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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, all experienced breeders.
I am not a beginner and successfully bred 10 years ago. But maybe age reduces luck? 😂
I have a complete disaster with my 15th+ attempt at the breeding betta.

I tried 4 different males with 8 different females. 3 different ways to pair them. All for the result of 15 times of failure with absolutely the same outcome. As I have many info and question, it will be a long post, which I will split into sections, depending on the main concern.

1. Timid males, who are afraid of females' approach.
2. Way too aggressive males and females.
3. Not building bubble nest males.


PAIRING: usually I use the following formula as a minimum time for each stage.
① Male establishing his territory in breeding tank = 3h
② Female in the transparent case in the middle of the tank = 36h+ (observing if she shows any interest, increasing the time if not)
③ Female released = up to 72h, if no eggs I stop the attempt.
I am not afraid of fins being damaged, so even if they fight like crazy, as long as both of them are breathing normally and not laying down in catatonic mode, I leave them up to max time.

FOOD (all the time, not only as conditioning): frozen blood warms, alive fruit flies, alive daphnia, frozen and alive brine shrimp, frozen tubeworms (rotated every 1-2 days)

1. Timid males. I had two males, who were scared of females. In the beginning, they were chasing them by dancing, but due to daytime there was no spawning yet, I was leaving them together overnight .... to find out in the morning, that male had all his fins chopped. One already died, but another one I still trying to breed. 4 different females over a year, all ended up the same - the next morning he is in a state of frustration, and depression, hangs inside plants to hide from the female, and when she finds him runs away. If taken out - refuses food for one day, until the "emotional" state comes back to normal. All 4 females were different sizes, slightly bigger, just fit, slightly smaller. I read that female has to be hot and ready to the extent of jumping out from her safety net/box/cup and running under the nest herself. On the last try, I had a female being obviously ready, coming to his nest with head down and coming closer in attempts to hug. But still, it didn't help the male to acquire enough courage. He seems to be having trauma from past experience and runs away as soon as she approaches that close. After a day of attempts to approach him, the female started bullying him, so I immediately separated them.
・How to increase his confidence?

Had anyone experienced successfully breeding such coward males?
Will the prolonged introduction help, let's say 7 days with a transparent separator?

2. Way too aggressive. It was noted that two of my fish are very aggressive. Male and female. So I did the battle 😂 joke. They furiously chased each other for 50+ hours and when I was already thinking to separate them - saw them trying to embrace. Both are almost finless now. But the full nest of eggs, likely not fertilized though, as not even once he managed to properly embrace for alignment.

There is still a chance for some of the eggs to be fertilized, right? By meeting sperm while falling down the water column or inside the bubble nest by milt?

Saw in one thread the comment, that male is better to be tired - will try sparring with another male as was recommended to see, if it can reduce his attempt to "sexually harass" the next female I will try spawning with him.

・But how to reduce females' aggression?

I live in Japan, and the local betta community strongly thinks that females do NOT SUPPOSE TO FLARE, which is nonsense to me. They consider if she flares, she grew masculine and this female is unlikely to be successfully bred. Recommendations from the local community:
  • not feeding the female one day before releasing (but hell, until I watch her behavior, I do not know which day I am going to release her)
  • use a small tank to prevent the female to establish her own territory on the other side of the tank, which she will obviously try to protect by fighting back (25 x 15 x 15cm as max with 6-8 liters of water)
  • do not use too many plants or hide spots, they will likely breed faster (found the same comment here)
・Any recommendations from you guys?

3. Not building a nest. I have one and only male who is never building a nest. I mean, he spits some of the bubbles if he has something floating in the tank, but never a real nest.
I found him to love one specific female, he never ever bite her badly (compared to all others I tried with him, whom he bullied until the nearly dead state), and only danced in front of her, trying to bring her under his poor only 5 bubbles, that are glued together under frogbit. Of course, even the female followed him in docile mode, after seeing his nest (or better say not seeing anything), she always turns away and does her staff in another corner of the tank. Over a year with 7 tries not even once the nest. The bubble-like wrapping didn't help, he just thinks it's a fully ready nest and no need to do anything at all. If I transport another male's nest to his breeding tank, he immediately occupies it as his own. Not repairing or increasing it though 😔

What's wrong with him?

