Betta breeding process

Discussion in 'Betta Breeding' started by TypicalAqua, Jul 15, 2015.

  1. TypicalAquaNew MemberMember

    Hi I've become very interested in betta breeding so I would like to know the process.
    Is it true they fight first then he builds the nest then he squeezes her a few times and finally she lays the eggs and he takes care of them? Please help me I would love to breed Bettas but also in a safe way
  2. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    This is not really the way to research... there are a lot of methods for breeding. What you've read appears to be a very simplified version.

    It's an expensive process, costing upwards of $1,000.00 to do properly. There is no way to make it safe for the fish. They fight, they bicker, sometimes they rip each other apart and kill each other. I've lost most of the bettas I've tried breeding, including many expensive imported fish from Thailand.

    Betta broods can consist of 300+ survivors. You can expect about half of them to be male and I would say another 1/4 of them to be females too aggressive to house in a sorority. So that's about 200 separate tanks you're going to need for them.

    Petstore bettas are generally too old to breed, so you'll also have to spring for young fish online or from a local breeder.
  3. chromedome52Fishlore VIPMember

    Wow, glad I didn't know that back when I was breeding them for fun. Not everyone is trying to breed IBC show quality Bettas, so it really isn't anywhere near that expensive. You can get decent quality bettas online without paying a small fortune, but if you have a nearby fish club it's a good bet they can point you toward a local breeder.

    I use a 10 gallon tank with about 6-7 inches of water in it. They do not start the breeding process by fighting. Males fight for territory in the wild, but they do not fight with females. If a female isn't ready, she will get chased from the territory. In an aquarium she cannot run far enough to escape, and can be hurt or killed. That's why I place the female in a transparent floating container within view of the male. If he builds a nest it means he is interested. When he approaches the container, if she is interested, she will show it by approaching him. Some strains show vertical bars when she is ready, but certain color varieties can't. She will also have a little white dot at the vent, which is similar in size to their eggs. This is her breeding tube, and is another indication of readiness.

    When the male has a good nest, she can be released into the tank. He may chase after her a little, but when he goes back to the nest, eventually she will follow. I keep a floating tube for her to hide in when she runs, this is also helpful when spawning is finished. She will come up and poke the male in the side, he will wrap around her, and then roll over. Eggs will fall, the male will chase and collect them, then blow them into the nest. There will be several embraces, but eventually she will leave and hide.

    The male spends the next 24-36 hours blowing eggs back into the nest if they fall. After they hatch he may spend another day or two doing the same for the larvae. I usually remove him when I see hatched eggs, very few will die without him. They will start swimming at this point, though they aren't very active. There are fine powdered foods that float, and this is where they will feed. I've also used vinegar worms as a first food, as these are small enough for them to eat. Infusoria can be easily made, which is the oldtimers preferred food.

    Within a week to 10 days they can be moved up to brine shrimp nauplii and/or microworms. It is often recommended to keep the tank covered to retain humid air, but I'm not sure it is a necessity.

    Was going to post photos, then I saw martinimommys sticky. She has the process well detailed, but I strongly disagree on the cost. I also disagree that one has to try and raise every single fry. It is possible to raise a smaller portion of the spawn if you are just doing it to see the process and get a few young to continue having Bettas without having to buy more!
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2015
  4. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    Male and female bettas fight all the time. I've had several females kill my males, and several females torn up by the males attempting to spawn with them.

    I also never said that one had to raise all of the fry. Some inevitably die off, it's the way things work. But once you've purchased adequate housing for the majority of a brood, live foods for the various stages, etc, etc, the costs add up. Including any fish you buy online. You're probably going to spring at least 20 bucks per fish. More if you want a decent female of breeding age, as the females tend to cost more. That's just how much it costs to get healthy, young fish online, and that's not even including shipping costs.

    If I remember correctly, prices are a bit higher in Canada as well, though I haven't looked at the fish from there for a while, so I could be mistaken on that. Regardless, the bulk of the cost to breed the bettas comes from getting housing for the individuals and live food cultures to work for you until the babies are large enough to eat prepared foods.

    The user martinismommy is Karen MacAuley, an award winning IBC show breeder. I would trust anything she said about breeding bettas. She's an awesome lady, actually lives not too far from me. One day I hope to go out and visit her fish room.
  5. chromedome52Fishlore VIPMember

    hate to quote myself, but I felt this needed repeating. There are dozens of inexpensive alternatives for housing young male Bettas, all you have to do is think outside the box. I knew one breeder who used mason jars because he had a cheap source. There are also several ways to build a barracks type container at a more than reasonable cost. And live food is not a necessity, there are some very good commercial alternatives these days.

    Let me repeat this one more time, not everyone is trying to breed IBC quality fish. Decent fish can be had at many non-chain LFS, depends on where you are, and they usually spawn more readily than the highly inbred lines that are so popular these days. Even spending $50 online with shipping for a good pair is still a long way from spending $1000 just to spawn Bettas for fun. It simply is not necessary. Unless you are including your labor, but again, if it's just for fun, that does not count.

    If you re-read my fighting comment, it was specifically about how they live in the wild, and I also specifically pointed out that those same conditions do not exist in aquaria. I will only comment partially on fish killing one another; I know it happens, again, particularly with the inbred strains that have lost a lot of their natural reproductive instincts. I did not disagree with anything that martinismommy said other than the fact that she neglected to mention that her high expenses were due to trying to breed IBC quality fish. I can personally attest to the fact that Pete Goettner spends waaay more than that to maintain a couple of lines of the highest quality Bettas.

