The Betta fish or Siamese fighting fish is indigenous to Thailand. This variety of fish can live in environments with relatively poor oxygen and thus can be an ideal aquarium pet. While there are over 50 other types of bettas, betta fish is the most popular among aquarium enthusiasts especially in the United States. Breeding this type of fish is rather easy however a number of considerations have to be noted to ensure that you’ll be successful in this endeavor.
- Choose the right betta fish. Siamese fighting fish, as the name suggests, are highly territorial. As such, breeding them will require extra care so that they don’t end up badly harming each other when kept together. Remember to buy a male and a female betta that are young, preferably no more than 14 months old, and are roughly the same size. Healthy betta fish have vibrant colors, without loose or missing scales on their bodies. Their gills should be smooth and without any swelling. The fins should be free of any tears and holes. The eyes should be clear and dark.
- Buy the system setup. You will need at least three tanks of 5-10 gallons capacity each, a heater, sponge filter, tank divider and artificial plants for hiding spots.
- Prepare the breeding tank. Fill the tank where you’re going to breed your pair of betta fish only halfway and do not to add substrate or gravel to it. Set the heater to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Start feeding the pair with live food such as blood worms or live brine shrimp.
- Introduce your betta fish to each other. Have them in the opposite sides of the tank with the use of the tank divider to get them accustomed to each other. If they are interested in each other, they won’t display aggressive behavior by trying to attack each other through the divider. If this is the case however, separate them and try again later.
- Release the female into the tank. Do this only when the male has built a fairly large bubble nest. The female should also show vertical stripes on her body and should display a submissive behavior which is typically exhibited by keeping her head down. Her belly should also be bloated which means she is ripe for egg production. Make sure to keep an eye on the pair as bullying by the male will probably take place as part of the courtship and breeding process.
- Laying eggs. The pair will embrace as an act of squeezing out the eggs from the female’s ovipositor. Once she’s done releasing the eggs, scoop her out of the breeding tank and put her into her own tank.
- Remove the male. After about three days when the fry are swimming away from the bubble nest, you can now scoop out the male and put him into his own tank.
- Feeding the fry. Do this after the male’s been removed from the breeding tank. Feed the fry with live microworms twice a day.
Not all fry will survive the first few weeks so be sure that you check the temperature, chemical levels and the water’s cleanliness to ensure that your remaining fry will survive. Once they reach 14 months it will be up to you to keep them which will entail installing more tanks or you can sell them or give them away, keeping only what you need for more breeding.