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Breeding F.A.Q.

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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.

Table of Contents

  1. What is the difference between a Runt and a Late Bloomer?
  2. What about PH/Temp and gender?
  3. What if my male won't make a bubble nest?
  4. Can they spawn without a bubble nest or with a small one?
  5. What do I feed my fry?
  6. How do I condition my breeders?
  7. How do I know which and when to cull?
  8. How can I tell if my female is fat with eggs?
  9. What do vertical stripes look like?
  10. What to Horizontal Stripes look like?
  11. What is a 'Belly Slider' or 'Jumper'?
  12. How do I siphon the gunk from the bottom without siphoning fry?
  13. How young/old can you breed your bettas?
  14. When do I remove the male?
  15. How do I artificially hatch the eggs?
  16. When do I start jarring my fry?
  17. They are spawning but there aren't any eggs coming out. Why?
  18. How long in-between spawns must I wait before spawning my male or female again?
  19. What is the Styrofoam cup for?

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What is the difference between a Runt and a Late Bloomer?

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.

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What about PH/Temp and gender?

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.

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Can they spawn without a bubble nest or with a small one?

  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.

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What if my male won't build a bubble nest?

  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. 
  You can 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.

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How do I know which and when to cull?

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.

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What is a 'Belly Slider' or 'Jumper'?

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.

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How do I siphon the gunk form the bottom without siphoning fry?

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!

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How young/old can you breed your bettas?

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.

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When do I remove the male?

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. 

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How do I artificially hatch the eggs?

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.

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When do I start jarring my fry?

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.

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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 :)

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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.

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What is the Styrofoam cup for?

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.

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Last update:
  March 23, 2009 10:27 PM CST

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