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. We can increase their survival rates by using a breeding box in an aquarium to keep the fry contained and protected from larger fish.
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. The following materials are required: Ziss Premium breeder box Airline tubing Check valve – (optional).
1. Cut an 18-24 inch length of airline tubing (45-60 cm). Attach the Ziss breeder kit’s air stone to one end.
1. Fit the air stone inside the water lift channel so that the air stone rests at the bottom in front of the grate and the airline tubing exits out the hole at the top.
1. Place the water lift channel on the vertical ridges of the breeder box starting at the bottom.
1. You can choose whether to attach the aquarium’s breeder box using the bracket or hanger. Attach four suction cups to the bracket’s corners. 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. To lock the bracket in place, insert the tab into the bracket. Slide the bracket vertically up to lock it in place.
– To use the hanger, insert the clear tab on the breeder box into one of the rungs of the hanger and slide the hanger upwards. To adjust the height of the aquarium’s breeder box, insert the downward tab in another rung. Tighten the large, plastic screw into the hole in the hanger.
1. Secure the breeder box to the aquarium wall. The loose end of the airline tube without the airstone should be hung outside the tank. Position the top of the breeder box slightly above the water line. – 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 to the loose end the airline tubing. Make sure the flapper end (looks like horizontal or colored bars) faces away from the aquarium.
1. Place the air pump where it can reach an electric outlet, if necessary. Cut a second length of airline tubing that is long enough for the air pump to reach the check valve. Use the second piece to connect the air pump and check-vale. Plug in the air pump, and then bubbles should appear in the breeder box’s air stone. 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. Cover the top of your breeder box with a lid. The lid’s hole is for feeding the fish and opening it easily.
Common Questions about Breeder Boxes
How do you clean a breeder box?
Fish waste and uneaten food may collect inside of the breeder box. To easily remove them, use a turkey baster to suck out the debris. To clean the Ziss breeding box’s sides, use an algae scrubber or toothbrush.
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.