Failed Breedings

Failed Breedings

Reproductive failure is one of the most frustrating experiences for the aquarist, especially a beginner. These failures can occur at any stage of the reproductive cycle. The first major stumbling block for the beginner aquarist is failure to get the fish to spawn. For success, some species need the perfect set up. A deep knowledge of the species, the right food, the right temperature for the species you select in addition to any necessary spawning triggers have to be used efficiently. For the beginner it is also important to choose the right species to breed as some species are much easier than others to breed. A separate spawning aquarium with or without plants according to the needs of your species is the first step in the right direction. Novice breeders also need to be very careful with the water chemistry. You cannot just put your selected pair in a tub of water and expect them to get on with their work. You have to get a fully working testing kit and learn how to use it. Higher quality in the breeding stock directly influences the viability of the spawn. The quality of the offspring will be affect by the kind of water in which it was bred.

Sexing the fish correctly is the next big step. In some species, differentiating between the two sexes is very difficult indeed. So, this is not to be taken lightly.

Do not keep checking on your fish every few minutes. This will make them stressed. Stressed fish will not spawn. Fish that are too young or too old must be avoided at all costs. Left to itself in nature, the female fish will select the male fish that is in its prime. Males that are too young or too old will not have viable sperms, and the eggs that are laid as a result may not get fertilized.

Once the fish has spawned, problems may arise at the time of hatching too. The biggest impediment to hatching is water quality. Bad water quality is not conducive to spawning, and even if the fish do spawn, the eggs will not develop properly. As a result the eggs may catch fungus and die. If the eggs are removed to a hatching aquarium, care must be taken that they are not exposed to the atmosphere for long. The eggs dry up when they come into contact with air. The water in the hatching aquarium must be as similar to that in the original aquarium as possible. Sudden changes in temperature will halt the development of the egg. Hard water will cause the shells of the eggs to harden, and in very hard water the shells can become too hard and make hatching difficult or impossible. If the water is too soft, the eggs may instead collapse.

Sterility is also a common cause for reproductive failure. In some species, it is seen that the absence of any male will cause two females to pair off. Obviously, no eggs will be fertile after such a spawning. Pairing off a female with a male that is too old or young will also cause the eggs to be underdeveloped. Again, hatching of such eggs will never take place. Disease and vitamin deficiency are some other factors that play a decisive role in the ability of a fish to spawn. Over-feeding the fish and making them obese will rob some male species of their virility.

There are some varieties that are highly suited for the novice to breed. As stated earlier, livebearers are among the easiest to breed and will most likely spawn spontaneously in your aquarium without you even trying to coax them. Of these, the Guppy, the Molly, the Platy and the Swordtail are the easiest to spawn. Mollies and Guppies are very similar in their breeding patterns. However, newborn Molly fry are susceptible to protozoan infection. Sometimes, the Molly may also give birth to unformed fry that appear almost at the same time as the swimming fry. They appear as white eggs and must be disposed off without delay. Among egg-layers, the novice may want to try Steel Blue Killifish, some Dwarf Cichlids like Kribs, the Tiger Barbs, various Danios or the White Cloud Mountain Minnow.

Obviously, breeding fish is a reasonably challenging task, but it can be achieved quite easily, if the right steps are followed. Remember that as in humans the female carrying the eggs as well as the eggs themselves must be in the best possible surroundings. Maintaining the right condition inside the aquarium will help the dwellers of the aquarium to go about their work in a healthy manner.

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