HomeAquarium & MaintenanceBreeder Tank vs Regular Tank: Which One to Use?

Breeder Tank vs Regular Tank: Which One to Use?

Aquarium tanks come in all shapes and sizes, but when choosing between a breeder tank and a regular tank, what’s the difference? 

For your information, a breeder tank is specifically designed for housing fish fry until they’re big enough to be transferred to a regular tank. A breeder tank is a must-have if you’re looking to breed your fish. Let’s take a closer look with National Park Aquarium at the pros and cons of using a breeder tank vs. a regular aquarium.

What is The Breeder Tank?

A breeder tank is a fish tank serving the purposes of housing and breeding fish. They are often large, with common dimensions that hold a capacity of 40 gallons. 

These breeder tanks often have divided compartments to separate different stages of the breeding process. They can also come with a well-aerated water column. 

While breeder tanks can be used for a variety of different fish, they are for live-bearing fish such as guppies and mollies. These fish give birth to live young, as opposed to laying eggs. 

Breeder tanks are prefered by experienced aquarium hobbyists who want to raise their fish fry (baby fish). These tanks can also be used to quarantine new fish before adding them to an existing aquarium. 

There are many different types of breeder tanks available on the market, and it is important to choose the right one for your needs. 

The size of the tank will be determined by the type of fish you plan on breeding, as well as the number of fish you intend to keep in the tank. 

You will also need to decide on the type of material the breeder tank is made from, as this can affect your fish’s water quality and overall health. 

Breeder tank vs Regular tank: What is The Difference?

what is the regular tank

Both have unique benefits that can be tailored to your specific needs. Yet, there are some crucial distinctions you should know before making your ultimate choice. 

1. Features for Breeding Fish

Breeder tanks often have additional features that regular tanks do not, such as multiple compartments and a well-aerated water column. These features are designed to make the breeding process easier and with a higher rate of success.

Regular tanks, on the other hand, typically only have the basics such as a filter, heater, and air pump. This is because regular tanks are not used for breeding purposes and therefore do not need the extra features.

2. Breeder tank vs Regular tank Size

A significant difference between breeder tanks and regular tanks is size. Breeder tanks are typically much larger than standard tanks.

This is because breeder tanks need to accommodate both the parents and the babies, while regular tanks only need to accommodate the adults.

3. Breeder tank vs Regular Shape Comparison

Breeder tanks are also usually wider than they are tall, while regular tanks tend to be taller than they are wide. This is because breeders need to have a lot of horizontal space for the parents to swim around and the babies to hide.

Breeder tanks are often square in shape, while regular tanks can be any shape, mostly rectangular. Such a design allows fish owners to access the fish babies thanks to the tank’s low profile.

4. Price Difference

Breeder tanks are typically more expensive than regular tanks because of their size and features.

Regular tanks, on the other hand, are much less expensive. This is because they do not need the extra features that breeder tanks have.

Breeder tank for fish
Breeder tank for fish

4 Reasons Why You Should Use A Breeder Tank

1. More Surface Area

Breeder tanks and regular tanks differ in their dimensions. For instance, a standard 40-gallon fish tank usually measures 36 x 13 x 20 inches, while a 40-gallon breeder tank is about 36 x 18 x 16 inches. Although the difference in size may seem insignificant, breeder tanks are much shallower than regular tanks, making it easier for breeders to collect and remove fish or fry.

2. Separate Fish

Breeder tanks allow you to separate fish from each other, which can be helpful if you have aggressive fish or if you want to breed your fish. Separating fish can also help prevent the spread of disease.

3. Safe Fish Fry

Breeder tanks are designed to keep fish fry safe and secure. The tanks have special features that prevent fry from being sucked into the filter or eaten by other fish.

4. Easier on Your Fish

Breeder tanks make the process of breeding and raising fish easier on your fish. The tanks are designed to mimic the natural environment of your fish, which can help reduce stress and improve overall health.

Breeder tanks come in various sizes, each serving a specific purpose and accommodating different fish quantities and species. Some of the most popular breeder tank sizes include the 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, and 75-gallon tanks.

The size you choose largely depends on the type and quantity of fish you intend to breed. For example, a 20 or 30-gallon breeder tank might be suitable for smaller species like guppies or shrimp, while larger species like clownfish would need more spacious environments such as the 60 or 75-gallon tanks.

What Size Tank Is Best for Breeding?

While the “best” size can depend on the species you’re breeding, a 40-gallon breeder tank is often recommended as a versatile option. It provides ample space for both parents and fry, and its typically wider base offers an ideal horizontal swimming area for fish.

Remember, when it comes to breeding, more than just size matters. The tank’s water parameters, hiding spots, and overall environment play equally crucial roles in ensuring a successful breeding experience.


Deciding between a breeder tank vs regular tank primarily depends on your fish-keeping goals. If breeding is on your radar, a breeder tank would serve you best due to its specialized features designed to aid the breeding process and house fry.

However, if you’re a beginner or simply looking to house fish without a focus on breeding, a regular tank would be an optimal choice. Whichever type you choose, remember that maintaining a healthy environment for your fish is paramount. Happy fish-keeping!

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Kevin Mills, the founder of Nationalparkaquarium.org


-- Founder --

I'm Kevin Mills, the founder of Nationalparkaquarium.org, where I share my deep passion for aquariums and aquatic life. With over 20 years of experience in fishkeeping, covering everything from tending to saltwater and freshwater tanks.

Kathleen Wood


-- Interrogator --

Kathleen Wood, a seasoned marine biologist, possesses a wealth of knowledge and experience in her field. Her research on tropical fish biodiversity spans over three decades, and she has contributed numerous scientific papers on aquatic life.