Other freshwater fish

Other freshwater fish


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Personal Experiences On Breeding Tetras and Other Small Fishes!
By Micheal Baumann
date: 01-11-2000

For most of my life I have been involved in ornamental tropical fish, the fresh water variety. Started with the live bearing varieties first like the Platy, Guppies, Swords and the Molly. Then progressing to Angels, catfish and the African cichlids that were now introduced into Australia. The Angels were easily bred, as they would lay their eggs on a substrate, a piece of slate, tile or even on the tank glass. The catfish were from the Corydoras family better known as the bronze catfish and the pepper catfish, the other was the Ancistrus dolichopterus or better known as the bristle nosed cat. Both were reasonably easy to breed.

The Bristle nose consisted of one male and two females in one tank, no substrate with a sponge filter and a discus spawning cone cut in half so there was only one entrance that was like a cave. The males would coax the female in to lay the eggs and when finished would chase the female out and look after the eggs and young until they were ready to come out of the cave. Their breeding cycle is around six weeks, that is why two females in one tank was a good idea, one would lay and by the time the fry were ready to come out there would be another batch of eggs in the cave. Sometimes both would lay at the same time. The Cory's need a colony of seven males and five females. The eggs of the Cory is held between the two anal fins, about five to ten at a time, then the female deposits them on a cleaned sight like the tank glass or on leaves if the tank is planted. My breeding tanks are always with nil plants or substrate.

The African cichlids were a new kettle of fish as they were new to this country. Not much was known about them, all I knew about these fish was, they were mostly mouth brooders. This meant the female laid eggs then picked them up in the mouth where the eggs hatch and fry stay until free swimming. There are other Africans that are substrate spawners, this is a fish that cleans a sight like a rock or cave and lays its eggs then fans the eggs until they hatch.

Well, I am not here to discuss these fish; this article is about the little guys, the egg scatterers, the Tetras and some other small fishes. Which are found in all Aquarium shops all over Australia. Many fish fanciers of ornamental fish would love to know how to breed these little fish, however they buy the tetras and do not know anything about them. Like water quality, pH, water temp. hardness and food requirements. Many of the fish can live in different water hardness, however not all fish can handle pH differences. An example is the African cichlid lives in water with the pH of up to nine, where South American Tetras and cichlids live in pH of less than seven. This is why you should not put Africans with South Americans the water chemistry is totally different. They will live in those conditions, however their life span will be shortened.

If the fish is not in the right water conditions, it will put more stress on the fish, resulting in death. Stress is the biggest killer of tropical or ornamental fish. The best way to introduce new fish to your Aquarium is to have a pH test kit handy, open the fish bag and test the water in the bag and then test the tank water, if they are more than one degree higher or lower place some of the tank water into the bag and leave for five minutes before releasing. This way the fish does not stress as much and has a better chance of getting used to its new environment. In a new set-up where the tank is new and you have just bought fish to stock the tank, there are a few more little things to remember. First make sure you do not over stock a new tank and make sure all the chlorine is out of the water. To do this you have two options, one buy a good neutraliser or let the tank stand with the water being aerated for at least 48 hours, this will rid the water of any chlorine. The hardness is not so critical. If chlorine is present in the water and fish are subject to it they will suffocate as chlorine blocks their gills.

With a new tank I say not to overstock with fish as there will be no bacteria to take out the waste in the water. The fish produce waste that turns to ammonia. Ammonia is very toxic to fish, so when you start a new tank it is better to place a couple of fish for the first three weeks so they can start the cycle going. With only a couple of fish in the tank you have a better chance to start the bacteria off and not overload the system with waste that the bacteria consume. The bacteria is a good bacteria that you need in a small eco system to remove harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite. Bacteria turns waste from fish that is ammonia into nitrite then into nitrate, the last being less toxic to fish, however if the nitrate climbs over 40 ppm it starts to get toxic. To rid the tank of nitrate is easy just do regular water changes. Another must is when changing and cleaning filters never wash under a tap as the chlorine will destroy the good bacteria in the sponge, always wash in the water you take out of the tank. Good bacteria takes up to 6 weeks in a cold tank and in a heated tank say 28C you can half the time. Now we have the water chemistry out of the way here are a few tips on breeding the tetras.

