Breeding reports

Breeding Hyphessobrycon flammeus

Breeding Hyphessobrycon flammeus

I imagine an old-timer could have taken one look at this fish and known what to do. You know the type. He/she steps up to a tank, leans over JUST far enough to identify the species, snorts some unintelligible Latin and proceeds to tell you how to get them to spawn, “blah-blah-78 degrees-blah-blah-3 days later-blah blah…” The old-timer will then walk away leaving you humbled. An experience like that also leaves me a little miffed. I want to shout at their back, “OH YAH? Well, come back here and write that down…”

That’s why we’re asked to write articles, I guess.

Hyphessobrycon flammeus is one of those “bred by the thousands” Florida farm tetras. I’ve seen it named “flame” and “von rio”. It is of the same basic body shape of the serpae and the yellow tetra. It’s an attractive little fish with red shading that nearly qualifies as ‘rose’.

With tetras, I’m learning to isolate the sexes for a time before attempting a spawn. This practice benefits the female by giving her time to produce eggs without mating pressure. This separation also gives the males, if a pugnacious species, time to heal and fatten up. The females are put in the prepared spawning tank. The males are put anywhere you can duplicate the conditions of the female/spawning tank.

Breeding tank

I used a 20-gallon long with about 12 gallons of R/O water. I do not know how important it is to use water this soft. It may be a simple matter of using SOMEWHAT softer water than what they’re used to. The DIFFERENCE may be the trigger more than the degree of difference. I packed the bottom and one end with dense plastic plants. I guessed at 76 degrees as a good temperature. It worked, so again, I do not know if this was optimal. The final preparation was to lower the light intensity. The 30″ strip light was moved to the back of the top and cocked in a manner that shed the least amount of light.

Hyphessobrycon flammeus - Flame Tetra
Hyphessobrycon flammeus – Flame Tetra

It doesn’t take long for the females to become heavy with eggs. When they do, add the males. Some experienced keepers suggest a cessation of feeding at this point. I didn’t quit altogether, but I did reduce feeding for the next three days. It seemed to me that if I kept their hunger sated, they may ignore any eggs scattered amongst the plants. I removed the adults on the third day, because that is the estimated incubation time. If they’d been left any longer, newly hatched fry would certainly become lunch.

Raising the fry

After removing the adults, I turned the lights off and threw a blanket over the tank. I’m told that some young tetras are light sensitive. If Hyphessobrycon flammeus is one of them, then I’m a genius. If not; no harm was done.

The first of what became hundreds of fry appeared within hours of removing the adults and draping the tank. I felt like a kid again sneaking under the blanket with my little flashlight to spy on the wigglers.

Within a few days, I replaced half the water with aged tap (R/O water being void of mineral content) and slowly re-lit the tank. Micro-worms and paramecium were only necessary for a short time. Baby brine shrimp were taken soon after.

So, if the old-timer does a “blah-blah-blah…” on your tank of Hyphessobrycon flammeus, you can now say something like, “Oh yah? Did you incubate in the dark?” or, “Did you use straight R/O?” See who’s humbled then.

First Publication: Splash, newsletter of the Milwaukee Aquarium Society
Source: Aquarticles.com (No longer available)

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John de Lange

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