Are you good at breeding fighting fish?

breeding fighting fish

Breeding fighting fish is a great hobby! However, it’s only great if it’s done well

Everyone with an aquarium is fascinated by fighting fish. However, before you start breeding Fighting fish, there are some things you should consider.

Below is a detailed overview of things to consider when you start breeding fighting fish.

Are you breeding fighting fish or is it just propagation?

You should answer the following question before you start: Am I breeding fighting fish or am I propagating fighting fish? If you know this difference, you will quickly realize what is important and what is important.

Propagating fighting fish

In the case of propagation,

Any two animals are mated together and their young are raised.

  • Often you take two animals from the pet shop and enjoy their offspring.
  • You neither know the genetic background, nor do you usually mate matching fin variants.

The problem: The finned hybrids are not always visually appealing young fighting fish, which could make placement very difficult or even cause health problems.

Breeding fighting fish

When breeding fighting fish, you have breeding goals and you normally have the desired offspring outcome in mind.

  • As a rule, one knows the genetic background of the breeding animals or mated specific fin variants in order to be able to pursue the goal.

In short: You think about this mating intensely. The best way to do this is to take animals from known breeders who can provide information about parents, grandparents, etc.

If it is really a matter of simply being able to observe the mating behavior, I would recommend getting wild-fighting fish or labyrinths that show similar behavior (macropods, for example). Here you can convey the young animals well and the genetic background plays a significantly less important role.

Finding the best sources of fighting fish for breeding

Now that you have sufficiently informed yourself, it is important to know what you want to breed.

Deciding the Fighting fish fin variants to breed

Deciding on the fin variant is very important because it helps you

  • Get an orientation of where to get which breeding fighting fish
  • Decide how much space you might need.

The best recommendation is to limit the number of variations because if can be overwhelming.

Fighting fish breeding charts

Finnage and scale variations table

The finnage abbreviations are summarized here again:

There are an additional two variants:

  • Traditional Poster (Trad. Poster)
  • Fighter

These are not compatible in this regard.  

Veil tailVTExtended finnage length and non-symmetrical tail; caudal fin rays usually only split once; the most common tail type seen in pet stores.
Crown tailCTFin rays are extended well beyond the membrane and consequently the tail can take on the appearance of a crown; also called fringetail
Comb tailCTLess extended version of the crown tail, derived from breeding crown and another finnage type
Half-moonHM“D” shaped caudal fin that forms a 180° angle, the edges of the tail are crisp and straight
Over-half-moon or Super Delta tailSDTCaudal fin is in excess of the 180° angle, byproduct of trying to breed half-moons, can sometimes cause problems because the fins are too big for the fish to swim properly[25]
Rose tailRT Variation with so much finnage that it overlaps and looks like a rose
Feather tailFTSimilar to the rose tail, with a rougher appearance
PlakatPKShort fins that resemble the fins seen in wild-type bettas
Half-moon plakatHMPKShort-finned half-moon; plakat and half-moon cross
Double tail or Full-moonDTFMThe tail fin is duplicated into two lobes and the dorsal fin is significantly elongated, the two tails can show different levels of bifurcation depending on the individual
Delta tailDTFMTail spread less than that of a half-moon
Super DeltaSD/SDTAre an enhanced version of the Delta
Half-sunHSCombtail with caudal fin going 180°, like a half-moon
Elephant earEEPectoral fins are much larger than normal, often white, resembling the ears of an elephant
Spade tailSTCaudal fin has a wide base that narrows to a small point
Source: Wikipedia

Fighting fish color variants

Colors are very rarely abbreviated.

SolidThe entire fish is one colour with no variations
Bi-colourThe fins must be a different colour to the body to be a Bi-colour.
CambodianThe body is pale, almost colourless, and the fins are a solid colour
ButterflyThe fins have distinct bands of colours
MarbleIrregular patterns throughout the body and fin
PiebaldPale flesh-coloured face irrespective of the body colour.
Full MaskThe face being the same colour as the body rather than what it would naturally be which would be darker than the body
DragonRich strong base colour with the scales on the main part of the body a pale iridescent
Multicolour3 or more colours on the body that does not fit into any other pattern category
PastelA light shade of colour seen only on the fins, body remains a flesh hue.
KoiKoi are judged from the top down and look like their carp counterparts. Patterns should be uniform with clean color defining lines.
NemoAre either white based or orange based and have 3 or 4 main colors. Orange, red, yellow, black
Source: Wikipedia

Finding the right suppliers of breeding fighting fish

Once you have made a decision, you have to find the right source of supply.

