In its natural habitat it lives in very clean, soft, slightly
acid water. Aquarium breeding is very easy.
Select a dozen fish to begin with. Keep them in pure water to which no chemicals have been added. I have found that rain water which has been aged for several months in the dark is an ideal spawning solution. The pH of such water is usually less than 6.0 and it doesn't matter if it is as low as 4.8 since the fish thrive in it.
Keep the males and females separate. If kept in adjacent tanks the females may spawn in excitement just seeing the males in the next tank.
After feeding the fish well on live and freeze-dried foods for a month, I set up bare tanks which are almost completely covered with spawning grasses. Artificial spawning grass serves well as
do the usual fine leaved natural plants.
Place a very active male and a very full female in a small tank of about 2 1/2 gallons and fill it with unused rain water and the spawning grass. Introduce the pair of fish in the early evening
immediately before sunset, giving the fish the entire night to acclimate to their new surroundings. The fish almost always spawn within the next 48 hours. The majority of them spawn the second morning. Spawns are small, usually about 100 eggs, and may take up to about five hours with the regular mad dashes into the spawning grasses. The breeders should be removed on the evening of the second day, whether they have spawned or not. The eggs hatch, in a water temp of 78 F, in 30 hours and the fry are very small and very sensitive. Many males seem to be sterile. ( out of 27 spawnings, 14 males were unable to fertilize the eggs ) The fry require copious amounts of infusoria, and when you get the food right for them, you will have remarkable success.
Remove the spawning medium carefully, but as soon as the fry are free swimming. This gives the young a better chance at catching the infusoria. ( leave a light on in the corner of the tank and the infusoria and fry will congregate there to feed. After two weeks the fry may then be fed newly hatched San Francisco Brine Shrimp. After the young are free swimming, raise the temp to about 82 F for more rapid growth. Make sure that their bellies are well rounded ( a sure sign that they are finding enough to
eat ) Always keep the sexes separate. They are excellent fish for any
Links to Species C-F