Basement Bettas

Raising Show Quality Bettas

Avoiding a Crash

When I closed my shop and moved my fish and food cultures to the house in preparation for moving, my white worms crashed a bit. The house is warmer than the floor of the shop and I could always tuck them at the top of the basement stairs if needed if the shop got too warm. With the warmer house temperatures I am finding the dirt and food are getting a fungus quickly. So, I am daily turning the soil to keep air in it, sprinkling the ground oats [see previous posts] throughout the  soil instead of concentrated in one area, and keeping the entire thing a bit drier. I have also put them on a floor by the a/c vent to keep them a bit cooler. So far, they seem to be making a comeback. I also am thinking I need to refresh their soil a bit. By now.. close to a year from starting them.. all the original dirt has been transformed to a richer soil made up of the worm castings. Am thinking I might top dress some of my house plants with it and add more dirt back in when I get to where I am going. Will update if all this keeps the cultures going.


June 23, 2010 Posted by | Live Foods | , | Leave a comment

Spawn 15 ~ Rocket cross

If you have been reading previous posts, this boy was a favorite in my Spawn 11. We call him Rocket as he went everywhere fast and had that great bad boy attitude I love in bettas. After the Michigan show we threw him in a spawn tank with a sister that took second in her class.. and the female that beat her went BOS.  We are very hopeful and excited to see what this spawn produces. This will be the first sibling cross we have done. All our other crosses have been out crosses to bring in different genetic material to improve the line. So far, this spawn is not a disappointment.

Both Rocket and his sister carry doubletail in their genetics. The wider dorsal base both fish have testifies to that. So, even though the DT is a recessive trait, there is an expectation to get doubletails in this spawn. So far we have at least a dozen very nice DT’s coming along and they are the largest fish in the spawn.

It is really neat to watch them grow and develop. Their color is just beginning to come on and with a Royal x Royal we expect Royals, Turqs and Greens. So far most of the DT’s look to be royal.. hopefully we get a green as I love that color. Come fall, we will have this spawn matured and ready for the shows. In addition to the regular classes we will now have some fish for the DT classes as well. With the beauty of the doubletail finnage comes the increased chance of deformities. Bent or crooked spines and uneven tail lobes are common with them. So far they seem ok.. but they are still a bit too small to really evaluate.

Taking photos like this shows me we do have some issues [see the bumpy topline] and we will have to deal with that as they mature. He has a nice, evenly lobed tail.. but if the topline does not smooth out with growth, he will become Oscar food.

June 22, 2010 Posted by | Double Tails, Fry, Two Months | , , | Leave a comment

Spawn 13

This spawn is coming of age nice and we are in a pickle with the upcoming move. Our plans have changed and we will be moving in two weeks.. the end of June instead of July. We already have several males pulled and they are just now starting to flare at each other. They had me worried though.. they have been in separate jars and no interest in the guy next door. It is amazing that the flaring kicks in about the same time in a spawn. Just yesterday the boys in jars as well as some that were still in the grow out tank all started to flare.. and the ones in the grow out got pulled because they were tearing everybody up.

Here is one of the females still in the grow out tanks. We have several nice females in the bunch and are looking now for the keepers. This girl has some light metallic on her body, but under that she is almost like the Cambodian.. no body color and colored fins. She carries the wider dorsal we are breeding for, but I would like to see the first ray on her tail longer. She is however branching very nicely and will probably get the Halfmoon 180 spread. Will have to see how she compares to the others to determine if she is a breeder, show fish or a very nice pet.

All of the fish in this spawn are beautiful metallics. So, no matter what their form, they are really nice to just look at. The boy to the left was one I enjoyed watching. He is a very shiny green, a color I love. As you can see, his tail is not the full Halfmoon 180 spread, but I am now feeling like he will get it.  This cross was into another breeders line and we are just now sorting through what it is producing. I am liking the fullness and length of the finnage, we still have my shape on the dorsal with the broader base. The anal fin is still sloped to the rear more than I would like but we will see how he finishes out. So far I am really liking him.  He is not flared and is eyeballing that mosquito wiggler for dinner. The very round belly tells he had already munched a few. We will give him a few more weeks then snap another picture to see how he is coming along.

