How to Breed Bettas / Siamese Fighters

One of the objectives in this wonderful hobby is that at some point or another you will breed your fishy friends. This will happen either intentionally or unintentionally. Quite an achievement this is!

It means that you have been successful in creating a natural environment for your Betta, unless of course you have tank raised fish and they have never smelt the wild. In that case, you have created the healthiest and happiest environment for your Siamese Fighter.

How to prepare Bettas for breeding (3 methods I use)

Things you will need:

30L fish tank filled with fresh and clean water

Heater Set at 27 degrees celsius (Play with this between 25-28)

Dechlorinated Water

Half a polystyrene cup. (Cut in half, from top to bottom. Not left to right)

A few plastic plants for hiding spots

A transparent container for the female (I place the female in the males tank for him to see her

Sponge filter

Either a G Clamp/drip clamp (one of those 2 or 3 way valves)

Turkey Baster (What I prefer to use if I cannot find a pipette)

Dried Indian Almond Leaves (if available)

Masking tape

A soft desk lamp (As in it shouldn’t give off a lot of heat)

I feed them well. First I start with a fast on day 1 and the following morning, I feed peas (1 pressed pea). To find our how to prepare pea(s) for feeding, please click here.

Day 2, still leave the male in his current tank. No need to move the poor guy around. Next, ensure you have brine shrimp. Live brine shrimp is good fun for them if you are able to source it. I alternate between dry foods (smaller feed), bloodworms (and then watch the viciousness of a Betta!), live and frozen brine shrimp. So guess what? This is what I feed them anyway!

My belief is this(and maybe some of you wont like it but it works well for me)….If I am feeding my fish well in the first place, why would I need to “condition them for breeding” ?

When it is time for them to breed in the wild, do the rivers and paddies say “Hey! The Bettas need to breed! Let’s make something new for them to eat!” come on guys…Healthy fish will give it a go at anytime. Now this is not meant to be argued with cases of fish who need triggers to breed!

Method 1

Once the male has finished his peas and has cleaned out his system well, I will add him to a breeding tank(But prepared the tank a day before with the almond leaves floating and in the manner that follows) and leave him there for the day. In his tank, I have placed the sponge filter (in the back right corner of the tank) and the G-clamp fitted to the airline leading into the sponge filter (Note the sponge filter is switched off the whole time but before you switch it off for the breeding, turn it on and tighten the G-clamp  over the airline so that the bubbles surface at about 1 -2 bubbles per 15 seconds. I do this so that when it is time to switch the sponge filter on, it does not cause rapid water flow and injure the fry), polystyrene cup taped to the left front corner of the tank, heater in the middle of the back glass with the temperature set at 27 degrees Celsius, plastic plant away from polystyrene cup (so in the middle of the tank somewhere) and away from the polystyrene cup. This is just the way I do it so please feel free to arrange the way you see fit.

The reason the male is being left there is so that he can “own” the tank. Allows him to get territorial  and learn his way around since he will be the guardian of the eggs. Hmmm…nice name for an anime’ movie.

Method 1 may deviate here – Less risky option is this one

The next day, you’re now ready to add your transparent container with the female in it (dont forget to fill with water!). You can even use a long glass vase but make sure that when you’re taking the female out (later on in this process) that you leave the vase in. Don’t lift the vase out. Read on to find out why…

So your female is in and now it is time to switch on your desk lamp. The male will try to get to her but will obviously keep bumping into the vase. he will learn fast without injury so don’t stress.

Eventually, he will stop darting at her and at that point you may remove the female from the vase and place her into the tank. You may not remove the vase if he been an eager male and built his nest quicker than you expected. Lifting the vase will cause a small waves and damage his nest. Some males will rebuild the nest and some will tell you to go to …. so rather not chance it.

Betta males win their females over by showing dominance and strength. They will nip at the female and flare out their fins and the reason why I prefer this method is that he gets a chance to get used to the sight of her. When she is placed into the tank then he does not attack so viciously. It is important that you monitor this behaviour as sometimes they can get very rough and the female will get injured badly. If the male likes her, even you will see the show he puts on for her. Flaring and showing his colours off with his big and bright opened fins (lovely sight). And the female, when she is interested and ready to be wrapped in his lovely fins, will develop dark vertical bars on her body. This is the female’s “YES I will go on a date with you”.

He will continue courting and showing off while building a bubble nest and the aim off your polystyrene cup is for him to build the nest in there. It gives them a sense of security.

The female will continuously go up to the nest and dart away. She will only stay under the nest if she feels it is fit and worthy of mating under. She will not submit before then.

Seems like the natural order is for males to give their females a good home across all forms of life…nice.

Eventually when she is happy, she will go under the nest and appear “lifeless” which is then her “submission” and from behind the plastic plants Barry White music starts playing (Just kidding!!!).

Mating begins…

The male will wrap himself around the body of the female and squeeze her eggs out. They wrap around each other so tight until they almost hit the bottom of the tank. Really really magical when you see this! They will not be disturbed by you watching them. Kinky buggers.

This will carry on for several hours and eventually when they are done the male will….ahem….kick her out. So after the male has used her this is danger time. That female BETTA get outta there..FAST as in yesterday or he will kill her.

But he is not all that bad. He is just being a good father and protecting his fry because the female will eat the babies. Weird huh?

Method 2 – Use with experience!!!

The only difference here is instead of using a vase, you can put the female straight in with the male if they have mated before and were not so rough with each other. The usual show off will still happen just that he won’t behave like a psycho…he’ll just be a little crazy.

Method 3 (If they are playing hardball to spawn)

If the male and female you chose to spawn are having a hard time accepting each other, it might be worth throwing in another female. Eventually the formed pair will chase away the female that will not be part of the mating process. Only do this if you have a second option female.

If the pair you want to spawn doesn’t take to the act, separate them and try again from 3 days later.

If they still don’t spawn, then give them a break and continue conditioning them for mating by feeding foods with high protein value. Just like any other living being, Bettas will spawn when they are ready. You can create the perfect environment for them and they still wont mate. This is not yours or the Bettas fault.

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