Rearing Wild Betta Fry: Part Two
Most of my grow-outs for very young fry initially only contain around 2-4L of water. This water is taken directly from the parents' tank to avoid shocking the still delicate fry.
I generally use tanks in the 8-20L range, and over the course of a week or so I gradually raise the water level by doing daily water changes. I find it is very important to keep the bottom of my grow-outs clean, particularly when the fry are young and spend a lot of time down there.
Right from the beginning, I am fastidious in siphoning out uneaten food and waste from the bottom of my grow-outs. Water is returned to the tank using two pieces of airline tubing and a valve, to bring the level of flow down to a couple of drips a second. It is very important that this process is gradual when fry are still young as too rapid a swing in parameters or temperature can cause a mass die-off.
As the fry get bigger, the tank size is steadily increased. Most of my juveniles and sub-adults usually end up in tanks in the 40-60L range. However, this does depend on species, and the number of fry present.
When the fry are very young, I let them feed solely on infusoria. I have found the conditions I keep my wild bettas in, is very conductive to the growth of infusoria and other fry friendly micro-organisms.
Once the fry are around a week to 10 days old, I start supplementing their diet with microworms and freshly hatched BBS. Those fry that are still too small to take either of these foods, are usually fine subsisting on the infusoria until they are bigger.
As the fry get older, I start introducing grindal worms into their diet, followed by live blackworms, which I have found puts excellent growth on young fish. I can definitely see a difference in the rate of growth once fry transition from grindals to blackworms. After that I introduce pellets and frozen brine shrimp, so that my fish learn to accept both live and non-live foods from an early age. There is nothing more frustrating than an adult fish that will not take pellets.
It is interesting to note that I have never produced a fish with either missing or incomplete ventral fins. Even fry that have been fed predominately microworms have developed normally. I wonder if this is a problem linked solely to species from the splendens complex, or if my perhaps excessive siphoning prevents the build-up of excess food.
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, I currently keep and breed a number of species from the coccina complex.