I have eggs! Now what do I do?
Who’s talking? You or your male betta? It’s busy time for daddy now, he has to have the lights on all the time from now until he’s removed in three or four days so he can see the eggs and the fry. Untill the eggs hatch in 24 to 36 hours the male has to keep them up in the nest, which for some males is a boring time and some it’s frantic.
Most males are lucky and most of their eggs stay up in the nest like they’re cemented unless the nest is disturbed, so you may see him laying around on a plant nearby lazing, sometimes a few will fall without him noticing and you can get him to follow your finger down to where he sees them and he should immediately move them back up into the nest.
On the other hand, if he’s an unlucky male with falling eggs he may spend the entire time trying to keep up with the falling eggs, at first he may not keep up with it, and some will stay on the bottom, he’ll pick up the strongest eggs first, about 10 to 15 at a time and put them back into the nest. A few left on the bottom will happen, it’s life, but if you notice a lot on the bottom slowly siphon off some water so it’s only an inch or two deep instead of 3 or 4, that should help him some.
During this time your male will most likely move the eggs around several times, hold them in his mouth and roll them around, making funny faces in the proccess (like one gill cover going out, then the other) while he cleans them, this is to keep them from being attacked by fungus, he may swallow a few unfertilized or already rotten eggs to protect the rest, this is normal. But if you catch him eating large numbers of eggs, and make sure he is eating them, then you need to immediately remove him without disturbing the nest and lower the water level to 1″ deep, and PRAY!
After once the eggs start hatching he’s got his hands full, the eggs will begin to wiggle and fall out of the nest, so he has to place them back in, once the fry have hatched they’ll sit in the nest with their little tails hanging down and wiggle a bit, some will fall out and he’ll have to pick them up, some will fall and swim right back up into the nest vertically, they cannot swim horizontally yet because of their yolk sacks. He’ll scoop up groups of them just like with the eggs and put them back into his nest, his fins will also stimulate some of them to move, possibly causing more to fall, or ones on the bottom to swim back to the top.
Sometimes the ones he just put back into the nest will immediately fall out again! You can almost hear them saying “weeeeeee” :). This will go on for about 24 to 48 hours, until the fry are Free Swimming, this is when their yolk sacks are desolved and they can swim around horizontally without problem, seeing a father chase around his fry and try to put them back into the nest can be hysterical im told, but our males have never let them get too far from the nest, and I normally remove just before the babies are completely free swimming, so he doesn’t have to be stressed any more than possible. (You can tell this point by a few becoming free swimming).
Once daddy is removed, he needs the same accomodations are mommy did.
So now you have fry, I bet you’re wondering how you take care of them, we’ll start with food: Food for Fry