Breeding Betta Splendens
By Keith 565
Bettas are shy until they get to know their surroundings.
Don't try breeding them as soon as you get them, a recipe for disaster. The male will need feeding up on bloodworm to be able to spend so much energy on nest building and looking after the fry for several days. Many people, me included, do not feed our males while they are nesting, they often start eating the fry, perhaps just get carried away with the eating thing, lol, and forget to stop at the food, lol
also, the female needs time to settle in or she will not be interested in spawning, and the male may well attack her.
The tank can be as small as 18x12x12, with about 6 inches of mature water in it, decor should be a few pots and a bit of plant for the female to hide in. No gravel/sand, contains bacteria and if the fry fall into this the male will not be able to retrieve them.
When i put my pair in the spawning tank, i put the female in a cut down coke bottle, no top or bottom. it sits just nicely on the tank floor and the male can see her but not touch. Put either a piece of polystyrene, or what i use, a half a poly cup in the tank. After the male has started to build his nest, the female should show signs she is ready, usually by loosing the vertical stress bars and some even start to show horizontal bars, she may also go head down when he approaches. When u think she is ready, lift the bottle up very slowly so as not to disturb the nest, and she should look around the tank and very soon inspect the nest. if she is happy with the nest then they might start spawning. I would do this early morning so you can watch her, just in case.
This might take a few hours or a few days, but watch them closely as either could attack the other.
Best do it over a weekend when you are off school.
When they have finished spawning take the female out or he might kill her. But again, be careful not to disturb the nest.
IMPORTANT, you must leave a light on while the male is in with the eggs/fry. if he can't see them he can't look after them and they will fall to the tank floor and die.
The eggs will hatch in 24-48 hours depending on temp.
Once they are free, swimming, you must start to feed them on infusoria, liquifry and after 4-5 days, microworms. After about 10 days they should be big enough to take newly hatched brine shrimp. Feed them on bbs and microworms for the next few weeks until they have grown a few mm, then try them on dried foods, very fine granular is best, but still feed them bbs as well, as some might take a while to take the dried foods.
At about 3-4 weeks the labyrinth organ will have developed and they will take their first breath of air, it is important that there is a very tight fitting lid on the tank as any drop in temp will kill them at this time.
Once they start to grow you will need to think about where you are going to put the males as they develop, usually around 8-10 weeks as they will start to fight, please bear in mind a good sized female can lay anywhere from 50-200+ eggs.
you will need to do water changes every 2-3 days once they are free swimming, again, use aged water, stand for 24-48 hours.
I wish you very good luck, they require a lot of attention once the male is removed.
I hope this is of help to you and anyone else thinking of giving them a go. Very rewarding. but don't be disappointed if the first spawn does not go to plan, just give them another few weeks and try again.