Breeding Fish

Breeding Fish

Breeding Fish is a great way to tune up your aquarium skills. After you learn the basics of breeding, you can think about selling your fish to local dealers and make a little money. It's profitable and fun at the same time. But first you need to decide which fish to start breeding. Find a certain fish in it's group which might have different coloring or patterns that you like. Just make sure the fish are not babies and are full grown.

Some fish breed in your tank without any help from you. You may have a bunch of male and female fish together in a community tank. There is a good chance that they will breed on their own as long as conditions are right like clean water.

If you want to stay in control of the breeding, it would be a good idea to set up a spawning tank. That way you can adjust the water quality and feeding schedule as well as cull ( separate the good from the bad) the fry of each species you're raising. Culling is simply the process of separating the fish you want to keep from the fish you don't want.

A good spawning tank is between 5 or 10 gallons. A lot of hobbyists remove most of the decorations and keep it as natural as possible.

Introducing Your Fish

It is better to introduce the female to the spawning tank before the male. Males are more aggressive, and putting the female in first allows her to establish her own territory. Give the female plenty of time for her to adapt to her new surroundings. When it looks like she is comfortable, place her behind a clear partition before you place the male in the tank. The separation lets the male get accustomed to the female and give him a chance to calm down. Leave the partition up until the male seems calm. It's also a good idea to add 1 female and 2 to 3 males for faster results. This way the female can pick and choose on which male she likes the best.

Aggressive Males

Some males are more aggressive than others, and it's hard to determine their habits. The only way to tell how aggressive each male is is to keep a close eye on him once he is introduced into the spawning tank. Just use the partition and let both fish get to know each other. If both the pairs seem to get along, it's probably safe to put them back into the same tank without the partition. If they don't get along don't force them. Try the partition again and give them a little more time. If you try it a second time and they still don't get along, it may be time to try different partners. Some fish may nip at each other and this is normal as long as the nipping doesn't turn into them trying to kill each other.

Why Breeding Fish Won't Spawn

Here are a few reasons why your breeding fish are not spawning

1) The water is dirty

2) Tank is to small

3) Need more fish ( some fish like neons mate more in schools )

4) One of the fish is older than the other

5) The fish have not been fed live food prior to spawning

6) The fish may be sterile

7) You have two females in the spawning tank

8) You have two males in the spawning tank

9) They are not in the mood

Types Of Breeding Fish

Livebearer Fish Livebearer Fish Livebearer Fish


Livebearers give birth to free swimming babies. A female livebearer is internally fertilized by her partner and carries the young for about a month. All livebearing fish are either ovoviviparous ( the female produces eggs that contain yolk to feed the embryo ) or viviparous ( the young are nourished by the mother's circulatory system ). Ovoviviparous females tend to miscarriage more than viviparous females.

A few examples of livebearers include guppies, swordtails, mollies and platys. It is easy to determine the sex of the livebearers because the female is usually larger and more full-bodied than the male. Breeding Trap

An excellent way to watch your livebearers have their young while still keeping them in your tank is using a breeding trap. The V-Insert allows the young fish to fall through once the mother gives birth and allows them to grow and mature without being eaten or pestered by the other fish in the tank. The floating trap can also be used for wounded fish to allow them time to heal from superficial wounds.


Egglayers lay eggs. The babies of egglayers take much more time to mature than livebearers. Popular egglayers include angelfish, cichlids, goldfish and bettas. When breeding egglayers, be aware of the following.

1) Lack of oxygen - Without oxygen, the normal rate of cell divisions decrease. Just hook up a small airstone to a gang valve so you can adjust the oxygen flow.

2) Poor water conditions - Dirty water can cause eggs to deteriorate. Normal water changes and ph checking is very important when breeding fish.

3) Lack of vitamins - If the mother doesn't have the essential vitamins, the mother can produce bad eggs. Just be sure that the mother is healthy before spawning.

4) Intense lighting - Light that is to bright can damage fish eggs. Minimize lighting when breeding your fish.

Types Of Egglayers

Bubble Nest

Bubble nest builders - These types of breeding fish lay and incubate their eggs in a nest of bubbles that usually floats at the surface or are attached to plants. Bettas and Gouramis are famous for these types of nests. The female should be removed immediately after spawning. If the fish do not spawn, she should still be removed so she does not get attacked by the male. The betta male cares for the eggs once they are laid and keeps them clean.

Egg Scatterers

Egg scatterers - must hide their eggs because they do not take care of them after birth. These breeding fish scatter their eggs around decorations, rocks, plants, and gravel. Some egg scatterers include danios, barbs, rasboras, and tetras.


Substrate spawners - These spawners lay their eggs in a manner that the eggs attach to one particular area of rocks and other decorations. The male fertilizes the eggs while the female lays them. These fish include some cichlids, catfish, and killfish.


Mouthbrooders - These fish are unique because they incubate thier eggs in their mouth until it is time for them to hatch. As the eggs are laid, the male fertilizes them. The parents gather them up in their mouths for protection and incubation. These types of breeding fish include labyrinth, and some cichlids.

Raising The Fry

Baby Fish

After the fry are born, and the parents have been moved to a resting tank, you can begin to feed the babies. The fry are very small and should be fed liquid foods or infusoria cultures through an eyedropper. Microworms are another good source of food. After a few weeks, you can begin feeding the fry baby brine shrimp. Live foods help them gain maximum growth. Feed your baby fry 3-5 times a day. Baby foods tend to fowl the water quickly so change the water frequently. A well planted aquarium allows them to mature more normally.

Great Tips

Breeding tropical fish can be fun and if you desire, profitable. Here are a few tip to remember.

1) Choose healthy fish

2) Breed your fish in a special breeding tank. Make sure your tank has the correct water conditions and hiding places.

3) Research your species so that you can benefit from what other aquarists have learned about breeding that type of fish.

4) Don't let your fish hurt each other during breeding.

5) Have fun

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