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Fighting Fish Breeding Help

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Misstigerlily

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Hello everyone
My sister In-Law Brought over a female fighter over she is in a tank on her own with a heater filter and a few live plants
A couple days after she was put in her new tank i noticed an area with froth, I was worried someone had accidently spilt something in the tank, but my friend who was over at the time told me that was a nest she had built, and now she has built another one
The day after my sister In-Law and brother popped in and said that she had built it rather fast for the size of them and that she is ready to breed
I have never kept fighters before and i know u can only keep a certain amount of males and females together to keep them peaceful without killing each other but what I want to know is what is a good amount for me to have in that tank so she can breed safely without any of them attacking each other

If anyone on here has bred fighters succsesfully and know what i should do from here That would be great I purchased a breeding setup from petstock today so im all ready but I dont want to add anything to the tank til i know what im doing

Thanks everyone much appreciated
 

Cheyne_Jones

Well-Known Member
Its not as easy as just putting them together and they breed, you have to condition both the male and female for months before hand other wise they will likely die during the courting and breeding process.

Are you sure you have a female, as you said it had built a bubble nest, usually only males do this...

You cannot keep males and females together at any other time than a short period for courting and breeding, they will kill eachother for sure.

I have bred them heaps of times in the past, its not really worth it unless you enjoy killing 300+ small fish down the line. They are hard to feed as fry (really need a microworm culture), they need to be separated into individual tanks as soon as you can tell which ones are the males (they will start to pester and kill the other fish at this stage), and they are worth next to nothing...

So I would suggest you enjoy they beautiful fish you have and dont even try to breed it as it is more trouble than its worth...
 

slim6y

Almost Legendary
You cannot keep males and females together at any other time than a short period for courting and breeding, they will kill eachother for sure.

Not doubting you in any way what-so-ever.... but.....

Males and females are often kept in the same tank (I am sure I have seen this and heard that it's ok to do...).

I will admit I only ever keep one.... And Sparkles is a male....

I was also told by our local breeder that 'she' is more likely to eat the young than he is... however - he was from Austria and I did have troubles understanding him....

So can you confirm - one male and one female or one male and many females is no good?

Or is it multiple numbers of males and females in the same tank - because I'd understand then that the males are just a little aggressive...

On a sillier note - Sparkles couldn't even fight through the plants to get to his feeding spot before the angels stole all his food... I actually had to move the plants for him as he couldn't work out the 'going around' method at all - and I felt sorry for him... I really should go the route of tough love....
 

Cheyne_Jones

Well-Known Member
Females are fine together but males are solitary, you can keep them in a large well planted tank together, but there is no guarantee they wont pester each other...

Females have nothing to do with the babies after they have layed the eggs, the males look after the eggs and the nest until they hatch, so yeah she would be more likely to eat the young as she has no instinct to look after them...
 

raaaa

Not so new Member
In my experience (limited tho it is) females live quite happily together males on the other hand will fight with any other siamese fighting fish however they tend to live quite happily with smaller veriaties of tetras. i wouldnt bother breeding they are worth **** all youd be lucky to get a petshop to give you $3 each for them and thats if any survive and if your male doesent kill your female... whats the point?
 

icedmice

Not so new Member
I'm an ex-betta breeder. I even managed to breed a HM before giving in, that was in the earlier days when only a few in Australia had managed it.

It's not easy, and you need to be super patient. Betta fry are born about the size of a sand grain, the males tend to the nest.
Biggest headache is building a functional betta barracks to house young males. They will damage each other's fins otherwise.

There are a few online betta fish communities. I'm a bit rusty but I'd recommend you speak to current breeders.
A single spawn will end up costing you heaps more money than you could make, it takes at least 5-6 spawns with good quality fish (I'm talking show quality) before you start seeing a return.
Hatching brine shrimp eggs is something you should master before breeding bettas. I also collected mosquito rafts and hatched them in fresh water for betta fry.

You could practise your first spawn on a pet store VT or plakat. More often than not you'll make a mistake your first attempt and end up with runty or ventral-less fry.
You do learn, but it takes time. Certainly not the type of animal you just chuck together.
 
