My wild-caught pair of Betta brownorum (particularly the female), are two of my favourite fish. Unlike my previous pair where the female killed the male, and was then later killed by one of her adult sons, most of the aggression between this pair is limited to display. Unfortunately, the male is rarely captured on camera looking his best, so most of these photos are of my female who is much friendlier. The reason she is facing much the same way in all the photos is because that is the corner where the food goes into their tank!
Water changes play an important role in successful fish keeping, which is why I will be writing about them today. It's a subject I have oft touched upon, but never really written about in any great detail (at least to my knowledge). Therefore, I thought it might provide a nice stopgap until I can put together some more 'fishy' related topics.
In my fish room, water changes are done every 1-2 weeks. With each water change, I will remove about 2-5 litres, depending on the size of the tank. Even though none of my tanks are cycled, the abundance of live plants ensures ammonia always remains at 0ppm. Typically, the only reason I do water changes, is to 'freshen' up my tanks, and replenish any lost minerals and trace elements. As an added bonus, water changes (particularly those done with slightly cooler water) have a tendency to induce spawning.
All the water I use in my established tanks, is water from the tap, which has been aged for at least 5-7 days. It's stored in a plastic container (shown in the photo above), which is kept heated and filtered. The introduction of water conditioners, and the presence of chloramine in many municipal water supplies, means aging water is no longer necessary or recommended. However, after the loss of a great many of my fish as a result of the oodinium parasite, I try to make certain the conditions in my tanks remain as stable as possible. Therefore, I hope that by aging my water beforehand, the parameters (particularly pH and temperature) will more closely match those of my tanks, than if I used water straight from the tap.
During this process, I use a combination of peat moss, IALs, and rooibos tea to not only keep the pH and hardness low, but also to darken the water. Within a day or two, the water in the container will usually be the same colour as unmilked tea. This means, I won't be stripping the tannins from my tanks when it comes time to do water changes.
Water is siphoned from my tanks using clear plastic tubing I picked up from the local hardware store. To refill my tanks, I use a couple of small, plastic watering cans. I personally find buckets too cumbersome when I only need to refill a few litres of water, or have to refill the tanks on my top shelf (which requires the use of a step ladder). The watering can is ideal because it's light, easy to hold onto, and doesn't create enough flow to disturb the substrate.
While Melbourne tap water is some of the highest quality in the world, I still use water conditioner. I know some fish keepers here that don't use it, or don't use it all the time, but it's not a risk I am personally willing to take. The brand of water conditioner I use, is Seachem Prime. It's most useful feature is its ammonia/nitrite detoxifying properties, and I find it extremely cost effective as only a small amount is needed to treat a large volume of water.
I hope this has proved a useful read for at least someone out there. I know it's not a particularly exciting topic, but sometimes I feel like I've discussed every possible topic in the few years this blog has been going.
My F1 pair of Betta persephone have spawned several times since I posted on the 20/6. Disappointingly, I was unable to find any free-swimming fry, and came to the conclusion that they must have been eaten by the other fish in the tank.
However, yesterday, I made the discovery of two free-swimming fry. Based on their size, they were likely from the spawn that occurred on the 20/6 or shortly thereafter. Hopefully, this means that other fry have also survived.
Sadly, my Betta persephone numbers have dwindled over the past couple of years. I did distribute a small number of F1 pairs to breeders in Australia some time ago, but I believe two or three pairs were lost, and I am still uncertain as to the fate of the last pair. At this point in time, I don't know how many hobbyists in Australia are even keeping these fish, let alone breeding them. Which is a great shame, especially if the stricter regulations regarding the importation of fish from this genus, come into effect next year.
The future of this species does seem rather grim, unless there are other hobbyists in this country actively working with this species that I don't know about. Which I greatly hope is the case.
Hi, I'm a betta enthusiast and breeder from Melbourne, Australia. I keep and breed wild bettas from the coccina complex.