Some photos of two of my dominant male Betta sp. cf. rutilans green, sparring in the early morning.
It's fascinating watching what I like to call the 'ritual display' between two males. This seems to involve a lot of flaring, synchronised swimming, and the alternating clamping and fanning of fins.
Most often this display does not lead to violence. However, in this instance there were a number of bites landed by each male on his rival.
I thought I would share some photos I took of my elusive Betta sp. apiapi male. He is not a particularly shy fish, but with two consecutive spawns and now a third one this morning, he spends most of his time up in a film canister where my camera can't get to him.
These photos illustrate his rich, red colouring and the unusual spade shape of his caudal fin. The white border on the top of the dorsal and caudal fin is also very striking.
Yesterday afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised to come home and find my pair of Betta hendra spawning under a nest full of eggs.
Since my previous attempts at raising fry from this species have ended in disaster, I am hoping that this time around I will be more successful. Most hendra in the country come from the main wholesaler, so it would be good to have fish from different sources contributing to the gene pool.
However, not only were the above pair spawning when I arrived home, but my pair of Betta stiktos also decided to join in on the act.
I am always touched to see how comfortable the stiktos male is with my presence. He has no problem with me watching him while he tends to his nest. In fact yesterday he and his female broke off mid-spawn to come over and greet me. They would also more than happy to share some of the live brine shrimp I had bought home for them and my other fish.
If you have read previous entries on this blog, you will know the difficulty I had in ever getting a successful spawn from my previous pair of Betta brownorum.
It seems I am not alone in this, as I have heard from other breeders that it can be one of the hardest species from this complex to get spawning.
However, my current brownorum pair have been showing some promising signs. Yesterday, the female was displaying some faint vertical barring, and the pair of them were very animated.
I suppose time will only tell whether I am successful or not, but it would be a great ending to what has been a particularly challenging year, if I could get at least one spawn that eventuated in fry.
My Betta sp. apiapi fry have become free-swimming and left the nest. Now I can only hope that the female doesn't decide to cannibalise them as she spends a lot of her time at the surface hunting for food.
The pair did spawn a second time while this batch of fry were still in the nest. However, I'm not certain if the male ate this last lot of eggs or just moved them elsewhere. Unfortunately, he was disturbed by one of the cats while in the canister and he was out of it this morning when I checked in on them.
I still cannot believe how small both the male and female are. It's rather astonishing that at their present size, this pair managed to successfully spawn. Particularly when I saw how big the eggs themselves were!
It will be interesting to track the growth rate of the fry, as based on past experiences, it can vary greatly between species from this complex. Since this is supposedly the smallest of the coccina complex species with an adult size around one inch, I look forward to seeing whether they mature at a faster or slower rate than the fry of other species I have raised.
I just wanted to update my update by saying that the male has in actual fact moved the eggs to a rather unorthodox location. Rather than the other film canister, he decided to build a second nest in the space between the light clamp and the glass.
Here is a species I haven't had in my fish room for a long time: the stunning and rather ferocious Betta coccina. This was actually the first species of wild betta I started off with about three years ago, and it has taken me this long to source myself a group again.
These three come from an Australian wholesaler. I received them a while ago, but they were all suffering from a very nasty ich infection when I got them and so I didn't want to get too far ahead of myself in case they didn't recover.
However, after over a week of treatment with Protozin and heat, they seem to be on the mend. After my terrible morning, it was nice to see the dominant male looking much more healthy and feisty than he was when he first arrived here.
I believe I have a female and another smaller male. While it would be nice to one day have a wild-caught pair, for now my 'aquarium strain' coccina will have to do.
Once they are completely recovered I will be setting them up a proper tank and separating out the smaller male so as to hopefully encourage a spawn.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, I currently keep and breed a number of species from the coccina complex.