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The Fish Room
fish home page

FIsh Illness
A few photos and information on fish illness (Not a guide for treatment!)

Live Food
A little DIY for live fry foods

my current and past spawns

Stock Shop
My fish for sale- US only.

Fish Photos
See photos of my fish

Wild Bettas

A little bit about the wilds

Breeding Betta Splendens

Please note that there are MANY ways to set up betta splendens to spawn and that this is simply the method that I have been using forever, it works for me but may not be the best for you. It is also recommended that you read how to raise the fry Before spawning your fish.


A bare bottom 5 to 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter and air pump (best to have a valve to adjust the speed of the air bubbles)
Styrofoam cup cut in half lengthwise and tape
Aquarium thermometer
Aquarium heater
Plastic wrap OR a glass lid for tank
1 jar or guppy trap
Live or plastic plants
A healthy, well fed pair of betta splendens

Now that you have your supply list and have gone shopping, take the tank and fill it about half way full of water (or about 6inches deep). Place the heater into the tank and set it between 80 and 87°F. Place the plants in your tank and the jar or guppy trap. If you are using a jar, fill it half way with water and leave it in the tank, this should allow it to float above the water line and this is where the female betta will go first. Take the half of a cup and tape it to the tank so that it sits right on the water line and makes a little cave or sheltered area, this is for the male to build his bubble nest in. Most males will take to this set up right away, some will be stubborn and build their nest in other locations. At the OTHER end of the tank, place the sponge filter and turn the air valve so that only 1 bubble is let out once in a while, you do not want it to be so fast it breaks up the bubble nest.

a cup for the male

Above is a photo showing how the cup is cut and tapped so that is sits on the water. You can also see the male in this photo has a small nest and the female is swimming with head slightly down showing she is ready to spawn.

If this is a newly set up tank, let it sit for a few days to a week. I like to put the male in the tank and I condition him in it with lots of yummy stuff like frozen blood worms and brine shrimp. The female get a similar fair in her tank/jar/whatever. After I am happy that the tank is set up and running well, I put the female in the jar or guppy trap so that the male can see her but not attack her.

The male should build a nice nest under the cup and the female *should* be ready to go at this point. If the female is dark in color, you may see her take on vertical bars along her body- these show a willingness to spawn. If the female is light colored, the bars will not be visible. Honestly, I rarely pay attention to these bars but that is just me.  I let the female out of her jar and the chase is on. The female may inspect he males nest or the male may chase the female right off the bat. The main thing to remember is that when you let the female out, chances are really good that either the female or male will suffer fin damage during this time. The male will probably chase the female and bite her, sometimes it’s the other way around though! If your pair is going to spawn, they normally do it within the first few days of release. If they have not spawned within a few days, rejar the female and try to condition her up some more.

In rare cases the male is so ruff on the female that she will be to injured to spawn. Likewise, I have had females kill males. Best thing to do is to look up some Youtube videos and get an idea of what betta courtship looks like.

If yours fish are happy with everything, then you may get to see them spawn. When bettas spawn it looks like a dance or sorts. The male will begin to turn his body into an “s” and wiggle back and forth, the female will match him in these movements. They will then “embrace” and the male will wrap his body around the female and flip her upside down. Do not be alarmed if they fail at it a few times! When they have a good embrace, the female will drop eggs and you will see a bunch falling. The male will release the female and they might start to sink a little and then wake up. Both male and female usually assist in picking eggs up off the floor of the tank and putting them up in the nest. This is why it is important to have a bare bottom tank, if you had gravel on the bottom, the eggs would now be lost.


Once they are done spawning, the female will go and hide, the male might even chase her away. Remove the female at this point and give her a good feed.

The eggs will look off white in the bubble nest and you should be able to see them clustered in the bubbles. If the male is a good dad, you will notice in about 24hours that the eggs have eyes, and then shortly thereafter, the eggs will hatch and you will see tiny tails hanging down out of the bubble nest. The fry still have their yoke sacks and do not need to eat at this point, but will soon.


Raising Betta Splenden Fry

Supply List:

Live food cultures *

6 foot piece of airline tubing

LOTS of jars

Above is a photo of a week old fry under a microscope. This was a sick fry and did not live very long.

It might be a really good idea to read this part BEFORE reading about spawning your fish! Getting the bettas to spawn is the simple part, getting the fry to adult hood is the hard part. There are many issues that can arise here. The first and foremost things to remember is that your growing babies are going to need a lot of high quality live food to get going and very high quality water to grow in.

