Basement Bettas

Raising Show Quality Bettas

Copper Shine ~ Spawn 24

The copper/red-white butterfly male crossed into a very nice green multi female that was a 2nd place winner in Michigan this past spring is producing some very nice fish. We have coppers, greens, copper blacks and marbles. As you can see from the picture, they are a colorful lot. I now have barracks for 118 fish and they are all full. We have 12 females pulled, some of our adult breeders and the rest are upcoming males. And, as you can see in the photo, we room for a lot more.

 This male was the first boy out of this spawn and he is turning into a real head turner. He carries a nice wide dorsal and every thing is in balance.. the dorsal flows nicely into the tail which flows smoothly into his anal fin. Shows are still 8 weeks away so we are not gonna push growing him. Color wise he is a multi colored betta and would be shown in that class. I have a very sa-weet royal female with the broader dorsal, long body, a great 180 tail with sharp edges out of another breeding that will be crossed to him in time. That cross should get me cleaner color and back to a nice royal with future generations. We have a saying.. you build the house, then you paint it. With the bettas, you establish your form, then work on cleaning up the color. This boy, and the female to go with him, have everything I desire in my bettas.. now we refine it and go for a BOS [Best of Show].


January 27, 2011 Posted by | Multicolor Betta, Our Breeding, Young Males | , , , | Leave a comment

Carding Bettas

Since I had the camera out taking pictures of the new barracks, I decided to shoot a few of the boys in the bigger barracks I have had set up for about 6 months now. I love the barracks as they are easy to clean and the fish have a lot of room to move around. These two boys are flaring through a crack in the dividers I’m using now to keep them isolated. They are out of my second placing green marble male with a sibling sister. So far, there has not been a bad fish in the entire spawn. If I had a larger spawn, I would be offering some for sale. As it stands now you will have to wait until the show season comes to an end to get one.. but they will be worth the wait. High and wide dorsals and super sharp caudal edges with great overall balance. I have my eye on a few that may even be BOS quality. Can’t wait for the season to start. 

Finding something to use as a divider has been a real issue on my large barracks. Bettas spend time flaring at their neighbors and we rotate them a bit to keep them flaring. But coming into the show season we card them and then remove the cards to allow controlled flaring to prepare them for what they will experience at the shows. I don’t want them bored with bettas next door, so some isolation tends to make them explode when they see another betta. I needed something flexible to slide down under the pvc that puts the water into each cell and was wracking my brain on what I could use that would be water proof.. and cheap. I prefer to spend my money on more barracks or fish.. lol. So I happened along these plastic notebook dividers from Wal-Mart. I cut the tab off then divided them in half and slide them into the cells. The water tension holds the divider along the sides fairly well.. though you can see it kick out a bit on that pink one. The fish can get on the backside and so far don’t do it often. And they don’t get to where they tear up fins. And taking them in and out is simple and quick.

In case  you’re wondering, the needlepoint mesh in the back was inserted to keep the young fish from getting under the flow through and into the neighbors cell. Once they get big enough we remove these. I have plastic stretched across the top to reduce evaporation and keep fish from jumping out. Nothing fancy or expensive.. yet they get the job done. You can raise high quality bettas with a shoe string budget.

January 23, 2011 Posted by | Betta Housing, Young Males | , , , , | Leave a comment

New Barracks

Since I have a rack you can see from both sides, I built some barracks that you can see from each side. As you can see from the photo we have cells on each side of a central gutter. The cells are 6″ deep, 4″ wide and 6″ high. I prefer at least a 6″ length to get the better fins. The 4″ x 4″ beanies do not seem to allow the fish to do much but go up and down, not natural for a fish if you ask me. The longer cells allow the fish to actually swim and seem to give me better and stronger finnage.

Because I had young bettas getting under the flow through I used on the previous barracks, I decided to do these a bit differently. On these barracks I drilled through the back walls several hole where I wanted the water line. The holes are small enough bettas can’t get through them and they allow for the water to drain out quickly enough provide good circulation.

