Breeding aquarium fish can be an exciting endeavor but it can also be quite challenging – it is not something you can just jump into without doing any research beforehand. If you were to attempt to breed your betta fish without doing any research, for example, you may not even realize that, when it comes to breeding, there are two different types of bettas. Betta fish species can be divided into two groups according to breeding behavior – bubble-nesting species and mouth-brooding species. In order to successfully breed your betta fish you need to not only know which category they fall into but you must also understand how to encourage breeding in that particular type of fish.
Bettas belonging to the mouth-brooding group of species do not build nests for their eggs – they actually take the eggs into their mouths and hold them until the fry hatch. During mating, the male of the species will wrap its body around the female, releasing his sperm as the female releases the eggs. As the eggs are dropped, the male catches them in his fins and the female picks them up in her mouth – the female then spits the eggs out for the male to catch in his mouth. Once spawning is complete and the male has gathered all the eggs he will hold them, or incubate them, for 9 to 16 days until they hatch. While incubating the eggs, male betta fish may eat very little. During this time it is important to prevent your betta from becoming stressed because, if he does, he might end up swallowing the eggs or releasing them before they have hatched. Once the fry have hatched, the male might exhibit some level of parental care but, at that point, it is okay to remove the parents from the tank to raise the fry alone.
This group of betta fish builds nests to keep their eggs in after spawning. During mating periods, the male of the species can be seen blowing air bubbles near the surface of the tank to create a sort of “nest” out of bubbles. Once the nest is completely, spawning may occur. Up until the point of spawning, breeding behavior in bubble-nesting species of betta fish is very similar to that of mouth-brooding species. During breeding, the male of the pair wraps his body around the female – the female releases the eggs simultaneously with the male releasing his sperm. After the eggs are fertilized, the female catches them in her fins and gives them to the male who transfers them to the bubble nest he prepared. The spawning process may be repeated several times until all of the eggs have been released and transferred to the bubble nest. After transferring the eggs, the male will guard the nest for one to two days until they hatch. At that point the fry may remain in the nest for another 3 or 4 days until they have absorbed their yolk sacs and become free-swimming.
Tips for Breeding Betta Fish
As is true of any species, betta fish are more likely to breed successfully when provided with the ideal conditions. In addition to a healthy diet, betta fish also require a clean and healthy tank environment. To help keep the water quality in your betta breeding tank high, consider adding an EcoBio-Stone S to your tank. EcoBio-Stones are made from porous volcanic cement and they are infused with beneficial bacteria colonies. These bacteria rapidly multiply in your tank, working to maintain the nitrogen cycle which will help to keep the water in your tank clean and clear. The cleaner your tank and the higher the water quality, the more likely your betta fish are to spawn successfully.