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Took Me 65 Years to Breed Bettas !

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OldFishKeeper

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In 1958, when I was 10, I got tired of guppies and went for bettas. With the help of a birthday and weekly allowances, I bought a 5.5 gallon aquarium from Sears. I believe it was called a "marbleized". It had a black steel frame with white squiggly lines and a slate bottom. Anyone remember them?

It had a metal reflector and two, 15 watt bulbs...no cover. For heat, and from memory, I had it share a 25 watt tube with a 50 watt for my 10 gallon and 75 watt for my 15 gallon. All three were controlled by a single thermostat install in the 15 gallon tank. This was one of the latest heater innovations from Germany.

I read up on all the latest and greatest publications at that time on breeding bettas and purchased a pair from a LFS. Somehow, I managed to buy a supply of white worms, soil and glass cover for the small box my stepfather made. This is how I got my bettas into spawning condition. Forget the flies and mold that infiltrated the box drawn to the bread soaked with milk :eek:.

They did the bubble nest thing and I managed to remove the female before any serious harm. I even got the eggs to hatch and removed the male before he ate them!

I wasn't about to do the infusoria thing because my parents were still upset with the white worm mess. A stinking jar of rotting lettuce was not something they would appreciate. So, I opted for "Liquifry", a tube of milk-like liquid that came highly recommended.

Well, the fry lasted as long as their egg sacs. Apparently the food was not appealing to them or was rotten before they wanted any. Who knows what the water temperature actually was? Water changes? That was for evaporation.

Anyway, fast-forward to last May, I did it again. I had retired and had more time to resurrect my old hobby. With the help of the internet and people like you on this forum, it was a success.

Proper food, water and temperature is all that it takes.

Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane...also hope that more people will join and contribute. This forum could use a little more action IMHO.
 
Your story is very similar to mine . I started with guppies in 1965 and being just a fourth grade kid I just had to have every fish I saw and my little five gallon was home , at various times , to Angelfish , Swordtails , various Gourami’s , Zebra Danio’s , Convict cichlids and even a baby Oscar very briefly. In 1971 I got the bug to do an egg layer and Betta‘s were my first too . No submersible heaters in those days so I put the heater in a quart jar and set that in my five gallon with the four inch deep water . Amazingly enough it all worked and I was able to raise quite a few fry . I fed them with tube Liqui-Fry . Remember that stuff ? Anywho , I’m retired too and still being mesmerized by tropical fish . There’s a lot of new equipment that makes things easier but not much has really changed . Welcome back to the greatest hobby in the world !
 
Your story is very similar to mine . I started with guppies in 1965 and being just a fourth grade kid I just had to have every fish I saw and my little five gallon was home , at various times , to Angelfish , Swordtails , various Gourami’s , Zebra Danio’s , Convict cichlids and even a baby Oscar very briefly. In 1971 I got the bug to do an egg layer and Betta‘s were my first too . No submersible heaters in those days so I put the heater in a quart jar and set that in my five gallon with the four inch deep water . Amazingly enough it all worked and I was able to raise quite a few fry . I fed them with tube Liqui-Fry . Remember that stuff ? Anywho , I’m retired too and still being mesmerized by tropical fish . There’s a lot of new equipment that makes things easier but not much has really changed . Welcome back to the greatest hobby in the world !
Thank you for the response! I got started in 1956 or so, when a friend of my dad's gave me a 2.5 gallon tank with some guppies.

After my failed attempt at Bettas, I had more success with Angels and Discus in the early 2000s. Then, work got in the way and my travelling made me put my stuff in storage.

Since my retirement a few years ago, and with the internet, I have been able to get back the greatest "hobby in the world".

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This is one of the books I still have from back then.
 
Well , well , well . I just so happen to have that very same book and also the first Tropical Fish Hobbyist edition of it from 1966 . Dr. William T. Innes was my guide to everything I needed to know back then and the thing I learned best from his book was the pronunciation of the scientific names . The early edition in your picture is a masterpiece of the printers art . Dr. Innes produced that at The Press of Innes and Sons , Philadelphia . I assume it was either his own print shop or his family’s . The very good grade of paper , the superlative press work and that beautiful tipped in color print of the Harlequin Rasbora elevates this book to masterpiece status . Today it is more than historical, it is still relevant in many areas and the descriptions of the fish are written so eloquently. Dr. Innes had style . Take a look at the sewn binding and the hard cover . A beautiful book .
 
