I don't understand tetra breeding

BlueRaccoon

I understand that different tetras, breed different ways, with some of them being easier to breed and some being harder. However, here is what I don't understand. I often read that in order to get a specific fish to breed, you need low ph and GH. Does this mean that it is unlikely for the fish to breed if these conditions aren't met? Will they still breed even if those conditions aren't met?

I really don't want to deal with baby fish. Yes, I understand that many fish eat the fry, but I would prefer not to watch that in my house as often as possible. I understand there is always the possibility of breeding, but I'm looking for species I am less like to accidentally breed.

My parameters:
ph - 7.5
GH - 8
KH - 3
 

Demeter

Most people don’t even notice their schoolers have spawned and unless the tank is lightly stocked and heavily planted, you won’t get any surviving fry.

As for trying to change the water or put fish in water parameters that is not ideal for that species in order to prevent spawning, that would be possible but rather cruel if done intentionally IMO. It is best for the fish to keep them in a setting that best replicates their natural habitat. If they spawn then that’s a sign you are doing something right. Happy, healthy fish will breed. For example, recently I’ve noticed my BN plecos have stopped spawning. Upon closer inspection it appears they are on the thin side. I’ve since been remedying that with heavier feedings and more variety in their diet. I hope for them to start breeding again soon.

I see no reason to prevent breeding in schooling species, the fish want to breed as is their nature. If you have both males and females and the environment is to their liking, they will spawn. In fact, females that want to spawn and are ready to spawn but do not can become egg bound. Better to let nature do it’s thing. Fish follow their instincts, why try to change their behaviors when it is natural for them?

Of course preventing breeding in other species like cichlids or livebearers would be easy enough, just keep the genders separate. But sexing fish like tetras, barbs and danios can be much harder especially if the fish are young. And then keeping all males can create aggressive, territorial disputes. Something you don’t want in your tetra school.
 

A201

My Tetras & Barbs are constantly exhibiting breeding behavior in my very hard water w/ 8.2 PH. I've seen females scatter eggs, only to watch the tankmates eagerly eat them.
Chances are the tankmates will eat the eggs before they have a chance to hatch.
 

Cherryshrimp420

With some tetras their eggs will not hatch in high pH. Neons for example
 

BlueRaccoon

Most people don’t even notice their schoolers have spawned and unless the tank is lightly stocked and heavily planted, you won’t get any surviving fry.
Thank you for your thoughts! I really appreciate it. So I shouldn't expect many eggs to hatch with most tetras? Is that what you are saying? I mean most of the time the other fish, or the parents will consume the eggs before they hatch, is that what you are saying?
As for trying to change the water or put fish in water parameters that is not ideal for that species in order to prevent spawning, that would be possible but rather cruel if done intentionally IMO. It is best for the fish to keep them in a setting that best replicates their natural habitat. If they spawn then that’s a sign you are doing something right. Happy, healthy fish will breed. For example, recently I’ve noticed my BN plecos have stopped spawning. Upon closer inspection it appears they are on the thin side. I’ve since been remedying that with heavier feedings and more variety in their diet. I hope for them to start breeding again soon.
I have no intentions of providing a poor environment for the fish. Sometimes I see specie profiles that will say something like, "This fish can live in a ph of 5.0-7.0; however, to encourage breading, a ph of 5.5-6.0 would be helpful." So I assumed that if my ph was closer to 7.0, I would still have happy, healthy fish, but I would have less of a chance of breeding occuring.
I see no reason to prevent breeding in schooling species, the fish want to breed as is their nature. If you have both males and females and the environment is to their liking, they will spawn. In fact, females that want to spawn and are ready to spawn but do not can become egg bound. Better to let nature do it’s thing. Fish follow their instincts, why try to change their behaviors when it is natural for them?
I didn't realize the females could become egg-bound. That's awful. I guess I have just been a little concerned that the fish don't actually consume their eggs/fry in the wild, and that maybe I am promoting it in a tank.
Of course preventing breeding in other species like cichlids or livebearers would be easy enough, just keep the genders separate. But sexing fish like tetras, barbs and danios can be much harder especially if the fish are young. And then keeping all males can create aggressive, territorial disputes. Something you don’t want in your tetra school. I have thought about a one sex tank; however, I don't know if that is right to the fish. I feel like they are probably happier in an environment similar to nature as you have stated above. I kind of go between, "I don't want them to breed", and "I feel mean that they don't do what they naturally want to do".
Thanks again for all your help! It sounds like I just need to suck it up and except that they may consume their fry. It's just hard to stomach for some reason. Thanks
With some tetras their eggs will not hatch in high pH. Neons for example
Thank you! Right, I unfortunately don't have the right parameters for neons. I am also very new to fish keeping so I don't want to try to change the ph right now.
My Tetras & Barbs are constantly exhibiting breeding behavior in my very hard water w/ 8.2 PH. I've seen females scatter eggs, only to watch the tankmates eagerly eat them.
Chances are the tankmates will eat the eggs before they have a chance to hatch.
Thank you! Good to know. I don't mind the eyes as much, probably because I'm not actually seeing the fish. What type of tetras do you have? Thanks.
 

