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What is a 40 Gallon Breeder Tank and why you might want one

I will be honest I have never used a breeder tank but came across these when I was recently researching different tank sizes to possibly create a black water aquarium. Below I have given you information based on my own knowledge of owning tanks and some that I looked up online for example the tanks precise dimensions. If you want to get right to the point this tank on Amazon looks like an excellent option.

I don’t think I could tell you my own tanks dimensions off the top of my head I would have to get the measuring tape out to verify. Please have a read below and hopefully I have provided you with some valuable information and answers to your questions.

If you are serious about BREEDING FISH successfully then investing in a breeder tank is necessary.

What is a breeder tank?

A breeder tank is an aquarium that has a lower profile than traditional aquariums. This gives the breeder easier access to the fish. These tanks can be long and narrow or almost square in shape. It will depend on the manufacturer. 

What does breeder tank mean?

The name of the tank sums it up quite nice. It is a tank for promoting the breeding of fish. It’s also a style or shape of a tank which differs from traditionally shaped aquariums.

What makes a breeder tank?

When thinking of what makes a breeder tank you can assume that the aquarium will be a lower profile as in height than regular tanks and set up to encourage fish to spawn or fish to breed however you prefer to say it. We want those fish to make babies.

What Size is a 40 Gallon Breeder Tank?

An approximate for a 40 gallon breeder tanks dimensions are 36” in length and 18” in height. The distance from front to back would be 16”.

If you are purchasing a glass tank the weight for this size would be approximately 55 pounds. An acrylic aquarium with the same dimensions would weigh half as much or even a bit more around 20 to 25 pounds. The cost for the acrylic tank would be quite a bit more. Glass is always cheaper.

What is the Difference Between a 40 Gallon Breeder Tank and a Regular 40 Gallon Tank

The main difference between a breeder tank and a regular tank that holds the same amount of gallons of water is the regular tanks are typically taller. That is it.

Breeder tanks are built so there is more surface area, so lower profile than a regular tank.

Where Can I Buy a Breeder Tank?

These tanks can be purchased at most fish stores as well as online through the same stores or places like Amazon.  You can also purchase these tanks on your local used pet supply pages.

Typically when you buy this type of tank you will be getting the tank only. Make sure you also purchase the required pieces as identified in the tank setup below.

This link of a 40 gallon breeder tank will take you to Amazon if you are interested in checking out one of my favorite brands of tanks.

How to Use a Breeder Tank

Once you have your tank set up and the fish in the aquarium just follow the breeding instructions for your variety of fish and let the fish do their thing.

Use the tank just like you would any other aquarium. The only difference is the water parameters will be a bit different than your regular tank.

What are Good Fish for a 40 Gallon Breeder Aquarium

The good news here is that almost any popular type of aquarium fish you can find at a local fish store can be kept in the breeding tank. I would feel safe having a couple of fish up to 10” long each in the breeder tank.

Just remember that they are there for a specific purpose and once you feel the job is complete you can slowly transition the fish back to their own aquarium if necessary for birthing.

40 Gallon Breeder Tank Setup

When setting up a tank for breeding make sure you have a filtration system, lighting and a heater. A solid stand is also necessary for any type of aquarium. Setting up a breeder tank will differ depending on what type of fish you want to breed.

My general rule of thumb for this sort of setup is to mimic the tank the fish are being taken from but do it with a minimalist style.

The one thing you don’t have to do is have very much for substrate in these types of tanks. You should include Hiding places so the fish feel safe and comfortable is a must. Plants should be included if their natural habitat is living amongst quite a bit of foliage.

For a filter my recommendation is that whatever you go with whether it is a hang on back filter or sponge filter in the tank make sure you have a dense sponge in the intake portion of the filter inlet to ensure that baby fish are not sucked up into the filter once they are born.

Some fish require the water temperature to be a bit warmer and even the PH to be different than normal. These changes reflect the time of season that the fish will start to spawn in their natural habitat.

Can a 40 Gallon Breeder Tank be Used for Turtles?

For some reason when researching this information I kept getting results back for turtles. My deduction is that this lower profile aquarium is ideal for keeping a turtle.

For the answer to how many turtles you can put in a 40 gallon tank you can put 1” of turtle for every 10 gallons of water seems to be the general rule of thumb.

The rule of thumb for how much fish in a tank is 1” of fish for every gallon of water in the aquarium.  As you become more experienced with different species you will know when you can stretch these boundaries for some types of fish but for the majority just stick to the 1” per gallon of water.

What Water Temperature do Fish Breed at?

This is definitely a question that warrants its own article however I thought I would include a few of the more common smaller fish that aquarium hobbyists seem to like to try and breed.

What water temperature do Guppies breed at?

Guppies are typically kept in aquariums at a temperature ranging from 72 to 78 Fahrenheit. Have your breeding tank temperature set to 80 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit to encourage breeding. Keep the PH level the same as usual.

What water temperature do Neon Tetras breed at?

Neon Tetras water temp should be set to approximately 77 degrees Fahrenheit and the fishes PH should be adjusted to a slightly acidic level somewhere in the range of 5 to 6. When breeding Tetras make sure to look up the lighting requirements for baby fry.

What water temperature do Goldfish breed at?

For initiating the Goldfish breeding process the water temperature should be somewhere in the range of 68 Fahrenheit and 74 Fahrenheit.

When trying to get cold water fish to breed the water temperature swing will be quite a bit larger than a tropical fish which would have their normal water temp close to where you will be setting it.


A safety note for your Fish when increasing your aquariums water temp.

Just make sure (this applies to any fish you want to breed and are changing temperature) increase the temperature in small increments daily to get to the desired temp. I wouldn’t increase a tanks water temp more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit a day.

This might take 10 days for Goldfish but it is better than the alternative of killing the fish with a fatal increase in temp.  When the tanks temp takes days to increase it also gets the fishes biological system primed for the task at hand.

What to do with your fish after breeding is complete?

This will depend on what kind of a tank the fish came from. If it was a community tank then you won’t be putting the pregnant female back in the tank. I would leave her in the breeding aquarium.

Of course you can do whatever you want and some people do put the pregnant female fish back in their original living tank. Since you already have another aquarium set up I say why bother.

Once the baby fry are born you could transition the mother back to the other tank at that point.

Here is a Dual Purpose Idea for Your Breeding Aquarium

If you are a serious aquarium fish owner then chances are you have a quarantine and or sick tank for your fish. My idea is that you use your breeding tank as the quarantine tank and then you don’t have to have one more aquarium setup.

As long as your not using it to quarantine fish or care for a sick fish then you are good to go. Just adjust the waters temperature and PH if necessary and you then have a breeding tank.

Since you are interested in aquariums you really should go check out my recommended aquariums page for more great tank ideas.


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