Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
fulltilt

How To Spawn ?

Recommended Posts

Is there a thread somewhere on how to spawn ? I've read about things to help the nest building (foam cups, duckweed, etc), and I've read threads about manky tanks and water levels, but is there a complete dummy's guide somewhere ? My situation is that my wife didn't really want fish, they were going to be my responsibility completely - then I dragged her down to the LFS for a look-see :) She found the betta barracks and over 2 weeks we now have 2 males and 2 females. Instead of using tanks (we didn't have 4 small tanks) or jam jars (I think they're just a little too small, but hold that thought) we got some 5litre containers from The Reject Shop, put a betta in each jar, paper between them all and displayed them nicely on my work desk :) After 2 days the males had built nests, so we removed the dividers so they could each see a female. The nests disintegrated after a day, so not sure what the guys thought they were doing - checking out the new abode maybe ? I didn't give them any nesting help (foam cup, etc) because I didn't know about that. So basically, - how do you get a spawn happening ? - what is the setup of a spawning tank ? - if this has all been written before, poke me in the right direction Cheers ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Patience grasshopper! For some reason this did not come up when I hit view new posts yesterday. Articles on this are in the works. Everyone has a different approach of course. The nests probabaly disintergrated because there wasn't enough stickiness/mankiness in the water. Do you have any live plants? Are the tanks covered? The tank needs a lid to keep the humidity in or the bubbles will almost always burst. Are you planning to spawn in a 5L tank?? That is far too small. I would use a 10L tank, minimum. Preferably 20L. It needs to be cycled or ammonia will kill your fry. You will need (IMO) a small sponge filter in one corner. Have a valve so you can turn the bubbles down to 'barely bubbling". You will need some sort of nesting material or 9 times out of 10 the nest will disintergrate. I use bubblewrap or yellow plastic. You will need to have microworm or vinegar eel cultures ready to feed the fry. You should also, IMO, practice hatching brine shrimp so you can feed newly hatched bbs to the fry once they are big enough (ie once they are 3 - 5 days old). IMO the male should have the run of the (cycled) tank for a week before you add the female. This gets him territorial and full of testosterone. Show him another male or mirror during that time if you want to get him really fired up. Feed the male and female lots of high protein food that week to get them conditioned for breeding. Live Blackworms and mozzie wrigglers are popular for this. Grindal worms are also excellent but not commonly available. After the week add the female INSIDE a clear container (eg coke bottle with the bottom cut off) so he can see her but can't get to her. Don't release her if it looks like she is petrified of him or like she is trying to kill him (as opposed to flirting with him). If she is flaring head down and with dark bars (if she is a red or blue fish) they are good signs. She should look fat with eggs. She may even start dropping eggs if she is really ready. Be prepared for them to beat the crap out of each other once you release the female, and possibly for one or both to die. Also be prepared for them not to spawn for several days. Give them hiding places (not a terracotta pot they can get wedged in the hole of, though). Lastly, most LFS bettas are getting on in age and may not be the best candidates for spawning. However many people have had prolific results from LFS VTs so this is not a "rule" just a comment.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Because each fish and spawning is different there is no way anyone can cover all the variables in a "how to", but Lisa has pretty much covered the process and though we all tend to do things a little differently from each other the basics pretty much remain the same. Personally I don't use a cycled spawning tank, but I spawn my fish in a 100L tub with 3 inches of water in the bottom and combat the ammonia build up by adding an inch of water daily once the fry get to a week old. Then once full I wc as the situation demands it by monitioring the tank params. Depending on the size and amount of fry and what foods and how much I am feeding this need can vary greatly. Conditioning the pair of fish before you start is very important. Lots of high protein and preferrably live foods. Conditioning gives the male the strength he needs to spawn and tend the fry (bearing in mind some do not feed their males in the spawning tank and other males won't eat while spawning/tending fry regardless of what you offer them). Conditioning the female allows her to produce the eggs in preparation for spawning. Before attempting spawning your female should look plump (before feeds) Basically you need to put the male into the tank and allow him to set up home. I always wait until he has built a nice nest under the spawning media. Sometimes depending on the fish they won't do this and build the nest on the fly, but 99% will. Then introduce the jarred conditioned female. Your jar can have holes in it to allow hormone transfer in the water which should help get her in the mood. When she is receptive to the male.. ie head down in the submissive posture, showing the vertical bars/stripes or trying to get to the male (without looking homicidal) then you can release her into the same water as the male. Not all fish will show the same signs. Some will depend on colour (as the paler colours can't show stripes) and others on the particular fish. All going well the male will show off a little, flare and shimmy at the female and entice her to follow him under the nest he has built, where they will wrap. After wrapping the female will sink to the bottom in a kind of daze while the male picks up the eggs and puts the in the nest. Most females recover after a couple of seconds and assist the male. Some just eat the eggs though and the male will chase them off. This is normal. This pattern will continue for quite some time. Once the female goes into hiding and the male simply attacks her on sight spawning is over and you need to remove the female and allow her to recover. The male will then attend the nest, cleaning and rotating the eggs till they hatch. Once hatched the male will tend the fry by picking up falling ones and spitting them back intot he nest to keep them at the waters surface where they need to be. Once your fry are free swimming (swimming horizontally) you can safely remove the male to allow him some rest and recover. Both male and female will probably show some battle signs. Missing chunks of fins etc. If at any time they begin attacking each other ferociously (especially attacking the body rather than the fins) its time to separate and remove. Spawning isn't going to occur in that situation & your likely to lose a fish either to the battle or the wounds after. At that point separate them and resume conditioning and try again in a day or so. After spawning you may find its helpful to treat both the male and female with melafix to help heal their wounds. HTH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Mouse. Don't add melafix to the spawning tank though, or the nest will disintegrate. I remove the bettas to treat them so there is no medication in the spawning tank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