All the Tetras and small fishes that are written about in this article are bred in the same way, in small tanks with coconut fibre. The coconut fibre is used as it is cheap and lasts for a long time, no spawning mops and other gadgets are used. First you must boil the coconut fibre, this not only takes out the brown stain but also makes it sink in the tank. A few tips on the fish, select good shape and colour, no deformities like broken lines running into each other etc. separate males from the females and feed them well for approx. three weeks before attempting to breed. Doing this you will have a higher percentage of fish that will spawn when you put them down.

What is needed to breed my way; have a few things on hand like the coconut fibre, this can be obtained at a supermarket in the nursery section. A few small tanks that measure 12" long 6" wide and 6" high (300mm x 150mm x150mm) is what I use. So long as they are roughly this size they will do. A holding tank or a drum of water that is well aged and a pH of 7. (neutral) as the tetras like soft water. I made a rack that holds 66 small tanks and use 200ltr drums to hold water. One good thing about this way of breeding is you do not need air or filters in the tanks. The coconut fibre is good as I use it over and over. All tanks are filled in the morning and fish are added. Females are put in first then the males, leave fish till next morning, check if they have spawned and take out. If not spawned leave for another day. If on the second day they have not spawned the fish are not ready. I usually put 25 pairs of one type with at least 20 pairs spawning. Do not feed fish while they are in the breeding tanks as pollution is what you do not want.

Most of the tetras hatch between 24 to 50 hours. The fry hatch and do not need feeding for at least 3 to 4 days as they consume their egg sacks before free swimming. The eggs will hatch and if you have good eyes you will notice little glass like slithers on the bottom of the tank, the next day some will even go to the sides of the tank. When you see them free swimming this is the time to move them into grow out tanks. Grow out tanks should have no substrate and a sponge filter. Pick up the small tank and lower it into the grow out tank and tipping it slowly, all the fry will be in the large tank, wash the small tank and place the next lot of pairs in to breed. Care must be taken when feeding fry with baby brine shrimp. That is to not over feed as dead and uneaten brine shrimp can turn your water bad within an hour eg: ammonia poisoning. Grow out tanks are hard to keep clean as the fry can get sucked up the siphon hose with the rubbish. A little care when siphoning the bottom of the tank is done with an airline hose into a bucket so if you accidentally suck a few fry into the bucket, they can be retrieved when the rubbish settles and they will swim to the top.

The Black Neon Scientific name Hyphessobrycon Herbertaxelrodi.

Sexing, female is more robust than the male,
Male is smaller. Place the female in the small tank that has a small amount of coconut fibre enough to cover one third of the tank. The water level should be 4" in depth; the pHs is between 6.5 to 7.5 then put the male in. One pair in each tank. Usually I place the fish in the breeding tanks in the morning and take them out the following day. Sometimes they are left in the tanks for two days if they haven't spawned on day one. Then returned to their main tanks. You will be able to see the eggs scattered on the bottom and through the coconut fibre and should hatch around 36 hours. The fry scoot around the bottom of the breeding tank and hang on the sides of the glass. Do not feed while they are in the breeding tanks, the first few days they will eat their egg sack before they free swim. When free swimming the fry should be moved to a grow out tank and commence to feed with micro foods, like liquid fry for egg layers and in a couple of days progress to micro worms and newly hatched brine shrimp. As they grow crushed flake foods of a good quality can be introduced.

The Black Widow. (Gymnocorymbus temitzi)

These little fish come from the Rio Paraguay Area. To sex you will find the males frontal Portion of his anal fin is much broader and the Females anal fin will run parallel to her stomach, The female will be noticeably more robust when full of roe. The picture shows the short finned as there is a long finned variety as well.
When these fish are young the black markings are very dark and go to a gray black when mature. Easy to spawn and have many eggs. They hatch in 24 hours and fry are free swimming in three days. Feed liquid fry and micro foods, they will take newly hatched brine shrimp from day one of free swimming and grow quick. They make a good community tank as they are peaceful.

Rosey Tetra, the same family as the bleeding heart.
Scientific name hyphessobrycon bentiosi rosaceus.

This little tetra is a favourite of mine, I have bred many of these. In the picture is a female, notice the white tip and how round the dorsal fin is. The males dorsal fin is black to the tip and is pointy. They are a very peaceful fish highly recommended for the community tank. Place a pair in the breeding tank and the next day take out the parents. The eggs will hatch in 24 hours and fry free swim in a few days. Feed micro foods and brine shrimp when they are moved to their grow out tank. Fry will grow very quick.

