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FAQs on Platy Reproduction, Breeding 3

Related Articles: Platies, Poeciliids: Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks, Livebearing Fishes by Bob Fenner,

Related FAQs: Platy Reproduction 1 Platy Reproduction 2, Platy Reproduction 4, Platy Reproduction 5,
Platies 1, Platies 2, Platy Identification, Platy Behavior, Platy Compatibility, Platy Selection, Platy Systems, Platy Feeding, Platy Disease, Livebearers, Guppies, Swordtails, Mollies,

Mickey Mouse Platy Question, repro. f'   3/15/12
Hello! I have found your site to be very helpful, but in reading didn't find an answer for what I was looking for. We have a 10 gallon tank with two platys and two guppies. Our Platy has given birth once  but the one fry we saw was sucked up by the filter and died. A few weeks later the Platy had one more fry and as soon as we saw it, walked away, and came back, the same thing happened. We took out the filter but it was too late for the little guy/gal. So here are my questions: is it normal for platys to have only one fry?
<Not really, no... though can "drop" their young over a period of time>
 And what can I do to prevent my filter from sucking up the fry?
<Use a different type of filter mostly. Perhaps a sponge type, or box filter>
Should I move them to a breeder box?
<Am not a fan of most of these... as they're too confining. Better for you to have more room, use some "bunch plants"... e.g. Foxtail (Myriophyllum), Anacharis (Egeria) or such for the young to hide in. Bob Fenner>

Platy fry growth questions  3/3/12
Hi. My name is Katie and my daughters and I just recently became "fish people". Our "nursery tank" is a 2 gal tank.
<Hmm… very small, even for fry. It's difficult to keep small tanks at the right temperature, for one thing; Platies need a steady 22-25 C. It's often better to rear the fry in a floating breeding trap within the main aquarium. After around 3 weeks they should be big enough to be safe with their parents. Obviously you will need to plan differently if there are more predatory fish in the aquarium, such as Angels, which can and will eat larger fry than that.>
We have 10+ 3 month old platys. I do a weekly 25% water change and have the water tested at PetSmart every 2-3 weeks (Ph, ammonia, nitrite and nitrates all within normal limits) I feed the fry twice a day Hikari first bites and crushed flake food. 2 of the fry are very large with big bellies. There are also 4 very tiny ones. The others seem normal. They all came from the same mama on December 4 2011
Is there a chance that the larger fry could be pregnant already?
<Platies become sexually mature in about 2 months for males, 3 for females.>
What can I do to help the smaller fish to get bigger? Should I separate them?
<Yes, you need to isolate females to ensure "virginity", which is crucial if you intend to control breeding yourself, e.g., to avoid inbreeding or to produce a specific variety of Platy. Females can produce several batches of fry per mating, potentially as many as 6 batches, though normally much less.>
At what age should I be able to tell the sex? They all look female right now.
<Males and females look the same when young. Around the second month the male will develop his distinctive gonopodium, or tube-shaped anal fin, the structure analogous to the mammalian penis.>
Thanks for your help and your wonderful sight.
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Baby Red Wag Platys 2/18/12 I have a 20 gallon community tank (Platys, Mollies, Black Skirt & Neon Tetras, a Red Flame Dwarf Gourami, a Plecostomus, & Guppies).
I have 4 baby Red Wag Platys. They have been on their own & look like mini Red Wags, barely see thru.
Question : How big do they need to be before they will be safe from being eaten?
<As a ball park figure, keeping the fry in a breeding trap or better still their own 5-10 gallon aquarium for 3 months should ensure they reach a size safe to mix with other community fish. None of your fish are dedicated predators in the same way as, say, Angelfish, so these fry might be set loose a bit sooner, but you do need them to be at least 1.5 cm/0.6 inches
long, and that'll take about 6-8 weeks. Cheers, Neale.>

Baby Platy 1/23/12 Hi, <Hi Kirsty> My Grandad recently got a tropical tanks. We are a little confused because we know we have several pregnant Platies, but we already have a couple of babies that we have separated.
<Perhaps the other are getting eaten before you can separate them?>
There are only 2 and there seems to be no sign of any more. The fish we believe is the mother still looks very fat
and is definitely still pregnant.
<Are you giving this fish them enough greens in their diet? The fish may well be on the verge of having fry but could just as well be a bit bloated.>
Could there be a reason there is not more or have the other fish simply eaten them during the night?
<Could well be. Could also be hiding in the plants. Hope you have a filter intake that is fry safe. Your best bet at ensuring survival is to look into a breeder net. Read the breeding portion of this article -
and the FAQs here -
> it can't be during the day as my Grandad watches the tank and checks it regularly. Any advice would be much appreciated. <Do look into the breeder net/boxes. Quite handy in such cases.>
<Most welcome, Sugam>

Platy Fry Housing and Feeding 1/21/12
Hi there!
I thought my fish were done having babies, since my tank is all female and they had all had their babies, of which none survived. But, to my surprise, I found three hiding in between some of the rocks in my tank.
<Unusual. But sometimes fry are born with deformed swim bladders -- "belly sliders" -- and these never swim at the surface like they should. They
won't get better, and breeders usually euthanise them.>
I have caught two and put them in their own 1 gallon aquarium, but the last one remains in my 5 gallon with my other 2 female platys. I've left it in there because I've tried to catch in numerous times, without catching it. So, can I leave it in the tank the adult platys,
or should I take it out and put it in the tank with it's siblings?
<Up to you. Take a big picture view of things here. If the fry is a belly slider, then sooner or later it'll be eaten, removing the faulty genes from your school of Platies. Furthermore, even if it's perfectly all right, taking your tank apart to rescue just one fish is a hassle, and an unnecessary once given that your Platies will be producing dozens of fry every couple of months.>
Second of all, what should I feed the two in the 1 gallon? I'm hatching some baby brine shrimp for them, but I put an algae wafer in for them while the shrimp hatch, and to my understanding they finished it off. Can they live on baby brine shrimp and algae wafers, or should I get that "Liquifry" stuff? Thanks!
<Yes, yes, and yes. They enjoy brine shrimp nauplii, and they enjoy algae too. But a fry food (I like Hikari First Bites for its convenience and economy) is an excellent way to get young livebearers feeding well through
the first few weeks. Even finely powdered regular flake can work.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re Platy Fry Housing and Feeding 1/24/12

Well, I have found one more baby, which makes the score 2 in the tank and 2 in the nursery. I've inspected the babies thoroughly and, after watching them for about 10 minutes, they started swimming around at the top. I think they were just hiding from the parents and they don't have a swim bladder problem. (phew!). Meanwhile, in my 5 gallon, I've gotten a Siamese Algae Eater and I'm worried that the babies in that tank might be eaten.
<If there's sufficient hiding (bunch plants, live or plastic), they should be fine>
so much for answering my last email!
<Please always send prev. corr.. We can't tell about what and who here you've been chatting w/. Bob Fenner>

pregnant red platy question 1/21/12 I have 4 pregnant red platies, the one that seems the most along in her pregnancy was really fat around last night with her belly hanging down, then when i got up this morning she looked skinner around but still has a belly hanging down pretty far. i don't see any fry.
<Could well be eaten, hiding among floating plants, even swimming about inside the filter if you have a low pressure system with a sluice leading into the biological media chamber (common on European aquaria such as the Juwel series).>
Note: all the first were laying on the rocks for a little while this morning before getting active again. are my platies still pregnant if they have the belly hanging down i have only noticed pregnant symptoms for about 4 days.
<Hard to say.>
also last night three of the pregnant one each had something long and tarnish or brownish hanging out of the bottom of them could they have just been bloated from poop
and that's why they seems so big pregnant so fast when they really aren't that far along
<Could easily be. Platies are herbivores and need a high fibre diet.
Alternating between algae-based flake (often sold as herbivore fish food) and greens such as Sushi Nori, cooked/canned peas, cooked spinach, sliced cucumber, and blanched lettuce works well. Occasional offerings of brine shrimp or daphnia provide some extra indigestible material that cleans them out nicely. Do also be aware that Platies aren't always as hardy as they should be, and the quality of some of the more inbred fancy varieties is low. Do start reading at the page below, and follow the links:
Deana Thanks
<Cheers, Neale.

