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Old 10-19-2010, 09:16 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Unhappy I want to breed but am having apprehensions

(warning, huge wall o' text. I would appreciate some honest opinions though)

I'm a new member to these forums, but I've been reading them for information. I've recently gained an interest in breeding my bettas, both veiltails, and while I have everything set up and ready (I'm using a partial Thai method that I'll explain later) I'm getting a bit worried. I asked for some extra advice on another forum elsewhere (namely good anchors for bubble nests, since mine would not stick, and extra ideas on how to deal with grown spawns) and while none of my replies even dealt with breeding (which was rather frustrating) they all did want to give me extra advice on how to care for them in general, with advice like "Your bettas need a filter and a large tank" and criticizing me for the "dirty water" my fish must be in (due to the fact I don't use a filter, even though I do water changes daily). While I know I should have stopped reading at "Bettas can not live in bowls" I didn't, and now they've rather gotten to me and discouraged me from this project that I really do want to accomplish. The thing is, I've done my research, I'm ready for all possible outcomes, and if I need to change my set up, I'm willing, not to mention I have very ample free time.

But, that forum still got to me, but after reading through this one I would like your opinion on whether or not I should continue.

Here is the process and set up I have:

My supplies set upl:
a 2.5 gallon bowl, half filled with water. No substrate, just a single fake plant for hiding and one decoration from the male's old tank that he likes to hide in (I figured it would make things more comfortable in the new set up)
I am heating it with an overhead light, because the idea of a full blown heater in this smaller tank seems a bit overzealous when my overhead light keeps it at 79 going by my strip thermometer.
As I said earlier, I do frequent water changes (daily) with a turkey baster so I can suck and settled waste from the bottom of the tank, so I don't have much need for a filter.

I have plastic bins available for use, and two rooms that can be used to contain them.

Should I end up needing extra supplies, I do have the ability to buy them.

This is the process I am using:
It's a bit inspired by the Thai method, hence the small bowl
I placed the female, who had already peacefully lived with the male in a larger community tank, in the bowl unseparated, monitoring them for any overt aggression. I removed the female at night since I could not monitor her. During this period, only the male was flirting, and she was hiding.

she has finally warmed up to the male, and they live in the spawning tank unseparated with no more chasing, and occasional flirting. So far, no torn fins, so they have been peaceful, but in the case that someone does get a torn fin in the process I have melafix on hand.

If they succesfully spawn, I'll of course remove the female from the tank, and let the male do his job until the fries hatch. I may remove a portion of the bubble nest if it is too large, but I'm hoping the male will cull some of the eggs due to the smaller size of the spawning bowl (as it is my first breeding I would prefer a smaller spawn)

Once the fry are hatched and freeswimming, I will keep them in the spawning tank for 2 weeks, and feed them a culture of infusoria I am growing. If that culture fails I have bought hikari first bites as back up, or I'll try the egg yolk method.

At/after 2 weeks, after I have fed them their initial food, I'll begin separating them (not individually, as groups). I plan on having a large bin filled with warm water (to serve as a heating mechanism) with the containers of fish (larger jars, possibly bags if that is safe, since I've never heard of that method but I can't think of why it would fail) floating or standing in the large bin, sort of like a barrack set up. This way I'm hoping to not stunt their growth. As far as food, I'll keep up with my infusoria while they're smaller, and as soon as they're larger I'll begin grinding up bloodworms as food.

As they grow older and show differences in sexes, I'll continue with the bin method, only separating them more individually, and attempting to keep less aggressive natured females together sorority style if possible.

At this point I'll begin looking for homes and hopefully moving them out.

My pair:
My pair are actually one thing I've heard discouraged before, as they are petstore bettas. However, they're both healthy, they've been conditioned with bloodworms, and they're young. The female has still been coloring up since I bought her a few weeks ago, and when I bought the male three months ago, he was under seven months at least, for his fins weren't fully grown and he wasn't fully colored. Therefore at most, he couldn't be more than a year old, and even that's pushing it.
their genes I can't speak for as I don't know their past, but they are both veiltails. The male is solid orange, and the female is a very light peachy color with blue fins. I would have to imagine this pair could make some very pretty babies, but my inexperience with genetics and the possibilities they won't turn out beautiful (well, they will to me, no matter what) is why I'll be trying to keep the count low.

