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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm excited to be sharing about my first spawn in a few years. I've been taking pretty meticulous handwritten notes but will give you just the highlights in this thread.

Insect Arthropod Wood Organism Sunlight

Water Vertebrate Fin Organism Fish


These are the parents. I have no idea what their genotype looks like but it seems obvious to me that the female is a black copper plakat (possibly HMPK) and the male is a black "dragon" HMPK. He's a speedy guy so it's all but impossible to capture a good photo of him flaring, but his caudal fin has a strong "D" shape with sharp edges when fully open. He's a pretty impressive looking fish overall.

The female is less impressive, but still good-looking. She has the slightest bump in her topline and is on the small side. But I love her color and temperament.

Both fish are energetic and aggressive. The female was mislabeled as a male despite an obvious egg spot, rounded belly, and vertical bars showing from day one.

I conditioned these fish for a bit over two weeks in heated, tannin-darkened, planted tanks. They were given a mixture of frozen foods and Ken's golden pearls.

On 12/12/21 I set up the shoebox-size plastic bin as a spawning container. Put in a heater, a healthy handful of guppy grass, a little dwarf water lettuce, and half of an Indian almond leaf. I filled it with conditioned tap water as well as some water taken from a cycled, fishless tank.

In the afternoon on 12/13/21 I acclimated the male in the spawning container and set him free. I let him hang out there on his own until about 9pm, when I placed the female in an old Petco cup and let her float. He flared and danced almost as soon as he saw her and got to work on his bubble nest.

Plant Organism Wood Grass Twig


I was a bit surprised to see him building his nest up tall. In my limited experience this type of nest tends to hold eggs and dangling fry a bit better so that was fine by me - the only issue is that females sometimes tend not to find this impressive.

I left the female in her cup, covered the container with a towel, and went to sleep.

The next day (12/14/21) his nest was starting to look good. The female was no longer charging at the sides of her cup but she still seemed interested in the male (displaying vertical bars and trying to follow him). So I released her into the spawning tank.

The male immediately began to dance, chase, and nip. I was a bit concerned, but she was able to find hiding places in the grass and by the heater when she needed to. I monitored them throughout the day for signs of stress and/or spawning. I took somee video but I'm not sure how to attach it here - I'll figure that out later.

As the day went on without any wrapping I started to get a bit worried as the male was aggressively pursuing the female, stopping here and there to dance and flare and try to lead her to the nest. When she didn't follow, he started biting and chasing, and she took cover. For much of the day she lay in the corner by the heater. She appeared somewhat stressed - breathing heavily and lying still - but her fins were still open and she was still displaying vertical stripes. The damage to her caudal and anal fins was about what I expected, but I was concerned about a few missing scales and an almost completely destroyed dorsal fin. I decided to put the towel back over (hoping to make it easier for her to get away) and leave them alone for the night.

In the morning (today, 12/15/21, around 7:30am) the bubble nest was huge. As soon as I lifted the towel, the male began looking for the female and trying to entice her to the nest. She was still too scared. Some chasing and nipping went on throughout the morning, but no wrapping. He continued to work on his nest between chasing and dancing.

I contemplated removing her as I was concerned about the male's aggression and her unresponsiveness to his advances. She was still not displaying horizontal stress lines, clamped fins, or other behaviors besides hiding in the corner though, so I took a chance, accepted the worst case scenario, and hoped that nature would take care of things.

I went out of the house around 11:30am to handle some work and returned around 12:45pm to find that they were already wrapping. I should note that the weather may have been a factor: it started raining around 12pm. The morning wake-up + rain seemed to have done the trick.

I was concerned that the female was eating eggs. Fortunately, though, she was being helpful and placing them in the nest. The male was a bit clumsy as he tried to wrap, but they both quickly got the hang of it, which seemed to temper the male's frustration. Any sign of stress with the female was gone.

They were at it for a long time. I returned to work and let them have some privacy, checking in every now and then. I can't remember exactly (may have written it down) but I don't think I removed the female until at least 4pm. At that point, she was resting on the heater out of view of the male while he tended the nest.

Plant Fluid Organism Liquid Grass


I took this snapshot very quickly as I didn't want bubbles to start popping when I lifted the lid, and tried to count the eggs in the picture. I believe there are probably at least 80-100. We'll see how many are actually fertilized, as these are first-timers who took their dear sweet time getting down to business.

