Thursday, July 31, 2008

Second F2 spawning unsuccessful

Was pretty exciting to check the nest today but I did not like what I saw. The nest was gone, almost as if the male betta tore it down. There were no eggs in sight, non was there any sign of life.

Another failure, though there are improvements this time round. There are no visible fungus, which meant that the male had took good care of the eggs. And I did saw one, just one, dead fry drop from the nest. At least I know some fry hatched from the eggs. Obviously the male betta didn't know how to tend to the fry once they hatch, betta males are known to be very persistent; they will try jamming a dead fry back into the nest again and again, but for my betta case, he just let the dead fry drop to the ground. I have a strong feeling the male betta ate all the fry once they hatched. I tried feeding him a juicy mini mealworm but he took a sniff at the worm and ignore it; a sign that he has already eaten to his fill.

The remains of what looks like eggs/shells are scattered all over the tank's floor. The male seemed awfully exhausted or upset; he is lying around, sleeping.

No lucky at the female side too, no sign of eggs or life in the nest. Hopefully third time is a charm. Will restart the spawning in 1-2 weeks time, depending on the female. Hopefully this time the male will not destroy the fry.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Female betta built bubble nest and take care of eggs

This is truly breaking news. I was just doing a water change for the female when I realize that her bubblenest contains more than just bubbles, there are eggs in it. Around 30 eggs.

First thing first, females are not supposed to build strong thick bubble nest, mine did.

Second they are not supposed to guard their nest, mine did.

Third they are more likely to eat all the eggs up, mine not only did not eat the eggs, she is taking care of them.

During spawning, if you are lucky you will have a female that will not eat the eggs but she will help with placing the eggs in the nest. Mine is more than lucky, she built her own nest and is taking care of the eggs like the father. Most likely these eggs are not fertilized, but I might be wrong, she might have store them in her mouth long enough for me to transfer her to the recuperating tank. Anyway this is truly amazing.

Overview of the recuperation tank with a starter bulb for sizing

Female betta seen transferring eggs (and bubbles) back to the original nest after disturbance from water change

Female betta tending to the eggs and strengthening bubblenest.

24 hours after betta mating

No news is good news, 24 hours after embracing, there are no sign of life yet. Normal. Best thing is there are no visible fungus and all eggs are where they should be, in the nest. Mr betta is taking good care of his eggs this time. Instead of switching the aquarium light on, like I did last session, I turn it off. It seems that this particular betta gets irritated by the aquarium light, he seemed more at ease without the light. Point to take note for first timer trying breeding. At night, I just switch on the room's light.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

End of embrace for F2 Betta Pair

The pair started actual embrace at around 3pm, ending at around 6pm. This time the mating took around 3 hours.

It wasn't all fun and games, at one point the male nip the female so hard she hid under the driftwood and "leak" eggs. I estimated around 30 eggs was wasted during that time.

I am not too optimistic regarding the current mating session. The male did not wrap over the female from the top. Instead he did a novelty act, warping her from the side and the female eject her eggs rather prematurely after the warp. This was exactly what happened last mating session.
The female is taken from the breeding tank for recuperation in a 1 gallon tank. Fins are pretty badly damage. Looks like she needs a very long break to recover. If this mating session is another failure, a retry should come in 4 weeks time or until her fins have heal up. I do not want to risk losing my only butterfly female.

Betta rehearsing embrace

As predicted the pair started to rehearse their embrace today. Hopefully the male betta will get it right this time and embrace the female correctly by wrapping around her fully.

Female betta released

Released the female into the tank. Hopefully they will embrace in the morning like they did before.

Monday, July 28, 2008

F2 Betta Pair Second introduction

Introduced the pair for the second time. This time I've place the female in a protective tube (basically a cut-out plastic bottle) to prevent unnecessary injuries while the male build his nest. This time I will be the inspector, inspecting the bubble nest periodically. Once the nest is large and strong enough, I will release the female, hopefully they will get right into mood.

