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How To Breed Siamese Fighting Fish (Part Three)
This is the third article in this series of How To Breed Betta Fish, if you have come here first, go back to Part One.
The Spawning Betta Dance contd...
In the last article, I wrote of how the male fish embraces the female fish, bending his body around hers and squeezing tight.
The effort of this stuns both fish for a moment. If the embrace was successful, a group of eggs will drop from the female and usually, the male will go after it as the female will be too busy lying stunned at the top of the tank. It's not uncommon for both fish to get a bit too stunned and for the male to just drop like a stone to the bottom of the tank whilst the female bobs at the top. They're not dead, they're just out to it. They will usually pop back to full consciousness within 30 seconds.
If eggs have been released, then whichever fish caught them in their mouths will ferry them to the top of the tank and spit them into the bubble nest. This can happen many, many times over. If you want to ensure that your spawn is not too large, then you can try interrupting the female after the third or fourth time.
I managed this by shining a torch light into the tank. This didn't disturb the bubble nest, but it did throw the fishes off their game long enough for the male to chase the female away a bit and for me to catch her and take her out.
Your milage may vary. If your fish are not used to you, your presence too close to the spawning tank may cause them concern and result in them not spawning, or stopping spawning. In the case of my fish, they live in the room where I spend 10 – 15 hours a day working, so I am a pretty familiar presence. I could dance around in front of the spawning tank and they would pay no attention whatsoever.
At all costs, be sure not to disrupt
the bubble nest. If the bubble nest breaks up, then it will be nigh impossible for any of the eggs to hatch.
Once spawning has finished, either when you decide it has gone on long enough, or they simply run out of eggs to squeeze out, you MUST remove the female. The male can get very aggressive at this point and this is where a lot of females end up dying. Males can also sustain injuries at this point if the female fights back, which she often will.
Leave the father with the bubble nest. Male bettas play nursemaid to their babies, and you can usually happily leave him in there until the fry become independent and free swimming. If all has gone well and you have viable eggs, they will hatch within 24 to 36 hours.
Here is an interesting and valuable chart showing the growth rates of Betta from fry to young adult.
The next stage of the Betta breeding process is tending the fry once they hatch. More on this later.