Thank you for the response! I got started in 1956 or so, when a friend of my dad's gave me a 2.5 gallon tank with some guppies.

After my failed attempt at Bettas, I had more success with Angels and Discus in the early 2000s. Then, work got in the way and my travelling made me put my stuff in storage.

Since my retirement a few years ago, and with the internet, I have been able to get back the greatest "hobby in the world".

View attachment 331868

This is one of the books I still have from back then.
Great story. Post pics of your home grown bettas.
 
Well , well , well . I just so happen to have that very same book and also the first Tropical Fish Hobbyist edition of it from 1966 . Dr. William T. Innes was my guide to everything I needed to know back then and the thing I learned best from his book was the pronunciation of the scientific names . The early edition in your picture is a masterpiece of the printers art . Dr. Innes produced that at The Press of Innes and Sons , Philadelphia . I assume it was either his own print shop or his family’s . The very good grade of paper , the superlative press work and that beautiful tipped in color print of the Harlequin Rasbora elevates this book to masterpiece status . Today it is more than historical, it is still relevant in many areas and the descriptions of the fish are written so eloquently. Dr. Innes had style . Take a look at the sewn binding and the hard cover . A beautiful book .
That it is. The "color plates" are amazing. I also have Axelrod's three ring binder of subscription updates from back then. All classics.
 
The only thing I miss from the old days is finding a good 79 cent Angelfish .

I know what you mean. A few years back I paid over $100 to Imperial Tropicals in Florida for five native Columbian Angelfish. They were beautiful but absolute terrors as they matured.

I had them in a 75 gallon planted tank but had to give them away. They were killing each other!
 
That it is. The "color plates" are amazing. I also have Axelrod's three ring binder of subscription updates from back then. All classics.
The color plates were really something in their day and , to me , still have a charm I like but fish photography has rocketed into the next dimension today . The photography today is absolutely stunning . Amateur photographers can make passable to decent pictures with their cell phones but the professionals really do a job . I have to take this opportunity to encourage you to subscribe to Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine . Yes , it’s still around and just as good as ever . If I was rich instead of good looking I would take Amazonas as well but the $28 dollar subscription price for six issues of TFH is a bargain .
 
I know what you mean. A few years back I paid over $100 to Imperial Tropicals in Florida for five native Columbian Angelfish. They were beautiful but absolute terrors as they matured.

I had them in a 75 gallon planted tank but had to give them away. They were killing each other!
You are way more advanced than me ! Native Colombian Angelfish ! ! ! That’s something . I still hunt high and low for the $5 dollar or less fish .
 
You are way more advanced than me ! Native Colombian Angelfish ! ! ! That’s something . I still hunt high and low for the $5 dollar or less fish .

I wanted something that was special and not your "run of the mill" inbred LFS offerings of questionable health. Mine were special alright but, they should have been left in the wild :devil:;).
 
I had a thin little fishbook of my grandfather's. He'd been a Betta breeder in the early 1950s. I don't know the author or title of the book, but being a kid with very little money and a great interest, I remember every page. In my fifties, I set myself the project of keeping as many of the 1930-40s hobby fish as I could. The livebearers were hard to find, but I got to experience watching most of them. It took a few years.

Even with the connections I'd developed working as a 'fish writer', finding what were the common fish in another time was not easy. What we have a collective interest in has really evolved.

I'm sure the younger fishkeepers are running from this thread, but this hobby gave me something cool - when I look back at 16 year old me, I used to spend a lot of of time talking with fishkeepers in the 60 to 90 age range. The old men didn't talk down to me, and were generous with their stories and what they could teach me. A few became friends, although they said my favourite music was just a lot of screaming.
 
