Betta - Keeping and Breeding the Siamese Fighting Fish

Red Betta male HF
Red Betta male HF

Individual experiences with bettas seem to differ from one person to the next. Some report keeping and raising Bettas to be fun and easy, while other people report having no success at all. One things seems to be certain and that is, keeping and breeding are both much easier than raising the Bettas to adulthood. Bettas are bubble-nest builders and are found wild in southeast Asia..Centuries of development have produced the domestic Betta Splendens, which we're very acquainted with today.

Disposition:

    As well as being a fighter, the Betta splendens we recognize today have many other attributes which make it different from most fish. Bettas will maintain eye contact and seem to delight in keeping an eye on the actions outside of the tank. Bettas can see very well and respond rapidly to objects in the tank. This is particularly true of newly purchased fish. Most cultivated Bettas are not very fearful of the sight of individuals around their tank.


   Most male Bettas will constantly chase other Bettas, male and female alike. Nearly all females wind up dead, either prior to or after spawning, unless great care is taken to get her out of the tank. Females shouldn't be permanently housed with males, but many females can be housed together. Keep in mind though that even the females will sometimes fight and tear fins. Bit by bit, the desire to fight appears to be being bred out of the cultivated Bettas. Many males won't fight at all, but will rather display submissiveness like some other tropical fish. Males will rarely fight if they're raised together and "NEVER" separated. 

Community tanks:

   Betta splendens are a community fish, but you must not put more than one per tank. If your Beta shows signs of fin damage shortly after entering a community tank you will have to keep an eye out to find out which fish is nipping at his fins. Bettas live well with most species of fish which are smaller in size. Nevertheless, tears in their fins will sooner or later cause your Betta to lose some of its attractiveness. 

    Remember that Bettas like the water to be warmer than the average tropical fish. This might cause some problems with certain species, but, as a general rule most fish can survive well at 80 degrees.

Food:

   Betta splendens are generally picky about what they eat and are slow to recognise new foods. It's a good idea to feed your Bettas, as well as any other fish, a diverse diet so they don't become to accustomed to the same thing. Many aquarist feed Bettas brine shrimp, live and or frozen all their lives. If a Betta is an adult before discovering any other type food, it might starve instead of changing its eating habits. Flake food isn't very popular with Bettas and doesn't provide a good diet for growing fry. The ideal diet for rearing young Bettas is a combination of vinegar eels and newly-hatched brine shrimp. Mosquito larvae make a great food as well.

   Bettas, especially  Betta fry, should be fed numerous times during the day. It's often better to feed the Betta a small portion, several times each day, rather than to feed the Betta one big meal, once a day. Growth is induced best by feeding multiple times. Bettas have been known to survive without any food for three to four weeks, but this would obviously not be beneficial for the adult Betta and would without a doubt kill growing fry.  

Spawning pair. - (Wikipedia c.c.)
Spawning pair. - (Wikipedia c.c.)

Halfmoon male betta spwaning with female crowntail betta

Betta Fish Laying Eggs

   Unless you're seeking to breed for a specific color or feature, you'll be able to use any Betta for breeding purposes. They ought to be between three and eight months ideally and shouldn't have been bred during the previous two weeks. Nevertheless, males may be capable  breeding again with only a few days of conditioning. 

    Conditioning is essential, especially for the female. Live or frozen food is best and the female should be fat with eggs before essaying to spawn. Females who are young, but are not fat, may still have eggs but the number would be much lower. Young females are a good deal easier to spawn than are older females who have never spawned before. If you're lucky, a female is good for about four or five spawnings before she should be retired.

Female Betta - (photo bucket)
Female Betta - (photo bucket)

Male Bettas can be breed as young as two months, but have to be large enough to wrap their bodies around the females during the mateing process. Male Bettas are frequently bred until they die of old age, around two years for most Bettas. Males may spawn with success 30 or more times during their life without any adverse effects.

Selection of the breeders is crucial if you desire a specific color or quality of fish. To get show-quality babies, you usually must begin with show-quality parents. This high quality of fish can be found at pet shops, from other local hobbyists, or from hobbyists anywhere in the U.S. Bettas are easy to send via the US postal service. They're advertised in FLARE, the national publication of the IBC, which is the International Betta Congress which holds conventions and sanctions Betta events.

A lot of breeders use two females and one male when breeding. Many believe that jealousy between the two females may accelerate the mating process. Nevertheless, since females typically eat eggs, this increases your chances of losing a successful spawning.

