Use of Decorations in Fish Breeding Setup

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It's very common to hear from those with larger hatcheries that breeding setups should be bare bottom, with a breeding slate, filter and nothing else unless you need heaters in your situation. While this is not necessarily bad, there can be some advantages to a decorated tank or at least one that is semi-decorated, even if your operation is larger in scope than that of the average hobbyist breeder.

Plants are not common in a breeding setup. Most don't want the pairs laying on the leaves. If you stick to narrow leaf species, the angelfish will not likely try laying their eggs on them, and you'll get the many benefits that plants can provide. Put them in a pot unless they're the floating type. Also, let the pair spawn a couple times before adding the plants. Once they get used to using a slate for spawning, they will tend to prefer it, even after the plants are added.

We find driftwood another good decoration to add. The same rules apply. Let the pair spawn a few times before adding the wood. Driftwood offers good places for mates to take refuge if the other gets temperamental and starts getting aggressive. It also offers a good place for bristlenose to hide out. We keep small bristlenose in all our pair tanks. They keep it clean and are too small to bother the eggs. There is also something about driftwood that fish just like. It probably adds small amounts of tannins and other chemicals to the tank, which angelfish seem to like.

The plants, driftwood and other decorations also add to the surface area that nitrifying bacteria will colonize. This extra filtering capacity is always a good buffer to have. In large tanks that have two or more pairs, the larger plants and driftwood can be placed to act as natural dividers. They work surprising well to help define the pair's individual territories. In addition, the decorations seem to keep pairs more comfortable. With places to hide and and an easier way to get out of stressful situations, they also seem to more readily raise their own spawns, if that is something you like to do.

Most of our pair-tanks have some type of decoration. You may also want to give it a try. Good luck!

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