I understand that this is going to be a long, multi-month ordeal that demands a lot of my attention and time. I understand that fish are temperamental creatures and may bring up an emergency situation that requires quick thinking. I understand that some fry will die right off the bat, some may be deformed, and some may have to be culled, and I'll have to make difficult decisions at times.

I mean, I know that I've prepared for this, and I don't understand why I'm worried still.

I think I just need to hear from people who are well experienced that I'm either ready to do this and should stop worrying, or that I need to fix some of my methods or possibly rethink this.

so, opinions?
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Old 10-19-2010, 10:03 AM   #2 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Texas
Hello and welcome to the forum. I can't really answer your questions but we have several experienced breeders here who will be more than happy to help you.
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Old 10-19-2010, 11:04 AM   #3 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Welcome to the wonderful world of Betta keeping

Honestly-for a first time breeder I think you would have better luck if you did a different method-I would use one of your tubs or a 10g tank for spawning-a heater and stable water temp is really important for spawning as well as for the eggs/wiggles/fry growth and development.

Add lots of live plants to the tub or 10g tank

Separate the male and female so that they can't see each other for a week and feed mass amounts of either frozen or live food-not freeze dried

Water temp 80F-lots of plants

If you have floating plants like water lettuce he will make his nest under that or you can add something-just about anything will work.

Cover the tub with either the lid or plastic veggie wrap to maintain a warm humid environment for the nest and this is also important later for the fry and the development of the labyrinth organ-

I don't use any filtration and its not needed if you have lots of live plants IMO/E

Lots of different way to do this-it is finding what works for your breeders and for you-this is just one of many methods-you have to get the breeders ready first-right now you may be desensitizing them and it may be harder to get them to spawn

To successfully grow-out the fry you may want to get a second live food cultured like brine shrimp and/or microworms- to add with the infusoria in the 2 week stage-once I start adding live foods is when I start my water changes-50% daily
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Old 10-19-2010, 12:50 PM   #4 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Northern Virginia
I agree--the small tank setup will probably be quite challenging for you. Some breeders swear by it, but the tried and true method for the majority of fish keepers is a partially filled ten gallon. One of your bins may suffice if it is large enough. I agree with the advice to use live plants like java moss, guppy grass, hornwort, duckweed, water lettuce and other nitrate sponge plants. A sponge filter with a valve on it will also help you quite a bit. These are very simple, low current, cheap, and effective filters for spawn tanks. There is no danger of the babies being sucked up or blown around. I would cycle a sponge filter for your grow out tank and/or spawning tank before proceeding, it will cut down on a lot of labor and give you more security as far as water quality. Keep in mind that once the babies are born, you'll have to do your water changes with a strip of airline tubing as a siphon in order to avoid sucking up fry.

Conditioning is important, as OFL said, feeding high protein foods will help boost the immune systems of the fish so that they will recover from any wounds and stress they sustain as a part of the breeding process. Remember that the male does not eat while taking care of the fry and may choose not to eat while courting the female, so he needs some extra fat to get him through and recover. Some males do die as a result of expending a so much energy showing off and then tending the fry while not eating--a high protein diet will help prevent this.

As for feeding the fry, I recommend ordering a couple of live cultures. Infusoria are very small, so they won't be useful for very long at all, and some fry do not take to eating prepared food well. You will have a greater survival rate if you use live food, the motion it makes triggers their instinct to feed. I recommend starting with vinegar eels and then after a week, move up to baby brine shrimp. These cultures are fairly cheap, and with just a little research, you'll find that they're quite easy to keep going. You should make sure that you have these cultures before spawning.

Removing the female before she has released all of her eggs is a good idea. Anyone who wants a beautiful veil tail can go to any pet store and buy one off the shelf--so why would they go to the trouble to seek you out if you're only selling pet store quality fish? I know that statement sounds a bit snotty, but it's the truth. A large spawn would be quite impractical for you to rehome and care for as a first time breeder, so removing her early is definitely the way to go.

Personally, I am of the opinion that breeding pet store veil tails is, well.. I don't agree with it. I feel that we should carefully choose candidates for breeding based on the idea that with every breeding we seek to improve the quality of the species. Simply creating more of what careless fish farmers crank out en masse doesn't really contribute to the health of the species. Many of these fish are neurotic, have poor form, poor health, and their color patterns and other traits are so muddied that they will not breed true. Without a knowledge of genetics, or the genetic history of the individuals you're breeding, you're not really working toward any kind of purpose but self-satisfaction. This isn't to judge you, or anything, just explaining why it is frowned upon to breed pet store veils. If you do it responsibly, and manage to find loving homes for all your babies, then there is no harm done.