MacZ

Does this mean that it is unlikely for the fish to breed if these conditions aren't met? Will they still breed even if those conditions aren't met?
Just to get that out of the way: There are fish that breed under the most adverse conditions. This applies to many hardwater species like Malawi cichlids, livebearers and rainbowfish. There are also some species of tetras like blackskirts and embers that can reproduce in moderately hard water. Some whitewater Apistogramma can do it too. (Loke A. cacatuoides or A. macmasteri)

For softwater species you have certain possibilities preventing:
A. The fish will try to breed but due to the vulnerability of eggs and fry to bacteria (which are more abundand in hard, alkaline water), the eggs go bad.
B. The eggs tend to develop a harder shell than in soft water. The fry are unable to hatch, and the eggs go bad.
C. The adult fish need very soft and acidic water and certain other factors (TDS, EC, Temperature) to even get into the mood.

Considering this and your water parameters:
Most fish will not pass the egg stage except in an extra breeding setup that protects the eggs from being eaten.
 

SparkyJones

yeah, they will likely exhibit breeding behaviors at maturity, being boys and girls, but it likely won't work out to fry unless you are actually trying to do it. I know with my angelfish, I have to keep the water darn near pristine and doing really regular water changes, conditions have to be just right for it to work out, otherwise the eggs fungus over, or the pair ends up eating them long before they hatch.
I have bred them, I may do it again, but unless I'm trying to do it and setting them up for success with perfect conditions, at best case by accident I might wind up with 5 free swimming fry that won't make it past the first week, but usually not even that far.
Even with 20-40 80 out of 300 eggs, it's such a low count it's not going to make it past a month.

not saying it can't happen purely by random accident, just saying I wouldn't worry about it, you have to really work for it for them to be successful and get good hatch rates.

And you can get a little herd of corydoras and they'll clean up the eggs pretty nicely, but they might also lay eggs themselves given the right conditions. LOL


I find water changing usually promotes spawning. Maybe don't do water changes??? J/K!
 

BlueRaccoon

Just to get that out of the way: There are fish that breed under the most adverse conditions. This applies to many hardwater species like Malawi cichlids, livebearers and rainbowfish. There are also some species of tetras like blackskirts and embers that can reproduce in moderately hard water. Some whitewater Apistogramma can do it too. (Loke A. cacatuoides or A. macmasteri)

For softwater species you have certain possibilities preventing:
A. The fish will try to breed but due to the vulnerability of eggs and fry to bacteria (which are more abundand in hard, alkaline water), the eggs go bad.
B. The eggs tend to develop a harder shell than in soft water. The fry are unable to hatch, and the eggs go bad.
C. The adult fish need very soft and acidic water and certain other factors (TDS, EC, Temperature) to even get into the mood.

Considering this and your water parameters:
Most fish will not pass the egg stage except in an extra breeding setup that protects the eggs from being eaten.
Wow, this is great information. It's very interesting how hard water affects the eggs of species who live in soft water. Everyone had opened my eyes to the fact that my selection is larger than I thought it was, which is exciting.
I have read of many fish who can tolerate 6-7.5, but the articles mention that the soften the better. I'm assuming in these cases that the fish would be healthy at my 7.5ph, but they would breed easier and more successful at 6. Is that correct?
 

MacZ

I have read of many fish who can tolerate 6-7.5, but the articles mention that the soften the better. I'm assuming in these cases that the fish would be healthy at my 7.5ph, but they would breed easier and more successful at 6. Is that correct?
Not quite.
pH is not a measure of hardness. Get your readings for KH and GH.

I generally recommend keeping softwater fish as needed in soft water. Reasoning: They are adapted to it. Keeping them long term (talking more than 9 months to several years) in harder water causes difficulties with osmoregulation and kidneys. You don't see this, often it's just that softwater fish seem to have health problems and then they drop dead and the owner never knew the reason. That's why I'm highly critical of the old approach of "The fish can acclimate to almost any parameters". Many say the fish did well. Yeah... well, you also only see a kidney deficiency in humans when it's almost too late. Same with fish.
 

