Aquarium species is a real fish out of water

Blue Planet aquarists breed fish with unique method of reproduction

Breeding pair of splash tetras at the Blue Planet Aquarium at Cheshire Oaks

Aquarists at Blue Planet Aquarium in Cheshire Oaks have successfully bred the only fish in the  world which lays its eggs out of  the water.

Native to South America, the freshwater splash tetra gets its name from  its unique breeding behaviour with  male and female fish leaping simultaneously out of the water to deposit their eggs on overhanging  leaves.

The fish have been bred by the  aquarium’s freshwater aquarist  Steven Chester and a shoal have now  gone on public display in a specially-designed tank.

“These really are amazing little fish  with a totally unique method of reproduction,” said Steven.

“Initially the male finds a suitable  location above the waterline - usually  this is a leaf from the overhanging  jungle.

“He then tilts back and examines  the chosen spot, swishing this tail  around and flicking water onto the  chosen site. Once happy he will try to  attract a mate by spreading his fins  and showing off his best colours.

“When a female accepts the invitation, she positions herself directly alongside the male, and the pair  leap out of the water together, attaching themselves by fin suction to  the underside of the leaf,” he added.

The pair then produces and fertilise approximately six to eight eggs,  before falling back into the water.  This procedure is repeated until as  many as 200 eggs are attached to the  leaf.

 

The female is then chased away and  the male becomes territorial and defensive of the area underneath his  spawn. Periodically he takes aim and  splashes the eggs with water, this is  done using the tail fin.

“The water droplets help keep the  eggs moist and stop them from drying out completely in the hot jungle  atmosphere,” said Steven.

“The embryo develops quickly and  takes 48 hours to break free of the egg  membrane and hatch. Once hatched  the fry are washed into the water  along with the water droplets from  the males splashing,” he added.

Found throughout the lower  Amazon and Paru rivers.  The splash  tetra grows to a length of about seven  centimetres and has a life expectancy  of around three years.

 

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