Last Updated on December 25, 2020 by Anne Thynne
If you are a first-time betta owner, you will be fascinated by the bettas’ skill to create the bubble nest. The male betta builds the bubble nest as part of its mating with the female partner and later, uses it for the breeding purpose.
But, it evokes a few questions in our mind, such as what is the exact purpose of the bubble nest for the betta and what role it plays in breeding the betta babies. Naturally, inexperience betta owners often ask me, “Can betta eggs hatch without bubble nest?”
Well, the answer is YES. Betta babies can be hatched even without the bubble nest, but the chances of their survival without the bubble nest are minimal.
What’s more surprising is that there’s one type of betta that never uses the bubble nest for breeding. It will hatch the eggs on its mouth likewise most carps.
So, our discussion will include how betta can hatch without the bubble nest and how to help the betta fry survive to grow young. Also, we will discuss the breeding process of both bubble nest betta and mouth-breeding betta.
Hope, you love the article.
Table of Contents
Can Betta Eggs Hatch Without Bubble Nest?
To answer this question, we will first need to understand the formation and purpose of the bubble nest.
So, here it goes-
A male beta collects air from the air and engulfs it. He then releases the air on the shallow water surface with his saliva attached to it. The saliva forms a sticky texture and allows the air bubbles to come together to create the bubble nest.
Once the bubble nest formation is completed, the male betta will look for his female partner. The mating takes place inside the nest through aggressive nipping and fighting of the male and female betta. As soon as the female betta lays the egg, the male betta drives it away.
The eggs are placed right on the bubbles. The bubbles contain air and work like airbags. It is full of oxygen. So, once the betta fries are hatched, the babies will breathe in from the air inside the bubble nest.
Thus, we can say that-
Betta can hatch without the bubble nest, but their hatchlings or babies won’t survive under the normal condition without the bubble nest. So, even if a betta hatches without the nest, it is not fruitful.
But, it is valid for the bubble-nest bettas only. The mouth-brooding bettas have an entirely different technique for hatching their babies.
Two Different Kinds of Betta Breeders
Whenever we talk about the betta, almost all of us think about the Siamese fighting fish and the Betta Splendens only. However, you would be surprised to know that there’re more than 30 different sub-species and types of betta fish.
These 30 fish types are broadly categorized into two classes depending on their breeding process. It will help you quickly decide what kind of betta suits your breeding aquarium requirements.
The traditional bubble nest betta breeders:
The male betta has the sole responsibility to build the bubble nest, collect the eggs and take care of the hatchlings. The male betta throws air bubbles on the surface of the fish tank attached with his saliva to create the bubble nest.
The female is responsible only for mating and laying the eggs for the next generation. In fact, the males will drive away the female to safeguard the eggs. Some of the common nest-building bettas are-
- Bettasplendens (Siamese Fighting Fish)
- Bettasmaragdina (Emerald Betta)
- Bettabellica (Slender Betta)
- Bettaimbellis (Crescent Betta)
Once the spawning is over, and the female betta has laid the eggs, these betta males will carry the egg from the water and place them on the bubbles. He will continue collecting the floating eggs until the last one is rescued and placed on the bubble.
A female betta will lay around 40 to 50 eggs in a single mating session. So, the males have to swim swiftly to collect those eggs. Once the male betta positions all the eggs on the bubble nest, it will tirelessly care of these eggs.
At times, a few eggs will drop off from the nest, and the male fish will immediately restore it on the nest. But you might see a strange thing at this time.
Some betta owners have observed that even the male fish eat up a few eggs during the hatching time. Although it might seem unusual, you don’t need to be panicked with the condition.
Male bettas will probably eat those eggs that haven’t been appropriately fertilized. And it is normal.
The hatching time for the betta will vary from 24 hours to 72 hours. Once the betta babies are hatched, they will still stick with the egg sac.
The egg sac provides the necessary nutrients to the betta fries for the next two to three days. You must not remove the egg sac since the babies won’t survive long without it. Also, the bubble nest traps oxygen to help the babies breath properly.
During this entire time, the bubble nest works as a safe haven for the betta fries. The male betta ensures that all the babies are stuck with the egg sac and doesn’t float away from the nest.
Mouth-brooding type of betta fish:
This class of betta fish is not as familiar and popular as the bubble nesting betta fishes. As their name suggests, they will incubate the eggs in the mouth instead of the bubble nest. However, the female betta has a slight role in this breeding process, unlike the net builders.
Some of the common mouth-brooding betta fish types are-
- Bettapicta (Java Mouth-brooding Betta),
- Bettapugnax (Penang Betta) and
- Betta raja.
Once the spawning time is over, and the eggs are fertilized, the male betta will collect them on its fins. Then, the female will engulf them and after a moment, releases them on the water.
The male then collects them inside its mouth.
The spawning session will continue for several times until the female betta has released all of its eggs. Then the male betta will start incubating the eggs inside its mouth.
The incubation period will last anywhere from 7 days to 16 days.
You need to be careful during the incubation period since the male might end up swallowing the eggs or release them prematurely if he feels stressed. So, remove all the males from the betta fish tank when the male incubates.
Once the hatching is done, and the male has released the betta fries in the water, it is better to remove the father too. It is because the male betta might eat a few fries if he feels stressed or finds any babies weak.
Alternative Ways of Breeding Bubble Nest Betta Without the Father:
Sometimes you might see the male betta eating up all or majority of the eggs. It will fail all of your efforts to breed the bubble nest betta.
But don’t fear it.
I have found a couple of alternative methods to breed the eggs without the presence of the father.
Pick a 1/6” thick sheet of black craft foam. Then, cover its edge with the aquarium sealant. Now fill the sponge with water and carefully place the eggs on it. The water level must be so shallow that it will cover maximum ¾ of the betta egg.
The main idea is to expose the eggs to the air slightly while ensuring the moisture of the eggs too. I adopted the idea because the primary purpose of the bubble nest is to lock the air inside and provide moisture to the eggs simultaneously.
In this thin layer of water level, this necessity of air and moisture is fulfilled. Lastly, cover the tank so that the air remains intact. However, this technique is exceptionally challenging since maintaining the humidity and air at the same time is not so easy.
So, this brings us to the next technique.
This technique is a sure shot. Also, frankly, it is the simplest of all for breeding the bubble nest breeders without or with the father. Find a transparent and small glass bowl. Then float it on the fish aquarium and fill it with ½th the water. Finally, seed the eggs on it.
The incubation will be slower since the water temperature inside the glass bowl is cooler than the fish tank temperature. You should see 50% to 60% of eggs appropriately hatched.
This technique of the betta breeding without the bubble nest suggests that the bubble nest isn’t necessary for the hatching.
The male uses the nest to protect the hatchlings from predators and external dangers. It also offers breathing air with more ease.
This discussion clearly answers that betta can hatch eggs successfully without the bubble nest. Some bettas won’t even create the nest for hatching.
So, what does the nest do?
It is additional protection for the betta fries. What more surprising is that the betta continuously creates the bubble nest even if it has never come across any female in its entire lifetime.
So, we can say, bubble nest is necessary for protection and territorial supremacy for the adult betta. With this we conclude today’s topic on “Can betta eggs hatch without bubble nest”.