Basement Bettas

Raising Show Quality Bettas

Tri Band Copper Halfmoon

1A-1 This is my favorite male out of the Copper spawn. His fins are huge! I like the three bands of color he has. They are not contrasting enough to be a good Butterfly pattern for shows.. but I was told an entry in Form and Finage would be a better place for him. I think 3 weeks from now, when the next show rolls around, he will be past his prime for showing with these fins. So, we are looking at a few females to pair with him for a spawn. When I bred the parents I was looking for some nice, even Coppers. What I got was a lot of Butterfly patterns in Copper/White and this Punk/Lavender/White. Now that I want to duplicate this pattern, you watch.. it probably won’t show up again.

1A-2Although I love this guy, I prefer fins that are not so ‘frilly’. I’d like a flatter and crisper look to the tail.. so we will look for a female that is a 180 HM without any extra frills. Look at the huge dorsal on this fish. When faced with another Betta he can get that up way high. I hope the huge fins do not slow him too much in the breeding tank. Since I already have one spawn with the fry still free falling [tomorrow they will be horizontal] and the father of this spawn with a daughter in spawn tanks, this guy might be another week or so. I did get a glass tank made to take photos so am going to try to get a nice picture of him before the fins get wrecked in spawning. With the fish room construction going on and home schooling, I am not getting much done.. sigh


August 29, 2009 Posted by | Copper Betta, Half Moon | , | Leave a comment

Our First Show

The first show of the season was this past weekend. We bagged up some fish and headed to Michigan. After a four and a half  hour road trip we arrived to find Mohan still  setting up. We gave them our box of fish and explained we had some questions about what class to place some of the fish in. After a little discussion we got the entries filled out correctly and turned in to the show. We then got our luggage and got checked into the hotel.

After we got settled in our room we headed down to see if the fish were benched. Our fish were not the only ones still needing to be benched. There were several more boxes of fish and the containers were in  short supply. A quick trip back to some houses produced more beanies and everybody went to work getting water treated and fish benched. We decided to order pizza.

FINALLY.. our babies got into their container for the show. After ease dropping on the betta gurus a bit and picking up some tidbits we headed for bed. My son was so excited it was way after midnight when we fell asleep.

The alarm went off a bit too early after the late night but we quickly got ready and headed down for breakfast. A quick check on our fish showed them doing well and showing no effects from the bagging and transportation. There were even MORE fish to be benched that morning so we headed for food. My son could hardly wait for the show to begin and I realized then that I had no bags to bring my fish home in. Jeez.. I’m going to have to be better organized before the next show.

Eventually the show began. The show judges allowed us to hang around and listen to their comments as they judged the fish. I found that very educational as I watched fish cut for one reason or another.. even my fish. I learned a lot about what a judge looks for in fins and color. The things I learned will allow me to take the next step in our breeding program.

The day wore on and we ended up getting first and second in the Metallic Females. I was thrilled! In the open class I was competing with breeders that had been doing this a lot longer than I had. My son ended up with first, second and third in New Breeder ST Males and first and third in New Breeder ST Females. With that he ended up with Best of the division.  Suddenly, all those water changes were worth it!

Time for a break and everybody went out for lunch. We got more time with the betta gurus and got to ask 40 million questions. Every body was so helpful with advice to the new people. This is our first experience with any kind of fish club and we were really impresses with the friendliness and helpfulness of everybody we met.

After lunch we headed back to get ready for the auction. I had preordered a trio of greens from Mohan and already had them so was not interested in buying any fish.. much to my son’s disappointment. But we did enjoy getting bids on fish we had bred and raised. My son so got so excited seeing his winning male create a little bidding war it made me smile. I had to keep hearing ‘we should have kept him’.. and had to keep reminding him we had several more like him at home.

They finally wound down and we waited untill the show  comittee could get my son his ribbons. I knew he would enjoy taking them home and I must admit I liked getting mine too. The checks from the auction will follow when the dust settles from the show and we will be buying more fish food.. lol.

Today in the fish room we looked at our fish with new eye.. and started dreaming of the next show!

August 24, 2009 Posted by | Shows | | Leave a comment

White Dragon

4This Betta is absolutely beautiful.. and someone thought he was beautiful enough to pay $400 for him. I stumbled across him on Aquabid Saturday when he was a mere $165. Curious about how high he would sell, I kept a watch on him and when his auction finished up on Sunday evening, I must admit I was amazed at what he went for.

I can understand a horse or dog going for a large sum for breeding, but I have gotten enough Bettas that don’t have a clue about breeding to not pay more than $40 for a fish, then the import and shipping fees on top of that. Getting $80 into a fish is a bit much for me, even if they are really nice. i’m learning to find the top breeders locally and obtain their stock.  This fish is really pretty and I hope he produces some nice offspring. Maybe in time I can get one like him in my price range.

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Dragon Betta | , | Leave a comment

Beef Heart

I finally got feeding beef heart simplified.

One of the downtown businesses I work with for annual events is a meat processor. I called Jill one day and asked her about Beef Heart. She asked if I was feeding Bettas and I did a double take.. didn’t figure anybody local would make a connection like that. She said some one had called her before with the request and it was so odd she remembered it. I told her I too needed the heart for the same reason. She told me she would have if finely gound and it would be ready in a few days.

