Breeding Tips?

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Fish Fanatic
Jul 11, 2009
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East Wenatchee, Washington USA
Hey guys, I figured I would post this and see what you guys came up with and had to say. As far as successfully breeding your Bettas, what tips and tricks do you all have up your sleeves. What's the process you all take to get the pair ready and, for the most part, willing? Do you help by doing any one or two things in particular to make their environment better, feed them something extra, or do the entire process in a certain order?

Anything could help, really. Most of my females have come around and gone waiting for any one of the males to get their act together, but it seems my males are more interested in just puttering around and striking beautiful poses for my camera lens. They don't seem all that interested in females like bettas I have had in the past were. Experience always paired me up with males who were so eager to do anything they would build nests for the little fish ornament I had in with them! These guys? So lazy.. if they had legs they'd sit on the couch and watch football, or in front of a mirror admiring themselves.
What are you doing to condition them? What does your spawn tank look like and what is your process for introducing the pair?
I am feeding the four females and three males their regular betta pellets, plus freeze dried baby brine shrimp and blood worms. The females are in a 10 gallon community tank (4 betta females, 3 female guppies) and the males are in their own gallon domains. I hadn't planned on introducing them beyond sight until the males picked up their bubble nest making-but so far I am just looking for tips before I even attempt anything. The females have come and gone with the egg swelling and whatnot. I've only had one male actually build a decent sized bubble nest-but he tore it apart less than four hours later. >___<

My spawn tank is a ten gallon with a few plants and hiding places, a detachable filter that's just keeping the tank in motion for the moment and a heater.

Any idea as to what to do with those males? They do try to build nests, but they kind of fail and just line the perimeter of their tanks with a thin line of bubbles.
Have you tried adding broad leaves or half a plastic cup floating at the top to help create a base for them to build a bubblenest on?
You need the male to build a bubblenest when in the spawn tank faced with a ripe female. Whether he does, or does not, build a nest in his own tank is pretty much a non-issue. Some of my males adorn their tanks permanently with bubbles but still will not wrap a female, and quite a few of mine never blow a bubble unless a willing female is under their nose.

Start conditioning the pair two weeks before you intend to spawn. It's usually a good idea if the female is separated from the sorority so that you can control exactly what she's eating. Use high protein foods - feed the usual ration of pellets twice daily, and whenever possible substitute live food or frozen bloodworms for one of these feeds. Only ease back on the feeding if either fish becomes very bloated.

After one week of this conditioning, prepare the spawn tank. Half fill the tank (water level should be about six inches) and make sure there is nothing on the bottom of it. Reduce the current from the filter or turn it off - most breeders I know use bubblers in their spawning tanks but I don't filter them at all, I just use ammo-lock. Turn the heater to the same temperature as the bettas' regular tanks. Stick a large glass jar in the middle of the tank (I use a 1/2 gallon jar) and fill it with dechlorinated water to the same level as the water in teh rest of the tank - this is your 'chimney'. Add your hiding places and plants etc. Then get a piece of bubblewrap about the same size as the palm of your hand. Float this, bubble side down, on the water next to the chimney. I push a paperclip through one corner, and stickytape a magnet to the outside of the tank at the waterline. Sticking the paperclip against the magnet stops the bubblewrap floating around.

So you've been conditioning the pair for one week - now add your male to the spawn tank. He should have the run of the spawning tank to be familiar with it. After he's been in there for four days, put the female in the chimney. The male can see her, clearly, and flare at her, but he can't get to her.
Usually at this stage the female will 'bar up' or develop strong vertical lines. This indicates interest in breeding. Keep up the supply of high protein food to the female. This is when she will 'egg up' also - while in the presence of the male.
The male should at this point start building a bubblenest under the bubblewrap.

After two days (and no sooner, even if the bubblenest is completed in less time) release the female. Sometimes they spawn on first release, sometimes they don't. Leave the female out for about 12 hours if possible, but return her to the chimney immediately if the male really beats her up. (Chasing and nipping is normal. Violent attack is not.)
If they didn't spawn on the first day, repeat this procedure for the next three days. If you still don't have eggs, you're probably not going to get them. Pull the pair, recondition and start again.
The most important thing to learn is patience. I'm on attempt number seven or eight, several hundred dollars down the line, still no eggs.

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