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Breeding and rearing betta fry

Discussion in 'Bettas' started by wuvmybetta, May 26, 2004.

  1. wuvmybetta

    wuvmybetta Caw!!
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    Before we start let's think about a few things. Raising betta fry is very time consuming and lot's of work. You should have a plan for the fry, where will they live in a few months?

    Also, don't breed veiltail bettas. Lovely though they may be, there are millions and millions of homeless veiltails out there, so don't contribute to the "betta in cup" market. Get a nice, quality pair of bettas to breed with. You should have no trouble getting rid of quality betta fry :)

    You will need
    Lots of live and frozen foods
    5-10 gallon breeding tank
    Air Pump
    plastic tubing
    gang valve to control air flow
    sponge/corner filter
    styrofoam cup
    glass chimney vase
    lots of silk plants
    small heater (submersible only!)
    Amquel
    Live food cultures (microworms,vinegar eels,baby brine shrimp)

    Within 2 months you will need
    at least a 40 gallon grow out tank
    every jar you can get your hands on (so start saving now!)

    Before breeding your bettas,you will need to condition them for at least two weeks. Condition means to keep thier water especially clean and feed them twice a day on live and frozen foods.This will prepare them for the spawning.

    Tank Set-Up

    Set your tank in a sturdy spot where it's easy to access but not in a high traffic area. Fill it half way with clean dechlorinated water.Add your heater, corner filter,plants etc..
    Set your heater to between 80-82F, the warmer the water the faster the eggs will hatch. Which isn't exactly a good thing because that could lead to under-developed fry. 80F is perfect. Adjust your gang valve so that the sponge/corner filter let's out one bubble per second.
    Bunch your plants close together in one area to provide lots of cover for the female. Cut the styrofoam cup in half longways and float it in a corner, the male will build his nest under this. Don't ask me how they know to go there, they just do.


    Adding Fish
    Ok, so you're ready to add your bettas. Here's the standard procedure, add your male and your female at the same time, putting your female IN the chimney vase so the male can't get to her. He will be extremely excited and she will be scared but she'll soon relax when she realizes he can't get to her. He will begin working on his nest and when you think it looks full and ready, go ahead and release her.Usually after 24 hours. You'll need to cover the tank to give them privacy but you should keep an eye on them at all times. If the female is getting beat badly or not cooperating go ahead and remove her and try procedure #2 in a couple of days.
    *Procedure #2 is to add the male to the tank first, let him build his nest,then float your female in a small clear speciman cup, she'll get excited right away and he won't feel pressure to build a nest in a hurry because he already has one going. You can immediately release the female and they should begin spawning right away. Again, keep watch in case things get to rough in there.

    The Spawning
    The male will lead the female to the nest for her inspection, if she's not pleased she will destroy it.If she is happy with it she will swim around underneath it,head down. Don't be surprised if they get pretty brutal during the spawning, the occasional nip and rip is perfectly natural. The male will flip the female over and wrap himself around her and squeeze, eggs will fall from her and she will float in a paralized state for a few seconds. Again, don't be scared this is all normal. The male will fertilize the eggs during the wrap and as they fall he'll pick them up and place them in his nest. Then they will wrap again,more eggs,more paralysis and so on. Occasionally the female will assist the male in picking up the eggs.
    You'll know when they're done because the female betta will be hiding in the plants or off on the other side of the tank. You must remove her swiftly after the spawning! The male will indeed kill her if you do not so you really have to pay close attention at this point.
    Careful getting her out, don't chase her around the tank willy nilly with a net, just gently scoop her out with a cup in order to not ruin the fathers nest. Now cover the tank with a towel and leave him be.

    Eggs!!
    Dad will watch closely over the eggs for the next few days. Don't feed him at this time,it may trigger his appetite and right now he's not hungry anyway, he's got work to do. The male will sit diligently watching his nest. He may cruise the tank from time to time,checking for stray eggs or predators,be careful not to let him see you, he will eat the eggs if he feels threatened.

    After 24 hours you will notice little baby fry falling from the nest like rain, now's Dads time to shine! For the next 48 hours he will catch the babies,day and night, and put them back in the nest. That's why it is important to leave some dim lighting for him at night. If he gives up quickly or turns on the fry and you notice him eating them, go ahead and take him out and lower your water level to about 3". The fry will feed off their egg sacks for 2-3 days,these are attached to their belly and they're rather heavy,that's what causes the fry to fall.

    For 2 days he will watch over the fry, on the 2nd day they should go from this position l to this position _ and swimming on their own vertically, remove dad now because he's hungry and those fry are starting to look delicious!
    You should already have his tank set up and ready for him.

    First Foods

    Ok, the male is gone, happily munching on some bloodworms back in his own tank, now it's time to give the babies their first meal. Give them a small portion of microworms to start with, watch them eat because there is nothing like watching them devour their first food. They should be happy with the worms for a week or so but you really need to get your brine shrimp hatchery started ASAP. They'll need a meatier food,like bbs, after the first week. Feed them at LEAST twice a day, they're the hungriest little things you'll ever meet.

    Fry Tank
    Now's the fun part, keeping the fry tank clean. Small,partial water changes are essential. Use a long piece of airline tubing to syphon the tank. Use a clear or white bucket so that any sucked up fry are easy to recover, just scoop them up with a cup and dump them back in the tank. You should cover the tank with saran wrap for the first 6 weeks, this keeps the surface air humid and assists the development of the labyinth organ.

