Where and how to start?

When the very 1st time i want to spawn betta's , i had no clue what to do.lucky me, i have my best friend since the primary school audi,to teach me,so here are some tips when do want to spawn the betta's. This article i took from www.bettasocietymalaysia.com.my,written by Ming Han ; Enjoy !


Conditioning the pair.
i usually feed the pair frozen bloodworm as much as they can eat, 2 times a day. This last for at least a week before the Introduction stage. They are allowed to see each other until 3 days before the Introduction stage. This usually stimulates the production of eggs from what i noticed.

edit 08/04/2008: during the conditioning process, remember to add salt into the spawning pair's jars to cure/prevent velvet. most of the time, the main cause of spawns dying within 2 weeks can be attributed to velvet. healthy parent = healthy fry. Not a pinch of salt but a tablespoon of salt per 1/3 gallon (1 mangkuk plastic) of water. (my salt dosage could be wrong coz i usually estimate using my hands by calculating the amount of water-1 scoop, the position of the moon and the humidity of the air)

The hardware.
1. Aquarium/Styrofoam box/plastic box/anything to hold water with. Size is almost immaterial for the betta to spawn. I've got a spawn of 100s in a 2gallon plastic tub. I rather go for the smaller size container for the 1st 2 weeks to facilitate feeding then transfer the fry to a bigger growout tank later.

2. Water plants. Plants are a necessity as it provides hiding place for the female and it also stimulate infusoria growth for the free swimming fry. Those cheap RM1.50 plants usually does the trick.

3. Half-cut styrofoam cup/a big leaf/water lettuce/anything that floats will provide a 'designated' spot for the male to build its nest. I used to use styro-cup but have since moved on to using leaf of a money tree/water lettuce.

4. Aquarium Salt. I don't know why, but i've always used salt in all my spawn tanks. something along the lines of "if it's not broken, don't fix it"

5. Glass chimney/Microwaveable see-thru plastic container (those they sell tau-fu-fah in)/small acrylic aquarium/hopefully you get my drift. This is to protect the female from the male before he builds his nest.

Optionals
6. Ketapang leaves/Atison Betta Spa. You do not want the water to be TOO dark so use sparingly.

7. Water lettuce. Purely for infusoria which are associated with it. It makes a good spot for nest building too.

Using the hardware...My setup...
1. Saturday. Fill aquarium with tap water up to 5 inches high, add plants and let it stand for a few days. (preferably not under direct sunlight.)

Edit (08/01/2008): for my last spawn, i set up the spawn tank 2 weeks in advanced and i noticed that there are more infusorian present. if you're gonna do this, make sure to put net on top to prevent mosquito from laying eggs. i don't want to be blamed if u get fined by the authorities/scolding from your dad/mom/spouse/housemates/etc.

2. Monday morning. Introduction. After the water has aged, put male into the spawn tank and put the female into the glass chimney and put the glass chimney into the spawn tank so that the male can see her. I usually put in ketapang leaf at the same time.
3. Monday night. Release. Check on the bubblenest. If there is a bubblenest, i usually release the female into the tank at this time. (sometimes the female will jump out of the microwaveable container by herself if she's too eager to get down to business.)
4. Tuesday morning. Most of the time, they won't spawn yet, but it's good to check in case they have. If they did, the female will have to be taken out before the day is over. The female might decided to have some caviar for supper if you don't.
5. My job is done as soon as the female had been taken out. best to leave the spawn tank alone till weekend.

The fry would have entered the free swimming stage by sat or sun (assuming the spawning had taken place by wednesday) and feeding will commence now.

Feeding.
Lately i've been buying daphnia in a RM0.50 packet and dump 50% of it into the spawn tank. It usually last me 3 days before i have to go get more. I try my best to make sure they have food in their stomach all the time, they grow a lot faster this way.

What to feed.
1st day - 2nd day : Infusoria/microworms
3rd day - 1st week : Infusoria + bbs/daphnia
2week - 1month : daphnia
1month onwards : daphnia/tubifex/bloodworms

Troubleshooting.
Q. You didn't mention anything about taking out the male. So when to do it?
A. You can take out the male once the fry are free swimming. As for me, i usually leave him in there until i want to spawn him again or until i transfer the fry into a bigger tank, whichever comes first.

Q. My male keeps eating the eggs. What should i do?
A. There are only a few reasons for it to do so. Most of the time, the male only eats the eggs if it's unfertilized. Or you're peeking on them once too often and the male stressed out, therefore, eating all the eggs. If u're unlucky, the male will eat all the eggs, all the time. Cull the male.

Q. The female doesn't want to spawn. She's already in there for more than 4 days!
A. Take her out, condition her for a few days and try again. The female can be choosy at times or she/he is just clueless. If she's a virgin, try spawning her with a experienced male. Same goes to virgin males. If the courtship takes too long, the male might be clueless (same with most human males it seems) on what to do next, pair him with an experienced female. That USUALLY does the trick.

Q. The eggs have hatched (before free swimming stage) but the male doesn't seem to take care of the fry by catching falling fry and blow them up into the the nest.
A. I solved this by spawning them in a 2gallon plastic tub (styrobox would be better) and left them alone, only to check on the eggs at night. My guess is that the male is frightened of you. Leave them alone the next time u spawn.

Q. The bottom of my tank is dirty. Should i clean it?
A. Do not mess with the water before the fry are 2 weeks old. After 2 weeks, you can start doing 30% water change. If you can't stand the dirt (dead daphnia/bbs) which is stuck to the floor, buy a few cleaners (eg. pleco, feeder shrimps, snails) and they will do the job within the day. Pleco's *ayun* is still easier to suck up than dirt.

Q. I just acquired a fantastic pair from a breeder/friend/aquabid/LFS. When is the right time to spawn them?
A. If the pair comes from a home breeder, you can immediately breed them with assumption that the pair has been well taken care of. If you're in doubt, start the conditioning process immediately and breed them within the week. Once, I got a pair from a good friend and bred them the same night i got them.