Bettas, also known as the Siamese fighting fish, are one of the most aggressive species among the ornamental fishes. They are fiercely territorial and will fight fishes (be it their own kind or another), trying to enter their territory. In many places, betta fish (Fighter fish) are raised for the sole purpose of fighting. Since they are so aggressive, care and patience is required to farm these fishes.
With their vibrant colors and angelic fins, Bettas are a beautiful addition to any aquarium. They are native to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. Betta fish grown in captivity come in a multitude of colors including red, green, blue, cream and black. Male bettas are larger than females and possess exotic looking fins. Bettas can grow up to an average length of 6 cm and have a life expectancy of 3-4 years. Avoid placing more than one male fish in the same tank, as fighting will ensue. Bettas are insectivores and mostly vegetation. Betta fish can lay up to 200 eggs in a go.
Breeding betta fish can be a tiresome job because of their aggressive nature. The more aggressive males may end up attacking the female if not interested. So always have a lot of aquatic plants inside the breeding tank for the females to hide, in such a case. The females are usually ready for breeding within 5 months growth. The aquarium should be divided with a glass partition to separate the male and female. The male will build a bubble nest when it is ready for spawning. The abdominal region of the female will bulge, when it is ready to breed.
The aquarium should be filled with water up to a depth of 10 centimeters. The male betta fish starts to attract the female by putting on a display by spreading its colorful fins. If interested, the female responds by changing to a darker color. Lines known as ‘breeding bars’ will also appear on her body. When the female starts starts approaching the male, the glass partition can be removed. The male takes the female to the nest and wraps itself around the female. This is when the female starts releasing the eggs. The male will simultaneously release milt and the eggs are fertilized externally. If the female seems disinterested, separate the fish and try again after two days. Once the eggs are laid, remove the female from the tank. This is to ensure its survival, since the males become fiercely protective of the eggs and will attack the female if its tries approaching the eggs again.
The male betta fish picks up the falling eggs one by one, with its mouth and places it in the nest. The eggs hatch within two days. Once the eggs hatch, the fries start to fall from the bubble. The male picks up the fries and places them back in the bubble. The fries will be ready to swim in one week. Remove the male fish by then, lest the fry be eaten up by him. Two weeks after this, the betta will be ready for breeding again.