anyone here breed betta fish?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by tinychicky, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. tinychicky

    tinychicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i'm thinking of starting to breed bettas, probably half moons,and i wanted some advice on a few things.

    -what kind of tanks... like a fish bowl or jar, or do i need a full-blown aquaruim?
    -how many fish should i start off with. like two or three pairs or just one?
    -what books/websites should i read?
    -i don't need a liscence or anything to breed them, right? i mean it's not like fish need papers.
    -what kind of plants?
    -how old are fry before they can be sold?
    -is there a "standard" for bettas besides big fins and bright colors? anything i should breed for?

    thanks in advance [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011
  2. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    -what kind of tanks... like a fish bowl or jar, or do i need a full-blown aquaruim? You will need a large, cycled tank or tub for the spawn to keep and raise the fry before separation. Bettas are a tropical species and thus need a water heater. If you are going to keep the adults in 1 gallon containers, you will need to do a 100% water change every three days. That is how long it takes ammonia to build up to harmful levels. Water changes will happen every day once you have a lot of males, since they are housed individually. Females are aggressive as well, and you should plan on separating trouble makers from a community tank. They can get along, but don't always.
    -how many fish should i start off with. like two or three pairs or just one? Why not practice and perfect husbandry of a few fish rather than leaping headfirst into breeding. Like any animal breeding, it is an expensive and thankless pursuit, and you will be incredibly lucky to break even.
    -what books/websites should i read? See last sentence [​IMG]
    -i don't need a liscence or anything to breed them, right? i mean it's not like fish need papers. No papers required. Importing stock from Thailand means going through a transhipper.
    -what kind of plants? I use easy peasy stuff that is hard to kill, such as java moss and java fern. Note that plants to NOT replace consistent water changes. In aquariums with filters, you will need to cycle them. Since I can't explain the nitrogen cycle in one, small post, I suggest you look it up! It is the process of establishing beneficial bacteria in the filter medium to turn harmful waste products into less harmful ones, which are then removed with regular partial water changes.
    -how old are fry before they can be sold? Males don't get large fins until they are several months old, so you will be waiting on them.
    -is there a "standard" for bettas besides big fins and bright colors? anything i should breed for? Yes, the Betta International Congress has conformation and standard information.

    I am going to refer you to UltimateBettas , a forum for bettas and other fish. You'll see my name around, I'm a mod there. It is very active and there are a lot of great people. I haven't breed since I bred my Betta simplex (a wild species), but the gist is the same.
     
  3. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    I bred paradise fish which are very similar. You need small tanks for each adult. I prefer 3-5gallons. Personally I don't think anything should live in less than that long term. At least one 10gallon for breeding in is a good idea to give the female room to hide from the male but people sometimes use 5gallon tanks. A few floating plants (real or fake) can also provide a hiding spot and help hold the male's bubblenest together. Don't decorate too much or it will be difficult to find the fry and clean the tank. Only fill the tank up to 6" deep until the fry are better at swimming and getting to the surface. An air powered sponge filter is a good idea on the breeding tank and will cut down on needed water changes and cleaning. Read up on cycling fish tanks and testing ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates.

    When you are ready to breed put the male in the 10gallon and the female's tank next to it. Feed them well. Frozen or live foods are a good idea. When they are ready to breed the male will make a bubblenest and the female will become fatter and a tube for the eggs will extend out of her abdomen. Now you can put the female in with the male. Check them frequently to make sure they aren't tearing each others' fins too much and remove the female when the eggs appear. Otherwise she may try to eat them and the male will become very aggressive.

    So now you have a few dozen to hundred eggs hatching in to fry. The male will take care of them until they are free swimming. You can feed them with tiny live or frozen food like brine shrimp or microworms. There are also liquid fry feeding solutions but these can make a very messy tank and I didn't like using them. I just got frozen daphnia, brine shrimp, and microworms. Thawed a little in a cup and squirted it in to the tank with an eye dropper.

    At around 4 weeks of age you need to separate all the males. This is the part of betta breeding that takes money, space, and time. Each of your several dozen males will need a container of water until you sell them. A lot of people use mason jars. I went the other route and gave them a huge 100gallon low sided stock tank with tons of space so they wouldn't fight. This is not a standard way to raise bettas though and best only attempted after you have experience raising fish. This is also the reason you only want to start with a pair or 2 because you can get overwhelmed very quickly.
     
