I can guess, it’s your first time breeding bettas and now you’re wondering how to tell if the eggs are fertilized, right? Don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it may seem.
For instance, what you need to do is to take a look at the eggs. If they are white and translucent, then they are not fertilized. On the other hand, if the eggs are opaque and have a brownish color, then they are most likely fertilized.
In this article, I will take you through a step-by-step guide on how to tell if betta eggs are fertilized as well as what to do with the unfertilized ones.
What Do Betta Eggs Look Like?
Betta eggs are white and almost look like tiny pearls, being only 1mm in size. They aren’t uniform in shape at all, looking more oval than round. Plus, they’re incredibly fragile so handle them with care! Also, since betta eggs are translucent you can see right through them which makes them even cooler.
According to the National Library of Medicine, when a male betta is ready to mate, he will build a bubble nest atop the aquarium tank and wait below for a female.
Also, females will inspect the nest to ensure it meets their standards and, if not, they will destroy it. Once the female lays its eggs, the male stays close by to protect them. If any should fall out, the male puts them back in himself.
While eggs can hatch without a bubble nest, it’s uncertain whether they will survive if not resting in one. The nests provide safety and security for the eggs until they are ready to hatch.
How to Tell If Betta Eggs Are Fertilized?
Fertilized Eggs Have a Gray Spot
A key sign that a Betta fish egg is fertile is the presence of significant grey spots in the middle of the egg. As the egg grows, this gray spot will become more prominent. Additionally, while betta eggs can turn black, this does not mean they are no longer fertile.
Eggs Turn Shades of Yellow and Brown
Within the first day or two, you will notice the white Betta eggs start to turn colors, developing shades of yellow and brown. As hatching time nears, you can see the white yolk sac and a small fish inside each egg.
Eggs Show Slight Growth
Although fertilized betta eggs don’t grow significantly, they do develop slightly before hatching. In fact, the growth is often so small that you may not even notice it. On the other hand, an unfertilized egg will remain unchanged since there is no embryo present.
Eggs Develop Two Black Dots for Eyes
You can tell that betta eggs have been fertilized when you see two black spots in their eyes. Within a day or two, the eyes of the eggs will be visible.
You Can See an Embryo in Betta Eggs
By looking for a tiny embryo inside the egg, you can quickly determine if the betta egg has been fertilized. The embryo grows relatively fast and will be easily visible in just a short time.
Betta Eggs Hatch in Three Days
Typically, the time for a fertilized Betta egg to hatch is only three days. However, it could take less or more time depending on the temperature of the water, its quality, and the species of your betta. For example, hatching a betta macrostoma can take up to four weeks.
In warm temperate climates, hatching can happen in as little as 24 hours. As a result, don’t be startled if you find fry sooner than expected. These fry are able to look for food on their own within a couple of days and have high survival rates.
Male Betta Cares for Eggs
Finally, another way you can tell if the eggs have been fertilized is by observing how the male betta behaves. If the male betta notices that the eggs are not fertilized, it will just eat them.
On the other hand, if the eggs are fertilized, the male betta will do everything in its power to keep them safe. It will gently fan them with its fins to keep the water circulating and aerated and will pick up any that fall to the bottom of the tank and return them to the nest.
What Do Unfertilized Betta Eggs Look Like?
At first, it is tough to tell the difference between a fertilized and an unfertilized egg. However, unfertilized eggs look fuzzier and there is no indication of growth. After a short while, you still won’t see any change in the eggs, nor will a tiny fish start appearing inside of them.
Additionally, unfertilized eggs remain white, while fertilized eggs gradually change color. In addition, no gray spots will start to appear.
Further, if you only have a female betta fish, then the eggs are definitely not fertilized. This is because only male bettas have the ability to fertilize the eggs.
If Betta Fish Eggs Aren’t Fertilized, What Happens to Them?
Male bettas will eat unfertilized eggs to ensure that they can focus their energy on the fertile ones. However, if the environment is stressful, males may also consume regular eggs.
Not to mention, if you have any other aquatic creatures in your tank – such as shrimp or snails – they will assist in consuming any unfertilized eggs. Allowing the food chain to do its intended purpose is a straightforward way to eliminate unfertilized eggs.
If a female lays unfertilized eggs, and there is no male present, it will likely consume them. Most of the time you won’t even know that it laid eggs as it will eat them before you have a chance to notice.
What Should I Do If The Eggs Don’t Hatch?
Remove Eggs From the Tank
If the eggs don’t hatch, you need to take them out of the tank as soon as possible. The problem is that if they sit in the tank for too long, they will start to rot and release toxins into the water. This can be harmful to your fish and other aquatic creatures.
To do this, you need to use a soft-bristled brush to gently remove the eggs from the tank. Then, get rid of the eggs by flushing them down the toilet.
