Some hobbyists love seeing new fry in their aquarium, as it signals their fish are healthy. They see it as a chance to sell new fish or add a new tank mate. For others, breeding is less than ideal, and new fish can bring more trouble than they’re worth by adding waste, spiking ammonia levels, and overcrowding the tank. Here are a few easy ways to prevent fish from breeding in your aquarium if you’re tired of dealing with unwanted fry or want to prevent this from happening to your tank.
Choose Egg-Laying Fish
Instead of choosing fish that give birth to live fry, opt for egg-laying fish, as this is a much easier situation to deal with. Not only do egg-laying fish need very specific conditions in order to breed, but a nest of eggs is much easier to spot and remove. In most cases, you may not need to get rid of them yourself. If you allow nature to take its course, they’ll likely die off or get eaten by more carnivorous fish—and occasionally, their own parents.
Adjust Water Conditions
In general, certain fish need varying water conditions to bear young. Temperature, pH, and alkalinity play large roles in providing the right breeding conditions, and these levels need to be constant. In fact, knowing your fish’s ideal temperature and pH are some of the most important things to keep in mind before buying a fish tank.
You can ask your local fish breeder about your fish’s optimal breeding conditions, and keep your water’s parameters towards the edge. For example, if your fish thrive in waters from 75 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit, but find 75 degrees Fahrenheit the best temperature for breeding, keep the temperature on the higher end. Remember that this is a delicate balance, and while you’re finding the right water conditions, regularly inspect your fish for signs of stress and illness.
Sperate by Sex
If the other two options leave open too much room for error, separating your fish by sex will put a complete halt to breeding. Some hobbyists recommend keeping a male-only tank, while others are opposed due to the fact that all male tanks can lead to aggression and territorial behavior. Occasionally, you’ll run into a fish where you don’t have an option, like the betta fish. Betta fish males typically need to be kept alone, while betta fish females do well in a sorority tank of around three to five females.
Buy Different Species
What separates species is their ability, or lack thereof, to have offspring with one another. If you keep completely different species in your tank, the only way you’ll wake up to an unexpected fry is if some freak of nature spawned, which is unlikely. However, this method doesn’t apply to schooling fish, as they need to be kept with their own kind in order to thrive. Ultimately, this works best for fish that do well in isolation.
Preventing fish from breeding in your aquarium is quite easy. All you have to do is be intimately familiar with the needs of your fish, which you probably already are!