Hi, I am a pet female Betta fish, and I always thought it might be nice to raise a little fishy family, but it seems impossible if I cannot be put with a male without worrying that he will try to fight me. How do we have a family?
Signed, Betta Babe
Answer: Dear Babe
As you know male Bettas often fight, which is why they are also often called Siamese Fighting Fish. Female Betta fish look an awful lot like a wild Betta male, it is just that through breeding, the pet Betta fish have just been bred to be fancier. As male Betta fish are very territorial a male will fight even the prettiest Betta babe, that is, unless she is in her breeding pattern.
In order to breed you, a female Betta, must be put into a roomy tank where the male lives. There should be a divider between you and the male, but water should flow between. This way you will both pick up each other scent in the water. If fed a good diet, eventually you will enter your breeding phase (as pictured above), often changing colors to show vertical stripes which will indicate to him (along with the scent) that you are a female fish. You may also start to get plumper and eggs with form within you.
The male will usually build a bubble nest. Some do this anyhow regardless of if a female is there or not.
At this point your owner can put you with the male, but you need to be supervised in case the male Betta gets rough. He will usually wrap around you and this is when spawning (fish mating) takes place. You will release the eggs and he will start to collect them and scoop them up into the bubble nest. At that point your owner needs to actually remove you, I am afraid the family will not be as you expected.
The male Betta fish is the one that looks after the eggs, picking them up if they fall out of the nest, he would fight you just to keep you away, and you might even eat the eggs yourself. The little fry (baby fish) will hatch in about two days, and three days later they should be able to swim on their own at which time the father Betta is removed so he doesn't start to eat them.