Think you have a pregnant Betta fish? You’re not alone! Many people want to know how to tell if a Betta fish is pregnant.
Like many other animals, female Betta fish will exhibit visible signs when they’re pregnant, such as an enlarged abdomen, and a change in behavior. However, not all of these signs are easy to spot.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what happens during pregnancy in the Betta fish world, and what new fish keepers need to be aware of. So if you’re curious about the signs of a pregnant Betta fish and what to do to support them through gestation, read on!
Also, check out this helpful video:
How To Tell If A Betta Fish Is Pregnant – Common Signs To Look For
As we mentioned, there are several signs that may indicate that your Betta fish is pregnant. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common ones:
An Enlarged Abdomen
One of the first and most obvious signs that your Betta fish is pregnant is an enlarged abdomen.
A female Betta’s abdomen will swell as her eggs develop and she will look noticeably “fat” when she is ready to give birth.
A Dark Gravid Spot
This is an area on the belly of the female Betta that looks like a tiny dot.
When a Betta is carrying eggs, we call it a “gravid state.” You should be able to see the white spot on her belly where the eggs will be. This is the ovipositor or the “egg spot,” which is an organ that helps the female to release her eggs.
As the fish’s pregnancy progresses, this gravid spot darkens. Some fishkeepers even use it to estimate how far along she is in her pregnancy.
In some cases, you may also notice white stripes on your female Betta’s body, arranged in a series of five or six light-colored bands. Although this doesn’t mean that your Betta is surely pregnant, it does mean that she is fertile and could be carrying eggs.
Many new Betta owners get scared when they see this because they think they’re fear or stress stripes, but luckily, it’s easy to tell the difference.
While breeding stripes are generally quite vivid, stress stripes appear to be more vibrant. The former is also vertical, while the latter is horizontal, running from the fish’s mouth to the tail.
A Change In Behavior
A pregnant or gravid Betta fish may also exhibit a change in behavior, such as becoming more aggressive or territorial. They may also start chasing other fish or even flare at their own reflection in the glass of the aquarium.
This is often due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and can be a normal part of the process.
Near the end of their pregnancy, female Bettas may become more lethargic and withdrawn as they near the end of their pregnancy. They may also stop eating as much, preferring instead to hide in their favorite hiding spots.
A Loss Of Appetite
As mentioned above, loss of appetite is a possible sign that your Betta fish is pregnant.
While it’s not uncommon for a Betta to lose their appetite for a day or two here and there, if you notice that your fish has stopped eating altogether coupled with the other signs on this list, it could be a sign that they’re now a pregnant female Betta.
If you’re certain that your Betta is pregnant, then there’s nothing to worry about. However, if you’re not sure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and consult your veterinarian.
How Long Do Betta Fish Stay Pregnant?
Generally speaking, the Betta female will stay pregnant for anywhere from two to four weeks. However, there are a few different factors that can affect how long a Betta fish stays pregnant.
- Size of the female. Larger female Bettas tend to carry their eggs for a longer period of time than smaller females.
- Number of fry. If she is carrying a large number of baby Betta eggs, she may stay pregnant for a longer period of time than if she is carrying a small number.
- The health of the mother and fry. If the female fish is not in good health, or if the baby Betta fish are not developing properly, she may stay pregnant for a longer period of time.
If you think your Betta fish might be pregnant, it’s a good idea to consult with a veterinarian who specializes in fish. They will be able to help you determine if your fish is indeed pregnant and can give you advice on how to care for her during her pregnancy.
How To Take Care Of A Pregnant Betta Fish
Taking care of a pregnant Betta is not much different than taking care of any other fish.
However, there are a few things that you need to be aware of in order to ensure that she and her fry stay healthy and happy.
Make Sure Their Water Is Clean
First of all, you need to make sure that she has plenty of clean water to swim in.
Dirty tank water not only stresses out your female Betta fish health problems.
It’s a good idea to do a partial water change of about 20-30% once a week. You should also vacuum the gravel well to remove any waste that could build up and cause problems.
Isolate Them From Other Fish
Some pregnant Bettas may become more aggressive than usual, so it’s important to be aware of this and take steps to avoid any confrontations.
If your pregnant Betta lives in a Betta sorority or a community tank, it may be best to move them temporarily. Pregnant Betta fish don’t need a male Betta fish in the picture until it’s time to fertilize the eggs.
Give Them Plenty Of Hiding Spots
As their pregnancy progresses, they may become more withdrawn and lethargic. It’s important to provide them with plenty of hiding spots so they can feel safe and secure. This could be something as simple as adding some live plants to the tank, or you could purchase a small cave or hiding log specifically for them.
Provide Them With Nutritious Food
Just like with any other fish, it’s important to provide your pregnant Betta with nutritious food. There are a variety of different foods available specifically for pregnant fish, or you could opt for high-protein foods. This will help ensure that she is getting the nutrients she needs for herself and her fry.
Here are some of the foods that we recommend:
- Ultra Fresh Betta Pro Shrimp Patties
- Aqueon Pro Foods Betta Fish Food Formula
- Hikari Bio-Pure Freeze Dried Blood Worms
- Tetra Betta Small Pellets
- Fluval Bug Bites Betta Fish Food
- Tetra Freeze-Dried Baby Shrimp
How Do You Know If Your Pregnant Betta Fish Is Going To Lay Eggs?
