- Can a Betta Fish Become Pregnant?
- How To Tell if a Betta Fish Is Pregnant?
- How To Prepare Your Fish For Spawning?
- What Happens if the Female Betta Does Not Mate?
- How Long Are Betta Fish Pregnant?
- What To Do if Your Betta Fish Is Egg-bound?
Can a Betta Fish Become Pregnant?
Technically speaking, betta fish cannot get pregnant. The term “pregnancy” implies that the fish is carrying fertilized eggs that will be hatched and then develop into fry, however, that’s not how it goes for a betta fish.
The female betta fish lays the eggs for them to be fertilized, and the male betta carries out the job immediately afterward. Then the eggs will develop outside the female body until they hatch. So you won’t see a betta fish giving birth to live fish babies.
However, there are gravid betta fish. The term “gravid” means a betta fish that is currently carrying eggs. For a period of time, the female betta fish does carry the eggs. Therefore, it will appear bloated, which would make it look pregnant.
– Appearing Bloated:
A gravid female betta is a sexually mature betta fish that carries eggs that are nearly or fully ready to be released for fertilization. It should be noted that aside from this, a betta may appear bloated due to diseases, so you should check for the signs properly.
When a betta fish is gravid, you can consider it almost the same as being pregnant. Moreover, that would not be the correct term by definition. “Spawning fish” is the more accurate term, and that’s what bettas are classified as.
How To Tell if a Betta Fish Is Pregnant?
It’s important to familiarize yourself with all the signs of a betta fish having babies to not mistake bloating caused by a disease for pregnancy. Here are some things you can watch out for:
– See if the Female Betta Has Developed Stripes
This is a fairly easy way to tell. Gravid female bettas will develop vertical stripes along with their bodies. These stripes will be of a lighter color than the betta’s normal coloration, and the number should be around five to six in total.
The stripes will not be extremely visible, and they might not entirely stand out. Some of the lines may have slightly jagged edges. But if you look closely, you should still be able to distinguish them. These stripes are a sign that your betta is about to spawn.
– There Should Be Mild Bloating
A female betta full of eggs will develop a bulge in her abdomen due to the development of the eggs inside the body. Sometimes the bloating happens downward, but it’s usually outwards.
However, keep in mind that the bloating will be quite mild. You might not be able to notice it if you aren’t familiar with how your betta looked before the spawning. But it might be easier to notice the bulge from above than from the side.
– Check the Ovipositor
The female betta has a small orifice called the ovipositor, and it is located behind the ventral fins and right in front of the anal fins. Basically, you will find it on the downward side of their body’s frontal portion.
That’s where they release their eggs from. When a female betta becomes gravid, you will notice that the ovipositor has become whiter than it was and has a small outward bulge.
– Look Out for Behavioral Changes
It generally isn’t recommended to keep your female and male bettas together permanently. However, if you do, then you will see a considerable difference in the female’s behavior, and it won’t be as noticeable if the female lives alone.
She will display an increased level of interest in the male and his bubble nests. Before the spawning, she will examine the bubble nest to check if it’s up to par. If she likes it, then the spawning will occur soon after. If not, then she will destroy the nest, and the male will have to make another one impress her.
How To Prepare Your Fish For Spawning?
If you have gathered that your betta isn’t pregnant, then you might be wondering how to get them to breed. You have to condition your betta fish before you try to make them reproduce.
Before that, you should keep in mind that the healthier the fish, the better the chances of successful spawning. Moreover, a healthy fish has a higher chance of laying a larger number of healthy eggs that will have the chance to be fertilized.
So providing your betta an ideal environment and healthy diet is important from the very beginning. And if you plan to breed your bettas, you should give them extra love and care. Keep them as happy as possible, and they will gladly do their job!
– Ways To Prepare for Spawning
Here are ways you can prepare your betta fish for spawning:
- Take care of their diet: Provide them with foods that are rich in nutrients, especially protein. For example- brine shrimp, earthworms, and bloodworms.
- Introduce the female betta to the male: You have most likely kept the female and male betta separately. You should use hurricane glass or a tank divider when introducing them.
