Typically tetras are not considered easy fish to
breed, but some of the smaller South American
species, such as Pristella maxillaris, are easier than
you might expect.
Very few aquarists include
characins in the category of easy-to-breed fish. If we compare them
to many livebearers and cichlids,
they are not easy to spawn. There are many
species of tetras, however, and some of them
are easier to spawn than others—in fact
many hobbyists have tetras spawning in their
community tanks, though the fry seldom
survive. I’ll cover the basic methods for
spawning these fish and finish up with a
quintet of tetras that are among the easiest.
Most of the smaller tetra species from
South America are not reluctant to lay eggs.
Conditioning females does not require
much more than a good supply of quality
foods and decent water quality. Triggering
pairs to spawn can be as easy as turning
on the lights or doing a cool water change.
The challenge of raising tetras usually
comes with successfully rearing the very
A Basic Strategy
There are several methods used by
successful aquarists for spawning small
egg-scattering characins. This strategy
uses a single pair—two fish that are
well conditioned and ready to spawn.
Spawning larger groups of tetras is
possible, but that presents some problems
that are negated by working with just a
few fish. Larger schools of fish require
more space and produce larger numbers
of eggs. How many fry are really needed?
Even the smallest tetras are capable of
producing several dozen eggs in one
spawning attempt. When large groups are
kept together for spawning, not all of the
fish are actively involved. Those that are
not breeding are usually eating eggs.