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Fish Tank Forum • View topic - Breeding Oscars
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Breeding Oscars

Planning on breeding fish or already breeding them.

Breeding Oscars

Postby Mick » Tue Apr 28, 2009 2:10 am

Oscars are quite an easy fish to breed, the hard part is to find a good breeding pair. There are two ways of doing this, either purchase a proven breeding pair or set up a very large tank of at least 200 gallons and add a group of these fish and let them pair off themselves. The only disadvantage of buying a pair is that the fish may have been breeding over a number of years and the egg count on the spawns have dropped or that the pair will spawn but cannot fertilize the eggs properly. Always go to a trusted dealer, it may cost you a few more pennies but they should offer a guarantee of the pair being good breeders.

Setting up the breeding tank
There are two schools of thought to setting up the breeding tank, some breeders will use a deep sand bottom with flat rocks and some prefer to use bare bottomed tanks with no rocks. Whichever you decide to try make sure that the tank is at least 100 gallons in size, these fish need a lot of room and keep the water slightly acidic (pH of 6.8), temperature should be slightly higher than normal, 80-82 deg F is fine and always place a tight fitting lid on top of the tank. Oscars are very strong jumpers, it will probably pay dividends to weight the lid down with some bricks as they are capable of knocking the lids away otherwise.The water must be kept clean, not an easy task with these fish as they are messy eaters, do a 20% water change daily and syphon out any uneaten food as soon as possible. It may take the fish some time to get used to their new tank so don't expect them to spawn straight away it isn't going to happen!!
Keep the fish well fed on quality food for about 3-4 weeks and then signs of imminent mating should start to happen.

The spawning process
When the fish are conditioned and happy in their new surroundings the first signs of imminent spawning are tail slapping, fin wagging and jaw locking. This may appear to be brutal at times but in nature, these fish pair for life and the antics are just part of the fish getting to trust each other. If the rituals start to get too aggressive it may be time to consider seperating them temporarily before one gets injured but normally left to their own devices they should be o.k.. If rocks are in the tank, they will start cleaning a chosen one or if bare bottomed an area of glass will be cleaned ready for the eggs. They will defend this area with vigour, even attacking the syphon tube it it gets too close. When the female does start laying, she wil do this in spurts, resting inbetween, there should be between 1000-2000 eggs once complete. To aid the fertilisation turn off the filters to prevent the sperm from being blown away from the eggs with the water current. Both parents will tend the eggs, fanning them and sometimes picking them up to clean them, any unfertilised or fungus ridden eggs will be destroyed.

Raising the fry
The eggs should hatch after 36 hours and the fry will cling together, unable to swim. Do not feed them at this stage as they will be consuming their yolk sacs, only feed the fry when they are free swimming, normally 4-5 days after hatching. Initially they can be fed on newly hatched brine shrimp and a week later they should accept crushed flake. As they grow, they will start to accept the same food as their parents and when they are 6-8 weeks old, they can be moved into a growing on tank.

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