Sick Platy and Mysterious Fry. Need data 11/21/11
<Hello Belle!>
About three days ago I noticed that my only platy, a red female, had started alternating between resting at the bottom of the tank and floating near the top, seemingly weak and/or sick. All other fish seemed perfectly fine, and her tank mates were 2 female mollies, 2 catfish, and a little school of neon tetra.
<Mmm... the mollies and Neons need quite different water... temperature et al. wise. All posted on WWM for your review>
I checked the water parameters and all seemed fine
<Need values, actual measures to help you>
except that the pH was slightly low.
Yesterday, I went and bought two young female Platies, two male swordtails,
<... how large is this system? Swords can be rather rambunctious; and get much larger than many people realize. Please see WWM re these as well>
and one male molly to add to my tank. I've had my female fish for about 3 months and the platy has always been the smallest of the group and never appeared pregnant. The two new females are also definitely not pregnant.
Today I noticed for the first time a tiny fry hiding in a plant and I have no idea where it came from. Could the platy have given birth even though it has always been thin?
It continues to seem sick and resting towards the bottom of the tank.
<I would not be adding more life to a system w/ an apparently ill fish...
Please search/read on WWM (the search tool is on every page at the bottom)
and write us back w/ the requested information. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Platy and Mysterious Fry 11/23/11
Thanks for your advice!
Luckily my female platy is now doing much, much better and swimming around like normal. I'm starting to really think it was her that gave birth, though she never got bigger and still doesn't seem smaller. The PH in my tank is around 6.6 so, but it used to be around 6.4, so I'm not sure if that's super low or if its okay.
<Much too low. Platies must be kept in moderately hard to hard water, and the pH must be above 7. Read here for more on water chemistry:
A simple approach is to use about one-half the Rift Valley salt mix. This mix is extremely cheap and works very well. So per 5 gallons of water, add half a teaspoon of baking soda, half a tablespoon Epsom salt, and half a teaspoon of marine salt mix. That should deliver around 10 degrees dH general hardness and a pH around 7.5. Do this gradually. Mix up the three mineral salts in a jug, enough for your 15 gallon tank, top the jug up with water, stir well, and add only about a quarter per day, adding another quarter the next day, and so on. This should ensure the fish have time to adapt.>
My tank is 15 gallons and houses 9 fish and a school of 4 tetra. I read not to use the PH balance chemicals for aquariums with plants in them, is that true?
<No; it's rubbish. But don't add pH-up or pH-down liquids like those sold in aquarium shops. You don't have anything like the experience to use these safely, and will simply waste money and/or kill your fish. Do what I've said above, and it'll cost pennies a month and work very safely.>
I didn't realize mollies and tetra weren't suited for living together because of temperature... I also have another separate 10 gallon tank with 2 small goldfish where the water is kept colder, around 73-75 degrees, if you think that would be a better home to add my tetra to, as my main tank with my mollies/swordtails is around 80 degrees. Thanks for the help!
<The Platies, Mollies, and Tetras can/should get along at 25 C/77 F in medium-hard water if you keep the water spotlessly clean through regular water changes and excellent filtration. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy fry not eating yet 11/14/11
Hi Crew, <Hi Liz, Sugam with you>
I have a 10 gallon quarantine tank that I kept my pregnant platy in until she gave birth to two fry 2 days ago. I removed her from the tank and put her back in the 120 gallon community tank. The fry are in the tank and there is gravel, fake plants and a couple rocks in there for cover. <Some floating plants would help provide shade and help them feel more secure. Do ensure there is sufficient plants etc. in the tank for them to feel comfortable> I have a couple of small filtration systems and a bubbler on the bottom. <I assume the filtration is suitably subdued for the fry and you have some kind of protection against them being pulled into the intake of the filters?> I have been feeding them crushed flake food and so far I
have not seen them eat it. <Fry typically feed on algae and very finely powdered flakes. Try and feed about 4 time per day. Very small quantities.
There are fry foods such as first bites available that work quite nicely.>
I don't think they understand that it is food for them to eat. What do I do? <Instinct will kick in if it hasn't already. Just make sure food is powdered enough for them.> Will they begin to understand if I keep putting it in. <Yes, in small quantities.> Are they just eating it off the bottom and off the plants. <Quite likely but do not overfeed assuming this to be true.> Do you think they are okay if they don't eat it off the top right when I put it in. <Should start to do this soon enough. Livebearer fry are greedy eaters in my experience.> Any ideas would be helpful. <Try some specifically formulated fry food. I assume they other behavior is normal?
Should come around in short time either way.> Thank you for your time.
<Happy to help! You can read here for some more information. Do review links at the top of the page -
Liz Thayer <Good Luck! Sugam>

Platy fry help! -- 10/22/11
I had 3 play fry in a fish bowl for 10 weeks. All was great. One a runt not growing as much as other two but eats and swims well. At 10 weeks I put the 3 of them in the community tank, but very aggressive terra was sizing them up before so I put a divider so they stay safe. Put them on side of tank with heater so they are good and water not cold.
<"Not cold" isn't the same thing as warm. Rearing fry in bowls is a mistake many beginners make. All it does is expose the fry to poor environmental conditions that eventually kill them. While Platies are low-end tropical fish that do well around 22-25 C/72-77 F, that isn't an invitation to keep them in unheated tanks. On top of that, filtration is essential, not an optional extra.>
They were swimming fine, enjoying their new home with extra space. One kept hiding in rocks on. day 2 and 3 of being in new home, thought it wad dead once but fine now. Now ( 6 ) days after in community tank the other one is hiding in rocks. For 2 days now, he swims funny waving back and forth and sometimes sitting on rocks breathing hard. He won't eat now. I have fed them all crushed flakes and 3 or 4 times frozen blood worms. Last time they got blood worms a week ago.
<Platies are herbivores, so you should be using algae-based flake food, such as Spirulina flake.>
Runt is fine, seems the most happy and energetic. I just don't know what is wrong with the one sitting on bottom of tank breathing heavy and can't swim. All fish in entire tank fine except him.
<Runt is likely genetically or developmentally damaged. It's not uncommon for one or two fry per batch to fail to grow properly. Plus, if exposed to poor conditions after birth, otherwise normal fry can develop badly, for example their swim bladder might not develop, so they never swim properly.>
Please help, I want my baby fry to be well. I rescued them from pet.shop with mama ready to eat them. I worked hard on taking such good care of them.
So upset he' s not well.
<Not much you can do, but instead concentrate on providing the right conditions for the next batch of fry. Warmth, filtration, swimming space, and genetically robust parents (avoid inbreeding!) will all help. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: re: Play fry help! -- 10/22/11

Thanks for getting back to me with help!
<You are welcome.>
My bad sorry forgot to mention, I did water changes in fish bowl every 2 days, watching so there wasn't poop or extra food at bottom to create environment bad for them.
<Here's the thing. The waste you can see isn't what kills the fish. It's the dissolved ammonia and nitrite that you cannot see that kill fish. Water changes dilute ammonia and nitrite, but don't remove them completely.
That's why a filter is essential.>
I also didn't use heater because in community tank heater did not turn on.
It was August and September and warmer in apartment. With October coming around and weather changing I knew and was sure to get them to place with heater.
I paid attention to temp of water every day.
<Common Platies shouldn't be kept below 22 C/72 F; Variatus Platies, if you can find them, will do perfectly well down to 18 C/59 F, perhaps a trifle less.>
I guess I didn't have filtration, I had raised guppies and fry that way, ( without bloodworms ) many years ago and only problems were I only I didn't all the fry before they got eaten. Thanks for about not giving them blood worms. I see where many other people have given and since they seem to like so much, thought it was a nice treat. I guess not anymore.
<Fine as a treat, just not every day!>
Thanks again
<Cheers, Neale.>

platy fry ??? 10/19/11
hi so I have searched everywhere an all through your site an only found bits an pieces of info that I need specifically so I figured id better ask to be sure 1st off outside of owning a few carnival goldfish I have never had fish until last year when I was asked if I wanted fish or they would be flushed (nice neighbors moved lol) so I said sure cuz im sure my son would love them well I love them they are Plecos and all they had were rocks so I of course felt they were lonely so we have since acquired several other fish ( 4 tiger barbs, 2 blue guaramis, 2 Dwarf guaramis, 2 Mickey platys, a baby algae eater and what we didn't realize was a pregnant platy and so I moved her when I found the black spot had shown up and literally a few hours later before I had even gotten back with the breeding net thing she had had them she had 24 to start and we have lost a few she now has 19 or should I say I have 19 babies and I am now wondering since they seem to be doing well and have gotten to be approximately 4-6 cm in length can they be placed in the tank with the rest of the fish there is 3 plants and 2 structures that can be used to hide if needed but I wanted to be safe and check before I put them in any danger of becoming live food so please let me know if you can help thanks (they're in a 20 gal tank at the moment and I am looking for a larger one soon as possible just not sure if I should wait to move them in with the others or is is ok now???
<The fry should be safe once they're about 1 cm/0.5 inches in length. If needs be, keep them in a large breeding net (aquarium shops sell them, inexpensively) within the aquarium until they're big enough to set loose. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy fry not surviving -- 10/12/11
Dear Crew
I've tried to raise platy fry several times now without success. They just seem to die after a week or so.
I've also read many stories reporting the same. My tanks (when stable) read zero ammonia, nitrite and about 2ppm nitrate. They are born in an all female 100 litre fully planted/cycled tank of Platies/guppies with the exception of one male platy and one male dwarf cherry Gourami. The last batch I moved to a smaller nursery tank (fully cycled, planted with shrimp) after a couple of days (they were hiding out in the floating plants once born). Within a few days, they were nowhere to be seen - presumed dead.
On this occasion, the only possible causes of death that I can think of are 1) shock of tank transfer;
<Yes; instead, corral them into a breeding trap in the aquarium they were born in. Use a cup or scoop rather than a net if you're not sure you can lift them out of the water safely. Or else, leave them with the adults!
Some will survive!>
2) not able to feed on the first bite flake powder/Microworms;
<Unlikely, and in any case, Platies should be eaten algae as much as anything else.>
3) unable to deal with the Esha2000 present in the adult tank while born (I had some trouble with Columnaris which is now almost under control);
<Possible, but not found this a problem myself.>
4) the Columnaris itself. Can you offer any advise as they appear to be really fragile fry unlike Guppy fry, right?
<Much inbreeding with Platies and all livebearers sold as "fancy" livebearers has diminished their resilience. Bear this in mind when shopping. A less garish, but much tougher, species such as Limia nigrofasciatus or Xiphophorus variatus might be a better alternative if breeding is something you want to try out.>
Thanks so much!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Platy fry not surviving 10/13/11

