Complete Beginner’s Guide to Breeding Betta Fish
Breeding betta fish can be a fun hobby if you have the time and skill. However, it’s not a task to be taken lightly.
Breeding betta fish background knowledge
The first step that you need to follow whenever you are attempting to breed any animal is to get the proper knowledge about the species. You have to get as much knowledge as you can to learn about their favorable breeding conditions. In the case of bettas, you need to be clear about why you are breeding them. You can get more than 600 eggs from a single spawn. With proper care, you can have about 500 baby bettas if most survive. That is a whole lot of babies to take care of so you need to be sure.
Set up permanent tanks for the breeding bettas
Now that you have made up your mind to breed bettas, you should set up permanent tanks for them. Get two tanks and set them up with a proper water cycling system. When setting up the tanks, be sure that you are putting them in the right place because these tanks aren’t a thing that you can move whenever you want. Moving the tank may shake the water and the eggs may get lost in the tank so you should set up permanent tanks.
The younger the betta, the better the betta
According to research, bettas breed better when they are young so you may have to find two to three pairs accordingly. Try to find a local breeder nearby to get such a pair. Contacting your local breeder will also give you access to a lot more knowledge about the breeding process.
Let them properly settle
Bettas have to settle in the environment and be comfortable in it before they’re ready to breed. This would take a few months. Breeding bettas can be time-consuming so plan on breeding them when you have a stretch of free time. Once you develop the conditions for bettas to breed, it’s nice to spend time every day monitoring the bettas and caring for them for the next two months. This is to make sure that the bettas like their new home and to monitor their behavior in their new environment. If they fight, it is best to change their tanks.
Get the breeding tank ready
Now that you’ve selected a pair that you want to breed, you should set up a breeding tank for the pair. Get a 5-10 gallon breeding tank equipped with a removable divider. The tank should have a few hiding spots, a heater to keep the water’s temperature up to 80.5 °F, and an adjustable filter such as a sponge filter. Don’t add any substrate to the water because the eggs may get lost once they hit the bottom. Just add clear water and be sure to set up the tanks where there are some distractions like other fishes or human activities. That will help with breeding a lot.
It’s time for live food
When the bettas are ready for breeding, it’s best to feed them live food like live bloodworms or brine shrimp. You can also feed them roaches, worms, and other insects. It’s also best to not try to capture these on your own, since they could have chemicals, dirt, and bacteria that wild insects could be carrying. If live food is not available, you can also purchase frozen brine shrimp or bloodworms.
It’s time to introduce the pair
After a few days of eating live food together, it’s time to introduce the pair. Try getting them to see each other but don’t push them close or they might start fighting. When introducing them, it’s necessary that you make the pair see each other. Make the male see the female from a distance and keep it that way for a few days. One method is to put a transparent divider in the breeder tank and introduce the pair in there. Some breeders often introduce the pair by putting one in a plastic cup so that the other could see it properly. Don’t do this for long because that cup betta is stuck in such a small place. Try whatever you can to introduce the pair from a distance until they get together properly.
Observe them closely
Now that you’ve made them see each other, you have to observe them for a few days to see if they fit together. If they seem interested in each other, only then remove the divider. A sign of interest is if the male shows off displaying his fins while swimming around and the female displays vertical lines on her body and angles her head down submissively. If you see those signs, it’s okay to let them get close. If they try to attack each other through the divider, it’s better to get them away from each other and try again later or try this with another pair.
Let them get along
After a few days of observation, when the male is ready for breeding he’ll build a bubble nest which takes 2-3 days to complete. This is the best time to release the female to him. Once you remove the divider and leave them together, keep an eye on them as the male may sometimes bully the female betta and chase her down. That’s okay as long as the male betta doesn’t hurt the female betta. You should still keep an eye on the male. Be sure to leave as many hiding places for the female as possible to let her escape the male’s bullying. Check on the pair every day to avoid any serious injuries.
Nature will play the rest
A few days later, the male will be able to get the female down to his bubble nest where they’ll embrace each other. It may take a few embraces for the female to produce eggs. After the female releases her eggs, the male will be there to collect them and stack them. Some other female bettas might also help in this or might eat the eggs. Keep an eye on these other females to see if they’re catching the eggs or eating them. If any of them are eating the eggs, remove the egg-eater from the tank. The pair may embrace a few more times and do the same but eventually, the female will stop releasing eggs. That’s the end of the actual breeding process for breeding betta fish.
Remove the female betta
After the female releases her eggs, it’s a good idea to remove her from the breeding tank and put her back in her own tank because the male may bully her again. She might be afraid so gently get her out of the breeding tank and put her back in her own tank. Treat her tank with maracyn oxy to help heal her fins if damaged by the male betta. It’s also a good idea to treat the breeding tank with maracyn oxy to avoid bacteria and fungus from killing the eggs.
Leave the male betta with the eggs
Don’t remove the male betta from the breeding tank. Let him play his role as a father until the babies learn to swim. It takes almost three days after the eggs hatching that the fry can swim. Until then, keep an eye on the male betta. If you feed the male, don’t be surprised if he does not eat the food at first. Keep offering him food and keep removing uneaten food gently.
The babies need care
After the first day of hatching out, the fry will still hang to the nest and the male will put back any fry that falls. After two days the fry will start swimming freely and eating what’s left of the egg yolk because they may not be able to eat by themselves. You need to keep an eye on the babies as they need care at that time.
Remove the male from the breeding tank
Once the fry are ready to swim, you can remove the male from the breeding tank and he can go back to his normal eating routine. You need to provide the fry with enough space of their own, so it’s necessary to remove the male. If the male still looks ragged after being removed from the tank, add some maracyn oxy to his tank to help heal.
The babies need food
Feeding the fry is very important and cannot be left unchecked. The best thing that you can give to the fry is baby brine shrimp or microworms. Fry only eat live food so you should get a large amount of it if you want them to reach their full potential. Keep a check on how much you are feeding those little fry. If you see dead microworms in the tank, understand that you are overfeeding them. You have to feed a very small amount to the fry. Some breeders often prefer to feed infusoria to the fry along with microworms and baby brine shrimp.
With care they grow
Keep your fries safe as they grow to become young bettas. This is only possible when you take proper care of these little babies. You have to properly feed them, keep the temperature moderate according to their ecosystem and let them slowly grow. Keeping an eye on the temperature is very important. The tank you place these little ones into should have a temperature control system that keeps the temperature to 81°F (27°C). Within a few weeks, the fry would grow into adults. Congrats on successfully breeding betta fish!