Apologies for the lack of posts recently. I have been busy, and to be truthful, have not had much of a good run of luck in my fish room lately. It appears both my Betta brownorum and Betta miniopinna fish have picked up external parasites, and I am trying to treat this without compromising the health of the fish in either tank. I have a large number of Betta miniopinna fry, and a prospective future breeding pair of Betta brownorum present and so at the moment I am hoping to avoid using harsh chemicals/medications.
I have had to separate my Betta sp. wajok pair completely. Hermanus has very kindly offered to send me a female full of eggs on the next shipment into Oz, and I am hoping that this will encourage spawning behaviour.
On the other hand, my Betta sp. apiapi, Betta persephone and Betta hendra are going well. The fry and juveniles I have from these three species are maturing nicely, and a majority are now showing enough size and colour to be properly sexed. My group of Betta rutilans sp. cf. green are showing no sign of oodinium infection, and I do sometimes catch a pair spawning.
At the moment I have decided to cap my wild betta numbers. The recurring difficulties I have with these fish is taking its toll, and unless a species comes through that I haven't owned before, I am most likely not going to be adding further to my collection in 2014. Instead I've decided to focus more on killifish, particularly the Chromaphyosemion sub-genus. I feel this will be a welcome diversion after all the trouble with my wilds.
I've had my pair of Betta sp. wajok for almost a month now. While my pair of Betta miniopinna that arrived at the same time have been frequently spawning, my Betta sp. wajok seem much more reticent.
Before today, the fish I believed to be the female of the pair, rarely coloured up. I did once catch her showing some faint vertical barring, but most of the time she displayed prominent horizontal barring and very washed out colouring. Unlike my other breeding pairs, the male and female rarely interacted. Often the female would remain out of view at the back of the tank, while the male was up the front.
Because this was proving extremely frustrating, I decided to make changes to their tank in the hopes of encouraging a spawn - or at the very least courtship.
I dropped the water level down to 15cm, and increased the amount of tannins by adding rooibos extract and IALs to the tank. Peat moss was also added over the aqua soil substrate, while earlier this morning I picked up several pieces of 'Mekong River Driftwood' from a store in the city.
Unfortunately, while my plan worked in that both fish have coloured up fully, it seems that the male is now being rather savagely pursued by the female. You can see almost half his caudal is missing in the above photo. Since then, his anal and ventral fins have also been badly torn and at this point I am considering separating them as I only recently lost my Betta brownorum male to his hyper-aggressive female.
All of my current breeding pairs were spawning within a week or so of arriving. I was rather excited to have the opportunity to work with a new 'species' in my fish room, and was hoping that these fish would prove as easy and eager to spawn as the rest of my stock.
Therefore, if anyone working with this species has any suggestions as to how I can get my pair to spawn, I would very much like to hear them. Also, if anyone is able to correctly sex these fish from the photo above, please do let me know. I was hoping a spawn would answer my question, but at this rate the male isn't going to have enough body parts left to reproduce!
My group of Betta rutilans sp. cf. green seem to have completely recovered from a previous oodinium infection. However, with an improvement in health has come an increase in aggression, particularly as it appears I have at least two receptive females in the tank. In fact I actually caught a pair embracing the other day, though no eggs were produced due to the pair being constantly interrupted by their male siblings.
This group has always shown high levels of conspecific aggression. Because oodinium can be triggered by stress, my plan is to maintain as low stress an environment as possible. Already I have the group in a larger tank than they were previously, but you can see from the above picture that this hasn't done much to help.
Because I am not planning on working with this species further - besides maintaining this current group to the end of their lives - I thought it would give me an opportunity to create a biotope style tank that mimics more closely than any of my other tanks, the type of environment these fish would inhabit in the wild.
Hopefully this will be taking shape over the next couple of weeks, and I will be posting up photos as I go along.
Every single one of my past spawns, has been considerably male-heavy. I'd probably estimate that for every two or three males, I'd be lucky to get even a single female.
Unfortunately, because most hobbyists only want to buy breeding pairs or trios of fish, such a heavily skewed sex ratio can make it difficult to move on surplus males.
As this had been my experience with previous spawns, I was expecting to see much of the same when I got my new stock in towards the end of last year.
Surprisingly, the reverse seems to have happened.