Will be absolutely blessed with any information, advice, or experience shared under this thread!
 

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1. You have to be extra patient breeding stressed males. You must build up his self esteem before attempting to breed him. NEVER force him to breed.

Totaally isolate him for a few days (longer better), preferably in the dark. Feed well as he must be in top health.

Afterwards try flaring to a small or timid female for a minute or two. If he doesn't flare, isolate further for another few days. If hr does, add flaring time each day. Make sure he is very aggressive - then flare to female that wants to breed. If he is still aggressive and will flare for more than 15minutes, then you can try breeding him.

Keep him in the breeding tank. Float female like his daily flaring exercises. Make sure both male and female are "flirt flaring" - flare aggressively and swim all over their containers. After a few days, try releasing female in the late afternoon - about an hour before dark.

!!!! Must be careful. These stressed males might become viscous and will readily kill females. So make sure both male and female are safe. They should rest once it becomes dark.

First time females USUALLY spawn in 3 days. Veterans will spawn the following day.
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2. I do not fully understand the second explanation. To my understanding you are asking how to reduce aggression.

IMO, You can't. Any attempt to reduce aggression (especially on males) will probably cause failure. Trying to tire the male is possible - float 2 or more decoy females in plastic bags and let male "attack" them. Usually one day is enough. Let him rest overnight then float the female to be bred. If BOTH show breeding behavior, you can either immediately release or float for a day then release. To my experience the female will still be beatened.

IMO, the best way to keep female safe is to use bushy getaways like densely placed stem plants (anacharis, hornwort, cabomba). Breed in bigger or longer tanks - like 10g (about 40ltr). Wider/longer is netter than deeper as females have more space to run. Though spawning takes longer, but much safer for females.

DO NOT use any floating resting places. Attacks to midsection, especially from below may kill female in less than 30minutes. Females have better chance of survival if male only attacks their fins.

Females may become aggressive if the female wasn't in breeding mode to begin with. I've seen many breeding videos showing female initially not interested in breeding. While the male flirts, the female "follows" to attack and eventually will fight it out.

Docile or "slow" males are also often attacked. Male must be very active hence must be in top health.

If you are breeding a known aggressive female, try breeding to an aggressive male. In this case you want them to spawn as soon as possible - so breed in smaller bare tank like your 2g. Yes, female will get beaten and even might get killed, but that's the tisk of breeding this species.

Then there are females that take "sucker" bites - bite and run. They will stress less aggressive males. You need males that will readily attack female and breed in smaller tank.
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3. Some males are too lazy to build nests. They will spawn and eggs will hatch without the nest. I breed out doors. Nest often destroyed by the breeze. But fish still spawn anyway. Do not worry about nests.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hello, indjo!

Thank you for the throughout reply! A few things are left unclear, allow me to confirm.

1.
They should rest once it becomes dark.
・What is meant by "rest"? Should they be separated without seeing each other? Separated, but seeing each other? Not separated but behave like they are going to "sleep"?

This timid male is always aggressive enough during the day. He is not much of a biter, and definitely one of the most "kind" guys I have, but he always chases females at every corner. Reversed aggression only happens during the night, as he usually gets relaxed and "drowsy" as soon as the lights go off.
・May that help to leave the lights ON for him?
・I uploaded pictures to compare before and after. How soon theoretically do you think I can try to test him with smaller females?
As I never had any male be beaten that hard, my initial idea is to give him complete isolation for more than 3 weeks.
Water Organism Plant Marine biology Fish


Water Liquid Fish supply Fluid Fish



2.
If you are breeding a known aggressive female, try breeding an aggressive male. I
Got it. It just happened yesterday. The female, who chopped off the guy from question one, 1,5 weeks after surrendered to Royal Blue, who bites her in return if she bites him.

