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Spawning Hemigrammus pulcher
by Charles Drew (H&DAS)



The Pretty Tetra comes from near Iquitos, Brazil. It inhabits some of the tributaries of the Peruvian Amazon. Pretty Tetras have a black wedge on the back part of the body just under a deep red area. The base colour is greenish with a slight shoulder spot and there arc greenish gold highlights. The Pretty Tetra also called the Garnet Tetra in some books, is not seen in pet shops as often as they were years ago. Having never had them in the past, I decided to buy a half a dozen and try my luck at spawning them. As luck would have it Aquarium Services in Mississauga had a tank full - the first l had seen in years. I asked their fish catcher to net me three big fat ones and three smaller skinnier ones. Sexing can be difficult if the fish are not in breeding condition. When in good condition the females are heavier bodied. A sure way to tell is by the characin hook on the anal fin of the males which gets hung up on the fine fish net. However stores are reluctant to do this sort of thing so your best bet is to buy six.

I took them home and placed them in a five gallon aquarium in a plastic mesh basket made from the plastic canvas used in embroidery' work. The basket is suspended an inch off the bottom so you can see with a flashlight when the eggs are spawned. The water was R.O. water made dark and acidic with peat moss. I would normally have conditioned the fish first but since they had to be quarantined anyway I thought I might as well try for a spawning. Also acidic water can ward off disease.

The next morning the fish laid some eggs, the males pressing the females against the artificial spawning strips I had placed in the basket, The next morning they spawned a bit more. That evening I removed the spawners to another tank. The first day's eggs were already hatching, which they do in thirty-six hours at eighty degrees. The tiny fry are like slivers of glass and lay on the bottom for two or three days before becoming free swimming. During this time I usually give the fry a clump of Java moss to hide in and partially shade the tank. I spawned them again a week later after feeding them on live glass worms. The first spawning has fifty or more fry and the second one has two hundred or more. The fry were fed infusoria for the first week and then microworms and baby brine shrimp. The fry are growing well and should be of saleable size in three to four months. Most Tetras are as easy to spawn as Danios so long as the water is very soft.

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