Basement Bettas

Raising Show Quality Bettas

More than Bettas

Bronze OscarWith well over several hundred fish, our bettas we raise for the shows take up a lot of our time and space. But, we do have others interesting critters we enjoy as well.

Because we get deformed as well as genetic wrecks in our breeding, we need a way to dispose of them that is humane. After considering many options, we decided to get a large fish eater. Having always enjoyed peaceful fish like guppies..  we did not know much about what was out there and so decided to get an Oscar. We picked out a lovely 3″ Bronze Oscar at a local shop and brought him home. At first we had to break up his pellet food.. now, 2 months later he eats 5 of them at a time. I’m amazed at the personality of this fish. He will follow you around the fish room. When I am photographing my fish I am by his tank.. and I look over and there he is watching the whole thing. And, if he is not getting enough attention, or food, he will jump up and hit the lid of his tank. Have started to weigh it down so he does not end up on the floor some day.

We named our Oscar Trash.. because when we have less than ideal fish we put them in the “Trash”..  We had no difficulties buying minnows to feed him, but when you have raised a fish 8 weeks, even the deformed ones kinda become family. But, the fish do not suffer and they become part of the food chain.. just like in nature. So far we have not had to feed many. We prefer selling those we have no use for as often they are very nice fish, just not what we want to breed or show. So, another hobbiest can get very nice fish to enhance their breeding program.

The aggression this fish shows at feeding is amusing.. now that I keep my fingers safe. The day he came out of the water and got my finger kinda freaked me out. More shock than damage to my skin. So we now don’t open the lid wide open, instead cracking an opening and dropping in his pellets. I have 20 fish nets perfectly sized for bettas.. nothing for this monster. If he comes out of the tank I’m not sure it would be fun to get him back in. But we do enjoy him and have come to really enjoy his personality.

Black Catfish.. Bruce

This crazy critter is Bruce.. in the tank I guess he is a cat fish.. lol. He is about 2 1/2 years old and was my shop cat when I had my business. He loves people and officially greeted everybody that came into the shop. Now he kinda hangs out in the apartment and keeps me company in the fish room. So far, he has not gotten into the tanks except when they are empty like this one. I actually had a female betta jump out and he brought her to me and dropped her in my lap. She was a bit dusty, but eventually made it. And of course.. he has a fancy water fountain with a filter and it has r/o water in it.. and he prefers to drink fish water.

Bruce gets his name from Batman. There were 5 kittens in his litter.. all males. So, we named them after boy heroes. We had Bo and Luke Duke [Dukes of Hazard], Tony Stark [Iron Man] Indie from Indiana Jones and Bruce Wayne.. the Bat cat. They were handled from birth and we gave them shots and brought them to the shop to give away. All were very loveable and endearing.. but Bruce kinda stole our hearts and we could not let him go. All the rest went to very nice homes and we got picture updates when their owners came back to the shop to visit.
Bruce’s favorite part of the day was when UPS or USPS made a deliver because he LOVES boxes. He can get in and on boxes.. there is cool stuff like paper shreds that come with them.. all making one big cat toy. We don’t get the deliveries like we used to.. and betta boxes are too small to really enjoy.. but he still plays with the material we pack our bettas in to ship out and checks out the shipments as they are put together. And when we sit on the couch with the computer to update the blog or post fish for sale on-line, he is right next to me to keep me company.
Our bettas are a nice hobby, and we enjoy the entire process.. breeding, raising and showing. But we also enjoy our other pets and the unique qualities they bring to our lives.

December 29, 2010 Posted by | Other Critters | | Leave a comment

Spawn 23

We have pulled about 10 males from the small spawn and a few more will be coming. Most every fish has the wider dorsal base we have been breeding towards. This male here is the largest boy right now. He has nice metallic coloring and just a hint of red wash in his anal fin and ventrals. With the right female this can be cleaned up in future generations.

