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Breeding My Betta bellica
Copyright MMII Nonn Panitvong

Betta bellica

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 in Betta 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 on her.

Betta bellica

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 book:

Nov 1, 2001: arrange the tank, put the fish in, male beat up the female

Nov 4, 2001: got back from vacation, bubble under the drift wood

Nov 5, 2001: eggs laid, Yeahhhhhhh wwooooooooh!!!!!

Betta bellica nest

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

Betta bellica fry

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 other up.

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.

Betta bellica juveniles

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