I spawned bettas successfully numerous times when I was in my early teens, got the fry past the yolk sac stage, then had them die off. This was before there was much info on genetics or fry rearing via the internet so all I had to go off of was a sparse handbook I had picked up in the lfs, not terribly helpful for troubleshooting. I'm almost certain now that those lost batches were caused by lack of daily water changes which the adults would tolerate but the fry wouldn't, and/or overfeeding bbs. With the abundance of information accessible today, I'm fairly certain I can make a go at actually growing fry to adults.
I'm a full-time chemist, so I don't have as much free time as I'd like, but I do have the funds to set up and care for the fry.
The goal here is to wind up with a stable line of dumbo feathertails. I know, right here, I'm going to tweak a whole lot of people into jumping in with that's-not-right, feathertails-always-give-you-xfactor-spawn-always, dumbos-aren't-symmetrical, these-fish-will-never-be-showable, and that's okay. Feel free to speak your mind. Just know that I don't care about show standards except so far as they make good building blocks for new varieties, I'm determined to push forward with this as far as the DNA will let me, and I'm not squeamish about culling.
All these fish were bought off Ebay, bred in Thailand. I'm going to see if I can get information on the breeder from the importer, but it's not going to change my eventual goals, just potentially give me more of a history to look at. The pictures are off of Ebay as well. I'll try to take more once the fish arrive.
Males first. I can't tell if this guy got his tail bitten or if he has some natural lobes going on. If the former, no big deal, if the latter I don't mind. Normally I prefer the very clean-edged HMs, but in this case, feathertails look a lot more stunning with some receding webbing between "plumes", so I'd hope to retain the trait and accentuate it as far as possible. Maybe even introduce crowntail genes at some much, much later date.
He's not flaring completely, but I can tell his anal fin's longer than I'd like. This is a recurring problem, unfortunately. Rose and feathertails tend to have slightly shorter to much shorter tails, and while I'd like to keep it to "slightly," that may not be possible and one way of retaining a pleasing shape would be to reduce the length of the anal.
He may have lopsided pectorals. I'll have to wait and see.
This guy. I don't love the look of his overall fin shape, but he does have the feathering and considering the cost I saved getting him shipped with the others/not shipping from Thailand/getting his sister for practically free after haggling on price, it wasn't a terrible deal and I think there is the potential to get something rather striking. Again, can't tell if he's been bitten. Either his tail was chewed up top or the overall tail shape will need some attending to. Doesn't have the horrid scale smudging of some rosetails. He's supposed to be a giant. I don't really believe it.
This girl. I'm reconsidering on the decision to purchase her but she's shipped and I've paid so no dice. It's more of a mental slap over the head than anything. Supposed to be the sibling of the white male. She's not really flaring so can't say for certain, but I don't think I love her tail shape. The dorsal's pretty and again, the anal's too long. If she throws fry that look like the white guy, though, I'd be happy.
This girl. Sibling of the black/white feathertail male. I do like her tail for the most part, her dorsal is a poor sparse little thing, and her anal, way, wayyyyy too long. She looks as though she has sturdy fins though.
I'm going to attempt two separate spawns, then cross the fish with each other and possibly back. Do you think I'd have better luck breeding the whites with the darks, or initially breeding white on white and dark on dark, picking the best formed from each, then crossing with the other color? I'm a little hesitant to do the latter because of the issues rosetails have with inbreeding, but one could argue that weeding out fry once before
diluting out the x-factor might reduce the occurrence in later generations.
(I know there are people who think that if you inbreed rosetails you're heading inevitably for worthless, sad x-factor fry, but generally speaking genetics don't work that way, and whatever x-factor is, it isn't dominant. Recessive genes can be eliminated, it's just more difficult because you can't see them. Maybe it's a dominant pair of genes that needs to occur together, but those can be split out, then. Maybe it's a combination. Either way I can think of no insurmountable mechanism, unless
environment plays a very large factor in creating x-factor rosetails, and from the results people get it does seem to be genetic.)
In addition to these four, I'm almost definitely going to need at least one HM female with a long tail and a nice, short
anal fin, preferably as horizontal as possible. Possibly another feathertail male as well, but I'm not dying for one and the cost of importing from Thailand means I haven't jumped on any yet. Does anybody know who would be a good breeder to watch for that type of female? I've been fumbling around Aquabid for a month or so but I haven't gotten the hang of each breeders' tendencies as far as shape.
Feel free to critique on any and every point you desire, I don't bite and neither will I crawl into a corner to cry.