Whether you’re a novice or a pro fish breeder I don’t have to tell you that fish reproduction is about as natural an event as you can get. The key word there is natural. Successful freshwater tropical fish breeding is all about creating the perfect natural environment. Once your fish are comfortable in this natural environment, spawning will quickly follow. Breeding fish isn’t really that difficult. These simple tips will help you kick start the process.
1. Fish Breeding Quarantine Tank
A breeding tank separates your fish from the general population and allows them to get comfortable. This quarantine tank also protects your fry (baby fish) and/or eggs from predators.
2. The Perfect Water Conditions
Water temperatures must be optimal for the fish you are breeding. Your tank water should be kept very clean. Water chemistry should be optimal for the species. Some species require higher or lower alkalinity for example. The idea is to find your species perfect habitat. High levels of ammonia, nitrites or nitrates can bring things to a halt so keep a close eye on these levels
3. Choose the Right Parents
Sexing your fish seems like a silly thing to mention, but with some species it’s not easy to distinguish between males and females. You may want to add a couple of males and females to your breeding tank to be certain you have a pair. Choose mates that have the best markings and are healthy. Try to steer clear of cross breeding species. Many times this results in ugly fish, even if you start with two beauties.
4. A Place to Hide
Many spawning fish like to have hiding places. If they are shy, this makes them more comfortable. Add some plants, a castle or rock to your breeding tank.
5. Get a Target Fish
A target fish can be added to slow moving fish breeding tanks. This is an aggressive fish that’s added to the breeding tank to get things going. The idea is to get the fish you are trying to breed will step up and fight for their mate. The bond between pairs can also be strengthened as they work together to fight off this third party predator. Be careful to not choose a target fish that is overly aggressive and could harm your fish.
6. Try a Dither Fish
If your fish won’t come out of their shell, so to speak you just might need to try a dither fish. Some fish are too jumpy and just won’t come out from hiding in the plants or rocks. A dither fish is a slow moving calming type fish that lets your breeding fish know things are safe. After watching the dither fish swim about safely for awhile, they know things are OK. This just might be what they need to come out from hiding.
7. Change up Food
Stepping up the food quality is a good idea when breeding fish. Fish breeders call this is called conditioning. Live or fresh frozen foods are suggested.
8. Make it Rain
Many fish species breed during the rainy season in their natural habitat. 5%-10% water changes every day or two with cooler water can simulate the in-pour of rain water in nature. It’s the temperature change that many times stimulates spawning.