Breeding Neon Tetras
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:24 AM   #1
rbpwrd240
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Breeding Neon Tetras


Hey gang I had a few questions before I try to add neon tetras to the list of fish I have successfully bread.

I researched the topic and im trying to figure just a few things out.

Here is the setup.
29 Gallon main tank 6 pack of Neon Tetras (they are already laying eggs)
10 gallon breeding tank

1) Using rain water do I need to do anything to it after collecting it?

2) I heard they like blackwater conditions. I was thinking of using oak leaves from the front yard to do this. Maybe set them in the rain water? Will this work?

3) I have some black water in the yard that is rain water with oak leaves in the bottom. This water is laiden with mesquito larva and other aquatic creatures should I just use this water for the breeding tank?

4) I heard its crucial for everything to be stearil, should I boil the rain water and clean the aquarium and all things going in the aquarium with vineager?

Every other aspect Im comfortable with but these questions are plaging me.

Thanks for any input
Alex R.
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:39 PM   #2
NeonRob
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I successfully bred a batch of Neons for BAP back in December, so maybe I can help.

1) I personally use reconstituted RO water (RO + Kent Liquid RO Right), but I have an RO unit. I have read about others having success with boiled rain water. Depending on where you live, I'd be concerned about pollutants in the rain water (poor air quality or fertilizer or other chemicals from ground run off). Consider catching the rain before it hits the ground.

2) My internet research has determined that Neons are actually clearwater or whitewater fish and it is the Cardinal Tetra that is the blackwater spawner in nature. My experience is that blackwater conditions are not necessary to get either fish to spawn in captivity.

3) I would be concerned that the larvae might prey on your fry. Boiling the water could take care of this issue though. I would introduce first foods such as plant trimmings with micro organisms from an established planted tank. Even a clump of java moss is sufficient. You'll need this for spawning media anyway. Microworms are good to have around before feeding BBS as well. You will want to have a daily BBS culture going as well once your fry make it to the free swimming stage.

4) I don't do anything special to sterilize ever. I do like to make sure the tank, heater, & trap or net have all dried out first before setting up the breeding tank. Some use potassium permanganate or vinegar to sterilize everything. My experience is that rinsing the tank with tap water, scrubbing it with a kitchen pad that won't scratch the glass, and then drying it out with a clean towel is sufficient for successful Tetra breeding in general.

The highest yields will be achieved by separating the parents from the eggs. My experience is that a spawning grate or net, either using nylon material, achieve the highest yields.

I've successfully bred 12 species of Tetras so far with more on the way, so feel free to ask more questions.
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Old 10-06-2013, 06:39 AM   #3
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Sorry to resurrect such an old thread.

I have successfully gotten stage one done with breeding cardinal tetras. I have them in a breeding container hanging inside my 40 gallon tank. The bottom has pebbles to keep eggs safe from parents. A little bit of flame moss and riccia fluitans floating on top.

I am reading around on how to carry out the process. They hatch in 3-5 days, photosensitive first week, and are full colored in 2-3 months.

Can you fill me in on a good feeding schedule and what to feed to keep yield's high?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:22 PM   #4
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You need to totally blackout the eggs. I use a 5 gallon tank and cover it with a towel after removing the parents. Alternatively, you can transfer the eggs w/ plants to a small container. You don't need any water movement or filtration for a while, but you do need total darkness. The eggs will hatch in about 24 hours. 24 hours after the eggs were laid, I lift the towel and shine a flashlight in there to see if the eggs hatched. Expect some to most of the eggs to fungus. Healthy eggs will hatch no matter what. The light will make them dart around the tank. Don't do this too much. The fry will be free swimming in about 6 days. This is when you need to start feeding microworms or vinegar eels and you can remove the towel. At about day 10, they will be ready for live baby brine shrimp. Start out by one feeding a couple of drops of bbs the first couple of days and then gradually increase feedings.

Hope this helps. I've breed 18 species of Tetras so far this way.
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Old 01-21-2014, 05:20 AM   #5
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Months later... I got a 10 gallon tank to try this again. They lay eggs like crazy almost every other night in my planted 40 gallon tank but i still have trouble making this work.

You mentioned they hatch in 24 hours, i have heard others say that it takes up to 5 days.

Also, i was wondering how many eggs can one pair lay in one night? It seems like every time they go at it, they get 5-10 at a time tops. The numbers seem really low for me compared to what people claim.
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Old 01-21-2014, 11:50 AM   #6
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I've bred 18 species of Tetras and every viable egg has hatched within 24-36 hours at ~75F. So temperature matters. Higher temps get a quicker hatch rate.

A fully matured Neon female can lay up to 250 eggs in one spawning, but that is one spawning about every 2 weeks with the male separated from the female to condition them for spawning. Expect more like 100-150 eggs.

I don't doubt that the same female will drop only a small handful of eggs on a daily basis in a community tank, but that's not how you breed Tetras for maximum yield.

What you need to do is separate your males from the females in order to condition them. Let the female fatten up with eggs for 2 weeks. Now put them together in your 10 gallon tank and see what happens.