Now... here's the ugly part, and I hope this will give aspiring breeders some pause:

Water Plant Organism Underwater Insect


This is what my female looked like right after she was removed from the spawning container. She is swimming well, she is eating, and she's as energetic as ever as she enjoys some clean, dark water. But there is no doubt in my mind that this process was stressful and painful for her. Her fins will probably never be the same again. This is a bit more damage than I would typically have allowed before separating the pair, but I pushed our limits a bit and it seems to have paid off. She's not exactly "unscathed," but she seems calm and comfortable now that she's done her part.

I'll post an update in the morning. The male gets distracted and irritated with me if I peek into the nest, but he'll have to deal with periodic check-ins. He seems like he's doing everything I'd want him to do - rearranging eggs, adding bubbles to the nest, etc. - so it's probably best to leave him be for the night.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
5:45pm - No hatching yet, but I caught the male in the act moving eggs from one nest to a new nest. What a weirdo.

ETA: I meant to post this in spawn logs. If a mod could move the thread that would be grand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Went to check on the fish at 9:00 this morning and there are little tails hanging from the nest! It's a bit hard to capture on my cell phone camera so I'll try to fire up my better camera a little later and see if I can show you guys. Can't wait to take the male out and give him a rest. He is still going strong, taking good care of the babies.

Once the fry are free-swimming I'll use a turkey baster to get some of the gunk off the bottom. After that I'll start the babies on vinegar eels and microworms. I alternate these two first foods because vinegar eels don't seem to have nutritional value as good as microworms, but feeding microworms alone in the first few days has led to loss of ventral fins in my spawns before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Finally got a decent photo of the fry hanging from the nest:

Plant Natural landscape People in nature Sunlight Grass


There are a lot of them. The male is doing an okay job getting them back into the nest. He has continued to add bubbles to the nest too.

A small snail hitchhiked on the guppy grass and I saw the male attack and try to kill it. Hoping for water quality reasons that the little guy is still alive.
 

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All the best for your fry and the female!

Thank you for sharing your experience and pictures.

Videos need to be uploaded on any platform before posting the link here. Should you have any questions please let us know.
 

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Oh boy! Babies are always so exciting! Congratulations 🎉🎊🍾🎈
I noticed that the more I peeked at my males the more likely they were to move the eggs around to another nest. The ones that I left covered never bothered to move nests around. I’m not a professional breeder or anything, just my observations about my pairs over the last 2 years or so. I bet this spawn is going to be a beautiful group!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
All the best for your fry and the female!

Thank you for sharing your experience and pictures.

Videos need to be uploaded on any platform before posting the link here. Should you have any questions please let us know.
Thank you. :) Good to know re: videos. Maybe it's time for me to figure out Youtube.

Oh boy! Babies are always so exciting! Congratulations 🎉🎊🍾🎈
I noticed that the more I peeked at my males the more likely they were to move the eggs around to another nest. The ones that I left covered never bothered to move nests around. I’m not a professional breeder or anything, just my observations about my pairs over the last 2 years or so. I bet this spawn is going to be a beautiful group!!!
I think you're onto something with this theory, it must be their way of trying to hide their babies from any potential danger. This is probably the least I've ever micromanaged a spawn, but this fish is particularly aggressive and already very tired of seeing my ugly mug. 🙃
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Automotive tire Plant Wood Tints and shades Automotive wheel system


Ladies and gentlemen, we have lift off. 😎The fry became free swimming at some point between 7pm last night and 11:30am this morning.
Plant Vertebrate Branch Botany Organism


There are too many to count. No signs of dead fry either. I removed the male who is now happily swimming in his own tank. He had a good snack and seems very comfortable. I'm proud of him - he was a great first-time dad.

Note to newbies: He was able to go several days without food thanks to good health and conditioning. The spawning process took longer than I expected this time around so conditioning was crucial in ensuring he had the energy to get his babies to this stage. Breeding bettas is not hard, but you cannot cut corners at any stage. This holds true from selecting fish to conditioning all the way through raising the fry.

Anyway, I siphoned some goop off the bottom of the container, but found I was sucking up fry here and there so gave up. The little snail survived the male betta's attack so I'm hoping he'll help keep things clean. I added some clean, conditioned water too, hoping to prevent ammonia spikes.