:D oh definitely don't put it in the spawning tank.. treat them when you take them out :D Sorry I did a lot of thinking out loud with that last post and forgot to specify that :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I get asked a fair bit in PMs etc how I spawn bettas, I thought I’d write a post here to explain what I do. This is based on a PM I recently sent, I hope the recipient won’t mind that I have adapted it for use as a post :)

Firstly, bettas don't necessarily blow bubbles because they're ready to breed. I am sure most just do it out of boredom! Just because your bettas are blowing bubbles doesn't mean they are "in season" or anything.

I always have a very 'dirty' spawning tank. There is dissolving IAL in there, snail poo and random plants, the water is brown and sticky. I use old water out of my planted tank which in turn came from a rainwater tank. This is great for 2 reasons, it is sticky so the nests hold together well and secondly, there is plentiful infusoria for the new fry. If your fish is having trouble keeping the nest together (or seems not to be blowing one at all), your tank might be too clean.

I should mention that my tanks are all cycled and I always use a sponge filter, even if it is turned down to bubble only once every 2 seconds. I use either a 20 L cube tank or 30L rectangular tank for both spawning and grow-out (the shorter the distance the fry have to swim to get to food, the less energy they burn/use on hunting instead of growing). I’ll try and remember to come back and post a photo of a typical spawning tank I use when I have one ready to go.

I put the male in the tank and leave him alone for up to a week (no female in sight) so he gets territorial in the tank and is also looking for stimulation/a change of scene. Once a day I might show him a mirror or another betta for 20 minutes - NOT constantly. You need to be able to manipulate him by piquing his interest when you want to, not have him so sick of the sight of other bettas that he gets immune to it.

I condition my bettas on high protein foods - grindal worms, mosquito larva, FD blackworm and frozen bloodworm.

I don't use a 1/2 cup, I use bubble wrap. I find drops of condensation a problem with the cup. Also it can float around away from the side so doesn't trap any humidity and also you can't see what's happening, but if you tape it to the side you screw up the nest if you need to ad or remove water, so I just don't use it. Sometimes the bubble wrap will float off, but that’s not the end of the world! Usually capillary action will hold it in place against the front glass.

After the male's all full of himself and 'owns' the tank, I'll float the female in a cup then put her safely inside a coke bottle she cannot jump out of, and wait. I'll wait 2 days if I have to, for the male to stop acting like a tool and start looking 'sexy' and for her to give signs that she's not aggressive or petrified, but ready to spawn. Eg swimming head down, vertical bars, etc. Sometimes it's instant, sometimes it takes 2 days or more. It depends on so much - barometric pressure, the mood the fish are in, the fish's personality, etc.

Usually (not always – you get an eye for it) I release the female last thing at night before lights out. The male will almost certainly beat the crap out of her. You need to be strong! She should have enough hiding places that she can avoid him if she's got any brains. But if she's getting bodily injuries or looks too 'defeated' you may want to remove her. It's a gut feel thing, but remember they are 'fighting fish' and often a female won't be stimulated or even interested until the male has shown in no uncertain terms what a fierce warrior he is :lol: Bettas from the dark ages, hmm.

I have left pairs together for as long as 2 weeks and they have eventually spawned. Many people will tell you they won't spawn if nothing happens in the first few days, but IME this is not true.

The most significant factors to success IME are old, dirty water, minimal water changes (blasphemy, lol!) and the male really feeling that it is 'his' tank.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

×