Is fish breeding your newfound hobby? Are you fascinated with the bursting colors of betta fish? Do you want to know how to propagate these beautiful aquatic animals? Luckily, you are on the right page as our main purpose is to guide you about breeding betta fish.
Whatever your reason, be it to create new betta fish varieties for your hobby or shows, or breeding betta fish for profit, we are here to guide you. We hope you’d be able to find the useful information you are looking for about betta breeding.
10 Steps on How to Breed Betta Fish
Step 1: Tank Set-Up
Let us begin by saying that though many betta owners use bowls or vases as a home for their bettas, we do not encourage that. In reality, bettas may be small in sizes but they need room to swim around in filtered water to remain colorfully happy.
And, don’t forget the golden rule in caring for a betta fish – never place two males in one tank, lest one of them will end up floating dead.
Let’s now begin setting up the tank for breeding betta fish:
You need to set-up two tanks for breeding betta fish. You can use one as the permanent home while the other one is solely for betta breeding.
For the Permanent Home
Choose a tank that has a water capacity of at least 5 gallons of water. And, since bettas can jump, be sure that the tank has a protective lid. Add the essentials like a filter, water heater, live plants, gravels, and hiding places like rocks.
Be sure that the tank is fully cycled before you put in your fish.
The Breeding Tank
How to breed a betta fish successfully? One of the common mistakes of newbie betta breeders is attempting to breed them in the current tank of the male fish. You have to use another one-a breeding tank for breeding betta fish.
This tank is bigger and should have a water capacity of 5 to10 gallons, You can equip the fish tank with a removable divider and a water heater set to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But, do not fill the tank to its full capacity, 5 to 6 inches of water is enough for betta breeding.
You should also create a hiding place for the female betta to stay away from the aggressive nature of the male betta during the betta breeding process. Good examples of hiding places are plants and rocks. Live plants are recommended like the java fern, but if not available, the plastic ones are useful as well.
Avoid using gravel because the eggs might settle in the gravel.
Step 2: Encourage the Male to Build a Bubble Nest
By adding something that floats on the water, you encourage the male betta to build his bubble nest. If you wish to use a filter, avoid using the powerful one to lessen the creation of a current that can destroy the bubble nest.
As a newbie in breeding betta fish, you are probably asking ‘what is a bubble nest for?’. These are the bunch of bubbles that you see on the water’s surface and serve important functions with betta breeding.
The male betta builds and guards the bubble nest until it finds a female betta to spawn it with. After the process of spawning, the female betta then releases eggs. The male fish then catches the eggs in the mouth and carefully place these eggs into the bubble nest.
Just so you know, the female betta plays no role in protecting the eggs in the bubble nest. If any of the eggs fall from the bubble nest, it is the male betta that retrieves the eggs back to the nest.
Having said the importance of a nest, here are some tips on how you can encourage your male betta to build a bubble nest in the betta breeding tank:
- Make sure that setting the filter in a gentle flow
- Maintain the 80 degrees Fahrenheit breeding tank temp
- Add floating debris like sword plant leaves or an almond leaf
- Maintain water cleanliness
- The presence of a female betta encourages the building of a bubble nest
Lastly, after setting up the breeding tank, place it in an area with a conducive mood lighting. The bettas are encouraged to breed in a dimly lighted area.
Step 3: How to Choose a Betta Breeding Pair?
Betta fish comes in multiple variations and they are usually classified based on their tail type, colors, and patterns.
Breeding betta fish allows you to choose which pairs you want to use to come up with the color characteristic you are aiming for.
Regardless of your choice, what is important is to find a breeder who can provide you with a young pair of betta fish. Bettas are at their reproductive peak between the age of four and 12 months. Though the older ones can still breed, the success factor in betta breeding is not as high.
The fish that you will use for breeding should be swimming actively and do not show any signs of infections.
Lastly, when choosing the breeding pair, the size matters. Both should be roughly on the same size with males being a bit larger. What you have to avoid is choosing a larger female and a smaller male for breeding betta fish.
Step 4: Feed Them Well
One of the tips we give regarding the issue of how to breed betta fish is to feed the couple with nutritious live food. Excellent examples are live brine shrimp and bloodworms. If you are unable to feed live food, the frozen ones work well, too.
You may also feed them with finely chopped meat, daphnia, tubifex worms, and insects such as roaches and crickets.
