Sherolyn-Basement BettasThere are as many ways to breed bettas as there are breeders. And the US tends to do them a little differently than the Thai breeders. Which way is right for you? Best thing to do is start with what ever is easiest for you and change as the need presents itself. As long as you are meeting the basic requirements of the fish, you should be successful.
Bettas are pretty easy to spawn. To start I am going to give the typical US breeding set up. You will need a container, a way to keep it at the proper temperature, something for the fish to build a nest under and some place for the female to hide. The container you breed your Bettas in can be anything that holds water. The first thing to come to mind for most people is a fish tank. Some people use 10 gallons and others 5 gallons. The drawback with the larger tank is often the female can escape the male to the point he forgets about her and breeding all together. So, if you try a 10 gal and have difficulty spawning, put a divider in it to reduce the space the pair use for breeding. A 5 gallon tank makes a great spawn tank and home for the fry for the first month of their life.
Other containers often used are 5 gallon buckets and plastic totes from places like Wal-Mart. Both are inexpensive, and if they can be kept at the proper temperature, they make acceptable spawning containers. Other things I have heard used are bowls and even a clear plastic container a head of lettuce was purchased in. Again, if the fish are ready and the other parameters are met, these can be successful spawning containers as well. So you see, just about anything can work as the fish are not picky when it comes to where they are spawned.
The next thing that needs addressed is keeping what ever container you use at the proper temperature. A good temperature range for spawning Bettas is 80*-84* with 82* being where most of us aim for. The most common way to keep the temp where it needs to be is with an aquarium heater. It is a good idea to set it and make sure it gets to the proper temp and keeps it there before introducing the breeding pair. It is not uncommon for a heater to malfunction and cook your fish so you want to make sure there are no problems before introducing your pair. Another way to keep the water temperature correct is with reptile heating mats. They need a thermostat to set the temperature, but do a good job, especially if you have several spawn tanks lined up across a shelf. For that many tanks they are economical as they last longer than your typical tank heater.
Bettas are soft water fish. That means they want their gH to be on the lower side, not the pH. That said, many spawn Bettas in all kinds of water parameters. So the best thing to do is try yours and see what you get, then make changes from there. I recommend having a water test kit on hand for regular testing of your water so you can keep the water from becoming unhealthy.. and you can also see what kind of water parameters you have to start. If you have difficulty spawning and your gH is high, you may just need to get that a bit lower and everything will be fine. There are several different ways to naturally lower the gH. One of the most popular ways is using IAL or Indian Almond Leaves in the spawn tank. The higher your gH the more of the leaf you can use. My water is RO with minerals added back in and I only use 1/2 a leaf. The leaf will also give the male something to build a nest under.
Another way to lower the gH and the kH is to use Peat Moss . Running your water through peat moss will lower both of these vales. You still need to use a water conditioner as there is still chlorine and chlorimines in the water that need removed, but the peat will lower both the gH and kH buy several degrees. OR, you could place some peat in a fine mesh bag used for filtration material and set that in the spawn tank to gradually lower those values.