Spawning Tank

Materials Needed

– 5 or 10 gallon tank
– aquarium hood or plastic wrap
– a good quality submersible heater
– aquarium thermometer
– live or fake plants
– sponge filter
– air pump
– airline tubing
– air control valve
– styrofoam cup, piece of bubble wrap, or indian almond leaf
– glass chimney from hurricane lamp









The Setup

Find a good place to set up the breeding tank. It should be a place that is relatively quiet, and free of commotion. Make sure that direct sunlight and drafts do not come into contact with it. Also make sure that it is placed on an aquarium stand or something else that is built sturdily enough to withstand the weight of water. Water is heavy!

After finding a place for the tank fill it up to just below half way with water. I use water that I have aged for at least 24 hours. Aging water helps to stabilize ph, and it also eliminates chlorine if you have any in your water. You do not want gravel in the tank, because eggs can become trapped in it and die, and it also makes cleaning the tank much harder. Add water conditioner if needed. (if you have chlorine and/or chloramines in your water. See Basic Care for more info about water.) Place the heater on one side of the tank, horizontally, a few inches from the bottom. Set the heater to 82 degrees F. Place your thermometer on the tank, in an easy to read and see place. If adding fake plants you will need plant anchors, or suction cups. You can tie fake plants to suction cups with fishing line, and then stick them to the bottom of the tank on the same side as the heater. Next add your sponge filter, on the side near the heater and plants. Attach airline tubing to it, and connect it to an airpump. You must have some way to control the air flow of your pump. You can buy air control valves to do this and connect them to the airline tubing.

You should let the filter run for a day or two at high blast in the tank before adding your fish. This gives you the chance to make sure the tank is staying at 82 degrees F, and the heater is functioning properly. Before you add the breeding pair to the tank, turn the filter off. The bubbles from the filter can destroy the males bubble nest. You can turn the filter on once the fry are free swimming and the male is removed from the tank. (adjust the flow to only about one bubble per second, you can slowly increase the flow as the fry grow)

On the day you plan on adding the breeders, tape half a Styrofoam cup (cut lengthwise) to the front of the tank (on the opposite side of the tank from the plants, heater, and filter) with the open end of the cup facing the outside of the tank. This is where the male will more than likely make his bubble nest, and it allows you to easily see the nest, eggs, and fry. You can also use an indian almond leaf or piece of bubble wrap, in place of the Styrofoam cup.

*NOTE: I have found that some males, for some reason, do not like to make their nests under cups. They seem to prefer something like a piece of bubble wrap, or an Indian Almond Leaf. So if you have a male that doesn’t seem to want to make a nest under the cup (or anywhere else in the tank) try substituting the cup for one of the above.

UPDATE: I have begun using indian almond leaves for all my spawns instead of styrofoam cups. I have had great luck with these! Males absolutely LOVE to make their nests under them, and I have had a better success ratio with spawns, fry growth, and the number of fry that make it to maturity. I highly recommend using indian almond leaves in spawning tanks. You can usually find them up for auction at, or you can get them from or