Betta breeding is not as easy as it seems to be. You have to condition the stamina of your bettas to successfully pull through with the stress that comes with courting and spawning. If you are successful in conditioning them, the likelihood of the female betta to produce eggs is high.
Conditioning takes an average of two to three weeks. That means feeding them well with small servings of nutritious food two to four times daily.
Step 5: The Couple Introduction
If the breeding pair has been eating well for the past weeks, now comes the exciting part of breeding betta fish – the introduction of the female to the male fish. This step shouldn’t be sped-up and must be dealt with patience.
There are two methods to add the female to the breeding tank:
- By using a divider
- Place the two fish in separate tanks and place these tanks side by side so they see each other
Allow the female to get used to her new environment, for about 30 minutes. If you are using a tank divider, place the male to the other side of the tank and just allow both of them to swim freely.
During the flirting process, you’d notice your male betta transforms into a deeper shade of its original color. It will also begin to flare its fins to get the attention of the female betta.
If the female is attracted, you will also notice a change in its color, too. Aside from that, she will also display vertical stripes which are known as the barring pattern. Her ovipositor (where her eggs come from) will extend behind the ventral fin.
Now that the feeling is mutual, you will see the male betta begins to build the bubble nest within 24 hours.
In case you see the male betta gets aggressive, do not panic. That is normal unless you see them attacking each other too aggressively through the divider. If that’s the case, separate them for a while and try again the following day. If the reaction remains the same, it is best to try a different couple for betta breeding.
Step 6: Release the Female Betta Into the Breeding Tank
If the male is done building the bubble nest, it’s now time to place the female into the same tank where the male betta is. Normally, this is 12 to 24 hours after the introduction.
If you are using a removable divider, take it off now and let the female fish have full access to the breeding tank.
It is normal behavior for her to inspect the bubble nest. If she does not like it, she’d destroy it. Remove her from the tank and start the introduction again.
But, if the female fish approves the bubble nest, the male betta will go on impressing and chasing her. This will go on until she is ready to spawn. It can even get ‘dirty’ because you’d be witnessing a lot of chasing and even biting which is normal flirting behavior.
If you worry about the male’s too much aggressive behavior, you may remove the female for her safety. Bring her back in once the male fish has settled down.
And, when she is finally ready, then comes the nuptial embrace when both will interlock under the bubble nest.
It may require several embraces before the female betta releases her eggs from her ovipositor. The male will then scoop those eggs and lovingly place these into the bubble nest. For most, the number of eggs per spawning is 30 to 40.
Don’t get frightened if you see the female betta lies hapless and not moving each time she releases eggs. That’s a normal betta fish mating behavior.
However, what you have to watch out for when breeding betta fish is when the female starts to eat her eggs. Remove her from the betta breeding tank to avoid the male from attacking her.
Step 7: Help Her Recover
Upon transferring the female to her permanent tank, treat the tank with Maroxy (solution for antifungal) so her fins will heal faster. You can also treat the breeding tank with Maroxy to avoid the growth of fungal infections in the water.
Step 8: Allow the Male Betta to Stay in the Breeding Tank
Over the next 24 to 36 hours, the Betta Dad would be very busy caring for the eggs.
As the fry begins to hatch, their wriggling movements can make them lose their attachment from the bubble nest. Thankfully, their Dad is there catching them when they fall and bringing them back to the bubble nest.
In a matter of a few days, the fry can swim on their own, a sign that you have to wean them from their Dad.
Step 9: Remove the Male From the Breeding Tank
Now that the fry is swimming, it is now time to scoop out the male fish and transfer it to his permanent home. If it seems exhausted from the betta breeding process, pour Maroxy on its tank.
Step 10: Care for the Fry
You can now begin feeding the fry with small amounts of food. The fry tends to eat anything smaller than them. But, they are not attracted to anything dry so feed them with live food like worms and baby brine shrimp.
Be sure to maintain an ideal temp of 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If you see more of them are dying, check the water temp, level of chemicals, and if there is an infection.
For those that survived, they should be ready to be transferred to a bigger tank, with a water capacity of 20 gallons.
At about 5 to 8 weeks of age, the males will soon begin fighting. That signals that it’s time for them to have tanks of their own.
Breeding betta fish may seem like a complicated process. For as long as you keep the tank clean and in ideal condition, the female is properly introduced to the male betta and you are feeding them with the proper nutrition, soon, you’ll be seeing the colorful results of betta breeding.