Thanks Neale
I did move them via scooping them in a container - I wouldn't ever attempt to net such tiny fish.
Just to say, I've managed, for the first time ever, to get my columnaris under control. I did lose a few female guppies and most of my male adults guppies (just got their colour too) but some survived. The trick, as far as I can tell, was a combination of lower temperature (24 degrees C), Esha2000, water changes, regular filter cleaning and feeding less but on frozen brine shrimp rather than flake food. Just for your information, should it be useful.
best Patrick
<Glad to hear you've found a strategy that works. Frozen brine shrimp has a useful laxative effect that can be handy for getting the best health from fish, especially somewhat herbivorous ones like Guppies. Do try to find the fortified shrimps though; these have more vitamin content. Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnant Platies 9/29/11
Hello, I have a 27 gallons freshwater tank. I have: 2 swordtails,
<En garde!>
both males, 7 Platies, 5 males and 2 females, 5 sorted tetras, 1 von flame riot, 1 tutty frutty, 1 red minor, 1 neon jumbo tetra, 1 black striped tetra,
<Mmm, better if they were all the same species... these are all "schoolers">
1 reticulated Hillstream loach (Sewellia lineolata),
1 dwarf Gourami, 1
albino Cory,
<Also a social species>
1 giant fancy guppy, 2 mollies both females. The water is very healthy Ph is between 7.8 -8, ammonia level is 0, nitrite level is 0. I just treat the tank with anti fungus and bacteria tablets last week because of some rot tail in one of the female platy. The water seems very clear now and everything is ok. I have some questions. Both females seems pregnant.
<Can, do cross w/ Swords>
One of them is more mature than the other but they both have huge bellies. I have notice this a week ago but they seem pretty pregnant. The smaller one have a black spot near the anal fin but the other female don't. I have isolated the two females in a net breeder because they seem stressed between all those male that keep trying to mate with them even one of the sword tails and I don't know why.
Now they seem relax in the net breeder. How much time the pregnancy will last?
<Days to a few weeks>
and how many days do I need to keep them in the net breeder before they have their fry?
Males keep trying to mate with the mature one even outside the net breeder they cant stop swimming around it. The temp of the tank is 82F +.
<Mmm, too high. See WWM re each of these species>
Is well planted (artificial plants). Marineland penguin 150 filter. How can I make my female Platies to give birth?
<? Best to have another established system...>
What are the usual signs of pregnancy and giving birth of the Platies?
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaq2.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Pregnant Platy 9/2/11
Hi, my name it Matthew and I have a couple of questions. I'm not sure if this is how I ask but I thought id give it a try!
<Fire away!>
My problem is about my pregnant Platy. My pregnant Platy is in a cycled 10 gallon
<Bit small for Platies; 15 gallons is a squeeze with this fairly chunky, and sometimes rather aggressive species. Although a good community fish, males are sometimes aggressive towards one another and the females, so it's wise to give them more room than a 10 gallon tank will provide.>
with a filter rated for a 30 gallon that I turn down to avoid sucking up fry.
<Surprisingly less a problem than many assume. Healthy newborn livebearers are quite strong swimmers, and will tend to stay at the surface among floating plants (which you should provide) where they are sheltered. In tanks without floating plants they may swim about near the bottom, but that of course puts them at more risk of not just being sucked into the filter inlet but also nocturnal predators like catfish.>
All of my water parameters never waver to greatly from zero so I'm relatively lucky, that's just tap water! But still pre-treated. I have a heater that maintains a constant temperature of 78° but my aquarium doesn't have a light.
<Fish won't mind about the lack of lighting.>
I'm on a huge circuit and wiring to my room is bad. my lights get to much power and get blown. And natural lighting is enough to light up my tank but not enough to cause algae growth. its kind of frustrating. now everything about my tank is healthy except for my Platy who is alone in the tank. she's listless at times and doesn't always want to eat.
<Do need some specific values here. At minimum, you need a nitrite value and a pH value. Tell me what these are, rather than your interpretations.>
of course she takes live foods but she completely ignores staple flakes. this is out of character.
<I agree. Is the flake stale? Do you keep it in an airtight container away from heat and damp?>
I use a PH tester and my water is slightly alkaline, they way they like it.
<Again, the specific values would be rather better than your interpretation. For Platies, in terms of hardness you're aiming for at least 10, and ideally 15+ degrees dH. The pH value should be around 7.5 to 8, but I'd caution you not to place too much faith in the pH value alone, because you can have soft water with a high pH! Get a hardness test kit, and use it. At minimum, have your local pet store do a hardness test on a sample of tap water or aquarium water.>
And I have a live plant that I believe wont tolerate salt.
<Well, the plant will be dying from lack of light, surely? In any event, at low concentrations, i.e., 2-3 grammes/litre, you can use salt without harming hard water plant species.>
there is lots of places for fry to hide but she doesn't want to drop. and I'm sure she's ready, she is showing every sign that she is.
<Why are you sure? How do you know she isn't bloated? Doesn't have dropsy?>
if she was anymore square she'd be a cube ;) ... now she is also staying at the top of the tank in a corner being lethargic.
<This sounds more like sickness than gestation.>
when I approach she darts away. I'm not sure what is up with her but id welcome any advice! Also, if you don't mind me asking id like to know her strain. She is orange and has yellow on the base of her tail fin, her dorsal fin is orange at the base. both are of clear tips. Her biggest feature is her spot before her tail fin. its a triangle! its weird but she has a triangle pointing towards her head. but its relatively small. I should add that she was pregnant when I bought her, the move was not that stressful because she was fine for a few days after. and she was properly acclimated. I'm not sure what's going on with her but any advice would be greatly appreciated! - Matt
<Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Pregnant Platy 9/2/11

thanks Neale! my Platy had fry yesterday but I wasn't home and only able to save one, which is doing well.
<Oh well, at least you know all is well with the momma fish.>
I took my platy out of my ten and put it in my 20 that has small community fish like Danios with 4 small tiger barbs.
<Yikes! Those'll eat any fry. But as tankmates, should be fine, but Tiger Barbs do tend to be nippy in small groups, so be careful. Look for signs of fin damage. Tiger Barbs are best kept in groups of 6 or more.>
she settled in fine! the plant that I have is doing very well in fact. I had to trim it because it had too many saplings lol. it rooted very well all along the substrate.
I only have one snail in there now to assist with the trimming. thanks to you I will give it a bit and try to better mature my tank. see if I can get those better values you mentioned because I don't want to do any harm to my fish.
<Don't suddenly change anything, even for the better. Go slow. Fish adapt to "the wrong" conditions given time, and if quickly switched to "the right" conditions, that can stress them.>
I was super excited to see your name at the end of your reply, wet web media is my best resource! thanks a lot! - Matt
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

