would love to have a breeding pair but the thought of
having to "cull" just makes me sick. Is
it really necessary, I mean can't you just take some of
the eggs away before they hatch?
topic submitted by Amie, San Diego - CA
Amie, this is a
very good question in deed, one that raises a very
important concern and I would be glad to roll up my sleeve
and put my two cents forth :).
think one of the most exciting aspect of our betta hobby
is the fact that they are fairly easy to breed and that
their spawning ritual is so exciting to watch! Most of us,
at one time or another, decide to take the step that separate
betta keepers from betta breeders. It usually happens
quite naturally, almost as though the betta keeper had
little choice in the matter, he/she got bit by the bug,
the betta fever is running in the triple digits hehe and,
in a semi state of betta induced delirium, we decide we
will spawn "hey, what the heck! Why not? It should be
in deed it is. FUN FUN FUN! (A bit frustrating at times, a
lot work most of the times, but FUN FUN FUN
where should our fun stop and betta ethics begin? It is
oftentimes a fine line... Blurred by too many careless
people... In other words, if we are to play GOD by creating
life, do we not owe it to our creations to care about them
and FOR them? Is it not our moral responsibility? If we do
not have the adequate space, time, financial resources to
provide the fry with proper care and most importantly homes,
should we even attempt to spawn in the first place? Are we
being selfish when we spawn for fun but the many bettas we
continued from home page
answer is yes, yes and YES.
does that means then that we should not spawn bettas at
all? Of course not, but we should be wise about the way we
spawn and we should be responsible betta hobbyists in
the way we spawn. In this column I am going to offer some
suggestions (strike that word and replace it with the word
'INSTRUCTIONS' or better yet "ORDERS' hehe) so to
keep all of you betta crazed feverish hobbyists in line ;)
and so to make sure our hobby does not turn into a
nightmare for the little fishies.
of all, before setting up a spawn and deciding to breed
bettas, each one of us should carefully examine the
questions below and answer them honestly. If you cannot
answer YES to these questions (all of them) then you should
NOT spawn bettas.
have live fry food ready so to feed the hatchling?
Alas too many people set up a spawn, not expecting for
it to work and end up (beginner's luck helping) with
eggs! Betta eggs hatch very fast, so before you know
it (48 hrs or so) you have tiny little bettas darting
around the tank, looking for something to chow on -
and finding NOTHING cause you, the God who created
them, omitted to think that they need food to survive.
DUH! So now you are running around like a chicken with
its head cut off (which in your case, might be a favor
to bettas LOL) trying to locate fry food. No fish
store I know carry microworm cultures so then you run
to me and order one, failing to understand that it
will take 4 to 7 days to be delivered, 1 day to set up
and another 10 days to produce food! DUH X 2. So
meanwhile what happens to the 300 fry? They drop dead,
one at a time, from starvation. Way to go Mr. God! In
short you should NEVER attempt a spawn unless you
already have your microworm culture ready AND
have a proper spawning set-up? Too many people
don't want to spend the money or plain don't have the
financial resources to purchase a 10 gal tank, water
conditioners, filters, meds etc... All of which most
positively NECESSARY to spawn. I have seen people
spawn bettas in plastic coke bottles (don't ask), in 1
gal bowls, in Tupperwares... Most of the time the male
ends up killing the female (not enough hidden places
and space to insure her safety) and even if the pair
doesn't kill each other, the fry cannot survive in
such small amount of water and will all die. Or if you
try to then move them to bigger quarters, most of them
will not make it. :(... Or sometimes you have the 10
gal tank but do not have a filter and the water
quality promptly goes south while the fry go UP (as in
up into the big betta heaven - where you will not be
have the time to care for the fry? They will need
to be fed, cleaned, watched, medicated - oftentimes-
then soon sexed, put in jars - which means more
cleaning for you... If you run out of time and neglect
them what do you think the outcome will be? THEY WILL
DIE. And once again, you the betta hobbyist trying to
play GOD, have killed them (booo).
have the proper knowledge to spawn bettas? You
can't just set-up a pair if you do not know what you
are doing. It is OK to be a beginner - heck we all
were one once upon a time hehe - but be a well informed
beginner. Do your homework first and no fry shall die
needlessly. Because one little ignorant mistake on
your part and the bettas DIE. Luckily for you, you
have bettatalk.com , so you are pretty much all set-up
on that end of things :). So never spawn unless you
have read at least the betta care, betta health,
breeding bettas, raising the fry sections of my
website back to back (and memorized them, too LOL).
I find homes for all the bettas I am going to bring to
this world? That is, of all above, the MOST
IMPORTANT question. If you did everything right and
ended up with bettas that are now grown and in jars,
what will you do with them? Can you keep 40 to 100
jars and care for them adequately? If not, can you
find other people (friends, neighbors, in- laws - what
the heck you are desperate LOL) that will provide a
good home to each betta you produced? This is a very
tough one. If you are about to shrug it off cause you
think you can easily sell your fish, think again. Do a
little homework and you will find that it is not that
easy to sell fish now a day (unless you already have a
reputation and track record out there - which takes
years and years of hard work). And if you sell them
for nothing, they are likely to end up in the hands of
people who are trying to cut corners financially and do
not have the funds it take to really care properly for
their fish. Ever looked at the price of fish meds at your
local fish store? Do you want your babies in the hand
of someone who cannot afford to buy them tetracycline
when they get sick? Or who will put them in a plastic
cup because they cannot afford to buy them the 2
gallon tank set-up? So as you see, a bad compromise
can mean a demise (that of your bettas, regrettably).
