Sex change of Female Bettas

camposagrado48


IMG_20201126_122943.jpg

This is my favorite female betta I have in my collection, simply because she has nice form with good coloring and won a local show here in the Philippines on November 28-29,2020. As a betta breeder I decided to breed her with a male and it was successful, and I was able to grow them to adult size. I did a second breeding attempt after a month after her first breeding. Before attempting the 2nd breeding session I already notice the belly not getting large despite me feeding her plenty of food to prepare for the breeding. I decided to continue on with the 2nd breeding but it was a fail this time. The male and the female were both injured with some fin damage. after that failed attempt I decided to just keep her as my personal pet betta for 2 months.

I set up a peaceful sorority tank that has been thriving for months and it came to my mind to let her join the sorority tank. So I placed her in the tank with the other females. A day passed, I went to check my sorority to see if she has adjusted, and to my surprise it was not a pleasant sight, most of my females have torn fins and nips on their tails and I see her in a corner building a bubble nest and guarding it. I removed her immediately and placed her in her original solo tank. And it got me wondering why was that her behavior, so I googled some potential answers until I came across an article that is about artificial sex change in bettas. In the experiment they were able to artificially sex change the female bettas to males. at this time I already observed that her belly never got big again from the first breeding until now. It was weird because it is always common with female bettas to produce eggs and have larger bellies. I theorized that my betta is no longer a female a betta. So to confirm my theory I decided to breed her with a female (Third Breeding) on August 08,2021.

A day passed after placing them in a breeding tank and there were eggs in the bubble nest.
And here is the best part, the eggs hatched!!!! and as of now (August 10, 2021) it is taking care of its fry.

1628594452301.png

And that got me surprised that my betta sex changed to a male
.
I just want to share this to the world that a female betta can change its gender to a male but with minuscule chance of it happening.

I'll post its updated picture after it is done taking care of the fry.

Let me know your thoughts about this. If you are confused and surprised after reading this, you are not alone.
THANK YOU AND GODBLESS.
 

Pfrozen

This is super interesting because you're an experienced breeder and that particular betta has won shows in your country. I doubt you mistook it for the wrong fish. I have never heard of this happening so thank you for the post :)

Do you have any articles or sources explaining the transformation? I'd like to read up on it during my days off :)

And welcome to Fishlore friend!
 

Lucy

Welcome to FishLore!
At first I thought, well your female beat up the other female and its not unusual for fems to build bubble nests.

Lost me after that. lol
Do betta eggs hatch in two days? Seems quick.

Edit:
The links, the first one the fish was injected with testosterone. So not a natural occurrence in that case.
The send, the fish was treated with steroids, again, not a natural occurrence.
 

camposagrado48

Welcome to FishLore!
At first I thought, well your female beat up the other female and its not unusual for fems to build bubble nests.

Lost me after that. lol
Do betta eggs hatch in two days? Seems quick.

Edit:
The links, the first one the fish was injected with testosterone. So not a natural occurrence in that case.
The send, the fish was treated with steroids, again, not a natural occurrence.
Well here in the Philippines temperatures can range 30 to 40 C. so maybe it is because of the temperature that boosted them to hatch quickly. And yes with my years of breeding bettas here in the Philippines it only takes one to two days for the eggs to hatch.
This is super interesting because you're an experienced breeder and that particular betta has won shows in your country. I doubt you mistook it for the wrong fish. I have never heard of this happening so thank you for the post :)

Do you have any articles or sources explaining the transformation? I'd like to read up on it during my days off :)

And welcome to Fishlore friend!
Pfrozen here are some of the articles I read pertaining to the sex change of female bettas.

Sex reversal in female Betta splendens as a function of testosterone manipulation and social influence - PubMed

https://dc.etsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2139&context=etd

Sadly these are the only articles I can find about this.
Welcome to FishLore!
At first I thought, well your female beat up the other female and its not unusual for fems to build bubble nests.

Lost me after that. lol
Do betta eggs hatch in two days? Seems quick.

Edit:
The links, the first one the fish was injected with testosterone. So not a natural occurrence in that case.
The send, the fish was treated with steroids, again, not a natural occurrence.
Yes there were human interventions involved in those experiments. Sadly I cant seem to find articles pertaining to natural sex change of bettas. Which made me think that this type of events are super rare that no one has ever discussed it. This story that I told may look like I'm some sort of lunatic but I'm not XD.

Edit:
There is a different discussion here in fishlore where his female betta became a male, same as mine were the female was bred and after some time it grew longer fins and lacking the large belly that females normally have.
 

BigManAquatics

My thoughts are it can and does happen with other fish species and some other animal species, so why not bettas?
 

camposagrado48

Ver
This article was posted here a while ago: The Surprise Hiding in the DNA of Pet Fish


It was also interesting how the majority of fish will be one gender.
Very Interesting article. how come I did not come across this article... anyway seems like genetics among fishes are still a mystery.
My thoughts are it can and does happen with other fish species and some other animal species, so why not bettas?
Maybe but it is really rare to see this happening since they don't need to sex change? unlike clownfish where they need to sex change to female once the main female of the group dies.
 

Pfrozen

I personally believe you... anyone who breeds bettas professionally and wins national competitions deserves at least that

I would love to find out more though. Keep this thread active, maybe someone else will see it and post their knowledge as well. Like I said, super interesting topic
 

camposagrado48

I personally believe you... anyone who breeds bettas professionally and wins national competitions deserves at least that

I would love to find out more though. Keep this thread active, maybe someone else will see it and post their knowledge as well. Like I said, super interesting topic
I will. At least you believe me. Most of my friends here think Im crazy or joking around, lol even with the articles I said.