Fish tank Mysteries: A pregnant platy, fish disappearances, and a random baby from no where. 8/25/11
Dear helpful people who are much smarter when it comes to fish than I am,<Greetings!>
I've read many of your FAQs since my husband and I purchased our first fish tank as a wedding gift. I've read mostly just for fun, since many of our fish appeared to be doing fairly well, or we were able to figure out any issues. We've owned our 55 gallon tank for a little over three months now, and we allowed it to go through the necessary processing before adding any fish. Our first three "babies" (I call them that, even though they're fully grown fish) were platies--One male (Blaze, a sunset wag), and two female, Safire (blue rainbow) and Summer (some kind of white platy with light orange fins and black spots). Neither of the females were pregnant, as far as we could tell, when we first got them. However, Safire grew herself a rather large tummy in the first week, filled with tiny black eggs.
Confusingly, she's been fully pregnant since that first week--she's never dropped any fry, and I, who stay at home, have never seen her shrink down from that size. She does have the black gravid spot very clearly on her, but as of yet, no babies.
<Curious. Now, pregnant Platies may display the gravid spot, but the gravid spot doesn't mean a fish is pregnant! The gravid spot is a patch of darker tissue that presses against a thin, relatively clear area of skin as the female's abdomen expands. Pregnancy can do that, and that's why we sometimes talk about the gravid spot as an indicator of pregnancy. But anything else that swells the abdomen will result in the gravid spot becoming apparent, for example Dropsy. So you have to be open minded here.
Intestinal worms can cause dramatic swelling, so if this fish has been swollen for more than, say, two months without dropping fry, but doesn't show the symptoms of Dropsy (pinecone scales, lethargy) you might want to deworm your Platy.>
Considering we have a large tank, we decided to get more fish. A half grown panda platy female was another addition, plus a bright orange Sailfin male, and another blue rainbow Sailfin that we thought was female, so two males and three females. We knew we needed more females, but didn't want to overload our tank's good bacteria since it was still fairly new, so we had to wait a little while. It wasn't so bad, because Blaze didn't seemed interested in mating at all--O'Ryan, the orange Sailfin, however, got down to that business in short order with all the females.
Another week of allowing the tank to acclimate, and we got yet more platys-- a fully grown female yellow twinbar platy, and a fully grown bumble bee platy female. So, plenty of ladies for the males. Blaze wasn't chasing any one, and O'Ryan was having a blast chasing everyone. Summer and Honey soon became pregnant (though I suppose that could have also happened at the store), and the other females just swam around.
<Do bear in mind that when you keep adding Platies of different varieties, their offspring will be "mongrels". That's not necessarily a bad thing -- varieties are inbred, while crossbred mongrels are more genetically robust and (on average) hardier and longer-lived. But such fry will be a veritable calico of colours, attractive in their way, but more like wild Platies than fancy varieties.>
We eventually got more fish--A bigger female panda platy, that we hoped would help protect the little one since she was getting picked on--didn't do a darn thing--two emerald Cory cats, one striped Cory cat, four red tetra things, three guppies (all male) and four Gourami (two opalescent, male and female, and two... red ones with blue stripes, both female).
<Do please think about getting proper schools of Corydoras and Tetras; i.e., at least 5 or 6 specimens per species.>
First thing's first--our tank had an algae bloom due to the tablets we were feeding our Cory cats.
<No, I doubt that's the reason. Do read:
Algae typically does well in situations where the tank is unstable, i.e., there's an excess of nutrients in the water, and too few fast-growing plants.>
My husband, worrying that this would affect the other fish, checked the water quality almost obsessively, sometimes several times in a day. Things had been a little off balance, but they were quickly coming back under control. And then we noticed that one of the emerald cats was missing, *after* the water quality was fine again.
<Not uncommon; fixing the problem doesn't stop the earlier stress from causing sickness or death.>
We lifted castles, checked all sides of the tank (even behind the wall paper, which we later removed), and nothing. He was just gone, without a trace, and without a body left behind. We're assuming he was eaten, so my question here is, would any of the other fish (namely the platies, tetras and other cories, as the other fish weren't yet in the tank) eat a dead fish's skeleton?
<Sure. So would snails, and eventually bacteria. Most fish have very slight skeletons, and decay can be very quick in the warm conditions in a fish tank.>
The next day, when we were looking for the missing Cory, we found a body under a castle--but it was the body of the striped Cory, who had literally been swimming around fine the day before. We got him out, and then, a day later, found the final Cory floating at the top of the tank. We're not sure what was going on, as none of the other fish have been affected by this (it happened about two months ago), but each of these Corys came from one tank in one pet store near by. We now assume something had been wrong with them from the beginning, before we ever got them, and we watched our other fish for a while to make sure they never caught whatever the Corys had. We have since gotten three new emerald Cory cats from a different pet store, which we've had for two weeks, and they have been doing swimmingly.
Shortly after that, our larger panda platy went missing. It was at this point that I began to feel like our fish tank was now home to some kind of murder mystery television show. We never found a trace of her, no matter how much we looked, and we continued to check the water quality to make sure everything was fine.
<Corydoras are hardy in many ways, but can be stressed in several ways.
Firstly, they're sensitive to dirty substrates. If the flow of water at the bottom is poor, or you use coarse gravel that damages their whiskers and bellies, bacterial infections are common. A good clue is the condition of their whiskers. Healthy specimens should have whiskers that are quite long; in the case of a Corydoras 5 cm/2 inches long, you should see whiskers something like 6 mm/0.25 inches long, maybe a bit more. If the whiskers are just a couple of mm long, then they're being eroded. The old school explanation for this was that gravel wore them down, but in fact bacterial infection -- rotting! -- seems to be the key. The point is that gravel doesn't suit Corydoras, and smooth silver sand is much better. Dirty gravel is even worse because it's laden with bacteria and yes, in all likelihood, gravel does scratch the whiskers in a way smooth sand doesn't, making bacterial infection more likely. Next up, most Corydoras prefer do be kept relatively cool, 22-25 C/72-77 F. Of the traded species. Corydoras sterbai is about the only one I can think of that does well kept warmer than this.
Keep the others too warm and they're stressed, and that means more likely to get sick. Thirdly, Corydoras are sensitive to medications that contain copper and formalin. Fourthly, they're air-breathers. Anything toxic in the air, like bug spray, will affect them more strongly than fish that don't breathe air. Finally, they're schooling fish. Kept in groups fewer than 5 and they get stressed, and stressed fish are prone to disease.>
Then our twin bar platy became ill, with little white flakes coming off of her face, and her eyes popping out of her head.
<Could be Finrot or else Columnaris (a bacterial infection sometimes called Mouth Fungus).>
It was awful to see, and we were going to get a quarantine tank, or at least something small for her that we could try to help her in, but she literally died within minutes of us noticing her condition. I think she'd been hiding in a castle waiting to die, and we were so preoccupied with trying to find the missing panda platy that we didn't notice her illness until it was too late. It's been about a month and a week since her death, and none of the other fish have shown any signs of having what she had.
We have both live plants (ones that the fish like to nibble at) and fake ones for cover, and we got a moss ball to sort out the algae bloom,
<Eh? Won't do that. Marimo Moss Balls are coldwater to subtropical algae balls that grow slowly and don't really do well in tropical tanks.>
which had been a little better and a little worse each week. Since the moss ball, we're having no more algae problems.
We added the guppies to the tank, and the two opal Gourami.
<Male Opaline Gouramis are aggressive.>
Then, our rainbow platy Sailfin matured, and turned out to be male. Not fantastic. With the deaths and disappearances of out other platy fish, and the fact that the little panda platy wasn't fully grown, we now had three male platy for three mature females. Not good at all. The two Sailfins began fighting almost constantly, and nipping at the other fish. When they killed the little panda platy, we returned them to the store we'd gotten them from, and decided to never get any more male platys besides the nice, laid back one we had. Blaze could have a nice little harem, and we were alright with that, and any baby fish born would be extra food for the tank.
And babies that survived to adulthood would get adopted out to a much nicer pet store we found.
My second question, however, pertains to what followed with the guppies in the absence of the aggressive platy males. Once the Sailfins were gone, the guppies (all male, since we wanted no more breeders) began to swarm the already pregnant Summer.
We're honestly a little startled by this. They're all of different colors, nothing like the pale and dotty Summer who's twice their size, but they chase her, and mainly her around.
<Nature. It's what they do. Male livebearers are notoriously promiscuous.>
We have lots of cover in the tank, and they don't always chase her, but they like to follow her the majority of the time. I've seen several topics where people say platies and guppies can't breed,
<Mate yes; produce viable offspring, apparently not.>
and some where they can, but it either doesn't end well for the babies/ mother platy. My question here really is, what should we do? We don't want any guppy females and our tank cannot humanely hold more fish, because we need a little wiggle room for whatever platy babies that survive. Are we going to have to take the guppy males back to get them to leave poor Summer alone?
<Likely. Guppies and Platies want somewhat different conditions anyway, so they aren't ideal companions.>
Next, just three days ago, the bumble bee platy dropped her fry. They were all promptly eaten, and we kind of felt bad, though there was really nothing we could do. Summer then dropped her fry the next night, and all but one were eaten (since, that fry is gone, and we assume also eaten).
Strangely, Safire, who was pregnant first, hasn't had her babies yet--however, now she's got a strange, little pink bubble with an orange ball inside of it, sticking out of her cloaca. We've read that platy can abort their unfertilized eggs, but she's been pregnant for quite a while.
