I have a couple of betta care handbooks, and they each have breeding chapters, but they're really only a few pages long. I'm wondering if you have any resources you recommend for breeding info? I can't seem to find any strictly breeding books. I've gotten the info on how to actually breed the fish, but I'm interested in things like genetics and such, as well as more details on how to properly care for the fry. I'd like to know as much in advance as possible before I try breeding- I don't want to do a whole lot of guesswork and have the fish suffer as a result. I'll be using this forum, of course, and as much advice from experienced breeders as I can get, but I'm wondering if there's any books or specific resources that anyone recommends that provide better details on breeding bettas. Thanks!
Well. I must start off with everybody has different methods but these are the ones I've collected from my personal experience and other top breeders in my countries experience with best results. Here ya go.
So. You thought breeding the fish and spawning them was the hard part.... now, raising fry is the really hard part. Follow this guide for help on raising them
Supplies Needed For Raising Betta Splendens Fry
A source of heat or an aquarium heater. Betta fish fry require temperatures a bit different than adults for best and optimal growth, mid to high eighties is what I would recommend for best growth in fry. so 82-85 should suffice
Live food cultures. Betta Splendens Fry require live food cultures as a food source. these can be purchased online as they are rarely found in an aquarium shop. Microworms, WalterWorms, BananaWorms, Brine Shrimp, Fairy Shrimp, Vinegar Eels, and GrindalWorms are all great fry food.
A tank of 20 gallons or larger. An aquarium of 20 gallons or larger should be used as a tank for the fry. This is the perfect size for growing out fry
Individual Containers. you will need individual tank setups, jars, or anything else to house aggressive males in the growout tank. They become nippy and bother siblings so they must be separated
Q-Tips. Q-Tips are needed for harvesting some of the live food cultures for your fry such as MicroWorms and Banana worms off the side of the container they are in
Turkey Baster (Optional). A turkey Baster is optional But I love having them as a tool to spread the food cultures evenly throughout the growout tank
Live Plants (Optional). Live plants are optional for the growout tank but are beneficial as they are believed to promote growth in fry and they also provide a food source called infusoria for very young fry. the older fry cannot eat this.
A Net. A Net Is not optional In My Opinion, It is needed to cause minimal stress on the fry when catching aggressive males or it can be used for removing Dead fry
A Light. A light is definitely needed for the fry growout tank. It can be natural sunlight or artificial light.
A Filter. A filter is an absolute need as it adds oxygen to the water and helps clean the water. pristine water quality is one of the most important things when raising betta fry
A cover or top - Obviously you dont want your fry jumping out of the water or anything getting into your tank that could harm the Betta fry, they are prey to many types of nymphs that can find there way into your tank.
Okay to feed to fry from the free swimming stage up until they are too big to notice them. Feed the Brine shrimp when the brine shrimp are a maximum of 24 hours old. 12 hours is the best, otherwise. the brine shrimp loose there nutritional value after 24 hours.
Just like MircoWorms, Vinegar Eels are small nematodes too. They are an amazing fry food that betta fry love. unlike microworms they can last in an aquarium for a few days and actually swim around your aquarium instead of staying in one area. They can be used during the free swimming stage aswell, and can be a fry food for a few weeks.
Banana Worms are small nematodes that are somehwat common. They are often sold on places such as Aqua Bid, Betta Splendens fry, aswell as many others love banana worms. Cultures can be found online. I got my banana worm culture from a website called the Bug Pantry. MicroWorms, and Banana Worms, can be harvested the same way as eachother, hence why I used the same video. just apply everything the same way but use banana worms instead. and add a small piece of raw banana mashed up inside of the mixture
Walter worms are amazing fry food that betta fish absolutely love. They enjoy them and walter worms are highly nutritious, Microworms, Banana Worms and Walter Worms are basically the same. all can be fed at the same time and are practically the same size
Infusoria is a small creature that takes a while to culture but is beneficial in the long run, they are purely for very young fry. Infusoria are naturally occurring in planted tanks so adding live plants will supply a small amount of infusoria.
Get Your aquarium, fill it with water, and add a quality conditioner to de-chlorinate the water
Add the heater and set the temperature to 82-85, Let the water stabilize for a while. 1-3 days should work, add any decorations or live plants as needed. Add the Filter a few hours before the fry are introduces
Acclimate the fry, floating the original spawning tank inside of the growout tank and slowly adding and removing water should work. be careful when acclimating though as these fry are highly sensitive to sudden changes in water parameters
Do water changes as needed, keep up with maintenance, and feed fry as needed
Fry should be fed twice to three times daily. feed the recommended foods above and feed each one for the right age of the fry
Water Quality Is one of the most important things to having a successful spawn and fast growth within your fry, I recommend having large daily water changes and to remove dead fry and dead fry food with a siphon during these water changes.
As you know there will be aggression within the fry tank at different stages of the fry's lifespan and as the fry get older. eventually aggressive male and female bettas will need to be separated. so remember to always have multiple containers on hand and a way to heat them to the proper temperature.