Betta BarracksWe spent a few days putting every thing together and then got the plumbing hooked up this weekend. Here is the first one set up and running. If you look you can see the water streaming down the back sides of the cells into the center gutter. I pulled 1 female and 23 boys to occupy these barracks. I am also finishing up on another one to go on the shelf above. I got it together today and then re-glued every joint and am allowing it to sit overnight. After work tomorrow I hope to have it online as well so I can pull some more boys.

One side effect of working with plexi is the cuts you get. The edges of this stuff are like razor blades and I have yet to not lose some skin in the construction of them. But with hundreds of bettas, I’ll take losing some skin over a gazillion water changes.

January 22, 2011 Posted by | Betta Housing, Fish Room | , , | 3 Comments


We have added a Face Book page.. if interested you can check it out here.

Spent the afternoon hooking up the plumbing for 2 new barracks we are building. These are double-sided and drain into a center gutter. I will have more posts on this new design shortly. Had a small leak from cell to cell so allowing the cement to cure over night before filling. I plan on having the first one filled and circulating water in the morning and fish pulled by afternoon. The second one lacks drilling the end piece for the drain and if all goes well, that one will be online tomorrow as well. Time for bed and some hand lotion. An afternoon of bleaching beanies has done a number on my hands. Can’t wait untill all my barracks are built and I no longer have to house my fish in beanies.

January 22, 2011 Posted by | Betta Housing, Day 2 Day, Fish Room | , , , | Leave a comment

Spawn 25

We bred this male to a pineapple colored female and the spawn is coming of age. I expected a lot of multi colored blue fish with red.. and we are getting a lot of neat colored fish. Most of them are red and yellow colors and some are starting to show some blue in their bodies. We may end up with some nice bicolors for the show season.

This is looking to be a female. She is showing a wider dorsal base that we are breeding towards. If  her dorsal gets more red and her body gets more blue, we might have a show fish. There also seems to be a nice shine that may indicate some metallic. If her color improves she will be a very attractive fish.

We also have several reds coming out of this spawn. There is a dusting of blue over the top of this one that would be counted off in the shows.. but his form is very nice. If the blue is even over the red, he may still make a nice bicolor. We may even get a purplish cast that would be very attractive with the red fins. He is also looking pretty balanced.. the anal is not long and lopsided. I am looking forward to what the coming weeks and good food will bring.

I am really excited about the yellow we are getting. I have 2 pulled that are solid buttercup yellow and many others that have yellow fins.  This guy has bright yellow fins and a light purple cast to his body. If the purple comes along a bit more  he is going to be super hot. So far he is on track to be a great bicolored fish.. this fins are solid and dark, for the yellow anyway and there is no bleeding of the color into the body. If his form is strong, he will definitely be shown.

Overall, I am well pleased with how this spawn is turning out. They are still young.. about 5 weeks..  so another month and these guys will really be looking good.

January 7, 2011 Posted by | Bi-Color, Changing Fins, Juvies, Yellow, Young Males | , , , , | Leave a comment

More Barracks..

Today I am heading to Lowe’s to get 2 pieces of plexi cut to make some more barracks for my gazillion juvies I have at the moment. The people at Lowe’s never forget you when you have all the cuts I need done.

Photo is not one of my fish.. just a nice pic I have picked up along the way.

January 7, 2011 Posted by | Betta Housing | , | 2 Comments

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2010. That’s about 31 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 51 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 114 posts. There were 112 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 38mb. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 5th with 139 views. The most popular post that day was New Betta “Condo”.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for betta barracks, bettas, betta barracks for sale, dragon betta, and betta barrack.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


New Betta “Condo” July 2010


Basement Bettas February 2009


How we got Started September 2009
1 comment


Crowntails for Sale January 2010


Where do I get… September 2010

January 6, 2011 Posted by | Not Bettas | | Leave a comment

What do we breed for??

