Who else wants to start breeding Betta fish?
If that’s you, keep reading.
Breeding Betta Fish can be quite a long and drawn out process, and there seems to be many misconceptions about it circulating.
In this post I hope to clarify a few of those misconceptions.
Here are two really important things to consider;
- If you are planning any holidays, don’t attempt to breed Bettas.
- It will take a good 6–8 months before your fry are ready to go on to new homes and will need round-the-clock care before then.
Read on if you still have your heart set on being a Betta breeder.
9 Proven Steps: How To Breed Betta Fish The Easy Way
Here’s What You’ll Learn;
- Betta Breeding Equipment
- Choosing a Breeding Pair
- Breeding Betta Fish Tank Setup.
- How To Condition Bettas For Breeding.
- Introduce The Breeding Pair.
- Removing The Divider.
- How to Mate Betta Fish.
- Removing The Female Betta.
- Caring for Fry.
- Ten Bonus Betta Fish Breeding Tips.
Step 1) Betta Breeding Equipment List
Let’s start with some of the standard equipment you’ll likely need.
All of these items are not required to breed Betta fish. However, we recommend you review the list and read through the entire post, before you start any breeding.
How To Breed Betta Fish – Betta Fish Breeding Equipment list:
- Two empty 5 gallon aquariums
- Sponge Filter
- Fish net
- 2 floating live plants
- Styrofoam Cup
- Aquarium Heater (Set to 80 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Removable divider
Step 2) Choosing A Breeding Pair
Choosing the perfect breeding pair is essential, using any old pair will likely produce mutt-babies.
When breeding Bettas, you should have an idea of the final tail type and/or colour you would like to achieve.
A mating pair should be in optimum health/colour and no older than 1 year, 6–8 months old would be ideal.
Betta genetics can get quite complicated and drawn out, but it is important to remember the two main dominant colours are red and blue, and the dominant (and undesirable) tail type is veil.
Buying from another breeder has it’s advantages as you will able to find out the family tree and work out what colour/fin types are recessive and what are dominant.
Use these tips above when making your selection on your final breeding pair.
Step 3) Breeding Betta Fish Tank Setup
To get started, you will want to set up both tanks, one for the male (The Breeding Tank) and one for the female.
Set up each tank as you would a regular Betta tank like we do in this post about tank setup for a happy Betta.
However, don’t use any gravel in the breeding tank & place the live plants in the female tank.
The plants will provide hiding places for the female to swim around and hide from the male. The plants also ensure the male doesn’t catch the female too easily.
The plants also become a hiding place and a food source for the fry. Organisms will grow on the plants that are small enough for the fry to eat.
Float the styrofoam cup securely in the breeding tank.
Make sure the tank has cycled completely and there is as much beneficial bacteria in the sponge filter as possible.
Add the heater and set it to 26.7°C (80°F) .
Note: Think ahead and have some baby brine ready to go for the hungry fry. Hikari first bites can also work well.
Step 4) How To Condition Bettas For Breeding
When you are ready to start breeding your Betta fish, you need to condition your Bettas. To do this you will need to start feeding them live food, things like:
- Live brine shrimp
- Blood worms
If live food is unavailable, you can also try frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp and blood worms.
You should aim to feed live food everyday for about a week before introducing the fish to one another.
Step 5) Introduce The Breeding Pair
After a week has passed of live food feeding you are ready to introduce the breeding pair.
Move the male and female so they can see one another clearly, but are separated.
Try placing the tanks next to each other, or place them in opposite sides of the tank with a divider in the breeding tank.
It is extremely important the breeding pair see each other before being put together. This will help minimize the risk of serious injury.
Let them watch one another for a few days and look for the following signals.
Signals the male Betta is ready to start breeding
- He may have built his nest.
- Male will start chasing the female.
Signals the female Betta is ready to start breeding
- A small white egg tube will sitck out just behind the ventral fin.
- Vertical stripes may appear on her body.
- She may chase the male.
- She will move into position with her head down.
If you start to notice some or all of these signals it could mean they are ready to start mating.
Let’s remove the divider!
Step 6) Removing The Divider
After the male has built a large bubble nest.
You should turn off the filter and release the female into the male side of the tank, but be sure to keep an eye on the pair.
The male will probably bully her by nipping at her fins and chasing her around. This is ok! as long as neither fish’s life is in danger. This can last several hours or even days.
Be sure there are plenty of hiding places for the female to escape the bullying.
Check on the pair regularly to prevent serious injuries.
Step 7) How To Mate Betta Fish
Once the male catches the female he will wrap his body around the female and attempt fertilization.
This may take a few attempts as the male sometimes drops the female.
As the female starts to drop eggs the male will catch them and place them in his nest.
Sometimes the females may try to eat the eggs. If you notice this, just remove her.
However, it is important to note that females can also help placing the eggs in the nest. Be sure you are aware of what is actually going on before you remove the female.
If the female is not interested in the male betta, they may destroy the bubble nest. If this happens, remove the female, let the male build anohter nest and reintrouce the pair.
If the female destroy’s it a second time, you may need to find a new breeding pair.
Watch this short video which gives an excellent overview of the breeding process.
Step 8) Removing The Female Betta Fish
If all goes well and the eggs are placed in the bubble nest and the female is done releasing eggs, you should gently scoop out the female and place her back into her original tank.
Leave the male in the tank until the fry can swim around . This will be about three days after fry start hatching.
You may not want to feed the male during this time. This can help reduce the risk of the male eating the eggs.
However, some breeders do choose to feed the male a small amount every other day.
If you decide to feed the male be aware he may not have an appetite right away. Continue to offer food and remove any uneaten food from the tank.
Keep the filter off to prevent any current from disturbing the fry, but keep the tank light on day and night.
Step 9) Caring For The Betta Fry
After the fry are free swimming and have lost their yolk-sacs you can start to feed them Infusoria which makes a great first food for such small fry.
After a few days they should be able to eat baby brine shrimp, vinegar eels, or microworms (although microworms tend to sink and may not be found by the fry who tend to hang out near the surface).
Frequent water changes need to be made to keep water quality up but this should be done carefully as to not injure or accidentally remove the fry.
Use water of the same temperature and parameters (pH, hardness, etc) as in the aquarium.
10 Bonus Betta Breeding Tips
- Learn everything you can about Betta fish before breeding.
- It is recommended you set up two tanks for breeding Betta fish.
- It is best to obtain a breeding pair when they are young.
- After buying your breeding pair, let them settle. They need to adapt to their environment for a few months before they start breeding.
- Betta fish are carnivores. When you are ready to breed them, start feeding them with live food like, live brine shrimp, blood worms, crickets, roaches, and other parasites.
- Always observe their behavior! You need to see if they are interested in one another or if they are fighting.
- Some female betta fish will eat their eggs. You need to watch carefully and remove the female betta if it starts to eat the eggs.
- Keep in mind that the male and female betta fish should be about the same size.
- Betta fish tend to be aggressive. Some fighting is normal but if they are trying to attack one another, then separate them.
- Enjoy yourself!