TOPIC: spawning bettas

Q: Dear me, 

I have been watching the live spawn on the webcam very very closely and would like for you to talk about it, in more details, and give us your thoughts about spawning bettas in general. Thank me,

above question submitted by Faith, Los Angeles, CA

LOLOLOL. Just when I think I couldn't possibly become any weirder, I actually find out I AM! So, you may have guessed it, this week I will not be answering one of your questions, but will be answering my own (hey, there's no rule that says I cannot submit a question, too LOL). So I will be rapping instead about the live spawn and breeding them little finned friends :). 

Hit it! (bobababoom, bobababoom - slow groove beat)

(silence). Mmmm. (more silence) Hum. Well, I guess I'm not much of a rapper. Oh well, let's do it the old fashion way then :).

I have to say that I am very pleased that I was able to bring you this live spawn. It was not without challenges, both on the technical standpoint as well as the betta standpoint, but in the end, we did it! (rather, they did it! LOLOL). In order to be able to watch the spawn on a webcam, I had to use a much smaller than usual spawning tank and alter my set-up considerably. Also, I was unable to have a heater, so the water was quite a bit colder than usual. The cameras were both right against the glass and must have looked rather threatening to the fish. But maybe they are show biz kinda fish cause despite all, they performed! Let us look at the challenges encountered in this first webcam spawn and see what we can learn (in lighter blue):

  • tank was not the normal recommended size. Shows that bettas can be flexible for as long as you still make sure they are alone (no other fish present), have hiding places and a nest location.
  • water was not the normal recommended range. diddo, bettas will spawn even if water is a bit colder. Mine was fluctuating between 70F and  75F. Much lower temps may prevent the bettas from breeding though.
  • strange objects disrupted the privacy of pair. Bettas are not timid.
  • first female became a floater on morning of day 2. That was puzzling, as I have never seen this before. I pulled her out, she seemed unharmed with little to no fin damage, yet was unable to swim properly. 48 hours later she made a full recovery. What we have learned? Expect the unexpected any time you deal with bettas LOLOL. Female is now fine and happy, by the way. I suspect a blow from the male may have caused this temporary swimbladder problem.
  • old female was  swiftly swapped for a new female of same look. bettas are not monogamous. or bettas have bad eyesight LOL cause he liked the new one just the same.
  • male let the nest go on day 2. The arrival of new female caused male to start chasing aggressively again and he let his nest go. New female was a lot more to handle and did not take his #@#! Each betta is an individual. 
  • morning of day 3 looked gloomy. Both fish were ignoring each other, him in his corner, her in the other corner. Not a good sign. Still, knowing that majority of bettas spawn on day 3 I decided to "let it ride". Be resilient!
  • bettas spawned at noon time on day 3. Refer back to "Expect the unexpected any time you deal with bettas LOLOL.". I was to say the least SURPRISED to see them spawn, when I logged on to the cam from my job. And EXCITED! What we learn: No matter how many time you see bettas spawn, you always get excited (almost like it's your first time). (wish I could also say that about all other things -wink wink- LOLOL). Another thing we have learned: NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER SURRENDER! When it comes to spawning bettas, persistence pays.
  • female was removed when I came home that afternoon. I learned that the difficulty of catching a female with a net without disturbing the nest and father is inversely proportional to the size of the spawning tank and to the webcam box the tank is placed in LOLOLOL.. Aghmff that was quite a challenge. But the betta force, with me was. I am not for nothing Faithyoda, called. ;) So out came the female and in Bettamax she went, she is still perky as can be as though nothing had ever happened. For a moment, there I thought she was going to try to sneak back in late at night into her jar and give me the "oh no Mom, nothing happened, we're just friends" routine LOL. But I have video footage to prove otherwise hehehehe.
  • eggs were found floating up at the surface, with not a bubble in sight! AGH. When I saw that I thought: Well, there goes that spawn! But, one again: "Expect the unexpected any time you deal with bettas LOLOL.". I knew that without any nest the eggs would eventually sink (all bazillion of them) and rot. See, they need to have contact with air to develop into fry. How they ere floating, I do not know. RATS I thought. I decided to give a hint to Mr. Betta by giving him a bit of a bubble nest (swiftly stolen from 7 other males from the stock page). This gave him a bit of something to place some of the eggs in, and I think in many ways helped. he did not seem to mind my intrusion tooooo much. Eggs can float.
  • Day 4: most eggs are now at the bottom of the tank >:[] RATS X2 ! Eggs can also sink. LOL I did not see sign of fungus though, so that was good. I had of course added proper medication to the water hehehehe to guard the eggs from fungus attack. Some of the eggs were developing, but I was convinced all of them would be lost. Know that you are merely an ignorant mortal and worship the divine bettas! Mr. betta was blowing them back into the lack of nest and they would sink right back. He kept doing this over and over and still as clueless as the first time he had done it LOL. I had a real good laugh at him! Eventually he started blowing a bubble each time he spit them out :). (well, it's about time!)
  • Evening of day 4: Eggs are already hatching! Another good surprise! Guess they did not all go bad after all. As a matter of fact, I would say that almost all of them did hatch, while dad ate the bad eggs to prevent them from spoiling the good ones (smarter than you and I think!) ;). Not all eggs that are on the bottom on the tank go bad.
  • Day 5: fry are darting all over the places. Having no nest, they are scattering everywhere and anywhere there is something that will give them a way to stay up. They can be found along the sides of the tank, in the plant, on the filter, etc.. They look like minuscule white balls with a tiny hair (tail). You can see two black eyes, and that is about it. I no longer can see many of the fry, not sure if they died, dada ate them, or they are behind the filter or in the plant. I cannot see the tank from the back because tank is inside the cam box. (RATS X3) (PS: We are starting to have a real bad rats infestation around here, might need to call me an exterminator LOLOLOL). X-ray vision would sure be nice, when breeding bettas.
  • Day 6: I don't know yet, today is day 5, silly! LOL. Don't live in the past and don't live in the future, focus on the present.

