Category Archives: DIY

Cheap Breeding Setup!!

At least once, every aquarium hobbyist will entertain the idea of breeding their fish, but are often put off by the large start-up cost. In today’s Fish Tank Ideas post we’re going to show off how you can start breeding fish for cheap!

Before setting out on your fish breeding adventure it’s important to decide what your end goal is. Do you want to sell the fish you breed, use them as Feeder Fish, or is this all just for fun? Obviously everything is up to you to decide, but keep in mind some end goals will be much more expensive to reach than others. Today’s setup will give you an idea on how to establish a basic breeding tank for cheap. If you’d like to know more about breeding and the specific requirements about each species you can click here.

The “For Fun” Plastic Breeder 9000

Total Cost:  $20-$50

Full Materials List

  • The Tank: I recommend this Rubbermaid Tote, 14-Gallon.  It’s only about $20 but gives your little fish plenty of real estate. This particular storage box is not see through so if you want something you can see into I recommend This, but obviously anything that will hold water will work. I do recommend purchasing one that has a lid because of excited breeding fish and their tendency to jump out of the tank. Just Remember to cut some holes so you don’t suffocate your fish.


  • Plants and Substrate: When it comes to substrate most fish species will do just fine without it and it is not required. However Plants and other Decorations can be crucial when it comes to breeding. Plants whether they are fake or real can provide good hiding spots for baby fish and can help them feel secure while also providing a place for the parents to lay their eggs.  When choosing your plants they pretty much all work the same and personally I would just look for whatever is cheapest with a quick Search on amazon.


  • Hiding Spots:  When setting up your breeder tank it’s important to provide hiding spots for both the parent fish and their babies. It’s not uncommon for fish parents to kill each other due to stress and lack of places to hide out. There are countless ways to provide shelter for your fish from specially designed fish hideouts to simple flower pots or PVC pipes sunk to the bottom of your tank. If you need to purchase something to use for this purpose I’d recommend buying decorations that are specially designed to provide shelter as they can often be cheaper than buying PVC pipes or something similar such as This for just under $4 or This for just under $6.


  • Filters, Heaters, and Lighting: Baby fish are especially vulnerable to water currents, Water quality, and water temperature, so it’s important to provide them an ideal environment. Baby fish can easily be sucked into standard filters so a good alternative would be a simple sponge filter which I explain how to make in THIS post, but if you must purchase one THIS is a good option. As far as temperature and lighting goes almost anything will work but I use this 50-Watt Heater and this thermometer due to their low price and they work fine for regulating and monitoring temperature.  As for lighting I just use a desk lamp and just about anything will work.


Keep in mind that this is as basic a setup as they come and will not work for every species. I recommend checking out our breeding guide if this is your first time.