And one question left unseen in my huge poem. Sorry for reminding you about that part.
・There is still a chance for some of the eggs to be fertilized, right? By meeting sperm while falling down the water column or inside the bubble nest by milt?
I am absolutely lost in understanding the fertilization process itself. If there is an old discussion with a wide explanation of fertilization, I will be happy if you provide me with a link to the source.
So far I will wait and see if tiny couples of eyes will appear tomorrow morning 😅
 

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What is meant by "rest"?
bettas rest after dark. So all chasing and biting should stop but they couls still sense each other
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Wow!?! I have never had female beat male that badly. That doesn't look like nip and run type . . . .more like a fight. The female should look similar.

Question: are you sure you female is actually a female? To my experience, females do not usually fight it out to that extreme.
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Eggs can only be fertilised during embraces. If they didn't embrace, eggs will not be fertilised. If they failed to align their genitals during embraces (size difference to big or too fat) only few eggs will be fertilised.

Sorry, never saw any discussion dedicated to egg fertilizing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Question: are you sure your female is actually a female? In my experience, females do not usually fight it out to that extreme.
Yes, it is the same female that just laid eggs with another male (Roayl Blue Halfmoon) yesterday. Pictures of her before and after spawning with Roayl Blue Halfmoon are below.
Fin Organism Fluid Marine biology Fish
Fish Fish supply Natural material Marine biology Fin


This Royal Blue Halfmoon male is chopped off almost the same way - he had amazing balance with all 3 fins, aligning to each other seamlessly creating a round shape view, but now looks like crow tail with 50% of webbing reduction... I didn't make a picture of him before breeding, so only after.
Light Hood Wing Fin Glass


There were 3 other females with Marble Guy from question one, all had ovipositor. But all 4 I mate him with injured him during the night. So I thought the problem is in male, rather then in aggressive female.
 

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What is your temperature. I've seen sluggish males bred in lower temperatures. This might be a reason for the female's attacks. . . . I mean females will attack over slow/docile males.

Are your females.from the same.spawn. I sometimes get similar behaviors.from the same spawn/pair But in my case, I had two batches that became severe egg eaters, leaving me nothing to artificially hatch
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The temperature was ~29 throughout the spawning. During the year temperature varies between 26-27 in winter and 29-30 in summer.

I mean females will attack over slow/docile males.
So basically my task is to train him to be more aggressive 😔 he does it nicely daytime, so I need him to be a top fit so as to respond to females' aggressive attempts during the night too. OR can I separate them with a transparent wall in the mid of the tank for the night, and join them back in the morning?

Are your females.from the same.spawn.
No, all my fish are bought in different shops, that imports from Thai or Indonesia, and from different local breeders with almost zero chance of beings relatives.
 

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Have you been getting them ready to breed by feeding them both bloodworms for about a week before introducing them? Does she look fat with eggs? The way I bred mine was a tank I think its a 5 gallon but unsure that comes with a black divider that has slots in it so they can see each other. Thid gets them use to each other before introduction and hopefully get both hot and bothered. I put a Styrofoam cup I cut in half with the male. Tgey seem to love making nest under it. Never had one turn this offer down. I do not let the female out with the male until there's a bubble nest. On her side is a plant that she can hide from him when needed. And I keep a eye on them both for too much aggression. So the tank is in my room. If the deed not done by morning I separate them. This worked for me and so far haven't lost a fish using this breeding method. Good luck.
 

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To be honest I've only heard of females nipping males. I have never had torn up males unless the male became inactive. On the other hand I've had my share of males killing females.

Your temperature is the same as mine. I cant think of other possible reasons for female's aggression. And I don't know why your females from different bteeders are showing similar behavior.

I suggest you try making male more aggressive. Isolate him for a week or so. Then start regular flaring exercises. As he flares, tap his tail with a small stick (satay sticks are ideal). Don't do it too often/long as it may stress him. 3-4 taps per flaring. You want to make him to immediately attack his sparring partner.

After two weeks, he should have healed enough and you could begin preparing him to breed. I suggest you try breeding in your grow out with dense plants or other hideouts at one end and cover the other end for him to nest (you could remove hideouts after they've spawned). Almost forgot; feed him well - until belly becomes plump 2-3 times daily during the whole period.

You could use dividers during the night to avoid male getting hurt. But remember to remove it early morning to avoid female releasing unfertilised eggs.

*** I'll take pictures of my breeding tomorrow
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
@kellymhill , thank you for the message. Let me copy my info from the starter message, as I already mentioned there what you were asking about.

