In spite of the fact that Snow has turned into an egg-eater, I decided to give him and Bianca another try. During his last spawn, Snow waited until all the eggs had been laid then started eating them the next day. I hoped to beat him the punch this time and mature the eggs without him.

The pair began spawning at 11:00 am on October 6. The first eggs appeared by 1:00 pm... then things started going wrong.

Snow began eating the eggs even before the spawn was even close to being complete. Three times I saw eggs in the nest only to return half an hour later and see that they were gone. Facing the danger of not getting any eggs at all, I removed both Snow and Bianca the next time I saw some eggs in the nest. After carefully separating the eggs from the nest, I discovered I only had 21 of them. Rats.

Working with the assumption that the greatest danger to eggs is a fungal infection, I gave the spawning tank a buckshot dose of anti-fungal medication and spaced the eggs far enough apart on the bottom of the tank so that if one gets infected it won't endanger any of the others. Here's what they look like:

If any of the eggs mature, it will tell me something I've been wondering about for some time: are betta eggs really eggs? With a true egg, the shell is cast off after hatching. However, I have yet to see any egg remnants on the bottom of the spawning tank. I'm beginning to think that a betta egg is really more like a larval stage. If anyone has information about this I would greatly appreciate hearing about it. Thank you.

If some of the eggs hatch using this fatherless technique, I plan to spawn Snow and Bianca again only then I will use a submerged container covered with a screen to catch all of the eggs that fall. This will protect them from Snow.

An incredible egg picture!

Using a combination of the zoom and macro functions on my digital camera to take a picture of a 24-hour old egg with reflected light shining through it, I was able to capture the first hint of the fry taking shape while it is still inside the egg. Look closely and you can see a faint transparent dome over the fry's head.

If this doesn't look like much, remember that it's being taken through water, at an angle, of something that's only 0.03 inches across.

Spawn Update! Well, it's 9 October and all of the eggs are covered with fungus and disintegrating. Rats! Next time I try fatherless rearing I'll use some techinque to agitate the eggs more often and increase the amount of anti-fungal medicine to see if that doesn't prevent the problem.


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