I had a thin little fishbook of my grandfather's. He'd been a Betta breeder in the early 1950s. I don't know the author or title of the book, but being a kid with very little money and a great interest, I remember every page. In my fifties, I set myself the project of keeping as many of the 1930-40s hobby fish as I could. The livebearers were hard to find, but I got to experience watching most of them. It took a few years.

Even with the connections I'd developed working as a 'fish writer', finding what were the common fish in another time was not easy. What we have a collective interest in has really evolved.

I'm sure the younger fishkeepers are running from this thread, but this hobby gave me something cool - when I look back at 16 year old me, I used to spend a lot of of time talking with fishkeepers in the 60 to 90 age range. The old men didn't talk down to me, and were generous with their stories and what they could teach me. A few became friends, although they said my favourite music was just a lot of screaming.
As a bass player in the 60s, I can relate. My music was Soul so there was a lot less screaming. I hope the younger "fishkeepers" are not running away as us old folks are ready to help and continue to learn.

Thanks for your post...
 
In 1958, when I was 10, I got tired of guppies and went for bettas. With the help of a birthday and weekly allowances, I bought a 5.5 gallon aquarium from Sears. I believe it was called a "marbleized". It had a black steel frame with white squiggly lines and a slate bottom. Anyone remember them?

It had a metal reflector and two, 15 watt bulbs...no cover. For heat, and from memory, I had it share a 25 watt tube with a 50 watt for my 10 gallon and 75 watt for my 15 gallon. All three were controlled by a single thermostat install in the 15 gallon tank. This was one of the latest heater innovations from Germany.

I read up on all the latest and greatest publications at that time on breeding bettas and purchased a pair from a LFS. Somehow, I managed to buy a supply of white worms, soil and glass cover for the small box my stepfather made. This is how I got my bettas into spawning condition. Forget the flies and mold that infiltrated the box drawn to the bread soaked with milk :eek:.

They did the bubble nest thing and I managed to remove the female before any serious harm. I even got the eggs to hatch and removed the male before he ate them!

I wasn't about to do the infusoria thing because my parents were still upset with the white worm mess. A stinking jar of rotting lettuce was not something they would appreciate. So, I opted for "Liquifry", a tube of milk-like liquid that came highly recommended.

Well, the fry lasted as long as their egg sacs. Apparently the food was not appealing to them or was rotten before they wanted any. Who knows what the water temperature actually was? Water changes? That was for evaporation.

Anyway, fast-forward to last May, I did it again. I had retired and had more time to resurrect my old hobby. With the help of the internet and people like you on this forum, it was a success.

Proper food, water and temperature is all that it takes.

Hope you enjoyed my trip down memory lane...also hope that more people will join and contribute. This forum could use a little more action IMHO.
I love this! I didn't start in the 50's but in the 70's. I was about 12 and my neighbor gave me his old 20 gallon aquarium. The metal lid had a regular incandescent bulb in it and the filter operated with an impeller driven by a magnet on the outside of the filter LOL.

I did the same thing with the fish. Pretty much everything I could put in there I did. I had pretty good success, amazingly. I loved it. My father started going in my room when he got home from work and staring at the tank for awhile- calmed him down.

I never did anything as adventurous as breeding (not on purpose, anyway), but spent hours staring at the fish and still love doing it today.
 
I love this! I didn't start in the 50's but in the 70's. I was about 12 and my neighbor gave me his old 20 gallon aquarium. The metal lid had a regular incandescent bulb in it and the filter operated with an impeller driven by a magnet on the outside of the filter LOL.

I did the same thing with the fish. Pretty much everything I could put in there I did. I had pretty good success, amazingly. I loved it. My father started going in my room when he got home from work and staring at the tank for awhile- calmed him down.

I never did anything as adventurous as breeding (not on purpose, anyway), but spent hours staring at the fish and still love doing it today.
There is certainly something calming about watching fish in aquariums. My wife wasn't that interested with the bettas until she saw the specs of fry gradually turning into something with size, color and personalities.

I am amazed at the similarities with their parents but, some are showing new and fascinating colors and fin structure.

I will try and post some pics in the coming days. They are growing like weeds and I have to find homes for them soon.
 

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