I have a pair of Betta rutilans and a pair of Betta coccina on order. I'm not sure when the next shipment into Australia is, but I'm hoping that I will have them in hand at least by the end of June. That is, if both pairs survive the trip from Indonesia to Melbourne.
Betta rutilans and Betta coccina, are two of only three species, I have not successfully managed to spawn from this complex - Betta livida being the third. As such, I am particularly excited to add them to my collection, and hope I can have some breeding success.
At present I have a whole heap of F1 Betta brownorum juveniles and sub-adults, growing out alongside the original female. Oddly enough, it still looks like the majority of the fish in this tank are female, with only two obvious males. These two males are also the only fish in the tank that show a distinctive lateral spot.
I've decided to retain the two F1 males as breeding stock, along with the sibling female pictured below (on right). The original female will be staying as well, but will be retired from breeding as she has begun to get aggressive again with the larger of the two males.
The rest of the young fish will most likely be sold next month, once I separate them out from the main tank and get a better idea of genders. Considering how densely planted this tank is, and how elusive these fish can be, I can see why some wild betta keepers choose to house their fish in much more spartan quarters!
While the sibling female will be used as a breeding partner for the largest of my F1 males, I hope to procure a wild-caught female, to outcross with the smaller male shown in the pictures above. I am interested to see what this male can produce as he is very unlike his brother, but I also want to introduce some genetic variety into this line.
Because Betta brownorum form part of my 'Species Focus' group, I hope to have fry from my sibling pair, as well as fry from the F1xF0 (new female) crossing by 2015. The eventual goal of my breeding program would be to produce quality, captive-bred Betta brownorum with a traceable bloodline that can then be passed on to other wild betta breeders.
With the arrival of my new pairs yesterday, the 1.5m rack in my bedroom is now completely full. I lose some space because I prefer to have my tanks positioned with the longest side facing the front. However, it does make it easier to see my fish, and it means I don't have to reach right in when I am doing maintenance.
Presently the rack holds eight species of wild betta. The tanks range in size from 13.5L (breeding pair of Betta sp. cf. rutilans green) up to 45L (Betta persephone group). The green bucket on the sideboard is where I age my water for water changes, while the small tank in the back corner is my BBS hatchery. On the shelf beneath those, are my live food cultures.
I'm hoping to squeeze in another two tanks on the sideboard. The tank that is up there currently is going to be torn down and the fish inside of it sold in the next week or so, leaving the perfect space for some more wild bettas.
The plan is to replace the two lamps on the bottom shelf with single fluorescent light to not only free up a power point, but also to provide more light than is currently available. I'm going to order the light this weekend, so it should hopefully arrive next week.
My set-up is by no means perfect, and there is so much I would change if I could. However, it is nice when the first thing I see in the morning is my fish, and I am certainly going to miss them when they are moved downstairs.
It's unfortunate I could not convince my mum to knock out the walls between my bedroom and the spare bedroom and use one as a purpose-built fish room. Alas, she likes my fish... but not that much.
My newest wild betta pairs from Indonesia arrived at my home safely today. Both pairs have been introduced into their respective tanks and are settling in.
This is the first time I've had Betta uberis in my fish room since I lost my last pair, and it is good to have this species back again. While they are not as rare in the hobby as some of the other species from this complex, they are one of my favourites and I hope to see some fry from this pair in the near future.
With the addition of Betta uberis to my fish room, I now have a total of eight species from this complex. I plan to source at least a couple more before the year is out. Hopefully by 2015 I can achieve my goal of having kept and successfully bred every single species from the coccina complex, including those that are yet to be officially described: Betta sp. apiapi, Betta sp. wajok, and Betta sp. cf. rutilans green.
As I've mentioned in this blog previously, my group of Betta sp. cf. rutilans green have suffered from recurrent bouts of oodinium (velvet) in previous years, the last of which I believe I was successfully able to eradicate after several weeks of treatment. Unfortunately, this put any breeding plans I had for the group on indefinite hold as I was afraid that the parasite might still be lingering in the gill tissue of the adult fish, and the presence of fry may be enough to trigger another attack.
However, after finding one of my males mouthbrooding in the main tank recently, I decided to remove a pair to a smaller breeding tank (about 12L) and see what happened. This species has always intrigued me, not only because they have never been officially described, but also because they utilise such an unusual reproductive method (for fish from this complex).
It took my pair a few days to settle into the new tank and start showing an interest in spawning. However, my patience was soon rewarded, when I found the two of them wrapping in a film canister. Like my previous breeding efforts with this species, the male did not build a nest, but instead chose to incubate the eggs in his mouth. Based on previous experience, I knew it would be two or three days before I saw any fry.
Well yesterday, my male spat out a mouthful of fry. They still had their yolk sacs attached, and at present, are gathered inside the film canister under the watchful eye of the male. I thought perhaps he had built a bubblenest to contain them, but on closer inspection this proved not to be the case.
I don't know why it is that Betta sp. cf. rutilans green males show a proclivity for mouthbrooding. Are these specific environmental factors that trigger this behaviour, or is it simply a way to better protect vulnerable eggs from predation? I have seen photos of other males from this species mouthbrooding, and in 'The Betta Handbook', the author does make mention of it, so it seems that this is a normal and instinctive behaviour for males.
Even more curious, is the fact that the mouthbrooding period for Betta sp. cf. rutilans green is so brief compared to that of recognised mouthbrooding species. Fry are released in a matter of days rather than weeks. Normally the fry from mouthbrooding species are fully developed upon release, but my Betta sp. cf. rutilans green fry (both past and present) are often not even fully free-swimming.
I suppose that until someone does a study on moutbrooding in both Betta sp. cf. rutilans green and Betta brownorum, all we really have is speculation.
I just got news that the pair of Betta uberis and pair of Betta miniopinna I purchased, arrived in Australia and are in quarantine. The news so far is that they will be getting shipped out to me early next week. So if everything goes well, expect to see photos of the new arrivals Thursday/Friday of next week.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, I currently keep and breed a number of species from the coccina complex.