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How To Breed Siamese Fighting Fish (Part Two)
This is the second article in this series of How To Breed Betta Fish, if you have come here first, go back to Part One.
How To Ensure Good Parental Survival Rates
First of all, don't just throw the female in with the male and expect them to breed right away. It is best if you keep them in the same tank but separated from one another. You can do this with a weighted soda bottle if you have nothing else. Leave them like this for a few days. This way they get to see each other but they are not forced upon one another and nobody gets hurt.
Ideally, when you put them in close quarters like this, they will start showing signs of wanting to breed. The female may develop dark bands running vertically down her body (not to be confused with horizontal stress lines,) and the male may start making his bubble nest.
If neither fish shows any interest in the other, you may not have a breeding pair. Lots of people try and breed Bettas and complain that they won't spawn. Well, not every Betta finds every Betta of the opposite sex attractive. How would you like it if someone threw you into a room with some random guy and expected you to find him attractive? Usually however, a few days separated is enough to spark the interest of both parties.
If the female seems interested, and the male is building a bubble nest, you can let them in together. It can take up to a week for them to spawn, so don't get too overly concerned if at first the male just flares at the female and chases her about the tank. This is normal and it is why you put a whole lot of plants in there. These give the female a place to hide.
Eventually, they may decide to spawn. It's best to give them at least a week to do this, if they haven't spawned after a whole week, then I would simply try another pair. It may be that they are simply not interested in one another, or it may be that they are not suited to one another. Unless you are a high end breeder (in which case, you certainly wouldn't need to be reading this series of articles,) there is no reason to try and force betta fish to breed.
The Betta Spawning Dance
If your bettas do decide to spawn, it is an incredible display to watch. The male and female gather together under the bubble nest, and the male swims around the female. Both shimmy against one another as the male curves his body around the female with a series of vibrating movements and then clenches her tight in an embrace.