More worrying is the fact that we've been watching her (this part has been happening over the last five hours) and that little bubble thing has not dropped away from her. We're worried that a baby or egg might be stuck, and that this will inevitably kill her when the rest of her babies and wastes cannot exit her body, and unfortunately I cannot produce a picture to show you to see if it's anything anyone has noticed before. Is there anything you know of from the info I can provide that we might be able to do about this? Perhaps we'll just have to wait and see.
<Afraid so. Blockages of the uterus do happen, and there's nothing that can really help. Epsom salt might be used as a muscle relaxant, but that's about it. Do see:
Finally (and I apologize for the length of this), randomly, there's a baby platy in the tank. Not a fry--he's definitely not a newborn, and he's three times as big as the fry we did manage to see before they were eaten. He's also very platy shaped. He looks nothing like any of the mothers in the tank, but we've only noticed him since we started actually looking for fry.
He looks to be a week old, or more, even though the mommy platy in the tank have only dropped their fry in the past two days. We've moved him to a breeders tank to keep the Gourami from eating him. Where on Earth could he have come from?
<A mother Platy?>
Thank you for any help you can provide, Heather
<You're welcome, Neale.>
Re: Fish tank Mysteries: A pregnant platy, fish disappearances, and a random baby from no where. 8/25/11
Hello again, and thank you Neale for your help!
<Most welcome.>
The bad news is that I didn't get this message until just a while ago, so I didn't get to read about the Epsom salt until this morning. The good news is, Saffire's blockage apparently sorted itself out over night, and she had her babies! My husband woke up really early this morning, and scooped about five of them that he saw into the breeding box with the larger baby.
Unfortunately, they can apparently swim through the slots in the box (thus defeating the purpose of the box entirely), so we had to rig up something with our larger fish net to hold them until we can get a breeders net. We only managed to find three of those tiny fry again to put into the net, though we saw three others swimming along the bottom of the tank, unnoticed by the larger fish. We're watching Safire to make sure she hasn't become ill or stressed from the difficult birth. So far, all signs are good.
It's slightly frustrating finding out that guppies and platy fish don't mix now, as the "fish experts" at the three fish stores we had been going to told us that they all went well together, along with molly fish and swordtails. My husband loves the guppies, but I'm willing to take them back and exchange them for more tetras and Cory cats in order to make the tank more balanced and happy. In all fairness, Summer was here before the guppies were, so I'd rather keep her than have her be chased to death.
We're also going to take the moss ball out of the tank, as, if what you said is truer than what the pet store told us (and it very likely is), the algae bloom simply cleared up on its own (or because we put a few more plants in the tank, and the ones we already had just got bigger. Lucky us).
<They can be kept together, but there are differences that make maintenance in their own aquaria better. For a start, Platies need cooler conditions, 22-25 C/72-77 F, which is similar to things like Neons, Corydoras and Danios. Guppies, by contrast, at least in the case of farmed, fancy Guppies, are less disease-prone when kept at middling to high temperatures, 24-28 C/75-82 F. Next up, they're behaviourally different. Male Platies are not quite as aggressive as male Guppies, and male Guppies can be surprisingly boisterous for their size, as you're learning. Water chemistry should be more or less the same, hard, alkaline conditions, but Guppies are often easier (less disease-prone) when kept in slightly brackish water, something Platies don't need (but can tolerate if they need to). Finally, Platies are predominantly herbivores so their diet should be based around green foods, for example Spirulina flake food. Guppies are more carnivorous, and while Spirulina flake suits them just fine, they also enjoy live foods like mosquito larvae that should be used only sparingly with Platies.>
I checked the whiskers on the Cory cats to make sure that they were alright, because we do have gravel in our tank, and thankfully, they look fine, at about a little less than half an inch long. Luckily we have a device that lets us clean our gravel well, so that probably helped with any excess bacteria in the gravel. All three of the pet stores we've gone to have every different kind of their Cory cats in tanks with gravel, and I remember one store telling us to get fine gravel, but to make sure it was gravel and not sand, because the Cory cats apparently liked to "throw the bigger pieces of gravel around and it was fun to watch."
<Actually, Corydoras prefer sand or mud. In tanks with sand they'll swallow the sand and spew it out their gills, extracting particles of food and, as a bonus, keeping the sand well oxygenated and spotlessly clean. Throwing around gravel is a sign of desperation, as the Corydoras is trying to do what comes naturally, which is to sift through sand and mud.>
They've never actually thrown any gravel, so essentially, we bought gravel with the poor Cory cats in mind, and it's ended up being the wrong thing.
My husband does think that a sand bottom would be beautiful, however, and we're going to try to switch it out, or mix it. Is it a good idea to mix gravel and sand, or should we just avoid it entirely and stick with sand?
We have no other bottom fish besides the Cory cats, so it would be just for them.
<You certainly can mix them, or just go straight to silica sand (called smooth or silver sand here in the UK, but often traded as pool filter sand in the US). A mix looks quite naturalistic, so can be fun, especially if you add a few round pebbles to the mix as well, so it looks more like a real river bed.>
We're also going to look into trading out the emerald cats for the Corydoras sterbai you suggested--they're beautiful, and if they would be happier in our tank than the emeralds, we don't want to be hurting the emeralds by keeping them there.
<If these are what Americans called Emerald Catfish, then they're Brochis splendens, a species that does perfectly well between 22-28 C/72-82 F. By contrast the Bronze Catfish, Corydoras aeneus, is a low-end tropical species best kept at 22-25 C/72-77 F. The two species are similar, but Brochis splendens is stockier in build and its dorsal fin has a much longer base. Google the two species by their Latin names to see the differences; they're easily told apart.>
We recently found a fish store that has about 230 tanks completely dedicated to Tropical fish, and though it's a bit farther away than the ones we had been going to, I'm going to assume (hopefully correctly) that they actually know what they're doing when it comes to tropical fish. It's family run, unlike the chain pet stores we were going to.
<Just as when buying a home or car, don't expect the seller to provide all the information! Buy or borrow an aquarium book, and read it. At minimum, find out what a fish needs in terms of schooling preferences, how big it gets, necessary water temperature, whether it's a soft or hard water species, and whether it's tolerant of community tank species. Most any tropical fish encyclopaedia will tell you this. We all have our favourites -- mine is the Baensch Aquarium Atlas vol. 1 -- but there are plenty of them out there for every budget.>
All in all, by the end of the week our tank should be holding the two big Gourami (watching the male for aggression--we were told opalescent Gourami were not as aggressive)
<I think you mean Opaline Gourami, Trichogaster trichopterus. Females are fairly easy going, but males are notoriously unpredictable, and some are very aggressive. Catfish and tetras are usually fine, but other Gouramis and sometimes cichlids like Angelfish may be harassed. Sexing isn't hard, males have much longer dorsal fins.>
the two dwarf female Gourami, the single male platy, four female platy, six tetras, and five sterbai Cory cats, with lots of plants and a sand bottom. There will be a few baby platys, but they'll be adopted out when they get to be about an inch big. If anything sounds off about this set up, please let me know so I can try to fix it!
Thank you again, to whoever might be helping me this time,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fish tank Mysteries: A pregnant platy, fish disappearances, and a random baby from no where. Eek--Addendum to that last message: 8/25/11
That many fish means the tank is going to be overstocked, isn't it? What should I be taking back/getting to make sure my tropical tank is happy, healthy, stress free, and includes the platy fish we already have?
<For smallish species up to 3, maybe 4 inches in length, the old "inch per gallon" rule is about right. You can keep a bit more livestock than this, but do use a nitrite test kit to make sure the aquarium filter can cope.
Any nitrite reading other than 0 means the tank is overstocked, under-filtered, or overfed, perhaps a combination of all three.>
I've been doing some research, and my husband and I did a lot of research back in the day, as to what went with platies. We found some places that said angel fish were good, and some places said angel fish bit platys.
<Angelfish are generally good community fish, but they are territorial and they are predators -- big specimens will easily eat Neons and male Guppies!
Their behaviour has also become a bit variable over the decades, perhaps because of inbreeding. So while wild fish are invariably shy, peaceful fish, some of the farmed Angels, particularly for some reason Black Angels, are downright crotchety. Approach with caution. For what it's worth, the wild-type Silver, the Golden Angel, and the Marbled Angel all seem to be fairly reliable community tank residents, neither unusually aggressive nor as delicate as some of the fancier sorts like Veil-Tail and Koi Angels. Do also bear in mind that paired Angels command a territory about 12 inches out from the nesting site, and that means they can easily take over a small aquarium! Angels are not difficult to keep, but do prefer somewhat warm conditions, 25-30 C/77-86 F, so aren't the best tankmates for low-end tropicals like (most) Corydoras, Danios or Platies. With all this said, they're probably the most widely available "good" cichlid choice for community tanks.>
Some places say guppies are fine, and no we know that that isn't really the case. Do platy fish really go with anything?
<Lots. Danios and Corydoras share the same preferences for coolish water, as do numerous South American tetras like Penguin Tetras, X-Ray Tetras and Red Phantom Tetras. Bristlenose and Whiptail catfish thrive in such conditions, as will Otocinclus, these latter far better than in warmer tanks. Yo-yo Loaches also enjoy coolish conditions, as do many of the barbs, such as Rosy Barbs and Golden Barbs, and then you've got various Australian Rainbowfish that'll thrive in these conditions too. It's a big surprise to many aquarists that there's no such thing as one perfect temperature for all tropical fish -- in fact there are subtropicals, low-end tropicals, adaptable middling temperature species, and then the hothouse flowers like Cardinals, Rams and Discus that won't do well below 28 C/82 F. Research is the key. If you think about fishkeeping as like setting up a zoo, you wouldn't expect random zoo animals to get along in one enclosure. Same thing here. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fish tank Mysteries: A pregnant platy, fish disappearances, and a random baby from no where. 8/27/11

