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A personal question for the breeders


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I'm a one tank kind of aquarist (if you're not counting a quarantine tank). Having a fish room seems very daunting. For me, it seems like it would be work, and I wouldn't be able to relax, watch, and just enjoy all tanks for extended periods like I do my one tank.

For those who are constantly breeding fish:

A) Do you have a bunch of empty tanks that you have room to keep running (like Dean and Cory....not at their level with that many....but a sizeable room...kinda like them)?

B) Do you just solely focus on breeding, and not have a display tank / sell them to your LFS / fish club / other? (think one maybe two tanks dedicated)

C) Other - please specify

I'm very curious how you do this (number of tanks), and how you have the time to dedicate to it....


Edited by Jeff
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I don’t have a full fish room but I have a lot of aquariums in my room. I am interested to see answers from other people. 
a-no I use all the room/aquariums I have for fish. 
b-I focus on breeding with most of my aquariums however I have a 55 gallon display tank and a 5 gal pea puffer aquarium.  

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I’m a C type I guess, more of a collector. I’m of the opinion of if they spawn, they spawn which I truly enjoy but don’t worry too much about it. If I’m interested in getting fry I’ll put a little more effort into trying to raise them. We’ll take extra fish into the fish store when we have them and trade for store credit or just donate them.

If we were actively breeding and selling fish I’d quit the hobby again because it would be work and I do this for enjoyment. I enjoy building the racks, setting up tanks and piddling around the fish room. I do my best to not sweat the small stuff. I’ve learned to not let the water that isn’t perfectly clear get to me anymore. If there’s small pieces or leaves, wood whatever floating around the tank that’s just part of it. Sometimes I’ll throw a HOB on to try and remove the solids if it really gets to me. 

We do not have an automated water change system so Ill drain/pump the water out the window or the bathtub. We use (2) 120G (tap water) and (1) 60G (ro for shrimp) aquariums for water storage and pump from those when doing water changes. I actually find doing the water changes calming.

At this time we’re approaching 40 tanks with 3 of them for water storage only and some that are currently empty that were just added to the top of the newest rack. Three of the forty are not in the fish room. The tank sizes range from 10-180 gallons in size. Our kids are older and were out of the house until two of them boomeranged back in. We turned one of their bedrooms into the fish room.

I sit in the fish room almost every day after I get home from work and just watch the different tanks and fish for a bit and then go back to checking/answering emails etc. etc. My favorite times are when the lights are ramping up in the morning and dimming down in the evenings. 


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@Jeff I really love this question. I think I explained my personal aquarium short-story here. I got my son into fish . . . but then my son got me into the hobby . . . and Cory is to blame!

Basically, my greatest joy in the hobby is breeding fish. But I do not do it for money or for awards. My son did earn his "Advanced Breeders Award" with our fish club, and I am trying to catch up to him. At the end of the day though, I just love raising up baby fish.

I have 18 aquariums total, and I do not really want more. My largest tanks (in the basement) are 55 gal. Like @Struggle, I do not mind if they get "grimy" with algae, floating leaves, etc. But on the other hand, I am not hard-core breeder like others who go bare tanks, and rack them for maximal spawning and grow-out space.

I love planted tanks . . . and am really impressed with so many on the forum with their beautiful setups! @Patrick_G has a wonderland tank there under his signature. I'd have to cut back to less than 10 tanks in order to approach that level of maintenance.

When my fish aren't breeding, their tank becomes a defacto display tank. Here, for example, is a 55 gal. tank I love to watch. But I am totally planning on breeding Discus out of here as soon as I can get my R.O. System functioning properly...


And this 29 gal. tank is a fun, Valisneria-filled jungle, but I love to breed Rainbow Shiners in here...



And this 20 gal, though hard to find fish in, is a hopeful (spring) breeding project for my Banded Darters...



And this tank turned into a crazy, overstocked breeding grow-out project. I sold off our African Cichlids, and went all in on two batches of Electric Blue Acara fry, and loads of Bristlenose Plecos...


And this 33 gal. long is a massive Emerald Killifish colony. It's over planted and overstocked. That's how I usually roll...



So I guess I try to find a balance where fish breed in beautiful tanks, I raise them up, and sell them off to LFS and fish clubs. I consider many of my tanks "display" but always "breeding" tanks.

