Q: My male and female are mating as we speak. The female is eating all the eggs, and the male isn't picking any up from the floor of the tank. what can I do?

Question submitted by Sarah, Daytona Beach, Florida

A: Well the best thing to do in a case like that is to promptly locate a box of Kleenex, grab it, run back to the tank, pull up a chair, sit down, witness the spawn,  watch the female eat every last one of the eggs, and CRY, CRY, CRY (a lot) LOL. (that's when the box of Kleenex comes in) ;).

In all honesty there is not a heck of a whole lot more you can do. :(

The reason why your female is eating all the eggs is not only because she is a little glutton, but also because the male is not doing his job. It is the duty of Mr. Betta to make sure the female does not get a chance to munch on the eggs. When the bettas perform their 'embrace' the male will squeeze the eggs out of the female by wrapping his body around her. Have you noticed that once the embrace is over and he separates from her, she lays at the surface for a few seconds, motionless, as though struck by some temporary paralysis? Well my dear, that is the clue for the male to hurry his little fannies down after the eggs (which are sinking to the bottom) and to collect them as fast as he can and bring them back to the safety of the nest. By then he is next to the eggs and the female, who now is coming out of her paralysis, does not get a chance to eat them (she wouldn't dare!). 

However if Mr. Betta slacks off, and wanders off into lala land, then Mrs. Betta has too much free time on her hands and becomes mischievous. If he is not guarding the eggs she sees no reason to not have a little snack, these are after all HER eggs (and they are tasty). So she gobbles them up and may even take a liking to it. She might turn into a chronic egg eater (or not). Trying the same female with a different male might yield totally different results, especially if he is on top of things. She will not have the time to eat eggs and will go from embrace to paralysis back to another embrace etc... 

So don't give up! My advice? Try the pair again. If you get the same results, get a new male (a macho one this time, no more whimpetty whimps ;) ). 

Oh, and stock up on Kleenex LOL.