Why Your Fish Is Not Breeding

To have baby fish is not that easy. It’s not easy to even get the fish to breed in the first place. Many have tried and failed and there are even competitions where you compete with your breed. To know how to make fish breed, it’s best to know why they don’t breed.

In general, if your fish is not breeding it’s because of wrong water conditions for the fish to breed, the fish in the aquarium is eating the fry or the eggs. It could also be that the species of fish is not known to breed in captivity or that you don’t have a male and a female.

There are different reasons for the fish to not breed. In this article, we will go through every reason why they don’t breed, and what to do to make them breed.

Optimal Water Parameters For Breeding Fish

To make fish breed, you need to be sure their environment is sufficient.

The water parameters could differ between breeding and living conditions. The change in water condition could be a trigger for the fish to breed. This is a big reason for the fish not to breed.

By keeping the water of good quality you reduce the stress and keep the fish healthy. A healthy fish is more prone to breed than an unhealthy one.

If keeping fish in a community tank (a tank where you have different species that go with each other and are made to be beautiful to look at) be sure that you keep fish that need the same water parameters.

If a fish gets stressed it could translate to other fish too since it could attack or disturb the other fish in the tank. While getting disturbed they will also get stressed which lowers the chance of them breeding.

Sometimes it’s not the optimal living conditions that are the optimal breeding conditions for a fish. Keeping the water quality good in their living environment is just the first step in making them breed.

If the fish is healthy and feeling good, you should change the water parameters to the optimal breeding conditions for the fish you want to breed.

Most fish have their breeding period in the springtime. So, changing the temperature and light to simulate springtime is something that could trigger breeding in the fish.

What water parameters are needed for breeding fish are different from species to species.

The best is to check your specific species water conditions for breeding before and change accordingly. Take a closer look at the pH, KH (or GH), and temperature. These are the parameters that usually need to be changed for a fish to breed.

Since you have to change the water parameters it’s best to have the fish in a separate breeding tank where you keep the water in the optimal condition for the breeding.

Species That Easily Breeds In Home Aquarium

Some species are easier to breed than others. There are even species that are known to eat the eggs of their own or others or eating the fry after they have hatched.

If you want the fish to breed in a community tank it’s best practice to have a lot of plants and decor for the eggs to be laid into or for the fry to hide.

By doing so, you raise the chance of the eggs and fry to survive the bigger fish in the tank.

The safest bet to have the fry survive is to raise them in a breeding tank.

Probably the most well-known fish that easily breeds are Guppies.

They are so easy to breed that a lot of people wonder what to do with the fry.

The optimal conditions for a Guppy to breed are very close to the condition it’s living in. To trigger breeding in Guppys you just have to raise the temperature around 2 F (1 C).

This kind of fluctuations in temperature is normal and that’s why the Guppy is easily bred.

Another fish that is quite easy to breed and is also quite common is the Platy.

They need the same conditions for breeding and living. That makes them also very easy to breed.

Both Guppies and Platys are livebearers which means that they carry their eggs inside their body and give birth to living baby fish as soon as the eggs hatch inside them.

This lowers the risk of the eggs being eaten by other fish in the aquarium and that eliminates that risk. Eiter the eggs usually get eaten or the fry when the eggs hatch get eaten.

Other livebearers are mollies and swordtails which are also quite common.

A fish that is easy to breed and is not a livebearer is the Kribensis Cichlid. They lay eggs in caves and need roughly the same water parameters for breeding as they are living in. All you usually need is some sort of cave where they can lay their eggs and then guard them until the eggs hatch.

As with (almost) all animals, you need a male and a female for them to breed. So be sure you have determined the sex of the fish when you get the fish, which is not always an easy task.

How To Encourage Spawning in Fish Tank

There are some things you could do to encourage the fish to breed.

The water parameters are the most important thing to make the fish spawn. To keep the water in good condition and to prevent the parents from eating the eggs or the fry you could do these steps:

  1. Have a breeding tank where you put the fish breeding
  2. Slowly change the water parameters to acclimatize the fish to the new conditions
  3. When the fish have laid eggs, remove the fish before they eat the eggs
  4. Let the eggs hatch into fry
  5. Feed the fry multiple times a day
  6. Do a water change of 50% every day in the breeding tank
  7. Let the fry grow up to adequate size
  8. When the right size you put them into the tank where they are going to live

By doing these steps you have the highest chance of the fish to breed and to keep your baby fish alive.

The breeding tank should not be too big but big enough for the fish that are going to breed. The tank should have the parameters that are sufficient for the fish to breed in. If the fish need a cave, you should have a cave inside the breeding tank.

Now that you have fry to take care of you can move on to my other article where I go through step by step how to take good care of the babies.


I have been a fish keeper a big part of my life. During the years I have gathered and searched a lot of information about fish keeping and here, on the website, is where I share that information to help you with your fish keeping. I want to provide the information that I didn't get when I had a question about my fish tank.

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