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Most aquarists can agree that tetras have always been popular in the scene of fishkeeping. This is hardly a surprise given their vibrant colors, easy-going nature, and low cost. On top of that, tetras are known for their hardiness, so they’re fairly easy to care for.
However, tetra fish can be pretty fussy when it comes to waiting for the right conditions to breed. They may even go as far as deciding not to breed at all, often pushing hobbyists to wonder:
Do Tetra Fish Lay Eggs?
The answer is yes. But there are various species of tetra fish, some of which are easier to spawn than others. Actually, many aquarists are able to successfully have their tetras spawning in community aquariums.
Most of the South American species of tetras are ready to lay eggs as conditioning females doesn’t require much more than providing good quality food and water.
We’ll be further discussing methods and requirements for breeding tetras, and while we’re at it, we’ll introduce you to a couple of “easy” species to start with and answer a bunch of common questions regarding these spunky swimmers.
So let’s not waste any time and dive in!
Some Equipment To Encourage Tetras To Lay Eggs
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Tetra Breeding Requirements
While there are numerous methods you can use to spawn small tetra fish, the one we’ll be focusing on today requires a single pair of tetras.
Of course, you can use larger groups of tetras to produce more eggs, but ask yourself how many baby fish (known as fry) do you really need? After all, even the smallest tetras can lay dozens of eggs at a time!
So the first step is to condition a small school of tetra in a community tank. Give the fish high-quality crumble, flake, or freeze-dried food. If you want faster results, then you should offer live foods such as Grindal worms, Blackworms, and Daphnia.
When female tetras are ready to spawn, you’ll notice them getting rather plum with eggs within several after feeding. Turn on the lights an hour or so prior to feeding, if you notice the fish engaging in courting (or even spawning) in the community tank, then it’s time to transfer the female of the pair to the spawning tank (more on the male later).
Speaking of which, you’ll need to set up a separate tank for the spawning process.
Add a couple of inches of rock on the bottom to create a landing space for the eggs, and don’t forget to install a lid to prevent the parents from jumping out during moments of euphoria. Also, If you don’t want eggs sticking on leaves, avoid placing plants in the tank.
Keep in mind that new water isn’t a good idea for spawning tetras since they’ll be busy trying to deal with the change.
Instead, add water from the community tank where the fish were conditioned. Install a small heater to maintain optimal water temperature for breeding (around 78°F).
Spawning the Tetra Pair
You’ll begin the attempt to spawn the pair the evening before the actual spawning will happen. First, perform a 50% water change in the spawning tank using slightly cooler, aged water. This can be dechlorinated tap water or water from the community tank.
Proceed to move the male from the community tank to the spawning tank, then turn off the lights over the tank and cover it with a towel if the room is bright.
In the morning, uncover the tank, turn on the lights, and don’t disturb the pair for a few hours. After that, check for eggs – they’re usually clear and a bit smaller than 1 millimeter. Feel free to use a flashlight to make the eggs easier to spot.
If you don’t find any eggs, here’s what you need to do:
- Leave the pair alone and check again after a couple of hours.
- If there are no eggs present by the end of the day, turn the lights off and try the same sequence again the next day.
- If there are no eggs produced after 2 days of trying, change the water and try for another day.
- If there are no eggs by the end of the third day, transfer the pair back into the community tank and pick a different pair to try again. You can also try with the same pair after a couple of weeks.
When you see eggs in the spawning tank, be sure to immediately put the parents back into the main aquarium. Otherwise, the adult pair of tetras will eat their own eggs.
How Long Does it Take for Tetra Eggs to Hatch?
Once spawned and fertilized, the tetra eggs will take around 24 to 48 hours to hatch. The produced fry will be tiny and unable to swim freely. They’ll feed exclusively on their egg sack for the first couple of days, becoming free-swimming fry in about 4 days depending on the species and water temperature.
During this time, avoid disturbing the tank. You may harm the eggs by shining a light into the tank when you’re trying to check on them. Make sure to feed the new tetra fry small portions of food, namely infusoria, rotifers, and egg yolk.
How Many Eggs Do Tetras Lay at Once?
A female tetra fish will spawn between 50 and 120 eggs for fertilization on average. However, not every single of these eggs will necessarily hatch. You’ll probably see about 30 or 40 baby tetras hatching from that many eggs.
Do tetra fish lay eggs? Well, yes. A female tetra will lay dozens of eggs at a time, given that you provide the parents with proper conditioning and an appropriate setting for spawning.
While it’s not that hard for a hobbyist to set up an extra spawning tank with high-quality food and water, keeping the produced fry alive for the first week is the most critical step in breeding new tetras.
With enough food and careful water change, the fry will grow big enough to eat larger types of food and stand a significant chance of survival.
Learn More About Tetras
- How Often Do You Feed Tetra Fish?
- Do Tetra Fish Need a Heater?
- Do Tetra Fish Lay Eggs?
- Do Tetra Fish Sleep?
- Best Tetra Fish Types