Basement Bettas

Raising Show Quality Bettas

Current fish for Sale

Black Devil Male – young and still developing. Have a spawn from siblings.. he is ready to be bred.

Super nice metallic female with great branching, balance and form.

Sibling female to the one above. Also well branched. From my metallic line.

Turquoise female with very clean color. This line has been solid bred for a few generations now.


See our current auctions on AquaBid.


August 6, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

New Filtration for Grow Outs

Water quality is VERY important when it comes to raising fish. When the water becomes less than ideal it stresses and weakens the fish leaving them open to opportunistic diseases that are always present in water. Things like fungus, columnaris, velvet and ich are always present in water. They get a strong hold and become a problem when fish are kept in situations that cause them stress. Water changes are a good way to keep the water clean with acceptable ammonia, nitrates and nitrites. But with grow outs and my barracks system we also have to look at the systems we use to filter. I have an article coming on the new sump I designed for the barracks and this one is about what we are now going to do for our grow out tanks.

At about a month of age my fry go into 10 gal tanks to get a few more weeks growth on them before going into big tanks to finish off. They get about half the water removed every 2-3 days and the tanks topped off. As of right now, I do not filter these tanks. There is a lot of plants to help control nitrates and the regular water changes keep every thing else in acceptable limits.

In the larger tanks I used to use a sponge filter. I have 30 gal tanks because they are a size I can carry if needed to bleach and clean at the kitchen sink. So I bought several sponge filters rated for 30 gal tanks. After a few years of this method I was not pleased with the results. I still had ammonia spiking and they sponges never seemed to really handle all the fine particulate stuff that got floating in the water. With Bettas we often have a LOT of fish per gallon of water and we are pushing food at them left and right to grow them out quickly. This produces a lot of waste and all the high protein food tends to keep ammonia levels above where they should be. So.. Google being my best buddy we went looking for what ever else was out there.

I had a few issues that needed resolved. The fine particulates that seemed to remain in the water at all times and ammonia, nitrates and nitrites. In my search I stumbled on some articles written for pond keepers. They use potassium permanganate to clear water of DOC [decaying organic compound] and also to eliminate parasites and bacteria. So, after water changes I was adding a little PP and it helped a bit. Since I needed to be able to recreate a dosage, I mixed 1/4 tsp of PP with 10 TBS of pure RO or distilled water. I used an eye dropper and dosed aboutr2 ml of this solution into the tank after water changes. It turned the water a light purple and within a few minutes it started to go brownish and eventually disappeared. The color change was the PP oxidizing the fine particles. At this level it would not do anything for parasites or bacteria.. but it did knock back some of the funk in the water. Although it helped some.. I needed more.

So the next thing we discovered was using foam as a “wall” across the end of a tank. I found some nice info at Angels Plus and this is also where I got my foam. My tanks needed more filtration. The problem with more filtration is you get a lot more movement of water. Not ideal for Bettas and they are designed for still water like found in ditches. Vigorous water movement is a stressor in itself with these fish so I needed more filtration while not creating a lot of current. This idea of a wall of foam seemed to do the trick. I bought a 2″ piece of foam that runs to the top of the tank. I then went to Lowe’s and got a small pump that can be sued for table top fountains. I put that behind the foam and ran the return tubing over the foam [I cut a small slit] and into a piece of PVC. The PVC runs the length og the back of the tank all the way to the other side. The filtered water is returned to the opposite side of the tank and it creates a gentle cross current running the tank water thru that big foam wall. The pump is rated about 70 gph so I’m assuming my tank get all the water filtered three times an hour.

In searching out different methods of filtering tanks I came across fluidized beds. They are rapidly becoming a primary source of biological filtration. In any filtration system, bacteria are used for ammonia and nitrite removal. Tee filter only provides a “home” for that bacteria to operate. By design, a fluidized bed provides a large surface area for these bacteria to colonize. Since the water that reaches the media is oxygen rich, it is conducive to rapid bacterial growth. The constant movement also means it is self-cleaning and there is nothing to clog making them maintenance free. A popular fluidized bed media is K1. This media is designed to grow large amounts of bacteria needed for filtration. There are many nice videos on YouTube on how to make a filter with this media out of old soda bottles as well as incorporating them into sumps. So I ordered 50 liters of the stuff and set about changing some of my filtration.

With this grow out I took a small 20 oz soda bottle and drilled some holes in the neck as well as at the top end. I added some K1 media and ran an air hose into the bottle. I also drilled a hole in the cap large enough to push in a rubber suction cup I took off an old “ring” used to hold a heater on a tank. I pushed down on the tank bottom and plugged in the pump. At first not much happened with the K1. It is buoyant and tended to just hang out at the top of the bottle. The next day there was some movement and after several days it all was circulating nicely in the bottle. It seems it takes a few days for the bacteria to start colonizing and with that it becomes more active int he water column. I also have a small sponge filter with a soda bottle and K1 over the return. Right now it is giving additional filtration but my main thought was seeding K1 media to use in other tanks. It is easy to remove so I can add and subtract the K1 as needed.

I have been running this setup for maybe a month now and I’m real pleased. The fine stuff in the water has not appeared and larger particulates seem to be caught in the large foam. Even with a HUGE spawn in this tank the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates have been kept to acceptable levels. When I do water changes I try to suck some of the funk off the foam just to get it out of the tank. Since the K1 is behind the foam the turbulence from that filter does not affect the main tank. We still just have a gentle flow crosswise and the fish are doing very well. Below is a video of what it all looks like set up.

April 15, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 34,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 13 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

January 1, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Reviving Micro Worm Cultures

Culture going bad.

