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Breeding Betta climacura
by Gerald Griffin (Mar/Apr 1990)

Betta climacura is close in appearance to a shortened Betta pugnax, the males showing the green iridescence on the operculum (gill covering). The male is generally a little smaller. The difference is the lateral bands exhibited by these fish. Both sexes have these lines but when breeding the male loses the bands and the females intensify. The most prominent of these bands start at the mouth and run through the eye and to the base of the tail. The second is on the lower body and the third is the dorsal region. Sexing the fish is very easy and is about the same as sexing Betta pugnax. The male's caudal fin comes to a point and the anal fin sweeps past the caudal insertion. The male also has the iridescent chin region. The females lack the green iridescent color and the caudal fin is more rounded. The males have very longs fins for a wild Betta.

Betta climacura is not very demanding in its requirements and is very adaptable. I am currently keeping them in water that has a hardness of 80 ppm and pH of 7.0. After testing their extremes from 30 to 200 ppm and pH of 6.0 to 7.6 I have found that they had no real preference. When spawning, I like to soften the water, which tends to stimulate sexual activity. Water changes are also very important to egg laying fishes as this stimulates the reproductive urges. Conditioning poses no problem for these fish; keeping in normal diet should be sufficient when one is ready for spawning them.

Betta climacura spawns in the manner that is typical for the genus. When spawning is about to occur the male becomes very anxious about his surroundings and the normal robust, active individual becomes very timid and shy. The male begins to darken to a brown with the green iridescence being highlighted. The female then becomes a little paler and the male begins courtship. The male will swim around the female spreading his fins and shimmying in place. The female will avoid the male at this point until she is ready and then will develop the three lateral bands and the bands will intensify in color until the spawning takes place. The male will circle the female and she will curve around the male in the typical embrace. For several hours no eggs will be produced, and many embraces are terminated before completion. After an embrace in which eggs are produced, the female generally recovers first and then gathers the eggs. The female then spits out a few eggs until the male takes them into his mouth. This continues until the male has all the eggs then the next embrace occurs. The spawning process may last up to twelve hours at which time the male retreats and the female stands guard over the male. When spawning is complete the male's buccal will be distended. The swelling of the mouth generally goes down ion day three and then will swell back up around day seven and the male should release the fry on the tenth or eleventh day.

This is the easy part. If the male is in the presence of a female he may swallow the eggs and spawn again the next day. The female should be removed from the tank before the third day. The male will generally swallow his first few spawns, but should keep future spawns. The male should be kept as quiet as possible. Covering a tank with a towel works quite well. When it is time to release the male will become quite nervous and shy. At first a few babies will be expelled, then after a while a few more then they are released in greater number until the last few make it out. Generally a full grown male should release about 60 fry. At this point it is best to remove the male and offer something soft to eat such as brine shrimp. The male should be rested for at least two weeks before spawning hem again.

I have noticed that spawning takes place after an extreme barometric change, from high to low pressure, which coincides with a good rainstorm. At this time I do a partial water change, 10 - 20% of distilled water. This I have found will make most any mouthbrooder spawn. The fry grow very rapidly and can reach an inch by the end of the second month.

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