So now you
are having an anxiety attack. "AGGHHHHH.. What should I
do? But I want to spawn them sooo bad".... Well, maybe
you can, with a little technique I am going to share with
you called Birth Control. NO, not THAT kind of birth control
;)... I'll let your parents fill you out on that one hehe.....
there will be no bees, no flowers, no storks on this website
:)... I am talking about betta birth control... A wise wise
way to go... So wise that only one being comes to mind to
speak of it... Wait... Let me find my FaithYoda hat... Where
is it? I thought I put it in this drawer.. No... Ah, here it
is, it was on my head already :).
FAITHYODA NOW SPEAKS (so s... up and listen LOL):
you, breeding bettas should, you pondering the following
wise points should:
sure you can answer yes to all above 4 first
comes to question #5 make sure you can answer
"YES I can find homes for about 10 to 20
bettas". Remember females can be kept in a
community tank, so the males are usually the problem
(wait.. let me put my surprise look on... LOL Males?
Problem? NAAAAAA ). If your spawn is about 20 to 30
bettas, you may have 10 to 20 males. You may be able
to keep the best 3 and will need to find homes for the
rest. By having fewer offsprings, you can manage
better and provide them with good homes.
Wait (you say). How am I supposed to know how many eggs my
female will lay, how many will hatch and how many will
young apprentice, I there, was getting. :). The fact
is that YOU CANNOT predict how many fry a spawn will
produce. You can however, control how many eggs will
be allowed to hatch. Since you cannot tell a female how many
eggs to lay (ever tried to talk sense into a female? hehe),
and since you should not cull live fish (I am so FIRMLY
against culling, it is not even funny) the only point of
time where you, the betta breeder can step in to control the
number of fry, is once the eggs have been laid and before
they start turning into embryos and hatching into live fry.
In short, the
careful removal of eggs right after the spawn has been
completed (when you are removing the female, you can remove
a large number of eggs as well) will insure smaller spawns
and will insure less bettas but more HAPPY bettas :). Cause
in your case, less is more. Although I do not suggest this
method if you are a serious breeder with serious breeding
program/goals, this method can be a life saver (literally)
for the betta keeper who just wants to do a spawn or two for
fun or just to try it. This way you can still have your fun,
but bettas will not suffer from it. Also it will be less
expensive to feed the fish, less jars to buy to house them,
less space needed, less time to clean bowls etc... All in
all it is the most reasonable approach to take.
to properly remove eggs
will be easy with the help of a clean plastic spoon. But you
must be careful to not destroy the nest in the process, or
piss off the male too much. Usually, if you are very
gentle, you will be A-OK on both above counts.
So here is
how to remove the eggs, step by step:
of all, once the spawning is done, use a flashlight to
see where the eggs have been stored inside the nest.
They may be all over, or clumped in one or two spots.
They are easy to see since they look a bit yellowish.
Look at them from UNDER.
remove the female.
you are in there, this is the best time to also remove
extra eggs - this way you only disturbed the male
clean plastic spoon
dip the spoon near the nest by entering the water
surface vertically (so to displace almost no water).
Slowly maneuver the spoon under the nest. Level the
spoon so it is horizontal and slide it slowly under
the spot with most eggs. Scoop up bubbles and the
eggs, keeping the spoon mainly horizontal but at a
slight bit of an angle when exiting at the surface so
to not displace much water at all (it will disrupt the
nest less that way) but so the eggs you scooped up
will still not fall back into the water.
nest is under a stirofoam cup, you will have to lift
the cup up gently so to access the eggs and remove
them. This will result in the nest sliding partly out,
but that is OK. Remove the eggs, then lower the cup
back into the water while trying to move it over the
majority of the nest and getting as much of it back
under the cup - the male will fix the rest.
Even if the
nest gets a bit disrupted, most males will fix it pronto. If
they don't, it means they were not going to care for the
nest and fry anyways, and so it was a lost case to begin with
(as in, you have nothing to lose).
removing a good number of eggs, you will take a lot of
pressure off of you and will never have to feel terrible
about the bettas that died needlessly because you could not
find them good homes and the people you gave them to were
real lousy betta parents. Respect life, respect the betta.
After all, these bettas you created are now your KIDS,
shouldn't you care what becomes of them? So let us be
responsible betta hobbyists and not take betta life lightly.
I hope the
above suggestions will help you become a more responsible
betta breeder and will insure a better quality of life for
the bettas you bring into this world. Wise FaithYoda,
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support this website!
am a member of the IBC, founder and
LABS (Los Angeles Betta Society) and have been
helping the betta community through this
website since 1998. I have
over 180 spawns and 4000
shipments under my belt and have been featured
on national and international