Restarting F2 Betta Spawn

After allowing the pair to rest and recuperate for a week, I've decided to let the pair try again. To minimize new injuries to the female, I shall place the female in a tube for today and releasing her in the night. Hopefully they will mate by next morning.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

F2 Betta spawn unsuccessful

I've checked for life in the bubble nest and did not find any. No tails were hanging off the the nest, no movement whatsoever. Did a 50% water change and added a filter to reset the tank. Will condition the male and female for at least a week before trying again.

I would like to thank the many emails I've received, thank you for your support and kind words. I was lucky for my F1 spawn, everything went smoothly. Suffered my first unsuccessful spawning attempt, hopefully the pair will spawn successfully the next time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Male betta not tending to the eggs

Saw the male laying on a leaf, looking very exhaust and maybe even a little upset. He seemed to be seeking shade and a break from the aquarium light; trying to catch a nap. I switched the aquarium lights off and gave him a little food. The nest is unattended and I do not see any life in it. This spawning attempt might not be successful, will wait another 24 hour to confirm.

Fungus growing on betta eggs

Bad news, 30 hours after the eggs were laid, fungus can be seen growing on them. The male is supposed to eat all unfertilized or rotting eggs to prevent an overrun of fungus, doesn't seem like he's doing his job. Well at least I can be sure he's not an egg eater or there are so much rotting eggs that he has eaten to his fill.

In this picture you can sense something is not right, betta eggs are not suppose to be clustered together. You can clearly see the fungus growing on the eggs, bad sign.

Seemed like the male has either given up or discarded what he could to protect the reminding eggs (if there's any left).
I don't think fertilized eggs are supposed to rot, it's the unfertilized ones that will not contain life and start withering away. From the beginning, the pair are not embracing correctly, I am guessing this improper embrace has led to a huge amount of unfertilized eggs. I will not make wild guesses at this point, hopefully I would see tails hanging off the nest in the next 48 hours.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

24 hours after betta embrace

Male is tending to the nest. No sign of life in the eggs yet. Already I can see fungus growing on some of the unfertilized eggs. Should start to see darting fry in another 24 hours.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Embrace over, spawning is a success.

Using natural spawning method, the pair courtship lasted a little over 13 hours. They started "practicing" their embrace around 11am and got it right at around 1.30pm. The embrace lasted four and a half hour, ending at 6pm. Each embrace lasted around 30 seconds with 8-10 eggs, though there are "misses" in some embrace. Overall the spawning only took about 24 hours, I would say this is a very fast and successful betta spawn.

The male tends to his nest, scouting the tank for intruders. As seen in the picture above, he gave me a fierce stare for taking a picture of the nest.

The female hid between a driftwood and ketapang leave after the embrace was over. She hid so well that the male had problems finding her, even took me a while to spot her. She was promptly removed to a 1 gallon tank for recuperation and good meals. Though the spawning was a relatively gentle one, one may find that her fins are quite badly tore. Not a problem if she's fed well in good water, betta's regeneration is pretty amazing. I've transfered females from community tank faring much worse than her condition.

Hopefully I'll see tails tomorrow and free swimming fry in 3 days.

sgBetta F2 Betta pair embraced

The pair started proper embrace at around 1.30pm. Though the embracing position is not textbook, about 8-10 eggs ooze out of the female during some embrace. At certain times, no eggs are seen. The pair has been embracing for at least 6 hours, much longer than I had expected, hopefully this is going to be a successful spawn.

Betta embracing incorrectly

Pleasant surprise when I woke up, the pair has finally calm down and started embracing around 11am. Problem is they are not embracing right. It takes two hands to clap. First the male is unable to wrap around the female tight enough, this is because the female is floating too high towards the water level. Hopefully the pair will get it right soon.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Introducing female betta into spawning tank

I've decide not to barricade the female for this spawn, instead I will go the natural way and allow them the freedom to swim, chase and nib each other. This video shows a beautiful dance between the male and the female, followed by an inspection of the bubblenest by the female betta. For weeks they have been allowed to flare at each other through their tanks, finally they can swim and dance together. Its truely a very lovely sight, enjoy.