Thank you for all of your help! My husband and I will be looking at/buying a few more books now to make sure everything will be sorted out with our tank, and we will definitely be taking your advice!
<Do be sure to look over our selection of favourites, here:
You may also find profit from joining the WWM Forum, where you can talk things over with both experts and newcomers to the hobby, and this is a great way to hear different opinions and to share ideas:
Cheers, Neale.>

Platy, repro. 8/23/11
Why won't my platy give birth? She's been pregnant for nearly two months. She sits at the bottom of the tank on the gravel for a lot of time each day. I've attached a photo of her before I moved her to another tank
<May simply be fat, bloated, constipated, dropsical'¦ not necessarily pregnant. Read, review, act accordingly'¦>

Help with a pregnant platy fish. -- 08/13/11
A few days ago , I bought a pregnant platy but she's very pregnant! I put her in a breeding net when I got home and an hour later she was at the surface clamping her tail. She's bright red/orange with a black tail and she's very healthy. Her huge belly is affecting her spine a little bit but anyway, I removed her
>Mmm, not a good idea to handle pregnant livebearers<
and did a 50% water change and put her back in the net. I moved her to a bigger breeder net and moved the net close to the heater and filter and put some plants in the net. Today I got home and she was clamping her tail again at the surface of the water so I did another 50% water change. I know she's close to giving birth , but why is she hanging around at the surface , clamping her tail, and have a white little bump by anal canal?
<Insufficient data. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re Platy help -- 08/14/11
Sorry its me again , just wanted to know if keeping two pregnant platys together is a good thing?
<?; yes... are social animals>
I bought another pregnant platy today and these two platys seem to enjoy each other's company. Do they relieve each other's stress from new water, tank surroundings , and the stress from the pregnancy?
<Got me; maybe so. Bob Fenner>

Newbie breeder... Help! 8/7/11
Hello Wet Web Crew,
<Hello Nicki,>
I'm in college so I have a two gallon tank.
<Great! Just the right size for some cut flowers. Unfortunately not suitable for fishkeeping. Thanks for writing! Oh, hang on, you're not done yet. Hmm'¦ fear you aren't going to appreciate what follows.>
A week ago I bought a male and female Mickey Mouse Platy they are both very small, like one inch each no bigger than an inch and a half.
<Will get a bit bigger, but even now, MUCH too large for 2 gallons. 15 gallons would be humane, and 20+ gallons generous.>
Yesterday a saw a fry swimming around the top of the tank.
<Indeed. Unfortunately, finding fry doesn't mean anything positive or negative. While good fishkeepers will find lots of fry, when fish are stressed, they often miscarry, and one or two such fry might be big enough to survive. So there's two ways to look at this piece of information.>
Its name is Lucky because it got sucked into the filter, but I was able to save it and it survived.
I went and bought a one gallon bubbler tank to put it in and incase she decided to have more.
<Unfortunately, this was good money after bad. Maybe buy a fishkeeping book instead?>
Now the fry is by itself and sits at the bottom of the tank, is that normal?
I wasn't expecting her to give birth for another couple weeks, so I'm wondering if she could have had just the one fry or ate another before I noticed. She looks skinny again so I don't think I should except anymore any time soon right?
<Platies can produce broods some 4-6 weeks apart.>
Ever since she gave birth both platy have been hungry all the time and sometimes try to eat their poop, when I feed them once a day so what's that about?
<Fish will sample all sorts of things with their mouths. They don't have hands. In a small tank, boredom and lack of space can be contributing factors, so just like the way you see lions pacing in cages and apes eating their faeces when kept in zoos, odd fish behaviours can mean that fish isn't "happy", i.e., stressed.>
Now the male wants to chase her everywhere and I think it is trying to breed again, but she swims away.
<But presumably can't swim far, and so gets harassed again and again. Be under no illusion about the physical stress male Platies inflict on female Platies. Keep them in 15+ gallons, stock lots of floating plants, and keep (at least) two females per male.>
What can I do to make sure the fry grows and is healthy and how can I help my big Mickey Mouse Platies to get along again?
<Start by reading.
Next up, get a bigger tank or take those fish back to the store. You can't humanely keep them in 2 gallons, and if you try, you'll likely end up with dead fish. I really hate being the one who has to scold people around here, but at the start of college term, we do get A LOT of messages like yours. I know you mean well, and I really want to encourage you to get into this fantastic hobby. But a 2 gallon tank really doesn't have any value at all, and if you'd read a book before spending money, you'd know that. Perhaps the retailer mislead you, but then that can happen when you go shopping for anything, and if you're buying a car or a house you'd expect to have some personal knowledge and not rely 100% on what the seller says. So anyway, I'm off duty for the next week, so if you write back, you won't necessarily have someone with my dry British sense of humour. But I do hope that this reply does at least give you a starting point to understand what's going wrong, what's going to go wrong, and what you need to change. Good luck at college. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Newbie breeder... Help! 8/7/11
Thanks Neale. I will definitely do some reading on the subject.
They seem to be doing okay for right now and the baby fry does swim around here and there.
<Good. Where there's life, there's hope.>
Maybe I'll return them if they get aggressive again or things don't improve.
<Would be easier to return while still healthy and sellable.>
Then maybe go back to Gold Dust Mollies because I had them for a month and they were getting along when she was pregnant and they are a little smaller.
<Yikes, Mollies in 2 gallons sounds even more unlikely to work. If space is limited, 5 gallons, a Betta, and maybe some frogs and shrimps for novelty, can work well. Cheers, Neale.>
Newbie breeder... Help! 8/7/11
I know I only have a one gallon and two gallon so my question is should I separate my male and female platy w/ her fry for a couple weeks?
<You'll need to add something in the way of aeration and filtration, and change out the water likely daily... with water from the established tank... Better to use a breeding trap in a large-enough established system... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platysysfaqs.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Platy/Mollie crosses 6/30/11
Hey in my community tank I just got a small (young I think) female silver Mollie. I have noticed my Male Red Platy mating with her and no one else is! (3 other males in tank). Can anything come of this?
<Mmm, in the way of progeny? No... there are other possible cross species crosses... Platies w/ Xiphophorus helleri, others... Mollies w/ Guppies, Endler's...>
I would love to see these hybrid fish! Should I take her out to stop any further breeding with other males. Here is a picture of the male.
<Ahh, very nice. Bob Fenner>

Breeding platies 6/17/11
I have a really nice hard to find (at least around here) blue male platy in a 30 gallon with a few other males. I have two blue females in a 20 gallon. The water parameters are great in both tanks.
<Meaning? We do need the numbers, rather than your interpretation. For Platies, you want coolish water (22-25 C); hard, alkaline water chemistry (15+ degrees dH, pH 7.5+); and of course zero ammonia and nitrite.>
I placed the male in with the two females yesterday evening and he was stressed over being in the different tank.
He was swimming up and down the side of the tank for a while. I put him back in his regular tank early this morning. I question is: Are both or at least one female now probably pregnant or would the male maybe need more time to stop stressing out over the different tank?
<Impossible to know.>
I have had these two females for over a month and they have shown no signs that they were impregnated in the store as I have seen no physical changes in them, but I am wondering if they are now?
<Keep all three fish in a tank at least 60 litres/15 US gallons, and stock the tank with lots of floating plants. Nature will take over from there'¦>
The male seemed happy to get back in the all male tank :)
<Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnant platy? 6/10/11
I didn't know where else to look for info so I hope you don't mind me picking at your brain?
<Just not too much... too little left>
Iv had 2 female platys with 1 male platy for months now, When I had them in a 6 gallon tank
<Mmm, they/platies need much more room than this. Not only is it very difficult to keep such small volumes stable and optimized chemically and physically, the fish themselves will suffer psychologically and manifest negative behavior toward/amongst themselves kept in such small quarters. Had you read on WWM...>
they never bothered with each other until I moved them into my 4ft tank and I noticed the male chasing the female platy!
Then only days later I noticed she would become quite fat with dark spots at the end of her stomach! So I was assuming she was pregnant but then the next day she would become quite skinny (still with the black spots they don't seem to go) so I was just wondering what would be happening? She's fat 1 day them skinny the next and she's had the black spots about roughly 4/5 weeks.
<Sounds like over-eating... pregnancies do involve a darkening of the vent area, but not such an oscillation.>
Oh and another thing where the black spots are, the area there in can become quite pink but again the next day every thinks fine and changed again! It does seem she's been pregnant for some time now and I'm quite worried about her.
Thanks for reading hope you can help :)
<Mmm, well, you could give either the male or female a "time out"... Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

