is why we believe you will rather just kill them than try to find them all homes as most breeders don't speak this way.
Keep in mind, not a whole lot of people keep sororities, just a small few who do.. you may see people here who have them, but out there in most of the betta world, it's not as common. So keep that in mind - unless you can work on a couple lines to make the females spectacular to sell them to make it worth the money/time I wouldn't focus just on the girls. You will want to breed the best, because without careful planning and knowing what to look for/what is best you will end up spitting out sub-par fish that will all end up in the mouths of oscars :(
I wish you luck in what you do.. but honestly with your plans I think you are getting way in over your head with what you are wanting and will be overrun with fish which will end in illnesses, etc. Breed to enjoy and have fun.. enjoy the fish and find them all homes..
I think that nearly everyone I have read about breeding here has mentioned culling. Sometimes hundreds at a go, because they are slightly smaller or not the desired color, so jumping on someone who's matter-of-fact about it reminds me of glass houses and stones.
I think that a share or pay-it-forward program is a great idea. We are learning to breed, and I haven't posted about it here yet, but my first spawn are a week old. I am fascinated and enchanted by the process, and I have a good local market for my pet-store bettas.
But Ilikebutterflies has a point, I am not and honestly can't afford to pay Aquabid prices so I can start with a show-quality pair when we might have had only this one spawn and then said "Naah, it's not for us". We're not IBC members yet, because if we had decided we never wanted to bred again, there'd not have been much point to it.
Sometimes I think folks need to remember that we all start somewhere, and it's good of Ilikebutterflies to reach out. And, as far as the culling goes, unless a breeder has never culled a fish for say, ick or similar problem, or space - not just jar space, grow out tank space - or color, or for not having a 180 spread, etc, then it's not really fair of them to jump on someone who culls for a different reason then they do.
I've never culled for ich (that's rather ridiculous if you ask me, it's very easy and simple to cure), aesthetics (just seems plain cruel, and is difficult for the breeder because, like Myates said, by the time you can judge their qualities they are starting to show you their unique personalities), or space (if I ever have to many from a spawn, I will remove eggs from the nest... Much less cruel if done soon enough. This one is a bit more acceptable in my eyes though, since it directly impacts the other fishes well being).
Anyways, yes, we all start somewhere, but we should help them start out right.
Honestly people breed goldfish to be killed, people breed danios to be killed why cant people breed bettas where a number of them can be killed? Not all will be killed and its a nice wee supply of live food for the oscar too.
Culling for looks is normal, most bettas are bred for looks so strict selection processes are placed on them based on looks. Some people may want culls but not enough people to harbour every single one. Personally I think its responsible to cull a bad fish instead if giving it to someone who may breed it. Even if you tell them not to theres nothing stopping them from still doing it or selling it to someone who will.
In NZ we have too many people not culling and honestly, as a result most of the fish for sale and bred in the country are poo. Absolute trash, horrid colours and mangy tails galore. But these are being sold and bought because no one is culling them and people are buying and breeding them. Now if those breeders were to cull their uglies instead of selling them the betta market wouldnt be swamped in skummy culls.
So Im an advocate for culling sub par fish. The last thing you want is someone breeding your cull and theres no reason why a cull should have to take up the resources that could be given to a good promising fish. Plus the oscar gets a nice meal
I wouldnt cull if a fish has ick though thats just lazy lol.
Firstly, I have to say I culled a batch of fry that had ich. Ich can be incredibly resistant depending on what strain you have, and after battling it in tanks that housed some extremely rare and valuable wilds, I decided to cull off the tank with the fry that was most severely affected because I didn't want to risk re-infecting everyone. Call me lazy, but if you have ever had a serious case of ich in very young fish you will know it is not at all easy to cure.
Secondly, culling is a very personal choice that is largely dependent on the breeder's ethics and goals. Some breeders strive for perfection and so when it takes so much time and effort to raise a spawn, why waste time on those that don't meet the mark?
You have to realise, that to many wholesale breeding farms, breeding bettas is a business. It's not just a hobby, it's their livelihood and so I imagine the attitude towards breeding and culling is going to be quite different to that of the average hobbyist. Yet those same farms produce some extremely nice fish. There is a reason so many people still purchase their bettas from overseas.
I think there is nothing wrong with culling fry for whatever reason as long as it is done humanely. If you are fast the fish doesn't even know what has hit them.
Aquabid hardly the best place for breeding stock imo. Many of the aquabid fish are the culls of Thai breeders. You can get quality stock from breeders/members here actually. I havnt had to cull much but lucky have a good petstore helping me move the less than perfects that result in almost every spawn. Each spawn requires lots of time and some money put into it. Getting great stock is actually the cheapest part of breeding. It is the equipment, food and time that adds up.
So this allows people to "play god" and cull fish to suit the goal you have set for the spawn rather than letting nature take it's course?