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hypochondroac

Guest
There is mountain loads of good breeding information on the internet, all you have to do is look for it. You might want to join a betta or fish forum before you decide on breeding.

It's a huge waste of time if you plan on pairing average type pet shop bettas, first of all you arn't doing the species any good and second of all nobody will buy these animals off you for more than $8.. infact most pet shops won't take them unless they're free because they already have their own suppliers.

I bred show quality bettas for about four years, i did very well at breeding, showing and selling. The fish i bred went for between $35-$100 but to do it successfully you need alot of equipment, the fish you breed may not sell straight away so you have to be prepared to seperate them as they age, i had about 60 seperate large jars that all had to be heated, fed and water changed regularly untill all the young bettas were sold, on top of that i had three large tanks, one 250 L full of a community of about 20 females and two seperate tanks housing two males, each tank was filtered and heated. I spent alot of money setting up and to have that many fish means alot of maintenance.


Here's some of my fish.

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I'll PM you a few links, one thing though.. in your post you refer to the betta making the nest as a 'she', males are the ones to make nests and care for the young.

Males should be kept on their own if you want a stress free healthy fish, if you keep a male with female/s he will constantly pursue the female and eventually she will tire and become stressed if she doesn't get attacked first. Males housed with females can also ignore their food because of being too busy impressing females, not to mention the fin nipping (There are a few fish species that do well in a community with one male betta, i won't go on naming them as we'll be here all day).

Females can be kept in a group but you must have no less than five females to one tank and a large plant filled space to house them.
 
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Kitah

Very Well-Known Member
Misstigerlily- first of all, check that your 'female' is infact a female! I've never had a female that has blown a bubble nest, and very very few females do. Quite often pet stores mistake male plakats (a short finned variety of betta) as females, and label them incorrectly. Can you post some pictures of the fish?

When it comes to breeding, the tricky bit is raising the fry, not so much getting the adults to actually breed. From my experience the fry will not eat non-living food until about a minimum of 6wks of age. For feeding, I prefered to use baby brine shrimp, though some prefer microworms (but supposedly microworms have been linked to having fry missing ventral fins- not all spawns, but there seems to be a correlation).

Setup- you'll need a fair sized tank or container (I had ~50L water) to breed them in, as the fry are extremely sensitive to poor quality water- if you breed them in a small volume of water, it is trickier to keep the water clean enough for the fry to remain healthy. Sponge filters are generally used to filter the water, after the fry are a bit larger and can swim better. A heater to keep them at their optimal temperature (I kept mine at 28'). Lots of plants to provide coverage for the female to hide from the male during the breeding process, if he gets too aggressive, and after they've spawned.

Setting up the breeding tank; start with the tank having water about 15cm deep, include a lot of plants and places for the female to hide, a heater and thermometer to keep the temperature steady. The water height is important- if it is too deep, the male may have difficulty finding and placing eggs back in the bubble nest.

Breeding; you need to condition the adults for at least two weeks prior to breeding- live foods and frozen bloodworms are good for this. I kept the male in my breeding tank while conditioning him, so he was well and truly adjusted to the new environment. When they had both been conditioned, I placed the female in a clear plastic container, and floated it in the males tank. The purpose of this is to let them see each other, and stimulates the male to produce a bubble nest (if he hasn't already). The female is ready to breed when she 'bars up'- that is, she gets vertical stripes up her body, and when she starts to position herself with her head down- these are signs to the male that she is ready to spawn. When this occurs, release the female. It is important to have a lot of hiding places for her, because the males are often extremely aggressive and can seriously injure her/kill her. Often the male will chase her around a lot to start with, but eventually he will lead her to the bubble nest, or she will come up by herself. Once they've spawned, its important to remove the female straight away- after spawning the males get extremely aggressive and will try to kill the female, as they are guarding their nest. If left in the tank, the female will also often try to eat the eggs, which of course is not desirable!

