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pregnant betta fish

Pregnant Betta Fish

Female betta fish do not get pregnant. They do not give birth to live fish babies, but rather lay eggs. Bettas are called spawning fish because they lay eggs that are then fertilized by the male betta fish. So, you will never have a pregnant betta fish, but rather a gravid betta fish which means she is carrying eggs.

How Do Betta Fish Get Pregnant?

Again, betta fish don’t truly get pregnant, but they do enter in a sort of courtship with a male that begins the process of betta mating. The betta couple become a breeding pair once the female is impressed enough with the male to begin the breeding cycle which starts with egg production. Ok, she doesn’t have to be too impressed...she can lay eggs as often as every 2 weeks! But, females become “fertile” when they are happy, well-fed, in a comfy environment, and around a male they find acceptable. 

What Does A Pregnant Betta Fish Look Like? (How To Tell If Your Betta Fish Is Pregnant)

A gravid betta fish does look slightly different than your average female. When your fish is getting ready to lay eggs you will notice some slight changes to her body. Her ovipositor will be more visible than normal. The ovipositor is a small tube where the eggs come out. It is visible between her ventral and anal fins. You may also notice whitish vertical lines along her body.

Are My Betta Fish Ready To Mate?

Along with the signs in the female betta above, you will notice that your male betta fish begins to build a bubble nest. If the female doesn’t destroy his bubble nest things are going smoothly, and your pair are preparing to mate.  

Have My Betta Fish Mated?

After the steps referenced above, the male betta fish will retrieve the eggs from the female’s ovipositor and move them to the bubble nest. Successfully fertilized eggs will hatch within 36 to 72 hours at which point they will be labeled fry and the male betta will care for them. So, fortunately you will know pretty quickly if your bettas have reproduced.

How Long Are Betta Fish Pregnant?

This is another common question by inquiring betta-loving minds. Once again I will mention that bettas are never pregnant, they are simply a vessel to carry the eggs that are then fertilized by the male. The male moves them to the bubble nest and cares for and protects the eggs and hatching fry. The whole spawning process is pretty short. If the mating pair takes to each other, the male will then build the bubble nest. Bubble nests can be different shapes and sizes and take varying amounts of time, but usually they are built in just a few hours. The female betta fish will lay her eggs within a couple of days of the bubble nest being built, and then the eggs only take 3 days or less to hatch.

Betta fish spawn. They do not get pregnant or carry live young. Rather, their body creates the eggs that are then laid and fertilized by the male. Pregnant betta fish don’t exist. And, in fact, the female betta don’t even care for the betta babies (fertilized eggs, fry). The male betta fish takes on the role of nest builder, carer, and protector of the eggs and fry. Learn more on betta fish care here!

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Jamie - December 27, 2021

Hello – I’m pretty sure my egg bound betta is a giant betta. She was given to me already filled with eggs 10/14. I have done everything I can think of to help her but I am at a loss. Does the giant species stay egg bound longer?

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