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How To Breed Fabulous Siamese Fighting Fish

Updated on May 27, 2010
A beautiful delta tail male from
A beautiful delta tail male from

Fighting fish are some of the most beautiful small fish in the world, but breeding them isn't as easy as one might think, partially because breeding them is so easy. Confused yet? Good. Read along and I'll clarify.

Unlike other fish that have fairly homogenous appearances no matter what pair you breed together (like say, Jack Dempsey fish and other such cichlids,) Siamese Fighting Fish come in a wonderful array of colors and fin types. This means that pair selection is a big part of breeding a good quality, fabulous looking fish.

Randomly breeding pet store bettas together at will usually results in fish with smatterings of various wild type coloration, in other words, metallic greens, reds, and blues. There's nothing wrong with fish of this type but they are very common and there's no real achievement in breeding them.

On the other hand, purchasing quality breeding stock and breeding for specific traits is an excellent way to find more meaning in breeding fighting fish. If you have the space, the time and the patience, you may even develop a new color strain.

Of course, breeding on this scale requires hard work, sacrifice and some hardening of the heart. A spawn may result in 200 or more viable fish. If you're not able to sell them all or find them good homes, you may need to cull some. Predator fish are good for this purpose and feeding cull fish to larger fish is probably the kindest way to cull if you are going to do it at all. Cichlids make short work of small fry, and if you're culling really early, other fighters can also act as cull fish.

What Do I Need For Breeding Betta Fish?

Breeding betta fish requires several tanks. You'll need tanks for the adults, tanks for spawning, grow out tanks for fry that are growing, and jars or divided tanks once the males start to emerge at around 10 weeks if all goes well. All of these tanks will require filters and heaters and regular water changes, especially fry tanks.

How Do I Breed a New Strain?

With every successive generation you need to pick the best specimens of the spawn and breed them back to the parents to fix traits. In order to keep the blood lines strong, you'll also need to mix in unrelated blood every now and then to avoid breeding weak fish. There is far more to breeding color strains than can be covered in this little article, but that's the general idea.

Breeding betta fish is both a science and an art, one that will either absorb you completely or destroy your will to ever breed again. It's a fine line.


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