(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 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.