10-18-2009, 07:29 PM
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It might help to know the expected outcome you are striving for; by this, I mean if you just want tetras that "spawn" in your aquarium, or if you actually want to raise the fry to mature fish. Getting many of the SA characins to spawn is relatively easy even in a community tank, but rarely will the eggs survive to hatch and if one or two should, the fry would likely be eaten unless they had a good secure hiding spot. The various characins in my SA setups spawn fairly regularly, but the other fish are aware of what's going on and hover around quickly gobbling up the eggs the second they are scattered or laid. Over the years I've had one beckfordi pencilfish, one kerri tetra and two diamond tetras somehow survive.
If it is your goal to actually raise fry, a separate spawning tank is the only way to ensure probable success. Most tetras are egg scatterers as opposed to egg layers. There was an article on five of the "easy" species in the August 2009 issue of TFH, the most recent that comes to mind; these are less fussy about water parameters than some such as the neon or cardinal. Having hard water is going to limit your choices as many of these fish require soft, slightly acidic water as a prerequisite to spawniong. The difficult part is raising the very small fry after the eggs hatch, and the parents have obviously been removed. There are some good online sites with info on particular species. Most of the characins are something of a challenge.
A warning on the serpae you mentioned; this fish is notorious as a fin nipper. Keeping them in larger groups (nine or more) can sometimes weaken their preference to nip other fish and their own species, but it is a gamble. This is one species of tetra I would only have in a species-only tank with some bottom fish, and in a large shoal.
Last edited by Byron; 10-18-2009 at 07:34 PM..