Both my Betta sp. apiapi and Betta hendra pairs seem to have thrown almost all females from consecutive spawns. Understandably, this could change because many of the fish are only young and haven't fully coloured up. But based on my current assessments, I would not be surprised if I only had a couple of males present in each group. I also have a number of juveniles in my Betta brownorum tank that still haven't been correctly sexed, so I will be eager to see if this trend continues.
What I am particularly interested in, is finding out what environmental factors have influenced this sudden shift. I have made some recent changes in my husbandry practices, such as maintaining a slightly cooler water temperature, and easing back on the frequency of water changes. I also started using aqua soil as the substrate in all my tanks, and I am wondering what effect this is having on the pH (if any).
I'm hoping to purchase a digital pH meter in the next couple of weeks along with KH and GH test kits, so that I can get a more precise picture of what is going on with my water. It would be great if in the future, I could manipulate the conditions in my tanks to provide a sex ratio as close as possible to 50:50.
Here is another 'species' that I don't know much about. I've been after Betta sp. wajok for a little while now, as I have noticed that there is quite a variation in the appearance of fish that are being sold as such. My pair came from Hermanus Haryanto, and arrived in Australia on the same shipment as my Betta miniopinna.
According to Hermanus, his Betta sp. wajok are bubblenesters. Interestingly, while his fish are very similar in appearance to the red form of Betta rutilans, I have seen fish that resemble Betta rutilans sp. cf. green and who reproduce by mouthbrooding, also described as sp. wajok.
It is this sort of ambivalence surrounding this fish that both interests and frustrates me. I will be curious to see whether in the future, Betta sp. wajok is ever officially described. Unfortunately, this process does not seem to be a quick one, so I doubt the confusion will be cleared up any time soon. Therefore, if anyone has further information on these fish, please do comment.
At present, I am keeping my pair in a 45x30x27cm tank. It has a substrate of clay aqua soil, and the water is kept dark through the use of rooibos tea and IALs. The temperature is around 24 degrees Celsius.
On a final note, I find this species incredibly difficult to sex. The ventrals and fin size are very similar between the two, and both fish have fairly streamline bodies without that rounded look a well-conditioned female gets. I haven't seen any courtship thus far, although one individual is clearly dominant, and spends a lot of its time pursuing the other.
I will try to get further photos of these fish later today, as I would appreciate some help in identifying the female.
I haven't posted any photos or news on this species since the start of the year. Therefore, I thought it was time to post an update on how these fish are going.
I still have my original pair, and they are still spawning at least once a week. There are now a large number of fry and juveniles, along with a couple of sub-adults that share a tank with their parents.
Surprisingly, many of these appear to be female. I think I saw one juvenile with a spade-shaped caudal, otherwise all the ones I have seen thus far appear to have the shorter ventrals and rounded caudal displayed by the original female.
The biggest of the sub-adults is pictured below, and is almost the same length as the female. These two do clash a lot as they are the two most dominant females. However, there's no damage done, and apart from a few ragged caudals on some of the smaller fry, all of these fish seem to cohabitate peacefully in this 12L tank.
At the moment I am maintaining the tank at around 25 degrees Celsius, and am performing 2L water changes once a week with aged tap water. The tap water is tinted with IAL and rooibos tea, and kept heated to the same temperature as the tank to avoid fluctuations in both temperature and water conditions.
It seems that my Betta miniopinna pair spawned earlier today. The male is now carefully tending to a nest of at least a dozen eggs, and I hope that not only are the eggs fertilised, but that the adults don't predate any resulting fry.
I am particularly interested in comparing the difference in the development of colour between my Betta persephone and Betta miniopinna. The two species are so close in appearance that I am curious to see whether the fry themselves share these similarities, and whether the development of the darker colouration on the fins follows the same path.
Yesterday my pair of Betta miniopinna arrived safely on my doorstep after making the journey all the way from Indonesia. The tank was ready for them to go straight into, and they spent the remainder of yesterday hunting mosquito larvae and chasing each other around.
This is the first time I have owned this species, and there really doesn't seem to be much information available online. All I know is that they are critically endangered and come from the Riau Archipelago in Indonesia. If you have anything further to add, please do post it in the comment section of this entry.
I'm hoping that I am able to get this pair spawning once they are more comfortable with their new environment. Due to their status in the wild and relative scarcity in the hobby, I want to make Betta miniopinna part of my 'species focus'. Unfortunately, newly arrived fish make for poor photo subjects, so there probably won't be too many photos of this pair just yet.