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SubscribeDetailed Betta Breeding Instructions
Little Caesar
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male usa
Due to popular demand, I have decided to post these betta breeding instructions here for people interested in a step by step guide to breeding bettas. These are VERY DETAILED directions I wrote a few months ago on breeding bettas based on my own experiences. You may find some helpful information if you read it.


~~~~~HOW TO BREED BETTAS~~~~~


Breeding Stock:
First you need to get your breeding pair. Make sure that the female is the same size or a little smaller than the male. This will make the embrace easier during mating. Many breeders, including I, recommend getting a pair of relatively the same color so that all the offspring look similar, but you don't have to. It is good to have a trio (2 females and 1 male or 2 males and 1 female) because a female may not be interested in the male or a male may not be interested in the female, so if you have 2 of the same sex, you are better off just for backup. My first breeding pair consisted of 2 red veil tail bettas. Most breeders recommend that you only breed show quality bettas (quality of a betta is determined by coloration, finnage, and, most importantly, the tail), but if this is your first spawn, you may not want to use show quality bettas and spend a large amount of money on breeding stock just in case the project fails, so for the first spawn, I recommend buying pet shop quality bettas from your local pet store (99% of pet shop bettas have veil tails which is the least desirable trait in judging a bettas quality to the majority of breeders, but most people are not that picky, or dont know much about betta quality, so there is still a demand for veil tail bettas). Once you gain experience and know how to breed bettas, you probably should use show quality bettas for your next spawn. The best age for a betta pair to breed is at about 8 months of age.

Conditioning The Pair For Breeding:
Conditioning just means getting the pair ready for breeding. During this period most breeders feed the female (and sometimes the male) live or frozen foods such as fruit flies, frozen brine shrimp, grindal worms, white worms, black worms, etc. These foods provide a lot of nutrition and cause the female to produce a lot of eggs so that there will be more fry and make the male more active and eager to breed. Therefore, the breeder will make more money, especially if breeding show quality bettas (females can release from 100 to up to 500 eggs per spawn!!!). That is the main reason why conditioning is important. You can do this if you want, you can also just used freeze dried bloodworms which come in a tube for 2 bucks at almost any pet shop. They are still very nutritious and your female will still produce a good amount of eggs (about 150), so if you want to save some money, aggravation, and dont want to have a huge amount of bettas in the end, you can use the freeze dried bloodworms. The conditioning period is usually about 1 - 2 weeks. The conditioning period is complete when the female has a plump belly full of eggs. Some breeders also recommend putting a light over the female during conditioning because it triggers a hormone that will make her more willing to breed.

Setting up the Breeding Tank:
Here is a list of what you will need. Be prepared to spend a good amount of money.

- A 10 or 20 gallon tank (20 gallon recommended)
- A sponge filter (recommended, but harder to find) or a mini corner filter (such as the Clear Free by Penn Plax; commonly sold in most pet shops)
- A few Clear Free filter cartridges (only if using a Clear Free corner filter)
- Air pump
- Clear airline tubing (Make sure to get a good sized length of it)
- Gang Valve
- Digital or floating thermometer
- 1 or 2 plastic plants
- Submersible heater (I recommend "Visitherm" by Marineland)
- Full hood with lights
- Styrofoam cup and a small piece of tape
- A glass chimney, jar, or something similar
- 4 pack of small air stones
- Fish net
- Stress Coat
- A small live plant (such as an Anacharis bunch or some water sprite)

The total cost will be about $110. Add another $30 or so to final price for a more accurate estimate because it will cost you some more money to buy brine shrimp eggs, live food cultures, culturing media (soil, oatmeal, etc), and any other things that may pop up here and there. So overall, you should probably spend between $110 and $150 if you get everything brand new. It will be less if you already have some supplies or if you buy some supplies used.