I have had my various micro worm [ micro, banana, walter ] cultures for three years. They have come through neglect and a move to Texas during the summer. Many times I thought they were too far gone to recover yet they came back productive as ever. Even if they get funky and seem gone, they often can be brought back to producing high numbers of edible worms for your fry in a day or two. An excellent first food, keeping at least one of these cultures on hand will get your fry off to a good start. So here is what I do to maintain and revive a bad culture.

Top scraped to the side and rest removed.

Even if I do not have fry to feed I try to scrape out [harvest] the worms crawling up the sides at least every other day or so. I am not sure how long they live, but as quickly as they multiply I assume their life cycle is not long. By removing the crawling worms you are removing worms that may die off and foul the batch.. at least that is my thinking. And, when I do that the culture seems to stay good longer. On average I get a week before the culture needs to be refreshed. I have stretched it to ten days, on occasion two weeks and still have been able to keep the cultures going strong.

Oatmeal ready to be mixed with water.

Once a week I scrape the top with all the worms off to the side. All the rest is removed and disposed of. I put it into an old Wal-Mart bag and tie it off when I put it in the trash.. not for the smell but because I don’t like the goop. If the stuff is particularly dark and funky, I just find a good area and scrape it to the side and discard the rest.

Once the old stuff is removed I add some oatmeal I have run through a coffee grinder. I try to add enough to make the bedding about ½” deep. You will get a feel for it over time. If you get too much they will be fine, and not enough you can just add more. To the powdered oatmeal I add some water and stir to make a fairly firm yet slightly runny mix. I mix this off to the side away from the worms I scraped off earlier. One I get everything mixed to the right consistency I stir in the worms and shake some yeast on the top. I also take some time to rinse the lid and will take a paper towel and wipe off the rim and sides of the container. I then put the worms aside to grow.

Yeast sprinkled on top.

I have found my worms do real well on top of the strip lights I use on my 30 gal tanks. They do not seem to mind and actually like the warmth generated by the light. Within a few hours of redoing the cultures you should see lots of worms starting to climb the sides. By the next day they should once again cover the sides of your container. If you culture has been really neglected it may take a bit longer to come back, but should still produce some harvestable worms with in 24 hours.

This is what has been working for me for three years now. I have heard of using other than oatmeal for the growing medium and you are free to experiment and choose what works best for you.  As long as a few worms remain alive, these cultures can be continuously brought back to producing high numbers of edible food for your young fish.

September 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Brown Algae and Silicates

 Just when you think you have something figured out, a new twist appears. The move to Texas brought with it water issues. If you have not read previous posts, we had 12 spawns fail. Either the male ate the eggs or fry and the young never got free-swimming if they made it past dad. Instead of getting horizontal and growing they spent days twirling up from the bottom of the tank till they eventually died. It was finally determined that there was something wrong with the water.

We got a reverse osmosis unit and started mixing the r/o water with 25%  tap water run through peat. Everything was working well raising the fish. Since I was going through so much water I decided to use more of the tap water and made the mix 50/50. Within a short period of time I get an over abundance of brown algae. I had barracks running for 6 months and did not have a problem, then over night I had a mess. I headed to the internet and found this type of algae thrives on silicates. Some one had suggested a fine particle might be causing problems with the fry when they became free-swimming and it almost makes sense.

 I went back to a 25% mix instead of 50/50 and spent the next several days scrubbing the barracks. The algae became reduced but I really could not get rid of it all together. So, I have finally given up and now use 100% reverse osmosis with ro right by Kent to add back in minerals to the water. The change in water has pretty much gotten rid of the algae and using the Kent ro right has improved the health and growth of my plants. So far I am happy with the results. The next thing on my agenda to improve my water will be a uv sterilizer to get rid of parasites and disease.

Photo from HERE.

April 21, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized, Water Quality | , , | 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

First Half Moons

f4The largest boys have been in their own containers for almost a week now and are still getting used to the idea. The two biggest males don’t seem to mind being alone and being checked out.. the other three are still a bit shy. But they do all enjoy a bit of flaring.


This guy is maturing very nicely. Look at the tail.. really turning out.. he’s going 180.  Remember him a week ago??

f6The week in solitary has done him good. We are feeding the guys lots of live food and changing water every other day. I’m trying to get things around to change water every day.

f1And how about BB? He has also blossomed a bit this week with the extra room and attention. He also is going 180 in his tail. He still has that whitish spot on his top.. kinda a bummer in that pretty blue he has all over. But he is very bold and has a delightful personality.

June 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

First Feeding

Well, this morning, most of the fry are horizontal and swimming around. Some are still hanging around the bottom and there are a few that are still kinda tail down hanging on the edges of things. I have no idea how long the spawn lasted, but it makes sense some may be a bit behind in the their development by several hours.

I tried to get a picture but nothing came out. I guess I need to get a macro lens to take picture of new baby bettas. I also need a magnifying glass. Can’t see anything. Probably due to old age but I want to blame it on the amber colored water and the plastic tub I used as a spawn tank.

Last night before I left I put some filter floss in the neck of the bottle I have vinegar eels in and added fresh water. This morning the clear water was full of lots of wiggly little worms. I added a small dropper full of eels in with the fry first thing and also around lunch time they got another small dropper full. Can’t see if the fry are eating the worms, but with a bright light you can see the worms wiggling around in the water. The baby brine shrimp have not really hatched out as planned.. may need to figure out how to warm the water a bit.. so good thing had the eels. I hope before heading to the house tonight I have some bbs to feed. I have a light over the shrimp but I’m not sure it is warm enough for a 24 hour hatch. Time for more research..

I just had a shipment of wax warmers come in so I need to go back to being a shop keeper.. and leave the babies alone till later tonight when my work is done.

March 24, 2009 Posted by | Feeding, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment