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DenningA.Rajit

Conditioning breeding stock to breed

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Hey all,

After some thought and a kind nudge, I thought I would share some of the ideas that I worked out how I condition my bettas for breeding and what I look for to know when it is time to put them into the spawn tank.

I know we all have our own methods that works for us when we had finally selected our breeding stock for the next show year.

For there are several factors I had find that helps in conditioning my bettas

1.) Live food

2.) Carding

3.) Frequent flare

4.) IAL

1.) Live food

I normally feed my bettas Live black worms. The reason why is that sometimes the fishes I buy from the shop I notice are under weight. So, conditioning for a longer period with live food ensure that the body condition does improve before they are placed into the spawn tank. With black worms, they need to be kept in cooler temperature, which is why I had a compartment in my fridge just for the worms. Frequent water changes for black worms ensure they survive longer and less risk of any unwanted bacteria pass down to the fish. The idea is that if the worms are healthy and surviving, so will my fishes. Another thing about Live foods, some bettas that are placed in the shops maybe neglected for a week or two with no food or just been fed with pellets. This is why I start conditoning most of my bettas with live food as soon they arrive home to ensure they have a excellent start and hopefully breed for me.

2.) Carding

In my opinion, carding is essential for a succesful spawn. I find that by carding the fish I want to breed with, both male and female fish tend to mature faster and their body condition improve lot more quickly. I think this happen because they do not have any competition and they 'are living in their own penhouse' that they can relax and chill and focus on putting more body weight for male and produce more eggs for females. Females too tend to show vertical bars regularly too because you are setting both fishes up to be the alpha male and female of the group. So, when they breed, in theory the alpha male and alpha female will breed readily. I rely on this theory too whenever I am ready to breed.

3.) Frequent flaring

Flaring is important for exercise and sexual attraction. The male flares and show off his fins to the female to court the female. The female will flare back and show off her fins to the male. Some females will not flare back; firstly because she is not interested in the male, secondly she is too old to breed, third she is still need time to get use to the male. These are some of my observations. There is no hard rule why she is not flaring back. Some people have breed with female that never flared back at the male. But, for young virgin females, flaring at a male allow them to exercise their authority over their territory and becomes the dominant female. The female exert her dominant by swimming around in circles in the box and swimming straight at the male as if to charge at them just to see if the male notice that she is strong and healthy.

While flaring is going on, eventually the male will stop flaring at the female and start doing a belly dance movement just under his bubble nest. In my eyes, he is ready to breed and he will breed with a female of my choosing. When I see that, I normally double check again with a separate female and see if he does the dance as well. Once confirmed, I normally put a mental note which fish will be used to breed if I wanted to breed more CT or more HM PK.

4.) IAL

Indian Almond leaves tea extract or leaves are essential for keeping bettas. There are many websites that had mention how effective IAL is for spawning especially for bettas. Firstly, it creates a sticky film on the surface of the water to allow the bubble nest to stay up longer. Secondly, it creates a shady environment which betta love. Thirdly, it allows infusoria to multiply in the spawn tank which becomes the first food that the fry would eat. Fourth; antifungal properties in the IAL solution keeps the egg free from fungus. Fifth, it increases higher hatching rate due to its low acidic properties due to the release of tanin.

Also, I don't stop using IAL just for spawning. I used the extract for daily maintenance when I am not showing my bettas. Having IAL extract in the beanie box on a daily basis allows the younger male to practice their art of making their bubble nest. The bigger and wider the nest is the more space there is for the male to blow the eggs into the nest. Also, I find that female tend to be more excited if the male builds a big nest. I start adding IAL into the boxes from the day 1 of carding till the day I decide to spawn.

Well I hope that paint a picture of how I condition my betta to breed and some tell tale signs of male and female that i know that they are ready to breed. I conditon my bettas from the start of the LFS purchase date with black worms and male and female are ready to breed; by the tail wagging done by the male under his nest in his boxes and the constant flaring, darting and circling around by the female in her box. This observation is done during carding. IAL and flarring sessions are important to set the mood and allow both male and female to be sexually mature e.g. becoming alpha male and female.

