Basement Bettas

Raising Show Quality Bettas

Angel Update

The Angels are finally beginning to look like Angels. They have changed a lot this week.. no more torpedos. Instead the graceful lines of the Anglefish are becoming apparent. These guys are the ones I separated from the parents and are in the 30 gallon. I have about 20 of them in here and the rest I left with the parents. The ones I left with the parents are all over their tank and a tad bigger than these fish. These fish tend to stay in the bottom corners of the tank. Although I thought the parents were in the process of selecting a site to spawn again, so far they are real content to just raise the spawn they currently have.

Most of the fish seem to have a good splash of black over their body. I do not think they will have as much as the female parent.. but a nice contrast between dark and light is apparent on almost all the fry. I am looking forward to seeing how they finish out color wise.

I have a spawn of Bettas that I just removed the first male from today. In any Betta spawn you will have early bloomers and runts. I removed a few of the smaller runts from the Betta tank and put them in with the Angel babies in the 30 gallon. As you can see they are about the same size. I’m hoping the larger tank will encourage the Bettas to grow.. and the Bettas I hope will give the Angels some courage to move about the tank a bit more. Since they are about the same size the food requirements for each will be the same. Lots of baby brine shrimp are eagerly eaten by both fish. In the Betta tank we are feeding white worms, small pellets and the larger frozen brine shrimp. We still add bbs to the tank but with the larger food hogs, I do not think the smaller ones are getting the opportunity to feed like the others. I find I tend to feed to the larger fish.. and the smaller ones just kinda miss out and often are not able to really eat the larger sized food.

Most of the time the five Bettas I added to the tank are out by themselves.. floating near the surface and hanging in the water sprite floating on the top. Every once in a while one will get in with the Angels and school with them a bit. But for the most part the Bettas are a very independent fish. The little runts seem to be doing better in the bigger tank and with less competition for food. The Angels are less aggressive with their food.. grabbing what ever floats by and every so often poking around the bottom. The Bettas seem to be always looking for something to snack on. I am working on a Daphnia culture right now and will introduce some of them to the tank when I get their numbers built up. Bettas love to hunt them down. It will be interesting to see how the Angels respond to them.


December 14, 2009 Posted by | Angel Fish, Feeding, Fry | , , | Leave a comment

Feeding White Worms

My last post was on starting and keeping a White Worm culture. If you cruise the net you will find that most people will harvest the worms by taking something like a plastic cd case, spritz it with water and sprinkle a food on it. They will then place this food side down on the white worm’s soil. The next day they remove the plastic and rinse the worms into a bowl of water. They then use a dropper to suck up the worms and feed to their fish. I tried that and several variations of that, and it just was too much a pain to do every day. So, ever the mad scientist I played around until this is how I now harvest my white worms.

The next time you are at Wal-Mart, go to the kitchen gadget isle and pick up some of these stainless condiment cups. I think they are like four for $1. Get several.. they are very handy in the fish room. I fed my worms the previous day so I use my spoon to dig gently around where I buried food. You will see piles of worms.. scoop with the spoon and place them into the cup until it is full. Then, take a mister, and spritz the top of the soil a few times. You want it damp but not soaking wet. Tap water is fine to use.

Then, take another cup and cover the cup of worms. Once covered just set them aside for a bit. Spritzing the soil is going to reduce the amount of oxygen in the soil and the worms are going to head for the top. Keeping a cover over the top will make more of them surface as the worms prefer the darkness.. and keep the worms in the cups. It is not unusual for the worms to be bunched up in the top cup as well. Leave the top off and you can end up with worms all over the counter. Don’t ask me how I know..

Before long the worms will start to come to the surface. This photo was taken about 30 minutes after spritzing the worms with water. It does take some time to harvest the worms this way, so you may want to make this a second or third feeding. I feed another type of food first thing in the morning and prepare the worms at the same time.

Then, in the afternoon, I have a ready snack of fat white worms to treat my Bettas. This photo was taken about 2 hours after the worms were spritzed. Because they are on the top of the soil, they are clean and very easy to feed. If you leave them too long you will get dead worms.. so feed them within a few hours of doing this.

To feed, I use a pair of tweezers to grab a few worms and drop them into the Betta containers. My Bettas love them so much I have a few that will jump out of the water to grab the worms off the tweezers. You can even use the tweezers to dig into the soil and grab additional worms that have not made it to the surface. Usually, I am not able to get all the worms out of the dirt, so I just dump what’s left back into a worm culture. Because it is wetter then the worm culture soil, I dump it in a corner and the next day I stir it back into the mix when I flip the culture. The worms have migrated out of it and it dries a bit so is much easier to work back into the soil. The stainless cups are easy to wash and use over and over again. Though not instant, this method produceds lots of very clean worms to feed your fish.

December 13, 2009 Posted by | Feeding, Live Foods | , , | 2 Comments

White Worms

A good White Worm culture will provide a steady and nutritious daily meal for your Bettras or other tropical fish. I started with a half dead sample I bought on Aquabid. I can’t fault the seller for the quality of the worms.. it was very hot when they were shipped and I did not have a container ready for them. The day I got them I headed to Wal-Mart and got a plastic container like the one on the left. I also picked up some potting soil that had no fertilizer or moisture beads in it. Not quite as easy to find as you’d imagine.. seems every thing these days has stuff added in for plant growth. I added about 2″ of soil to the container and took a mister and misted and turned the dirt until it was just a bit moist. You don’t want wet soil.

The culture needs to be covered.. but you do want some air flow. I took a thin nail, heated it in a candle flame, and burned a few holes in the top. If you get your holes too big you will have gnats in your culture as well. If you end up with holes that are to big, get some of those round dot stickers.. or any label sticker.. and cover the holes you made. Them come back with a pin and make holes in the paper you covered the hole with.

