Basement Bettas

Raising Show Quality Bettas

Green Spawn

jewls1This Halfmoon Green male is came with two sibling females. Other sibs in this spawn were Best of Show fish so the genetics are incredible. I am interested in breeding Greens.. as well as the blues and turquoises. I also like the metallic greens and  since we already had those, was interested in crossing this line into that to improve the fins of my metallics.

jade1The male was crossed with this sibling female. I removed the female after the spawning and it seemed I could not really get a good count of how many eggs I had in the nest. I hate to disturb them too much so I left them alone untill the fry had hatched. I did not have very many.. maybe 20 or so fry it seemed. I thought we had a bit more eggs than that to start and I began to think the male was snacking.. so he was removed a tad early to save what was left of the spawn.


We have ended up with 5 fish from this spawn. This guy on the right just got pulled today into his own jar. He was not aggressive and there were no skirmishes. He just is a lot bigger than the other 4 fish, so to give them a better chance of growing, he’s been pulled. I put him next to some of the younger and smaller males we have jarred.. didn’t want him intimidated by some of the bigger boys and their bad attitudes.. he needs to get full of himself before he faces an adult.

f1This guy is from my second spawn at approximately the same age. Very different silhouettes on the fish. This guy has full Halfmoon in his tail.. and I like the shape of his dorsal.. but it is not as wide as the base on the little guy above. I have crossed these two lines.. see the previous post.. and look for some exciting fish 2 months from now.


October 31, 2009 Posted by | Half Moon, Juvies, Marble Betta, Spawns, Young Males | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Betta Barracks up Close

barrack1I finally got a few pictures that are up close of our flow through Betta Barracks. The photo on the left shows the input side of the barracks. Since I am left-handed, I made mine on the left end. Because of the white walls and stainless shelves, it is a bit difficult to see that first compartment is only about 2″ wide. An imput line will go down into that compartment and feed water into the barracks. If you look real close you will see the space under that first divider that allows water to flow into the next cell.

Notice the dividers between the cells. I actually got the configuration backwards on the first cell of this barracks.. but you have a long divider that goes from the top to almost touching the bottom. This divider goes on the ‘in’ side of the barracks so water flows under this divider. The shorter divider is about 1″ high and is placed on the bottom of the tank on the ‘out’ side of the tank. This divider directs the flow of water up into the next cell and also prevents the fins of the fish from being washed into the neighbors cell where it could get chewed up.

barrach2At the other end of the barracks we drilled a hole 1/2″ in diameter. Notice again the last compartment is smaller than the others.. only about 2″ wide. Inside this compartment we have a 1/2″ coupling that was cemented to a short length of pvc. The pvc was cut short enough to allow the coupling and the elbow that goes on the outside of the barracks to fit snuggly up against the barracks. Not only are the pvc pieces glued to each other, the coupling and elbow are sealed to the plexi to prevent leaks. A design change for the next barracks is to make the input area only 1.5″ wide and this output area 2.5″ wide. The reason.. that coupling on the inside is almost touching the last divider. I’d like a bit more room on this end.. the water input only needs to be wide enough to put a small hose into.

The elbow is a slip on one end and threaded on the other. The threaded end we have pointing at a 45 degree angle down. Into the threads we put a nipple we can attach a hose to. In time, this hose will be cut to about 4″ and the end will run into a ‘wye’ or ‘tee’ that feeds into a main drain. Right now we have a longer hose that reaches to a 5 gallon bucket on the floor. We pump fresh water in and wait until the bucket is almost full.. giving us close to a full water change.

October 31, 2009 Posted by | Betta Housing | , , | 3 Comments

New Spawn

blue1Our spawns have not been going as planned. We have had egg eaters, no spawns and fish getting the tar knocked out of them. I want to get into breeding greens. So, at the first show of the season I purchased a trio of greens from the top breeder of Bettas right now, Mohan. They are siblings of Best of Variety and Best of Show fish so I was delighted to add them to my fish room.

Shortly after we got the fish settled in we tried to breed the male with one of the females. We got about a dozen fry as the parents ate eggs. I was not sure about the male until a second spawn with the other female resulted in a large number of eggs put up into a nest.. but as the days passed their numbers decreased until there were none. Seems the male was more interested in eating then raising young.

So the old boy was out. I really wanted to get some of the genetics of these fish to have to cross into what I had already going on, so I crossed that first female to one of the males from my second spawn. That spawn  produced probably 90% full Halfmoons so adding a line with great fins and a broader dorsal base to it should produce some nice fry.

jade1So we chose the male pictured above. He is a nice metallic with a white fringe around the edges of his fins. He had gotten his tail a bit chewed up by fungus as a youngster but has full 180 spread and strong rays. He was crossed with Jade.. the female pictured to the left. She’s a bit tore up after breeding but has a nice broad dorsal and good balance in her fins. The fry are about a week old now and there appears to be quite a few.. I’d guess close to 80 anyway. We will give them a few more weeks in the spawn tank then into the 30 to grow out they will go. Can’t wait to see what this cross produces.

