I have a female who has just expelled all her eggs when not mating.
She lives in a clean 2-gal tank and I've been watching her because
she wasn't eating as well as normal. This morning I found her
happily munching a cloud of millimeter-sized white balls. Not being
a breeder, I'm assuming these are eggs. Should I be concerned?
A: You need not be concerned (unless you wanted to spawn her the next day LOL). Females will on occasion expel their eggs should they get too full or stressed or too stimulated. For example, a had a halfmoon female in with my best HM Blue Moon male and at first he roughened her some so I placed her back in the chimney to be on the safe side while I went to work. I came back a few hours later only to find that she had dropped all her eggs :(((((((((. Big bummer. I guess she just couldn't wait anymore to spawn and the near by presence of this irresistible male did a number on her hormones LOL. So she dropped ALL her eggs.
In your case however, you do not plan on breeding so your female will probably, over the course of her life, drop eggs more than once and usually proceed to gobble them up (yum, caviar!!). This is a normal cycle. Oftentimes you will not be able to tell this happened because they will be long gone (consumed) by the time you come back. But if you see white betta waste at the bottom of the jar, it could mean that she ate eggs. Makes them poop white :).
Eggs are very nutritious so if anything it is probably good for her to eat them.
Should however someone plan on spawning a female and she was to drop eggs many time and eat them (say because you are dragging your heels and waiting months to spawn her), then the concern would be that she might turn into a chronic egg eater. She might develop a real taste for them and gobble up all her eggs even while spawning. Although most males will prevent the female from getting near the eggs, they cannot be everywhere at the same time and the female can access the eggs stored in the nest while the male is at the bottom picking a new batch up. I believe that nature accounted for that technical problem and handled the problem by causing the female to "freeze" for a few seconds after releasing eggs. This temporary paralysis leaves the female floating lifeless on the surface after each embrace. This gives just enough time to the male to get a head start at picking up the eggs before she can get to them. hehehehehehehe.
Note that not all females will eat eggs, and many actually pick them up because they want to place them in the nest to help the male. So if you are spawning bettas and you see the female heading for the eggs, do not panic and wait to see what she wants to do with them. I once had a female blow a nest and raise a batch of fry! (?????? weird)
Well I hope this helps.
Note: Some of you have been sneaking fanmail or other mail in the ask a question submissions. Know that I do not read any of them except the one I pick randomly. While randomly picking I did notice some of you were asking permission to place a link to bettatalk on their sites so I created a new section about this (below), complete with ready to use banners you can paste. Enjoy!