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Thinking about raising wild bettas...

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Hey all, I'm thinking of getting some wild bettas but aside from them needing soft water, I don't know much else! I've had a quick look around the internet but I was interested in knowing what everyone has to say on them. I guess my main question is how they differ behaviorally from betta splendens.

Thanks in advance!

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Hey Boogerino,

(p.s. I'm briztoon as well, but don't use that account any more)

Thanks [MENTION=7936]leah[/MENTION]. I'd say Manyork has easily surpassed me now. Sheesh, he and his collection and set up was even published in a Taiwanese fish magazine this month. And [MENTION=353]Rod[/MENTION] has 30 years experience on me, and a LOT of what I know has come from listening to Rod.

First up [MENTION=10918]Boogerino[/MENTION], what type of wild bettas you are considering? Small bubblenesters such as the Coccina or Splendens complexes, small/medium size mouthbrooders such as the Albimarginata, Foerschi or Rubra complexes, or the larger mouthbrooders which is pretty much everything else.

Depending on what species you look are considering, will influence the size of tank you'll need, and how many tanks you'll need.

But there are some basics for tank set up. Lots of driftwood, live java fern and java moss, and some type of floating plant such as water sprite. As you mentioned, soft water is a must, so to are ketapang leaves (Indian Almond Leaves = IAL) as they really do better in tannin stained water. I prefer no substrate in my tanks, as it makes it them easier clean, especially when there are fry in the tank, you can see them and avoid siphoning them out. Plus between the driftwood, plants and IAL, you don't really notice the bare bottom of the tank. I also paint the outside bottom of my tanks a dark blue.

Just touching on soft water. A good supply of rain water (rain water tank) is the easiest way to go. Otherwise you are looking at buying a Reverse Osmosis unit. Using chemicals such as PH down is useless, especially as they don't remove the dissolved solids in Brisbane tap water.

Albimarginata and Channoides are usually considered good beginner wild species. But to be honest, if your tank is set up right from the beginning, most species should be pretty easy. I started with wild splendens species, then moved on to coccina and rubra complex species. At the moment I have a dozen young adult Betta uberis that I really should look to sell.

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Hey pk333,

I was thinking of betta rutilans green, a bubblenester/mouthbrooder I think?

Now that you mention it, I have heard that they like lots of driftwood and java fern and moss. I'm familiar with Indian Almond leaves -- I ended up using a fair amount when I was raising my dragon fry.

You make an interesting point about the no substrate, though. I've always wondered if bettas in general actually have a preference, otherwise I'd probably ditch the gravel too.

I've heard about some wild betta owners painting 1-3 sides of the tank to help reduce stress in the fish. Have you heard of this? Any thoughts?

As for the soft water, I believe the place that I'll be moving to will have a water tank. In the past, I've had an outdoor pond that was fed by tank water. The bettas certainly thrived on that mix of pond and tank water! Hopefully I won't have to seek out a reverse osmosis unit.

Looks like in the mean time I'll be working on setting up a tank that could be used for wild bettas but I'll be interested to see how your betta uberis turn out :)

Thanks again for your reply

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If the tank/s are in a high traffic area in the house, I can understand painting three sides of a tank. I don't, but my tanks are in the garage, so little traffic with people walking past the tanks. I have three wild tanks next to each other, and occasionally will see fish in one tank, flaring at a fish in the next tank.

I keep my Coccina complex bettas in 30cm cube tanks. I have to remove the juvenile fry once they're about a centimetre SL, otherwise the tanks get to crowded. I grow the fry out in large 80 litre tubs. If you set up a 2x1x1 tank, you should be able to keep a family colony in there.

I have no experience with rutilans as they're one of the few Coccina complex bettas I haven't kept. Ashlea Rawling in Melbourne has blogged a bit about them, I suggest checking out her blog. Red Wine Bettas - Blog

I mix two thirds rain water with one third tap water in a 150 litre barrel. I make my own IAL tea which I add to the barrel. I run a small internal filter in there to keep the water moving. During winter I also run a heater in the barrel, usually turn it own 24 hours before I do water changes. Once the leaves are pretty much exhausted for making IAL tea, that's when I add them to my tanks.

Only other advice I can think of at the moment is set up some buckets outside to culture your own live food. I use 4 litre ice-cream tubs, and fill them with old fish tank water and used bbs water. Grow plenty of mosquito larvae and bloodworms (midge larvae). Otherwise I feed them live blackworms, Pet City sells it a very good price.

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