Ok. now that you have everything, here is how you should set the tank up:

1. Fill the tank about 5 inches with tap water. Treat the water to remove chlorine by following the directions on the back of the Stress Coat label. Stick your digital thermometer on the outside glass of your tank below the water level or put your floating thermometer in the water. Put your sponge filter or corner filter in the tank and hook it up with the air pump and gang valve. Put the plastic plant(s) in the back corner of the tank near the filter (they can be weighted down with a few pieces of gravel, marbles, or small rocks). Just let the tank run for 2 weeks and during this time, condition your breeding pair. Also, START CULTURING YOUR MICROWORMS A WEEK BEFORE MATING!!! I didn't have them ready on time for my first spawn because I was not very experienced and about half the spawn died.

2. Buy the live plant now (a few days before mating so it doesn't die quickly) and put it in the tank near the plastic plants. Cut the stirofoam cup in half the long way, to create a sort of half-pipe. Place the cup on the opposite end of the tank than the plants and tape it to the inner of the glass so it doesn't move around. Make it so that it is floating in the water on the edges along the cut.

Breeding Your Bettas (YAY!!!!!!):
1. Turn off the filter. If you are using a Clear Free corner filter, move it up so that the top is about 1 cm out of the water becuase when it is off, there are no bubbles coming out of the hole on the top and the fry can swim into it through this hole (which would normally push them back out from the bubbles rising). They then can't find their way out and die inside it (I learned this the hard way). If the hole is out of the water, they can't get in, so that is why you have to move it up. Now, put the male into the breeding tank. Wait about 2 days for him to get acclimated to the new water conditions.

2. Turn on the light on your tank hood, if you didn't already. It should stay on for about 15 hours a day during breeding and about 9-11 hours a day once fry are hatched. You can put an automatic timer on your light so it will be easier to regulate the lighting times. Put the female into the glass chimney or a good sized jar (covered so she won't jump out) and put it into the tank. Like this, she can see the male, and he can see her, but she is protected and won't get beat up..................yet (you have to expect some fins to get torn during the breeding process, so don't panic when it happens. The female will even tear some of the male's fins too).

3. The male should flare a lot and display his full finnage for the female. He should soon begin to build a bubble nest under the styrofoam cup (I have no idea how they actually know to build it there). This can take from 2 hours up to a day. Once the bubble nest is pretty big, gently release the female (try not to agitate the surface much because bubbles may pop. If using a glass chimney, you can just pull it out and the female will be released from the bottom). She should swim around with the male and the male will try to lure her to the bubble nest. If she starts to dart around really fast and swims away from the male to hide in the plants, don't worry (that is why the plants are supposed to be there......so that she has a hiding place). Also, if she accidently swims into the bubble nest don't worry. When I bred my bettas, my female swam into it and popped most of it because she was nervous, but the male built it back.

4. The male will lure her under the nest and then suddenly wrap his body around her. He will squeeze the eggs out of her and they will all fall to the bottom of the tank. As they fall, they will be fertilized from sperm that the male releases. The female will float up to the surface in an "S" shape "stunned" for a few seconds and then will swim to the plants to hide. The male will go to the bottom of the tank and pick up the eggs with his mouth and then blow them into the nest in bubbles (this is why it is important to have NO GRAVEL on the bottom of the tank at all because the eggs will get stuck in it). Sometimes females even help to do this, so it really depends on your particular fish.

5. The pair will repeat this over and over (up to even 10 times!!!) until the female has no eggs left. Once there are no more eggs left in the female, the male will get more aggressive toward her and will attempt to kill her to protect "his" fry. So remove the female after the mating (if you witness it) or once she starts to look really beat up (if they mate at night, like mine did).

6. Put the female back in her bowl and add a few drops of Stress Coat to heal the damaged fins and feed her. (Do not feed the bettas during the breeding process. They won't pay attention to the food because they are too "excited" to eat. Only feed once you remove them from the breeding tank after mating).

7. Leave the father in the tank because the eggs/fry will fall from the nest and he will pick them back up and put them back in the nest. The eggs take only 2 - 3 days to hatch into fry. Once they are hatched, still leave the father in until the fry can swim horizontally.

8. Once the fry are free swimming, remove the male. Add a few drops of stress coat to his bowl to heal his torn fins and feed him.


OK, now that was the easy part............here comes the harder part.....