It usually takes about 2days for the eggs to hatch, and during this time the male will remain near the nest. when eggs fall from the nest, he'll pick them up in his mouth and spit them back into the nest. During this period, make sure you leave the light on at night so they can see the eggs as they fall- if they fall and remain on the bottom of the tank, they usually seem to become non viable.

Once the eggs have hatched, the fry will hang from the nest, with their tails down- they aren't able to swim properly at this stage. the male will still pick the fry up and put them back in the nest when they fall. When the fry start to 'free swim' (they swim around horizontally by themselves), remove the male and offer the fry their first feed. Some people suggest using something like boiled egg yolk, but I've never had any success with this- my fry would only eat live baby brine shrimp.

Now, the fun part! trying to feed the fry enough to get them to grow as quickly as possible, and maintaining the water clean enough! I used to feed all of my fry about 4x daily to start with, and did 2 water changes a day. I don't have the filter on at this stage, becase the fry aren't the best swimmers. When doing water changes, I use a bit of airline tubing to syphon the crud off the bottom of the tank- syphon this water into another clear container, and check it for fry before you tip it out- the fry can very easily be sucked up, and they're difficult to see at the best of times.

as they get older, you can offer things like daphnia, grated bloodworms, and crushed up betta pellets. You'll need to have seperate containers/tanks/barracks for the fry as they get older, when they start to fight- remove the ones that are more aggressive to individual housing.

In regard to housing Betta splendens together, the only combined housing is keeping females together, and even this can be tricky. if a male is kept with a female(s), he will constantly harrass her and will usually seriously damage her as they are usually extremely aggressive. keeping to males together is obviously not possible, either... when keeping females together, I'd suggest that there is a minimum of 4 girls, you need heaps of plants and hiding spots, and a large enough tank so they can all escape each other. When keeping females together, they can still cause serious damage to each other if certain females are not compatible (some are extremely aggressive- some of my girls have been more aggressive then my males), and they cannot be kept in a group (called a 'sorority').


For some good help and information regarding breeding, checkout "Ultimate Bettas"- the site is loaded with information, and the members there really know what theyre talking about (most of them, at least).
http://www.ultimatebettas.com/
 
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Kitah

Very Well-Known Member
I forgot to mention- there are so many things that can go wrong with breeding bettas

- the adults may not be compatible- too aggressive, not like each other etc (some males will spawn with certain females but not others for example, and other males are just way too aggressive to spawn at all. Then you get some males that just aren't interested at all)
- the male may eat the eggs before they hatch
- the male may eat the fry
- eggs may not be fertile
- eggs may develop fungus etc and not hatch
- poor water quality at any stage can very quickly kill the eggs/fry
- the fry are very susceptible to disease

I don't mean to put you off with all the info, but just make sure you know what you're getting into. it is extremely time consuming raising the fry, and expensive to set up!
 

Snakewise84

Well-Known Member
not many female build nest and not in one spot its more like random bubbles around the tank. sometimes u can keep female together but in a big tank like a 4foot with a male and three or so females. but most of the time its the male that looks after the eggs and then the fry will hatch after 2 to 3 days and u need a light on full time when the have fry and eggs, and you can get young fights that look like females then change to a bright color which means it a male had it had once before not fun when they suck each others tail off. i fine having the heater a 27 is great for then but i am luck to have a pair breed in cold water. i use to work at Aquarium warehouse with fish and breed fights , convicts , gold angles and some others. and u'll need a tank for the fry with a sponge filter and a heater and live plants and use liquid fry food as they will not be big to eat any food. if u need more info just PM me ok
 

Kitah

Very Well-Known Member
Just as a note- the females can and are quite often brightly coloured, like the males. The only time they're not generally colourful is if they're very immature (they don't hatch coloured, nor do the males) or if they're stressed (in which case they will go a faded brown-grey colour with distinct white and black horizontal stripes the length of their body). So colouring is not by any means an accurate way to sex fighters at all. Tell by the presence of an ovipositor (a white 'dot' behind the ventral fins on a female, males generally lack this... though I do have a male with one!), the body shape, shape of the anal fin, and length of the fins (not always accurate- immature males and plakats both have short fins- it doesnt mean they're female!)