Any comments on this will be greatly appreciated. I am still learning and I am sure there are other methods that people had used that is different then mine which are succesful in their spawn tank.

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I have conditioned my females on pellets

This is what I do

1 female in her own tank out of sight of other fish

2 feed both female and male pellets 3 times aday for 2 weeks feed as much as they can eat in I serve

3 every now and then I'll give an extra feed of frozen bloodworms as a treat

4 you will be ready to spawn in 2 weeks I get big spawns this way

5 try and enjoy yourself and try not to over think things

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Spawning

1 I use a 20 litre tank with about 10 liters of water (clean water ) I use a foam cup cut in half for the male to build his nest under I always sticky tap it to the front of the tank just makes it easier to look for eggs and tails

2 I use a coke bottle to put the female in I'll add male and female the same time and leave them like that for two days or until the male has half the cup filled with bubbles then I release the female

3 I always offer food to both male and female the whole time in the spawn tank

4 ial I never use and never had a problem

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Big azza,

Firstly, I like to thank you for your contribution and sharing your experience on this topic.

I started offering my food now when male and female are in the spawn tank if I want to breed them again in a couple weeks time. But, I'm still a bit cautious with that myself. I don't want the male to eat the eggs as well.

I think having a foam cup and sticky tap it on the tank glass is a good idea especially if you want to move the fry into another tub so that the spawn tank can be used again. I am now trying bubble wrap under IAL leaves is another idea to use. This idea was contributed by Tigger (Jan) in one of our VIC betta meeting in how to keep IAL afloat for the duration of the spawn period.

Also, I feed more live worms two weeks before I plan to spawn them. I usually aim for the last two weeks of the end of the month to feed live food and then the first two weeks of the new month, the pair will be in spawn tank and left to do their own thing. I learnt it will take a few more bites here and there before the female is ready to mate and it will take a while for the male to build his nest. I estimate roughly a week or two to get a nest big and attractive enough for the male to invite the female over to mate.

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So a week or two for the nest to be built - do you just leave the pair in the tank (female in the tube), exposed to each other, or do you divide and card at all during that time?

Maybe I'm just too impatient for it all to get started :)

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I divide and card before putting them into the spawn tank.

When in the spawn tank, I let pair in the tank (female in the tube) until the male has built his nest. Once the nest is built, I will release the female and leave them to do their own thing. They will breed once they are ready and not when we are ready. So, many times we always wish they breed when we are ready and it doesn't work. I think that is where the frustration comes in. The fish will breed if you condition well and card them well during conditioning stage, which could go for a week or 2 months.

Conditioning stage also depend on the room temperature. If it is warmer, the fish will be more active which means they breed easier. Vice versa if it is colder, they will breed on colder months if you set the temperature right i.e. 28 degrees and the temperature in the tank is stable.

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Thank you both Denning and Azza. You've both highlighted things that I haven't observed or forgotten or don't do to the same extent. I think I've been quite lax and impatient with conditioning my fish in the last couple of years. Time to get back to basics!

After visiting Denning a few weeks ago I did make more if an effort with conditioning and was rewarded with a CT spawn. Unfortunately I was so excited by this I snapped away with my camera like a loony. Flash going full blast. At the time, I simply blamed the male and swore the next time his contribution would be limited to acting merely as a sperm donor. However, yesterday the pair spawned again. As I reached for my camera it suddenly occurred to me that this was precisely the issue last time. Well this is my theory anyway. So no pics of the spawn till the eggs are safely hatched.

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Yep - thanks to both of you. It's only been a few days since my boy went into the tank so I'll not completely panic over there being no nest yet, and I'll not worry so much over them flaring at each other either. She has vertical bars and is looking quite fat with eggs, he occasionally stops flaring and does the wiggle dance, so I guess I'm headed in the right direction....patience grasshopper :D

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Brenton

With me once the male fills half of the foam cup I then let the female out.this way the male always stays interested with the nest and both female and male can chase each other

If you do try this way you will find that the female will hide in the corner while the male builds the nest and then out of no where the female will flair and charge the male under the nest and bingo you have yourself a spawn

I just find that way works best for me I do understand everyone has their own way of doing things each to their own I say

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