It sure can be a lot of work, but for me, it's a morning and evening routine that I find relaxing.  

Edited by Fish Folk
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D - the tanks inside the house are displays - 7 tanks: 45 g display in our entry way near our family room with a breeding colony of calico super red females and 2 longfin males; 2.5 g betta tank; 15 g Fluval Flex - front glass is cracked so 2/3 full and has African dwarf frogs and a single F. gardneri p82; The Sad Bowl an 11 g planted bowl with blue Hawaiian Moscows and teacup platys; 15 g tower tank with teacup platys, ricefish, panda corys and baby calico super red longfin plecos; 20 l with lake tang cichlids and mollys; 20 l with Krobia xinguensis, mollys and kuhli loaches. 2 tanks are in my sons rooms and they chose the setups and fish. The tanks in my bedroom, the frogs, 45 g and betta tank are my creations. I have them all heavily planted and I find the trimming and upkeep extremely meditative. 2CA55AB7-E68D-4E19-BF05-F331F4765490.jpeg.ed87f3024f95760b1b8fe5db08b495e6.jpeg959A158A-391E-4526-AA75-584962A34C58.jpeg.a73f785570e4f46b1fe350d92b8755a8.jpegEC3BD704-A4C2-4705-B7AB-5F3C59C5DC73.jpeg.8be8debe610c2a96ee1919cf4b53201b.jpegC1ECE103-C76D-483C-8E66-83CBFB3E6F82.jpeg.bfd00d02444dab939fc90390efd1cd85.jpeg19328603-5436-464F-B3AF-826417AB4ACB.jpeg.0f77aaafc68ba5073d9e79037978c050.jpeg79CBF07F-69F2-4204-818D-647B40D5F3EE.jpeg.7b7daf6d6d29ac640dbc28253c20eb29.jpegDBBC1E23-FD5E-4FF0-85F2-A7EC60592301.jpeg.1ea4678836d17723db42980f855af474.jpeg138B252A-5299-4858-8C8F-833A391706EC.jpeg.c5656087fb859a55f791cd6b691fbab8.jpegFD9D5E13-B266-4EBA-B595-5E276F59F2FC.jpeg.1a66c915e2d5dabb69f9a0132a2122e4.jpeg

In the garage fish wall are my breeding tubs - 27 g tub with blue dream Neocaridina and blue Hawaiian Moscows guppies; 30 g tub with a colony of panda corys and F. Gardneri backup males and females; 1 male and 4 female F Gardneri in a 30 G tub; 17 g, 10 g, 2 x 3 g all empty but cycled for fry or qt. I am going to switch out the tubs for glass tanks this month. This is the challenge for me, pushing my hobby to some extent. 

My plan in the next 6 months is to build out a 9’x9’ fish room in my attached garage with 3 sets of racks - all my breeding groups of live bearers on one rack, catfish in one rack corys and plecos, and then random fish like the killis and qts and fry grow outs on the 3rd. I want to do auto water changes on the fish room and may try the rainbird approach Randy used in his fishroom not as crazy as Cory. 

I sell the guppies and Neocaridina. Once I get a good enough setup for the plecos to grow out I’ll start to sell them. I need to start pulling mops from the killifish every morning and breed those out as they’ll sell well. I use the sales to buy equipment, food, and to fund my hobby. 

I have trouble sleeping and find the quiet in the evening/night (I have a 4 and 6 year old) and working on the tanks relaxing and helpful for my mental health. I would like to consider going down a couple tanks in the house and perhaps getting a couple bigger tanks instead of all the small tanks.

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B - I'll explain how crazy I am...lol

30 10gallon - dedicated to white cloud

3 20l, 110tub, 160tub - dedicated to rainbow shiner

1 40breeder, 2 10gallon, 110tub, 160tub - dedicated to rosy barb

I solely focus on breeding, all I want is "results". I do 3 hour worth of water change every weekend, everything gets 80-90%. I do it all manually so it forces me to be there to inspect the fish and ect..everything is barebottom, it's easier to clean and 100% food isn't wasted. I can respect a nicely aquascape aquarium, but its not my cup of tea. I'm a fish guy before plants. My setup works very well for me now, so I haven't bought much aquarium supplies other than food, salt, and dewormer. 