The reason is that you will get the chance to observe their behaviors with each other first. That way, you’ll know whether they are compatible and how the mating process might go. Since betta fish display unpredictable behaviors when spawning, it’s best to take these kinds of precautions first.
Another important precaution is to remove the female betta after the mating process is done. Since the male becomes super protective of the eggs, he can end up harming the female as a way to defend the kids.
You will be able to tell whether the mating was successful or not by checking the male’s bubble nest. If you see tiny flecks there, then that’s a good sign. Moreover, if these flecks grow over time, it man’s that the tiny fry will be floating all over the aquarium any time now.
What Happens if the Female Betta Does Not Mate?
You have started seeing all the signs that your betta fish is about to spawn. Her underside is already bloated from the produced eggs. If the female betta liked the bubble nest made by the male one, she would allow the male to squeeze the eggs from her ovipositor. That will be the mating process.
Betta fish can be very choosy when it comes to who they mate with. Additionally, it’s quite impossible to tell what factors influence their choice. If the female betta is not charmed by the nest that the male one built for her, she will destroy it. And the male will have to keep trying until a successful mating occurs.
This can become quite tiring for the male betta. Hence, if you see failures in the first two times, you should just separate the male betta again. In that case, the female betta will not mate with the male one, and the eggs that she produced will remain unused.
She will expel those eggs by herself into the aquarium. Afterward, you will notice that the bloating is gone. Though the eggs will be released, they will not hatch to give birth to betta fry since the male did not fertilize them. So the eggs will just go to waste.
Therefore, it’s clear that just because the female betta is carrying eggs, there is no guarantee it will result in eventual fry. Both the male and female betta have to be ready for it. The health and mood of the bettas will play a role in this, so you should keep them as happy as possible before trying to breed them.
How Long Are Betta Fish Pregnant?
Since betta fish don’t really become pregnant, it’s difficult to say for how long exactly the pregnancy will last. However, you can still get an idea of how many days the whole process takes. The spawning process takes a fairly short time. Afterward, the male will start with the bubble nest.
As mentioned before, the male builds a bubble nest to impress the female. And the nest is where the eggs are cared for until the fry hatch. This bubble nest can be of different shapes and sizes.
Thus, there is no fixed number for how much time is taken to build one. More often than not, the male will only require a few hours for their craft. Within a couple of days, the female betta fish will lay her eggs.
After that, the eggs will be under the care of the male betta fish for usually no more than three days. Then the eggs will hatch, and you can welcome the fry to your aquarium.
What To Do if Your Betta Fish Is Egg-bound?
Bettas are egg-laying animals. And just like any other animal which reproduces by laying eggs, there is a chance that female bettas will become egg-bound. It is quite uncommon when it comes to bettas, but still a possible scenario you should prepare yourself for.
First, what is an egg-bound betta? A gravid female fish having difficulty passing the eggs is an egg-bound fish. This difficulty may arise for several reasons that would usually be out of your control.
Sometimes, the problem takes care of itself, and the betta manages to pass the egg. Other times, the betta’s body will reabsorb all the eggs. This can lead to some serious problems. However, sometimes you can assist them with passing the eggs as well.
For this reason, you have to gently squeeze the betta’s abdomen so that she can release the eggs from her ovipositor. Make sure to do it as delicately as possible because even the smallest amount of extra pressure can be very risky for the betta fish.
This is why this method is not recommended unless it’s the absolute last resort. Only do it if you are entirely sure that the betta is egg-bound and if you are confident that you can do it without causing pain to the fish.
Now you’re ready to take care of a pregnant betta fish. Let’s take another look at the key points of this article, so you don’t forget-
- Since betta fish don’t get pregnant, you can only tell that the female is about to spawn if you see her stomach bloated and vertical stripes on her body.
- Before spawning, shower your betta fish with lots of nutritious live foods. It’s best to observe the behavior of the male and female towards each other by keeping a tank divider between them after introduction.
- If the female is egg-bound, let them take care of it by themselves or help them out as gently as you can.
- If the mating process does not happen the first few times, separate the two bettas and try again after a month.
- After the mating is done, keep the female betta away in case the male harms her.
If you can keep all these in mind, you will have no trouble with your pregnant betta. Soon you will have little betta fry swimming all over the tank!
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