When Betta fish reproduce, they don’t get pregnant with babies; they lay eggs.
Below we will provide an overview of fertilization and how you can tell when you have a pregnant female in your aquarium.
The Mating Process – How do Adult Betta Fish Get Pregnant?
While we usually associate the process of reproduction with pregnancy, many species of fish don’t get pregnant. Some will give live birth the way mammals do, but many others will reproduce through external fertilization, where the eggs are fertilized outside the body.
This means that the female will carry eggs and release them when they meet a male who can fertilize these eggs. So how do female betta get pregnant?
Betta fish reproduce through external fertilization, with up to 300 eggs in the fry.
Betta fish usually do best in waters within a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5. They also thrive in softer waters but can tolerate medium ones if the need arises. But if you’re trying to get your betta fish to reproduce, it’s best to keep them in their ideal water conditions.
The best temperature for a female betta fish to get ‘pregnant’ – that is, to produce more eggs – is between 80 and 82 degrees. This is because Betta’s metabolism rises at this temperature and lets her digest more food. With this, she gets more energy to produce more eggs.
Food & Diet
Food and diet also play a role. For example, feeding your Betta about five small meals daily will ensure she has a consistent energy source.
Betta fish are primarily carnivores, so their growth and reproductive process require high amounts of protein. So diet should include an increased amount of brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia too. You can also feed her live food like mosquito larvae and scuds.
Signs of Fertility – What Does a Pregnant Betta Fish Look Like?
Again, betta fish will not get pregnant, but there are ways to determine when your Betta is carrying eggs. This is called the gravid state.
Body & Belly
The belly of a gravid betta fish will likely be bulging. However, bulging is not enough to say she is carrying eggs, so it’s necessary to keep an eye out for other symptoms.
A prevalent sign that a betta fish is carrying eggs is the appearance of white stripes on the sides of her body, along with a white dot, the ovipositor. This is the organ that is responsible for laying eggs.
The fish will likely also appear to be bloated, especially in the area where you see the ovipositor. The bloating will most likely be more noticeable when you look at her from above.
The color of a betta fish doesn’t change when she’s carrying eggs, but keep an eye out for the white stripes! Sometimes these stripes may be a lighter color than the rest of her scales, instead of white, but they will be pretty noticeable.
Females And Eggs
Can My Betta Fish Lay Eggs Without a Male Present?
Betta fish can lay eggs without a male present, though these eggs will not hatch since they haven’t been fertilized. However, female betta fish consistently produce eggs and usually only release them when they know they are about to spawn.
Sometimes, the Betta can become egg-bound, carry too many eggs, and become dangerous. In this case, bettas will occasionally release the eggs they carry, even if there’s no male around.
How Many Eggs Do Female Bettas Lay?
Betta fish will usually lay up to 300 eggs per fry. However, fish that reproduce through external fertilization typically have more significant numbers of smaller eggs. This is because the eggs being outside their mothers will be at a greater risk of predators, so the number of baby bettas at the end of it will usually be a lot smaller.
Duration – How Long are Betta Fish Pregnant?
Betta fish will usually only carry eggs in their bodies for about a week or two. Then, since the young don’t have to grow inside their mothers, the Betta doesn’t need to carry the eggs for longer.
Care – How to Care For a Pregnant Betta Fish
Caring for your betta fish will ensure they can get through the gravid state without any problems.
Making sure they are getting the proper diet is essential. The food they eat should be rich in protein and nutrients.
Caring For the Fry
After the fish has laid the eggs, it’s essential to care for the fry so they can hatch without problems. Again, a large tank with a temperature within the 80s and a decent lighting source are optimal.
The betta fry will likely be old enough to eat baby brine shrimp by the time they are about a week old. Brine shrimp is good for betta fry since they are smaller and full of protein.
As the fry grows, keeping them in isolation is also necessary. While female bettas usually stay together in good conditions, males can get aggressive as they grow older and need to be separated. Keeping your baby betta together is unavoidable at the start since there are so many of them, but if they start fighting, it’s time to separate them.
Do Betta Fish Care For Their Baby Bettas?
Betta fish don’t care for their babies once they’ve hatched. When the eggs have been laid, the male will care for them to protect them from danger, but as the eggs hatch, the parents will leave, and the babies are left to fend for themselves.
Betta fish don’t get pregnant because they reproduce through external fertilization. There are ways to tell when a betta fish is carrying eggs and methods to promote egg laying. However, once the babies have hatched, the Betta will not care for them, and you’d be left to ensure you are providing them with all the nutrients and food they need to survive.