re: Mickey Mouse Platy, repro...... bb..... 6/3/2011
Hi again!!!
So im telling you some little doubts and observations in my fish..
<Ah, now, the forum is the place for such things. You'll get more responses there, and you'll be able to share with a community of other aquarists. See here: http://wetwebmediaforum.com/
It's fun!>
I have been feeding my fish between days(one day I feed them and one day no) and have been changing 25% percent of the water(3 gallons) And two days ago I saw my platys in the back of the tank playing a chase kind of game and then the male platy started to fling his gonopodium fin to her!!!
<Is what they do.>
It was a worthy moment to watch But the question is were they mating?
<Oh, yes!>
And what behavior can I expect in the next days.
<Much the same. Males are "frisky" and will try to mate with females all the time, provided the males are basically healthy and happy. That's why you need at least two females per male, otherwise the females tend to get stressed, and may even miscarry.>
I read online(on your site) that the gestation period is from 28-30 days!
<Yes, but does vary depending on water temperature.>
Thanks for everything!!!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Mickey Mouse Platy.................. 6/3/2011
Okay thanks a lot but is she officially pregnant after that mating process?
<Almost certainly. Obviously, constantly being pregnant is hard work for the female. Hence my advice to keep twice as many females as males, and to put lots of floating plants in the tank to create hiding places *at the top of the tank* where Platies and other livebearers prefer to live.>
Thanks for everything!!!
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Mickey Mouse Platy 6/4/2011

Hello again
Sorry for bothering you again I don't know what to do.
I followed your advice and bought another female platy (not Mickey mouse) So I left her inside the bag but in the tank for 10-12 minutes an and later took her out with a net.
But the problem is she is constantly teased by the other fish. The only one who doesn't tease her is the pregnant platy.
Please help I don't know what to do!!
<Switch off the lights for an hour or two, and cover the tank with a sheet so it's dark. Leave like that. With luck, she'll be accepted once you turn the lights back on. Remember, male Platies will harass female Platies. It's what they do. Keeping more females than males help, and using floating Indian Fern also helps. Platies need at least 15 gallons and realistically 20 gallons to spread out, otherwise aggression can be a problem. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Mickey Mouse Platy 6/5/2011

Hi Neale
Got good news!
Just wanted to let you know that my new female platy(Karev) has been accepted and now hangs out with the other without being nipped.
My other female platy(Melissa) has been growing fatter but I hadn't noticed the gravid spot yet. And got my allowance today and tomorrow I'm going to buy something's like frozen bloodworm food, anti Ick treatment(cause I noticed white dots on my fish) and the nitrite test kit.
<Salt + heat work well and cheaply for Whitespot.
A Nitrite test kit is always valuable.>
I am so happy with this hobby
And got a question: Karev is a Platy like Melissa and Leandro (male platy fish) but she doesn't have the Mickey Mouse Mark like Melissa and Leandro but Karev can still breed with Leandro even with that difference?
<Yes, they're all the same species and will breed together. Think of the different Platies as being like different dog breeds.>
That doubt had my head cracking thinking..
Thanks for the time on reading all my emails
<Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnant Platy 6/3/2011
I have two female platy and one molly male. A female gave birth yesterday and I noticed she had pooped out a white/clear tube (either before or after giving birth). Today, I noticed something clear/white coming out of my other Molly (whom I had suspected was pregnant) and just shortly after I initially noticed it, she then pooped out a white/clear tube.
<Most likely faeces, especially if clear, stringy, and, if examined, a bit slimy. When their guts are irritated, fish produce copious mucous-rich faeces often described as "stringy". Sometimes intestinal parasites are to blame, but more often than not, a better diet with more fibre will fix things. Platies are herbivores, so you should be providing a diet based around vegetarian flake food rather than regular flake food (don't worry, other fish can eat this flake too). Live brine shrimp, live daphnia, or wet-frozen brine shrimp are a good laxative.>
I have searched for hours online trying to figure out 1) what it is (possibly a birthing tube?) and 2) if it is related to birth and if that happens just before or after they give birth.
<No and no. Platies do not have a placenta. Essentially they merely hold the eggs inside themselves until the eggs hatch, and then the babies swim out. There are fish with placentas, like the Goodeids you may see in the shops, e.g., Ameca splendens, and these are born with little "umbilical cords" still attached. But Platies aren't like this.>
Neither platy has had the traditional signs of not eating, getting quiet and resting either before or after having birth. I have currently separated the female that just dropped the tube in hopes to catch the fry before the other fish do.
Can you please clarify the above questions?
I even called several pet stores and no one knew what I was talking about.
I know I have seen it two or three times now, each around the time I find new babies.
Your help would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!!
<Do read more, here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Breeding a couple of "rare" platies 5/31/11
I happened to find two male rare platies at the LFS a while back and have not been able to find anymore, not even online. They are pale blue, clear fins, and no "Mickey Mouse" dots near the tail. I have no idea why the Mickey Mouse spots are popular in the US but they are.
<What you have are simply less selected fancy Platies, quite possibly crossbreeds that are closer to the wild type. It's like when you take a bunch of pedigree dogs, strand them on an island, and then if you come back after a few generations, they'll all look more or less like wolves, or at least feral dogs. The Platies we see in the shops aren't very distant from the wild type, and it doesn't take many crosses between varieties to end up with a greenish fish that resembles the wild Platy.>
Anyway I was thinking of getting a couple of females as close to the male coloration as possible which will probably not be that close and breeding them. If the blue is a mutation then I may just get a bunch of orange fish or orange and blue or black mixed.
<It's unlikely you have a unique mutation, though it's possible I suppose.
It's more probable your fish simply doesn't have the features typically seen in purebred varieties.>
In all the stores near here they keep the male and females in the same tank so they are pregnant at purchase. They would have to birth those babies and then be bred with the two blue males.
<Sort of. Females of the Poeciliidae are able to produce several broods from a single mating. The biology of this is complicated, but the upshot is that up to six broods will be descended from a particular male, and it'll take at least that many broods (i.e., about six months) to "clear out" the female completely so that she's ready to be mated with a new male. In practise that's not what breeders do, and instead breeders use what are called virgin females, i.e., females that have never been mated at all.>
A guy at an online fish business said they are trying to breed blue platies in Florida, but they get mostly black and that someone in Indonesia has a pond of them that he ships to this business all at once, and has soon as they arrive in California they are "out of stock"
<Blue Platies aren't particularly scarce here in England, so can't think what the problem is.>
Seems that Asia really has a variety of colors
Is it fairly common for fish keepers to selectively breed for a certain color??
Is blue a mutation that is hard to get??
<Getting a mutation to order is obviously impossible, but the blue body gene has been produced at least once already, and fancy Platies carrying this blue gene are not rare at all.>
I guess maybe it is a crap shoot
<By definition, you can't predict a mutation. But once you have the mutation (i.e., new allele for a particular gene) and you establish whether a particular allele is recessive or dominant, it's actually not difficult to predict how many offspring from a particular mating will inherit or display that feature. These are the laws of Mendelian inheritance you should have learned about in high school (certainly part of the core curriculum here in England). There are books on the topic aimed specifically at fish breeders, e.g., 'Aquariology: Fish Breeding and Genetics'.>
Thank you!!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Platy Babies 5/30/11
We have platy babies that are over 2 months old now, there are 11 left from the original 12. All of the babies except two of them are growing well, some bigger than others obviously. I'm concerned about the two of them that are still the same size they were at 3 weeks old. They are just not growing and dwarf in comparison to the others (barely 3 - 4 cm).
<This does happen...>
Will they survive if they have survived this long?
Also, at what age do they begin to breed?
<Can w/in two-three months>
I have noticed some of them have some rather large round belly's all of the sudden. I haven't been able to tell yet which are male or female.
<Look at the anal fins... males are tube-shaped... gonopodia... organs for genetic transmission>
They are only barely an inch in length growth wise. I'm so confused, please help. This was our first successful live birth. P.S. The momma Platy keeps trying to mate with our tetra is that normal?
<Not atypical. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

sunburst platy 5/22/11
do platys self prgnate?
<No; but females can "store sperm" in their tracts... for successive batches of young>
we have a sunburst that had 45 frys with no other platy in tank now it looks like she is pregnant again. what do we do
<? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Baby Platys born dead 5/8/11
I have or had a pregnant platy. I put her in a breeding net last night.
This morning I woke up and there were seven dead babies.
<Mmm, does happen... often, moving livebearers so/too close to parturition can result in such mortality>
She looks like she is still pregnant, she is still just as big as she was last night. Could she still be having babies?
And why were the first seven dead? Thank you!
<In a word, "stress". Best to "time" when the last batch were "produced", and place said mothers in these nets a week or so ahead of time. Bob Fenner>
Re: Baby Platys born dead 5/8/11

