Breeding Egg Scatterers First Step, Cleaning and Preparing the Tank

Proper way to Clean and Prepare a Tank for Egg Scatterer Breeding

Breeding Egg Scatterers First Step, Cleaning and Preparing the Tank
Thomas R. Reich, PhD

Tanks for spawning egg Scatterers must be spotlessly clean, cleared of all muck, snails, hydra as well as algae, leaving nothing but glass and water to build your breeding grounds in. In other words it is important to get the raw tank as close to sterile as possible.  It is impossible to do this without first emptying an aquarium of everything including its water and giving it a thorough cleaning.


It is therefore impossible to clean a planted tank without first removing and then cleaning the plants as well. It is simplest to use an unplanted aquarium for breeding purposes.  We will discover how to add back plants or reasonable substitutes later in sections on how to breed each individual fish. It is best to use an unplanted spawning vessel; the fish really don’t seem to mind! Fish do not appreciate the beauty of a well set-up tank with rocks and sand and plants, if properly pre-conditioned, they are just as ready to spawn in a bare tank, with a little weed anchored in an appropriate spot to receive the eggs as in nature itself. In fact, many will spawn in a completely bare tank, but they are much too likely to eat their eggs far quicker than you can remove the parents under these conditions.

As remarked above, many spawnings are brought through in planted, relatively dirty aquariums, for many enthusiasts actually advocate, as I do for Bubble nest breeders, the presence of dirty algae covered plants and rocks and pots and well used gravel because of its infusoria-producing material.

 This provides a first snack for the fry as they first become able to eat after hatching and absorbing their yolk sack. What really matters are the chances of success and the proportion of eggs hatched and of young likely to be raised out of the brood.

I am trying to show the beginner a method which is tried and true, from classroom to classroom to be successful time and time again.

  One method may work once in three times and produce an average of 30 fish per successful brood. Our methods are ones used by professional breeders and hatcheries the   world over and will probably work at least 2 out of 3 times (no method is perfect, fish are not machines, many variables factor in) and will usually produce 200 fish a brood on average, hence we would like to think the methods we are presenting are ten times as good, you will have to decide for yourself and let us know, if the clean method with washed tank and weeds is good and works for you.


NOTE:  Make sure never to use any detergents or commercial clean solvents of any kind what so ever. Cleaners such as ammonia or Top Job, Formula 401 or Fantastic will kill fish and remain in the sealant for months, even a minute residual amount left in a crevasse of the sealant, will kill an entire tank of tropical fish. Do not use products like CLR, though it will work well to remove calcium deposits, it will kill your fish, and continue to cause harm to anything put into that aquarium for many months!


The tank may be washed with warm water at about 120F; you should wash well up under the rim of the tank with the warm water, as an abrasive you can use salt on a detergent free cloth.

Rocks and ceramics can be freed of large deposits of algae and stains with a soak in a 10% chlorine bleach solution.


NOTE:  Both Chlorine bleach with no additives and vinegar are acceptable cleaning products for aquarium tanks and items that come in contact with water.  They are both good at removing algae deposits and vinegar is particularly good at removing lime deposits around the top of the tank.  Neither bleach nor vinegar will leave residue after evaporating that will harm fish and a drop or two hidden in a crevice will dissipate in the full volume of water and not harm the fish or plants.


The 120f water with salt will kill any remaining snails, snail eggs, Hydra and any other pests as well as algae deposits. The chlorine bleach solution will   free the rocks of the same pests. Remember that even though a few snails in the baby raising tanks will aid greatly in keeping the tank clean, a snail’s favorite food is fish eggs, and one is capable of eating an entire brood in an evening!

The tank must then be thoroughly rinsed out; best to do this with a hose fixed with a spray nozzle, this makes the job quick and thorough! Alternatively, you can use 70% alcohol for a cleaning that is equally effective and safe in a tank that is out of use or a new tank that does not yet have organic residue.


Remember:  A new tank, may have been exposed to all sorts of foreign agents which may have fallen into the tank as it sat on the pet store floor, or in your corner or garage, it is equally as important to clean these previously unused tanks as it is to clean a dirty used one. Simply drying out a tank and letting it set for a few days will not kill snail eggs, you must use the salt scrub or 70% alcohol solution to make sure. This may seem like a lot of extra work, but a successful breeding procedure, deserves the attention to detail to increase your percentage of success!


For the same reasons, plants rocks and other artifacts may be cleaned by a thorough washing under a brisk cold tap, followed by a 1/4 –minute dunk in salt water or 3% salt solution and then a further brisk wash in cold water. Instead of live plants, in many cases you will find we recommend using artificial spawning media (we will describe some different types that work well   later) because after use it can be sterilized by simply boiling it. Cotton, wool, wood and wool, cork and wool, old rags and even certain types of dried sea-weed work, in many cases, just as a lushly planted live plant tank, fish really do not care, as long as it is clean and detergent free.  This does not mean you can’t always use live plants, you can, and the artificial spawning media is just a breeder’s trick which works just as well in many cases.


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