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Old 02-28-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
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Is my tank ok for breeding?

I have a 15 gallon tank, set up with a filter and lid with lights. I put in 22 minnows (some seem to be fathead minnows and most are rosy red minnows, i'm attempting to breed them. I can't tell witch are male and witch are female, or if they are pregnant or not. I made a homemade spawn mop out of black acrylic yarn and boiled it before i put it in the tank to get all the dye out. I read online that the fry will hide in the spawn mop and they wont get eaten. The temp is consistently at 75 degrees. The minnows all seem to be eating and swimming together. The water is a little cloudy right now, i think i overfed them a little. Though i did a 2 gallon water change....still cloudy. I have a few fake plants, and a few fake structures i bought at the fish store. Also i have a few little snails. Here are some pictures of the tank and fish

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My 1st question is, "How can i get them to reproduce faster?" I read that leaving the light on for 16 hours a day can help make them mate. I'm not sure if this is true or not.

My 2nd question is, "How do i know witch is female and witch is male?"

My 3rd question is, "Do you think the homemade spawn mod would work?"

Any advice/answers are greatly appreciated Thanks!

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Old 03-01-2011, 12:42 AM   #2
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First, that's waaay too many fish for a 15 gallon tank. Rosy reds ARE fathead minnows, just a different color morph. Why do you want to go to the trouble of breeding and raising what are commonly sold as feeder fish? White clouds are easier to breed of you want egglayers, endler's livebearers are about the same.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:46 AM   #3
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Fatheads get to 3-4" each...you are really really over stocked. Any reason you want to breed these? Don't tell me to feed something else...There are much better alternatives out there.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:22 PM   #4
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i am a big fishermen and i think it would be cool to raise the minnows and use them for bait. so every time i go fishing, i dont have to run out and try to find some to buy
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:04 PM   #5
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Try a 55g for breeding minnows. One of my LFSs use a 55g for raising rosy reds.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:04 PM   #6
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Fatheads are also cave spawners so the mops will do no good, I have a friend that raises them in huge rubbermaid troughs to use as bait, the bottoms are littered with pvc sections for spawning sites.


DIET: These guys will eat all sorts of stuff. In the wild they eat algae, plankton and small insects. In captivity they will take just about anything including flakes, bloodworms, tubifex and shrimp among other things.

TANK REQUIREMENTS: These fish are used in toxicity studies so it should come to no surprise that they are hardy. The tank will not need heat of any kind, decorate the tank with plants and caves. I recommend at least a 10g for a couple pairs. For breeding a sponge filter works well, or something else that will not suck up the eggs/fry. A bit of filter floss attached to the intake on a HOB will work. For spawning caves use slate or small PVC pipe (4” diameter cut in half) to make some caves.

BREEDING: This is the interesting part, many people think these fish merely scatter their eggs around, this is not true, and their breeding is far more complex. To induce spawning all you really have to do is provide a 16 hour photo-period with 8 hours of darkness, this with a good diet of things like bloodworms, brine shrimp and daphnia is all it really takes. When ready to breed the males will develop a spongy pad around their head (hence the name fathead) with breeding tubercles on top. These tubercles look like small white bumps or pimples. He will also turn dark in color, almost completely black. The male will then stake out a territory. He will defend the cave and try to attract a female with the use of pheromones. He will also dance in a figure eight pattern. Once a female decides she wants to spawn with him he will lead her into the cave where they will spawn on the roof of the cave. Sometimes more than one female will spawn with a male. The male will care for the eggs, rubbing them with his spongy nape and snout in order to keep them clean. Spawning usually occurs in the morning.

THE EGGS AND FRY: What you choose to do with these is up to you, chances are the success rate will be higher is you move the eggs to another tank and place them next to an air stone. You can also keep them with the male but remove the others and remove him after they hatch. The young can be fed Artemia nauplii, Hikari first bites (or other baby fish food) and finely ground flakes.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:46 PM   #7
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i noticed one minnow hangout out around the top of a fake plastic hollowed out tree,its basically a big piece of pvc, the minnow chases and runs into any of the other fish that come close

also, will the water always be cloudy with minnows?, i know they are known to be pretty dirty fish
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:48 PM   #8
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With adequate filtration and tank volume, the water should never be dirty, regardless of the fish.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:50 PM   #9
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With adequate filtration and tank volume, the water should never be dirty, regardless of the fish.
so i should remove some?

how many minnows should be in a 15 gallon? right now there is about 2 dozen
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:01 PM   #10
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At most, I'd put 10 minnows in the tank.

Did you cycle the tank?
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:01 PM   #11
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work down to a dozen leaving the one guarding the cave(that's a male) and separate the rest saving 3-4 that he's trying to attract.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:03 PM   #12
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i did everything that right way.when i noticed it getting really dirty,i even did a 2 gallon change. i wanna have 4 males and 6 females. but how can i find out witch is witch?

and thanks for your help and advice so far
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:08 PM   #13
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Ideal breeding ratios are at least 2 females per male, the males will grow a lumpy pad on their heads then choose and guard a cave then try to attract females. You could also just leave a group in there wait for eggs and remove all but the tending male/s until the eggs hatch then remove the males.
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Old 03-01-2011, 02:14 PM   #14
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ok,so i have a 5 gallon bucket with a aerator. i will just fill that up about half way and put eggs in when i see them,hopefully they aren't hard to find.

but in then mean time,i guess ill get rid of half of the minnows. but before i do that i have to make sure i leave the right amount of the different sexes. is there a better way to tell the sex without guessing?

I really wanna do this the right way because i think it would be neat seeing a bunch of fry swimming around in the near future

sorry,im a newbie :p
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:28 PM   #15
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Oh I see. I bred silverside minnows for fishing before. Not worth it imo. Took forever to grow out and they are a 4 bucks a dozen. And half the time when I'm with the old man we use a minnow seine and waders and get em ourselves.
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Old 03-01-2011, 09:31 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by shoelessdan View Post
ok,so i have a 5 gallon bucket with a aerator. i will just fill that up about half way and put eggs in when i see them,hopefully they aren't hard to find.

but in then mean time,i guess ill get rid of half of the minnows. but before i do that i have to make sure i leave the right amount of the different sexes. is there a better way to tell the sex without guessing?

I really wanna do this the right way because i think it would be neat seeing a bunch of fry swimming around in the near future

sorry,im a newbie :p
Gotta get your feet wet with breeding somehow
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:45 PM   #17
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Fatheads are easier to breed/raise in an outdoor pond. I kept them in the backyard lily pond for mosquito larvae control for years. Every spring they'd spawn, and there would be loads of babies for a couple months until they became too overcrowded and started dying off. Breeding/raising them in large numbers for fishing will require something considerably larger than a small aquarium. A couple of large stock tanks from a farm supply place would be the most economical approach, but even then the time and $$ involved wouldn't be worthwhile overall.
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