I added my few surviving worms to a spot I dug out of the soil and sprinkled some powdered oatmeal on top. I misted the oatmeal to moisten it and put the entire thing in a dark stairway leading to the basement. Every day I pulled the container out and checked the food. There were worms working on it so I used a spoon to kinda stir them up and dug another hole and added more oatmeal, spritzed with water to moisten then put them back in the stairway.

It took several months of daily feeding to get where I thought I could start feeding a few worms here and there. So, every once in a while I would treat my fish to a white worm meal. They loved them and I finally was seeing my worm culture producing some good harvests.

In a short time I was able to feed one white worm meal a day to close to 300 Bettas. I then started another culture as I’d heard they could crash and a back up would be nice. So, while I could daily harvest one culture, the other was being turned and fed daily. I now have three cultures going with two of them producing daily harvest of worms.

My first culture is now about 7 months old. There is no smell and it has yet to crash or reduce production. But I also work my worm cultures at least every other day. By work the cultures I feed and flip them even if I do not harvest any worms from them. I keep a spoon in each culture and I flip and turn the soil, bringing up the worms and keeping air in the soil. I even dig out the corners. The soil is kept moist by an occasional misting if dry. If it gets too wet I add powdered oatmeal and mix it through the dirt. In time the yucky dirt that I put in the box has been turned into a nice, loamy type soil.

For the most part I have fed the worms oatmeal that I have run through a coffee grinder and powdered. They have also been fed old flake food I got when I bought some used aquariums as well as stale bread that I allowed to dry and chopped up. When I rejuvenate my micro worm cultures, the stuff I remove from them goes into the white worm culture and any cat food that ends up in the water bowl also seems to be quickly consumed by the worms. For just a few minutes a day you too can provide you fish with a delicious live treat they will enjoy.

December 13, 2009 Posted by | Feeding, Live Foods | , , | Leave a comment

New Spawn Attempts

This Copper male was a late bloomer in my Copper spawn. He placed third at one show and first in another. He had the most even copper coloration in the entire spawn and though not flaring here.. really has nice finnage and carries it well.

I have crossed him with a dark sibling female with a strong Halfmoon tail and he is tending a nice nest of eggs right now. I also have three other crosses in spawn tanks right now and am hoping for a nice batch of young’uns for the Spring shows.

This handsome boy was crossed with two different sibling females and proved to be an egg eater. I did get 5 fry from his first attempt that are coming along nicely. I am wanting to get a wider based dorsal into my line so I am trying once again to breed him, this time with a pretty pale blue female from my second spawn. The first rays of her tail are long and straight.. and she is a full Halfmoon. I originally obtained this male and 2 sibling females to breed green bettas.. but his egg eating has made me take another course.

I crossed this male to one of the females I got with the above male and have a nice sized spawn showing a fair number of wider dorsals among the fry. We are just now getting glimmers of blue sheen to the fry and it will be a few weeks still before we see some good color on them.. but I am excited about the potential and decided to cross this male  with the other female I got with the above male. The second female has an even wider dorsal base than the first female and want to get some of her genetics in my fish as well. Color wise I am hoping for some metallic blues or greens. Sibling males to this guy were marbles as well as butterflies. Not as nicely pattered butterflies as I got from my first copper spawn and the marbles as still changing.

The last cross I have going right now is a silver and white marble male and a yellow doubletail female. This is my mad scientist cross and I’m thinking a silver and gold betta would be cool. Betta genetics being what they are and my lack of experience in this area tell me I probably won’t get anything close to that.. but I’m curious about the cross and will just have to see what happens. I crossed this pair before and actually got some fry.. but lost them at the free-swimming stage. Have no idea what happened but am trying the cross again. Ahhh.. the joys of Bettas!

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Spawns | | Leave a comment

Angels among US

My son convinced me to buy some Angels at the Michigan Betta show. We had three but lost the smaller one shortly after getting them home and in a tank. I didn’t think much of the other two and they were hanging out with the fish from my copper spawn that had not been jarred. One day I noticed eggs on a pvc tube that was in the tank. By the next afternoon the eggs were slowly being eaten by the bettas.

When I got the fish room around I put the pair of Angels in a 20 gallon tank all to themselves. It was not long  before they had once again laid eggs.. this time on the little tube of the sponge filter. It was rather interesting to watch the eggs get tails and over the course of a week become free-swimming fry.

The parents have been really great about taking care of the young. They keep them all together and herd them in a corner and place themselves between the fry and my siphon when I clean the tank.

When the fry were two weeks free-swimming I got a 30 gallon tank and moved a few of the little ones into that tank. The next day I moved a few more. I thought if I moved them gradually over time, the parents would not miss them like if they all just disappeared. But I noticed the guys with out their parents were not as brave as their sibs with the parents.  They are eating fine and appear to be the same size as the others.. they just aren not very bold  or active about the tank. They just hovered along the bottom and in the corners. So I’ve decided to leave them  in two groups and see how they do.

Today, while cleaning betta containers, I noticed the female [the blacker one of the two] doing what looked like cleaning the side of the tank. I am now wondering if the pair is getting ready to spawn again. The tank has gotten a good growth of algae and I will pick up a glass cleaner tomorrow at the pet shop and get the sides of the tank cleaned up. If they do end up spawning again I will get the rest of the fry moved over to the grow out.

I have no idea how many fry I have. Maybe 100?? And here, possibly, the pair might spawn again. It is possible I might have a ton of Angels in a very short time. The local pet shop has expressed interest.. hopefully they will come through when I need to get rid of some of these guys. I think I also need to look into a local fish club to possibly get rid of some of them as well. So far the Angels are a lot easier than Bettas.

December 6, 2009 Posted by | Angel Fish, Not Bettas | , , | Leave a comment