Well today I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of my Betta hendra F1 females was wrapping with the original male under a bubblenest. Based on the purchase date of the original pair, the oldest this female could be, is 6 months. I am quite happy with this rate of growth considering the 'hands-off' approach I took.
However, while I was pleased about this most recent spawn, I was curious as to what had happened to the eggs from a spawn between the original male and female, that took place on Friday. Let's just say it did not take me long to find out...
It turns out the other male and female juveniles/sub-adults in the tank were eating them. Any time the pair were wrapping, another fish would sneak in and grab the eggs out of the nest. Similarly, if they were too slow to pick up the eggs that fell to the bottom of the tank, these would also be consumed.
If I want to continue working with this species, I know I am going to have to separate the breeding pair from the main tank. There has definitely been a drop in survival rates of fry over the past couple of months because of predation by older siblings. Ideally, I would like to have a tank dedicated to breeding and a tank dedicated to the housing of immature fish. Unfortunately, present space constraints make this all but impossible, so for now I am going to have to put up with cannibalism.
The tank housing my pair of Betta sp. wajok, is the favourite of my fish room. While it might not seem like much from photos, in person it is extremely natural looking. In fact, with tea-coloured water, and roots trailing from the surface plants, you almost don't notice the jar that houses one of the two males. The combination of peat moss, leaf litter and wood on the bottom of the tank, creates an enriching environment for my fish to explore, and encourages the growth of infusoria - an important food source for future fry.
As I've likely mentioned in previous entries, the tank itself is 45x27x30cm. I keep the water level at around 15cm, which allows the watersprite to grow emersed. I personally like the look of shallow water, and I think it probably reflects more closely the type of environment these fish would inhabit in the wild.
The water temperature is kept around 24 degrees Celsisus, and partial water changes are carried out once a week (usually only a couple of litres). While I do throw in a rooibos tea bag or two, the leaf litter, peat moss and wood seems to be enough to keep the water dark.
Unfortunately, I ended up with two males, so I am not able to ascertain how conductive this set-up is for spawning. My experiences thus far show me that this is quite an aggressive species. The two males could not cohabitate peacefully, and the male pictured above caused some serious damage to his rival. It's going to be interesting to see if some of this aggression abates with the arrival of a female, and whether this male directs his energies into courtship rather than battle.
Because I do only have two males I can't comment on what it takes to successfully breed these fish. However, rest assured, any progress made in this particular area will certainly be shared - and include plenty of photos!
As this is not an officially described species and there is only scant information available online, I am hoping that my replacement female survives the importation process without incident. I very interested in working further with Betta sp. wajok, and will chronicling all my experiences (both good and bad) right here.
My Betta hendra group consisting of adults, juveniles and fry, are thriving. At present, I have at least a dozen female juveniles that are around the 2-3cm mark. I also have a single juvenile male who is developing well, and who looks more like the original male each day.
The adult pair still spawn from time to time, but I have noticed a slow-down now that the juveniles are getting bigger, and approaching breeding size themselves. However, there was a group of fry that became free-swimming only a few days ago so perhaps so of these will go on to survive predation by their siblings.
I look forward to seeing how this F1 group of fish mature, as so far things seem very promising. I am hoping to see another male or two emerge, as the eventual goal would be to pass on some sibling pairs to other breeders.
A while back, I lost my Betta brownorum male from Joty, after he was attacked by the female. I was particularly upset, not only because he had been a favourite of mine, but also because he had possessed such rich colouring and spectacular finnage.
I've owned a number of Betta brownorum in the past, and none of the males compared to my one from Joty.
I don't particularly like hybridising different strains/localities when it comes to my wilds. A small amount of inbreeding does not really concern me (I'm sure inbreeding is common amongst isolated populations in nature), so rather than replacing the male with whatever one I could get my hands on, I decided I would retain a son to use instead.
However, while the form of the biggest male offspring is developing well, I am rather disappointed in how his colour is coming through. It is much more washed out than that of the original male's, with what I can only describe as a distinct lack of vibrancy. I was hoping the red would deepen as he matured, but it seems to have stayed about the same. At the moment, the only positive going for him is that he has a nicely-sized lateral blotch.
Although I don't selectively breed for colour when working with my wilds, I still had hoped that the male offspring would have been on par with their father in terms of colour and quality. With that said, there are still a couple of young males that haven't coloured up yet, so it will be interesting to see if any of them come close to the original male's colour.
The other day I decided to move my Betta sp. apiapi tank up onto the top shelf. Because it's only a small tank, I decided that I'd drain out 3/4 of the water and then just move it from the sideboard and up onto the rack. This saved me having to try and net everyone as there is quite a large group of fish in there.
The tank fits nicely beside my Betta persephone tank, and I'm hoping that with the abundance of natural light that comes through the clerestory window, I won't have to use any artificial lighting overhead.
The original pair spawned earlier today, so it seems like they haven't been at all phased by the move. Some of the sub-adults are so close to spawning size now. Be exciting if I could get an F2 generation going so soon.
I was thinking with the large number of juveniles present in my Betta hendra tank, that the original pair would show more reluctance to spawn. However, several days back, the pair gave me the privilege of watching the entire process from start to finish. The eggs hatched today, and as usual the male is very dedicated to their care and protection. Neither his mate nor his juvenile offspring dare to venture anywhere near that side of the tank when he has a nest to defend.
The biggest of my Betta miniopinna fry have started taking freshly hatched artemia and grindal worms. While I have not witnessed the pair spawning since I stopped treatment for external parasites, the male almost always has a nest, and spends much of his time inside of the film canister. Of course it is in such a location that I can't get a good look in - these fish never make anything easy!
Unfortunately, it looks as though my treatment for ich in my Betta brownorum tank did not work. While there are no longer visible parasites on the female or the male sub-adult, I found a juvenile with a couple of distinctive spots on her head, and so I will be turning up the heat in their tank for a further couple of weeks. I suppose at least it is not the dreaded oodinium.
Also, it turned out that my Betta sp. wajok are indeed both male. Therefore, the replacement female offered by Hermanus will be a very much welcome addition. No wonder my pair were so resolute in their refusal to spawn.
Otherwise, there hasn't been much else to report from my fish room. I've been meaning to write up a couple more informative posts, but have been suffering with a bout of writer's block. Also as most of my tanks are in rather atrocious condition, there has been a severe lack of photos. I intend on giving them all a good clean this week, so there should be some further posts soon.
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 sp. cf. rutilans green are showing no sign of oodinium infection, and I do sometimes catch a pair spawning.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, I currently keep and breed a number of species from the coccina complex.