What Is a Breeder Tank: Purpose, Size, Price

Breeder tank is a common term in the fishkeeping world that refers to the dimensions of the aquarium.

Breeder tanks have a larger footprint and are shallower than standard or high aquariums. The extra surface helps breed various species and provides room for stunning aquascapes. Many breeding tanks can be compartmentalized to keep the fry safe and to allow for the mating of several pairs at once.

These benefits make breeder tanks great for many popular fish who prefer shallower waters to spawn their fry in. In certain scenarios, breeder tanks make excellent display tanks, too.

But let’s put everything in the right context to understand the nature of breeder tanks better and see when they make the most sense.

Breeder Tanks: More Than Just Breeding Grounds

While breeder tanks excel at creating safe havens for breeding fish, their uses extend far beyond that. Here’s how they benefit your aquatic friends:

  1. Breeding boot camp — Think of a breeder tank as a pre-breeding boot camp. You can adjust water parameters, temperature, and diet to create the perfect conditions for spawning. Healthy, well-conditioned fish are more likely to produce strong offspring and an adequate breeder tank can provide them with everything they need
  2. Nursery for tiny fry — Breeder tanks offer a protective sanctuary for fish eggs and fry. New breeder tanks come with separators that can create several compartments in the same water column. Imagine a peaceful nursery, free from hungry tankmates and competition for food. This controlled environment boosts their survival chances and helps them thrive.
  3. Love nest for dedicated parents — Some fish, like cichlids, are devoted parents who require a secure space for their breeding rituals. Breeder tanks become their love nest, allowing them to display mating behaviors and care for their offspring without disruptions.
  4. Hospital for fish in need — Breeder tanks can serve as a treatment center for sick or injured fish. Separated from the main tank, they receive focused care and treatment, increasing their recovery chances without putting other fish at risk. Often, breeding setups use minimal decorations and no substrate. While not entirely bare bottom, their minimalist setup helps keep the water clean. Just what you need for treating sick fish.
  5. Quarantine tank for new fish — Before introducing new fish, quarantine them in a breeder tank. This prevents the spread of diseases and ensures a smooth transition for all your finned friends. Quarantine tanks have a relatively simple setup, but their benefits are tremendous.

So, breeder tanks are versatile tools that open up many possibilities. Whether you’re nurturing new life, caring for delicate fry, or ensuring the health of your community tank, these aquariums can become an essential part of your setup.

A Guide to Breeder Tank Dimensions

Choosing the right aquarium is a complex process with many considerations. Usually, size is the primary concern, as it informs the overall expense associated with running a tank, but other factors come into play too.

Breeder tanks come in various sizes. Some of them are better suited to breed “vertical” species like angelfish or discus, but the majority are rather shallow.

Let’s discuss the dimensions of the most popular breeder tanks, from 20 to 60 gallons, and see in what scenarios each shines.

  • 20-gallon breeder — This is the smallest breeder tank, measuring 24″ x 12″ x 16″/60 x 30 x 40 centimeters. It has a moderate footprint but still ample room for breeding. Its shallow depth provides swimming space and easy observation of breeding activity. It is great for breeding danios, neon tetras, corys, livebearers, and other nanofish species.
    • 20-gallon breeder cost — $55-$180
  • 30-gallon breeder — With size of 36″ x 16″ x 13″/92 x 40 x 33 cm, the 30-gallon breeder has the same footprint as the larger 40-gallon. 30G breeders are relatively rare these days, but you can still find them or purchase one to be made. They are suitable for nanofish and bottom dwellers like plecos.
    • 30-gallon breeder cost — $80-$220
  • 40-gallon breeder — 40-gallon breeder (36″ x 17″ x 17″/92 x 43 x 43 cm) is one of the most popular breeder tanks in the hobby. Its size caters to both medium and large fish, along with small breeding colonies. 40-gallon breeders are excellent for aquascaping, too, as their balanced depth and width open up the doors of perception toward vertical and horizontal structures and figures.
    • 40-gallon breeder cost — $120-$260
  • 60-gallon breeder — For experienced fishkeepers seeking to house larger fish or multiple breeding pairs, the 60-gallon breeder (48″ x 18″ x 16″/122 x 46 / 40cm) reigns supreme. It has greater stability in water parameters while maintaining a manageable footprint. A 60-gallon breeder can house larger species like cichlids and discus.
    • 60-gallon breeder cost — $160-$300

Remember, beyond dimensions, consider fish compatibility, filtration, and decor to create a healthy and harmonious underwater haven. As you see, the prices of the breeder tanks vary, but that’s true for any type of aquarium.

The type of glass or acrylic, the thickness of the walls, and the manufacturer play their part. If you plan to breed fish, it makes more sense to buy a new tank that guarantees longevity and pristine cleanliness. Breeder tanks are necessary for creating the right environment, e.g. water quality for the fish to mate. Pollutants from previous usage can scupper this.

Do You Need a Breeder Tank for Breeding Fish

You don’t need a breeder tank to breed fish. Any tank and even a plastic container can be accommodated.

Breeder tanks make the whole process easier because their dimensions help with:

  • Observing both parents and fry
  • Separating parents from fry
  • Catching fish
  • Overall maintenance

Anyone who’s tried cleaning a deep tank knows the difficulties of reaching all the corners. Long tanks make it often harder to catch nimble little fish who dart around like crazy, too.

So, breeder tanks help a lot, but they have a major downside and that’s the price. On average, they are more expensive than regular tanks. They have accessories for separating fish from fry and their base is large, which often drives the price up.

Other than that, they are excellent vessels for spawning new fish.

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