Unfortunately, my camera is still out of action, so I'm unable to take any photos of my fish until it is repaired. However, I thought I'd post an update on some of the goings on in my fish room instead, although it probably makes for dry reading!
Since I first put them together, my Betta livida pair have spawned at least twice. So far their fry look healthy, and are feeding well on infusoria and other micro-organisms they have found in the tank, although I have also started supplementary feeding with microworms. Hopefully my pair are only just warming up, and there are more spawns to follow.
Meanwhile, my only female F1 Betta livida, is showing a great deal of interest in one of the young males. So much so, I intend on separating them from the rest of the group and see what they do. I'm not sure if they are big enough to successfully spawn and produce fertilised eggs, but they should be getting close.
I'm really hoping to be able to secure the future of this species in this country. Especially if the tighter import laws mean a cessation of the imports of wild bettas.
This moves me onto my next breeding project: Betta coccina. At the moment I have this species separated into two tanks. One tank holds the seven adult F1 fish my pair has produced thus far, and the second tank holds my breeding pair and a small number of juveniles.
My plan at this point, is to separate out a pair from the F1 group, and continue to build up the numbers of this species in my fish room. It took me a long time before I was able to source and successfully breed Betta coccina, so I certainly don't want to lose them.
Perhaps one of my most important breeding projects right now, involves my Betta sp. api api. Presently, I have two tanks full of Betta sp. api api. The first tank holds a wild-caught pair and their offspring, while the other tank holds a large group of young fish, the offspring of my original three wild-caught pairs.
Once again, the plan will be to separate out a pair of fish from the F1 group, and get them spawning. However, I eventually want to separate my wild-caught pair from their offspring, and pair them up with fish from the F1 group. This is so I have several groups of breeding stock that are either unrelated, or only distantly related, rather constantly inbreeding full siblings.
One of the species I'm most looking forward to working with again, is Betta brownorum. I have a single wild-caught pair, which while very prolific, have only produced five offspring. To make matters worse, I still can't accurately sex any of the five, so I'm not certain if there is even a breeding pair among their number. This makes the continued existence of this species in my fish room very precarious, and as such, I desperately want to get my pair spawning again as quickly as possible.
As the juveniles/sub-adults seem to actively hunt down any fry they find, I'm going to remove them to a tank of their own. Because I am concerned about losing this species, instead of my usual 'hands-off' approach when it comes to rearing fry, I will be providing food early on to try and increase survival rates. Basically, I need every (healthy) fry I can get from my pair, in the unfortunate event something happens to them.
While I still have a group of Betta uberis (about 99% of which appear to be male) I'm uncertain as to whether I want to continue working with this species. I've got a very limited amount of space, and I am concerned that future pairings will also produce a disproportionate number of males. With that said, I've seen at least one or two F1 females in the group, so there's always the option to return to them at a later date.
My last 'project' is still very much up in the air. The species I'm talking about in this case, is Betta miniopinna. Previously, I sold off what I thought was every last Betta minopinna in my fish room. However, as it turned out, my pair were slightly more prolific than I thought, and these 'bonus' fry only made an appearance after I'd moved the Betta uberis group into their tank.
At this point in time, I only ever see two Betta miniopinna. However, the larger Betta uberis are highly territorial and tend to chase any smaller fish away from the front of the tank. Unfortunately, the two I can see, are not large enough for me to accurately sex, but even so, I plan on moving them, and any other Betta miniopinna I can find, to a tank of their own as soon as I have the space.
I've always found this species slightly trickier to spawn than some of the other coccina complex species, and while I've let breeding stock go to other hobbyists, I've never received any updates as to whether not they've had success in breeding them. So it would be a shame if these were some of the only Betta miniopinna left in Australia and I didn't do anything with them.
Finally, while there have been some high points this year, there have also been some devastating lows. Perhaps worst of all, was the loss of my Betta hendra group. They were infected with velvet and failed to recover in spite of repeated treatments. Compounding their loss, was the fact that the tough new import laws came into effect before I could purchase a replacement pair from overseas.
So it is after all these years, I have lost this species from my fish room, and I can really only hope other breeders in this country are working to maintain it, or that there won't be a permanent stranglehold on the import of wilds into Australia.
At the start of the month, tough new quarantine laws came into effect that would directly impact the import of wild bettas into Australia. At this point I'm concerned that the importation of wild bettas in small numbers will be so prohibitively expensive, it will become all but impossible for the average hobbyist. Wild bettas have always had a limited market in this country, and even through the larger wholesalers, their import has been rather sporadic.
It seems transhipping through the main transhipper here in Australia has ceased, which is further grim news, and I suppose now it is just a waiting game to see what's going to happen next. I think it will be a great tragedy if this heralds the end of wild betta imports into the country - or at least those undertaken by hobbyists and not wholesalers.
It took longer than I expected, but earlier today, my pair of Betta livida finally spawned. The male is busy guarding a (modest) nest of eggs, and if all goes well, these should hatch in the next couple of days.
Bad luck dictates that my camera stops working right when I need it most. Unfortunately, until the camera is working again, I won't be able to take any new photos for my blog.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, I currently keep and breed a number of species from the coccina complex.