If you follow the basic requirements for ‘Keeping Bettas’ you already have done most of the work. Most of the Bettas are easy to get to spawn, the hard part is to raise the small fry to sub adulthood.
So if you are thinking about breeding Bettas – the first step is to get your microorganism cultures going like infusoria, vinegar eels, microworms, brine shrimps etc, to be able to feed the tiny fry of the Bettas. This can take some time to organize/find those cultures (a starter culture) and then to have sufficient amount ready for the fry when they emerge.
Second step would be to get the ‘chosen fish’ in breeding mode. This can be achieved with increasing the live food content (or frozen food) in the feeding regime, which will give the fish extra protein which they can transfer in the egg/sperm development. Other additives also help to increase the spawning behavior; some of those are Indian almond leaves, Oak leaves, black water extract, peat, driftwood, etc. All of those substances work as natural water conditioner, because they emit tannins and humic acids into the water, which lower the ph and work as natural anti-bacterial & anti-fungal remedy.
When the fish are conditioned and ready to breed, which depends mostly on the female, she will look plump and swollen with eggs. Most of the females will also display egg spots/striped markings on the belly. Now it is time to transfer the male into the breeding tank where the male will build the bubble nest on the surface (usually with plant material). The water temperature should now be increased to about 27-30ºC in the breeding tank with lots of hiding spots for the female.
The female should be introduced slowly and in stages into the setup. First place a clear plastic container with the female into the tank, so that the male is able to inspect the female and can display to her. When the female displays the spawning stripes on the body it is time to release her into the tank. After a short displaying and chasing the male will wrap itself around the female (embrace position), in this position the female will release the eggs, which will be fertilized by the male immediately, this will happen a couple of times. The male will collect the eggs from the bottom and spit them into the nest, where it will protect them from falling down. After spawning is completed remove the female from the tank, otherwise the male will kill her to protect the nest and fry.
The fertilized eggs will take about 36-40 hours to develop, after this time you will be able to see tiny fry hanging from the nest, which is still protected by the male. Occasionally the fry will fall to the bottom, at this stage the male is working hard to pick up the small fry and place them back inside the bubble nest.
At this stage the fry still feeds of their own yolk sac, this sac will last for about one week, after the fry has consumed the yolk they start to leave the nest and require additional food (small life food like infusoria and vinegar eels), at this stage you should remove the male, as it still tries to keep the little ones together in the bubble nest. Feeding should be happening 3-5 times a day, as the little ones cannot take a big amount of food at once. After about two weeks bigger live food (newly hatched brine shrimps, microworms) should be added to the menu. It is also very important to keep the water quality up in the breeding aquarium. When changing water the new water has to have the same values & temperature as the water in the breeding aquarium, because Betta fry do not handle temperature changes well. After about 5-7 month the fry will get to the sub adult stage and fights between the males will flair, so this is then time to separate the ‘boys from the girls’.
Also read – Keeping Bettas