How To Breed Siamese Fighting Fish (Part One)

Male Betta 'Z' with his bubble nest.
Male Betta 'Z' with his bubble nest.

Breeding betta fish can be fun and rewarding if you have good stock and a breeding goal. However it can also be difficult to achieve and if it is successful it can sometimes result in hundreds of betta fry. As a breeder, you need to be prepared to take responsibility for all these fry one way or another. Fry culling is often a necessity of breeding. Are you prepared to feed little baby bettas to a larger fish, such as a Chichlid? Or to euthanize them in another way? If not, I don't recommend that you allow your bettas to breed.

To Breed Bettas You Will Need:


  • You need a spawning tank. Ideally, a 10 gallon bare bottom tank with a lot of plants in it like java moss or oxyweed. The tank should not be filled up too high, usually half way is ideal. A simple sponge filter is a good idea, although this should not be on once your fish start spawning. You'll need it later when the fry start to produce copious amounts of waste. Keep the tank at around 26 – 28 degrees Celcius. Some people advocate placing a styrofoam cup cut in half lengthways at the top of the water and taping it in place to give the male somewhere to build his bubble nest. This is not a bad idea and does provide a good structural spot for the male to create a nice big bubble nest.
  • You need a male and a female of similar size. Ideally the male should be larger than the female. Why?

Because the spawning process involves the male wrapping himself around the female in an embrace and squeezing the eggs from her. If the male is not large enough, then he cannot squeeze the eggs out, and if he is too large, then the power of his embrace could very well kill your female.

Ensure that your fish are not too old. Bettas can begin breeding at around three to four months of age, and they hit their 'prime' around seven months. It is not a good idea to breed a betta that is over a year old as males often lose interest in breeding past this age, and if they do breed it can sometimes be all too much for them and they end up dying after spawning.

If you love your fish and want to ensure that they stay alive, then it is important that you choose two healthy young fish who have been conditioned for two weeks before the event. This means plenty of good quality foods such as blood worms. There's no need to over feed them, just make sure that they are in good physical condition. Spawning takes a lot out of both parties and it is not uncommon for one or both fish to die after spawning.

I say it is not uncommon, but that doesn't mean that it is entirely acceptable. You can do a lot to ensure that your two fish spawn in relative safety.

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