Breeding My Betta bellica
Copyright MMII ® Nonn Panitvong
My first pair of this magnificent fish came by quite
unexpectedly. I was at a Plakat store, looked at role after role of
fancy Betta splendens, red, yellow, half moon, crowntail,
double tail, butterfly just everything you can imagine. I wasn't
very much into fancy so I wasn't very impress. It was when I about
to leave the store when I spotted something unusual at the lowest
corner shelf. There were these 2 poor looking fish that were a
little larger than average B. splendens in the jars. I looked
closely and found out that they were young B. bellica. I was
very delighted. The fish condition wasn't very impressive, though.
The larger one still looked ok, but the smaller one look like it was
dying. I couldn't remember what the owner said about the origin of
the fish, nor why they were neglected. I only remember negotiated
him to pay for one fish and get the "dying" one for free. He agreed!
Upon arriving home, I put the 2 fish in separate
small plastic tanks. I put some Java moss for their cover and small
pieces of Indian Oak Leaf for acidic that the leaf released. It also
released tannin and gave the water that yellowish tinge that mimic
the water in their wild habitat. After 2 weeks with me, the 2 fish
were back in good shape. It turned out that I have a pair. The
smaller dying one turned to be a nice female. I fed them every
morning with live food namely tubiflex worm, red worm, dahnia,
mosquito larvae and brine shrimp. They ate a lot and grew up very
well. The female looked rounded at the 6th week. She was about 1.5"
then and the male must be almost 2". Being the largest bubble nester
genus, B. bellica will easily grow up well over 3 inches.
I thought it was about time to breed them. I started
with a 5 gl. tank that I put a thin layer of gravel into it. Then I
put in a piece of U-Shape drift wood up-side-down. I filled the
water so that the surface just touch the arch of the driftwood and
act like a cave for my B. bellica. I then added a large crump
of Java moss for female to take refugee when the male get too hard
After 3 days in the same tank, the female was a
little beaten up but she still looked and ate fine. That weekend, I
was away from home. When I got back there were bubble under and
around the driftwood. The bubbles were huge compare to those of
others bubble nesters.
Then the following is what I noted down in my stud
Nov 1, 2001: arrange the tank, put the fish in, male beat up the
Nov 4, 2001: got back from vacation, bubble under the drift wood
Nov 5, 2001: eggs laid, Yeahhhhhhh wwooooooooh!!!!!
Nov 7, 2001: male attacks female, removed female
Nov 8, 2001: eggs hatch, huge fry!
Nov 9, 2001: free swimming, removed male
Nov 11, 2001: fry scattered all over the spawning tank, parents
back to separate conditioning tanks
Nov 12-14, 2001: Away from home, put in a few adult dahnia the
fry appear to be well fed when I got back
Nov 15, 2001: Feed the fry some BBS, took them eagerly
Nov 29, 2001: First Photo
Dec 9, 2001: some huge fry. 1 cm long other wise
average around .5cm. feed only once or rarely twice a day. There
were a lot of them in the tank but they appear to be eating each
Jan 15, 2002: On my second attempt to spawn the fish. The male
beatened up the female to death. I was very sad. Just do not trust
B. bellica male with your female unless the tank is large
enought and that there are plenty of hiding place for her.
Feb 24, 2002: 25 left, sexing out. Transfer to 20 gl. tank. I
think, had I raised them up in larger tank or 2-3 separate tanks I
would get more fry. The space is very limited in my fish room.