    My problem with this whole thing is that your initial answer seemed to be intent on discouraging someone from trying something new. IF I misread that, I apologize. I believe in encouragement, it makes for longer term hobbyists. They may fail, but they will learn from their efforts.
  6. WendigoblueWell Known MemberMember

    Soda bottles are another easy way to house young bettas, thats how I housed my baby females (they were from petco). I've also heard of housing them in those beanie baby containers, plastic tubs and container ponds. I personally would love to have a dozen container ponds with growing fry in them on the back patio. Of course humidity would be a problem for their growing labyrinth organs, but you could use a plastic wrap.

    Cheap baby bettas can be bought from hobby breeders on Normally you can't decide the gender of the fish your getting, but if you get around 4 - 6 you will have a good chance of a female and male. Then you will have a pretty decent amount of breeders (just in case one's an egg eater or even one's not interested in breeding), plus teaser fish are always good to have.

    I spent around $75 on my setup, with the stuff I already had. Plus I got the cheap pet store bettas. My tanks stay at 78oF without a heater, I'm also doing a water change with warmer water for the 82oF to get them breeding. EDIT: Sorry forgot to mention it's like 78 - 82oF in the summer without a heater.

    I have yet to have success breeding mine, but my male is defiantly an older male. I hope you have much better results than I! Good luck!
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  7. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    chromedome52, I'm not talking about breeding show quality bettas. I'm talking about test spawns, housing (which has the same requirement regardless of whether you're breeding for show or for fun), and foods adequate to raise any of the fry to adulthood.

    There are ways to make it cheaper, sure, but even then, it's still going to be up there in price if you want to have a chance of raising any fry. And I honestly think that breeding pet quality bettas isn't doing the fish or the breeder any favors. Most of those lines are so weak, genetically, that the majority of the fish will have issues all the way through their adult lives. This isn't always the case, if you're extremely careful with your selection of petstore fish, you can occasionally find one that's both healthy and young enough to breed.

    I also have a problem with people who want to breed bettas but haven't done even the most basic research before coming to a forum and asking a question, "tell me everything there is to know about breeding bettas". Not even a google search for "how to breed bettas?" That would at least give you the basic process. People tend to think, without having researched first, that they can spend 20 bucks on a couple of tanks and heaters and magically have 100+ healthy bettas to sell in four months. Most of the time, a reality check is in order. It's an extremely difficult, time consuming, and pricey process that is also incredibly stressful to the fish. I did almost a year of research and putzing around with experienced breeders before I attempted to spawn any fish myself, and I still have nothing to show for it but several dead fish and a few females who are now too old to breed.
  8. WendigoblueWell Known MemberMember

    Reading @FriedBettas spawn logs gave me a lot of knowledge on how this stuff works and the stuff needed, I'm pretty sure he posted on a different method of water changes he was going to try. It also gave me a good idea on what happens to the male or female (if a picture is posted). I do agree Google searching before you ask might help a little, but they're also coming here to ask the betta experts that had/have the chance to hang out with other breeders. They may not live near a betta/fish club or even know about betta/fish clubs.

    @TypicalAqua, Going back to the older threads on the Betta Breeding section of the forum and looking at the spawn logs will show you a lot. Even looking at the setups or a healthy female betta full of eggs and her healthy male mate will help. I personally liked the spawn logs telling you the first foods and when they switch to a different food. My favorite is this youtube spawn log, it's amazing and helped me a lot!!! You have to look at this how to video/spawn log if you plan on breeding!!

    Thank you very much for re-sparking my interest in breeding betta splendens! I did lose it there for a little while.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2015
  9. chromedome52Fishlore VIPMember

    junebug, you've set your sights too high. All those high end Bettas you say you've been trying to breed are also heavily inbred. If you get them from Thailand, there's a 50/50 chance that they've been hormoned and thereby sterilized. And obviously the expensive route isn't doing you any good. Start cheap, hone your methods, then work your way up. Throwing more money at it will not guarantee success.

    I also have a small problem with someone who has not done something successfully telling other people it can't be done. There may be outside factors unique to their situation that caused their problems. That does not mean every one is going to have those same problems. I consider Bettas very easy to breed because I've succeeded with every pair I've tried (haven't tried any in over a decade). I don't assume that they will be easy for everyone; there certainly is effort involved. However, coming here is an effort to research from what they believe is the best possible source. Why Google when you can Fishlore?
  10. junebugFishlore LegendMember

    lol you have no idea what's gone into my attempts to breed bettas. I never said it couldn't be done. I said it was difficult and expensive and requires mass amounts of research. It's also very stressful for the fish.

    I've attempted spawns with fish from Thailand, fish from Indonesia, petstore fish, and fish from US breeders. One of the fish I tried with may be sterile, but it's because of her line. She's a koi, they are often sterile due to the amount of sibling crosses required to attain the color.
  11. _Fried_Bettas_Well Known MemberMember

    I can't say I've read this entire thread, some of the posts were quite lengthy. The betta breeding process is posted in stickies and there have been many threads about it, but if you have specific questions regarding how I breed and my opinions just pm me.

    About safely breeding bettas though. If you breed a pair of bettas it is nearly inevitable that the female will get beat up and often the male. You have to watch them and not be too squeamish. If you pulled them apart at the least sign of trouble you would never see a spawn. Breeding can be done on a budget, but it is a time consuming process, and a commitment that takes months.