Breeding betta fish (Betta splendens) can be a rewarding but complex endeavor. It's important to have a good understanding of the process and be prepared to provide appropriate care for the fish and their fry (baby fish). Start ordering spare containers for jarring your fries and also do consider that you will need a good source of live feeders like Baby Brine Shrimp or Daphnia.
Here are some tips to consider when breeding bettas:
- Research and Preparation:
- Set up a separate breeding tank. A smaller tank, around 20 litres or more, is usually sufficient.
- A good place to find your equipment is DAISO Japan. Containers are priced at low cost and you get a good sized one.
- If you have more budget, we recommend to get nice wide containers that are shallow. You can try IKEA SAMLA plastic containers. Click here to go to IKEA SG site.
- Based on our experience back in farm days, we recommend you to get containers with lids. When you have an open surface of water, lots of insects and other organic material falls into your container and sometimes these will affect the water condition of your tank.
- Choose healthy and vibrant bettas with desirable traits for breeding.
- Select a male and a female betta with complementary colors and fin types.
- Avoid pairing fish with severe defects or crossing fish of different fin traits. We will talk more about genome creation in another article.
- Condition the breeding pair with high-quality and varied foods. Live or frozen foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia are excellent options 2 weeks before the breeding day.
- If you do not have these available to you, you can always try good quality betta food that contain more protein.
- Provide a clean and warm environment (around 78-80°F or 25-27°C) to stimulate breeding behavior.
- It's always good to add some aquatic plants, like java ferns (avoid adding hornwort) into your tank as this will help to create some hiding spots and quickly populate the healthy bacteria colonies in the new breeding setup.
- Add salt and anti chlorine to your water and add ketapang leaves and lightly aerate the water with an air stone.
- Ketapang leaves can be floating or fully submerged. For myself, have a good mix of both.
- For bubble nesting protection, we breeders like to use bubble wrap with tap on the side and attach it to the corner of the tank.
- Reason for this: Ketapang leaves will sink after some time and doesnt provide a permanent protection for the bubble nest.
- Lastly, we remove the air stone after 24hours and introduce the male into the breeding tank
- Let the male enjoy the space for a good 24hours. If water conditions are good or that the male is ready, he will create a bubble nest. Even if it doesnt, dont worry yet, move on to introduce the female.
- Place the female in the breeding tank separated with a clear container. This allows them to see each other without direct contact, reducing aggression.
- The male should make the bubble nest thicker and show interest. If there is no bubble nest, based on our experience, the success rate is almost zero. However, you can still release the female after 24hours.
- Watch for the male's courtship behavior, which includes building bubble nests and flaring to attract the female's attention.
- The male will embrace the female under the bubble nest, and the female will release eggs.
- The male fertilizes the eggs and collects them in his mouth, spitting them into the bubble nest for protection.
- After 48 hours, regardless if there are any eggs at all, the female should be removed from the breeding tank to prevent her from being harmed by the male.
- The male will guard the bubble nest and care for the eggs until they hatch in about 24 to 48 hours.
- Once the fry are free-swimming horizontally and everywhere in the tank, the male should be removed to prevent him from eating them. Based on our experience, letting the male stay longer in the tank with the fries raises the survival rate of the fries
- Add back the air stone with some light aeration for the tank to prevent the bacteria formation on the surface of the water.
- Feed the fry with newly hatched baby brine shrimp, or specialized fry food every 12 hours. SMALL AMOUNTS only. Our highest success rate for fry is with small amounts of BBS only after day 2-3. You should be able to see the fries with nice orange bellies if they have eaten them.
- DO NOT FEED daphnia (boon) yet! Wait till they are at least 3 weeks old. Local Daphnia sources in South East Asia are cultivated with a lot of bacteria and these can affect your fries.
- Maintain excellent water quality by performing regular partial water changes to prevent diseases and ensure optimal growth.
- As the fry grow, they may become territorial. Separating them early into individual containers to prevent fighting helps with optimum growth.
- Breeding bettas requires patience and persistence. Not all spawns will be successful, so be prepared for setbacks and continue learning from each experience.
Let me know your thoughts and your experience too! If you need any help, do pm us! We are happy to share!