How Long Are Betta Fish Pregnant? Frequently Asked Questions

Betta fish keepers know that these beautiful freshwater fish require warm water temperatures and a healthy protein-rich diet to start breeding. If all these are in place, your female betta fish will likely have a smooth pregnancy. While a betta fish can carry eggs and be pregnant for up to 2 weeks, it depends on a few factors. Read on to find out what can influence a betta’s pregnancy!

Did you know that bettas were first bred in captivity? So it’s possible for you to breed these fish and end up with a tank full of baby bettas. More experienced fish keepers will have an easier time But there is much more to a betta fish getting pregnant than the mating process. It would help if you are also ready to take care of the betta fry and ensure they survive adulthood.

At first, fish reproduction may seem too challenging, especially for beginner aquarists, but in this article, we will give you everything you need to know about betta fish pregnancy and what you should know when they start laying eggs.

How Long Are Betta Fish Pregnant?

A female betta fish will be pregnant/ carry its eggs for around 1-2 weeks. The Siamese fighting fish reaches sexual maturity at three months, but it doesn’t mean you should breed them when they’re this young. A female betta fish pregnant with eggs is called a gravid betta fish.

Suppose you see a white dot on your female betta’s body that is an organ called the ovipositor. This organ in the Siamese fighting fish is responsible for producing eggs (unfertilized eggs).

Because these tropical fish carry their unfertilized eggs, their pregnancy is different from other animals who are livebearers. They are called spawning fish because the eggs are fertilized after they have been layed by the female. A female betta fish carries its eggs until it has mated with the male betta fish. After the mating dance is successful, the female betta releases its eggs for the male betta fish to fertilize.

This is shorter than other animals with a gestation period of months, i.e., human beings have a gestation period of 9 months. Betta fish will carry their eggs until they are satisfied with their male betta and allow him to mate.

Then egg fertilization will occur. Sound interesting, right? Read on to understand better how a beta fish gets pregnant and lays eggs.

The Process of Betta Fish Pregnancy

Most fish keepers find the betta mating process very different from other marine creatures. When the male and female betta fish mate, the female betta fish will release eggs, and the male betta fertilize them.

In preparation for mating, the male betta fish will create a bubble nest on the water’s surface. If the female betta fish inspects it and approves, the male betta will start coxing the female betta fish until she accepts to mate. 

After giving her consent, the male betta will start biting the female betta’s dorsal fin. You shouldn’t separate them at this point because they are ‘kissing.’ Male bettas will wrap their bodies around the female betta to squeeze out the eggs. After the good time, the female betta will release the eggs, so the male betta fish fertilizes them.

When the female betta drops the eggs, the male betta will spray them with sperm to fertilize them. Not all eggs are successfully fertilized, but the fertilized ones are placed in the bubble nest by the male betta.

The fertilized eggs will remain in the bubble nests for 2-3 days. In their natural habitat, bubble nests are essential for the safety of the betta fry against predators lurking in the waters. Bubble nests are also an excellent place for betta fish fry to feed and grow healthy before they hatch.

The male betta fish will take care of the bubble nest with the fertilized eggs and ensure none fall out before they’re ready.

It’s not only the male betta fish you should keep a close eye on . Female betta fish have also been known to eat their eggs. That’s why some betta fish keepers will opt to remove the female betta after her job is done. 

Here are some tips to promote natural mating between your male and female betta fish:

  • Move the male betta into a tank with a female betta fish. You can introduce them slowly and monitor their behavior for any signs of aggression.
  • Keep the tank clean and increase the tanks water temperatures. Warmer water temperatures promote breeding for these beautiful fish.
  • Feed your female betta fish foods rich in protein. A high-protein diet will help your female betta’s body better prepare to carry viable eggs for fertilization. Foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp are great options to start with.

How To Tell If Your Betta Fish is Pregnant?

It could be more challenging for a new fish keeper to tell if their betta fish is pregnant or not. But I’ve got you covered, so don’t worry. Betta fish will exhibit specific symptoms when they are about to lay eggs.

If you keep a close eye on them, you will notice some if not all of the symptoms listed below:

  • Swelling belly when the female betta fish is ready to mate. This could be a sign the female betta is egg-bound.
  • a gravid female betta fish develop a loss in color but you have to be more observant because this could also signify illness. 
  • Some female betta fish develop white or pale stripes on their body as a sign they are ready to mate. 
  • The female betta behavior will change and you will notice they will be more interested in the male Betta fish and his work on the bubble nest.
  • Increased lethargy as she nears her egg-laying period is also a sign your betta fish is pregnant. 

