Betta 1


     Betta splendens are known as bubble breeders.  This means that they build a nest out of bubbles at the surface of the water (Campbell, 2013).  They first start the reproductive process by the male building a nest of bubbles.  The male does this by first swimming to the surface, taking a gulp of air from the atmosphere and then spitting back out a mucus covered bubble as the result (Sturgeon, 2001).  Once the nest is built the male and female fish circle one another, and nudge each other.  Then the male turns the female on her side and wraps himself around her (Sturgeon, 2001).  This is followed by the male then tightening his grip and turning the female upside down.  While the female remains in the upside down position, the male positions himself underneath her.  The female then starts to release the eggs.  As the eggs start to sink, the male then catches the eggs in his mouth.  While the eggs are in the male’s mouth he covers them with mucus, swims to the bubble nest, and disperses the eggs into the nest of bubbles (Sturgeon, 2001).  This process, of bringing the eggs to the nest, is repeated numerous times because the female only lays three to seven eggs at a time, but lays several hundred eggs each time that mating occurs (Sturgeon, 2001).  The mucus that covers the eggs while in the male’s mouth is secreted from the buccal glands and is composed of glycoproteins that have antimicrobial properties that are beneficial to the young fish (Brown, 2012).  While the eggs are resting in the bubble nest the male waits and guards the nest until they hatch.  This takes place approximately thirty-six hours after mating, but may vary depending on the temperature of the water (Campbell, 2013).  To learn more about the chemical compositin of these bubble nests click here, as a start to further explore the topic.

      After the female is completely done laying her eggs, the male then drives the females away (Brown, 2012).  The male then become the only guardian of the fish after they hatch.  The fish are under the male’s care for the first few weeks. After leaving the father's care  they then reach sexual maturity at approximately five months (Sturgeon, 2001).  Betta splendens have a lifespan of two to six years in both captivity and in the wild.
Video by Benny Sølz

     As shown, betta fish have a very particular mating ritual.  Betta fish are also very particular in choosing their mate.  The females choose mates based on secondary sexual characteristics such as body size, coloration, ornamentation, and vocalizations (Clotfelter et al, 2006).  In this, the females are considered to be more particular than the males when choosing a mate.  Males on the other hand, are not very particular with their mate.  The males do not have many characteristics that they mate for.  They mate for fecundity, which is indicated by the females body size (Clotfelter et al., 2006).  Males are thirty percent lager, and although they strive to get females smaller in size, the female cannot be that much smaller comparatively.  If the female is too small compared to the male, the chance of reproduction decreases (Clotfelter et al., 2006). 
Betta 3

     In the natural habitat of the betta fish, they do not display as vibrant of colors as they do when they are bred for domestication.  Their coloration in the wild is usually dull, but is displayed when trying to attract a mate.  This is in adaptation of the chromatophores in the Betta splendens skin, and is used to find an optimal mate (Sturgeon 2001).  However this is interesting because while coloration is used to attract the same species it is also used in its natural habitat to ward of predators (Sturgeon, 2001).

Now that we know how it interacts within the species, lets now take a look at how it interacts with other organisms.  Click here to continue.