Back in 2015, I introduced 'Zig-Zag', a deformed Betta brownorum juvenile from an F0 x F1 spawning. As a fry, his spine was so crooked I thought he would die as I couldn't see how his internal organs could function. However, not only did Zig-Zag survive, he thrived. More surprisingly, was that over time his spine has straightened, leaving only a slight indentation in front of his dorsal fin as you can see below.
Sadly, having lost his spawn sibling quite recently, Zig-Zag is now the only fish in my fish room descended from my previous Betta brownorum pair. What's more of a shame is the fact that my current pair don't seem to be throwing that characteristic lateral blotch on any of their offspring.
Below, is a 40 litre tank that contains a group of Betta coccina. To many hobbyists, I'm sure this tank looks like it's in dire need of a trim, but for a tank housing coccina complex species, it's close to perfect (admittedly I would like the water a shade or two darker).
These plants not only remove excess nutrients from the water column, but also provide valuable areas of cover, break up lines of sight, and encourage the growth of infusoria. All of which are important when breeding a territorial, and sometimes intensely aggressive, species of fish.
Many hobbyists only witness the true beauty of their wilds during courtship and spawning. With my planted tanks, I see it everyday. My fish are brilliantly coloured, and brimming with confidence in these set-ups. They don't need to feel threatened, because there is enough plant mass that they are safe from potential predators or aggressive conspecifics.
My Betta uberis have long been overlooked in favour of rarer, more challenging species. I'd always planned to put an F1 pair together at some point, but whenever it came time, there'd invariably be another species demanding my attention, or no tanks left to fill (the bane of a small fish room).
Finally after months and months of being put on the back-burner, I had a free tank. As the tank was 'move in ready' (having recently been vacated by my group of F1 Betta brownorum), it was a simple matter of catching the pair and moving them across.
I've personally found Betta uberis one of the easiest species from this complex to spawn, and my sibling pair were no exception. Within a couple of days of being separated from the group, they had successfully spawned. As I've mentioned previously in this blog, I don't believe in artificially hatching eggs. My breeding pairs have to be able to rear their fry without any human intervention, and so a first time spawn with a virgin pair is always an anxious time.
Happily, this pair performed like old pros. In fact, they were so eager to repeat the process, they spawned before the stragglers from their first spawn had completely left the nest.
As it looks like I have two further females in my F1 group, I'll likely separate out a couple more sibling pairs of Betta uberis to ensure this species remains a firm fixture in my fish room.
While at a fish store the other day, I picked up a packet of 'Ocean Nutrition Black Mosquito Larvae'. I've not seen this particular variety of frozen food stocked in any of the aquariums I frequent, so I was quite excited to try it out. Hopefully, this will provide a suitable alternative to the 'real thing', during the colder months when live mosquito larvae is harder to come by.
My wild bettas can be very 'hit and miss' when it comes to frozen foods. So far however, I've fed this food twice, and both times it has met with a very enthusiastic response from my fish. Each cube contains mosquito larvae of varying sizes, which makes it a suitable food not just for adults, but also for juveniles and sub-adults. As many of my tanks contain fish of different ages, it means I don't have to feed multiple foods.
Personally, I think Ocean Nutrition provides some of the highest quality frozen foods in Australia. I've always been impressed with the quality of their foods, and this product is no different. I like the fact that when I thaw a cube out, I get whole mosquito larvae, rather than broken pieces of larvae that my fish don't want to eat.
If you keep or breed smaller species of wild betta, I strongly recommend giving this product a go. I don't know how cost effective it would be, if fed to larger mouthbrooders, but it is a perfect supplementary food for the coccina complex species.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, I currently keep and breed a number of species from the coccina complex.