A note about live foods

There are a LOT of live foods out on the market and I am not going to go over them all. So here is some of what I use:

                Vinegar ells- these are nematodes that you can culture in a mix of apple vinegar and water with apple slices or sugar. They make a GREAT first fry food for bettas because they are so small, and live for long periods of time in the water column with the bettas. The only down side to them is that they live in a vinegar solution and when you harvest them, its easy to get that solution mixed into your fry tank and it will affect the pH balance.

                Infrusia culture- this is a simple to make culture that was the staple for raising small fry for many years before vinegar ells came out on the market. To make a culture, take a jar and put a peace of lettuce in it, then put some water from a HEALTHY tank in it. If the tank is planted that then that’s even better. Place the culture jar in the sun with the lid off and allow it to sit for a week or so. You should begin to see tiny things swimming around in it, these are tiny first fry foods.  The only issue I have had with this food is that its difficult to make sure you have enough critters to feed your fry

                Microworms/banaworms/walterworms- these make GREAT fry foods for the next step up from vinegar ells or infrusia cultures. Some breeders are gut loading their nematodes with sprilina or other high quality foods, and this is a good idea. The nutritional value of these foods has often been debated and it is my belief that on their own, they do not have a high value as a long term food item. The major down fall to these foods is that they sink to the bottom of the tank and cause the fry to drag their fins along the bottom and this can cause issues to their fins. Also if you use these as the only food source, your fry will probably not grow very fast.

                Baby Brine Shrimp- If you feed these within 24hrs of hatching them, they are a power packed, highly nutritious food for your fry. The only down side to BBS (baby brine shrimp) that that if you accidently feed the BBS to your fry with egg shells mixed in, the BBS egg shells can cause swim bladder issues for your poor fry.

Now that I have given you a really short run down on different fry foods, this is what I do.  When the fry begin to “free swim”, this is when the fry start to be horizontal in the water column, remove good old dad and start putting in infruosia or vinegar ells. These tiny fry foods will be great for your babies for the next week or so. Now I HAVE gone right to feeding BBS to my fry, and most fry do just fine with this. But for the sack of this article, I will explain the “proper” feeding time table.

Your fry are going to be SMALL, and I mean really small. When they are about a week old, I would begin doing small water chances and upping their food size. Water changes, next to food, are the single most important factor in fry growth!  When I started breeding bettas, everyone said to avoid water changes until the fry were a month old, this promoted slow growth of the fry. So the best thing to do is to do daily water changes. I wait until the fry are about a week old simply so I can see them easier.  To do the water changes I use a 6ft peace of airline tubing that I run into a plastic container that I can check afterwards for the fry I have accidently sucked up. I “vacuum” the bottom of the tank as best I can, typically taking 20% of the water out.  Many breeders recommend doing 50% or more water change at this point, its going to be up to you. I don’t because I’m lazy. When you put the new water into the tank, do it slowly. You can even put the new water container up higher than your fry tank and use your tubing to slowly drain the new water in. Just remember, do not just dump the new water in!

When the fry are about a quarter of an inch, I speed up the air bubbles in the filter so that the water is agitated more. I also slowly begin to increase the water level in the tank during water changes and by the time the fry are a little larger, the tank is full of water. The fry are now large enough to be feeding microworms or BBS and you can even start to mix in crushed flake or pellot foods. Brine Shrimp Direct makes a great fry food called Golden Pearls that can be used to beef up your fry. If you can get your fry off the live food and onto crushed flake or Golden Pearls, you will see a nice growth spurt.

Please note that I am not using ages here because I have seen fry take 4 to 6 month to reach adult size, and I have seen them take only 4 weeks to reach an adult size, it all depends on how much time you put into them! I cannot stress this enough; water quality and food are the keys to large, healthy betta fry!

When you begin to see aggression in your fry, it is time to jar! I leave my fry together as long as I can, it saves on my time. But when I see a few of the fry begin to act dominate or overly aggressive, I pull them and stick them in their own jars. Contrary to popular belief, it is not always the males who act aggressive, and I have left males together for years in a grow out tank with no issues- at least not until one is removed because he can never be reintroduced to the group.

At this point, things become more like taking care of adult bettas then fry. You can now relax because you have done it J