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Bill's Fish Pages


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female red from cambodia

Male red combtail from cambodia,SHEESH!

Since the first fish I bred was a pair of bettas,(siamese fighting fish) I thought it would be cool to actually breed a pair and photograph it here so you can watch it happen,,kind of cool eh? I want to thank Kathy Waters for bringing me some nice strains of bettas.
I am going to do this pairing in a 5 gallon aquarium. It has about 3 1/2 gallons of water in it, the water is hard,,the pH is very high,,thank you florida aquifer for that! The tank has been set up with java moss in the bottom for about 10 days,there is already a film of bacteria on the bottom and lots of micro-life, including little annoying worms,,all future food for the newborns. There is no heater in the tank, just a 25watt incandescent bulb on the tank. I must tell all of you prospective breeders out there,,breeding is like cooking in the kitchen. I LOVE to cook. If you look in a cookbook it will say things like 1/8 tsp of this or that, 1/2 tbsp of something or another,,but don't you know that good cooks NEVER measure things? It's a feeling thing,,you just KNOW how much to put in.
I approach breeding much the same way. Books will prescribe a certain pH,,or hardness,,or temp. I confess,,ranges can be important sometimes, but exact measurements will confound you and you will get bogged down with useless meddling and the breeding thing becomes a burden at that point. Use your instincts,,that is what works.
I am setting up a male red combtail from cambodia. that's a mouthfull. The female will be just red from cambodia. The offspring will be who knows what,,,I am not a rigid genetesist. I am only interested in getting sellable young,,,if I were showing bettas for trophies I suppose I'd be a bit more into the genetics.
Anyway, it is thursday 7-15-04, 11:30am,,I just introduced the male into the tank and the female will go in in a little while.
It is still thursday, around 12:30pm,,the female has been introduced in a small plastic tank floating in the main tank. Once again I am using intuition here. Admittidly(sp), I generally just dump the female in without isolating her, in fact, I generally put the female in the breeding tank first,,then the male. I'm faced with a different situation here because the female in this case is a very LARGE one and she is quite capable of hurting the male.
In a classic betta spawning the male is usually larger and more aggressive. He will tear and tatter her during spawning,,and in some cases kill her. Kind of like people in trailer parks. (just kidding),,well,,maybe not,,just watch COPS. Lol.
In this case the bigger female may deter the male from spawning, they both seem quite ready though. If you look at the female in the photo at the top of the page you can see a white spot near her belly. This is her ovipositor and it is extended, indicating her readiness for spawning. I need to be carefull having her in the small plastic tank because she may just dump her eggs before she is released.
I added some floating water sprite and a small flower pot on it's side to provide shelter for the one that gets the worst of the pairing. The water sprite is to coax the male to make a nest in that particular spot.
Betta purists will generally use a small styrofoam cup,,cut in half lengthwise, and floated on the surface instead of live plants. I like live plants of course because they provide the very small newborns with microscopic food. The male will blow his bubblenest in this area and the mucous that he uses to produce the bubbles will feed the protozoans in the plant area and they will be in large numbers by the time the fry feed. This assures a good start for the fry. More on that later.

a well established breeding tank

female released and lots of displaying

female assumes traditional role of being submissive, despite her size

Day 2, friday noon. Female very submissive/male builds nest

It is 1:30 pm thursday and the female has been released. The male has started blowing bubbles in the water sprite as expected and when the female was released they displayed and circled each other, I was hoping the female would not be too aggressive. I was happy when she took the submissive role and he was able to chase her away from the nest area.
Dr Robert Goldstein Phd states that the male and female need to see each other and actually share the same water space to produce viable ova and sperm. I do not know if this is true,,I have put bettas together that have not seen each other and had viable eggs in minutes.
I have however, found that spawns are much more successful if a longer period of time exists between introduction of the parents and actual spawning. I like to see the female driven to one side of the tank while the male prepares his nest and then coaxes her and woos her to the nest, the spawning goes much better this way. Imagine that,,sex being better with foreplay,,it works for fish.

Male scraps water sprite and blows nest against glass

Female looking worn, suspiciously bloated

Oh the drama. It is friday, day 2, just over 24 hours since the female went into the tank. Fish don't always follow the rules. Remember, I have over 35 years experience at this. I predicted the female might bully the male because of her size. I put water sprite to attract the male's nest. I put a flower pot in for the submissive fish to retreat in.
Wellll, the male opted to build his nest against the glass on the opposite side of the tank, the female retreated into the water sprite. She is looking suspiciously bloated,,,eggs? She may have a bacteria problem,,we'll see. She turned out to be quite a baby,,I removed the water sprite to see if she would give in to the male's coaxing,,we'll watch and see. Oh the drama,,,this is riveting stuff isn't it?

Are you riveted? Are you dying to find out what happens? I've added a betta page 2 to carry on with what happens,,,see you there soon!