Tropical fish breeding should be easy. It is all natural. You just put the fish in the tank and walk away. While those theories might work for a tank filled with guppies, do not expect it to work for your most treasured tropical fish. If you want to successfully breed it is going to take work and planning.
What you will quickly discover is your different tropical fish may require different water temperatures, different environments, and even different food while they are preparing for, and breeding. The one item which holds true for all tropical fish breeding programs is the quality of water. If you are a little lax on your water care for your fish you are unlikely to have fish begin breeding. They need clean water to get in the mood and successfully breed.
Make sure your filtration system is working efficiently, plan on changing out 15 to 25 percent of your water every week, and do regular cleaning of the bottom of the tank to keep the water clear and clean. Many breeders choose to remove the fish they are planning to breed from their regular tanks and place them in a special tank which is only for the breeding process. This allows them to give extra attention to proper water temperature, cleanliness, and food during this time.
Let us take a look at a good example of breeding tropical fish, the Red Oscar. The first challenge in breeding the Red Oscar is actually getting a male and female pair. Similar to goldfish, they are very difficult to determine sex. There are no physical appearance differences. No differences in disposition. The only way to determine if they are a male or female is to watch for the one who gets plump with eggs and then lays them. You may want to buy several Oscars when you start out, wait until they hit around 18 months old and then watch closely.
Tropical fish breeding with Oscars is actually quite easy once you discover a matched pair. They are prolific in producing eggs, fertilizing them, and the eggs hatching. You can often go from hoping to have a few Oscar fry to finding a tank filled with hundreds of fry swimming around.
Many tropical fish love to lay their eggs in the gravel substrate, or in plant material, not the Oscar. They want a flat smooth surface and you may discover them clearing away the gravel to get to the bottom of the tank. Provide them with some smooth rocks in the aquarium to give them their ideal breeding surface.
Breeders often add methylene blue to their aquarium once they see eggs are laid. This is to ward of the growth of fungus on the unfertilized eggs which quickly spreads to the fertilized eggs. Once eggs are laid and fertilized it takes about 3 days to hatching.
This example of tropical fish breeding is one of the simplest. Many fish require higher levels of care, clean gravel, different food, or variations in water temperature between day and night. The only way to really prepare is to study your breed of fish and then make the proper adjustments. Plan on maintaining a special breeding tank to simplify your work and you will have greater success.