The second male has better color and more dorsal rays.. but his tail is very rounded. As lovely as  he will turn out to be, he will not be bred or probably even shown. When he matures he will be offered for sale on AquaBid. Even with the rounded tail he will carry some incredible genetics that will improve a line. This boy is more the green color I adore and there are others in the spawn that are nicer that I will breed to establish a line of greens.

This male is showing some very nice overall balance. He has a great dorsal with a wide base and no short spiky rays in the front. As he develops I think it will be very full. Color wise he is not very clean.. seeing red in the anal and the tail. But, if that red is nice and solid I may be able to show him in the multi color class this spring.

December 27, 2010 Posted by | Changing Fins, Half Moon, Juvies, Metallic Betta, Our Breeding, Two Months, Young Males | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Fish Room

The fish room is still a work in progress.. but here is a tour so you can see what we are working with. My apartment has two bedrooms and a den or study on the other side of the kitchen. Having the fish room close to water makes changing the water a lot easier than lugging water back and forth. This picture is the view from the  living room. I have four 6′ heavy duty wire racks in there and my Oscar tank. When I am done I will be able to house 190 individual bettas and have several areas to grow them out. I have arranged things to make working in the fish room easy.

This is the view from my kitchen into the fish room. You can see the hoses for my r/0 unit draped into the sink. I have an adapter on the faucet to inset the imput hose for the r/o unit. It takes most of a day to fill my 32 gallon storage can with r/o water so I can let it run as I go about cleaning the house. The red line is the waste water that drains back down the drain.

Another view from the kitchen, this time the left side of the fish room. The spice rack you see on the far wall is home to some of my medications and pellet food. The bar makes it easy to pass water back and forth for water changes. When I drain water from the tanks I can pour it over the bar and into the sink.. no toting water. 

My r/o unit is in the window sill. The black line is the water into the unit. The blue line is the purified water that runs into that trash can next to the window. I fill that can and then pump r/o water into the other one till it’s about 3/4 full. I top off the can with my tap water run through peat moss and add some Prime water conditioner.  Run the pump a bit and I am ready for water changes. The small table my son built for me in his shop class in school.. and I am using it to photograph the fish we sell on Aquabid. I have small spot lights I shine through the light tent to try to show each fish we sell accurately so buyers can get a good look at them.

This wall has two racks. The first one will house my grow outs. There is a 30 gallon on the bottom and a twenty with some tens on the second shelf. That shelf will end up having two 20’s and the top shelf will hold four 10’s. I had my spawning tanks on here and a few of them remain. I won’t be spawning so many at a time so will be setting up spawns somewhere else. Having them up so high also allowed a lot of vibration to affect the spawns. My males were good and did not eat fry.. but not going to take chances. Still thinking about where to set them up.. but will be closer to the ground.  The rack to the right has beanie containers housing fish right now, but in time will have a barracks system that will house 48 bettas. The sump will go underneath.

The center rack lines up with the window. I have my 2 smaller barracks I made in Ohio  line up back to back on the second shelf up. Dont have much on the other 3 shelves right now but will be making some double-sided barracks soon to house the amount of fry we have maturing right now. The sump for that system will go next to the 10 gallon I’m currently using. The green water in the gallon pickle jars on the top shelf are daphnia.  The daphnia reproduce and clear the water in about 3 days. I siphon the water, through a net to catch the daphnia, down to about an inch. Then I top it off with green water from one of my tanks and have a harvest in a few days again. By alternating the harvest on different days I can produce a decent amount of daphnia for feeding the young fry.

At the end of the rack and facing the kitchen is my Oscar tank. He has gotten big enough he is starting to uproot the plants [fake] that are in with him. We may have to remove that big stone to the right so he can have some more room. We have had several Oscars and really enjoy them in the fish room. They are worse than puppies and beg.. to the point of jumping into the lid to get attention. I’ve also learned to barely open the lid and drop in his pellets. We started to do that after he came out of the water and got my finger. Scared the bejeebers out of me.. and I hadn’t had my second Pepsi.. though I was plenty awake at that point. Under the Oscar is a 5 gallon tank for now. In time it will be a 15 gallon.

