Tetras are small, tropical freshwater fishes that have their origin in South America. They are preferred worldwide. As a result, many people keep these tiny fish for breeding and selling purposes. Peaceful temperament, easy to care, and a variety of colors are some of the reasons why people prefer tetras worldwide.
In the wild, the tetras are very prolific, and they can even multiply their number just in 15 months. But it is not the same in captivity. Breeding tetras is quite a tricky task to do. But do not panic, this step-by-step guide will provide you the answer on how to set up a breeding tank for tetras. It is a pivotal part of the breeding process.
Tetras are egg scatterers. Setting up a breeding tank is simply the process of maintaining appropriate water parameters, temperature, and a suitable environment to stimulate the tetras to breed. We need a separate tank for the breeding process. Lower temperatures and lower pH are ideal for tetras to breed.
Requirements For Setting Up Breeding Tanks For Tetras
Before looking at the steps to set up a breeding tank for tetra fish, let us have a look at the requirements first. The preparation stage is the foremost step. These are the things required to set up a breeding tank for tetras:
- A small breeding tank with a cover
- Sponge Filter
- Test Kit
- Plastic Grate or spawning mat
- Peat Moss (organic)
- Aquarium water
- Plants or spawning mop
For the plants, you can read our article about the 10 best plants for the tetra tank.
Steps To Set Up A Breeding Tank For Tetras
For tetras to breed, we need to lower the temperature and pH level in the breeding tank significantly. The pH level of 5 to 6 and the temperature of 25℃ is ideal for the breeding tank.
You can learn more about Breeding Tetra Fish – Step By Step Guide from here.
You need to try to imitate the rainfall environment in the Amazon river to stimulate tetras to spawn. So as rainwater, we prepare acidic water(pH less than 7) and maintain the lower temperature.
You should keep in mind that setting up the breeding tank is the second step of breeding tetras, the first is conditioning the tetras.
Here are a few simple steps to set up a breeding tank:
Clean The Breeding Tank
You need a separate tank for breeding tetras. The first step to set up a breeding tank is to clean it. Be careful not to use the brand new fish tank. Make sure there is no trace of soap or any organic matter that may harm the tetras.
How to Clean a Tetra Fish Tank? [Step-by-Step] Check it out here!
Lay The Peat Moss
Foremost, only purchase organic peat moss, that contains no other chemicals. Before laying the peat moss at the bottom of the aquarium, make sure you boil it.
Peat moss is used for two basic reasons: first to replicate the muddy water after rainfall in the Amazon river and the other it makes water softer and lowers the pH level in the water.
The peat moss also absorbs heavy metals. Make sure you fill the bottom with the peat moss (1 inch). I would suggest Espoma PTM8 8-Quart Organic Peat Moss for your breeding tank.
Place Plastic Grate, Filter, And Heater
First, put the plastic grate above the peat moss level. We keep plastic grates or spawning mats so that the parent tetras do not eat eggs that have fallen to the bottom.
Just as in a normal aquarium, insert a sponge filter and heater. The sponge filter is gentle and maintains water flow in the fish tank.
Sponge Filter also provides a place for the growth of beneficial bacterias. We use a heater to regulate the temperature in the breeding tank.
I have mentioned the best equipment in the table above.
Add The Tank Water And Plants
For setting up the breeding tank, we use the aged water or the water of the community tank where the fish resides.
There is no need to age the water if you are using the water of the community tank.
Since, we have used peat moss, when you fill the tank with water, the water turns black. It takes 2 or 3 days to settle down.
Insert plants like java moss or artificial spawning mop in the aquarium. Many times, the tetra fish lay eggs in those kinds of stuff.
I feel Greenpro Java Moss Live Freshwater Aquarium Plants is easy and ready to grow.
Check Water Parameters And Temperature
When we fill the tank with water, it turns out like a mud-water. Slowly, there forms a thick layer of peat moss at the top of the water level. It takes 2-3 days to settle down.
Once the peat moss settles down, take the testing kit and check for pH level. The pH level should be 5-6. Again, use a thermometer to check the water temperature, it should be around 77℉ or 25℃.
If the water is not acidic, you can add Reverse Osmosis(RO) water, or insert driftwood or even add a little more peat moss. And you can adjust the temperature using the heater.
For driftwood, you may use PIVBY Natural Aquarium Driftwood Assorted Branches Reptile Ornament for Fish Tank Decoration Pack of 3 which is quite affordable if you ask me.
These are steps to set up breeding tanks for tetras. When the pH is in the level and the required temperature is met, you can add male and female tetras to the breeding tank for spawning.
How To Age Water In The Breeding Tank? How To Set Up Breeding Tank For Tetras?
Using aged water can be one of the major factors for the successful breeding of tetras. To age, the water means to treat the tap water, to remove chlorine, and to use in the aquarium.
Water for breeding can be aged in two different ways:
First, you can fill a bucket with tap water and leave it for 4-6 days, the chlorine automatically evaporates in the air. Or you can use a de-chlorinator and leave the water for 24 hours.