Fighting fish breeders

It is advisable to get information from reputable breeders and to stock up on them. You can find these in various Facebook groups and forums quite quickly and thanks to the secure animal shipping you are no longer bound to them in the vicinity, even if this is always advantageous.

Good breeders will also provide you with breeding setup and breeding care information and show you whether or not the selected animals are in harmony with one another from a breeding perspective. The reason why fighting fish “xy” are better suited to one another than fighting fish “xz” is also gladly explained.

Fish pet shops

You could also get animals from pet shops. Here you don’t always have a suitable contact person and you don’t always have the best animals that are suitable for breeding (there are, however, exceptions!). However, if you decide to buy pet animals, you have to be aware that a lot of breeding work may be required here.

Import them from abroad

Importing fighting fish to breed is always an option. Then there are the lovely imports.

We would however recommend a local supplier.

Nevertheless importing breeding fighting fish is not as costly as you would imagine.

  • Just make sure the exporter have a dedicated contact person that you can call should you have any questions after the breeding fighting fish have arrived.  
  • Make sure that the fish come with provenance: Where they were bred and information on food, age of the animals, character, etc. You don’t have this great advantage with the animals from the pet shop or imports.

Aquarium checklist for breeding Fighting fish

  • ​Aquarium pad
  • Aquarium lighting. Tip: Connect to a timer.
  • Filter that is extremely weakly adjustable. For example air-operated sponge filter, Dennerle corner filter (taking important precautionary measures), backpack filter. Always let it run 24 hours a day!
  • Adjustable heater. Set the temperature to 25 ° -27 ° C.
  • thermometer
  • Dark, uncolored gravel
  • Many plants
  • Almond tree leaves. Alternatives: beech, oak or walnut leaves, alder cones, witch nuts
  • Nitrite drop test (the most accurate is the API Aquarium Test Kit)
  • Mulching bell with hose
  • bucket
  • Snails, e.g. ram’s horn snails, racing snails, piano snails, etc., in order to utilize any food leftovers and to keep potential algae growth at bay


  • Betta landing net for stress-free transfer, e.g. in a Sepa basin or similar.
  • Betta “bed”, eg “Betta Log” from Zoomed or half a coconut / small root overgrown with anubias, which can be placed a few cm below the surface of the water using a suction cup
  • Salt (without any additives), for the prevention or treatment of various symptoms
  • Fertilizer balls or similar For plants
breeding fighting fish
Male Fighting fish
breeding fighting fish
Female Fighting fish

Are you now ready to breed fighting fish?

Basics of fighting fish breeding

If you want to breed fighting fish successfully, you should

  1. Setup the tank properly before introducing the breeding pair
  2. Feed the breeding pair enough appropriate food
  3. In addition to the (probably usual) flake food, it is important to ensure that live food is fed.
  4. The fish need sufficient strength for the spawning act and the subsequent brood care.
  5. So that both animals are ready to spawn, strong live food is helpful. Frozen food and other food can also be given.
  • Suitable are e.g. B. Black and white mosquito larvae, frozen or alive, fruit flies, mosquito-sized insects and smaller earthworms.
  • Because Betta splendens’ breeding business is very exhausting, males and females are filled with frozen or live food once or twice a day.
  • Make sure that that the temperature during feeding is approx. 25 ° C.
  • If the animals still show no desire, a water change is carried out and the temperature may be increased to 27 °. Higher temperatures are actually not necessary.
  • If both animals are placed in a special breeding tank, the female must always be used first.