The shorter wall has a complete barracks system. I have had it up and running now for 3 months and love it. Each cell is 4″ wide by 6″ high and 9″ long.. plenty of space to grow bettas quick and keep the fins nice. I will have another setup like this on the other wall and will do some smaller double-sided barracks for the center. So far they have been easy to clean and maintain. Lighting is not fun.. I have a shop light on top and it lights up the other shelves fairly ok. Might need to add another shop light half way to light the lower shelves. For a sump on the bottom I’m using a 20 gallon I picked  up on Craigslist.

My sister-in-law gave me this corner tank that is about 55 gallons and we placed it in the front corner of the kitchen. She told me it leaked so we filled about an inch at a time. This is my metallic spawn and it was huge. They went in at a few weeks of age and I just kept adding water. When I found the leak we drained the water down a bit and sealed her up. After letting it cure for a while we are now adding a bit more every few days. Don’t want to have to drain quickly any large amount of water. 

In my son’s room we have two more 30 gallon tanks for grow outs. I like the 30 gal because they are the largest size tank I can comfortably carry and clean and are a good size even for larger spawns. The bottom tank with the green water feeds the daphnia when I do water changes. I just put some 4 week old fry in there and will turn lose some daphnia with them. They won’t get the water clear before the fry get big enough to eat them all.. but it will clear it up a bit. That top tanks has two spawns in it.. my coppers and the cross with TB.. a multi colored spawn. Those guys are coming of age and getting pulled regularly.  The fish in the 55 are also getting close to having the males pulled so it is time to get some more barracks built. I look forward to the day I get everything done and can sit and just enjoy watching the bettas.

December 27, 2010 Posted by | Betta Housing, Fish Room | , , | Leave a comment

Spawn Updates

Things in the fish room have smoothed out now that we are using the reverse osmosis water. We have imported a few new fish, like Hershey to the left, to start new lines and I am actively seeking more tanks to use as grow outs for all the spawns we now have. After losing 12 spawns we now have:

Spawn 17 –  Storm x 13-2 – these guys are 12 weeks and many are on AquaBid for sale. We are keeping two pairs that carry a lot of black to start towards breeding black/melano. We have already bred one pair and got a large  spawn. 

 Spawn 18Storm x TB – an outcross into a friends line. The spawn that TB came from produced BOS fish and several class winners. TB herself was 2nd in her class earlier this year. I’m expecting multi colors and some black in this spawn as well. Only got 4 fish from this spawn.. it was one of the last with the bad water.

Spawn 1912-C x 12-1 This was a dark copper male with white fringe and a marble female that had great caudal edges and a nice, broad dorsal. We were looking for nice dark or light coppers to show in the metallic classes with this cross. About 8 weeks of age, we have started pulling some of the boys to keep fins intact and the fish growing. So far, I am happy with the quality. We have several boys with the sharp edges we want and others that are almost there. The ones that are almost there will probably be shown in the spring. I have a really nice female coming that is platinum white and will probably be bred as soon as is possible. Most of the colors are a medium copper.. have about 3 really dark ones, some that are starting to marble and a lot of the lighter platinums. We also have a number of double tails in this spawn that are developing well and 1 boy that looks to be a copper/red bicolor. Another few weeks will tell a lot more. 

Spawn 20Storm x TB A repeat of Spawn 18.. see above.     
Spawn 21 Copper/Red BF x Copper/Red Another copper spawn that are siblings to the previous spawn 19. We were looking to get the copper/red color established. They are about 6 weeks right now and I’m seeing platinum and some with a hint of red in the fins. We still need a few more weeks to see color and how the fins are coming. They are in a grow out with the above spawn so there are a lot of fish in the 30 gallon. I combined the spawns as the coppers breed true. If it is a copper variation.. it is this spawn.. otherwise it came from the above spawn.   