I realize that you have heard this lecture before, but I felt that I should at least give you my condensed version. Hopefully this breeding experience will inspire you to breed in a more enlightened way in the future--choosing high quality fish from private breeders who can provide you with the history of their stock and applying a basic knowledge of genetics can be extremely gratifying and rewarding. You will also have a much bigger market that your babies appeal to, so it will not be as difficult to find homes for them.

If you're interested in learning some basics about betta genetics, I suggest checking out these sites:

Last edited by Adastra; 10-19-2010 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 10-19-2010, 02:46 PM   #5 
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Location: Colorado
My views:

Spawning tank: I've had nothing but success with spawning in a 10 gallon, filled with 3 inches of water, live plants, and a mini corner filter (similar to a sponge filter but has cartridges with sponge and carbon). I also reccomend a cave for the female....I find it necessary, since she'll wait in there until she's ready to spawn.

Breeding VTs: While, unknown to many, a lot of breeders mess around with VTs behind the scenes, I even know of one who mixes VTs into her lines to inject color and she believes that VTs carry all the genetics to produce HMs. While I kind see her point there...I think ordering a pair from a breeder or aquabid will get you much farther in breeding. VTs are mutts, so if you mix a mutt to a mutt you'll get worse mutts. Though VTs are easy to spawn, easy to raise, and a good starter fish they're still not quality. If you really want to breed VTs go ahead, just don't be set on a specific outcome.
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Old 10-19-2010, 05:47 PM   #6 
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Alright everyone, thanks for your opinions, I appreciate them. I think what I'll do is first off, see if buying a breeding pair would be possible, and if not, I'll set up a large aquarium we used a long time ago (for koi fish, so... quite large, but there was a chance it wouldn't still be stable after storage hence why I didn't go for it initially) or a tub. And after last night, I definitely will be getting a real heater (it dropped in temperature when I let the light off for some time, and I don't want to stress them with the light)

also, thanks for the links on genetics! I had been trying to find something on that, with no luck.

anyhow, I will keep you all posted on any updates. Thanks again.
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Old 10-20-2010, 04:33 AM   #7 
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Update- I do believe that what I'll do is buy a breeding pair from Aquabid. I've found a pair, and they're Thai-bred halfmoon dragons (I know, a bit complicated but they were both so beautiful and had similar markings)

Here's the pair I would like to buy:

I don't much mind the price or how long they will take to ship (It's actually rather convenient) but do any seasoned breeders see something with this pair that wouldn't be a good mix? they have similar colors and "design", but I've read (Thanks to adastra's links :) ) that Halfmoons are difficult to raise. As far as I'm concerned, I don't much mind if the tail isn't perfect, or if I won't actually get a profit, but I know that a bad tail type may make them hard to sell period...

Would it be worth it to try with this pair? They're Thai so I would have to imagine they're good quality and should produce high quality babies, but of course, this is my first time pairing bettas.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:09 AM   #8 
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Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
They are a great pair. You could also ask .... Aquastar was it?.... for a sibling female to that male. Then you will definitely get similar offspring. But that female (the one you chose) is also good.

I would not suggest the thai way of breeding, specially if you're in the northern hemisphere. I agree with above advices that for a first attempt you should use large naturally planted tanks with heaters to keep temp stable. And prepare live food cultures because infusoria alone isn't adequate, even in their first week. Oh, don't forget regular water changes.

Good luck. Keep us posted.
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Old 10-24-2010, 09:57 AM   #9 
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One last update, it turns out I'm not going to being breeding them at all. I got sick a few days ago, became very stressed out to the point where I basically didn't want to do anything. Then I realized that it's becoming winter, and I always get sick around winter, so I'm simply bound to become sick again, and if I bred bettas, there was a chance I could go through a period of super-stress again, and I don't want that to happen at a time when my fish need a lot of daily care.

So, no breeding right now. Perhaps (much) later, but for now, they can just stay as pets.
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breeding, bubblenest, firsttime, thai, worried

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