Disposing Of Dead Fry
Fry are likely to get diseases and die during the growout stage, Disposing of dead fry should not be taken lightly as some can carry diseases, dont flush them, or throw them away.... trust me, it gets smelly. I would recommend burying them under a bush or small plant outside.
Betta fry are fragile to unsustainable Temperatures or fluctuating temperatures. be sure to have a thermometer in the tank and always check it when you check on your fry. 82-85 is the best temperature. IMO
For the purpose of this section, I'm far more comfortable using the term 'cull' than 'kill', although that is essentially what most betta breeders mean when they refer to culling their spawns. Although it may seem brutal and heartless to kill a perfectly healthy betta just because it may not show a trait you want, or you do not plan to use it in your future breeding program, breeders who face the problem of hundreds and hundreds of bettas and no outlet for them may have to consider their options. Until a new breeder gains enough experience, I wouldn't recommend culling for anything except poor health or physical deformity until the fish finishes developing. Many times a young betta will not look like it will amount to much, then suddenly develop into one the best fish from your spawn. You will develop an 'eye' for what to look for as you look at enough baby bettas, but until then just look for the usual problems -- crooked spines, swimming problems, weakness, deformities, excessive color wash, etc. Although I've always been of the opinion that an ethical breeder should take responsibility for the lives he or she brings into existence through intentional breeding, any breeder who is so overwhelmed through sheer numbers of bettas to care for that they can't take proper care of their fish needs to find a way to cut back on their numbers. If you can't sell them or give them away, euthanization is an option.
There are several methods of euthanization. Out of all of them, I think feeding them to a larger culling fish is the least painful, quickest, and best way of destroying an unwanted betta. Oscar cichlids are great for this job. Get one at least 5 - 6 inches long; at that size they can handle anything up to medium-sized adults in one quick gulp. Keep in mind that Oscars can reach a size of twelve or so inches, regardless of the size of their tank, and produce a lot of waste. An adult Oscar will require a tank of at least 40 - 50 gallons and weekly partial water changes.
I have used freezing as a method of euthanizing fish that were sick beyond recovery and suffering. Just place the fish in a small cup or bag of water, place him in the freezer, and try not to think about it too much. I know a breeder that culls all his fish this way, taking his young culls and putting them all together in a large bag and then freezing them. Supposedly their temperature drops and they just go to sleep. Well, it seems a blessed relief for sick fish (they truly do look like they just quietly and peacefully die), but keep in mind that young, healthy fish have been observed to struggle during the freezing process, which may not make this as humane an option as originally thought.
If you have access to clove oil, you can put the fish to sleep seemingly painlessly. Mix it with water about 3 drops oil per 1 liter of water. This is sufficient to put the fish to sleep, and once it is unconscious add 3 more drops to kill it. There has been some suggestion of using clove oil with vodka, but vodka is an irritant to the fish, it seems to hurt the fish, and it isn't necessary. You can get clove oil at your health food store, or in the toothpaste section of most pharmacies.
Whatever you do, never flush a live betta! This is the cruelest and most inhumane way to dispose of a fish. Contrary to popular belief, sewage treatment doesn't typically involve harsh chemicals on the outgoing side of things. Furthermore, the majority of the waste product running through sewer pipes is water. It is not only possible, but also probable that the fish will survive the flushing only to die a slow and painful death in the sewer. Flushing a fish is also not an environmentally sound practice, so don't flush the dead ones either. Your best bet is to put the dead ones in a bag of water and throw them away, or give them a nice funeral in the garden.
Give Them Away
Bettas make great pets, are low-maintenance and easy to care for, making them ideal as gifts for friends or family members. I know a breeder who jars up his surplus stock and then sits outside on his front porch waiting for neighborhood kids to pass his home while returning from school. Another hobbyist puts her extra bettas into unique and creative glass containers and sells them from her store; still another donates bettas to schools in her area as class pets. Most privately-owned pet stores will gladly accept free bettas as well.
This is infinitely better than just giving them away, if you have the resources. Some pet stores will take your extra stock from you for about a dollar per fish, or in exchange for store credit. The internet is also a popular venue for selling bettas, with resources like online aquatic auction houses available at cheap (or free!) listing fees. If your skills as a breeder become good enough and your reputation as a seller grows, you can also try your hand at selling surplus stock from your own website. Be prepared with the proper shipping boxes, bags, and heat packs, and invest in a decent camera. All potential buyers would much rather see a photograph of the actual fish in question than a stock photo representation that ensures them their fish 'Looks something like this'. More times than not, the fish they receive looks nothing like the one used in the ad, leaving the customer disappointed. And disappointed customers are not return customers!
Keep accurate records of your stock's genetics and ages, as those will be helpful to a prospective buyer. Only sell healthy fish that are free from deformity and genetic defects. Be prepared to answer lots of questions about your fish, both before and after the customer receives them. Be wary of using your own strain names; although these can be fun and catchy, they are also confusing and will not help your credibility among experienced betta buyers and fellow breeders.
