Hi there! This is my first post here; I'm not sure if there's any kind of protocol, but I thought I should give it a shot!
I've had bettas for years, and have researched breeding for several. This year was when I got into them more seriously and made my first attempt. This is my second spawn, and while the first did not make it past the third week mark, it was an important learning experience of trial and error, with many unexpected curveballs.
So let me introduce you to my pair!
This is the male, Karyu. He is a halfmoon, about 5 months old now, and absolutely refuses to fully flare and hold still enough for photos! Here he is being lazy.
And here is my female, Michi. She's a halfmoon DT, also about 5 months. She and Karyu are not siblings-the black and red male that she was paired with unfortunately died about a week after the first spawning attempt for unknown reasons, so unfortunately he could not be the daddy of this spawn.
Both fish were conditioned for approximately 3 weeks on pellets, frozen bloodworms and frozen brineshrimp and took well to it, remaining incredibly active and eating like fiends.
This Saturday I introduced Karyu to my spawning setup- A 50 gallon clear storage container. I set it up with aged, conditioned water about 5 inches deep and have a small spongefilter gently bubbling at the opposite end from the styrofoam cup half. It's evenly heated to 83 degrees, and the female is provided with driftwood and a large amount of floating plants to hide in. I darkened the water with oak leaves beforehand as well. This setup was left running for a full week before the fish were introduced.
On Sunday I introduced Michi in a seperate glass container and allowed the two to introduce themselves. The response was positive-he begins showing off and building his bubblenest, she assumes submissive position and bars up like crazy.
Monday I release Michi into the tank. Chasing begins. Karyu is far more...enthusiastic than Michi's last male companion was, and alternates all day between chasing his bride and frantically bulking up his bubblenest.
Tuesday around 2pm I come home from a halfday at work, and Michi is lounging by the hornwort,being the hipster she is. Karyu is proudly gaurding a nestful of eggs, ignoring his lady and focusing on the task of gargling and rearranging his unhatched kids. Pleased, I remove Michi and settle her in a 1 gallon recouperation tank and feed her.
Well let me tell you...all thursday, Karyu got himself into the horrible loop of picking up eggs, spitting them into the nest and causing twice as many to sprinkle down on him. Rinse and repeat. I feel so bad for him...because I woke up this morning, and now he's frantically chasing wriggling escape artist fry and trying to keep them in the kiddie playpen/bubblenest, hundreds of them!
So far, I'm very pleased with how he's doing. He's a much better daddy than the other male was (He didn't grasp the concept of NOT swallowing the eggs or fry that fell out of the nest when he went to put them back). Very attentive, hardworking and gentle with the babies. I couldn't be happier!
I do come wielding one question, however: when the pair was in the tank, they did poop quite a lot! I didn't take the opportunity to clean it up when I removed the female or while the male was guarding the nest due to the fact that he seems to be nervous- I didn't want to risk triggering egg eating in him by stressing him out with extra disturbance; plus, his nest is delicate and even LOOKING at it wrong caused bits to float away.
Is it alright to leave the poop in there for a few days after I remove the male until the fry are sturdier, or is it better to go ahead and gently siphon up what I can? Thanks in advance!