They'll go into a big tub (growout) once they're a bit hardier.

I fed them microworms as I was having some difficulties harvesting vinegar eels. Will try VEs again tonight. I also found that one of my two MW cultures has crashed, so I'll need to create a second culture from the one that is still thriving. Probably won't need it after they get started on BBS, but I would hate to need it and not have it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Started the BBS hatchery (singular - only got around to the box hatchery). The pop bottle hatchery will have to wait as I have to get some work done so I can afford to feed and house these little freaks.

Here's a photo right after a VE & MW feeding:

Plant Liquid Leaf Fluid Terrestrial plant
 

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Awwwwww i can't believe how cute they are!
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Babies are doing well today. Nothing remarkable going on, which is a good thing at this early stage.

Unfortunately, though, my BBS hatchery failed to give me food, so it was another day of VEs and MWs. Can't say I recommend the SF Bay "Shrimpery." I'm going back to using pop bottles and airline tubing from here on out.

No real changes in the fish today but here's a couple photos anyway:

Water Plant Twig Branch Wood


Twig Branch Wood Grass Plant


Also, the snail is still alive, cleaning up after the babies like a little champion. Please stand and salute our troops:

Liquid Wood Fluid Beige Tints and shades
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well... today has been one minor disaster after another.

Both of my BBS hatcheries have been slow to hatch and yielding very few shrimp. I was able to feed a few BBS but had to supplement with nematodes.

Also, my pop bottle hatchery stand is leaking big time, and the air pump is loud. I bought a cheapo one for this project as the others are at max capacity right now, and I have regrets. I wonder if my airline tubing is too rigid (causing cracks and gaps) - might switch to silicone tubing for the next hatch, which I thankfully have on hand. I wonder if the ambient temperature is too low. Might move the hatcheries downstairs where it gets warmer.

Anyway, as I was going to feed my fry, I lifted the lid and dropped it in the container. At least one of the fry splashed out but survived in a little puddle of water on the lid. I just dumped him back in and he seemed fine. I didn't see any others, but they're so small and it's such a huge spawn that it's almost impossible to tell.

I'm hoping I'll see more hatching on the BBS tomorrow so I can start seeing some growth. If not, I'll switch to another brand of eggs (which I have on hand). I guess I'm going to the store to get a 2L of pop to dump out for the bottle (I don't drink pop, lol) and set up a low-tech hatchery. Weirdly, the simplest solution seems to work best. Hoping to have BBS to feed tomorrow so I can start seeing some growth.

Also, there's been a bit of a nitrite spike. I added water to the container but didn't siphon goop because the fry are still too small. Once they're on BBS they'll grow quickly and will go into a bigger container with a sponge filter, so hopefully this is very, very temporary.

The important part with these little setbacks, in my experience, is not to get discouraged. On the bright side, there's no visible die-off. These seem to be a pretty hardy bunch capable of withstanding my screw-ups.
 

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Luckily everyone is doing fine!

Temperature really influences hatching. 77 F gives me 24-30hrs hatching time.

I use this hatchery: JBL Artemio Set + Artemio 1 and am fairly content with it.
Just not using the outlet but siphon the BBS out with airline tubing.

The Ziss hatchery includes a heater which is nice. But I have no experience with this product.

Crossing my fingers for your success!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Luckily everyone is doing fine!

Temperature really influences hatching. 77 F gives me 24-30hrs hatching time.

I use this hatchery: JBL Artemio Set + Artemio 1 and am fairly content with it.
Just not using the outlet but siphon the BBS out with airline tubing.

The Ziss hatchery includes a heater which is nice. But I have no experience with this product.

Crossing my fingers for your success!
I've been considering the Ziss hatchery, if I try it out I'll be sure to document it here. 😁

The JBL Artemio set looks like it's way less mess than the pop bottle method.

Thanks for the recs!
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I finally got a good amount of BBS hatching in the pop bottle hatchery this morning, so I was able to feed the babies something more nutritious. I think it just took a bit of extra time due to the temperature.

I threw in some MWs too for good measure but will probably stop feeding those in the next couple of days so we don't end up with missing ventrals.

Here's the little guys:

Water Plant Organism Twig Vegetation


Let the embiggening commence!
 
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