I understand if the culling is being done due to a severe deformity (maybe he can't swim to find food and will otherwise starve) or the fry is extremely sickly, but because the male doesn't meet you standards? Really? A lot of people would gladly adopt the less fortunate that didn't make the cut. Not a lot of people would breed them. Especially responsible people. Make sure you find them homes. You have a responsibility to make sure every healthy Betta from your spawn gets a chance to be happy and loved. Not just used as spawning machines.
Like I mentioned, I joined bettasfish beacuse I thought this was a place to find help and get advise on the best care possible. I'm just overwhelmed with this culling of bettas that just weren't pretty enough for you. It's like you being born and your parents say, "Oh disgusting, she doesn't have blue eyes. Let's toss her to the gators and try again."
Lots of different opinions and views and ways.. I've only culled for deformities or stunts where the stunted are less than half the size of the medium sized juvies (I don't start culling until around a month of age, sometimes longer to give them a chance to catch up/make sure they do have the little bit of a curved spine, etc).
My "misfits" are actually the better of the sellers and tend to go very quickly.. last batch was just a hodgepodge of different colors, fin degrees, etc and 30+ sold for $10 each within 24hrs (they were healthy and pretty, just not the style I wanted, fin spread not all reaching the 180, etc). So I don't cull for looks personally and it's of my opinion that if the fish is healthy you owe it to at least try to find it a home - whether give it a shot at a LFS, or give it away for free in a box if someone is purchasing fish and wouldn't mind a freebie. With that mindset and my experience in knowing you can generally find most of them a home if you are willing to put in a little effort, I can't agree with killing because of the sex of the fish, etc.
As for sick fish such as ich - I can see LBF's situation and can understand... sometimes it's just not worth the risk. Why I am extremely careful with cross contamination with my breeders. If a spawn is sick or I see a sign of scratching (velvet and such is common in spawns) then I will treat immediately and go into quarantine with them. Normally whatever the issue was clears up pretty quickly as I hit it immediately when it starts.. but I could see myself making a decision on whether or not a spawn should/could be saved and whether it would be ideal to save it (whether or not it has a possibility to affect my breeding stock or other spawns). I wouldn't call not treating an illness lazy, it's something that each breeder has to decide on a case by case situation. If a breeder breeds large volumes of fish then I can see them letting that spawn go because they would lose out on so much if it spread. But if a breeder is small and breeds one or two spawns at a time then it's much easier to control the damage.
I may be blunt, but that's just me.. I have seen too many breeders stop respecting the fish and the hobby in favor of wanting to be "elite" or the "best".. and kill hundreds and hundreds of fish because they don't meet the "standards" nor are the correct color (this time in place of color it would be the sex of the fish). A lot of breeders only cull when at a young age (myself included (so far)), so knowingly go into something and saying I will kill all these fish because they are male when they are older (near mature) to some breeders, it just upsets them. So please understand that you will have people who do not like hearing it.. we all know people do things that just aren't right - like cutting the male's fins saying it will produce healthier/larger spawns, culling due to color, etc.. a lot of breeders try to ignore those things so we don't think about them and when we see/hear them we get upset. I personally am not upset at you, just at the thought of so many lovely fish who just seem to want attention and live "happily" will die due to their sex.. it saddens me. It happens in the animal breeding world all the time, but we don't have to like it. As for the feeder fish.. I wish they didn't have to be bred for feeding other animals.. but we do have cows and pigs.. some are kept as pets, most are kept for food for us. But we don't breed some animals to be food for us.. same with the fish.. some are, some aren't. At least it's an animal that is basically on the lower spectrum of awareness/mental intelligence and they know no better.. whereas by the time you are able to sex the bettas they will recognize you and respond to you. That is the hard part :(
Again, I wish you luck in what you do.. it's not you, but hearing the "ugly" side of some people's breeding choices is what gets some people upset, so please keep that in mind when you discuss it - you'll get the answers and such you want, but there may be someone/s who will disagree is all. It's the downside of being open about the breeding uglies.
So this allows people to "play god" and cull fish to suit the goal you have set for the spawn rather than letting nature take it's course?
That is how all domestic animals were created.
And by mentioning the reason some folks cull, I was not saying that any of those reasons are wrong, or implying bad about anyone. Just that we all make the choices we deem necessary, and others do as well.
Everyone who sees my girl bettas happy and playful in a 10G heated, filtered tank wants some. They may not be as showy as the males, but they are more active, interesting and colorful then a vast many commonly kept fish.
I mentioned here, that I just had my first spawn - now, I might not have that many, but I already have 2 males and 8 females spoken for. So I can see where Ilikebutterflies is coming from. Most folks just don't realize that they can keep a few female bettas in a tank, but once they've seen it they want.
And those girls will get to live in a roomy, heated, decorated home for the rest of their lives.
Whearas males ... people want to treat them like an entirely different species of fish. Small bowls, do we really need to spring $15 for the heater? And other people do it, so what's the big deal (you don't get the other people do it argument when selling the females)
So it actually can be harder to find them good homes, and there are folks here who'd rather cull then have their boys end up a table decoration being poisoned by a floating candle, y'know?
Different folks, different choices. I'm sure no one here has made their decisions based on callousness or without sorrow for the necessity they feel.