Tetra Breeding Basics


Tetra breeding is really quite simple if you follow a few rules. Tetras are among the most popular choices for community aquariums and breeding these fish are not hard. In general, tetras are peaceful, gentle fish that come in a variety of colors. If this is your first attempt at breeding, you may want to start out with simpler species, like Black Skirt Tetras, Red Eye Tetras and Flame Tetras.

In order to keep the water as sterile as possible, it’s really important to change it frequently, especially after breeding has occurred.

To improve your chances of a successful tetra breeding attempt, prepare a separate breeding tank, and darken it by covering the sides with black paper or cardboard. Keep the males and females separate about two weeks before breeding. This will prevent breeding from happening until you are ready, and it will also enhance their affinity for each other.

One good tip is to place the females in the breeding tank first, ideally, the night before breeding is to take place. This will allow the male to properly court the female on her own turf.

Tetras like to eat their own eggs, so be sure to remove the parents after the breeding is complete. At this time, you can remove the Java moss, a showing of fine leaved plants, or an artificial spawning mop. Since the eggs are sensitive to light, keep the tank in darkness for at least 5 days.

After the eggs are laid, it will take about 24 hours for them to hatch. To become free swimming, it will take another 5 to 6 days. At this time, and not before, you can begin to feed the fry. You may also allow some light into the tank, but don’t put them in full sunlight!

Once the fry are free swimming, and have absorbed their yolk sacs, it’s time to feed them. At first, they will need very tiny bits to eat. The easiest way to feed the fry is to introduce a colony of microscopic organisms that the fry can eat. You can do this easily by introducing Java moss.

After a couple of days, the fry will be able to handle a bit more. Good choices include vinegar eels and baby brine shrimp. Once at this stage, make sure to feed your new tetras several times a day to keep them plump and happy. Over the course of a few weeks, you will finally be able to add a good powdered flake to their intake.

As you can see, tetra breeding is not hard, you just need to carefully follow the steps mentioned above. Once you have a nice crop of tetras, you will be able to offer them for sale.


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