The processor packaged the heart in one pound packages. I put 4 of them in the freezer and the other pound in a plastic tub. I have long, skinny pop-sickle sticks that I used to scoop up the heart and put into the Betta containers. I don’t like the idea of dipping in one container then into another, so I got some pointy tweezers to pick a small amount of heart and then used the stick to scrape it off into the containers. This worked, but was a drag. So, I took the syringe you inject seasoning into meat with, filled it with the beef heart, and it worked slick!

So things were going fine until we got a bit of a clog. I put the plunger on the floor and pushed down on the syringe. Instead of beef heart squirting out all over like expected, the syringe broke. Back to the drawing board.

By now I needed to thaw out the second pound of heart. I found the pieces a bit big for the fish to really eat comfortably, so when the heart was almost thawed out I put it into a food processor and pulverized it. I put it into an oral syringe I had on hand from my other critters and found this worked even better. The pieces of meat were smaller and easier for the Bettas to consume. But the pulverizing made the heart loose some of it’s texture.

I had just gotten in an order of food and one of the things I had ordered was dried daphnia. I had thought I would get various sized dried daphnia, what I got was various sized flakes. For fry the flakes would be great, but not for the larger adults. So I mixed the dried daphnia into the heart and it came to a meatloaf consistency. Much easier to load and dispense from the syringe. I’ve read about using gelatin to bind the heart together.. but it does not sound like something a meat eater like a Betta should eat. Some people also add vitamins and other things to the heart, but for now the daphnia will have to do until I can get some more research in. I would assume it could be made medicated as well to treat internal parasites.

The new recipe and syringe made feeding the beef heart much easier, and the fish seem to love it. So, I ordered about 30 syringes and loaded each of them with my new recipe. I think I got about 1/3 a pound of beef heart in the 30 syringes. I put them back into the freezer and now thaw only what I need for one feeding. I am hoping to feed the beef heart twice a week. It is very rich and will quickly fowl the water.. both if uneaten and if consumed then exits the fish. Until the fish room is done and water changes come more often, it is the best we can do right now.

August 11, 2009 Posted by | Feeding | | Leave a comment

Copper Spawn at 4.5 months

f2My fist spawn is 4.5 months old now. The males are really coming into their own. This has been my favorite. Big bodied and his fins have 3 bands of color on them. His tail is over 180 and although his anal fin is a bit long here, another big male looked like this then his tail went wild and he balanced out. I’m hoping this one will do the same. The 3 bands of color I found interesting so will keep him for future breeding.


This is another favorite. A nice butterfly with fins coming along real well until that big chunk was removed. The edges were red when it happened, but now are clear and seem to be healing nicely. I had planned on showing him in 2 weeks in Michigan.. but since he is another I would like to breed, it doesn’t matter if he heals or not for the show. The other really nice butterfly like him I sold today to a local breeder. In time I hope to get his offspring back for crossing back into my lines.

6This male is one of the solid coppers. He has more red in his ventral and anal fins than I would like, but is still a nice looking fish none the less. He is full HM and the edges of his tail are nice and sharp. Neither parent has red wash in them so I’m a bit surprised to see it show up in the offspring. Every male in this spawn has gone a full 180. Impressive! Even with the red wash in this fish he carries some awesome genetics and should throw some nice fish. This guy will possibly go to the show and up for auction. Will see what he does the next two weeks.

3One of the girls. She has some nice fins with good branching, but quite a few irregular scales. My favorite females are the marble and marked ones. I do have a few nice solids pulled and will possibly breed.

The pictures do not really do this color fish any kind of justice. I am trying to get a special glass tank made to get some better pictures of my fish. I need to take a trip to the library and get a book on photography for a crash course. I have played with lighting and still can’t get this color to photograph like you can see it. Guess I need to learn more about the camera too.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Copper Betta, Half Moon, Young Males | , , | Leave a comment

Water changes.. ugh!

I am officially in water change hell! With close to 150 individual jars plus 7 grow out tanks, a sorority tank and a divided tank for some males, I am CONSTANTLY changing water. Time for a fish room. The last few weeks I have been busy researching and drawing out my ultimate fish room design. In it I will have barracks instead of individual jars. Each barrack will  house 11 bettas and it will be an open rather than close system Water will be fed in one end of the barracks.. and drain out into a main drain. I hope to have that automated so that each 5 gallon barrack will change half it’s water volume every day, all by itself. On another wall I will have shelves built for my 30 gallon grow out and spawn tanks. There will be a main drain under these tanks to simplify draining water there as well. I’m hoping with the changes I will be able to spend more time enjoying the fish instead of working on them. We will try to simplify and automate where ever we can. Hubby will start pulling down the old ceiling in the room tomorrow.. and I’m hoping the fish room will be done in 3 weeks. We have to insulate and install lights, then redo the ceiling. The walls will be redone as well as old flooring pulled up and replaced. With a 100 year old building who knows what else we will get into. I can’t wait until it is all done.

Today I spent the entire day cleaning jars and moving fish. Almost everybody got moved into another part of the upstairs. We will only be able to work on the fish room in the evenings after work. Progress will be slow working only a few hours at a time, but I’m hoping to get some extra help from family and friends. We are entering my Fall retail season and my husband is looking forward to the hunting season.. both very good reasons to get the room done in a timely matter.

When the room is done I hope to house 348 individual bettas as well as having  half dozen grow out tanks. We will take pictures of the progress.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Fish Room | , | 1 Comment