October 31, 2009 Posted by | Fish, Spawns | , , | 2 Comments

Crock of Tea

tea potWell, I did try it. I needed more IAL tea and I did my regular recipe in my stainless pot. Boiling in this pot every day for a week leaves a stain on the pot that takes some work to scrub clean. If I could dedicate the pot to only IAL tea, it would be no problem. But I make lotions that need hot water and that pot must be clean and sterile. I have to actually simmer plain water in it for a day to loosen up some of the stuff that remains after a major scrubbing. So, in addition to the stainless pot, I crockpotted some leaves as well.

The big plus to the crock pot was the water did not really evaporate so I did not have to keep topping it off. Every morning I turned it to low and let it go all day, turning it off when we left for the evening. There was also no big stain on the sides and clean up was much easier. I still added the salt and still used about 10 leaves. The mad scientist in me will eventually get so we have so many ounces of leaves in the brew to have a bit of consistency from batch to batch. We still poured it into gallon water containers and keep it in the fridge. If  you have a crockpot, it is definitely the way to go when you make your own Betta Tea.

October 30, 2009 Posted by | Water Quality | , , | 1 Comment

Medication Information

Always on the lookout for useful information about Bettas and their health I cam across this site, BettaFishDiseases. It is well worth a look and a bookmark to. We will add it to our links for future reference.

While we are on the subject, a great place to get your fish meds is National Fish Pharmaceuticals. The time to get medications for commons diseases like Velvet, is BEFORE your fish get something. When they do get looking off, by the time you run to the store or order something online, your fish may have passed the point of no return. I will try to get some time in the future to create a page of medications to have on hand. I have not had enough practical experience to be any real advice in this area so will have to do some research on the boards.

October 19, 2009 Posted by | Diseases, Info You Can Use, Medications | , , | Leave a comment

Betta Barracks

1On the previous post I touched on the barracks we plan to use. We made them out of Plexiglass and they are designed to allow water to flow through them. The partitions between the Bettas do not go completely to the bottom. Instead, there is a bit of a gap that allows water to flow through into the next cell. Next to each partition is a smaller partition that is glued to the bottom. They are about 1″ in height and are placed about .25″ away from the larger partition. Water comes under the larger partition and is directed up by this smaller partition. I know.. I need to get some pictures.

Using the two partitions keeps the current from washing fins under and into the next cell. It also seems to circulate the water better. The first one we made the partitions were too far apart and the smaller one was too big. Everybody has done great.. but we will see how the design change affects the flow.

On the left side of the picture there is a smaller compartment in the barracks. This is where water comes in. As the water flows through each cell, it ends up in the final chamber, also smaller, and flows out a 1/2″ pvc coupling. That long hose is attached to a nipple of sorts to channel the water, for now, into a bucket. In time, each of the barracks will empty into a drain tube that joins into a main drain that will dump into the bathroom drain. Right now I am designing out the down drains and hopefully next year, when it is warmer, we can tie everything into the main bathroom drain.

For a while, we will fill each barrack with water by hand by pumping it out of our 32 gallon trash can on wheels. Eventually, the aged water at the end of the shelves will automatically pump water into pipes that will flow into the barracks and we will be able to change water out without having to do anything but flip a switch.

Is this a fill and forget system? No. We have found you still have to come along and siphon the gunk that does not seem to get out. Using IAL in my water means fine, particulate matter floating around that eventually leaves a fuzzy coating on things. I am still trying to figure out how to clean between the two partitions.. need to find a small bristle to stick in there to knock stuff loose. Maybe a pipe cleaner.. The point being no system is a set and forget. Each one means maintenance. My thing was I did not want to recirculate water and deal with filtration and possible disease in the entire system. Hopefully, if I do get disease, it will be confined to just one barrack.

Other considerations is being able to shut water off to a barrack and the ability to remove it for cleaning. I want nothing permanently attached. I will continue to use flexible hose to drain.. but it will stick into a ‘T’ that is in the drain. I still need to have floor work done so everything will need the ability to break down and be moved if necessary. I am also toying with the idea of making the barracks wider.. say 8″. My shelves are 18″ wide so the 6″ barracks is not using much space. I had wanted 8″ wide shelves but they would have been double the cost of these. Down the center of the room I  can put two barracks per rack and be able to view the fish from either side.. along the wall I can not. I’m not real fond of peering through a tank to view the guy behind. Oh well, will just have to play it by ear.

October 19, 2009 Posted by | Betta Housing, Fish Room, Info You Can Use | , , , | Leave a comment

Fishroom Update

1The walls were finally finished and the lights installed. The poor fish had water temps around 68 degrees.. way too cold for them and me. Here we are picking up and moving fish. These two racks are kinda in the middle of the room and are where our ‘U’ shape will finish out. Untill I have some things set up, the fish will live on these two racks as the location is good for water changes.

2Standing at the far end of the fish room and looking back towards the door you see the beginnings of my racks. These are heavy duty commercial racks that I got from Home Depot.You can barely see the door through the fish.. but from the door I have one rack, then 2 coming back towards the windows. I have 2 more to put together and place alongside these. The racks should end several feet from the door that leads into the bathroom.. enough space to put a container for aged water. I am looking into 55 gallon drums.. but probably will need closer to 100 gallons.. so will see if there is a way to get a larger container or just use two.

