Breeding Bettas is rather easy, and quite entertaining to watch. To begin you will need one male and one female. Unlike most fish where including several males and females together in a spawn, it is not a good idea to do so with bettas. Males will always fight each other.

Male bettas are smaller in body and have long flowing fins, females have short fins. As well females can be kept together in a tank with other females, only males are aggressive.

Once you have a male and a female they should be conditioned, although this is not absolutely needed. Conditioning includes feeding both the male and female live foods including bloodworms, tubifex worms and mosquito larvae.

When the male is ready to breed he will build a bubble nest, having floating plants will help him build a nest. He will take breaths of air and spit out little bubbles for the eggs and fry to live in. The female will swell up with eggs. Also in darker bodied females a light vertical stripe will appear over their body when they are ready to spawn.

One conditioning method which works is placing the male in a planted 10 gallon tank, and put the female in a glass cup and float the cup in the tank. This way the two fish can see each other, but cannot contact each other. This is said to encourage nest building and egg production.

Once the nest if built, release the female into the tank. The fish will chase each other around for awhile, but soon will begin to spawn. The male can be very violent, so giving the female a small hiding place in the tank is a good idea. As well the bottom of the tank should be bare so the male can find any eggs which are dropped.

Once they are ready to spawn the female will slowly approach the male with her head down in a non-threatening manner. The male will be under his nest. Once the male and female are together, the male will wrap his body around the female and gently squeeze eggs out of her.

These eggs will fall to the bottom of the tank, the male will pick them up, fertilize them and place them in the nest. This is why the bottom should be bare, so he can find any eggs which fall. The water should be 4 to 6 inches deep as well so eggs are not lost and so any fry which fall can swim back up.

Once mating is done the female may need to be removed. The male MUST stay with the eggs to take care of them and the fry once the eggs hatch. The male will attack the female if he sees her as a threat.

After about 48 hours the eggs will hatch. For the next 3 or 4 days the male will take care of the fry. The fry will absorb their yolksacs but remember these are labyrinth fish and they cannot breath water, so they must breath air at the surface. If they fall from the nest the male will pick them up and place them in the nest again.

Once the fry are done their yolk sacs they will swim away. The male will try to keep them in the nest, when he realizes he cannot, he will eat them. This is when the male and the fry must be separated.

[Introduction | Water | Food | Breeding | Fry Care | Sick Fish | Pictures]


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©1999-2004 Peter Sadlon