Every hobbyist wants to breed his fish and in some cases the fishes start breeding without any effort because of the good environmental conditions given by the owner but many of the hobbyist face problems and have a tough time in breeding their fishes. Here i am going to give some information on he basis of what i have learnt in betta breeding and also from our Indian betta breeder Mr. Bishwanath Pal. First of all lets start with the requirements:
Breeding Tank- Atleast 18*12*18inch tank should be usedIdeal Breeding Conditions:
Hiding Places- Breeding tank should have some hiding places like caves for the female to hide
Some transparent container to separate the female in breeding tank. Eg: A transparent plastic bottle with cut bottom
Half Cut Styrofoam Cup: For supporting the bubble nest.
Live Food: Live food is must for breeding Fishes.
Temp: Temp should be maintained between 26-29 degree Celsius. Some important things to keep in mind before starting:
pH: pH should be slightly acidic.
Some people use almond leaf to support the bubble nest but i will recommend not using it as within few days of being in the tank it will sink to the bottom and the bubble nest will collapse.Selecting the Pair:
You will need a variety of live food foe proper growth of your bettas as there will be need of different size of live food in different stages of fry growth.
Initially the height of the tank is of no use but later it will be topped up with the water to give space to juveniles
Male: The Male should be healthy, color and finnage should also be good and he must be mature enough to breed.And he must not be bred in past 15 days.Conditioning the Pair:
Female: The female should also be healthy and she should also be mature enough to breed and also should be having good finnage. And she must not be bred in past 15-20 days and her health should also be fully recovered
To make the breeding process easy and less vulnerable to fights the pair can be kept in adjacent tanks and should be allowed to see each other 5-10 mins two times in a day. It is also said that this boosts up the egg production but i can't say anything regarding this as personally i have not noticed anything like this. Feeding is also important during these days. They should be provided with live foods like mosquito/ mosquito larva, as during this period the female needs a lot of protein for the eggs and you don't want the male to be hungry because he will not be fed when he will be caring for the fries and if he is not fed properly he might end up eating all the eggs at the time of breeding.Breeding Setup, Spawning and Raising:
To start with breeding setup the breeding tank with water only upto 5-6 inch height, this is important otherwise the male will have a tough time carrying the eggs and fries to the nest and soon will get exhausted. Then you should add hiding places to the tank and also maintain the temp. And at last add the Half Cut Styrofoam Cup for the bubble nest. Water in the tank should be either aged water or must be treated with some aquarium water conditioner. Live plants can also be added to the tank to provide hiding place and to promote infusoria growth that will be consumed by the fries in the early days after the birth.
After the water reaches the suitable temp introduce the male in the tank and let him survey his surroundings, after some time add the female in the tank but separate it with a transparent container so the male can see her and flare at her. Now they must be left in this condition for 1-2 days and continue the feeding. This will give time to the male to built his bubble nest and attract the female. If the female is showing verticle strips you can let her out of the container but this should be done carefully without disturbing the bubble nest.
Now don't disturb them by peeping in the aquarium again and again, else you can monitor there moments by being at a safe distance where they can't feel your presence. After this they will start flaring at each other and the male will also chase the female. Don't panic if the male bites the female it is common in betta breeding. After sometime the female will see the bubble nest and will come near the bubble nest with her head down this indicates that she is submissive and is ready to breed. Then the male will start trying embracing the female but after many unsuccessful attempts the male will get hold of her and the eggs will start coming out. And the male will recover from that and start collecting the eggs and will put them in the nest and the female will also help him. The spawning process takes hours to complete.
You will come to know if the spawning is complete as the male will chase him away from the bubble nest.
Now its time to take out the female and take good care of her for till she recovers. Clean water and proper feeding is important for the female.
Now its time for the male to take care of the eggs, the lights must be kept on 24hrs so that the male can see the falling eggs from the nest and can put them back, don't feed him during the days of eggs/fry care. The eggs will hatch in next 2 days and can be observed hanging vertically from the nest. Don't feed them for next 2-3 days as they will consume their egg yolk and the male will continue his duty of putting back the fries to the nest.
After the egg yolk is finished(4-5th day) the fries will start swimming horizontally(also known as free swimming stage). You can now remove the male and feed him well. After another one day start feeding them with very small live food. Commonly microworms are fed during these days ,from next week start feeding somewhat bigger worms like grindal worms and also start siphoning the dirt and do regular WC after this....then start with brine shrimps from next week.
After one month start with fry food like Hikari first bites and also some of the fries will start showing there colors by this time. And continue the Water changes and feeding and after 2 months you might be able to start identifying some of the males. This is the time to keep them in separate container and start finding good home for them like mine Common Problem In Betta Breeding and solution:
Egg Eaters: Some of the bettas turn out to be egg eater but they can also eat eggs if they are not conditioned properly/ its their first spawn. If any of the betta male/female eats eggs try breeding him/her once/twice again but still if he/she continues eating him change him.
Don't Build Bubble Nest: Some of the males don't build their bubble nest and this can be solved by scooping small part of bubble nest from another male and putting it in the tank or showing another male to him. But sometime the reason can be too basic water(pH).
Male Eats the fries: Some males tend to eat the fries, the only option is to remove the male after the spawn and lower the water level to 2 inch and let the eggs hatch on there own.
PS: Betta Breeding looks easy theoretically but is much more difficult to be done.
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