You should use slight acidic water in the breeding tank. So after you have aged water you can mix the RO water to lower pH if still the parameters are not met.
Second, we can also use acidic water directly. We can mix 1/4th of aged tap water with 3/4th of R0 water. Also, mixing tap water with distilled water makes it softer.
If you use a community aquarium itself, then there is no need to age the water, because the aquarium water is already aged. But make sure, you check the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
Find out more on Looking For A Community Tank? Here Are 7 Best Serpae Tetra Tank Mates.
Nitrogen Cycle In The Breeding Tank- How To Set Up Breeding Tank For Tetras?
Initially, when you set up a breeding tank for tetras you can use community aquarium water as well as the aged water having lower pH. Everyone knows that the presence of ammonia in water is very harmful to tetras. The process of converting ammonia into nitrite and nitrate is called the nitrogen cycle.
Initially, when you use your tap water or the aquarium water itself, make sure there is no ammonia in the water. Either change the water or use hardy fish, just make sure there is 0 ammonia in the water.
When the tetras lay eggs, you need to put the parent tetras back in the community tank again. And after doing so, you will need to perform a 50% water change in the breeding tank to regulate the nitrogen cycle.
Half of the water should be changed because the parent tetras may have excreted in the water, or the excess milt may have been there on the aquarium surfaces.
Those wastages may decompose to form ammonia. Since you are using a small tank, it is even more dangerous. Ammonia is lethal for eggs and fries.
Related articles on caring tetra fry:
- How To Feed Tetra Fish Fry Properly | Dos and Don’ts With Alternative Fry Food
- Tetra Fry Care – How to Care for Baby Tetras?
- Tetra Fry Tank Set-Up: Fish Tank Requirement For The Fry
- Aquarium Filters Best Suited For Tetra Fish Fry
FAQ’s- How To Set Up Breeding Tank For Tetras?
Here are some frequently asked questions on setting up a breeding tank for tetra fish. You may have similar queries as well. Check it out:
Should You Turn On The Light In Breeding Tank?
Using lights in the breeding tank is optional. For the actual breeding process, the male and female tetras are taken out of the community aquarium and placed in the breeding tank after sunset (i.e in the evening time).
For the whole night, we turn off the light of the tank to create a favorable environment to instigate the male and female tetras. Also, if any sources of light hit the breeding tank, we cover the tank on all sides with a towel, ply, or any other objects. So, you do not need to switch on the light in the tetra breeding tank.
The next morning, we have to introduce the tetras to light sunlight or dim light, so that they start spawning. In this case, you have to turn a dim light in your aquarium if your aquarium does not get sunlight. Please be aware, the light does not directly hit the tetras, or the light is not too bright.
When you notice the eggs in the breeding tank, you should not expose the breeding tank to the light until the fry hatch. Bright light can damage eggs and fry. So, we should not expose the little fry to the bright light as well.
Why Should You Not Use A Powerful Filter In The Breeding Tank?
The fry is a very fragile and delicate living being. When we use a powerful filter in the breeding tank, the fry while moving, may get stuck in the mesh. And they cannot come out of it because of the high power of the filter.
Also, the huge water flow may harm the fry.
The best filter to use in a tetra breeding tank is a sponge filter. The sponge filter preserves beneficial bacterias and provides biological filtration. Moreover, we can adjust the water flow in the breeding tank, which assures no harm to the fry.
Why Is My Tetra Not Laying Egg?
The most common reason for your tetra not laying eggs can be that you may have kept the tetras of the same sex in the breeding tank.
The females have a rounder belly but the males have slender one. The male tetras have brighter colors on their body and even have longer fins. On the contrary, females have slightly dim colors and shorter fins.
Also, maybe the temperature and the acidic levels are not suitable for breeding. Make sure the temperature of the tank is approximately 77℉ and the water is acidic (pH is 5 to 6). The light should not be present in the tank.
Lastly, other reasons can be that the tetras were not conditioned properly. Nutritious foods should be fed before moving the tetras to the breeding tank. Also, be sure that the tetras you keep in the breeding tank are at least 12 weeks of age.
Last Words- How To Set Up Breeding Tank For Tetras?
Tetras are not the easiest fish to breed, but they are not that difficult to breed once you maintain a suitable environment. While you set up a breeding tank for tetras, you should lower both the pH level and temperature to instigate the spawning process for tetras.
If you are a beginner, you may not be successful in the first attempt. Do not be upset and follow the above steps to set up the breeding tank, also pay attention to the water aging process.
The satisfaction you get after you see eggs develop into fry is great. Do not give up, raise fry to fish, and bring a bundle of happiness and beauty in your aquarium. Happy Fishkeeping!
- Increase the pH of Your Freshwater Aquarium
- Can Tetra Fish Live Without Heater And Filter?
- Top 10 Easy to Care Tetra Fish – Perfect For Beginners
- The lifespan of Tetra Fish | Keeping you Tetras Healthy and Happy
- Why Do Neon Tetras Die After Laying Eggs