Most people that keep fish eventually want to try breeding them. It is a fun challenge. Seeing if you can take care of your fish so well that they are able to healthily reproduce. I know that I wanted to try breeding pretty quickly. This blog is going to give you a few tips on how to start breeding.
Learn the Species
The first step is learning everything you can about both breeding fish in general, and breeding the specific species you want. There are a few species that are easier to breed, and these species should probably be the first ones you try it with. Good species to try to breed are many livebearers. This means that the fish doesn’t lay eggs, instead it gives birth to tiny fish known as fry. Examples of these fish would be platties, guppies, or mollies.
Biologically, in order to breed, there has to be both male and female fish of the same species. However, most of these species shouldn’t be kept in a 1:1 gender ratio. If there are too many males in the tank then they will harass the female fish and cause them stress. Instead, they should be kept with about 1 male, to 3 females. This way the male won’t harass the females too much.
Identifying Pregnant Fish
If you have males and females together in the right conditions, a female should get pregnant pretty easily. Some species need certain water parameters to be met, but the three listed above just need consistent, high quality water. When a female becomes pregnant you will notice her stomach begin to bulge. Normal pregnancies last about one month. Towards the end of this you will notice a dark spot near the anal fin called a gravid spot. That is where the fry are developing. When that spot becomes large, she is nearing birth. When she is starting to refuse food and hide, she should be moved to a nursery tank.
The biggest threat to breeding is other fish. When a fish gives birth to fry, they become a food source for almost every other fish in that tank. So it is recommended that when you are trying to breed, you have a seperate nursery tank. This nursery tank is for the pregnant mother when she is close to giving birth. It should have a lot of hiding spots for the fry to feel comfortable in. Once the fry are born, the mother should be removed from the tank so she does not eat the babies. This tank doesn’t have to really be any bigger than 10 gallons. It should be fully cycled, but you must be careful about the filter. Sponge filters are the best for nursery tanks, because they can’t suck up any of the baby fry.
Raising the Fry
If you have been successful, you now have dozens of baby fry that need caring for. They need some protection and food. The main concern with fry is how sensitive they are to water parameter changes. Having constant water parameters is crucial, because if it swings rapidly, it could kill all of them. The fry also need protection. This means that there shouldn’t be any fish that can eat them, and no filter that will suck them up. To feed the fry, you can simply grind up flake food and use that. Be careful not to overfeed them. You will lose some fry for no reason, not all of them will survive even if everything is perfect. Once they are too big to fit into the mouths of you other fish, you can place them into a tank with other fish.