  4. Squishy

    Squishy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 2, 2011
    Florida
    http://www.bettatalk.com - Is an oldie but a goodie (although no longer selling, it has a lot of info)... Make sure you read all the way through her spawning sections before you commit yourself [​IMG]
    The International Betta Congress - http://ibcbettas.org - If you become a member, you can be put on the list to recieve a free pair of breeding quality bettas from one of many generous breeders. Note - their site has been on the fritz since yesterday.. so try back.
    If you ever need more links you can just let me know [​IMG]
    Breeding Bettas can be very rewarding... but it's not a cheap hobby to start. I spent about 200 on equipment, and 200 on my breeder stock. Who knows how much on "Other doo daa's"?
    I wouldn't say it could never be profitable.. but you can't expect it to be. Most who are successful got into it just for fun... cause you've got to just laugh it off if your whole spawn dies, or no one feels like breeding, or everyone gets sick [​IMG]

    Our set-up....
    One 20 gal long tank in the living room, split with homemade acrylic panels into 6 compartments. A filtration system running clean water individually into each compartment / sucking dirty water out. Heated to 78 with a light and some live plants. And snails.... more on those below. Our 6 breeders are housed in there.
    One 20 long tank in my bedroom, half filled, with a power corner filter, and a better filter standing by (for when the fry grow a bit and make more poo poo [​IMG]), a hood with light, plus extra acrylic peices to keep it nice and humid for the males bubblenest. A couple of plants... and a (yes another LOL!) homemade acrylic "chimney" compartment for the female... My mom loves her sylicone aquarium glue! Heated to 82 with the very most reliable (= not cheap) heater I could get my hands on. 2 Thermometers, one on each end.

    For the spawning tank.. Most go with the 10 gal... Some think a 20 may be too large, but I chose it because it will leave plenty of room for fry to grow, and I'll have to mess around less in the tank with young fry, which will stress them. A 5 gal is just too small... the female won't have enough room to get away from an agressive male, and if you do end up with fry, you'll have to move them into a bigger tank later to grow in. Females who have grown up together can usually be left together.

    I would NEVER try to keep the breeder Bettas in unfiltered water (aka jars)... they are all too likely to contract fin/tail rot, fungus, or other bacterial diseases... especially after spawning when they have sustained injuries. They need as much room to swim, and the cleanest water, you can give them, or they may never be up to spawning.
    As for the juvenile males when it comes time to seperate them... filtered would be best, but most reputable breeders use at least 1/2 gal to 1 gal containers and change the water a minimum of every 2 days. In anything smaller than that.. not only is the water getting fouler between changes, but your fry are just not going to grow well or quickly.
    I have my own *evil* plans to raise my boys.... You can also look here at this amazing contraption someone built (down the bottom of the page) http://www.bcbetta.com/fishroom.html

    As others said.. Java moss is great to have, it's the best moss for low light, but there are several other mosses that are good too, and very pretty. I also love Bannana plants, they are soo cute! Water lilly bulbs have grown super fast in our tank, too, we keep having to cut it back. Make sure any plants you use dont obstruct the surface area, and dont grow too large in general.

    Live food/freeze dried food is a must for your breeder Bettas... but NEVER use the frozen stuff **that you find in a pet store**... the liquid its frozen in polutes the water like nobodies business.
    Betta fry get live food. Mine will be fed with Microworms, live baby brine shrimp, instant baby brine shrimp, and a bit later on, I'll substitue with Atisons Betta Fry starter.

    You'll see stuff about water chemistry in the first link I posted for you... But also, I like to use "Cycle" which is a bacteria supplement that will help the cycling process along. I also use Atisons Betta Spa, which makes the water a little more natural for them. I use rain water to fill my tanks and do water changes. Alot of people simply treat their tap water (doesen't work for my water) or buy bottled.

    From above - Apple snails are good snails [​IMG] also known as Mystery snails, Pomacea Bridgessi.... They eat algae, excess food, and dying plant matter... but they dont eat live plants. They do not reproduce a-sexually, so it takes both a male and a female to make more.. and the eggs are laid above the water line, making unwanted eggs easy to remove. I have Purple and Magenta snails.. sooo cute!

    When it comes to selecting your breeders.. Again there is lots of good info out there... But just know, you have to start with stock from reputable breeders and NEVER a pet store. There are many different colors of Betta listed with the IBC, but in general, you want clean colors without wash of anything else... (I'm using a wash fish because I am trying for something specific that it is suited for, and he's a quality fish). For fins (Halfmoons, since you specified).. To be considered a true Halfmoon, the Betta must have a cadual fin with a spread of 180 degrees (a half circle exactly) and no less.. Less than 180 and the fish may carry the Halfmoon gene, but you're not likely to get Halfmoons from it. Over 180 and it is considered an Over-Halfmoon, and that is desirable.
    If you decide to go ahead.. I'd love to help you out with suggestions, links, or advice... and I'm sure these other nice BYC'ers would too! [​IMG]
     
  5. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    Betta talk is full of crap, you know. Faith has so much misinformation on that site it is not even funny. And thankfully she ISN'T selling, because do you know what she was charging for her fish that wouldn't make the cut at any betta show? 100$ and up for CULLS. Misformed, wimpy finned, disease ridden culls. I know someone who bought one of her fish, and it came in the mail to her covered in ich. It looked like this fish had been rolled in salt it was covered with so many parasites. It died shortly thereafter.

