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( Originally Published 1938 )
It is not too improbable that you will go around to take a look at your fish some morning and suddenly discover that there are a lot of little fish in the water that you are positive were not there the day before. Breeding is one thing that aquarium fish do remarkably well if the conditions are just right, so it would probably be a good idea to tell you something about it.
Male fish usually begin showing their interest in the female of the species by starting early in the year to follow her wherever she goes. The sexes should be separated, and spawning deferred until May. It would be well for your instruction to consult an experienced aquariist, but the general rules are these:
1: Place a female and two males in a spawning net or tub. 2. Before she deposits eggs, the males will chase her all over the confines of the net. The female will deposit her eggs and the male hover over them, fertilizing them. Several hundred eggs may be laid at a time.
3. As soon as spawning is over, the fish should be separated in different tanks, and the eggs allowed to hatch. Note that old water, or green water are best for hatching spawn.
4. In water about 70°, the eggs should hatch in about a week.
5. In about three days, the young fry will start needing food. Fish food, powdered very fine, or finely sieved egg yolk may be fed. Feed the growing youngsters several times a day. Live food, daphnia and chopped worms may be given after the little fish are "inchling" size.
The live-bearers among the tropicals present a somewhat different breeding problem, in that the female fish presents her owners with fully formed, live little fish instead of eggs.
1. One male is usually placed in the tank with several females. The aquarium should be well planted, in a place with ample light and the temperature should be kept about 75°.
2. When females are ready to bear they begin to show signs of much activity and rush about the aquarium.
3. Male fish should be removed, and without disturbing the female too greatly, insert a breeding cage in the aquarium and gently move it until she is in it.
IMPORTANT: Grown fish will eat their young-hence the breeding cage, which allows the newly born fish to escape through bottom and sides to safety in the outer water of the aquarium.
4. As soon as the female finishes bearing, she should be removed to a different aquarium and the young placed in a small aquarium set aside for them.
5. Young tropical fish may be fed the same diet suggested for young goldfish.
Most breeders prefer to raise their young fry in shallow tanks. Oxygen is a very essential requirement, so aquarium plants and sufficient light are necessary to manufacture it.
There seems reason to believe that you should never remove a female live-bearer to another tank when she is on the point of bearing.
Most aquarium owners recommend that no breeding tank be less than five gallons in capacity. And remember that all young fish from the same hatch will not of necessity be the same size.