Just like any other Breeder dogs,cats,horses,pigeons it's our goal to improve the breed every generation. Either health, conformation, or color. With fish there is no set standards so the breed or species is bred towards the breeder likely so the sky is the limits lol!

I been breeding white cloud for over 10 years just because when all else died they survived. I use to be big into show quality guppies, but they won't survive in winter months when the power dies.I use to work with bluegrass gold body, redgrass gold body, redhalfblackred gold body, and blonde guppies before getting into white clouds. 

Making money was never a goal for me since white cloud aren't worth alot in our market. I was breeding them solely for my enjoyment. I just started selling fish 3 years ago since some of my stock met my personal requirements. My old pigeon mentor always said "keep the best, sell the good, and cull the bad".I do love going back into old records, seeing past photos, and comparing it to what I have now.

Im not in any fish club, don't really have time for that..barely can make time to ship fish. If I had anymore spare time I would love to get back into pigeon racing since that my true passion, raising fish was just a side hobby when racing season was over lol.

Even with 20-30 white cloud breeder I can walk into my fishroom and point out who is who and where they came. All my aquarium stay full, when I run out of space my lfs will take them off my hand.

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On 1/4/2022 at 11:39 AM, WhitecloudDynasty said:

My setup is nothing special, very cheap lol

Pff. "...Nothing Special..." Yeah right! Your setup is extremely special. It brings you joy! That's what makes it special. Just the sheer number of enclosures you have is impressive. That and your years of dedication to your projects.

Cheap is always good anyway. 🙂

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I'd love to be able to have an empty tank in the fish room but it never seems to stay that way.

I go to my LFS and I see something I haven't seen in a while so they come home to see if I can breed them (last month it was a nice group of firemouth cichlids).

I enjoy breeding fish, I'm not really in it for the money, I  like raising really nice, healthy fish and making them available. My LFS likes the fish I bring them and they're always happy to give me some store credit which results in more fish for them anyway. Everyone benefits.

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Thanks for all the responses! I truly enjoyed reading everyone's fish story. It still doesn't explain how you have time for it all...lol. That's neither here nor there...you make time for it; and that's all that matters.


@Fish Folk what kind of Rainbow Shiners are these? I want to start a cool water tank with Gold White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Rainbow Shiners (these are the best RS I've ever seen), a Hill Stream Loach, and maybe another breed of fish or two....

On 1/3/2022 at 9:56 PM, Fish Folk said:




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On 1/4/2022 at 6:31 PM, Jeff said:

Thanks for all the responses! I truly enjoyed reading everyone's fish story. It still doesn't explain how you have time for it all...lol. That's neither here nor there...you make time for it; and that's all that matters.


@Fish Folk what kind of Rainbow Shiners are these? I want to start a cool water tank with Gold White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Rainbow Shiners (these are the best RS I've ever seen), a Hill Stream Loach, and maybe another breed of fish or two....


They’re just normal Notropis Chrosomus all fired up in spawning colors. Otherwise, normally they look like this…


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My fishroom has 15 tanks running I am trying to work up to around 25. All my tanks are display, as much as I love breeding fish I don’t wanna be a fish breeder. I have a couple breeding projects going that are designed to stock my tanks. To me breeding fish does become work, consumes a lot of time, and definitely tank space. It is most certainly a balancing act of time management, 

every day/night I’ll work a different project maybe even a couple. Projects could include: setting up a new tank, trimming plants, root tabs, moving fish, ect… also for example: trimming plants I do all my tanks in one night, root tabs all tanks. Try to keep projects that I can, into all tanks keep them grouped instead of trimming plants in 3 different tanks on 3 different days.  all water changes done on sundays. It is 1-3 hours daily 6-8 on weekends so 15 hours bare minimum 30+ on a good week.😃🥴

I spend very little time cleaning the glass. Even when posting pics on here I rarely clean the glass before. I don’t mind some algae in my tanks so I’m not cleaning that either.  I work a lot on organization and trying to be efficient. I try to stay true on here how my room really is. 