BlueRaccoon

yeah, they will likely exhibit breeding behaviors at maturity, being boys and girls, but it likely won't work out to fry unless you are actually trying to do it. I know with my angelfish, I have to keep the water darn near pristine and doing really regular water changes, conditions have to be just right for it to work out, otherwise the eggs fungus over, or the pair ends up eating them long before they hatch.
I have bred them, I may do it again, but unless I'm trying to do it and setting them up for success with perfect conditions, at best case by accident I might wind up with 5 free swimming fry that won't make it past the first week, but usually not even that far.
Even with 20-40 80 out of 300 eggs, it's such a low count it's not going to make it past a month.

not saying it can't happen purely by random accident, just saying I wouldn't worry about it, you have to really work for it for them to be successful and get good hatch rates.

And you can get a little herd of corydoras and they'll clean up the eggs pretty nicely, but they might also lay eggs themselves given the right conditions. LOL


I find water changing usually promotes spawning. Maybe don't do water changes??? J/K!
Wow, I didn't realize that about angels. I thought they protected their babies. Thank you for the help! I definitely feel better about moving forward!
Not quite.
pH is not a measure of hardness. Get your readings for KH and GH.

I generally recommend keeping softwater fish as needed in soft water. Reasoning: They are adapted to it. Keeping them long term (talking more than 9 months to several years) in harder water causes difficulties with osmoregulation and kidneys. You don't see this, often it's just that softwater fish seem to have health problems and then they drop dead and the owner never knew the reason. That's why I'm highly critical of the old approach of "The fish can acclimate to almost any parameters". Many say the fish did well. Yeah... well, you also only see a kidney deficiency in humans when it's almost too late. Same with fish.
Sorry, my gh is 8, and my kh is 3. I meant fish who can be up to 10, but prefer it softer.
 

MacZ

Sorry, my gh is 8, and my kh is 3. I meant fish who can be up to 10, but prefer it softer.
Then stick to white- and clearwater species and avoid blackwater species.
If you're not sure: Look up the river on fishbase and then look up whether it is a white-, clear- or blackwater river.
 

BlueRaccoon

Then stick to white- and clearwater species and avoid blackwater species.
If you're not sure: Look up the river on fishbase and then look up whether it is a white-, clear- or blackwater river.
I will definitely be doing that! Thank you!
 

SparkyJones

Wow, I didn't realize that about angels. I thought they protected their babies. Thank you for the help! I definitely feel better about moving forward!

Sorry, my gh is 8, and my kh is 3. I meant fish who can be up to 10, but prefer it softer.
angels are good parents, the thing is though, they spawn every 15 days roughly, and if conditions aren't right or they are under threat, they will eat the eggs for the nutrients and wait another 15 days for a possible better time/environment better eggs. ideally they will put in the effort if it's going to pay off and if it doesn't appear the chances are good for the spawn, they will just eat it all to start over again sooner the next time. if they let them hatch and become fry, they will stick with it usually and can be a few months until the fry are gone when they will spawn again unless you remove the fry so they can start over. To angelfish it's not worth all the effort for a couple fry, they are looking for high percentages and spawn big, kind of frequently or just scrap it and try again sooner.

tetras don't run this kind of operation though, they kind of just dump and run not really "parents" and don't raise or defend them, and just scatter the eggs around. a couple corydoras will go sifting for them and eat them before they hatch usually. just different breeding strategies, one is sit and defend and give up if it's not working to try again, the other is scatter it around and hope they all don't get found and eaten.

Angels are good parents, they really hammer me when that have fry and i go in to clean, doesn't hurt but it's surprising they come on that quick and slam into your hand. LOL
 

BlueRaccoon

angels are good parents, the thing is though, they spawn every 15 days roughly, and if conditions aren't right or they are under threat, they will eat the eggs for the nutrients and wait another 15 days for a possible better time/environment better eggs. ideally they will put in the effort if it's going to pay off and if it doesn't appear the chances are good for the spawn, they will just eat it all to start over again sooner the next time. if they let them hatch and become fry, they will stick with it usually and can be a few months until the fry are gone when they will spawn again unless you remove the fry so they can start over. To angelfish it's not worth all the effort for a couple fry, they are looking for high percentages and spawn big, kind of frequently or just scrap it and try again sooner.

tetras don't run this kind of operation though, they kind of just dump and run not really "parents" and don't raise or defend them, and just scatter the eggs around. a couple corydoras will go sifting for them and eat them before they hatch usually. just different breeding strategies, one is sit and defend and give up if it's not working to try again, the other is scatter it around and hope they all don't get found and eaten.

Angels are good parents, they really hammer me when that have fry and i go in to clean, doesn't hurt but it's surprising they come on that quick and slam into your hand. LOL
That's all so interesting! Wow, so crazy that they hammer you! lol
 

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