So what I want to say in closing is this: Over the past 6 years, many of you have emailed me asking me why your bettas did not spawn, and going on and on about all the details of your set-up (down to the color of underpants you were wearing that day LOL). You guys would go: "Maybe the bettas did not like the color of the plastic plant?" or "he did not blow a nest so I removed the female" or even "I turned the light off at night, maybe that is why they did not spawn?"

or maybe you have blue eyes and the bettas only spawn for people with brown eyes LOL... :P Listen, with bettas: NOBODY KNOWS. You can do it all 100% by the book and get zero results, or bend the rules (as I did) and still get them to spawn. The bottom line is, if the bettas FEEL LIKE IT they WILL SPAWN. Period. And if the don't, they won't. Nothing you can do about it and no need to beat yourself up about it. The best thing to do is keep trying again and again, at different time, different pairs, until you get a spawn.

Now look at my situation. If I had only the one female I would have been Bleeeep out of luck. First gal could not cut the mustard. The second female did. This is a VERY GOOD example of what I say when I tell you: ALWAYS BUY TWO BREEDING PAIRS! Most of you will order one pair at a time. Fine if you just want pets. But if you intend to try your hand at getting a betta spawn, you will need TWO pairs. Always have a back up!!! As for me, I keep 3 of each kind I work with. Just in case. 2 would work OK too. 1 is really asking for trouble. 

Now some of you may think I am already counting my fry. NOT! I am sitting back and watching and seeing how it is going to go. I know that anything can happen at any moment and fry might be all gone when I come home tonight. So never cry victory with bettas! I am, however, hopeful that a few may make it :). But that my friends, is next week's episode! So tune in and remember to check our cam daily to see fry progress. If none make it, I'll set-up another spawn. Cause Faithyoda says: Surrender and give up never you, must!

 

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