I have been working on breeding betas since high school. I had mixed success while in Washington but after I move to Hawaii I found it was much easier. Last year I found a fish tank in the science room and have since gotten it up and running. My hobby has been trying to get betas to breed or even survive. They prefer higher temperatures (80-85) and do not respond well to changes. I have been surprised how well they have shipped. I, and some people I have coerced into doing my bidding have been hand carrying them when flying and so far that method has worked well.
Other than the temperature changes and relatively poor water quality (even filtered) I am not sure why so many have died. I am also confused why the males have not followed, err, the proper procedures.
They flare at the female (floating in a clear jar) as they are supposed to and begin building a nest, but before it is of any size at all they stop and may even become disinterested in the female.
When done correctly the male should build a large bubble nest of small uniform bubbles. Then when the male and female are introduced, after some fighting (hence the name fighting fish), the two wrap together and the female appears to pass out as she releases the eggs which the male collects and spits onto the bubble nest and then they wrap together again and repeat the process several times.
The last time we got to the egg stage there was a small nest like this time and to begin with it was the male who passed out not the female, a trouble I have never encountered. When they finally got it right he put what few eggs the courting produced into the nest and over the next few days proceeded to eat all the eggs.
The function of the male is 1)to protect the eggs 2)to maintain the nest 3)to retrieve any eggs that fall to the nest 4)to retrieve young fry that fall from the nest as they are not good swimmers and may drown.
This time I have removed the male. The biggest mortality that the male prevents is the last. It is my hope that I will be able to lower the water level enough that the fry can make it to the top without him. Fry have a low chance of survival with the male and even lower without but 0 when the male decides to eat rather than care for the young.
I should also mention that some of the mortality is likely due to mating. Beta mating requires several transfers from one environment to another (jar to tank and back) which lowers the well being of the fish. Additionally, most matings result in wounds which may be minor fin tearing or as in my last attempt more severe cuts and bites which can be fatal (again as my most recent attempt was).
But this time (so far) everyone is still alive and only minor damage although the female is missing some scales on her side which I will have to watch for signs of infection. The male is a off yellowish and the female is a purpleish red. I am not well versed in beta genetics so I will not predict the colors of the fry just yet.
They ‘laid’ the eggs Monday so with luck we should have fry Wednesday or Thursday and then we will see if they can survive without dad.