If you’re interested in breeding Betta fishes, sometimes commonly known as ‘fighting fish’, you’ve probably been wracking your brains over it.
Be it breeding for a hobby, supplying a fish store, or whatever purpose you may have, the process is similar but requires a clear understanding to achieve success. We’re going to provide you a detailed 6 steps that will guide you from start to finish.
However here’s one thing you have to know before deciding to breed Betta fishes:
The Entire Process Of Breeding Betta Fish Takes About 6-8 Months.
This is a long process which requires the commitment of time and money. If you’re not in it for the long term or are planning to travel within this time, we recommend putting this off to when you’ll be better prepared.
Here is the equipment you’ll need apart from a standard tank set-up:
- Removable divider.
- Live aqua plants.
- Aquarium heater.
If you’re decidedly in, then let’s start breeding!
Step 1: Choosing The Breeding Pair
Selecting which fishes to use for breeding is an important aspect, as it determines the health of the offspring, the color and tail type.
An optimum breeding pair should be no older than 1 year old, preferably between 6-8 months old for both male and female.
You can select the best fishes either from a fish store or from a fellow breeder who will likely be more able to provide you with better genetics.
Step 2: Preparing For Breeding
For breeding of Betta fish, you can choose to use 2 smaller tanks for the mating fishes, or you can simply use one 10 gallon tank to house both fishes together, separated by the removable divider. We prefer using one tank as it is easier and more cost-effective.
After cycling the fish tank, set it up as you normally would except do not add any gravel or substrate, as the fish eggs will land within and get lost.
Set the temperature of the heater to be 80 Fahrenheit or 26.7 degree Celsius.
Lastly, add some live plants within as this will be the hiding spots for the female Betta not to get too badly injured by the male.
Step 3: Introduction And Conditioning Of Fishes
You can now add the male and female Betta fish into the tank, separated by the divider. The rationale here is key. Allowing both fishes to see each other and not have contact will prevent the male from attacking the female while letting them get familiar, which is optimal for breeding.
Once both fishes have been added, you will need to condition them by feeding them live food such as:
- Blood worms.
- Live brine shrimp.
If live food is unavailable in your area, you can substitute it with freeze-dried alternatives.
Feed them the live food for about a week and observe their behaviors for these signs which will tell if they are ready to mate.
- Flaring of tail.
- Building of a white bubble nest.
- Angling of her head down, showing submissiveness.
- Vertical stripes appearing on the body
Step 4: Allowing Your Fish To Breed
Once your fishes are ready to mate based on their patterns, the key being the male building the bubble nest, you can now remove the divider and let them have contact.
Turn off your tank filter once they have contact.
How it will play out is the male will very likely bully the female by nipping on her tail and always chasing her. This is normal unless the female is heavily injured. The plants around the tank will allow her to hide to escape massive injuries.
Monitor both fishes regularly. The entire courtship may last from a few hours to a few days.
Mating occurs when the male wraps himself around the female to fertilize. This will likely happen with a few attempts.
After which the female will start to lay eggs and drop them into the water. The male will carry these eggs and put them into the bubble nest he made.
One thing to watch out for is the female sometimes will eat the eggs, so monitor the female and remove her if she attempts to do so.
Step 5: Post- Mating Care
Once all the eggs have been laid and been placed inside the bubble nest, you must now remove the female fish and place her into another tank.
Leave the male with the eggs but do not feed him for a few days to prevent him from accidentally eating the eggs.
Let the male continue to be in the tank until the fry can swim which will be around 3 days after the eggs hatch.
Continue to keep the filter off to prevent it from disturbing the eggs and fry. Keep the tank’s light during day and night for this period.
Once most or all of the fries have hatched and are swimming around horizontally, you can now remove the male Betta and place him in another tank. It is now time to care and grow the fry.
Step 6: Growing The Fries To Adulthood
Once the fries are swimming, you can start feeding them live micro food such as Infusoria, microworms, or baby brine shrimp.
You will have to change the water (about 10%) frequently every few days to ensure the fishes live in a healthy water and not fall sick.
Once slightly older, you can change the live food and start feeding them frozen food or fish pellets. Ensure that they are small enough for the fry to consume and always clear uneaten food to maintain a healthy water ecosystem.
Care for the fry until they are 8 – 11 weeks old, by which some to most of their adult traits will appear.
Before long you will have a new batch of healthy Betta fishes and you can choose to continue breeding more, simply rear, or sell them to another breeder.
Following these steps you’ll now know exactly what and how you can successfully breed Betta fish. Do be aware that many of the fish eggs and fries will not make it but it is normal. Hence out of the 500+ eggs laid, a good handful of fully grown Bettas will be an achievement.
Get out there and start breeding!