Feeding Your Betta Fry

Breeding Bettas, Siamese Fighting Fish,  Part 12 – Feeding Your Betta Fry

If you’ve just finished reading my previous article then you’ve probably already recognized the importance of planning ahead when it comes to fry food. Now the first point to make here is you can get artificial fry food from the pet store. The store assistant told me she knew a breeder that only fed her Betta fry on the liquid food which she was trying to sell me and the breeder never had a problem. I decided not to bother though as I already had microworms and vinegar eels and decided to stick with those. Therefore I’m not going to advise one way of another but I stuck with live food so if you’re that way inclined as well then please read on.

Therefore the first decision you will have to make is when to start feeding your fry. If you’ve got java moss in your breeding tank then there should be enough infusoria in the water to keep the fry alive for the first few days. If not then you will have to start feeding straight away.

The next question you might have is how much do you feed them? Well that depends on how many fry you end up with of course and whether they are small like my first spawn or a little larger like my second spawn. Not really a very conclusive answer is it! Well that’s the situation I was faced with when I first started and to be honest it wasn’t until recently that I made some discoveries about Microworms that made it all a little clearer for me. As a consequence I’ll write an article dedicated to culturing Microworms so I’ll explain it more clearly there. Interestly though I actually found a comment from an experienced breeder in a forum who said that after breeding Bettas for some years he’s still not sure extally how much is the right amount. Therefore at this stage I’d just say it basically comes down to judgement and experience.

It is important to note though that if you do overfeed them you can run the risk of excess food going rotten and contaminating the water but having said that I tend to think that it is best to overfeed slightly rather that underfeed and this is the reason why. If you have decided to add some Mystery Snails then they will eat any left over food and therefore you shouldn’t have a problem with water contamination.

Mystery-Snail-Eggs

Mystery Snail Eggs. I must say I did get a surprise when I first saw these. The Snails will lay their eggs above the water line.

In fact I don’t feed my Mystery Snails at all so as to encourage them to do the job they are in there for. As a consequence though they must still like the conditions as they have grown considerably and have now twice laid eggs on the lid of the breeding tank which I believe is only done when conditions are to their liking.

The next question is what to feed them? If you go for live food then you will find that different breeders have different ideas on this but the main consensus I discovered was to start them on microworms and then progress onto freshly hatched Baby Brine Shrimp, BBS. The reason why is Baby Brine Shrimp are highly nutritious and the breeder I spoke suggested your fry will grow faster when fed the BBS.

Now the other thing I was warned about when feeding your fry Baby Brine Shrimp is it can lead to a Swim Bladder Disorder if you feed your fry too much. So it is best to alternate this with another food such as Microworms. So maybe BBS in the morning and Microworms in the afternoon.

The other food that can come in handy is Vinegar eels and although they are not considered to be very nutritious they can come in handy as a backup if you’re having trouble with your other food, as they are relatively easy to keep.

There are other foods you can feed your fry as well that such as Daphania, Tubefex Worms, Grindal Worms, Mosquito Larvae and Infusoria. At the end of the day the food you decide to feed your fry will ultimately depend on what you can source locally. Therefore take advice from your local pet store, aquarium or Betta breeder.

I fed my Betta fry a combination of Microworms, Baby Brine Shrimp, Grindal Worms, Vinegar Eels, Artificial Daphnia Powder and White Worms.

Therefore here is what I’ve concluded from each of these types of food.

Basically I found Baby Brine Shrimp to be a pain in the backside. Now I know nearly every Betta breeder will recommend them but really for me, it was just a whole lot of work that I though was unnecessary. Remember Breeding Bettas should be enjoyable and the last thing you want is for it to consume your life to the extent where you burn out and lose interest after one or two spawns. So I’m all for finding ways of doing things that make things easier but still obviously work. Therefore I’m not going to go into what’s involved with hatching Baby Brine Shrimp as it’s all over the internet and if you want to research it and still want to give it a go, then fair enough!

Grindal worms, I found to be very worthwhile when the fry get large enough to eat them. You can use them to condition your Bettas for breeding and also to fatten them up again after you remove them from the breeding tank. I’ve got several cultures of these but I haven’t gotten them to the stage where I can produce enough of them to continually harvest them for my fry but when I find something that works I will write an article about it.

Vinegar Eels are a microscopic nematode and will live in a 50/50 culture of apple cider vinegar and water with a few slices of apple added. I’m lead to believe they aren’t all that nutritious but are handy to keep as a back up food which did come in handy for me on a couple of occasions. For me though I thought they were a bit of a pain to harvest as you have to separate them from the mixture as you don’t want to have to add vinegar into your breeding tank. I strained them through a fabric dust mask but I found this to be time consuming and really only bothered to harvest them on a few occasions.

Artificial Daphnia Powder was a fry food I bought from the aquarium that wasn’t specifically made for Betta fry but I thought I’d try it anyway. To be honest it wasn’t very successful. The fry would nibble on it but only as a last resort. I think the Mystery Snails probably ate most of it.

Therefore it was the Microworms and White Worms that I had the most success with. These for me were the least labor intensive once I got the cultures sorted out. So I’ve decided to write about these individually. As for the other foods I tried and I didn’t recommend, my advice would be to research each of them and then make a decision, because what doesn’t work for one person may in fact work for another.

So if you like to read about what worked for me then follow the link to read about Microworms

Breeding Bettas, Siamese Fighting Fish,  Part 13 – Cleaning Your Betta Fry Tank

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