I've released the female from the jar now, and they are both swimming in the tank. But it seems that weird things are happening. The two fish would normally flare when they saw eachother but when I put them in the tank, nothing happened. They just swam around minding their own buisness. The male prefers swimming at the bottom of the tank, hiding behind the filter, and the female swims at the top a lot. The female has gone over and nudged the male several times, and I think she wants to mate, but the male just swims away. What could be wrong?
Bettas always flare when they see other bettas. Flaring is not a sign of readiness. I suggest you isolate both breeders in a smaller bare tank and place it somewhere dark for a few days. Don't forget to feed live or frozen food excessively. Then on the 2nd/3rd day, try showing the female to the male and see how the male swims. You want him to swim in a wriggly fashion and all over the tank (as if showing off to the female). If they do, you can put them in the breeding tank. Otherwise, isolate again.
Try flaring the male to another male (some do it for 5 min, I do it for 1 hr).... careful though, if they're not used to flare, don't do it too long. Isolate after flaring and try again the next day. The male usually will want to spawn.
I highly recommend live plants not just for the food and cover it can create for the fry- but for the natural cover for the female as well-however, silk plants will work in a pinch for spawning cover for the female, the tank needs to be crammed full with them to a point that the male has trouble getting through them except for an area under the nest sight-this needs to be free of any silk plants. Once spawning is completed you can remove most of the silk plant so that cleaning is easier.
Indjo: I figured out why the male was not flaring. It was becuase the light was too bright. When I moved the light away, he comes out and swims in the wiggly way. I tried the method that leeb62 said. I put the female in the little floaty jar overnight and when I woke up she had jumped over into the tank. They've been in the tank for 3 days, today is the third day. They have been chasing eachother for a couple of days now, but still no spawn or bubblenest. The I put in part of a bubblenest from another male that made a huge one, to try to encourage him to build a nest. Also, I keep the light off because the bettas (the male one especially) are scared of the light. They seem to do the best in almost complete darkness. Other than that, nothing interesting is happening, they just swim around and occasionally chase each other. How long should I try this for, because it seems that the female is getting tired, since the male is chasing her a lot. I added some leaves and a little cave for her to hide under. Also, half of her caudal fin has been bitten off. I'll try to take more pictures after I recharge my camera.
Once they're together, there's nothing you can do but wait. Putting the female in a jar before releasing her is intended to reduce injury. But since she jumped.... just be patient and prepare a Hospital tank for the female.
Some males make bubble nests Just before they spawn. In fact some don't make bubble nest until the fry hatch. So don't worry about the nest and try not to disturb them too much.
Is your female showing her vertical bars? If she is keep her in there sooner or later your male will build the next. If he doesn't build one by day 5 you should probably take them out and recondition them then decide if you want to try a different male who can build a bubble nest. Sometimes first time males don't really know how to build a bubblenest or take longer to build one. Do you have your bubbler on if you do that might be destorying his nest. Do you also have something for the male to build on? Try a Indian almond leave if you have one or those styfoam cups cut in half. I think your female must be ready to mate since she jumped out of the jar into the tank, but maybe your male just isn't that happen to my one of my pair too. Female was ready but male wasn't so the female beat up the male.
Good luck to you and hopefully your male gets his act together soon.
The male chases her and stuff, but no bubblenest. Maybe I shouldn't have used that male because I've never seen him blow a bubblenest before. But I really want to use him since he has great coloring and fins. I will wait until Saturday, and then try a similar male I have that is blowing huge bubblenests. The female seems ready but she is not showing any vertical bars. Her body is light colored so maybe thats why. Shes also exploding with eggs :).
Yeah, its been quite a while now. I'm going to take out both fish and clean out the spawning tank. Then I'm going to condition the same female, but with a different male. I heard somewhere that the best way to get them to spawn is to condition them, but right before you put them into the breeding tank, put them in a small bowl with cold, dirty water or somewhere with unideal conditions for 12 hours or so, then put them into the spawning tank at the same time. They say that the pair will spawn immediately. Is that true? If so, I think that I'll try that method.
I heard somewhere that the best way to get them to spawn is to condition them, but right before you put them into the breeding tank, put them in a small bowl with cold, dirty water or somewhere with unideal conditions for 12 hours or so, then put them into the spawning tank at the same time. They say that the pair will spawn immediately. Is that true? If so, I think that I'll try that method.
IME most kinds of fish will instinctively spawn when they feel their life is at risk. But I would not recommend it. Many things may go wrong and instead of spawning, you might get sick fish. Perhaps you could lower the temp, but I wouldn't use dirty water.
I usually isolate reluctant pairs in 1g and place them somewhere dark. Then flare the male for about an hour; I lift the divider about 1 inch. I'd also flare the female (for 5min) because IME aggressive females spawn faster. After at least 24 hour rest, show the female to the male and see how he swims. I don't wait for bubble nests. If they flirt, remove him to the breeding tank, float the female and see how they act.
Sometimes I would use small plastic containers to breed reluctant/more docile males or for bad fathers. The small space will allow the pair to always see each other and will make the process quicker. Try to use aggressive females for reluctant males. Once the fry are free swimming, you could slowly pour them into a bigger tank.
What ever method you use is personal preference. But be careful if you choose to alter water conditions.