If you observe a combination of all these symptoms, your female betta fish is likely pregnant with eggs and ready to mate. If they’re not pregnant, your female betta may be fat. If your pet is overfeeding, there are helpful tips in this betta fish care guide to help you out.

How To Care For a Pregnant Betta Fish

Pregnant bettas are fragile and need extra care while breeding. These gravid female betta fish are sexually mature, bearing eggs for fertilization. If there is no male betta, your pregnant betta fish will release their eggs into the water. They will remain unfertilized until the male betta fish is placed into the tank as they grow more eggs.

Some gravid females might have trouble passing eggs for different reasons, but they could end up reabsorbing them into their bodies. These eggs are filled with tons of nutrients that are helpful to your betta fish. The problem could also take care of itself, and your betta lays the eggs eventually.

You should do certain things to ensure your female betta has a smooth breeding time.

  • You can try using a breeding tank to separate the male and female betta fish after mating and fertilization have occurred.
  • Increase the water temperatures in the tank. High water temperatures also help to promote hatching of the betta fish eggs.
  • You need to clean their tank to ensure your bettas have a healthy environment to promote egg laying and mating. weekly water changes are also recommended.
  • Reduce the filter’s current flow because bettas are more likely to breed when there is less current in the water. Completely withdrawing the filter can contaminate and reduce the levels of oxygen in the water.
  • Introduce floating plants and debris to offer the betta fry coverage and help them survive longer.
  • After the betta eggs hatch from the bubble nest, you should consider removing the male bettas to prevent them from eating the baby betta fish.

How Many Betta Fries Can a Female Betta Fish Produce?

Betta fish can lay anywhere between 10-400 eggs at a time. They can lay these eggs shortly after the mating process with the male betta fish is complete. You should be careful not to end up with a betta fish fry nursery because managing numerous baby bettas won’t be easy.

The number of betta fish eggs your female betta produces depends on several factors, including their environment, age, conditioning, and whether they have experience with egg-laying.

Baby betta fish are fragile and sensitive to their environment, so you need to give them more attention while they’re younger to prevent stunted growth. Keeping them in a spacious tank will provide enough space to grow healthy and swim.

How To Tell If Betta Eggs Are Fertilized

The fertilization process can only take place after the female lays eggs. A male betta fish will spray his sperm onto the eggs after the female betta fish lays them. So there is a high possibility that not all eggs will be fertilized.

You will know a fertilized betta fish egg by its appearance. Upon closer inspection, a fertilized betta fish egg will have a black or gray dot on its body. The dot you see will grow over time and hatch as a betta fish fry. To your eyes, these eggs will appear like tiny flecks in the male’s bubble nest.

The unfertilized betta fish eggs are commonly referred to as slugs. The male or female betta fish will eat these unfertilized eggs because, as mentioned above, they lay close to 500 eggs, and not all of them will make the cut.

How Long Before the Betta Eggs Hatch?

Female bettas are oviparous, meaning they will lay eggs that will be fertilized and hatch outside their body. Betta fish eggs will take 3-4 days after fertilization to hatch in suitable environments. Several factors can affect the betta eggs hatching time. When ready to hatch, the betta fry will drop from the bubble nest on the water’s surface into the water.


What do betta fish eggs look like?

Betta fish eggs are tiny, and you can confuse them with a grain of salt. They are slightly grey; you might think they are just air bubbles in the tank water.

Can a female betta fish lay eggs without a male?

Yes. While a female betta fish can lay eggs without the male betta , these eggs will remain unfertilized. In some cases, the female betta fish will eat the unfertilized eggs to get back the nutrients and keep them fertile. 

Do male bettas get pregnant?

No. The female betta fish is the only one that gets pregnant and will release the eggs after mating with the male betta fish. 

How often can a betta fish get pregnant? 

A female Betta fish can get pregnant every two weeks. So unless your planning to start a betta nursery in your home aquarium, you shouldn’t keep your male and female betta fish together.

Betta Fish Pregnancy

One of the most exciting things about breeding the Siamese fighting fish is their mating process and getting to welcome beautiful baby fry into the world. Female betta fish are pregnant or gravid for only a few days. If you end up with a male and a female Betta fish for your home aquarium, don’t be suprised if you end up with a tank full of betta fry.

You can tell a betta fish is pregnant if you notice weight and behavioral changes while in the tank. When they start laying eggs, you should introduce the male betta for fertilization to occur. Taking care of your female betta fish is crucial to having young betta fish in your tank.

Now that you know all about a betta fish getting pregnant and taking care of them, do you think you can handle breeding these Siamese fighting fish?

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