How to Save Your Baby Fish with a Breeder Box
Most fish do not show any parental care toward their offspring, so when they lay eggs or give birth in an aquarium, the next generation can easily become a quick snack for the adults. Baby fish in the wild try to hide from predators using camouflage, swimming in shallow water, and hiding in dense vegetation and small nooks. A breeder box can be used to protect the fry from larger fish and increase their chances of survival in an aquarium.
What is a Breeder Box?
A breeder box or net is a container that temporarily holds tiny babies, eggs or sick fish while they heal. Most breeder boxes float at the water surface or attach to the side of the aquarium so that the fry share the same water as the rest of the fish. To prevent the water inside the container from getting stagnant, dirty, or low in oxygen, we like using the Ziss Premium Breeder Box. It can be hooked up to an electric pump to bring water in the box. There are three mesh screens that allow for maximum water flow.
How to Install the Ziss Breeder Box
1. Gather the following materials: Ziss Premium Breeder Box Airline tubing Air pump Check valve – Air valve (optional)
1. Cut a length of airline tubing that is approximately 18-24 inches (45-60 cm) long. Attach the Ziss breeding box’s air stone (attached to the end of the airline tubeing) to the other end.
1. Install the airstone in the water lift channel. Make sure that the airstone rests on the bottom of the grate.
1. Place the water lift channel on the vertical ridges of the breeder box starting at the bottom.
1. Select whether to attach the breeder box to the aquarium using the hanger or the suction cup bracket. – To use the suction cup bracket, attach the four suction cups onto each corner of the bracket. Find the clear tab on the breeder box (located on the opposite side from the water lift channel) that juts out and turns downward at a 90deg angle. Place the tab in the bracket, then slide it vertically upwards to lock it into place.
To use the hanger, slide the clear tab from the breeder box into the hanger’s rung and slide it upwards. (To adjust how high or low the breeder box hangs in the aquarium, try inserting the downward tab into another rung.) Tighten the large, plastic screw into the hole in the hanger.
1. Attach the breeder container to the fish tank. (The loose end of the airline tubing without the air stone should hang outside of the tank.) Place the top of your breeder box just above the waterline. – Use the bracket with the suction cups to press the box into the tank wall. – If using the hanger, hang it on the aquarium rim and use your fingers to tighten the screw until the breeder box is fixed in place.
1. Attach the check valve onto the loose end of the airline tubing so that the end of the check valve with the flapper (looks like a colored or horizontal bar) is facing away from the aquarium and towards the air pump.
1. Place the air pump where it can reach an electric outlet, if necessary. Cut another length of airline tubing so that the air pump can reach the check valve. The second piece of airline tubing is used to connect the check valve and the air pump. After plugging in the air pump, bubbles should appear inside the breeder’s airstone. If you do not see bubbles, it is possible to either check for air leaks in the check valve or turn the check valve upside down. – Optional: If you would like to add an air valve to control the water flow in the breeder box, cut the second length of airline tubing into two pieces and attach an air valve between the air pump and the check valve.
1. The breeder box should contain the fish, eggs or fry. For babies’ shelter, you can add live plants or other decorations.
1. The lid should be placed on top of the box. The hole in the lid is used for feeding the fish or easily opening the lid.
Common Questions about Breeder Boxes
How do I clean a breeder container?
Uncooked fish waste or uneaten food can build up inside the breeder boxes. A turkey baster can be used to remove the waste. If the sides of the Ziss breeder box start growing algae, you can use a toothbrush or algae scrubber to wipe them down.
How long do you keep fry in the breeder box? In general, the babies should be large enough to not fit in mouths of the adult fish before you add them back into your main tank. This could be 4 to 5 week for livebearer fish.
What do you do with baby fish you don’t want? Once the fry are older and capable of eating flakes and pellets, you can give them away to friends, donate them to a pet store chain, or consider selling them to your local fish store. Read our article below on how to make a little extra cash with fish breeding to support your aquarium hobby.