Is Your Betta Fish Pregnant (And How To Spot It)

Betta fish are fun and flashy creatures, and if you have at least one Betta fish, you may wonder if your fish can become pregnant and reproduce.

Although Betta fish do not become pregnant with live young, they do become pregnant with eggs. There are several signs to look for that will indicate if you are the owner of a fish that is about to lay eggs.

Keep reading to learn more about the pregnancy signs of a Betta fish and how they reproduce. You will also learn some interesting facts about Betta pregnancy and fertility and what you can do to encourage your Betta fish to reproduce.

Is Your Betta Fish Pregnant?

If you know that your Betta fish is female, she may easily become pregnant. However, pregnancy in Betta fish females is not pregnancy in the sense of the word that we often think of.

Betta fish do not give birth to live offspring as humans or mammals do. Instead, Betta fish will become pregnant and lay eggs as a result. Their egg release process is technically known as “spawning” and many fish experts will adhere to this term when describing Bettas that are about to reproduce.

Betta eggs are not yet fertilized when released and will not hatch into baby fish until they become fertilized by a male Betta fish. Fertilization happens after the eggs are laid, and so many people do not consider Betta females to actually be ‘pregnant.’

How Can You Tell When a Betta Fish is Pregnant?

For the sake of clarity, we will consider a pregnant Betta to be a fish that is about to lay eggs. In Betta fish, being pregnant with eggs is most commonly known referred to as the gravid state.

The most common sign that a Betta fish is gravid will be the presence of white stripes on her sides and a visible white dot on her belly. This white dot is known as the ovipositor and is the organ responsible for egg-laying.

You may also notice that your female Betta has a bulging belly in addition to these white markings. The increase in stomach size is another strong indicator of pregnancy, although the fish may just be constipated or overweight if the other symptoms are not present. 

How Do Betta Fish Have Babies?

Betta fish rely on external fertilization to have babies. This means that the female will become pregnant with eggs, and then the male Betta will extract them and fertilize them in a bubble nest that he has built specifically for the reproductive process.

When a male creates a bubble nest, you will know that he is ready to mate, which will often trigger pregnancy in the female fish. Once the eggs have been fertilized, they will develop into the nest. You may notice the young or ‘fry’ forming as tiny black specks that grow into fully-formed Betta young.

Sometimes a female will not be happy with the nest that the male Betta has created. If the nest is not up to her standards, she will destroy the nest, and as a result, her eggs will not be fertilized. If she likes the bubble nest, she will allow the male Betta fish to extract her eggs.

Betta splendens of blue color

Can My Betta Fish Lay Eggs Without a Mate Present?

Betta fish do not need mates to lay eggs, although their eggs will never become fertilized unless there is a male involved in the process. It is natural for Betta females to develop eggs in their ovipositor. This happens regardless of whether they are close to a male or not.

If there is no male around, your Betta female will still release the eggs. Without the presence of a male, the released eggs will simply go to the bottom of the tank and will not hatch. This is a common occurrence and should not be regarded with concern.

In fact, it is recommended not to keep Betta fish of opposite sexes together as this can lead to aggression and injury. Your Betta fish should be kept in isolation until they are ready to mate, making it very likely for her to lay eggs without having a mate present.

Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some common questions related to Betta fish pregnancy and answers that will provide insight if you are seeking to raise your own Betta eggs into adulthood.

Is My Female Betta Fish Pregnant or Just Fat?

You should be able to tell if your Betta is pregnant due to the presence of the ovipositor dot and white stripes. If you do not see these on your Betta fish, she is most likely just fat or constipated. If your Betta fish is just fat, you should scale back the amount of food that you feed her on average to resolve the issue. 

How Long is a Betta Fish Pregnant?

A Betta fish female will only carry eggs in her ovipositor for one to two weeks. This short timespan is normal, considering the eggs are not developing into Betta fish young while they are inside her. Once released, the Betta eggs will develop and hatch into fry over the course of about three days.

How to Make a Female Betta Fish Produce Eggs?

If you would like to prompt your female to produce eggs, you can do so by moving her into a tank with a male Betta that is at least 14 months old. You can keep them separated at first with a plastic or glass divider or introduce them and intervene if there are any signs of aggression.

Additionally, you can prepare your female Betta for spawning by feeding her live food, such as bloodworms or shrimp. Having strong nutrition will help your female Betta’s body become viable for egg-laying and ensure that the eggs are more likely to be viable for fertilization.

Will Betta Care For Their Young?

Male Bettas care for their young by transitioning them into a bubble nest and monitoring this nest, replacing any eggs that fall out. The female is totally uninvolved in this process. Once the eggs hatch into fry, neither parent will care for them, and you will need to make sure that they are adequately fed to ensure survival.

Conclusion

Betta ownership is exciting, and the prospect of raising your own fish from the earliest stage of life may sound like a fun project for any fish aficionado. The first step to raising your own young Betta fish is making sure that you have a pregnant female. 

You can tell if your female Betta is pregnant by looking for common signs and an increase in weight gain. Keep in mind that your pregnant female Betta will need a male mate to extract the eggs, fertilize them, and care for them in the bubble nest that he has created. 

Breeding a Betta fish is a tricky process and may require some time and effort before you see results. With some research and care, your pregnant Betta will be able to release eggs that are ready for fertilization. Before you know it, you will have a batch of brand new Betta babies in your tank.

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