Betta Fish Get Pregnant

How Do Betta Fish Get Pregnant?

Fish reproduction varies from species to species. For example, some sharks give live birth while others lay eggs. Some sharks can only give birth to one pup at the time, while others can have several at one time. Despite the similarity between shark species, they have very different reproductive methods.

Different species of bettas also have different reproductive methods. However, there are no species of bettas that can be pregnant. If a fish becomes pregnant, that means there are eggs inside the fish that have been fertilized and will develop fully within the fish. Betta fish fertilize eggs externally instead of internally, but female bettas can still store a massive amount of eggs within their bodies.

In this article, we will cover external fertilization, females and eggs, how to get a female to produce more eggs, treating an egg-bound female, and how bettas spawn.

External fertilization

Most fish reproduce using external fertilization instead of internal fertilization. External fertilization means the eggs are fertilized once they have left the mother’s body. Betta fish use this method, but care for the fry and eggs varies depending on the species.

When a fish reproduces using external fertilization, they leave the eggs and young open to the environment. They no longer have the protection of their mother’s body and are more vulnerable. In addition, the fry is smaller than those of similar sized fish that produce live young.

For example, when comparing the size of a newborn platy baby with the size of a newly hatched betta baby, there is a significant difference. The tiny betta babies are often only a few millimeters long, while newborn baby platies can be over a quarter inch in length. Both fish achieve similar adult sizes, but one starts out much smaller.

In the same vein, platies only have a maximum of around 30 babies per brood, while bettas can have 300. This difference is due to several factors. For one, the mother platy would never be able to carry 300 babies within her at one time since she is only around two or three inches long.

On the other hand, a female betta can carry 300 eggs since they are significantly smaller and thinner than a baby platy. Because the baby bettas start out so small and defenseless, some of them will be picked off by predators. Due to this, the adults have to produce extra fry to make up for the ones that will become prey.

Females and Eggs

Betta Splendens are typically ready to spawn between 4 and 7 months of age. There are some exceptions to this, but most are ready to spawn when they are half a year old. Some breeders don’t spawn their fish until they are a year old, but I have found this to be unnecessary.

Once female bettas are ready to spawn, they begin producing eggs internally. A very healthy female will constantly have eggs inside of her. If she eats a good diet with a lot of protein and some fats, she will have a plump belly unrelated to the food.

Therefore, a healthy female betta will be ready to spawn at almost any time. However, if she becomes overly stressed or aggressive, she will absorb her eggs. This is because her body is telling her that it is not safe to mate at this time, so the energy from the eggs would best be used to keep her alive.

If you want a female to always be ready to spawn, and to be healthy, provide her with many decorations and hiding areas. Give her at least 10 gallons to swim around in and avoid putting her with other bettas or even other fish. Feed her a staple pellet with frozen daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms being fed one to two times a week.

To clarify, feed only two of these choices once or twice a week. While these foods contain a lot of protein, they also contain excess fat. Too much fat in the diet of betta can lead to swim bladder disorder.

How to Get a Female to Produce More Eggs

Even though female bettas are constantly producing eggs, there are ways of making them produce more. One such way is conditioning, which should be done before breeding your bettas.

In order to condition your betta, you should raise the temperature between 80 and 82 degrees. This will increase your betta’s metabolism and allow her to digest more food. Feed 4-5 small meals per day, instead of 2-3 larger ones.

You can increase the amount of brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms fed to 2-4 times per week. The conditioning period should only last for two to four weeks, with two weeks often sufficing.

Live food is the best way to condition any betta. Live California blackworms are my go-to for conditioning, but live daphnia, scuds, tubifex worms, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms are also great choices. Aside from California blackworms, daphnia, scuds, and tubifex worms are the easiest to source.

In addition, age plays a large role in how many eggs a female can produce. A young female between 4-6 months will not be able to produce nearly as many eggs as a female who is between 12-14 months old. A younger female would never be able to produce 300 eggs, unlike an older female.

How to Treat an Egg-Bound Female

Occasionally, a female betta will become egg-bound. Her abdomen will swell significantly and often bulge on both sides. This causes the stomach to look like an upside-down heart. The swelling of the abdomen can interfere with some of the other organs, most notably the swim bladder and intestines.

If the intestines warp too far, they may become blocked. This will lead to excess waste building up in the body, which can poison your betta. The good news is that even incredibly swollen egg-bound bettas can recover.

There are several methods that will help your betta recover. When they become egg bound, they have produced far too many eggs and either need to release them or reabsorb them. Forcing them to reabsorb them is normally the most effective method.

The first step is to fast your betta for 3-4 days. By not feeding them anything, their body should use the energy of the eggs and reabsorb them. This will provide them with enough nutrients to make it through the next few days, or even more than a week, without food.

In most cases, this will be the only thing you need to do. However, some cases are trickier and require a more intensive effort in order to cure your betta. The next thing you should try is showing the female betta either a picture of male betta, actual male betta, or a mirror.

If she is excited enough, she will release the eggs. It is not recommended to try and spawn her in this state because she may not be able to release the eggs, which could frustrate the male. If the male becomes frustrated, he will attack her, and he could cause permanent damage.

How Bettas Spawn                               

Bettas constantly release hormones into the water, as do other fish. This is the primary reason that females cannot live in divided tanks with males. Even though the female and male are separated and cannot spawn, the male hormones in the water will cause her to hold her eggs because she thinks she will spawn soon.

In the wild, female bettas seek out male bettas. Male bettas remain mostly stationary, guarding their sole territory. They fight off other males and attempt to keep their fins and scales in pristine condition.

The females come into their territory, and if she likes the male and his bubble nest, she will spawn with him. In order to spawn, the male will wrap around the female and she will release eggs while he releases milt. They wrap around one another in order to increase chances of fertilizing the eggs.

They will both then grab the eggs in their mouths and bring them into the bubble nest. After they are done spawning, the female will leave, and the male will continue to guard the eggs.

In conclusion, female bettas cannot get pregnant, but they do hold eggs. They only release the eggs during spawning or if they feel incredibly threatened. It is possible for them to become egg-bound, but this condition is fortunately treatable in most cases.

Leave a Comment