Breeding tank tips for breeding fighting fish

  • Use a simple basin with the following dimensions: 40 x 25 x 25.
  • Make sure that background is dark.
  • You can dispense with the substrate.
  • Place a single-colored, dark mat under the pool. This will allow the male to find eggs that have fallen on the ground yielding more eggs. A few eggs keep falling from the nest to the ground, especially when the water level is around 10 to 15 centimeters. In larger aquariums, the water level should possibly be lowered to about 15 centimeters.
  • According to other experiences, the water level should be a little higher. During the mating act, when the animals are entwined, the parents sink slightly downwards. If the eggs are collected by the male while they are floating, before the eggs are in contact with the ground, the yield of larvae is much higher. The risk of the eggs coming into contact with bacteria on the ground is very high.
  • Make sure that the tank has sufficient heating and maintain the temperature between 25 ° and 28 ° C. 25 ° to 26 ° C – the high temperatures is recommended to stimulate older or limp males for the brood. At higher temperatures, the cubs swim freely a little faster, but high temperatures harm the parents.
  • If you use a filter, make sure that there is no surface current. You can use a small foam internal filters or a hamburger mat filter.
  • Create sufficient hiding place for the female fighting fish.
  • Add floating plants or a piece of styrofoam on the surface of the water or a feeding ring or a piece of floating hose to help the fighting fish build the nest.
  • Ideally you should try and use soft water with a pH value of 7.
  • Ideally you can add oxygen stones AFTER the the young have hatched.

How to setup a breeding tank for fighting fish (VIDEO)

Breeding fighting fish: Aquarium setup

How to successfully breed Fighting fish – Easy and Simple Steps (VIDEO)

Breeding fighting fish

Beginners Guide to breeding Fighting fish (VIDEO)

Breeding Fighting fish for beginners

Fighting fish mating behavior: The female is chased away by the male

It is normal for the male to initially hunt the female. The female is then not yet ready to spawn. The so-called driving is part of the reproductive ritual so that the female is ready to spawn. It then gets a startling color, ie the body shows longitudinal stripes.

If the female is hunted too hard, the female will be removed from the breeding tank and placed in a small tank next door. The male must be able to see the female.

When the male has built a foam nest, the female is returned to the breeding tank. If the female is still ready to spawn, it will be taken out of the tank again.

The female clearly shows the willingness to mate. A female in spawning mood has a fat belly and shows a lighter, transversely striped, vertical spawn color in the middle of the body.

Most of the time, the female then actively approaches the male. After a lot of driving, a female in a spawning mood can also lie torn and exhausted in a corner and show her spawning color.

When mating, the male wraps around the female. The female drifts upward as if dead when she is in the so-called paralysis. The next pairing takes place a little later.

Fighting fish mating

Breeding Fighting fish do not need oxygen-rich water

Oxygen-rich water as with other fish species is not required. Fighting fish or Betta splendens live in the areas of origin in muddy water, in flooded meadows and in rice fields. The water level is usually between 10 and 30 centimeters.

There a relatively large mass of plants rot in relatively little water. The temperatures rise rapidly and sharply to over 30 ° C during the day.

So the water has little oxygen. One advantage is that the fighting fish have no competition from more sensitive fish. In addition, the food supply is very high during this time.

A good supply of food is important for fighting fish. If fighting fish are really full, they will multiply because then the young will probably be full too.

What is a dirty broth for certain fish species is a wonderful healthy habitat for other species. That is why water in which Fighting fish still feel comfortable can be deadly for other species.

With their labyrinth organ, fighting fish have adapted to low-oxygen water. The eggs and larvae are supplied with oxygen with the help of the foam nest. To ensure that there is enough oxygen for all the young, the male constantly rearranges the brood, i.e. regularly packs the young in fresh bladders.

The hatching larvae are also repeatedly packed into the nest with fresh bubbles as long as they are not yet free to swim. The free-swimming larvae usually swim directly on the surface of the water, where the oxygen content is likely to be higher than in the lower water layers.

Fighting Fish Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do fighting fish actually fight?

Normally, two male Siamese fighting fish will fight to protect their territory. You should therefore never place them in the same tank. Females will often be more peaceful together and with other peaceful fish species. However, they also have the potential to be aggressive on occasion.

Can fighting fish live in a bowl?

NO. You should not keep fighting fish in bowls. Ideally, they should ideally be in a 5-gallon or larger glass or plastic aquarium tank. Having an environment of this size allows the fighting fish to exhibit normal activity and have less buildup of toxins in their environment.

Will a fighting fish kill a goldfish?

You should only keep fighting fish and goldfish together in the same tank if you had absolutely no other choice. It is possible to keep fighting fish and goldfish together for a short amount of time. After all, goldfish are unlikely to trigger aggression in your betta and a couple of days of warmer temperature won’t kill your goldfish.

How do you know a fighting fish is happy?

When fighting fish are content and happy, they display the following signs to show that they are happy, healthy, and relaxed:
• The have strong, vibrant colors.
• Fins are held open, but not taut, allowing their fins to billow and fold in the water.
• Feeds readily.
• Active, smooth swimming movements.

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