Taking Care of The Fry:
Remember, the filter should be OFF for the first 2 weeks or so (and remember that the top should be 1 cm out of the water if you are using a clear free corner filter when it is off to prevent fry getting stuck). Although the filter is off, leave it in there because the "good" bacterial colonies will live in the filter floss. Also, leave the fake plants in the tank because the fry like to hide in them.

Fry will only eat live foods for the first 2 months or so because they do not realize that flake and dry foods are actually edible because it doesn't move around. They need to use their hunting instinct. Also live foods are much more nutritious and will allow them to grow faster and stronger. Therefore you, MUST culture live foods! If you don't, all your fry will die!

The live plant should be left in the tank for the first 5 days or so because live plants naturally produce small microorganisms called "infusoria" which are actually small water fleas. The fry will eat this for the first day or 2 and will also obtain nutrients from their yolk sacks. The second day, feed the fry microworms. Microworms are so easy to raise. I recommend keeping 2 MW cultures at once in case one fails. When one fails, I just scoop out the oatmeal and throw it out (with a plastic spoon because it is REALLY gross and smelly when they fail), rinse the container, and then just start a new culture in the same container. Once you start feeding MW and you see that the fry are eating it, remove the live plant and throw it out because it will wilt and pollute the tank (make sure there are no fry on it).

You can feed microworms for about 2 weeks. You can also use vinegar eels if you want at this time. Then the fry need to be fed a bigger food. Start to feed them newly hatched Baby Brine Shrimp (BBS).......which is kinda a pain in the butt to culture, but are the most nutritious food for betta fry. Also, they don't keep multiplying like MW, so you actually have to buy eggs. You can buy eggs from Here or your local pet shop might sell them (you will have better luck checking at a family owned pet shop rather than a chain store). My local family owned pet shop sells them. They are quite costly (about $5 for a small tube of them), but you may be able to get a better deal from the link above because they sell in bulk. I raised my whole spawn on only 2 tubes though before I switched to flakes and grindal worms, so you won't need to buy that much (although that really depends on the amount of fry).

After 2 weeks, start the filter up. (If using a Clear Free corner filter, you can push the top back down below the surface once you turn it on because the bubbles will push out any fry that try to swim into it. It will still work if you leave it 1 cm out of the water, but I recommend pushing it down to break up the filmy covering on the water surface). If any brown gunk has collected on the bottom of the tank at this time, clean it by creating a siphon with some plastic aquarium tubing (the same size you used for the air pump) into an empty juice bottle or other container. Try to avoid sucking up fry, but you probably will suck out a few without knowing, so after you have sucked out most of the brown gunk, dump it into a bowl and check under bright lighting for fry. If you notice any, suck them out with the airline tubing or a turkey bester and then empty them into a paper cup. You can then return them to the fry tank. You should clean the tank like this every week or so or whenever a lot of gunk is on the bottom. After you remove the gunk, you should also do a partial water change. Take out about 15% or 20% of the water in the tank (make sure you don't catch any fry), and then replace it with fresh, treated (to remove chlorine), tap water or spring water if you want to play it safe. Try to make sure that the water chemistry of the fresh water is close to the water chemistry in the tank and try to get the temperature as close as possible.

As the bettas get bigger, increase the amount of water in the tank gradually, but make sure that the water level is always at least 3 inches below the rim of the tank (I'll explain why soon).

Back to feeding, feed brine shrimp for about 2 or 3 weeks until they are 5 or 6 weeks old. Once the fry get a little bigger, start to feed grindal worms which are easy to culture. Grindal worms can be fed to betta juveniles and adults, so I would suggest keeping the culture going even after the fry are full grown to feed as a nutritious treat. Other fish can eat them too, so you may want to treat any other fish you have from time to time.

To find out how to culture the live foods you will need, visit Petfish.net]http://www.petfish.net[/link] and scroll down to the live fry foods section. You can find starter cultures for all of the live foods you will need at [link=Aquabid.com]http://www.aquabid.com[/link] and at the [link=Petfish.netPetfish.net stock shop</a].

