General info on betta breeding
Before betta breeding it is important to under stand the basics. In the world of betta splendens, the males are the ones who will look after the eggs and young. The males do this by building a nest out of bubbles. His spit is on the bubbles which acts like a dis-infecting agent. The females only job is to lay the eggs.
Step 1: Conditioning
You must first condition both of the breeders. 2 weeks is the suggested time frame because you need to feed the female a lot of highly fat and protein rich foods. The male needs a lot of food in those 2 weeks because he should not eat while he is in the breeding tank and will not eat when he is with the fry. Worms are a good food for conditioning bettas. Feeding the bettas worms 2 times a day is a good feeding plan. Do not let the male and female see each other until the week before adding them both in the breeding tanks.
Step 2: Tank set up
A bare tank is a must. You need a bare bottom because the eggs are very small and will fall constantly so gravel will just make the eggs get stuck, rot and fowl the tank. It is a good idea to keep the sponge filter on the opposite side of the tank and not even have it running until the male is out. Adding live plants around the tank will add protection and food for the fry, also helps clean the water. For the nest you can either go in three directions. One is to add a half cut sytrofoam cup in the tank and tape it to one of the sides. The male will usually build the nest under this. Another way to go is use a lot of floating plants like ricca to get the male to build under there. The other way to go is to just let the male build a bubble nest anywhere. The best way to go is with the stryofoam cup. A heater is a good idea and should be placed at the other end of the tank. Keep the tank covered, it is very important to keep the atmosphere temp the same as the water as the baby fish don’t have have their labrith organ ready yet and cold air can kill them. So a book or a hood provides good coverage. Always allow the water in the breeding tank sit for a day or two like you would for any fish tank. A good temp is 85*F as bettas naturally come from a warm environment.
Step 3: Adding the bettas
It is a good idea to add the female in her bowl first,allow her the time to get use to the surroundings. Next you can add the male into the main section of the breding tank. He should see the female and within hours he should be a usual male betta and start flaring. By allowing the female to be comfy she should respond with confidence and not be scared. The male should soon start to build a nest. During this time it is important not to bother them. Keep the noise down and the surrounding light dim.
Step 4: First signs
Within a day you should see progress. The male should have a few bubbles in the nest site, and the female should be vertically barred up and dancing. If you see her scared and at the bottom with horizontal stripes, she isn’t ready but give it time. If these signs persist they probably wont breed. A common mistake is releasing the female to early. This not only endangers her life, but makes the breeding process go slower. There is no need to release her when the following signs aren’t present. When the female is attacked by the male to early, she will have fear stripes and breeding slows down. For the female signs, she should be confident and rich in color and have vertical stripes. This will only make the male work harder to get the nest done. Just allow her to stay in the bowl for awhile longer until the nest is done.
Step 5: Additional Signs
When the male has the nest the way he likes it, he will change is approach. He will stop trying to bite her every time, and instead almost do a dance trying to lure her to the nest. If you see the male doing this “dance”, you should also see the female acting in a similar way swimming and dancing. Now you can release her. The female will sometimes go under the nest, because she is ready and the male may not understand this(especially younger males, thats why it best to start out with older males) The male may attack her and the female will usually either, swim away and try again later, or she will stick around and if she is really ready, than she will swim head down, clamped fins, and in a “S” pattern. This is a good sign. Now sometimes before this, the male may attack her and keep going after her, if this happens it is a good idea to put her back into the bowl before she gets really hurt. If she is swimming in that pattern, the male should understand this sign. Usually he will continue building the nest and in a perfect world the female will push the male and they will wrap under the nest. Sometimes the male could be too involved with his nest and the female can get bored and leave or attack the male.
Step 6: The actual spawning
The male and female will embrace under the nesting area. They will either stay at the top or fall to the bottom. The wrapping it self maybe unsuccessful at first. Many bad wraps can happen before the male and female get it right and eggs fall. If it is successful, you will see the male and female be stunned for a few seconds. Don’t worry this is normal and they will soon get back to normal. The male is usually the first to recover and he will usually go down and get the eggs using his mouth. The female will usually help pick up the eggs. At some point the male and female will get the eggs and release them into the bubbles. The whole process can last anywhere from 1 to 7 hours. After they are finished, the male will take care of the eggs and chase the female away. At this point it is a must to remove her. The male is now left with the responsibility to pick up the eggs when they fall.
This will take you through the breeding process. However, the after care of the Bettas are just as important as the breeding itself.