Indian Almond Leaves and Betta Fish Breeding
A Betta Makes Its Nest Under An Indian Almond Leaf
Sometimes when we keep fish we forget that they are, in fact, wild animals who come from eco systems in which they acted in harmony with many other biological life forms. The betta in the two gallon tank seems to bear little resemblance to the wild betta which lives its life in large rice paddies and rivers, yet they are for all intents and purposes one and the same animal, and if we want our bettas to be healthy, then providing close to natural conditions is important, especially when it comes to breeding.
Breeding betta fish is not terribly difficult in and of itself. If you put a pair together in the same tank, you have a fairly decent chance that they will spawn. What's not so easy is getting the spawn to grow into beautiful adult fish.
In order to get the best quality spawn, you need to condition your bettas. Conditioning involves feeding them up (though not over feeding,) them for at least two weeks before they are set to mate, often with live foods such as brine shrimp, blood worms and white worms. (Although owners should be aware that live foods, especially blood worms and other live foods that are not raised on site, can contain parasites that introduce disease to fish. Pick live foods with care.)
Feeding is just one aspect of conditioning however, water conditions are also important. If at all possible, fish should be kept in a cycled, filtered tank. If that is not possible, they should be given 100% water changes every 3-4 days. I cannot overstress the importance of clean water for betta health.
In addition to these measures, it is a good idea to use Indian almond leaves. Almond trees grow naturally in the betta's natural habitat, and the leaves condition the water in such a way that promotes successful breeding. First of all, the almond leaf provides a place for the betta to make its bubble nest. It also secretes a substance into the water that makes the bubble nest stickier and more likely to remain intact. A good bubble nest is essential for a successful spawn.
Almond leaves are also said to harden the scales of the betta fish, making it easier for them to withstand the rigors of the act of mating. Betta spawning can be fairly violent, but the almond leaves help mitigate some of the effects of rough spawning.
Some breeders use tea bags filled with Indian almond leaves. These do not provide a place for the betta to spawn under, but provide the other benefits associated with using almond leaves in the tank. Be aware that the use of almond leaves will create a darker aquarium water than you may be used to, this is not a bad thing, it is entirely more natural than swimming in crystal clear water that is not native to the betta.
Indian almond leaves are a simple, relatively inexpensive way of boosting your betta spawning success rate. Why not give them a try?