Buenos Aires Tetra (Hemiggrammus Caudovittatus)
 
These fish come from the Paraguay and Southeast Brazil They are a fairly large Tetra Growing around 7 to 8cm. They are a plant eater. One pair in a breeding tank and they will spawn eagerly among the coconut fibre. These fish are prolific breeders. To sex the male has brighter red fins, the female which has a dull yellow to pale orange and is more robust. Their eggs hatch in 24 to 36 hours and free swim in a few days. The fry can take newly hatched brine shrimp as soon as they are free swimming.

Silver-Tipped Tetra ( Hasemania Nana)
In the pic is a male silver tip as it is very brightly coloured, the female is a dull washed out yellow but is more robust when full of roe. One pair in a breeding tank, Take out the next day. The fry are easy to raise. When fry are free swimming move to grow out tank. Commence to feed micro food, liquid fry and brine shrimp. These fish are highly recommended for the community tank, as they look good in a large school. They are a schooling fish so you should buy at least 6 to 10 fish to keep them happy.

Glow light Tetra (Hemigrammus Erythrozonus)
These little fish are native to the Essequito River, Guyana. A very peaceful fish and look good in a School, as they are a schooling fish. They are very welcome in a community tank. To sex the male is slightly smaller and slender than the female, which is more robust. Easily bred in the small breeding tanks, place one pair in each breeding tank with coconut fibre and remove the pairs the next day. You will see the eggs on the bottom of tank and through the coconut fibre. Eggs hatch in 24 hours and fry are free swimming in a few days. When free swimming move to grow out tanks and feed liquid fry, micro foods and in a couple of days introduce brine shrimp and micro worms.

Rummy-nose Tetra (Hemigrammus Bleheri)
These beauties are from the Rio Negro, Columbia and Brazil area. They are very sensitive to bad water qualities, regular water changes are needed to keep the nitrate level down and a good water conditioner is needed. They do not like any chlorine present in the water, it will block their gills and suffocate them. To sex the males are slimmer than the females. While the females are more robust and when in condition have a much larger stomach. Place one pair in each breeding tank and take out the next day, eggs hatch in 36 hours while fry free swim in 4 days. These fry are very small so start feeding with liquid fry food for the first few days, and then introduce brine shrimp and micro worms.

Serpre Tetra (Hyphessobrycon Callistus)
These fish are from the Southern Amazon Basin and Paraguay Basin. To sex the Male's swim bladder points sharply down to The anal fin while the females is rounded, Her body is higher and more robust than the male. To breed, place one pair in each tank in a dimly light area. Take the fish out the next day, if they haven't spawned leave for another day. The eggs hatch in 24 hours and free swim in a few days. Move fry to grow out tank when free swimming and feed miro foods and brine shrimp.

The Flame Tetra ( Hyphessobrycon Flammeus)

These fish are from Rio de Janeiro. Sexing These fish is easy as the male has a brighter red anal fin while the female is a washed out pale orange to yellow colour. Very easy to spawn by placing one pair in each breeding tank and remove the next day. The eggs hatch out in 36 hours and fry free swim in a few days. Remove fry to grow out tanks and feed micro fry food, brine shrimp and micro worms.

Black Phantom (Megalamphodus Megalopertus)
These fish are found in Central Brazil. It is a hardy little fish which Can adapt to most water pH's. To Sex is easy as the female has red adipose, pectoral and anal fins while the male has dark grey to black fins and the dorsal on the male is long and pointy. Easily bred in subdued light. One pair in each breeding tank and take out the next day. Eggs hatch in 24 hours while fry free swim in a few days, then move to grow out tank and feed liquid fry for the first day then micro fry food and brine shrimp and micro worms. These little fish are a community tank fish and can be kept with the discus fish.

Red Phantom (Megalamphodus Sweglesi)
 
The red Phantom is found in Columbia, in Rio Meta and Rio Muco. The picture is a male as it has a black dorsal fin and it is pointy. The female has a white tip on the top with black underneath of the dorsal fin. These fish are a little harder to breed than the Black Phantom, however it is possible with subdued lighting and a perlon fibre-spawning mat instead of the coconut fibre. One pair in the breeding tank and take out the next day. Eggs are a rusty brown colour and hatch in 24 to 36 hours. Fry free swim in approx. 5 days. Move to grow out tank and feed micro fry foods, brine shrimp and micro worms.

