Learning to let go..
Many articles and tutorials tell you how to breed bettas, what to do, what supplies to use.. but no one prepares you for an the hardest part.. letting go of the precious fish you raised since they were born.
It seems like only yesterday that my betta fry were born. They bounced up and down from their bubble nest as their father watched over them. He flared at me, warning me to stay away from his precious little babies. When they started free swimming, and no longer depend on their egg sack for nutrition, they hid among the tiny duckweed and water lettuce plants and preyed on micro organisms. I was so excited to feed them their first meal of live baby brine shrimp. Their natural instincts told them to chase the little wiggling creatures until their bellies turned orange and filled with food.
They grew FAST. Soon they started to develop fins and color up to the stereotypical "betta fry" color with the stripes on their body. They ate often, explored their planted grow out tank and started to learn to flare. Over time, they began to "marble" for the first time. From then on they changed colors a few time, usually right after a big water changes. Whenever I had to hand feed them or put my hand in the tank to siphon up water for water-changes they all crowded around my hand..curious...sometimes taking a nip at me just to make sure I was not food. They were inquisitive and each had their own personality. Some had favorite spots to sleep in.. some liked to hide under Indian Almond leaves..while others liked to stare at me and beg for food at the top of the tank.
The aggression level began to raise and soon after I had to begin jarring them. With that, the inevitable began to dwell on me. In a few weeks I would have to sell my precious babies to new homes. It makes me nervous trusting strangers to look after them..but I trust the #CreativeCritters (my audience) to do their very best.
Breeding fish is an amazing experience. You can see behaviors of betta fish you would not have witnessed otherwise, you learn about fish growth, genetics, form, and lastly you get to enjoy raising fish from little eggs to sub adults. As they grow..enjoy it..take photos..record them..because one day it will be time for them to go to new owners. When that happens you will have cherished memories and photos to look back at. I am glad that I filmed the entire breeding journey because I can look back at it in a few years from now.