Ah! You are back from the pet store. I was waiting for you. Are you ready to set-up your spawning tank and attempt your first spawning? How did the Heimlich maneuver go? :P. I think we should get started right away, it will take your mind off of the massive injury your wallet has just suffered :).

Setting up the spawning tank:

First, rinse the new tank.

Also rinse the corner filter to get rid of all the carbon black powder.

Pick a place for the tank. It needs to be away from direct sunlight, away from heat/air condition vents and must be placed preferably on a fish tank stand, or on a STRONG table/piece of furniture. Water is heavy. About 8.5 Lbs per gallon. Even though your tank is going to be filled only halfway to spawn your pair, you will later gradually add water to it and end up with a full 10 or 5 gallon tank. Pretty darn heavy. So think ahead and please do not place it on the floor. A tank placed on the floor cannot be cleaned, because you cannot create a vacuum to suck out tank water and clean the bottom that way.

Fill tank halfway with clean water. You can use fresh tapwater or aged, pretreated tapwater. If using fresh tapwater, remember to add Amquel, Novaqua, Aquarium salt (1 small teaspoon per 2 1/2 gal), aquarisol and, if necessary in your area, PH down.

Add 3 drops of Maroxy (to prevent fungus which tends to attack eggs)

Now place the filter in the far back corner. Yes, I know the water level is not high enough to cover the filter silly! :) That is why God created diagonals :).

Just put it at an angle so that only the top of it is aligned with water surface.

Plug your air pump, cut your air tubing in half, add a valve in the middle to restrict the airflow and attach one end of tubing to the air pump and the other to the filter. (pretty darn obvious :) ).

Using the valve, restrict the airflow so that the filter is barely bubbling. A bubble or two per second would be good.

Place your thermometer in the front of the tank. Float it in a the corner, or affix it with suction cups, whatever.

Now place the submersible heater, also in diagonal, towards one of the back corners as well. Once you are done fussing around with the heater, and only then, plug the heater in the electrical outlet. Heaters can be dangerous. Always unplug them before working on tanks. Make sure to turn heater all the way down. Then turn it slowly back up until the light comes on. Leave it be for now.

Next, cut your stirofoam cup in half. Imagine you have a big sword, imagine you placed the cup standing on a table in from of you, and then cut it in two equal halves vertically. Get it? You end up with two half cups that look like little plane hangars :). Hopefully baby bettas will park under there soon :)). Put a piece of tape on the round edge, float your hangar with the cut part down, and the top of the cup facing you, push it right against the glass. Tape it to the glass so it won’t float away.

Take your bushy plants, remove their base, tie them together with the plant weight (flexible) and place your artistic creation :) in the back of tank, near heater and filter.

Last, place glass chimney, standing up, inside the tank, near the cup.

Let the tank run for at least 24 hrs. 3 days would be even better, giving a chance to the water to age some and to the temperature to be optimal.

Twice a day, check the temperature. Your thermometer should read 80F to 82F. Keep adjusting heater until you reach this temperature. Once this is achieved and stable for about 2 days, you can introduce the breeding pair.

 

(Oh goodie goodie!!!!)

Introducing the pair:

There are many different ways to go about it, and each way has its plus and minuses. All I can do is tell you how I do it. Other breeders may do it differently. That doesn’t mean they are wrong and I’m right. But then again, everyone knows (especially my boyfriend) that I’m always right!! Hehehehehe.

But seriously, don’t become all freakozoid if you have read different methods elsewhere. Diversity is good. For me this is what works:

Place the male and the female in a small cup. Float cups inside tank, side by side. See if they notice each other and their reaction. Is he flaring at her? Is she showing vertical bars (dark bodied females only). If so, you are in good shape!!

Allow cups to float for about 30 min, so temperature of their water evens out with tank’s water. Then introduce a bit of the tank water inside the cup and let them float for another 30 min.

Now you are in business :). Or almost.

Empty the female’s cup with the female into the glass chimney (the top of it is open remember, so you can pour the female and her water right in there).

Release male directly inside tank.

As long as the female is protected by the Chimney, you can introduce the pair any time of day. Even if you have to leave the house right after. They cannot harm each other. They will get acquainted while you are doing your thing (whatever that may be :) ).

The big moment:

Yes it has finally arrived, the moment you were waiting for!!

You come home and run to the fishroom. Curious. What has happened while you were gone? Here are a few things to check:

1)- water temperature. Is it still in the 80 to 82F?

2)- Filter: is it still slowly bubbling?

3)- The cup: is there some bubbles or even a full bubblenest under it?

4)- The male: is he flaring at the female? Swimming around the chimney? Displaying for her? Showing her how gorgeous he is? Or is he completely ignoring her.

5)- The female. Is she showing the vertical bars? Is she swimming with her head down? Or is she flaring back at him kinda telling him “Oh no you don’t!!”

If he is showing interest and if she is not flaring back at him like crazy, then release the female into the tank. YOU MUST KEEP AN EYE ON THEM AT REGULAR INTERVALS for the next day or so. A number of things could go wrong at this stage and cause the injury or death of your female or even your male. Trust me I had little gals kick the living sh… out of large males!! (girl power!!! Hehehehehe). If at any time, the life of either one of the bettas seems at risk, remove them immediately.

Now, proceed to the next section “How bettas spawn” to understand better bettas’ behavior while spawning and to know what to do next!!

Remember it takes as much money and effort to set up a tank to breed crappy pet store bettas or to breed nice quality genetically pure bettas. Please do not propagate bad genes and contribute to making bettas uglier. Be selective when it comes to picking a pair and try, if you can at all afford it, to get your breeding pair from a reputable breeder (may it be me or anyone else :)) ) Please see "selecting stock" for more info on how to pick a suitable breeding pair.