How Do Betta Fish Mate? Everything You Need to Know

Bettas are beautiful but complicated fish for many reasons. If you are a Betta lover then it means that their aggressive nature and the way they behave to tank mates doesn’t disturb you much. It is well known that Bettas do not like anyone endangering their territory so the question is how do Betta fish mate. The only way to increase the number of these beautiful fish is mating but knowing their nature and the way they behave brings the question to light.

So, the process of reproduction goes the same for all fish. a female throws out the eggs then a male fertilizes them with his sperm and it is done. But, with Bettas, it is a bit different. A male will wrap around a female and squeeze the eggs for her. There is not a special time of the year or certain water conditions for this act, they can mate at any time, randomly.

How Do Betta Fish Mate

When is your Betta ready to mate?

If you buy your Betta at a reputable pet store you can expect the owner to tell you the age. The best age for mating is between four months and a year. If Bettas are older than fourteen months it can often be unsuccessful 

How to get the male and female Betta fish to mate?

If you want your Bettas to mate the most important is to choose a perfect mating pair. You chose it by picking a healthy Betta with no anomalies, injuries and signs of disease with a certain color and fin shape you want to gain. 

Then provide perfect conditions for mating. Firstly, provide humid air at the top of the tank. You can do that with a plastic bag wrapping it up to the cover. 

You have to condition a female and a male with rich meaty foods for at least two weeks before breeding. You can present all kinds of food frozen, live or freeze-dried as long as it’s high in proteins. Increase the number of meals to three to four but cut the portions. When the time comes to introduce a female to a breeding tank it is very important to have her separated until they are ready to mate. Provide this by using a divider or a transparent container that can float in the tank. Both of them need to be as comfortable as possible. 

The process is about to begin when both have introduced themselves to the breeding tank. They got to know each other but can’t interact yet. They will begin with showing off. After a male notices a female, he will start flaring his fins swimming around her trying to catch her attention. The colors on his body will become deeper and vivid. 

More changes happen to a female. The colors also deepen but dark stripes will appear on her body. When the stripes become vertical it is time, if they are horizontal then it is not ready to breed yet. 

If a male is interested in a female, he will begin making a bubble nest. Those are bubbles coated in saliva that come in different sizes and shapes depending on a fish. The moment a male stops working on it is a sure sign that it is made. 

The purpose of a bubble nest is to help a female decide if the male is fit for her so she will inspect the nest before breeding and the second reason is to protect the eggs before they hatch. 

A male finishes the nest after approximately 12 to 24 hours of hard work and during that time they interact. When a female is released, she will inspect the nest and if she doesn’t approve she will destroy the nest or leave. If that happens it is better to put a female back in the container or set a divider again. A male will try to fix the nest but this will not be a good pair for breeding.  

If a female stays near then she approves so the mail will start to dance around her. They will start swimming next to each other, flaring fins and it can last for three hours. During that time just observe the fish and try not to disturb them in their ritual. When they are ready, they will get closer to the nest and the male will turn over the female and wrap around her. It is a kind of an embrace and they will embrace for several times until all the eggs are out. Then the male goes around and picks all the eggs bringing them to the bubble nest. 

At this point, it is best to remove the female from the tank for two reasons. First, she will probably eat the eggs and second the male will become territorial and try to attack the female. Since a female is no longer needed a male will finish the care of the eggs.

Eggs will hatch within two or three days and during that time the male will look after collecting those which have fallen out of the nest or repairing the nest. A male can be seen eating an egg but not as a sign of aggression but those unfertilized ones. 

When the time comes baby Bettas, also called fry, will drop out of the nest. The male will collect them and put them back until they start swimming on their own and develop a bit. 

When fry begin swimming the male can be removed to his own tank and you should start feeding babies with nutritious foods such as infusoria, micro worm or vinegar eels.

How do you know when Betta fish are mating?

A female Betta is ready to mate when her color darkens and vertical stripes appear. A male will start flaring his fins trying to catch the attention of a female. If they match they will start swimming together and it can last for several hours. When they are ready the male will start building a nest. 

Final Words on How Do Betta Fish Mate?

We have covered almost everything you need to know about mating. The selection of pairs, the process before, during and after the act itself. If you read carefully you will learn a lot. 

It is important to always keep in mind that these fish are aggressive to each other so you need to take all the measures of precaution and prevent them from killing each other before they actually have the chance to mate. 

You have to plan everything carefully and prepare everything before the process begins. Keep this thing in mind:

  • Choose a healthy pair of Bettas
  • Make an ideal breeding environment
  • Introduce the fish carefully
  • Keep the male and the female separated until the time for breeding comes
  • Observe building of a bubble nest
  • Observe their mating behavior
  • Separate the female after she has laid the eggs
  • Observe the male with the eggs
  • Observe the male with fry
  • Separate the male after the fry start swimming on their own
  • Feed babies properly
  • Be prepared for many fries and even if you end up with a dozen the number can be much higher. 

Mating and breeding do sound complicated when Bettas are involved but if you follow our instructions and provide a proper environment you can achieve it with ease. 

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