When my bettas first delivered their fry, I thought most of them won’t make it. That was because I didn’t know how many betta fry typically survive. Fortunately, as time passed, I gained some experience in this field. And the numbers are pretty satisfying.
Given the right conditions, about 90 percent of the betta fry survive. That includes a stable temperature of 85 to 88 degrees F and a pH of 7.0 to 7.2. It is also essential to remove adult fish and provide a sufficient amount of hiding places.
As we move forward, I will elaborate on the factors that directly impact the betta fry survival rate. I will also include some tips to ensure your betta fry survive, including some products that significantly improved my tank.
How Many Betta Fry Will Survive?
Bettas can produce as many as 500 eggs. Of those, 300 or more eggs will hatch. You can’t expect every egg to survive.
Some betta eggs will rot because the male fish failed to fertilize them. Others will fall prey to fungal, parasitic, and bacterial assaults. The hatched fry are the same, as you can’t expect every baby betta to survive to adulthood.
Fortunately, baby bettas are more resilient than most fish species. They have an average survival rate of 90 percent. In other words, you can trust the majority of betta fry to survive.
Some aquarists have never lost betta fry. Surprisingly, all their babies survive. But you can’t guarantee those same results for your tank.
Ultimately, your aquarium’s betta fry survival rate will fluctuate in response to the following factors:
1. The Way You Feed Them
Food is a vital component of a betta fry’s health. Baby bettas can go two or three days without food. However, you don’t want to starve them. Even if they survive, you will expose them to dangerous illnesses that could kill them down the line.
A paper published by authors from the University of Florida identified Moina as a particularly healthy source of protein.
Daphnia and Moina are so similar to one another that many professionals use the term ‘Daphnia’ to describe them both. Although, Daphnia has a closed brood pouch while the pouch in Moina is closed.
Moina are also smaller, which is why newly-hatched fry can eat them. Found in ponds, lakes, and ditches, some aquarists nurture Moina for the express purpose of feeding baby fish. They have a decent fat and protein content.
Admittedly, many aquarists have neither the time nor the resources to feed their betta fry Daphnia. Professional breeders will encourage them to prioritize live foods over formulated meals.
But you can still maintain a decent betta fry survival rate despite the absence of live foods. A study published in the Fish Physiology and Biochemistry journal found that live foods produced higher survival rates than formulated feeds.
However, the difference in survival rates was not significant. In other words, you can still raise the majority of betta fry to adulthood even if all you have on hand is formulated meals.
Naturally, the quality matters. You need high-quality products. Pay close attention to the datasheet. Look for commercial foods with every nutrient your betta fry requires to grow.
I personally suggest considering the Sera Micron Nature (link to Amazon). The betta fry I once had absolutely loved this. Also, its dark-green color can easily be seen in the fry’s digestive tract, so you know your babies have eaten.
2. The Number Of Hiding Places
Betta fry are not a threat to one another once they are born. That is because they are too tiny to fight one another or cause any damage.
But after a couple of weeks, the betta fry may start eating one another. At the age of three weeks, their mouths are pretty developed. They will easily wound each other, the males in particular.
That is why I suggest that you add a few hiding places upfront. Ideally, you can use aquarium plants with dense foliage. Artificial plants will easily do the trick.
3. Your Tank’s Size
Betta fry are tiny. However, that is not an excuse to keep them in equally small tanks. They require at least a gallon of water. Don’t forget: the babies will eventually grow into adult fish.
Get a tank whose size can accommodate those adult fish. Otherwise, you will induce stress in the creatures by repeatedly moving them from tank to tank as they mature. For the best results, aim for ten or twenty gallons.
4. The Oxygen Levels
Bettas are unique because they have labyrinth organs. With those organs, they can extract oxygen from the air. This helps them survive in shallow ponds in the wild.
Adult bettas can survive in oxygen-deficient tanks for a while because they can run to the surface to draw oxygen from the air.
However, betta fry are a different matter. It can take them as many as six weeks to fully develop labyrinth organs.
Therefore, if you keep them in oxygen-deficient tanks, their survival rate will plummet. Add some air stones to the aquarium. Otherwise, you may lose your entire batch of baby bettas.
I personally use the well-known Hygger Aquarium Air Stone (link to Amazon). In my opinion, this air stone is perfect because it produces a significant amount of bubbles and barely makes any noise.
5. The Presence Of Adult Fish
Betta fry should live alone. Their size makes them vulnerable to larger fish. The male betta can stay in the tank until the eggs hatch. He is too vital to the health and wellbeing of his offspring.
The male betta retrieves the eggs whenever they fall out of the bubble nest. He also eats dead eggs to prevent them from rotting and ruining the water. But once the eggs hatch, the father will become a threat.
He can stay in the tank until the babies learn to swim horizontally. Once that happens, take him away. The presence of adult fish reduces a betta fry’s survival rate drastically.
You can’t even count on the peaceful species found in most community aquariums. They will eat the fry, not because they are aggressive but because the baby bettas are small enough to fit in their mouths.
Once they hatch, the babies don’t require any adult supervision. If you can maintain their tank, they will survive without the aid of their parents.
6. The Water Parameters
You can boost the health of your betta fry by feeding them nutritious meals like Monia and worms. But a balanced diet won’t matter if the conditions in their water are poor.
Have you tested the temperature? The wrong temperature can stunt a betta fry’s growth. If the water is too cold, diseases and fungal infections will overwhelm the creatures.
This is why a thermostat is so essential. I highly encourage you to keep the water between 85- and 88-degrees F. Use a heater to prevent the temperature from fluctuating wildly.
If the temperature is okay, check the pH. It should fall somewhere between 7.0 and 7.2. Again, you have to keep a testing kit on hand. Otherwise, you will realize too late that the pH has changed.
I personally use the API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT (link to Amazon). This kit will also measure the ammonia and nitrites, which should be 0 ppm, and nitrates, which should be kept below 20 ppm.
Test the water three times a week. It isn’t enough to keep the pH within the correct range. Like the temperature, you have to prevent fluctuations in the pH. Otherwise, the betta fry will die.
7. Your Tank’s Condition
You must keep the water clean. When it comes to betta fry, I usually use a sponge filter. Please fight the temptation to use conventional filters that can suck the babies in or weaken them with strong currents.
Also, don’t forget to perform water changes. Because the babies are so tiny, significant water changes can kill them. Therefore, I suggest changing 25 percent of the water two or three times each week.
If the water looks cloudy, things have gone wrong. Check the ammonia and nitrite levels. If they are too high, use a conditioner.
If you found this article helpful, these may also interest you:
- Do Betta Fry Need Oxygen And Light?
- Betta Fry Growth Stages: A Full Guide With Pictures
- What To Do With Betta Fry? (A Step-By-Step Guide)
Betta fry are pretty resilient, which is good news. Most betta fry eventually survive, unlike species like guppies, mollies, or platies. On average, 90 percent should live, given the right conditions.
Start by removing their parents in time. The female should be removed as soon as she has done secreting her eggs. On the other hand, the father should be taken away once the eggs start to hatch.
Ultimately, measure the water parameters. Ensure the temperature, pH, nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia are suitable for betta fry. I also suggest placing a few hiding places. These become vital once the fry are starting to grow.