Betta fish may be the most beautiful aquarium fish in the world. Male betta fish that is.
Male betta fish are the ones with huge flowing fins and brighter colors than the female.
To really see the betta fish at their maximum beauty is to actually witness two betta fish reproduce…
When the female betta fish is ready to reproduce, after some courtship, she will approach the male betta fish with her head in a downward position with her fins clamped. They embrace and turn with the female ending upside down. The female ovipositor touches the male vent so that he can fertilize her eggs as they come out.
Several eggs come out that need to be moved to the bubble nest which has already been built by the male and approved by the female.
There is a lot more to it than this though so let’s dive in and swim through the entire process together…
Betta Fish Courtship
When you put a male and female betta fish together that are ready to reproduce, then everything is fairly easy.
You can just leave them both in the open as long as there are plenty of plants and decorations for one of the betta fish to escape to if one of them is not ready.
If they are ready, when they see each other, they will flare their fins at each other and their colors will instantly brighten.
The male will then chase the female and nip at her to show his dominance and that he is a healthy male and a good choice for a mate.
The female will in turn flee to show that she is also healthy enough to get away and that she is too a good choice for a partner.
Until the female shows that she is ready, the male betta fish will build a bubble nest near the water surface.
Some people put the bottom of a styrofoam cup or some bubble wrap on the water surface that the male will attach his bubble nest to by blowing bubbles. Floating plants are also great!
Seeing the bubble nest can also induce the female into reproduction. She will usually inspect the bubble nest to make sure she approves.
When the female is ready, she approaches the male with her head down as described above. The male embraces her and they turn with the female ending upside down. The male then fertilizes the eggs as they come out.
When they have finished the male recovers first and begins rounding up the eggs to take them to the bubble nest.
The female will also help round up the eggs after she recovers but not always.
This is the basic courtship that takes place in the perfect scenario, but it doesn’t always turn out this way.
Betta Fish Courtship Problems
Sometimes, the male or female isn’t ready to reproduce so it can cause problems.
The female may inspect the bubble nest that the male built. If she doesn’t like it then she will start tearing apart to show the male that it needs to be better.
When the male builds it to her approval, then she will go through the basic mating process described above.
Sometimes, the female just isn’t ready to mate so she will continue to resist the male’s aggression.
This can be dangerous for the male and female.
If the male keeps biting and nipping he can injure the female to the point of illness or even death.
Sometimes the female can start attacking the male to the point that she injures him or kills him.
Conclusion: How to Make Sure Your Betta Fish Will Reproduce
It is best to keep the water temperature at the upper end of the spectrum around 84°F. The water needs to be warm to induce your betta fish to reproduce.
The water needs to be clean of course. Make sure you are doing your weekly water changes.
Professional breeders usually have a tank with no filtration to keep the water flow down.
If you are a basic at-home fishkeeper, you can simply get a sponge filter which slows down the water flow enough that your betta fish will want to reproduce.
Once the tank has optimal water conditions, you need to make sure there are plenty of hiding places for the female to escape to during courtship.
Betta Spawning Chimney
Some people use what is called a spawning chimney.
- You can get a 1 liter water bottle, peel any labels off and rinse the outside.
- Cut the drinking end to about an inch and a half across the top.
- Cut the very bottom offf the bottle.
- Poke wholes in the sides fo the bottle-pinhole size.
- Put the female inside the bottle and place the plastic bottle over the betta all the way down against the bottom of the aquarium.
- The top of the bottle will be above the water surface.
The purpose of the chimney is to keep the male from hurting the female until she is ready to reproduce. Because of the wholes in the bottle, she will still be able to pick up the chemicals produced by the male.
You will know she is ready when she flares her fins at the male when he approaches and shos dark vertical bars on her body.