You can also gradually introduce crushed up flake food around the same time you introduce grindal worms. I did this by sort of starving the tank for the week (actually I ran out of BBS eggs and was still waiting for my grindal worm starter culture to come in the mail, and I didn't want to spend more money on another tube of BBS eggs) so I started to feed small amounts of crushed flakes (I use TetraMin's "The Rich Mix". A few of the bettas will finally realize it is food and eat it and then when the others see that they are eating it, they will copy. They tend to LOVE flake food once they start to realize it is edible. Once they start to officially recognize you as "the food guy" they will go nuts whenever you walk by the tank. When you lift the hood of the tank and they see your hands about to sprinkle the food in, they go so crazy for it that a few of them will actually jump out of the water to try to reach the food in your hands. This is why it is important to leave the water level 3 inches below the rim of the tank. Some will jump and may even stick to the glass of the tank. If this happens, just gently knock them back into the water.

Even though flakes take no effort to feed since you don't have to culture them, I still prefer grindal worms (which are easy to culture anyway) because the tank stays cleaner since they can live in the water for a few days. Once flakes fall to the bottom of the tank, the bettas don't eat it for some reason and it just sits there and pollutes the tank (which makes the water a little cloudy and can cause algae growth), therefore causing you to do more siphon cleanings and water changes, so that is why I like grindal worms better. When I do feed flakes, I feed them in a few small portions so that it gets eaten up before it falls to the bottom. You should feed both to give some variety though. Also they need to get "trained" to like dry/flake foods because in the future, that is probably all their future owners will feed them, so feed flake food a few times a week, with a mix of grindal worms in between. That is what I do and it works well.

But once they do not need any live foods at all and once they are a little bigger (about of an inch), you can feed them Hikari Betta Bio-gold. This is my favorite food to feed bettas because it is really nutritious and is in the form of pellets, so it does not cloud the water like flakes do. If you want to save money (flake and dried foods can be costly with so many bettas), you can continue feeding grindal worms through adulthood or you can also feed black worms or white worms which are a little bigger than grindal worms and would be more suitably sized for an adult betta.

You may want to also add 1 or 2 adult ramshorn or golden mystery snails to your fry tank. They will actually eat fallen flake food, algae, and some of the brown gunk on the bottom of the tank and keep the tank cleaner, so I would really recommend getting some.

Jarring Your Bettas:
You have to have a lot of jars to jar the agressive males (the females can all be kept together in the tank if you want). I use Ball mason jars that hold 1 quart which cost $8.99 a dozen at my local hardware store and deli containers that I buy online and at a local dollar store. I recommend that your jars hold AT LEAST 1 quart to give the bettas some space. The larger the jars, the less water changes you have to do. Do not cap the jars because the bettas need air (bettas breathe air from the surface through an organ called the labyrinth. This is why they can be housed in small containers). Cover the jars with something so they don't jump out, but whatever you use, punch holes in it for air. Jar the bettas using aged, treated tap water and do a 100% water change with aged, treated tap water twice or at least once a week.
Now you are done!
Within a few months, your bettas should be at a marketable size and should have their full finnage grown and should show their full color.

GOOD LUCK!!! If you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me by e-mail at CAP837@yahoo.com or send me a PM.

[span class="edited"][Edited by Little Caesar 2003-11-09 15:55][/span]

~*~ Caviar? no thanks! ~*~
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile AIM PM Edit Report 
Clown_Loach_Kid
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i just wanted to find out wether what LC said works and i would like ur feedbak on it thanx


neil

[span class="edited"][Edited by Clown_Loach_Kid 2004-05-13 19:24][/span]

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Back in the game after 4 years out ..
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
fishyhelper288
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hasnt worked for me yet but maybe im not doing it right
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
poisonwaffle
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it looks similar to other methods i've seen, so it should work.

I wouldn't add 2 snails as reccomended though, they will lay eggs and breed like crazy... 1 snail is good though
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
bettachris
 
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some people like me have different methods of breeding bettas so don't think that there is only one way.
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile Homepage Yahoo PM Edit Delete Report 
D Oscar
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I tried to breed my bettas...I wasn't pretty. The female ended up destroying my male. Total tail shredage and moderate fin damage. And i though she would be the one to get hurt. Does this mean she's not ready?
