CONDITIONING THE PARENTS : The fish need to be brought into breeding
                                                       condition. This entails feeding with high
                                                      quality foods (especially live foods) for a
                                                      couple of weeks before the fish are put
                                                      together to spawn.

Ideally, the sexes should be separated during this process to ensure both partners are at optimum 'ripeness' when re-united in the spawning tank.
It is possible to 'flock' or 'shoal' spawn fish rather than just using a single male and female. In this case all the males would be separated from all the females prior to spawning.

SPAWNING : One of the problems with the more indiscriminate
                      egglaying species is that the egg- scatterers also have a very
                      healthy appetite for their own eggs. Some precautions must be
                       taken to prevent this.

Using a layer of marbles on the base of the spawning tank allows the eggs to fall between the crevices out of reach of the hungry adult fish.
Dense bushy plants or spawning mops can also trap (and hide) eggs during spawning. Such plants also offer refuge to new-born livebearer fry too.

It is not advisable to use 'breeding traps' (small floating plastic tanks with separate chambers) with pregnant female livebearers, especially near to the end of their 'gestation' period, as any stress is likely to induce premature births.

Site spawners such as cichlids, gouramies and mouthbrooding species effectively protect both their spawning sites and developing fry from other fish.
It is possible with cichlids to remove any spawning receptacle and hatch the eggs artificially away from the parents, but then you miss out on witnessing the amazing parental care exercised by these fish.

Killifish eggs, once collected from spawning mops, may need a period of semi-dehydration before being re-immersed in water to hatch.

In some cases, the spawning couple need not even meet each other!
Goldfish females can be hand-stripped of their eggs and then the male's milt can be milked into their container to fertilise them.

It is advisable to supervise spawning if at all possible. Many male fish drive the females very hard during the spawning chase and often continue to harass them after spawning is complete.

The spawning tank should be furnished with plenty of bushy plants in which the female can hide if necessary, but in most cases it is best to remove her from the spawning tank as soon as possible after spawning has been completed.

FRY CARE : Once the fry hatch and are free-swimming they must be provided
                    with plenty of correctly-sized food.

Infusions, green water, liquid fry foods and newly-hatched Brine Shrimp are all good starting foods.


     Brine Shrimp hatchers made from inverted, cut-down lemonade bottles.

After a few days, the food size can be increased to include Grindal Worm, White Worm, sifted Daphnia and so on up to crumbled flake food, after which the more normal diet can be provided.

Tank space will also become important too, so extra tank space should be available not just for growth but also to segregate the young fry for quality or sexes.

© FBAS 1998 RCM/RDE                    Aquarium Management Care Sheet 7 2/2

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