    At about 4 to 6 weeks they will need to move to a larger grow out tank. At about 2 to 2 1/2 months you'll be able to sex them, the males will begin bullying each other so it's time to bust out the jars.

    There ya have it, it's a lot of work but nothing compares to baby bettas :wub:

    *There's always new things to learn when it comes to spawning and breeding bettas and nothing is ever 'by the book'.
    It's an exciting and fun hobby and I wish you the best of luck.

     
  2. Tempestuousfury

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    How does one use the airline tubing syphon? I have a hard time getting the store-bought ones to work, what with all the movement and whatnot.

    When eactly are the fry ready for brine shrimp? They seem etremely small for the first week (gouramis, actually), and don't look as though they are able to consume soemthing so big.

    What do you think about liquid fry food? Any suggestions?
     
  3. wuvmybetta

    wuvmybetta Caw!!
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    They should be able to eat the BBS @ 1 week, you'd be surprised at what they can fit in their mouths :look:

    The airline tubing is a pain, you literally have to suck the other end to get it started (uggh,how many microworms I've eaten accidently :sick: ) and let it empty into a bucket on the floor (good ole gravity)

    Not sure about liqui-fry,never tried it myself.
     
  4. buggyboutbettas

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    Good article wuv!
    There's only one thing I want to comment on;
    Why silk? I know a lot of breeders who say real plants (particularly the floating kind) are the best for breeding.

    I haven't bred bettas yet so I don't have any opinion yet. I'm just wondering why you said silk instead of real... :huh: :dunno:
     
  5. wuvmybetta

    wuvmybetta Caw!!
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    Silk is my preference, people use live because they have micro-organisms which the fry will feed off of when they become free swimming. If you have microworms, it's not essential :)
     
  6. buggyboutbettas

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    Ok that makes sense.
    uh...one more question; why do you like silk better?

    P.S. Like I said before, I don't have an opinion on this yet. I just want to know other people's opinions and why (at this point until I draw my own conclusion).
     
  7. wuvmybetta

    wuvmybetta Caw!!
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    I like silk better because
    1. I don't keep live plants
    2.Buying them from PetSmart or something could introduce snails or who knows what else. I like to keep the 'nursery' as sanitary as possible. If you have a steady supply of clean live plants, then by all means, use them! :D
     
  8. Tempestuousfury

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    Where can one find microworms? Cultivate it or lfs? (I don't think chains around here have them...)
     
  9. wuvmybetta

    wuvmybetta Caw!!
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    You'd have to get a small culture from somebody. They're not usually available at LFS'. I know that they sell them on Ebay for around 3 bucks, or you can check out livefoodcultures.com (I think that's the name!)
     
  10. shrks1fan

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    Just to throw in my opinion on live plants vs. fake...I prefer live (usually Java Fern as it's ridiculously easy to grow and keep) as it does promote infusoria which is great food when they first become free swimming, and it pulls out the nitrate in the tank, keeping that number low. Also the fry love swimming through the Java Moss, it also gives them a place to feel secure. I also like keeping Ramshorn snails in my fry tanks as they do a GREAT job of keeping the floor and walls clean from gunk, and their poop also promotes more infusoria. The poop is also much easier to vacuum up. I've never had a problem with them eating the fry (if they do it's a very small amount and nothing i'm worried about). But plants and snails are definetly a personal thing, whatever works for you and makes life easier, so there is no right or wrong in that area.

    Great job btw Wuv, very nice detailed writeup :)

    Linda
     
  11. coconutman39

    coconutman39 Member

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    wuv...i learned this about the siphon and it might save you some BBS meals every once in awile. cover the non siphon side of the tubing with your thumb. dip the siphon in the water and let the air bubbles come up and the water go down the tubing. after letting tubing fill...submerse the siphon with the open end up into the water, letting air flow out. tip over siphon still in water and move thumb off opposite end. this should create a vac. took me some time to get used to, but it helps me not eat fish food. gl and pm me if u have trouble.
     
  12. bkk_group

    bkk_group coconut bomber

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    yes wuv, it was sorely needed here (breeding post) ;)
    i agree with keeping small snails in the tank as well, i have not found them a threat to fry once they start swimming. java moss is a great friend of the female as well when breeding, the males can't stand getting tangled up in it and the female just scoots under it to rest. anyways, everyone has different techniques, but really, whatever works is a good thing.
     
  13. Lenna

    Lenna Member

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    Mine took BBS shrimp as soon as their egg sacs were gone. I think they're all mouth at that age. :lol:

    How do BBS give swim bladder problems? If it's the unhatched eggs that causes this I don't think I have to worry. My fry won't eat them, somehow they can tell the difference, guess it's the movement. :dunno:
     
  14. wuvmybetta

    wuvmybetta Caw!!
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    Yes, it's unhatched cysts and the egg shell that attaches itself to them upon hatching. The best way to avoid that is to decapsulate your eggs in a solution of bleach and water, aerate in regular water for about an hour then add some bleach (two parts bleach to three part water), aerate until the eggs turn from black to white,gray than orange. When they're orange rinse them and dip them in 1 cup cold water with a tablespoon of vinegar. Rinse again and store them in a jar of brine solution in the fridge.
     
  15. ~FairyAngelFish~

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    How big are baby bettas? :)
     

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