Yellow-Banded Moenkhausia (Moenkhausia Sanctaefilomenae)

Most people know this fish as the red eye tetra. They are from Western Brazil and Eastern Peru. To sex is a little harder as the female is more robust and rounder in the stomach than the male. Place one pair in the breeding tanks and take out the next day. Eggs hatch in 24 to 36 hours and fry free swim in a few days. Move to grow out tanks and feed liquid fry and micro fry powder, on the eighth day introduce brine shrimp and micro worms. These fish are also recommended for the community tank.

Emperor Tetra (Nematobrycon Palmeri)
 
This is a quiet and peaceful fish from The West Coast of Columbia. To sex, the male has a long pointed dorsal and is larger than the female. Best bred in a dark place, as these fish are not a prolific breeder laying around 50 eggs. The female deposits one egg at a time through the coconut fibre or Java moss. Eggs hatch in 24 to 48 hours and free swim in a few days. Move to grow out tank and feed micro fry foods, liquid fry for the first few days then introduce brine shrimp and micro worms. Regular water changes are required for the adults and a good water conditioner added. These fish are peaceful fish and should not be kept with livelier fish. They are welcome in the discus tank.

Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon Innesi)
 
These little fish are from Eastern Peru. Sexing these fish is reasonably easy if you Look closely to the blue line on the side of the fish. The males line looks straight while the female looks bent the female is a larger and more robust than the male. Male is smaller and more slender. One pair in a dimly light breeding tank with coconut fibre or Java moss and remove fish the next day. Keep the tank in a dark place, as eggs will fungus very  easily. Eggs hatch in 24 hours and fry free swim on the third to fourth day. Fry are very small, feed on liquid fry food for the first few day's then micro foods. When fry are 10 days old introduce brine shrimp. These little tetras are schooling fish so when you buy them it is best to buy at least 6 to 10 fish to keep them happy.

X-ray Fish (Pristella Maxillaris)
 
These fish come from Venezuela, British Columbia. They are a peaceful fish and are home in the community tank. Sexing, male is more Slender and swim bladder Is pointed. The female is More robust and more rounded swim bladder. One pair in the breeding tanks with coconut fibre and they will lay approx. 300 to 400 eggs. These fish are prolific breeders. Take fish out the next day, the eggs hatch in 24 to 36 hours, fry free swim in a few days. Move to grow out tank and feed micro foods, liquid fry and in a few days introduce brine shrimp and micro worms.

Hockey Stick (Thayeria Boehlkei)
This fish is found in Brazil, Amazon and Peru. Sexing, female when ready to spawn is more rounded than the male that is more slender. They are prolific breeders and can lay as many as 1000 eggs. Place one pair in a breeding tank with coconut fibre and remove the pair the next day. When fish have spawned you must change the water in the breeding tank or it will pollute from the large amounts of milt (sperm) the male releases. Eggs hatch in 24 hours and fry free swim in a few days. Move to grow out tank and feed liquid fry and micro foods. Introduce brine shrimp in a few days.

Tiger Barbs (Barbus tetrazona)
 
These fish are from Indonesia, Sumatra and Borneo. Very active Fish not recommended for the community tank. To sex the male is smaller and slender than the female. These fish are very susceptible to Ich (common name white spot) I have bred thousands of these fish in the small breeding tanks where they say you need a 3-foot tank planted for them to spawn in. place one pair in each breeding tank and remove the next day, I do at least 30 pairs at a time and have a 60% spawn rate. Eggs hatch in 24 to 36 hours and free swim in a few days. Move to grow out tank and feed micro foods, brine shrimp and micro worms. They grow reasonably  fast.

Rosy Barb (Barbus conchonius)
 
Found in back waters of Northern India Bengal and Assam. This is the short Finned variety and there is a long finned As well I have done both varieties in the small breeding tanks. These are done the same way as the tiger barbs. Feed the same as tiger barbs. They are very slow growing, take about 5 months to sellable size. Most of the other types of barbs can be done this way, except for the larger varieties.

Zebra Danio (Brachydanio rerio)
 
This fish comes from Eastern India From Calcutta to Masulipatam. The pic is a female short finned variety this one  is ready for spawning as it is very rounded. Males are brighter coloured with a yellow background and more slender and smaller than the female. One pair in each tank and remove the next day. The eggs hatch in 24 to 48 hours and fry free swim in a week. Feed micro fry foods and in a couple of days introduce brine shrimp. There are many types of danio's, Leopards, even albino ones, short and long finned varieties. They would have to be one of the easiest fish to spawn. They can be spawned every three weeks if conditioned properly. There are many other tetras I have not mentioned however they could all be done in the little breeding tanks.

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