I’m very fortunate to have a wife that encourages my hobby. And the time to dedicate as well, my kids are grown and out of the house. (Almost, 1 left) That’s why I’ve been in the hobby 30 years an for 28 of them I never had more than 2 tanks at one time. My friends ask me this a lot “how do you make time for so many tanks?” My response “I want to so I do.” It is a lot of work, a huge commitment, and can be tiring especially after a long day at work.

I love every minute of it!!!

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While I’m not a super crazy breeder, I do breed fish regularly, and I’d say I’m a type C - I generally breed the fish that I breed in their display tanks. It’s always dependent on the fish, but I’ll almost always have fry going. I’ve only got 4 tanks right now, my largest being a planted 29g with 3 generations of Apistogramma Nijsseni (latest spawn was 2nd gen female with 1st gen male just the other day, so exciting and a little bit weird), but I have a lot of other fish in that tank. I’ve bred calico BNs in there too somewhat recently.

All my other tanks are 5 gallons. I’ve got a spare that I bring out for breeding projects (all have failed at some stage so far 😢) such as when I tried my hand at betta breeding, or raising my CPD fry. Definitely gonna have another shot at those at some point though. Might need to set up tubs, cuz I’m pretty keen on using that extra 5 gallon for a bedroom notho killi tank, or maybe some wild Thai orchid guppies.

I’ve also got goldfish breeding in my pond (totally unintentional), and plan on setting up a patio pond for breeding pseudomugil luminatus. It’s summer here in Australia.

Hope that gives some insight into the methods of an amateur small-scale breeder who just does it for the fun of it. 

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A) Do you have a bunch of empty tanks that you have room to keep running (like Dean and Cory....not at their level with that many....but a sizeable room...kinda like them)?

My fishroom is just a downstairs open room and acts as a bit of a temperature stabilizer for the house. Split level mountain house with a sliding glass door and a window in that room. The "auxiliary" fish room is a rack of mostly live food cultures in the furnace room next to it. 15x20x20 room tanks along 3 walls and maybe a 10x12x10 with a a rack of 6 to 12 tanks depending on layout options used.

I do have a few empty tanks.....my " just in case" tanks. 😁 Those and most of my room are various sizes of polycarbonate lab tanks (zebra danio studies etc)  or restaurant supply food grade soup storage containers (with lids)  i like them because I can swap out however I want to in my racks and could theoretically run them in on a sterilization setting in a  dishwasher if i ever needed to do so. They are assortments of :









Mostly those are just fun to do projects in for me quick and easy using the quick connect fittings to the overflow sump. But i designed it so i could drain a big tank and replace it with any of the smaller tanks in a minute or two. They also stack so any extra are all in a 26x18x15 one rack is mostly live food cultures or attempts at cultures of: cherry shrimp, blackworms, tubifex worms, snails, daphnia, Dwarf crayfish. 


B) Do you just solely focus on breeding, and not have a display tank / sell them to your LFS / fish club / other? (think one maybe two tanks dedicated)

I try to make them all tanks for my enjoyment. Every tank has substrate, snails, worms/scuds, and live  plants.

My goal is to keep interesting comfortable tanks that make fish happy and healthy enough to breed. That part is a bonus for me and never really intended but generally expected ( I do not separate anyone out of the tanks unless its a divider for a time out or a hospital tank need. I collect eggs or fry as they come) I haven't made it a regular thing with moving fish out to condition.

I have a 75 acrylic for the adult Pao cf palustris breeding colony

3 x 50 gallon acrylic tsnks

50: the colony of pao baileyi 

50: the orinoco pike pair with pleco colonies or L169 and L129

50: the colonies of African Butterfly Fish, Baby Dolphin, African mudfish

20 gallon acrylic: has become my fry grow out display tank which housed the Crenicichla Regani dwarf pike fry last January and the Pao cf palustris fry currently. Its decent size has its own stand and an aquasky light.

C) Other - please specify

For me I have always done an hour or two per day just relaxing feeding observing the tanks but i also set it up with light timers,inkbird heater regulators, auto feeders as needed, and enough plants with substrate to sustain the system. That set up generally gives my tanks enough live food to keep everyone going for arguably indefinitely to cover vacations etc. We don't have neighbors up here so no one is really feeding them for me.

I automate and augment the system with my observations, including watching and reviewing the wyze camera, and interactions and mostly let them do their thing. 

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