Finding the Triggers
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Finding the Triggers

Some aquarium fish are easy to breed such as the zebra danio, others like the Bette fish are a little harder but still not hard to breed and that usually can be breed as long as a few basic needs have been met. Than there are the hard and super hard fish to breed that need you not only to given them the exact right environment for breeding but also requires certain triggers to breed. The triggers can vary from giving them certain food to simulating the start of the rain season, exposing them to the moon as they only spawn during certain lunar phases and other triggers that can be even harder to give them in an aquarium.

Fish that are easy to breed often have triggers as well and these can be good to know if your fish for some reason doesn't want to breed but the triggers aren't necessary as they are in some harder species. Danios for examples are triggered to spawn by the early sunlight if it hits the aquarium but don't require sunlight to breed.

There are myriad of different factors that can act as triggers so how do you find the breeding triggers for the species you want to breed. Well you might not have to; someone else might already have found the trigger and shared his experience breeding the fish species in question. No need to reinvent the wheel each time you want to breed a fish even if finding the trigger yourself sometimes can be a part of the fun. If you keep a common fish species such as the gold severum or betta fish you can be sure that there are information about how to breed them available in books and online. If you have gotten your hands on a more rare or perhaps even a just discovered species, there might be very little or no information available. It can however still worth to take a look on the internet for information on the species in question. Try searching for the breeding species name or spawning species name to find breeding information. If you don't find anything you can try just searching the species name.

What do you do if you don't find any information about breeding the species in question, if you will have to find the triggers yourself? You look at the environment in which the fish are found in the wild and on the breeding behavior of other species of the same genus. The environment a species is found in and its distribution can give you a lot of information. A species that are found in the river delta in the Amazon forest might as an example require the simulation of the beginning of the rainy season to breed as this is when they breed in the wild. Species found in areas with large seasonal changes in the temperature might require a prolonged period of increased or more likely decreased water temperature to spawn. Is the fish found on rocky bottoms, perhaps it needs rocks and caves to breed, is it found on muddy bottoms, perhaps it need to be able to build there own nest in the mud to spawn.  Does the species has a very specialized diet in the wild, perhaps it needs that diet to breed.

Other species in the same genus and especially those with a similar distribution also offers a wealth of information. If you know how to spawn another closely related species there is a good chance that the same method works for this species as well. An example is that when you know that one corydoras catfish species can be triggered to spawn by lowering the temperature in the aquarium you soon find that the same trigger works on a multitude of other corydoras species as well. When you know that kribs require a cave to breed it is a fair assumption that other Pelvicachromis species requires a cave as well.

With such a wide variety of different factors that can effect whether your fish breed or not you shouldn't be afraid to experiment with different setups and diets. Just make sure not to change the water conditions relatively slowly not to damage the fish and make sure not to stray outside the conditions the fish can tolerate. Try manipulating the temperature, try different diets, try keeping them along or with other fish, in schools and in pairs, change the amount of light you give them, add fry food to the aquarium, rearrange the decor in the aquarium and anything else you think can have an impact on the willingness to breed and hopefully you'll find the right trigger to breed the species in question eventually. Hopefully you have already been able to reduce the number of likely triggers by studying the environment and genus of the fish in question. Good luck breeding


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