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Breeding Project Questions

2381 Views 24 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  indjo
Hi all,

I have never bred bettas before but I have been lurking on forums and reading up on betta phenotypes and genetics. I currently own a cute delta tail male named Clarence that I bought from a Petco a month ago, and I have had bettas in the past.

I'm interested in breeding quality bettas someday, but I have questions on how I should go about pairing individuals. It's my goal to eventually breed a Giant Red Dragon CT. I haven't been able to find any fish on aquabid that have all the above traits, so what fish carrying what traits should I start with? I realize that there are things to consider such as dominance of dragonscale and crowntail traits (since CT is dominant, is it necessary to have both parents be CT? and since dragon isn't a regular dominant/recessive trait should I breed dragon to dragon just to increase the odds of more dragon fry?) and size differences (especially due to giant genes-- should I start with a giant male and cross him to a regular-sized female and produce a bunch of half-giants, or should I just breed giant to giant in the hopes of getting more?). I am having difficulty finding bettas with certain combinations of the genes I've described and am also wondering where I can find a reputable source for giant bettas, as it is difficult to gauge sizes on aquabid. And lastly, on a slightly unrelated note, how desirable are crowntails in comparison to say, plakats and halfmoons?

I'm preparing as much as I can before I take on this new hobby. I appreciate any help I can get, and I apologize for how wordy this post is. :p
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Breeding a giant to a regular female wont yield giants in the first generation. It will take 2 -3+ generations before you start getting larger bettas. Crowntail is only partially dominant, so its best to pair the male with another female to keep the strain pure. Dragon is also partially dominant, first generation will show part Dragon, another one or two more generations and you could have pure dragons
I also forgot to mention that Halfmoons are more desirable than Crowntails, but CTs are probably more desirable than Plakats. I myself dont like plakats at all because of how easily mistaken for females they are. (lfs by me sold me 6 plakats labelled as female) and they did that every month because i didnt know any better. But if the CTs dont have curly rays, and arent the common blue/red and have a lot more colour or rarer colors, they can be very desirable too
I don't know which are more desirable since each area differs. But in terms of maintaining fin quality: the most difficult would be CT. Their fins often curls or bends. You want them to remain firm and straight. The the HM which often ends up with ragged end fins. You want them to remain in one piece. Both CT and specially HM needs constant flare exercises to keep their fins wide. The easiest is the PK. Their fins are short thus easier to maintain. In terms of breeding they're all the same.

So, you want Giant - Red Dragon - CT. Working with 3 different traits would be difficult. All those genes are partially dominant and will show to some percentage in F1.

There are tons of red dragons giants out there. So I'd suggest you get a pair of them and breed for them first. Giant x giant does not necessarily produce giants. Most will only, if any, produce only 30% giants. But they will have to be kept in bigger containers and fed much much more (4-6 times daily). Once you have a number of red drgn giants (specially males), then search for a red dragon CT female. You'll only have to worry about giant and CT genes since both are already red dragons. F1 will probably give you uneven web reduction. Choose the fast growers with web reduction and after 5-6 months, the largest ones then inbreed. F2 will still give you giant carriers (bigger than regular but not enough to be full giants). F3 should give you at least half giants. You should produce literally 1-2 giants in F4.

The problem with "creating" certain traits is that often the traits you want is not shown by one individual. This will be a set back and you will have to breed for more generations. But if you keep breeding the largest CTs, you will eventually reach your goal.

Good luck.
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Thanks so much for the informative answers! Indjo, may I ask why I need to breed several giant red dragon males before I go out and find a female red dragon CT?
Also, how difficult would it be if I were to try for a black dragon giant ct instead of a red one? Are black dragons the same as melanos but with dragon genes?
1. You can easily lose them - they are more fragile than regular size bettas.

2. Since you will easily lose the giant trait and rather than buying new giants every time you want to breed (expensive), it would be better to create more giants so you will have more to work with.

3. They often die of stress (all males) after taken away from fry.

4. Some may be quite impossible to breed. They just won't breed.

5. It will give you the experience of raising giants. If you can properly raise those with full/complete giant genes, it will be easier for you to understand the growth of partial giant genes. . . . (IMO giant, like most betta traits, is not from one single gene but a combination of many genes).

Giants come in all colors including black dragons. In terms of color, if it's a common color, it would be as easy. And for dragon scales, combinations difficult to achieve with regular colors, are easier - specially achieving yellow. Less common colors are opaque white, regular yellow, super black. Other colors are quite common - all dragons colors, including koi, metallic colors, and Super red (very bright red).