Testing if the betta spawning pair are ready

To test if the pair are responsive, try placing the female beside the spawning tank like so. The male should swim towards her, flare and usher her back to his nest. The female should return the flare and would be willing to swim towards the nest to check if its to her liking.

Betta bubble nest in styrofoam cup

All is going well, the male has built his bubble nest right on cue, into the stryofoam cup. Should be introducing the female sometime in the evening. This time I'm not going to jar the female during spawning, instead I'm going to give them total freedom to swim around.

Conditioning Male Betta in the Spawning tank

This picture it can mean only one thing, spawning season is near. I've transfered the existing female community to a 3 foot tank. Our star is now claiming his territory in the spawning tank.

The setup is pretty textbook, a half cut styrofoam cup at 5 inch water line, with a non-toxic tape holding it in place. This time I'm using Anubias and a little duckweeds though. I've used Hydrilla for my F1 spawn.

The male is very interested in every object inside the tank, swimming around checking and biting. He even took a bite at a duckweed and spat it out, must have tasted really yucky. I guess he is part curious, part claiming his territory.

To be 100% honest, I can feel a sense of freedom and relief in him. Can't blame him, I would love to stretch my legs if I'm cramped up in a tiny cubicle for most of my life. Well if I had the time, space and cash, I won't mind giving each male a palace of their own, but reality is harsh.

This male is one untidy and lazy one, I am hoping that he will make a bubble nest inside the cup. Right now there are random bubbles all over the tank. Hopefully I'll get a pleasant surprise when I wake up later.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Showcase: Isaac's 10 liter Betta Biotope

About a month or 2 ago, Isaac sent me an inquiry; seeking a good quality Betta to start him off in this hobby of ours. Without hesitation I introduced him to the best Betta of my F1 spawn. When Isaac decided to purchase him, he was fondly named GrimJaw.

Unlike most Betta hobbyist, Isaac did not keep GJ in a clean and empty little cubicle. His setup includes a heavily planted and filtered 10 liter tank, creating a betta's biotope. I was sincerely impressed by Isaac's setup and enthusiasm when he sent me an email later, updating GJ's progress.

A month later Isaac sent me another update on GJ.

GJ has grown beautifully under Isaac's care. The fins are much fuller with stronger and more defined color. The scales have become more distinct. It is not easy rearing a fish to this quality in a month.

It is really impressive seeing how Isaac has planned and executed his setup and Betta keeping. The aesthetic value of a Betta in the biotope is priceless. I would like to thank Isaac for allowing GrimJaw and his biotope to be showcased in Do enjoy the rest of Isaac's setup.


An overview of Isaac's Biotope

Original "Wild" looking Biotope

New "Neater" Biotope

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Conditioning F2 Betta Spawn Pair

The male and the female have been conditioned for over a week now. The male should be ready, judging from its bubble nest, the female however seems to be rejecting the male. She is not showing any vertical strips and swiming away from the male when I allow them to flare at each other. Instead of rushing for a result, I shall allow them to take their time. Once I feel they are ready, I will let the male into the spawning tank to mark his territory.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

sgBetta F2 Spawning Pair

After much consideration, I've selected a pair of butterfly betta for my F2 spawn. The F2 spawn is considered very interesting as hidden genes will criss-cross, producing a lot of variations. The F2 spawn should produce many fry that does not look like their parents, unless the gene line is pretty "pure".

I do hope I will be able to produce at least a pair of butterfly to continue a F3 spawn, but that's another bridge to cross later.

Currently I've been conditioning this pair for around 3 days. I've place them side by side and have started showing them off to one another for around 10 minutes a day. Beside this pair are flaring partners, to train their stamina up for the grudging courtship ahead. I allow them to flare around 3 times a day for 15 minutes.

A half hour rest is given after each flaring. This is followed by a nice protein rich meal. A mixture of frozen bloodworms, live mini mealworms and some TetraBits Complete.

As it stands now, I intend to introduce the male into the spawning tank on next Monday. Allow him 2 days to get accustomed to his tank and gain ownership of it. Once I feel both of them are ready, I will introduce them into the spawning tank. Stay tune and wish me luck!