3Still at the end of the room by the  window but moved over so you can see the door. There will be three racks, maybe four, that come towards the window to finish out the ‘U’ shape. I have a small table thing that came with my building. Nice flat countertop surface and has racks inside for shelves. I need to get the shelf brackets and measure to have some shelves cut. It is a bit deeper than a regular shelf so may have to use plywood. The table is also a bit short so will get someone to make me a base to sit it on. I will use it to store my shipping supplies and it will make a nice place to pack up fish for shows. Right now it is holding one of the flow through barracks we created as well as being a catch all for other stuff.

8Here is one of the shelves with the second barrack we created. This barrack is a bit different as we are trying some things out before deciding on our final product. As we used the first one we noticed some things that needed changed so we will see how this one does. The barracks are only 6″ wide.. and on 18″ wide shelves, there is a lot of space not being used.  With 5 shelf units, 4 shelves each housing a betta barrack that hold 11 bettas, we have the ability to house 220 fish. If I add a row of barracks behind, I can double that to 440. Some things to think over as we continue to build the fish room.

October 18, 2009 Posted by | Betta Housing, Fish Room | , , | Leave a comment

I hate the cold..

Got the fish room walls finished and moved the fish back into the room. Cranked up the heater and can not get the room temp above 70-73 degrees. That means my water is still 69-71 degrees.. about 10 degrees colder than I want and need. AND.. it is only 30 some odd degrees outside. What am I going to do when it gets below zero??

So, this weekends project is sealing up the windows and putting plastic over them to stop the cold air flow into the room. I am using an EdenPure heater that is supposed to heat 1000 square feet. The room is roughly 10 by 30 [300 square feet] so the heater should be big enough to heat that area. Because the ceiling is 10′ I added ceiling fans to circulate the air so we did not have all the heat we need up there.

To help offset the lack of heat we are exploring some other options to heat containers. Suggestions from the boards are heating mats and reptile cables/tapes. With several racks and several hundred fish, the heat mats do not seem to be a practical or economical option. So far, the heat tapes are looking like the best option. I need to get some time to put a pencil to it figure out what it will cost me.

We are also going to have to find a heater that puts off more btu’s I think. There was a gas heater in that room that we removed because it was old.. may have to have someone come by and add a more updated one. Better get some estimates as this is looking to be an early and cold winter.

October 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Midwest Betta Show

show 1I finally got some pictures off loaded and resized of the Midwest Betta Show. When  you attend a Betta show, this is what you will see.. lots of containers housing beautiful Bettas all lined up with cards between them. For those not familiar with these fish, they are very aggressive and will flare and spread fins when they see other Bettas. The flaring can get rough enough to shred fins and is also tiring. Since these fish have been bagged up and transported, some by car and many by mail, stress is reduced by putting them in solitary confinement. They now await judging.

show ct

When it is time for judging, the cards between the fish in each class are pulled and the fish come to life. One glance into the box next door and out come the gills and up go the fins. Each fish struts their stuff while the judging team compare form, fins, color and deportment.. or how well they flare. This guy is one of my sons Crowntails that won not only the class, but the New Breeder division he was entered in.

show 2Here the judges are comparing fish and eliminating fish until one remains. They work their way through all the divisions.. Halfmoon, Crowntails, Reds, Greens and Multi Colors. As each division is decided, the winners are set aside  to compete for the Best in Show. This was our second show and the judges here too allowed us to ease drop as they discussed the faults and virtues of the fish. For a new comer like me, it was very educational and has helped give me an idea of what I need to breed for.

show bosAt the end of the day, this beautiful Halfmoon Yellow male ended up Best in Show. He was bred by Mohan and the result of an accidental spawn. Seems the male jumped out of his container and ended up in with a female. This beauty was one of the results.

show bosfThis Halfmoon female was another winner at the show. Look at the large base on her dorsal. When you see fish like this is sure gets you excited to get into the fish room and breed some champions.

October 15, 2009 Posted by | Betta Shows, Crowntail Betta, Half Moon, Shows | , , , | 3 Comments

Fish for Sale

01-fm3The fish room is coming along and hopefully, will be done in the next few days and I can get the fish settled for the winter. I have some nice Copper Halfmoon females I need to get rid of to make room for another spawn. If anyone is interested, just drop me a post or email. I am trying to get pictures and will post the fish on AquaBid when I do. These females are out of my first spawn. To get an idea of what this spawn produced check THIS OUT. The father of this spawn is the male pictured in the upper right corner of this blog.. and the female can be seen HERE. I only want $7 each for them and if you want several, we can work something out.

I also have 2 young males from a repeat of this cross. Both are very nice but missing their ventral fins. I have plenty to breed and with out the vents, they are not showable. One is a very nice, dark Copper Butterfly with great pattern. He would be nice for breeding or a colorful pet. Again, will try to get some pics in the next week. I have a Christmas Open House to get ready for in my shop and lots of candles and melts to get made so the fish are taking a back seat right now. I will answer any questions on the fish as I am on the computer a lot.

October 13, 2009 Posted by | Fish for Sale | | Leave a comment