I forgot;
In Asia, we do not recognize "half giants". To us, they are either giants or they're not. 5.5cm (body only) and above are considered giants. So if you buy them from Asia, don't expect them to grow 10-12cm. Only very few will grow to such sizes. And remember, in Asia they are often crossed to regulars in order to improve their form and create new colors.

That being said; if you buy from Asia, either buy a big adult (but will be harder to breed) OR buy a 5.5cm at 4 months of age. Smaller older bettas, though from giant spawns, will unlikely grow big enough.
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Thanks for clearing that up for me. Would you suggest breeding a separate line of red dragon ct (to ensure a good tail) to breed to the red dragon giant hmpk? Or would buying a red dragon ct female from aquabid and looking at its siblings be enough to ensure that the tail shape I want will be passed down?
Most CT I see only have DeT spread. Very few are actually HM. But it you can afford (time, money, and space) to create a CT line, then do so. Personally I prefer working with my own spawns because I'd know their genetic background.

Though they're probably available, I have never seen a CT giant. So you will probably have to cross tail types. A good CT line/background will help achieving your goal faster. . . . BTW buy a HM/HMPK giant - don't buy a traditional fin type because it will take you many more generations to reach your goal (less rays are dominant over more rays . . . or traditional fins are dominant over HM).
I'm sorry I keep asking so many questions, but do you know of any reputable giant HMPK breeders or reputable cross-ray CT breeders who are still active? I've seen several but many haven't made any recent posts in 1-2 years.
my friend breeds double tail and crowntail giants. Or gene carriers i should say. They arent regular sized, much bigger. Some are black and purple, i think red? Havent spoken to her in weeks so i dont know whats happening with hers
Sorry, most of the people I know do not ship abroad because it's too troublesome - credit card/paypal, etc . . . which isn't for most people in my country. And I never order from other country/s.

There was this one person who sells Thai giants but I forgot his name . . . will check.
Not sure about the CT though, not too popular in my area. . . . try Bettaplus (I think) they have crossed ray CT. Not sure if they're still active though. . . .

ps. you can ask as many questions you can think of. We're here to help :)
@sharkettelaw1 can you give me her contact information?

@indjo I got in contact with the breeder Ram 91 and he is still active but only carries giant HMPK's. I googled betta plus and found the website but I can't find any listings of what they have available. ): and thank you for being so informative and helpful! :)
Yeah, for some reason HM are becoming less popular. I can understand why people avoid CT - they need more specific water.
Most giants in my country are PKs. Only very few keep HM giants and they seldom sell.

Sometimes we have to work with what is available.

btw, you are very welcome.
Ram91 is a terrific breeder of giants. Breeding giants can be very difficult as indjo stated. Ive had a few that were impossible both male and female. My goal was developing a good HM giant line. Frankly it is way more difficult than I first imagined. Progress is slow and giant care is very particular. Imo the immune system is just weaker than most betta and it is easy for them to develop digestive issues. Care must be spot on. Your project is doable but will require time and patience. Good luck.
Did you ever achieve your goal of a HM giant line? What were the biggest obstacles to breeding them other than their lack of interest in one another?
Did you ever achieve your goal of a HM giant line? What were the biggest obstacles to breeding them other than their lack of interest in one another?
I have not achieved my goal yet. I have made some real progress though in the last few months. The HM part is just fine now but it is getting the line to true giant size has been the slow part. My next round of breeding should produce some lovely true HM giants if my calculations are correct. The project is almost 2 years of work now. My biggest obstacle frankly were deaths of giants in year one mostly due to bacterial infections of all sorts. I now use probiotics and spirulina added to food to keep the immune system on high and we also use aquarium salt at 1 tablespoon per gallon to help prevent any proliferation of bad bacteria.
How did you start your line in terms of breeding pairs? I want to start by crossing red dragon giant HMPK's with red dragon crowntails. Did you start your line in a similar way? How many generations have you gone through, and how has the giant gene progressed through these generations?
My goal was to combine Giant, EE and my marble HM line. So needed to get these recessive genes on both parents. It has been a long road. Im many generations in now but I documented things here. Ive inbred/ outbred a few times and Im on generation 6 with some fish. It may provide some information for you at least I hope it does.
Woah that's a lot of pages. I'll have plenty to read, thank you! :)
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