It's been around two months since I received my pair of Betta sp. apiapi, a possible undescribed species from the coccina complex. Therefore, I thought it was time for a more in-depth progress report.
If this turns out to be a completely new species, I am most likely the first person in Australia to work with it. Suffice to say I was eager to get things right!
However, it seems I needn't have worried. My pair spawned almost immediately upon arrival at my house, and have been spawning almost consecutively ever since. I was quite surprised to see how many eggs the female could produce in one spawning given that she is barely over an inch in total length.
I am inclined to believe that this is most likely an as of yet undescribed species. Both the male and female are unlike any other coccina complex species I have seen or owned, with the male's spade-shaped caudal and the white edge to the dorsal and caudal fins. This edge is present on both fish, although it is much more prominent on the male due to his brighter colouration.
The male has proven to be an excellent father, and like most species from this complex, neither fish have attempted to cannibalise their fry.
I would estimate that I have at least twenty fry of varying sizes and ages currently growing out alongside their parents. There is one quite large fry in there that I believe must have come from one of the first couple of spawnings as it is about a third of the size of its parents. I'm not sure if it has been predating its smaller siblings, so I have been making certain to keep everyone with full stomachs.
I have to say that my objectives for this pair and their fry are rather selfish. Firstly, I would like to get this current group of fry grown out to a sexable size without issue. I have had a lot of difficulty with oodinium in the past, and I am hoping that these fry remain healthy.
Secondly, I would like to retain at least three spare pairs to be housed separately so that if something happens to my original pair or to one of my spare pairs, I have not lost or compromised all of my breeding stock. The success of this goal would depend purely on sex ratios, as I have always found spawns from my coccina complex species to be very male heavy.
It's most likely only after I have achieved these two goals that I would look at distributing pairs to other hobbyists. For now however, my focus is strictly on maintaining the health of my pair and their offspring. It has been a long while since I have managed to grow out a fry to maturity without issue.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, I currently keep and breed a number of species from the coccina complex.