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile AIM Yahoo PM Edit Delete Report 
xxmrbui3blesxx
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I tried to breed my bettas...I wasn't pretty. The female ended up destroying my male. Total tail shredage and moderate fin damage. And i though she would be the one to get hurt. Does this mean she's not ready?


This is exactly what happened to me. Do I just need to find another breeding pair?
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile Homepage AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
Little Caesar
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Yes. You should try another female because it is most likely that she will do the same to another male. Some bettas are more agressive than others...each one has a different fishinality (hehe...get it..."person"ality...lol) and some are just incompatible.

~*~ Caviar? no thanks! ~*~
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
poisonwaffle
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One of my females did that to my male once...

I tried to breed them again a few months later and the male got his revenge...I had a double-tailed female for the next few months
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Daniel
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worked for me...
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Clown_Loach_Kid
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i think little seacer should make another one for the betta forum ..... or i could move this one over to there maybe?

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Back in the game after 4 years out ..
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Daniel
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sure go right ahead. In fact, I consider breeding a fish to be advanced, so if u see any posts about bettas in here, then zip them on over .
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
fishyhelper288
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well i found my most efective way i have had a male and female in a 10 gallon, with one side planted with lillies, sand botton and lots of guppies, plattys and a lonely sword
well i had been realy bad obout water changes and the water got poluted with tanens from drift wood and spanish moss i cleaned it after i bought a PURE WHITE platty but sadly i couldent see how pretty he was with the water being yellow so i jumped on the stick and cleaned it up, scrubbed it, the works, it looks great now, and apparently the bettas thought so too i looked in this morn before going off to school (where i am now and they were embracing and i saw a few eggs!! so i fed them then after i moved the spanish moss from benith after i noticed they were having trouble retriving the eggs.
And now i wait.
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Babsie
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I'm trying this out for a science prodject, but I'm having a slight problem. I've been conditioning my female for about a week (feeding her freeze dried bloodworms) and she doesn't look the least bit fat. Does she still have egges in her? How can I tell? Also how will I know when she is ready to breed and fully conditioned?

HELP!
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile AIM PM Edit Delete Report 
jakieblak
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Hi, i would be carful with the stress coat, ive had bad experience with some fish using it particularly bettas, the recipe has changed since this article was written, so i avoid it. The aloe coat has caused my male betta to lose scales and it can make clown loaches sick. i do not reccomed it at all for any fish.

Also if your going to use a substrate, try and put somthing under the bubble nest so the eggs wont get lost in gravel/sand etc, i use a flat rock.

The plants should be left in the tank, they only do good, there is no reason to remove them unless they are rotting and fouling the water.
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
crowntail
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go to www.bcbetta.com, and hit breeding.
Post InfoPosted 26-Jan-2006 11:21Profile PM Edit Delete Report 
Inkling
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I never read anything that involved a styraphome cup... Mine always seemed to build on floating plants. I also read somewhere that a small cave is needed in the tank? Why?

Inky
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rjmcbean
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fishyhelper,
Anything new on the eggs? I have never attempted to breed Betta's but now that I think about it, I don't remember ever seeing a baby-betta before, either. I wouldn't have the room to breed anyway, but, I am still curious.

~ r




"it's the neck, it creaks under the weight of too much heavy thinking."
Post InfoPosted 28-Jan-2006 14:40Profile AIM MSN Yahoo PM Edit Delete Report 
Little Caesar
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ok...so after a looooong time of cutting back on the hobby (i currently have 1 10 gallon tank and 2 bettas, rather than 3 tanks in my bedroom..lol), i am becoming interested in breeding bettas again. i was looking at some old pictures i took from my breeding experiment and now i miss it...so im gonna do it again...soon. whats sad is i forgot so much, that im consulting my own directions now...HAHAHA!!!

oh, and im really liking the new FP layout. very nice.

~*~ Caviar? no thanks! ~*~
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Callatya
 
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Good to see you back LC

For animals, the entire universe has been neatly divided into things to (a) mate with, (b) eat, (c) run away from, and (d) rocks.

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