    And I disagree with your statement to never use frozen foods. What were you doing, chucking the entire block in there to melt and rot? When feeding my fish frozen foods, I chipped off a portion, melted it a container with warm tank water, and used a dropper to suck up a drop of water with a proper serving of the frozen foods. I fed frozen bloodworms, glassworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. Freeze dried foods can easily lead to constipation of the fish and thus swim bladder issues as they swell in the stomach, since most people don't take the time to soak the freeze dried food before feeding. You know what is better than frozen food though? Live! Wingless fruit flies and grindal worms are so easy to culture. And when feeding babies anyway, you need a microworm and/or vinegar eel culture anyway to feed them, so why not grow the best for the adults?

    There is also no good product on the market now that helps the cycle along. The bottles you see on the shelves claiming to do so in reality container almost no live nitrobacters. Bio-spira used to be readily available at some shops, and that was a legit product. It was refrigerated, and had a relatively short shelf life even in the fridge. They didn't want to be selling dead bacteria!

    And snails are not required. Need a solution for excess food? Stop overfeeding. Need a solution to algae? Invest in an algae scrubber pad, reduce light, do water changes more often, and stop overfeeding to reduce nutrients available to the algae. Got a few dying leaves on plants? Stick your hand in the water and pluck them yourself. So many people think that snails do not add to the bioload and instead "clean" (much like the misconception about "cleaner fish" ). They add a great deal to the bioload. They eat, they poop, and thus the water gets fouled faster with snails than if you just had the fish without one. If you like snails, by all means keep them, but don't tout their cleaning ability. And truly the only snail species good at cleaning algae are nerite snails, such as the olive nerite, and they are pretty uncommon snails since they only breed in salt water, but can be acclimated to fresh water.

    I realize I am picking apart your post, Squishy, but I don't like it when potentially harmful advise is being offered. Some of your info is great, spot on, other bits, no so much.
     
  6. tinychicky

    tinychicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:i read her website. it seemed to have good information, but some of it conflicted with other things i've read. she seemed a bit full of herself, like she was kind of above the rest of us when it comes to fish. anyway, i don't think i'll be buying a 120$ betta anytime soon [​IMG] i've also read a lot of conflicting information about housing. some people keep them in little quart sized jars and others have them in no less than five gallons. personally, i think 1 gallon is about right (i once had a betta that lived to be almost 7 in one [​IMG] ) but i'm still not sure. one more thing, if i plan to sell my betta's offspring to a small petstore, say, will i need to provide my own containers to sell them in? besides plastic bags, i don't know where i'd even get anything else! sorry for all the questions, but i'm totally new at this [​IMG] i really like bettas and they seemed like an easy first time fish to breed, so i thought i'd try, but reading everything makes me realize exactly what and how much work and resouces are required. i still want to try, though [​IMG]
     
  7. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    It isn't economical to keep an entire spawn of male bettas in separate, 5 gallon tanks. But, if you are keeping a few bettas as pets, definitely let them enjoy the space! I had one halfmoon plakat all by himself in an Eclipse 12 tank, which is 12 gallons. He used every inch of it. But for breeding purposes, lets just say the spawn averages 50 bettas after losses and culls, and half of them are male, that is a lot of water, space, and time if you are using 5 gallon enclosures for each. Many people who house in 1 gallon containers have a daily water change schedule where 1/3 of the containers get cleaned. Makes it easier than doing all every third day.

    That is why I got away from B. splendens and enjoyed more communal species of the genus. The wilds can be housed together peacefully if there is no overcrowding. But they can be more sensitive.

    I personally never sold any locally. I shipped fish. It is easier to ship a fish than it is to ship a chicken! I used this process in this wonderfulhow-to tutorial . A few times when I had to drive with fish, I'd pack them up in double bags as if I was shipping, and put them in a Styrofoam cooler, with heat packs if it was winter. I never got the bags from stores, but through aquabid, since fish stores seem to have a one size fits all. And when someone tells you fish can only survive bagged for an hour, that isn't true. A properly bagged fish can survive several days of shipping. The longest I've known a fish to survive in transit is 17 days! But that was an exception senario, the fish got caught in an area devestated by a hurricane and was greatly delayed. I only used express shipping, personally, never trusted priority with the lives of my charges.

    Work on care and husbandry first, then breeding! Trust me, it'll save you some definite heartache.
     
  8. tinychicky

    tinychicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    for temporary housing, i definatly won't be using five gallons! i was thinking maybe some half gallon containers for juvinile males until they could be sold, just a few days later, actually...
     
  9. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

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    I know plenty of breeders use beanie baby display boxes to house juvenile males. Their dimensions are 4x4x8 inches, which is roughly a half gallon since it won't be filled to the top, and are very cheap. The cover can have vent holes to prevent death jumps. You will need to do even more frequent water changes with containers that small.

    Don't be so certain you will sell them that quickly. Juvenile males don't get their full fins for a while, and people don't want bettas that look, well, like juveniles. Most pet shops have their own supplier for bettas already too. Unless you can make a deal with a Mom and Pop pet shop, there won't be much of a market there to sell bettas.

    Edit to add link
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  10. tinychicky

    tinychicky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i was thinking i'd find a small independent pet store to buy them before i even let them spawn, actually...
     

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