Ideal conditions for breeding would be in a five or ten gallon tank filled with about five inches of water. The water and surface air temperature must be constant and about 80 degrees. Bettas spawn faster when the water is even a little warmer, but the eggs will develop too fast if the temperature tops the 80 degree mark. It's best to spawn at 82 and then gradually lower the temperature to around 78 during incubation. Under these conditions, the eggs ought to hatch in about 48 hours. If the temperature were to remain at 82, the eggs would likely hatch after about 36 hours and the fry would probably be deformed and die.

Ideally, the tank will have living plants for the female to hide in. The female ought to be placed in the tank before adding the male. After a few days, the male should be added. The two shouldn't be able to touch, but should be able to see one another. The ideal tool to use is a chimney from an oil lamp. The female can be housed inside the chimney and then she can be released after the male has finished his bubble nest. The construction of the nest normally takes only a day or two and the nest may be as small as a quarter or as large as the entire tank's surface. Mating generally occurs two or three days following the female's release. Remove the female after spawning occurs. Though some females will care for the young, most won't. Bettas are relatively simple to spawn, the hard part is getting the fry to survive. This initial ten-day period is essential to the development of the fry. An estimated 80 to 90 percent of fry die before reaching ten days old.

15 day old fry.  (Wikimedia c.c.)
15 day old fry. (Wikimedia c.c.)

Baby bettas

   After the eggs have hatched, they'll continuously fall from the nest and are constantly brought back to the nest by the male. Using his mouth, he carries the fry to the nest and places it in or between the bubbles he's produced. This never-ending, vertical falling continues for an another 48 hours. A lot of fry will die during this period because of disease, Hydras, irregular development, or from being eaten by the male. After the babies begin to swim horizontally, a very slow stream of aeration ought be started in the tank and the male should be removed. It's better to leave the male in too long, than not long enough. It's comparatively safe to leave the male with the babies for months - until space will no longer permit it. 

    If the babies are constantly able to feed upon algae, live food, or other products, they can be adult size in less than three months. Fewer numbers of feedings mean slower growth and potential stunted growth. Ideally, you would feed vinegar eels and newly-hatched brine shrimp for the first week and then only newly-hatched brine shrimp from then on.

Genetics:

   A lot of hobbyists are mainly interested in Bettas because they provide a marvellous vehicle to practice the art of selective breeding. No other fish is so beautiful and yet available in a wide variety of solid and mixed colors. The beautiful specimens we see today are the results of hundredsof years of selective breeding. 

   Selective breeding can be good and bad. In addition to getting desired characteristics as the genes begin to line up, the offspring also begin to exhibit undesirable traits as well. Shorter  bodies, smaller  fins, crossed pectoral fins, infertility, and sexual misfunctions are just a few of the negative points pertaining to selective breeding. 

   Color is usually the most important factor in selective breeding. If you would like to have blue Bettas, you should breed a blue male to a blue female. However, its not that simple when trying to get a less dominant color. Bettas can be blue, red, yellow, black or any combination of those colors, like orange, green, brown, or pink. Bettas also may be pink, clear, or albino. These three are actually Bettas without any color. 

   Lately, a great deal of time has been committed to pastels and marbles, which are unique among themselves.

Comments 9 comments

gold400 profile image

gold400 6 years ago from Australia

Great U Tube video of Betas breeding. It tells the whole story. Also a very spectacular looking red male at the top of your Hub! Great work. My own hub on Siamese fighting fish is currently under construction.


olivia 6 years ago

this is a great website but when do they get colour? i have been to 18 websites so far and none of them tell me my answer...WHEN DO FRY GET COLOUR?


milynch43 profile image

milynch43 6 years ago from Philippines Author

It will take several months before the colors and fins begin to really develop. It's at this time that you will have to start separating them.


isaac ng 6 years ago

i know i just started to breed bettas for about 2 days but the female is running away from the mating process...

Tell me why this is happening.

Regards,

isaac ng


milynch43 profile image

milynch43 6 years ago from Philippines Author

She may not be ready. Try separating her for a while and conditioning here before trying a again. Also consider keeping him isolated in the tank so she will be aware of him, but he can't harass her.


Fish Tank Betta 6 years ago

Nice video of baby bettas.


asif 5 years ago

k i got the eggs n they are hatchd n when should remove the male?


splasher 2 years ago

My male betta was only with us for 2mos my daughter wanted a female they mated. Then I changed the water he quit eating and died this morning. I'm so upset. I dont know if he was depressed she killed him or what but the water was tested it was okay. Maybe I should not have let him spawn any thoughts?


milynch43 profile image

milynch43 2 years ago from Philippines Author

Not enough information to really say for sure, but it is possible the water change was a shock to him and led to his death. Even if the water was OK, it can cause problems if it is very different from what he is accustomed to. (Sudden changes can be fatal.)

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working