I have made a very in-depth Breeder's
Corner to answer the majority of your questions. If you do not find your
answer here, then it is probably there.
- What is the difference
between a Runt and a Late Bloomer?
- What about PH/Temp and
- What if my male won't
make a bubble nest?
- Can they spawn
without a bubble nest or with a small one?
do I feed my fry?
do I condition my breeders?
- How do I know which
and when to cull?
can I tell if my female is fat with eggs?
do vertical stripes look like?
to Horizontal Stripes look like?
- What is a
'Belly Slider' or 'Jumper'?
- How do I siphon
the gunk from the bottom without siphoning fry?
- How young/old
can you breed your bettas?
- When do I
remove the male?
- How do I
artificially hatch the eggs?
- When do I start
jarring my fry?
- They are spawning
but there aren't any eggs coming out. Why?
- How long in-between spawns must I
wait before spawning my male or female again?
- What is the
Styrofoam cup for?
A Late Bloomer is a normal growing male or
female that is most likely deprived of as much food as the others. When you
separate a Late Bloomer and it no longer has to fight for food, it will gain in
size and quickly catch up to the others. A Runt is a smaller male or female,
that even after separation still remains small and takes longer to grow. Some believe
that runts will pass this along to the next generation, others say they have
bred a runt and have not had one runt in the litter.
There have been a lot of ideas tossed around as
to whether or not you can determine the majority of the sexes in your spawn.
None of these ideas have been proven . . yet. There is an idea that a more alkaline PH
will yield more females and a more acidic PH will yield more males, or
visa-versa. I have not
tested this myself in great depth, so I cannot collaborate further.
Yes, the male may build one after
spawning or will add to his small one. I have had an occasional spawn where
there was no nest at all.
This is a normal event in breeding. This
requires a lot of patience and time. A well conditioned male will sometimes even
not build a nest. On rare occasion a male will still spawn without a nest. I
have seen a seasoned breeder male decide to spawn with no nest.
If you just
placed the male in the tank, and a day later he has not even started, I would
still give him more time. It is my experience that if they do not build a nest
within the first day, release the female for a short while and see how they
react. If she is willing and ready, leave her loose. If not, jar her back up.
This will hopefully give him the incentive to build.
Also make sure you have a
cover on your tank. Dry air can deplete any bubbles he tries to blow.
also try placing another male beside the spawning tank, or inside in a lantern
or jar. Jealousy sometimes is the best remedy :)
Your water may also be hard making it much more difficult for the male to
blow a nest or have the desire to blow a nest. I have heard good things about
Tank Soft by Mardel but haven't had the chance to use it yet.
One more thing to try is to steal some bubble nest form another tank with
a spoon and gently place it under the cup. This will, in many cases, get the
stubborn male to start building.
This is a very hard decision, both
deciding to cull and choosing which ones will succumb to this fate. I am not an
anti-culler, nor am I a culling activist. The choice to cull stems from which type of breeding you are doing. If
you are breeding strictly for show, striving to get a certain, perfect betta,
then you would cull anything less than perfect or nearly perfect for breeding.
In breeding for pleasure, show and to sell your bettas, nearly all of your
bettas are worth keeping. I do not, although, agree with keep severely deformed
bettas. I also do not agree with passing off deformed, severely or slightly,
bettas as 'gifts'. I have seen bettas given as 'gifts' that could barely swim,
eat and were in clear misery. I think these bettas would be better off if culled
very early in life. Some of the conditions that can cause a rough life for a
betta are severe swim bladder disorder, severely crooked spines or any other
obvious deformity that might cause for a betta to be inhibited from living properly.
When breeding leisurely, culling for color and fins is not really needed. That
is where your own judgment comes in. When it comes to color faults or fin
faults, there is always your local pet store to sell them if you do not want to
sell them online. When it comes to severe physical deformity, then I think the
fish would be better off culled.
This is a young betta whose Swim Bladder
has developed incorrectly causing it to sink to the bottom and 'slide' around in
a 'jumping' position.