Well let me start this off with this is the hobbyist method and not the thai method. This is just the method used by most breeders in the US. I have my own method and this is it. It is a successful method used by many breeders and myself
The Spawning Tank is a very important part of breeding. This picture includes the vital parts of a spawning tank.
floating or non substrate rooted live plants should suffice. Since there shouldn't be any gravel or substrate in the breeding tank, no rooted plants should be used, Silk plants would also do good. I recommend live plants though. Your tank needs to be heavily planted, so the female feels secure and can escape for a few seconds away from the male.
Caves, Or Decorations.
this provides even more cover and an area for both the female and the male to retreat to. both the male and female get injured during this process. The female will highly appreciate a cave, or other decoration to retreat to, this reduces stress in my opinion and experience
1 - 20 Gallon Spawning Tank.
The Spawning tank can be any size ranging from 1 - 20 gallons, the tank size can also vary depending on the way you breed. Usually the "Thai" way is used with smaller tanks, while the "Hobbyist Method" usually consists of larger tanks half filled or only filled to a certain amount. usually males don't spawn in higher tanks. hence why the water level is lower. If you choose the hobbyist method which is what we are discussing here, 5-10 gallon + is best
A Sponge Filter (Optional).
A Filter is optional. I usually choose to use a filter though when spawning as it reduces the need for water changes. I would preferably use a Sponge Filter. I try to cause Minimal stress, and changing the water to the fish's needs will cause a bit of stress. with constantly introducing and removing water. The filter helps greatly with this issue. Remember. only a cycled filter will help with this issue
Substrate can be used in a spawning tank but it makes it very hard for the Male Betta to pick up the eggs and place them into the Bubble Nest. Even though the substrate might be "pretty" it makes spawning completely harder. Please don't use any sort of substrate. gravel or sand, it isn't needed and it just makes it harder for them to spawn
What's called a chimney is primarily needed to spawn. It lets the male and female see each other with out hurting or injuring each other. it also helps to identify if the female is ready for breeding, she'll show vertical breeding stripes. I personally use a 1 - 2 liter soda bottle cut at the bottom and, a place the female in it. My example is shown in the picture at the top.
An Anchor For The Nest.
This might be optional to other but to me its an absolute need. My Male Splendens will not make a bubblenest unless there is an anchor such as a half cut cup, a large leaf, or any other close alternative. I personally Use a half cut Styrofoam cup, the anchor also serves another purpose. to minimize the amount of flow where he builds his bubble nest.
Source Of Heat -
all bettas need a source of heat with spawning requiring a bit higher than normal. for spawning to occur the temperature should be maintained around 82-85. Use heaters or heat the room to maintain temperatures. Make sure they dont constantly fluctuate
Male And Female Betta
A Quality Pair.
This is The most important part about breeding Bettas. You always want a quality pair that is worth breeding. breeding deformed Bettas could result in even more deformities while breeding Veil Tails would result in difficulties to find homes for and a minimal profit.
Live Or Frozen Foods.
Live or frozen foods are needed for conditioning the pair. Brine Shrimp, Black Worms, Blood worms, Mosquito Larvae, and others can be used
Growout Tank, and Fry Needs
A Minimum Of 10-20 Gallon Tank
A minimum of a 10 - 20 gallon would be needed to maintain a growout tank depending on the size of the spawn. for smaller spawns a 10 gallon can be used
Source Of Heat
all bettas need a source of heat with fry requiring a bit higher than normal. For best and optimal growth within the fry, temperatures around 85-88 should be maintained. Use heaters or heat the room to maintain temperatures. Make sure they dont constantly fluctuate.
While This is arguable, in My Personal Opinion a cycled filter with minimal flow is needed to help clean the water along with adding dissolved oxygen into the water for the fry. Fry grow faster and are healthier with cleaner water. Always make sure the tank is cycled first.
Plants And Cover (Optional).
This is optional, plants and cover arent needed in any way. some breeders believe the growth is faster and the fry are healthier with many live plants in the tank. select the proper plants if you choose to add them, some plants cant withstand such high temperatures
Live foods are needed for fry, Some good foods are Baby Brine Shrimp, Microwoms, Banana Worms, Walter Worms, and infusoria. these are all nutritional and promote great growth within the betta. once they get older frozen foods can be fed
Many, Many jars or small tanks are needed for breeding as aggressive males need to be seperated from the growout tank because they will most likely become a problem. the time spawn in which they gain aggression can differ so there really isnt any specific time when they get aggression if you were gonna wait for a couple of months until you get jars. Quart Jars are perfect for separating them.
WOW!!! Thanks so much for all the info! I appreciate your time and assistance very much! I'll let you know when I have fish available- I'll send you one ( the fish of your choice) at no charge if you want one! :)
Well, I appreciate it! And I will send you one. I won't start breeding until January at the soonest, as I can't leave the fry when I go away for Christmas, but when I have fishies, I'll post photos and let you pick one. Thanks again!