Have you been getting them ready to breed by feeding them both bloodworms for about a week before introducing them?
FOOD (all the time, not only as conditioning): frozen blood warms, alive fruit flies, alive daphnia, frozen and alive brine shrimp, frozen tubeworms (rotated every 1-2 days)
Does she look fat with eggs?
Yes, it was the same female that eventually laid eggs with another male 7 days after.

On her side is a plant that she can hide from him when needed.
I tried this method a lot over the past 2 years. From my eyes, it looks like a female establishes there her territory and protects it from the timid male (problem 1). Or else, she hides there to rest, then comes out toward the male, but he dives bomb onto her and she escapes back, breathing heavily and laying on her side under the bushes (problem 2). In Problem, two fish was together for 10 days and nothing except culling and beating had happened. I just decided they do not like each other because right the same male made successful spawning with a female from problem 1 later.


@indjo I received all your recommendations and am ready to try this way. But there is a problem with that timid guy. This category is not for diseases, but if you can help me to assess, if he needs medication or not it will prevent me from starting a separate topic. He is eating and reacting when I approach the tank. But 70% of the time he rests on the bottom of the tank, going up only to gasp some air. Sometimes resting on the leaves of Anubias Nana. Compared to the tail-biter who lives next to him, he is absolutely reluctant and doesn't look healthy. Before spawning failures, he was a way more swim-guy. And his belly is now plump, even though I fed him only 3 bloodworms yesterday to see if he is bloating. His neighbor after yesterday's test of 3 worms is absolutely slim. I have worries that he may start developing swimming bladder or kidney issues and all these are early signs. Or is he is just way too stressed yet? I lost too many fish with dropsy and he is reminding me how it all started with those, who are gone by now 0_0 his belly is yellowish, while others are normal coloration in that area. IS it also a sign of something going wrong?
Plant Window Wood Flooring Hardwood


The video below is his swimming behavior compared to the tail-biter next to him. Video short for easy upload, but if you imagine the same picture for the length of 5 min, then one jump to air and short swim - and back to the same state.
My Google Drive
 

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Sounds like he is having health issues. May be reason he was attacked by female - having problems but hadn't shown symptoms.

Is he releasing waste normally?
Have you tried feeding him daphnia.

Sorry I usually cull my sick to avoid disease spreading. Perhaps you should post in D&E for better responses.
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I promised pictures . . .
My tubs are usually totally covered to avoid algae, especially hair algae. Though it's mostly dark, fish can still care for eggs and fry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Is he releasing waste normally?
Have you tried feeding him daphnia.
He released once when I made him flare. Normally, if I see someone's waste is "stuck", I let them flare 2 min and they release it all. But after that nothing was found. His belly is still bloated :(
Wil frozen daphnia help? I just lost the culture in both jars last week...
4 days ago I fed him fruit flies and since then symptoms have appeared. I think I did him bad service....all the other fish ate them too, but everyone is OK except him.
I will fight for him in another thread then, thank you!

Oh, really, and heavily planted. An aggressive guy, who didn't successfully embrace the female is taking care of 10+ babies. I am happy some of the eggs got fertilized. I will use all recommendations I got on this topic for my next try and see how it will go 😅
 

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Congrats on your fry.

Live or frozen daphnia should be the same.

If he isn't swimming normally but releases waste regularly, there might be something wrong internally. Not sure how to medicate though.
 

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That normal and for some case we need use trick,
-if you want to know when female ready it s easy, set up female in plastic glass in same tank male
if you see the female after put head down mean she s ready. so let male make nest and release in evening what i do
for escape injuries I always put some terracota pot or pipe for hiding in case of bad behavior..
-if male make nest but dot know how to finalize with female she can become agressive and can destroy male but if female cannot follow male she can be killed too.
-if you have issues with male fighting female you can put 2 females instead of one, after you need to look he will choose one and take out the other.
-for the male who not make nest you can find this plastic with bubulles inside, cut piece 10cmx10cm and put on top water
it s help male to know where to do .
some male are able to make big nest some not, that plastic can help you in this case.
take male up 1 years and young female you will get nice amount of babies too
 
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