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How to Breed Diamond Tetra Fish
The Diamond Tetra fish, better known to aquarium lovers as the Moenkhausia pittieri, is a member of the Characidae family and was originally found living in the Venezuelan Lake Valencia and some selected Venezuelan rivers. Male species of the fish can grow between two and 12 inches, but females are usually smaller. Although not a brightly colored fish, the Diamond Tetra is a silver color with greenish highlights, and it stands out for its beautiful reflective scales. In baby Diamond Tetras, the shiny effect of its scales has not yet developed, but it will become evident as it ages.
In terms of aquarium environment, the Moenkhasia pittieri should always be part of a school with a minimum of six fish. These should include others of their own species, and fish of other species should be about the same size. Within this school, one male will always be the dominant one. This male tolerates others, but is always in control. Diamond Tetra has an ideal pH range of 6.6 to 7.0 and a temperature preference of 74-82 degrees Fahrenheit (26-28 degrees Celsius), and if kept outside this range, could take on a different appearance. These fish also like to have a lot of plants in their aquarium, and fortunately are not very picky when it comes to eating. Moenkhaussia pittieri will love you for offering live food, but can eat anything from flakes to frozen food. Having learned a little about this type of fish and its basic requirements, steps towards breeding it can now be taken.
Breeding of Diamond Tetra Fish
The most difficult process of breeding Diamond Tetra fish is getting the right pairs together. Mature males have longer fins than females, especially dorsal fins. Although females are most likely to be smaller than the males, females that are ready to breed often appear to be of a more robust build. Once selection of a pair of Diamond Tetras is complete, they should be separated and conditioned with good food. During the conditioning phase, they should be fed their preferred live food as well as some frozen food. This should take about 10 days.
While conditioning continues, a separate spawning tank must be prepared. It does not need a very large tank, but must include many plants, especially those with dense leaves. The conditions in this tank should be similar to the tank in which the other Diamond Tetras live, although initially, there should be no light in the breeding tank. Soft water should always be used over hard water. Gravel is not required, but some netting should be included at the bottom of the tank. It should be low enough to give the breeding pair enough room to swim. The holes in the net must also be large enough for the eggs to fall to the bottom of the tank. The spawning tank should also be placed in a quiet area of the home where there can be no disturbances to the fish.
After the allotted time for conditioning has expired, the selected pair should be placed in the breeding tank in the evening when it is dark, and again, no lights should be used in the vicinity of the tank. In the event that the pair of Diamond Tetras are compatible, spawning may occur immediately after the fish are placed in the spawning tank or may not occur until a day or two later. Sometimes the lighting that is present in the environment where the tank is located will help speed up the process. Although the male may spend most of his time following the female, when it is time for breeding, the female will release the eggs at the same time as the male releases the sperm. The eggs must then be fertilized, in which case it is helpful to have soft water in the tank. The net here is very important, because Moenkhaussia pittieri tends to eat its eggs, and to prevent this, the eggs must fall through the net, separating the eggs from their parents. Once spawning has occurred, the male and female fish should be removed from the spawning tank and returned to their regular aquarium.
Although the eggs can show movement within 36 hours, it can take up to a week before the baby fish are able to swim around their spawning tank. The fry will be very hungry, but in an aquarium with many plants will find food in its first days. After that, fry food is acceptable, and once they are big enough, appropriately sized live food is good for them. Keeping the spawning tank clean while the fry are developing is very important. Because they grow so quickly during their first few weeks, baby Diamond Tetras soon look like the adults, albeit smaller. Their coloring will be simple at first, and their impressive shiny scales are fully developed around the time the fish are 9 months old. Once they have reached a size that will not endanger them, they can be moved into the adult tank and the spawn tank can be used again with a new pair of adult fish.
Breeding Diamond Tetras can be a challenge, mainly because it takes several tries to find a matching pair of male and female fish. It is important to keep the adult Diamond Tetra environment healthy so as not to adversely affect their well-being and ability to reproduce later. Likewise, the spawning tank should be kept clean and the temperature, pH and softness should be checked regularly. Sufficient time and resources must be spent on the conditioning part of the breeding process, as it is very important. Keep various types of food, including fried food, always on hand, even if you doubt that spawning might occur. Within several weeks or months, you will be rewarded in all your efforts as you watch the eggs hatch and can watch your fry grow and get those beautiful shiny scales that the Diamond Tetra is known for.
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