Additionally, you can vacuum the bottle of your tank or use a net to remove them one by one. Eggs can get hidden within the rocks and wood, so make sure to check all nooks and crannies.
Let the Male Eat Unhatched Eggs
If you don’t want to remove the eggs from the tank, then you can let the male eat them. This is the most natural way to get rid of them, and it’s also the quickest.
However, you can’t wait too long, or else harmful bacteria will grow in your tank. If the male betta hasn’t done the job after a week, it’s time to take them out.
Separate the Male and Female
If the eggs don’t hatch, it’s likely because the male and female bettas weren’t ready to breed. In this case, you should separate them as soon as possible.
Otherwise, the female will be in danger of getting chased and harassed by the male. This can lead to stress, which can cause health problems.
Additionally, if you separate them, the female will have a chance to rest and recuperate. This will ensure that she’s ready to breed when you reintroduce her to the male.
Add Predators to Your Tank
While some predators will gladly eat the eggs for you, make sure to remove any live bettas first. Predator fish that would enjoy a meal of your Betta’s eggs include Bucktooth Tetras and Jaguar cichlids which can both be available at your nearest pet store.
If you add additional fish to your tank, remember that you will have to care for them afterward. While predators are beneficial in keeping the population of bad eggs under control, you can’t stop caring for them once they care for your unhatched eggs.
Remove Bubble Nest If Necessary
If you’ve checked on your eggs and they still haven’t hatched after a few days, it’s probably time to remove the bubble nest. Gently, use a net to scoop out the unhatched eggs and the bubble nest.
How Many Days Do Betta Fish Eggs Take to Hatch?
The typical hatching period for betta fish eggs is 2-3 days. On average, it takes 10-14 days for a mouthbrooder betta to hatch its eggs. However, in some cases, it may take up to a month.
In the end, this timeframe depends on various factors, such as:
- Temperature: If the temperature is too high or low, it can delay hatching. The ideal temperature for betta fish eggs is 76-82 degrees Fahrenheit
- Oxygen Levels: If the oxygen levels are too low, it can also cause delays in hatching. Make sure to do regular water changes and add an air stone to ensure that the oxygen levels are high enough
- pH Levels: The ideal pH level for betta fish eggs is 7.0. If the pH level is too high or low, it can cause problems during the hatching process
- Nutrition: If the female betta isn’t getting enough food, it can delay hatching. Make sure to feed her a nutritious diet so that she can produce healthy eggs
- Water Quality: When the water contains too much ammonia or nitrites, it will interrupt the hatching process
- Species: The hatching period differs based on the species of betta fish. For example, it will take a shorter amount of time to hatch bubble-nesting bettas as compared to mouthbrooding bettas, whose eggs may take weeks or even months to hatch
How Long Does It Take a Female Betta to Lay Eggs?
Generally, female betta fish mature and can lay eggs when they reach the age of 2-3 months. However, breeding at such a young age is not ideal for small females as it demands high levels of energy with a greater risk to their lives.
Additionally, big bettas can lay more eggs than small ones. Because small female bettas cannot carry all the eggs due to their size and lack of energy. Usually, bigger females are the most productive at around one year old.
Although age is a significant factor, size becomes more important as bettas grow older. If your female has reached her maximum size but is only three months old, it is probably ready to breed.
Also, this rule applies when your female fish is older but smaller than average. Most female bettas will have reached their maximum size after six months, so an eight-month-old betta fish is an ideal age for breeding.
Will Betta Eggs Hatch If There Is No Bubble Nest?
Betta fish eggs can hatch without a bubble nest, but their survival rate is significantly lower. These tropical fish babies are very delicate and need all the help they can get to survive. Thus, a bubble nest is really important for their chances of making it.
Will Betta Eggs Hatch on the Floor or Tank Bottom?
Although it is uncommon, some betta fish eggs may hatch at the bottom of the tank. Some people say that you can assist in this process by lowering the water level until the eggs touch the bottom of the tank. However, it is a complex process.
Do Female Betta Fish Need a Male to Lay Eggs?
Female betta fish do not need a male to lay eggs. In fact, most female bettas will lay eggs even if there is no male present. However, the eggs will not be fertilized and will not hatch. If you want your female’s eggs to hatch, you will need to introduce a male to the tank.
Phew! That was a lot of information on betta fish eggs! But don’t worry, it’s not as complicated as it seems. Just remember to keep an eye on the temperature, oxygen levels, pH levels, and water quality.
If everything is in check, your female betta should have no problem laying healthy eggs that will hatch into strong and vibrant baby bettas.
I hope this article helped you learn more about betta fish eggs. If you have any questions or would like to share your own experiences, please leave a comment below!