Breeding Zebra Danios
by Reet Thomas

This time I'm going to talk about breeding the zebra fish. You will need a tank of at least 5 gallons (you can use smaller but it isn't too practical because of the large amount of babies you get). If you have a betta tank (long and narrow) all the better.

You are going to need marbles or marble chips (available at garden shops), the bottom of the tank should be covered to a depth of about 2 inches. If it is winter you are going to need a heater (75 degrees). The new submergible ones work great because your water is only going to be about 3" deep (above the rocks). Put a small corner filter or a small sponge filter, where else, but in a corner, turn on at a slow bubble. Use clean water and age your usual way. You are now ready for the fish.

Mature Zebras are very easy to sex, males are very slim and the females when ready to breed are very heavy. If your female is not noticeably heavy she is not ready to spawn. Just keep them in your community tank and feed well until she gets in condition.

Now for the spawning! Zebras are egg scatters, thus the rock. They tend to go back and forth while spawning, thats why the shallow water, so the eggs can fall into the rocks before the fish can eat them.

If it is feasible, I like to separate the fish for several days before I spawn them. Two males and one female seem to work best. I put the fish in the spawning tank in the evening before I turn out the lights. If everything goes right, the fish should spawn the next morning. If they don't, don't get concerned, let them go for another day. Don't feed for a couple of days, if they still haven't spawned feed very lightly and let them go a couple more days. If they still won't spawn remove the fish and try again in a week or so. Don't get discouraged. Even though conditions are ideal, you're still dealing with a living animal and they just might not be ready. (Hint, if tank space is limited this is a good time to have other fish that or ready to spawn in this tank.)

If you were successful, you will know because the female will be noticeable thinner. Remove the fish at this time. If you look closely, you should be able to see eggs all over the tank. At this time darken the tank, the darker the better. The babies should start hatching in 36 to 48 hours. You will see them clinging on the side of the glass, they are VERY small, DO NOT FEED until the fry are swimming. At this time you can start feeding liquid fry for egg layers(available at your pet shop) Within a week you can start feeding dry food made for egglayer fry(at your pet shop).

After the fry are free swimming you can carefully start to remove the rock, this will make it a lot easier to keep the tank clean. Use a small siphon hose to remove dirt. You can also start filling the tank. You do not want to do this too fast because the more water you have the harder it is for the fry to find food.

If you have a very large spawn you might have to split them up, so they will continue to grow.

Now just because you had eggs and fry this doesn't mean things can't and won't go wrong because they will but again don't give up or you will never become a GRAND MASTER BREEDER, of course just raising fish that you spawned is a great thrill in itself.

Till next time don't forget to use that chlorine remover.