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Home > Raising Spawns > Clean Water
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|The Basics - Clean Water|
So now we can assume you have had a successful spawn, and have a clutch of fry to show for your efforts. Once the fry are free-swimming and the male is removed, the real fun begins. If you thought spawning bettas was challenging, get ready for a real feat of courage. The water has to be kept clean, the food must be in just the right amount, and they have to be watched closely for outbreaks of sickness or disease.
|Fish kept in squeaky-clean conditions on one of our barracks walls|
Everyone has their favorite methods of raising betta fry, and some of them vary considerably. One thing I've learned is that there is no real 'right' or 'wrong' way to raise bettas, there is only what works best for you. If their basic needs are met, fry will grow into adults. I'm going to outline those basics, then describe the methods I utilize in my fish room.
Basic 1.) Clean water. This cannot be stressed enough. Polluted water will stunt growth, cause disease, and kill fry. Fry tanks haven't been cycled sufficiently to handle the bacterial overload of hundreds of little fish and their detritus, and are prone to bacterial blooms, nitrate spikes, and excess ammonia levels. In addition, there is some evidence that fry secrete a hormone that serves to stunt the growth of their siblings, a mechanism installed by nature to ensure the largest and most healthy fry survive and don't have to compete for their resources with inferior individuals. As far as I know, this has never been proven conclusively, but if it is true then changing the water frequently will negate that problem as well.
There are some who warn against introducing new water too early, as they feel it has negative effects on the fry. Those of that school of thought wait until the fry are 2 weeks (sometimes up to a month) old before adding new water. Others add new water from the very beginning with no ill effects. I have personally never noticed harm to fry as a result of adding water too early, as long as the water is aged, treated, and of comparable temperature and PH to the water the fry are living in.
Using your handy-dandy airline tubing siphon, remove debris, detritus, and uneaten food from the bottom of the fry tank. Be careful not to suck up fry! Siphon into a clear container so that when you do accidentally suck up a fry, you can see and retrieve it later. Check the container thoroughly when you are done siphoning the fry tank. Use a bright light, and a magnifying glass if your vision isn't perfect. Wait until the debris settles, then squint your eyes and look very closely for a pair of black eyes (looks a little like Mickey Mouse ears from the top). Catch the fry with an eyedropper, medicine dropper, spoon, or brine shrimp net, and replace him in the fry tank. Do NOT ignore this step! No matter how careful you are, you will almost always suck up fry, especially in the first 2 weeks when they are tiny. Even if you went slowly, used a bright light, and are absolutely sure you didn't suck up any fry - yes, you did. So check the container thoroughly. I am extremely obsessive about checking for sucked up fry, and even then I would probably faint if I knew how many fry went down the drain because I didn't find them. This is another reason some people wait a couple of weeks before cleaning the tank. Gives the fry a chance to get a bit bigger!
Replace the amount of water you took, and if you started with a half-filled container, then you can either choose to fill it all the way up now, or replace a bit more water with each water change until it is full. Because I use shallow plastic tubs for spawning, I siphon and replace half the water every other day until the fry are 2 weeks old, then I do it every day. When the fry are very tiny, I recommend adding new water with your airline tubing so that it is introduced slowly and doesn't swoosh the fry around too much. I'm not as good about this as I would like to admit; in fact I usually add water to the tank using a pitcher and either pour it in slowly or gently submerse it and then slowly tilt it until it is empty. With the latter method, the weight of the pitcher compensates water displacement, and if done right hardly disturbs the fry at all.
At about 2 weeks, the fry in tubs are moved into a ten gallon tank and given a seasoned sponge filter set on low. I also change 30-50% of the water daily now, and start offering non-live foods like Golden Pearls and decapsulated brine shrimp. At first most of that will be uneaten, so daily siphoning of the untouched portions is essential. This routine maintains good water quality and rapid growth in our bettas.
I start jarring my fry early by many people's standards, at about a month to 6 weeks old. This does increase water-changing duties on all the individual jars, but I've always found water changing to be relaxing and a good break from the kids, so I don't mind. Jarring them early also means not having to worry about fin damage and outbreaks of disease wiping out entire spawns. They also grow much faster once they are jarred.
At about a month I start jarring the largest youngsters and move the rest into a larger grow-out tank. I do full water changes in the jars every other day. When they are 8 weeks old I move them from their quart jars into half-gallon containers, and start doing 100% changes twice a week, removing feces and uneaten food every day with a turkey baster. As fry in the grow-out tank become large enough, they are also jarred. At about 8-12 weeks old I look over the spawn and select who I am going to keep. Mine are usually sexable by 6-8 weeks, though it may take longer depending on your water, temperature, and food. The select males and females go into the barracks. The rest of the fish will stay in jars until they are sold, though sometimes I will keep the females from the same spawn in a tank together if they are peaceful enough.
|Category: Raising Spawns|
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HEJSAN FROM SWEDEN EVERYONE! Everything in Sweden is going well, although I'm still busy learning the language and coping with a newborn, so it will be a bit before I'm as active as I'd like with the fish. This is a Facebook update! I have created a new BettySplendens Facebook page that will be used exclusively for betta-related networking. On the 16th of August I will be going through and deleting most of the people on my personal Facebook page who are not actual friends or family (many of you have become friends through the course of the hobby, and of course will not be deleted). If for any reason you wish to remain on my personal page, please let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or FB email. Otherwise, go to the new BettySplendens Facebook page and click the 'like' button for more betta-related news and updates :).
Tack så mycket (that's ''Thank you very much'' in Svenskie-land ;))! ~Victoria~
Slight change of plans! I have decided that, instead of reinventing the wheel, I'm going to create a personal FB page and use the old one purely for betta stuff. So if you're on the original page (now called BettySplendens Bettas), please stay put! :P
For all the betta inquiries:
Just a reminder, I am not selling bettas in the US at the present time. I may begin to supply a few select bettas throughout Europe sometime in late Spring 2011. Cheers!
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