You may also notice some For more information on Swim Bladder
Disorder, please visit the Disease section.
Here is a great trick. I use a siphon made of 2
pieces of about foot long rigid airline tubing, connected by a 3 foot piece of
regular airline tubing. Make a WONDERFUL fry tank siphon. I then get a bucket,
stuck the siphon in where there are no fry, and start the siphon. (Try not to
get any water in your mouth, YUK!) Then what I do is hold one of my fingers over
the 'output' end. Then I slowly ease my finger off to create a very light
siphon. The fry will feel that tug and swim away, and if they aren't fast
enough, you can quickly replace your finger tightly on the end of the siphon.
You may get him caught in the tube, then all you do is either, 1) let him go
into the bucket and fetch him with an eyedropper later, or 2) raise the other
end of the siphon (the end that your finger is holding) up in the air and gently
let some of the water flow back into the tank until the fry is back in there :)
I still siphon a few fry here and there, but it is great for cleaning that nasty
gunk of when they are still young.
*Quick Tip* always try to siphon right BEFORE
feeding them, this will give them a fresh bottom to feed on, plus it will not
irritate their stomach. Some think this may lead to Swim Bladder Disorder!
This all depends, of course, on each in particular
betta. Some bettas being raised on the Fast
Growth program are able to breed at 2 months of age. On the average, I would
say most are ready at 4 months depending how big they are. Females will have to
have their ovipositor visible, this shows that they are sexually mature. Feeding
your bettas live foods will help them grow faster.
Now on the flip side, the age that your bettas
may be too old to breed. On the average, males that are about a year and a half
will be getting too old (unless you can get your hands on some Betta Viagra!)
Females will breed longer than males, sometimes over 2 years.
In normal conditions, you should remove the
male when you see that your fry are swimming horizontally on their own, at least
most of them. This happened in usually 2-3 days after hatching. In some cases
the father will decide to start snacking on the fry, in such cases you need to
remove him ASAP.
If the father decided to make a picnic of
either the eggs or fry, then removing him is your only option (other than
beating him with a stick, j/k) Once you have removed him, you can gently, slowly
lower the water level to about 1-2". This gives the newly hatched fry a
chance to make it on their own. With only a short distance to swim to the top,
the majority of them will be able to do it. If you haven't added MarOxy to your
tank before hand, make sure and add a drop if your eggs are not yet hatched when
you remove the father. This will help prevent egg fungus. You can also use
MethBlu, but I don't use it because it turns everything blue. It also states it
is not safe for plants, so I stick with MarOxy.
On average, a good time to start jarring is 6-8
weeks. You will notice many of your young juveniles sparring as early as 4
weeks, but if you jar them then you will just be giving yourself much more work
than necessary. I have had some spawns where there was not a nip in the fin even
after 8 weeks. Then I have had spawns where I have started seeing nips as early
as 6 weeks. I don't like nipped fins at all, so we jar almost entire spawns
between 6-8 weeks (yes, females too). We leave the late bloomers to grow out in
the tank a little longer before jarring them. Why do we jar our females? Because
females get nasty too and we don't like our females to have nipped fins either.
We jar both males and females to make sure they are all in perfect shape. It
makes for twice the work, but it is worth it for us.
They are spawning but
there aren't any eggs coming out. Why?
It usually takes anywhere from just a few
embraces to a half hour or more of embraces before a female begins to release
her eggs. Sometimes they have to practice for awhile to get everything right :)
How long in-between
spawns must I wait before spawning my male or female again?
This really depends heavily on how much damage
your male or female sustained during their spawning. If neither of them
sustained any damage other than a few nips, they will be ready again after a
week of rest and conditioning. If either of them were severely damaged, then you
should wait until you can see definite improvement in their condition and their
health is back to 100%. Once back to 100%, give them another week.
This is where the male, in most cases,
will decide to build his nest. This allows you to control where the nest,
eggs & fry are at in the tank. Of course there is always the rebel
male who has to build it way on the other side, by the heater, lol.