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Betta Mum Of The Year


charntelle
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Just discovered the darndest thing when I was feeding the gang! I have a pair of MG CT's from Koblarp in Thailand, which until 5 minutes ago I had put into the "too stupid to spawn" category. The female was barred up & full of eggs, but the male wasn't really interested, so I just released her in with him, them left them to it. They are another crazy pair (trying to jump out whenever disturbed), so were close to going into the cupboard. Luckily, it's cooled down up here to a pretty constant 38 degrees during the day, 26 at night, so it wasn't too hot to just leave them out with a lid on the tank. Due to their craziness, they were just getting fed once at night, being disturbed as little as possible. Tonight, when I was about to feed them, I noticed the female performing what looked like egg gathering movements. You know - dipping to bottom of tank, then doing "something" at the surface. So, I lifted the lid to get a better look. SURPRISE!!! She is tending a bubblenest 20 times the size of the male on "her" side of the tank. Seriously, it's about 6 bubbles wide by 3-4 bubbles high, the full length the long side of the tank. The male is studiously under his cup, tending his whole 10 bubbles which are scattered everywhere anyway! On observation, she has fry falling out of her nest, which she delicately scoops up & spits back into her nest. The male is just watching his (and I can't see any fry anyway). She came away to have a feed, then went straight back to round the kids back up again. I've heard of this happening, but have never actually seen it. She is awesome! Yay betta mummy! :)

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That is remarkable Charntelle. I have had females spawn and take eggs and build their own nest and tend them briefly, but never to the stage of raising fry. I hope she stays focussed! I wonder if its a "nurture" thing and if her daughters would do likewise?

Just be very carefull though, because she may raise the fry and then eat them.

As opposed to what the males do? :)

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Well in my second spawn my little 9 week old girl made herself a nest after spawning, took some eggs, tended them, then ate them the next day. I say be more carefull because females don't normally nurse the young, so it's more likely that she will eat them eventually. But I hope yours doesn't, Charntelle. Hey, have you heard of the pathanogenic female betta? She will act like a male in all aspects, but she will lay unfertlized eggs, tend them, and they hatch! But all fry are female. I can't remember where I read about this though, possibly the Champion Bettas, American forum?

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you mean parthenogenic? Isn't that normally an insect thing?  :)

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Yes, Parthenogenic. I haven't spelled that word in almost a year :)

Most people would think it's an insect thing -Aphids do it, but so do Brine shrimp and Daphnia, and a whole lot of other small organisms.

I'll try to find where they wrote about parthenogenic female bettas :)

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I'm pleased to report that mum has been a good girl. No fry eating observed. Dad is still floating under his cup, watching the babies as they fall, giving them a wave as they go past, then leaving them there on the bottom. I have just pulled them both out of the tank, as there seems to be a good portion of zippies zipping around the tank. I guess I have potentially lost a lot, but no more than I would have if the female had been pulled as soon as eggs were seen in the nest (as the male is so disinterested). This girl is getting treated like a queen from now on!

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Regarding parthenogenic females, it's not just an insect thing, there is a species of freshwater fish that have normal and parthenogenic females (in Argentina I think) I remember seeing a documentary about it. This particular species is found in several locations along the river but one pocket has been completely isolated for years and has developed on it's own. One of the reasons that I recall this is that they are being studied to discover if their resistance to disease has been lowered by this natural 'cloning' method. If it's possible with these fish, why not Bettas? I know that some are saying that Bettas are becoming so inbred that they are losing the drive or ability to breed normally. We could be observing evolution in progress.

Edited by Canfeleq
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True. Selective breeding is in many ways the converse of natural selection. A lot of the fish we choose to breed would quite possibly not succeed in reproducing otherwise, and many of the traits we select for don't confer a survival advantage on the offspring.

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