Breeding Tetra Fish Successfully
If you are keeping tetras, chances are you are breeding tetras,
even if unknowingly. In the wild, tetras normally breed during
the rainy season, but in the aquarium, they may breed year round.
Female tetras are egg-scatters that typically fill with eggs
every ten to fourteen days.
The female tetra indiscriminately sprays her eggs into clumps of
fine-leaved plants. The eggs are adhesive and stick to the
plants. However, tetras as well as other tank mates often find
tetra eggs and small fry an irresistible delicacy.
If breeding tetras is your goal in keeping them, the best thing
to do is to separate males and females. This allows you to keep
control of breeding and improves your chance of achieving a
successful hatch of fry. Smaller species of female tetras become
active at nine to twelve months old with larger species
ready to breed at 1 Ĺ to 2 years of age.
Male tetras are generally a month or two older than females for
successful spawning to take place.
Males are typically slimmer and more colorful than their female
companions are. When viewed from above, the female tetra is
distinguishably plumper and rounder because of the build-up of
eggs within her body.
Two weeks before breeding tetras, separate males and females
within the same tank. This is done simply by putting a clear
divider between them, which not only gives you control of
breeding but also stimulates spawning behavior since the fish are
kept within sight of each other. Breeding tetras is also
encouraged during the pre-spawn period by feeding them with
high-quality live foods.
When ready to breed tetras, youíll get the best results by using
a separate breeding tank, prepared with a peat filter and clean,
aged water in which clumps of fine-leaved plants have been
strategically placed. Three ways to complete your tank for
breeding tetras are:
Drape the tank with nylon netting to allow the eggs to fall to
the tank floor away from hungry adults.
Cover the tank floor with marbles to hide the eggs and protect
them from cannibalism.
Plant fine-leaved plants or artificial spawning mops in seed
trays filled with coarse gravel to trap the eggs and prevent them
from being eaten.
Females should be placed in the breeding tank earlier than the
males, usually the night before breeding. In addition to allowing
her to settle in, it also puts the male in the position of having
to court her on her own turf. This technique can deter any
aggressive tendencies he may display. After introducing the male
to the breeding tank, itís best to watch his introductory moves.
Males often show aggressive behavior during spawning. If the male
attacks a female, remove her and re-separate the pair. Another
female can be tried or alternatively, two to three females can be
introduced to the breeding tank to keep the male from focusing
his attention on only one. Remove adult fish from the breeding
tank immediately after breeding tetras.
If you are interested in Tetra Fish, on our site we have a free
e-book available about these wonderful creatures.
Linda Paquette is author of Tetra Fish and Cichilds at
Totally Adorable Plush Stuffed Fish