This boy is a metallic royal blue and was an early favorite in the spawn. His tail came right around into a sharp 180 spread. Though he is twisting his dorsal around in the photo, it is nice and full and he carries it high. But, instead of his tail growing longer, it has just continued to branch. Branching is great.. especially if you are breeding Halfmoons.. but you also want the length or it disrupts the balance you are looking for. So, this spawn has thrown 2 different tail types. Knowing I have issues with the excessive branching, not only in this cross but my other line as well, I will probably breed fish like the green male to establish that tail type. The females will have to have good branching and the nice sharp edges we want to see as well as a level and not excessive anal fin. 

Here is a picture of some of the fish still in the grow out tank. As you can see, the metallic make for some very pretty colors in the fish. I hope we get settled in Texas soon and can start getting these guys ready for the fall shows. We hope to finish the next season in the top 10 and my goal is a Best in Show fish.

June 13, 2010 Posted by | Changing Fins, Half Moon, Juvies, Spawns, Young Males | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spawn 14 ~ DT White x Copper

We started out to breed Copper Bettas. We got some really nice fish and entered some shows.. and did well. We got hooked on breeding and showing and came back to the fish room to improve our fish. So far, we have been successful.. except with our Coppers. I bred this Copper line and got fry, then dad ate them. So bred again and pulled dad early.. and the eggs got fungus. Then they beat each other up on the next few breedings. I have a friend that has managed to keep the line going and won a class at his first show with them. But my fish.. UGH! Finally, I crossed a white double tail male to one of the females and we got fry. They are now about 10 weeks old and they all look like this. A pretty silvery platinum color. I’m seeing the broader dorsal bases and so far pretty clean color. There is a little pink wash in a few of them.

We will take the best of this spawn and cross them into each other. I am still new to all the genetic stuff, but I have been told I will get back to the Copper that way. And, I can always get some stock from my friend if need be. If you are going to raise fish, it is not a bad idea to find someone who will share lines with you. That way, if something happens, the lines you have worked so hard to attain are not totally lost.

June 13, 2010 Posted by | Changing Fins | , , , | 3 Comments


So much is going on in our lives. Due to personal reasons I have closed my retail shop and am looking to move back to Texas to be closer to family. So, we have sent a bunch of fish to the shows.. and auctioned them off. Better they are with breeders and can pass along their genetics. The ones that did not make the show grade have been traded to a local pet shop. We still have a few more to go when they have more room. Even the breeding angel pair has gone to the pet shop. The pick of our spawns we threw in the breeding tank after the Michigan show and they blessed us with 2 very good-sized spawns. They are a few weeks old as I write. Then I gave the pairs to a fellow breeder and he will breed them as well. I am trying to guarantee this line continues one way or another.

With the reduction of fish, the remaining fish and spawns have been moved to the house to await our move. My plan is to head south the end of July.. right about when these new spawns will be needing jarred. Since I will be staying with family for a month or two.. and can’t have fish every where.. I am going to keep the tanks outside and jar only the fish needed for shows. We will also be very strict in our culling and will get rid of any that do not meet my standards while young. I am hoping to be settled in someplace the first of October. That should put these spawns close to 6 months of age. A bit old for showing but some of the late bloomers should be coming into  themselves about then. It will also be a bit late for breeding, but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

The other issue on my mind is the upkeep with daily water changes that the bettas need as I move into a smaller place and will not have a dedicated fish room. I do not want fish all over the house, and I do not want to spend all my free time messing with the fish. So, I am trying to design a recirculating system that will still allow me to change out most of the water on a weekly basis. I am checking out other recirculating systems and taking what I have seen in my fish room and trying to come up with a better plan. I’ve decided to have one shelving unit housing 48 bettas.. and am hoping I can limit myself to that many bettas to show/breed at any one time. I still have four 30 gallon tanks for grow outs and four 10 gallon tanks I start the grow outs in. The 30’s can be placed in places to be seen as they have nice stands and are able to be kept clean easier than the beanies or individual betta containers. I will have the good ol’ Texas weather and outside for growing out during the summer. Gonna be a mess come cooler weather if I get carried away though..

June 1, 2010 Posted by | Day 2 Day, Fish Room | , , | Leave a comment