With fry food, I tried multiple things, such as the commercially available fry food, egg yolk, grated (frozen/thawed) daphnia and frozen/thawed grated bloodworms but they wouldn't eat that at a very young age- the only things they would eat were baby brine shrimp from when they first started free swimming, and then later as they got larger, small live insects. Basically- in my experience, they wouldn't eat dead food!

I forgot to mention before- you don't necessarily need to use live plants, unless you will be relying on the fry eating the microorganisms associated with plants. These microorganisms aren't suitable for the fry for too long though, as they soon become too small a food item.

And slim6y, as an example of keeping female fighters together- I have 7 girls (all sisters, same age, never seperated) in a 70L tank. It has a lot of silk plants, and many, many caves, driftwood etc. for them to hide in. each fish has their own little 'territory' within the tank. If you house sibling females together, they seem to get along better than a random selection of females from various breeders or pet stores. I would still never keep a male with any other fighters, whether male or female. From my experience, all of the males are far too aggressive (even my 'placid' males)

Edit- piccies of a spawn at various ages (note- the pics with the fry in a small round container- for a size comparison, that is a small shot glass). Theres also pictures of some of my previous fish. At the moment I only have 8 females and 4 males.

Also, with females- notice that the adults in these images are brightly coloured. An example of when a female is stressed is below- first picture is when she was stressed after I brought her home, the second one is when she was showing off in a sorority tank.
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My sorority tank

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Yellow cambodian female
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Male crowntail
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Black deltatail male
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A few girls
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This was a combtail female
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male crowntail
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Purple male crowntail
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Fry- this first image was taken at 8 days of age (note- you shouldn't move fry this young!) They were in a 400mL Sistema container, for size reference...
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Kitah

Very Well-Known Member
One of the offspring of a spawn- a purple female :)
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And two newish doubletail males
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Sorry about all the pics- I like my Betta splendens :)
 
H

hypochondroac

Guest
I'm also no longer keeping any fish, i'd love to get back into it but the time and money spent on them adds up fast, i moved away from fish keeping to focus more on reptiles and my many other hobbies.

The different coloured plants in your tank looks very nice Kitah.
Here's one of my live planted female community tanks.

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Kitah

Very Well-Known Member
Very nice Hypochondroac! I can breed Bettas and raise the fry, but I cannot keep live aquatic plants alive! I suppose if I put a bit more effort into trying, it wouldn't be that hard, but ahh well :) Silk shall do for me, for now!

I also forgot to mention, that tank setup has changed; it has a few more plants, as well as driftwood pieces to replace those black rock + silicon things. Its not the greatest looking setup in the world, but it works and the girls like it :)
 

slim6y

Almost Legendary
live plants are easy as long as you have good light which is expensive and you can go the super expensive rout and get CO2

i just provided good light and used ferts i also had layered the bottem with good quality laterite then a layer of play sand on top worked well plants thrived and the apisto's bred like mad

Second hand lights - dime a dozen... I picked up a 6 footer with UV tube $70.... Second hand is the way to go with lighting - new ones are expensive....
 

newbie1979

Not so new Member
So where in Australia can you buy show quality bettas? I've always loved bettas and once bred them but it was more by accident than anything... i'd love to get back in to it.
 

Mace699

Active Member
there is a great shop in Brisbane in Annerley, not the cheapest but definatley high quality fish that are healthy and well looked after ther pureley specialise in Bettas and varied water plants for tank set ups. Breeding isn't sop much the hard part as longas the fish are healthy and compatible it should go fine. Raising the fry though has always been the hard part for me i've only ever bred say 5 or so times of that only two batches survived. great fish but as far as breeding goes i would only say do it if you trulky have a passion for developing a line or a certain trait.
 

Kitah

Very Well-Known Member
There's a good store in Townsville as well that sells a pretty wide variety of Betta splendens, including half moons, plakats, double tails, dragons etc, as well as some great different colours
 
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