Betta fish, interestingly enough, are incredibly complex and incredibly simple at the same time, and breeding them is no exception. To help you through these complex steps, here is a beginner’s guide to breeding betta fish.
Choose Betta Fish That Are in Good Health
Before anything, you have to make sure that you have a healthy pair of betta fish that can breed successfully. To do so, you want to find a reputable breeder, as you want to be sure that the fish are healthy and less than 14 months old. Trying to breed bettas that are older than 14 months is often unsuccessful.
Set Up a Breeding Tank
To set up a breeding tank, you’ll need an aquarium that’s no less than 10 gallons, five inches deep, and has plenty of hiding spaces with no substrate. In terms of water parameters, the ideal temperature is about 78 degrees Fahrenheit in a quiet space that doesn’t get too much bright light and has fully cycled to prevent chemical spikes. The male will also need a leaf or a floating piece of Styrofoam to attach the bubble nest to.
Condition the Fish
Before placing your fish in the tank, you want to make sure that you have conditioned both fish for at least two weeks. To do this, give them plenty of hardy, protein-rich foods, such as fresh or frozen bloodworms, about two to four times a day. This way, you can ensure they have enough energy to engage in the courting and breeding process. However, don’t feed them during the courtship phase.
Introduce and Release the Female
Before releasing the female into the tank, you’ll want to slowly introduce the pair so that neither sees the other as a threat. To do so, float the female into a bag or container that the male can’t get into for short periods. You’ll know they like each other if they both begin to darken their appearance and change into vibrant colors. You may also notice the female “wagging” her body at the male, and the male will flare his fins to impress the female. After this, you can release the female into the tank.
Let the Male Make the Bubble Nest
The male will build a bubble nest to determine whether the female is ready to spawn. If your male doesn’t seem to be forming a bubble nest, provide your betta with some enrichment, like an exercise mirror, to trigger their instincts. You’ll know the female likes the nest if she doesn’t destroy it, but if she does, you’ll need to start the process again. If the female destroys it a second time, you may need to find a new pair.
You’ll also notice that the male may start chasing after the female for a few hours, occasionally nipping her fins. This is normal, but keep an eye on them to ensure that no serious damage occurs. Then, the male will start “dancing” or swimming around her in an embrace. After a few times, the female will go limp, release the eggs, and the male will take them up to the nest.
After that, congratulations! You’ve successfully followed this beginner’s guide to breeding betta fish and should have healthy fry in about two to three days.