Since we breed for the shows, one needs to look at the IBC standards. The form of the fish should show good overall balance and symmetry and be as close to the standard as possible.

The dorsal fin must be at least one-half the length of the body, measured from the base of the center ray to the tip of that same ray. The dorsal fin should also show good width at the base and volume. Like other breeders we have added Double tails to our breeding program to get this broader base desired in the show ring. Many fry will be double tails and others will be single tails with regular dorsals.. but others swill be single tail and show the broad dorsal base with 12 or more rays. We look for fullness and a long, upright first ray in the dorsals and hope we have that in the broader base fry. A variety of shapes are acceptable.. semi-circle, quarter circle, rectangular.. as long as breadth and volume are displayed. A triangular shape, however, is unacceptable. With the DT breeding, one must watch for the first few rays being short and spiky.

The tail or caudal fin should be at least one half the length of the body measured from the base of the tail to the center of the outer edge. When flared, the tail should span at least 180 degrees or half a circle or moon. We also look for the first and last rays to be as long as the center, giving them the sharp ‘edge’ to the “D” shapes of the half-moon tail. When these rays are shorter, the tail takes on a more rounded look, even with the half-moon spread. The long outside rays and sharp edges are a must in your breeding females. They dont have to be a full 180 if the branching on their tail is at least 8 ray branching, but they must carry the good edges. If you dont pay attention to this trait, you can lose it quickly. Personally, I will take better edges and less than 180 spread over a full half-moon spread and the rounded edges. It is easier to get the spread than good edges in a line.

The anal fin needs to be in proportion to the other fins, neither too short nor too much longer than the tail. Again, the center ray should be at least one half the llength of the body measured from the body to the tip of the center ray. It should be balanced and roughly rectangular in shape. Ideally, this shape is an isosceles trapezoid with the shorter side next to the body. Volume and fullness are to be desired. One must breed away from the annals that slope sharply from the front to the back.

Symmetry of the fish should be the same above and below an imaginary line drawn through the center of the fish. The silhouette of the three unpaired fins should be as close to a circular outline without gaps. Beautiful proportions are to be superior to a Betta that is just large. Although the fish are divided into color classes to show, the form of the fish takes precedence. In other words, a Betta with slight color faults and great form will place higher than the perfectly colored fish with form faults.

Female Bettas should be balanced and symmetrical as well. They will be a little smaller than the males and not have the length of finnage. Their fins should be full without being long. Females with longer than fins that is ideal for showing can be used for breeding. Avoid, however, breeding females with really long masculine finnage as it really messes up the overall appearance of the fish and takes several generations to bring back under control. Anal fins especially need to be watched to keep them in proportion to the other two. Being able to breed good females will do much to keep your line on track, and will also give you good placings at the shows. When ever I have had to compromise and breed a lesser quality female, the entire spawn seemed to not be what was desired.

When pairing your fish, avoid duplicating a fault in both. If the male has rounded tail edges, make sure the female is really strong here. It is also good to make sure they are strong in several areas together so the trait is reinforced. Choosing 2 fish where one offsets the others in faults will not yield a high portion of fish showing the combination of all good characteristics. They must both be strong in all areas but one, and the other must be strong there to compensate where there is weakness. Otherwise, you keep getting genetic mish mashes and faults will keep showing up, making no progress forward.

What about color? It is how the fish are classified and shown. But, the form must come first. Once you establish your lines having the qualities you need in their genetics, you proceed to clean up the color. By establishing form, you will have a greater number of fish with the desired qualities to now select for color. If you want to pursue a unique color that is not a classification for the shows, go for it. You may lose a lot of the form getting it established, then lose the color as you try to get the form back, but it may well be worth it to bring forth another beautiful Betta.

January 2, 2011 Posted by | Betta Shows, Breeding Bettas | , | Leave a comment