Home Forums Betta Breeding Spawning & Raising Fry Males not fertilizing eggs?

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  • Patrick S
    Participant
    Post count: 3

    Hi, I’ve raised a variety of fish, including bettas, for many years. Recently I managed to get some very nice half-moon show bettas from a local breederand IBC member. However, in my first attempt to breed the first pair (HM blue), the male just kind of shimmied next to the female and eggs went to the bottom. I did not notice any “embraces” by the male although I was not there all the time. Interestingly a few hours later I noticed the female was tending the nest (no bubbles, but she was gathering and putting eggs under Styrofoam cup). The male went to the other corner of the tank. Before night time I took out female because that is what is usually done and I though she might eat eggs. Next day all eggs were on bottom and male was ignoring them so I took him out also. All eggs turned white and I assume were not fertile as I got no babies over the next couple of days. This was a fully finned male. Could he be too old to breed? Anyone see something like this?
    Tank parameters: 4 inches water in 10 gal tank with sponge filter and box filter on low. Temp of 78 F. pH about 7.5, hardness about 120-140 ppm. Had female in glass cyclone for several days to introduce to male. Some java moss and java fern in tank for hiding in. Half Styrofoam cup in front corner; this is where mating took place.
    I plan to try with these pairs again in a couple of weeks. Thanks for any advice.
    Pat

    Anonymous
    Post count: 1

    I can’t give you an answer to your question directly, but I had a similar experience recently. I’ve had two EE HMPK bettas in the past month that failed to spawn. In both cases the female was very willing, but the male seemed like he didn’t have a clue what he was supposed to do. In the second case they were together for five days before the female seemed to get frustrated and began attacking the male and I had to separate them. In the first case, the female was so fat with eggs she looked like she had swallowed some whole peas! I checked the nest after the third day and it was full of eggs. The female was hiding, so I removed her to a jar. She proceeded to release about a hundred eggs and eat them (of course). The male then ate the vast majority of the eggs in the nest. I removed him with about 20 eggs remaining. The next day I inspected the remaining eggs and they were clearly unfertilized, as I suspect ALL the eggs were.

    My best guess was that she was so full of eggs and unable to get him to spawn with her, so she released the eggs into the tank. The male likely picked them up and put them in the nest (although hearing your experience I wonder if this isn’t what happened to me). He then ate them for whatever reason – perhaps because I disturbed him when netting the female? Or he simply realized they were unfertilized.

    I’ve had a few HMs that seemed incapable of breeding as well. It’s been suggested that bettas who are separated and jarred too early never develop “proper” betta behaviour, and I suspect that could have something to do with the problem I’m having. Although interestingly, I dewormed my fish shortly after and one of the impossible males was most definitely infested with tapeworms. Perhaps this was the issue? I will be respawning him in a few weeks to test my theory.

    Anyways, that’s my experience. I don’t believe it’s a case of age, I think it’s a behaviour issue although the exact cause is a mystery. Perhaps others can share their experiences and have a better hypothesis. I’d definitely suggest a parasite treatment in the meantime, if it’s not something you do regularly. Certainly can’t hurt.

    Did you attempt a repeat spawning? If so, did you have any success?

    (I hope that these forums get more use than they have so far, participation is the key to making a forum effective)

    Happy spawning! 🙂

    Stacy Fenhaus
    Moderator
    Post count: 614

    We call those males “TSTB” or “too stupid to breed”. LOL

    You might try pairing the male with an experienced female, sometimes they’ll teach them the ropes– so to speak.

    Patrick S
    Participant
    Post count: 3

    Thanks for the responses. I was worried it was me. I am trying them again. I have 3 females (1 blue and 3 red) and a blue and red male. Unfortunately 2 of the 3 females have pectoral fins on one side that seem to be jointed in the wrong direction. So I didn’t want to breed them. Is this likely genetic or due to damage? In any case I am giving the same pairs another shot at breeding as we speak. Maybe a little Marvin Gaye background music. I’ll let you know what happens.

    Anonymous
    Post count: 12

    Patrick any Success yet?

    Patrick S
    Participant
    Post count: 3

    Hi Morgan, No success yet. I have lost all of the fish except 1 male. I treated one pair that was quite listless with “Clout” to take care of external parasites possibly. Generally I don’t like to medicate so this was an experiment. I haven’t kept good notes, but eventually the female (also treated) and others in separate tank, all became listless, hid in corner and eventually died. I =have one male left that is doing OK now. I think I might have been overfeeding and giving too much frozen bloodworms and white worms (??. Anyone have more experience with this as I am just guessing? I started to feed less and primarily with pellet food. Now he just gets an occasional 1 or 2 bloodworms or 10 grindal worms every few days with pellet food (2-3 Tetra betta pellets) or X-food pellets twice per day for all othr feedings. My temperatures lately have been about 78-84 C in tanks due to warm room although I though bettas preferred this (any comment?). Never had so much trouble with bettas before. These were show quality I bought at auction from a person who was doing well at shows in OH area. My approach now is just to keep fish alive and then if that works out move on to try breeding again. Water is at about 120=140 ppm hardness, pH 7-7.5 and tanks are not sparkling clean. Have box filter with coral gravel to maintain pH and sponge filter for bio filtering.

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