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Breeding Minnows

North American minnows breed in various ways — find out how to set up their breeding tank before attempting a spawn.

By Robert J. Goldstein, Ph.D. |

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The minnows (family Cyprinidae) make up a quarter of all freshwater fish. With about 50 genera and almost 300 species, the United States and Canada have 13 percent of the world's 2,400 minnow species. Among them are some spectacularly gaudy species — and they are as easy to breed as tetras. Minnows can be seined in riffles, runs and pools, underneath overhanging banks, and in the largest rivers and smallest creeks. Most male minnows only color up during spring breeding, and during breeding they may scatter eggs over gravel (like danios) or vegetation (like tetras). A few insert eggs into crevices (like Tanganyikan killies) or beneath rocks, and still others construct a cichlid-type nest in the sand or gravel.

Most minnows do well in single-species groups in 20-gallon tanks with canister or trickling filtration, water changes, powerheads for current and a pebble substratum with rocks. They do well on a diet of flakes, bloodworms, brine shrimp, whiteworms, Grindal worms, blackworms and Daphnia. Most cannot tolerate heat, and some require a chiller.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the November 2010 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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