Also, how are you keeping the parents from eating the eggs? I would recommend getting a square yard of synthetic mesh material from a fabric store to make a drop net trap that the fish can breed in. The holes in the mesh should be big enough for the eggs to pass through, but not big enough for a Neon to get through. The hole should be about 1-2mm. Think wedding veil mesh.
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Old 01-21-2014, 08:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeonRob View Post
Also, how are you keeping the parents from eating the eggs? I would recommend getting a square yard of synthetic mesh material from a fabric store to make a drop net trap that the fish can breed in. The holes in the mesh should be big enough for the eggs to pass through, but not big enough for a Neon to get through. The hole should be about 1-2mm. Think wedding veil mesh.
I actually was going to try this as my next step. I have been meaning to do it but didn't think tetras would be comfortable with mating in a net? What i did was make the breeding tank so dark that they dont see their eggs fall. I watched them mating in the dark like this and it seemed to work. They would spawn and eggs would fall out but i didn't notice any of them eating the eggs. But i still have not seen any hatched eggs in the morning or any at all by then. I have flitered river sand on the bottom so cant really see anything. I will try taking everything out and just use net next time.

As far as water quality, does it matter too much as far as hatching yield? I mean, my water is good, but i feel like something is not good enough as nothing has been hatching. Maybe they just eat the eggs when i dont notice.
I dont do water changes in my tank but just top off with filtered drinking water. The pH is lately is just over 7.0 somewhere. I have had it at 6.5 before. The GH and KH are around 4 to 5 degrees hardness. (I assume nitrate and phosphate levels shouldnt matter as that is measured for plant food dosing)?

Ill take another reading right now and post another reply.
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Old 01-22-2014, 12:09 PM   #8
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With a square yard of mesh material, you should be able to basically line the sides of the tank and leave about an inch from the bottom, so that the pair or group will still have most of the tank space to breed in. The netting does not distract them. Put your clump of java moss, plants, or spawning media in the netting. A bare bottom tank is best to make the eggs most visible to the naked eye. They are very, very small! You can shine a flashlight across the bottom to see them best, but don't do this much longer than a few seconds, because they are light sensistive.

They won't eat the eggs immediately, because they are focused on spawning, but they will eventually find them if you don't pull the pair once their done. If they don't find the eggs, they will surely find the fry. They love live moving food.

Your water parameters seem pretty close to what I was using, so let's not change those yet.

Try the netting with a bare bottom tank, some fresh water, and temps in the mid 70's. Once you notice eggs on the bottom, pull the parents out, separate them if you can, and keep all males separate from the females.

Now, wait it out for a few days to see if the eggs hatch. They could also not be viable. If any eggs turn opaque white, then they are infertile, will fungus, and not hatch. While the pair may spawn, one of the fish might not be mature enough or too old to be fertile. If the water is too hard, they will not hatch. Healthy Neon eggs look translucent pinkish/orangish, but not white. So if the eggs look healthy and don't hatch, you should try softening your water. Since you're getting them to lay eggs in the first place, you're off to a good start.

You need fresh, clean water with the lowest possible readings on any form of Nitrogen. In nature, these guys breed in the wet season when the banks of the streams over flow into the flow plains on nutrient deficient lands with decaying plant matter, so the water parameters are acidic and very soft.
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Old 01-23-2014, 09:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeonRob View Post
Your water parameters seem pretty close to what I was using, so let's not change those yet.

You need fresh, clean water with the lowest possible readings on any form of Nitrogen. In nature, these guys breed in the wet season when the banks of the streams over flow into the flow plains on nutrient deficient lands with decaying plant matter, so the water parameters are acidic and very soft.
I just bought some peat moss. I was wondering how much would i need to use on a 10 gallon tank to lower pH and soften water slightly? I think i will just leave it in a net on bottom corner somewhere to keep the bottom of tank clear. I found a net to use with just perfect holes. I an willing to give this another try.
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Old 01-24-2014, 12:27 PM   #10
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Yes, you could fill a media net and put that in the tank or filter your water through the peat. With the net, you'll need to soak or boil your peat in order to get it to sink. In the past, I bought a small plastic garbage can, drilled a hole in the bottom, filled it half way with peat, then filtered my water through it into a bucket. It is normal for tannins to leach out into the water making it look like tea.

You have options.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:50 PM   #11
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I don't think neons are that hard to breeds, my niece kept a10 gallon tank for about a year and started with 10 neon tetras and ended with... I'd say easily over 100 sexually mature and unknown number of fry/juvies with the tank kept in the most horrible conditions. Long story short: excessive over feeding, lights on 24/7 heater cranked to 80F or so, and they things breed into some muddy colored dull fish (all their color bred out) might be the horrid conditions (i don't think she ever did a water change.. just top offs), algae covering literally everything, or somethign else. Point is, you shouldn't have to over think it too much.
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:00 PM   #12
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True, but i am breeding cardinal tetra. From what i hear, they are a little more difficult.
Anyways, i got some peat moss in there. I was wondering, is it possible for microworms to eat the fry eggs?
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Old 02-19-2014, 04:09 PM   #13
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Help!!! How do I distinguish between male and female neon tetras?
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:16 PM   #14
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I think its pretty hard to unless your female is pregnant and already laying eggs. These plenty of sourcss online that describe it if you google it but In my opinion the only way to be sure is with proof shes laying eggs. Im no expert.

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Old 02-20-2014, 09:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Help!!! How do I distinguish between male and female neon tetras?
I think male cardinal / neon tetra have some intestine or something visible through their mostly transparent under bodies. Females are fuller and the blue line along their body looks inflated at their belly. I may be wrong.
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