Now you know that your Betta is pregnant for sure. But Betta fish don’t give birth to live young, so how do you know if they’re about to lay their eggs?
- Darker gravid spot. The main sign that you should look out for when determining if your Betta fish is about to lay eggs is a dark gravid spot. As mentioned above, this is the spot on her belly where you can see the eggs inside. As she goes on further with her pregnancy, the eggs will become more visible and the gravid spot will appear larger.
- Building a nest out of bubbles. This is one of the most common nesting behaviors. Bettas will blow a bunch of bubbles and then arrange them into a bubble nest. This is usually done in preparation for spawning. Male Bettas do this typically, but if you’ve isolated your Betta in her own tank, she will do it on her own.
- Restlessness and flaring. If your Betta fish is normally calm and relaxed, you may notice that she becomes more restless and starts flaring her fins more often. This is usually a sign that she’s getting ready to lay her eggs.
How Long Does It Take For A Pregnant Betta Fish To Lay Eggs?
It usually takes a Betta fish between 24 and 48 hours to lay all of her eggs. However, there are two factors that can affect how long it takes for a fish to lay her eggs.
One factor is how many eggs she is laying. If she is laying a large number of eggs, it will take her longer to lay them all than if she is laying a small number.
Another factor that can affect the length of time it takes for a fish to lay her eggs is the size of the eggs. If the eggs are large, it will take longer for her to lay them than if they are small.
Once the female has laid all of her eggs, she or the male, if he’s in the same tank, will gently scoop the eggs into the bubble nest with their mouth and then carefully guard them until they hatch.
Keep in mind that the female fish doesn’t need the male mate in order to release eggs. They can lay eggs without the male Betta, but they won’t be fertilized and will likely just drop down to the bottom of the tank. If you don’t want to have baby Bettas, make sure you remove the male Betta or isolate the female right before she lays eggs.
What Do Betta Fish Eggs Look Like?
Betta fish eggs are small and slightly oval, and they are usually white or pale yellow in color. They are typically about the same size as a grain of salt.
Mouthbrooding Bettas have larger eggs, but they’re still small at 2-3mm each.
What To Do When A Pregnant Betta Fish Lays Eggs
There are two things you can do with the eggs of a pregnant female Betta. You can let them be fertilized by the male, or you can just remove them from the tank and dispose of them.
If you don’t want baby Bettas, make sure that the male is not around when the female lays her eggs. After that, you can simply scoop the unfertilized eggs and throw them away.
If you do want them, though, you need the male Betta around. Assuming that the eggs have been fertilized, this is what you should do:
- First of all, you need to remove the eggs from the tank and place them in a separate container. It’s important to do this carefully so that you don’t damage the eggs.
- Next, add some dechlorinated water to the container. You can use Seachem Prime Conditioner for this purpose. The water should be the same temperature as the water in the tank where the eggs were laid.
- You also have to add something to the water that will prevent the eggs from sinking to the bottom of the container, such as a piece of Styrofoam. This mimics the purpose of the bubble nest.
- Once the eggs are in the container, you need to keep them at a constant temperature of 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use an aquarium heater like the Aqueon Aquarium Heater to help maintain the correct temperature.
- Finally, you need to add an air stone to the container so that the eggs can get the oxygen they need.
Once the eggs hatch, you need to remove the baby fish from the container and put them into their own tank. Both the male and female Betta will not take care of their own young Betta fish, so it’s all up to you.
The fry are very small and they can’t compete with the adults for food, so they need to be in their own tank. And since Bettas are tropical fish, you have to maintain the warm temperature with a heater for the fry to grow up healthy.
How Long Does It Take For Betta Fish Eggs To Hatch?
Betta fish eggs usually take between 48 and 72 hours to hatch. Mouthbrooding Betta fish eggs can take up to a month.
However, similar to the egg laying process, one factor that can affect how long they hatch is the size of the eggs. If the eggs are larger, they will take longer to hatch than if they’re smaller.
Another factor that can possibly affect the hatching time is the number of eggs that are being incubated. If there are more eggs, it may take longer for all of them to hatch.
Lastly, other external factors like water quality, temperature, and oxygen levels in the water can also affect the time.
You can expect most of the eggs to hatch within the same time frame, but there may be a few that hatch a day or two later.
As you can see, caring for a pregnant Betta is just like caring for any other fish, even other non-pregnant Bettas.
Just make sure you’re prepared for the extra work and attention that will be needed and you should be good to go!
Have you ever cared for a pregnant Betta before? What tips would you share with others?
- Betta Fish Egg Appearance, Stages, & Basic Care – All You Need To Know
- How Long Do Bettas Live In A Fish Tank? How To Make Them Thrive
- Betta Fish Bubble Nests – All You Need To Know
- Can Two Bettas Coexist In The Same Tank? Here’s What You Need To Consider
- Does Your Betta Have A Cloudy Eye (Or Two)? Here’s What To Do