Spawn 22Royal x 13-2 This male came from a friend. He has huge fins and nice color. He was bred to a female from my 13th spawn that is green. I am hoping for some nice blues and greens in this spawn.. and will probably get some multi colors as well. I was looking to get the males color and fin length with the females sharp edges and broad dorsals. They are about a month now and growing out in a 30 gal about 4” off the ground. Kinda hard to get down there and look at everybody.. but they appear to be developing nice. Another few weeks and we will start to take a hard look at them.

Spawn 23 – Patches x 13-1 This pair are siblings. The male, a green and white marble, took 2nd at the first show of the season  and got his fins tore up on the return shipping, thus ending his show career. These fish are about a month now but the colors I’m seeing are very nice.. blue, green, minty green and some multi colors.. and I’m seeing several of the nice wide dorsals and double tails.  I am hoping some of them turn into grizzles as I love that coloring. I am also expecting some nicely patterned marbles.

Spawn 24Copper/Red x 11-2 This spawn is to get some nice metallics. My coppers have really balanced form and full finnage. The female I bred him with is a very nice female that has great 180 spread, nice branching, broad dorsal and took 2nd to some very nice competition last spring. She is a blue green multi.

Spawn 25Sunny x Pineapple. Sunny is the blue/yellow bicolor DT we imported from Thailand recently from GreatBettas and Pineapple is a yellow pineapple imported from the same breeder earlier this year. I honestly don’t know what I was thinking when I crossed them. I wanted to get more of the blue/yellow bicolor. I am expecting multi color fry but hope to get a few that are decent bicolors. I don’t know enough about the genetics behind the yellow.. and it may disappear for a few generations. This spawn will be a surprise. They are about 3 weeks now and are dull, no color has appeared as of yet.  

Spawn 2617-A x 17-1 These two are siblings from Spawn 17 that are mostly black with some green iridescence. Male has great dorsal and nice edges and the female has a nice 180 spread and good branching. I am hoping for more of the black color and good finnage. The anal fin of the male fish is too sloped for my tastes right now, so we will have to watch for that in the future generations and look for better balance in the offspring as we get the color we want. Breeding blacks is difficult as the melano females are sterile. I’ve loved the blacks from the beginning, but now feel I have the patience and experience to work them. The spawn is quite large so we will have a number of fish to choose from. We will also be crossing another black pair from this spawn. Will keep you posted.                                                                        
Spawn 27 – Rags x Daisy. Two new imports from Thailand. Just got the male Tuesday and into the spawn tank he went Thursday. Friday I had eggs and removed the female. He is a blue and yellow grizzle and she is a blue and yellow DT marble. I am hoping to get more fish colored like the parents. I love the grizzle pattern and am very excited to get this pattern in this coloring. There are 4-6 weeks before I will be able to see the color and the form of the fry. This is the beginning of a new line for us so we have no idea what to expect. But, they are from the same breeder, GreatBettas, and am confident they will produce some outstanding Bettas.

On the horizon to breed are Hershey, the chocolate DT that we imported with Rags and our reds. Hershey will probably be crossed to one of the black females from spawn 17. He should bring better color and some broader dorsal bases into the line. The reds are being a real pain. They spawned when the water was real bad, got a huge spawn, and they all died after hatching. I tried to breed them again and no one is interested. Male build huge nest, female not interested.. when he get bored with the whole think she rips his fins almost all off. I may try crossing him with the Pineapple as they yellow is a related color. With so many spawns going right now I will have to wait a bit. I’m now acquiring larger tanks to grow out the 600+ fry I currently have. Time to get some more barracks built.

December 11, 2010 Posted by | Bi-Color, Chocolate Betta, Double Tails, Fish Room, Half Moon, Marble Betta, Spawns | , , , , , , | 2 Comments