For now I guess I should post the fry grow out every month to see if there are differences between the fry from the 1st breeding session.
 

Pfrozen

I will. At least you believe me. Most of my friends here think Im crazy or joking around, lol even with the articles I said.

For now I guess I should post the fry grow out every month to see if there are differences between the fry from the 1st breeding session.

That's a good idea, you should make a journal thread so we can follow it!
 

BPSabelhaus

Huh, interesting. It’s not entirely unheard of. I think it was parrotfish and grouper maybe that it was on? Some will change genders in response to local conditions (male/female ratio, age etc…)

Neat.
 

ModelAFish

Life…Uh, finds a way
 

TClare

Very interesting. There was a thread recently about sex change in cichlids. It is known that gender is much more plastic in fishes than in other vertebrates, and that environmental factors can play a more important role than genetic ones in sex determination. In this case I wonder what caused the change to happen? Here is the thread I mentioned:

Cichlid Female changing to a Male | African Cichlid Forum | 473640
 

BPSabelhaus

Plastic? These are fish, they’re fluid ;)
 

Lucy

It's not that I didn't believe you, it was the sources cited.
Testosterone and steroids (?) were used in those cases.

Aren't there live bearers that can change genders?
 

CrackerboxPalace

It's not that I didn't believe you, it was the sources cited.
Testosterone and steroids (?) were used in those cases.

Aren't there live bearers that can change genders?
Clownfish also come to mind.
 

camposagrado48


IMG_20201126_122943.jpg

This is my favorite female betta I have in my collection, simply because she has nice form with good coloring and won a local show here in the Philippines on November 28-29,2020. As a betta breeder I decided to breed her with a male and it was successful, and I was able to grow them to adult size. I did a second breeding attempt after a month after her first breeding. Before attempting the 2nd breeding session I already notice the belly not getting large despite me feeding her plenty of food to prepare for the breeding. I decided to continue on with the 2nd breeding but it was a fail this time. The male and the female were both injured with some fin damage. after that failed attempt I decided to just keep her as my personal pet betta for 2 months.

I set up a peaceful sorority tank that has been thriving for months and it came to my mind to let her join the sorority tank. So I placed her in the tank with the other females. A day passed, I went to check my sorority to see if she has adjusted, and to my surprise it was not a pleasant sight, most of my females have torn fins and nips on their tails and I see her in a corner building a bubble nest and guarding it. I removed her immediately and placed her in her original solo tank. And it got me wondering why was that her behavior, so I googled some potential answers until I came across an article that is about artificial sex change in bettas. In the experiment they were able to artificially sex change the female bettas to males. at this time I already observed that her belly never got big again from the first breeding until now. It was weird because it is always common with female bettas to produce eggs and have larger bellies. I theorized that my betta is no longer a female a betta. So to confirm my theory I decided to breed her with a female (Third Breeding) on August 08,2021.

A day passed after placing them in a breeding tank and there were eggs in the bubble nest.
And here is the best part, the eggs hatched!!!! and as of now (August 10, 2021) it is taking care of its fry.

1628594452301.png

And that got me surprised that my betta sex changed to a male
.
I just want to share this to the world that a female betta can change its gender to a male but with minuscule chance of it happening.

I'll post its updated picture after it is done taking care of the fry.

Let me know your thoughts about this. If you are confused and surprised after reading this, you are not alone.
THANK YOU AND GODBLESS.
Hello again everyone i have removed the male ( or is it a female? I don't know at this point LOL, lets just call it a HE) and I was able to take some close up pics of the fish after removing the male from the fry for us to be able to compare its time it was a female 9 months ago. If you are thinking that these are not the same fish, I assure you that they are the same fish, my specific line has a marbling gene which is common to multicolored bettas. Meaning they change color as time passes. If you are still not convinced you can see that it has retained some of its patterns of scales from different parts of its body.

I guess the next step is to take photos of the fry once or twice a month for us to see the difference of fry from the 1st breeding when he was a female.

I don't know how to create a journal since I'm new here hehe lets just keep it here in this thread.
 

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Demeter

A few months back I bought a trio of female blue rim/marble bettas in hopes of crossing one into my line or marbles. To my dismay all three of these females turned male! These three fish do not look like proper males, not like their brothers from the same breeder. They aren't as streamline as a good males should be and I can only assume that is because they used to be females. I have no intentions to breed from them now.

When I received them in the mail they all had egg spots, normal female attributes and you could even spot their ovaries inside. They were placed in my 20gal sorority/grow-out with a spawn of koi HMPK. The smallest female (the one I had hopes for) starting being aggressive and made a nest. He was jarred, then the next one started changing, and then the next... It happens from time to time, that I do know. I would say my three changed gender due to the change in environment and possibly the stress of shipping.

I would guess betta females can only turn into males while young, and males cannot turn into females. The sex change is likely brought on by environmental changes, possibly changes in water chemistry, stress, feeding etc. It could even be a genetic predisposition in certain lines but that is something that would need major genetic testing and lengthy researching. One study that I found a while back talked about surgical removal of the female's ovaries, while some females regenerated their lost ovaries other reverted into males. Perhaps your female injured her reproductive organs after the first or second spawning attempts so she adapted to it and became a male. Just a guess.
 

BPSabelhaus

It’s Pat, the Betta.

(90’s SNL character)
 

camposagrado48

The betta fries are now over a month old, unfortunately only 8 survived. However all looked healthy and show no deformity of some sort except for one with a swimbladder disorder. After another month I'll post the 7 healthy fry for us to see.
 

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