Thank you so much.
I took her out of the net, I hope that was the right thing to do.
<Best not to keep moving>
I put a bunch of plants in the tank so that if she has more babies (hopefully live ones) they will have a chance at surviving.
Tania L. Rogers
<Life to you. BobF>

Pregnant Platy 2/23/11
I have a pregnant female platy who looks like she will be dropping her fry very soon.
She has been hiding out under plants and rocks for a couple of days now and is very plump.
<What they do. Floating plants help significantly.>
However I noticed the beginnings of some mysterious white protrusions around her anus and sides
<Curious. White fluffy threads like cotton wool imply fungus, not uncommon among Platies when kept in soft water. Camallanus worms are pinkish and emerge only from the anus. Bacterial rot simply produces dead white skin, which may well peel away in strips.>
and put her in a breeding box to keep an eye on her.
<Do understanding breeding traps stress fish: they make them more likely to sicken and die. Breeding boxes are fine for putting newborn fry into, and you can grow them on there for three weeks, ample time for them to get big enough to then release safely with their parents. But as places for adult fish? Not a good idea.>
The white protrusions have gotten bigger and appear to be part of her intestines.
<Not good.>
There are two little protrusions and one big one that has a loop in it. I am quite alarmed and cant find anything on this by searching the web. I am not sure if its possible for her insides to push out (mammals can have prolapsed privates
during pregnancy) or if there is something else going on with her.
<Livebearing fish have a single urogenital opening known as a cloaca. It can happen that stress, poor diet or some other factor causes the embryos to die within the uterus, and once that happens infections are common.
These are almost always fatal to the female livebearer because the rot inside the uterus clogs up the anus, causing further damage and preventing defecation. My gut reaction here would be to euthanise the fish, using 30 drops of clove oil in one litre of aquarium water. Submerge the fish in this, and it'll be unconscious within a minute and dead within ten. Note the old school methods using ice are not humane. In future take care to buy healthy female livebearers, feed them lots of algae-based foods, and most crucially of all, ensure they aren't stressed. Keep them with at least two females per male, and use floating plants to provide proper hiding places *at the surface* where the female can hide away from persistent males.>
Thank you for your time!
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Pregnant Platy 2/24/11

Thank you so much for your response. I ended up releasing her back into the main tank because I didn't want to stress her out further. Unfortunately she died in the night, which was somewhat expected. Hopefully this will not happen to my other platys. Thanks again for your time!
<Too bad about the Platy. Yes, I too hope for better luck with your fish!
Cheers, Neale.>

Help!!! Baby platies 1/30/11
I was cleaning out my 30 gallon tank and moved my platies to the 20 gallon long for now. During the draining I found six baby platies and kinda freaked out (I have all females, so obviously some were pregnant) They are about 5 mm each.
I put one in a jar with too warm water and accidentally killed it.
Then I used the jar and caught them with the same water from the tank.
The five are in the jar swimming and my question is: How do I feed them in the 1/2 gallon jar until they are ready for the tank???
<You don't. Place them in a floating breeding trap. As a stop-gap for a day or so if needs be, you can use a net weighed down with a few grains of gravel. The idea is to keep the baby fish somewhere the adults can't find them. Water will flow through the net, bringing warmth and oxygen, while carrying away waste products. They won't live long in a jar, believe me.>
I guess I am a little freaked at the moment. Also while draining the tank there were many string like grayish inch long worms swimming around. Is this normal for an established tank or a problem???
<It isn't uncommon for free-living nematodes and planarians to live in fish tanks. They generally do little harm, but if there are LOTS of them, they do indicate a lot of waste in the gravel, and that in turn suggests
maintenance could be a little better.>
Also, What I find weird in the stores is they separate the male and female guppies, but put the male and female platies and mollies in together <Indeed, is weird and hopeless. Unfortunately, this is the least of the
sins committed by the average aquarium shop. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy fry? 1/18/11
I searched your site but couldn't find this situation. I have a 4 gallon aquarium that I keep on my desk at the office. I had three tetras, and one became quite the bully and I eventually lost the other two. I let the
bully alone for a few months and then added two sunset platys. The pet store owner said that should work well. Seemed to get along fine at first but then the aggression showed up again. I showed up at the office this morning and the platys were dead. After cleaning up the tank a bit I noticed a fry! At first I just thought it was some floating debris from when I disturbed the gravel. I have removed the bully tetra to another tank, but what are the odds that this little fry will survive? Anything special I should do? I have no experience with fry!
<Hi Julie. Four gallons is a bucket, not an aquarium, and the reason your fish are killing one another and/or dying mysteriously is that the tank is too small. Tetras do indeed turn aggressive when kept in groups of less than six. This isn't news. Likewise, Platies are aggressive in small groups sometimes, especially if the males aren't outnumbered by the females by at least two females per male. So get rid of the fish you have, and choose livestock likely to work in this tank. Frankly, Cherry Shrimps and/or a single Betta is all that has any chance of being successful and more importantly HUMANE. Please read here:
The fry should survive for a while without problems, but once they get to a certain size the smallness of your aquarium will come into play. Adult Platies will bully the juveniles, or water quality will drop and they'll be poisoned. Either way, their fate is in your hands. Hope this clarifies things for you.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Platy fry? 1/19/11

Thanks for the information and quick reply!
<Glad to help.>
So I guess my next step is also to find a different fish store that knows what they're talking about since they told me I could easily have 4 Platies or 4 tetras or a combination in my "bucket".
<Well, advice from anyone selling you something has to be taken for what it is. You wouldn't trust a guy selling you a new car or a house. Buying a fish tank is no different. Buy or borrow a book, understand the basics, and then go shopping. For beginners, a 10 gallon tank is really the minimum if you want a variety of stuff. Four gallon tanks with Cherry and Bumblebee Shrimps can be beautiful, but they aren't what most people expect when they buy their first fish tank.>
Should have come to you guys first.
<The door's always open.>
And maybe I'll look into getting a bona fide aquarium as well. Thanks!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Blue Wag platy question, sel., genetics f's 1/16/11
I recently discovered the Blue Wag Platy. It is a beautiful fish, but it seems that it is really hard to find. Many people on fish discussion boards are asking others about it and no one knows where to get them, unless you live in a place that has a LFS that happens to sell them. I was wondering why they are so hard to find. My spouse says it is because blue must be a recessive gene. I was wondering why there isn't more blue freshwater fish??? I guess the other colors make them easier for a mate to find them. Thank You!!!!
<Hello John. Blue Wagtail Platies are an artificial form not a wild type, so evolution doesn't really come into the explanation. Farms could easily produce lots of them if they wanted, but for one reason or another the red and orange forms seem to sell better. That's the basic reason you don't find them so often in the shops. Personally, I prefer natural-looking fish, so I'm most excited when I see the plain green Platies. Each to their own, I guess. There actually are quite a lot of blue freshwater fish, including such favourites as the Malawi Blue Dolphin Cichlid (Cyrtocara moorii), the Lake Kutubu Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia lacustris), and the Blue Tetra (Boehlkea fredcochui). But you are quite right in that blue isn't a very common colour. In fact most freshwater fish are green, brown, or some combination of these two colours. Why? Because most freshwater habitats are quite murky and contain lots of mud, wood and aquatic plants. Fish living in such places have greens and browns that help them blend in. Mottled brown is particularly common among those fish that lurk among the shadows, for example. For the most part though, unless you're an advanced aquarist interested in unusual fish, these cryptically coloured fish won't be the ones you'll be keeping, though there are some exceptions, Common Plecs for example, and African Butterflyfish. Those fish with bright colours such as Guppies and Neons are very much in the minority, and a great many of these have been bred over the generations to be even brighter now than they were in the wild, Guppies being the classic examples. The colours on farmed Guppies are far different to those of wild Guppies. With that said, because males tend to have the colours and not the females, it's widely assumed that bright colours evolved because females selected males with bright colours, such males having had to be strong and smart simply to stay alive long enough to reach sexual maturity. Anyway, to summarise, your Blue Platies are uncommon because they don't sell well; there are lots of blue freshwater fish; and the reasons why fish have particular colours are complex and have much to do with issues such as camouflage and sexual selection. Cheers, Neale.>

male and female platys, sexing 8/29/10
How do I differentiate between males and females? I have placed them in a glass container but cannot tell the difference in body shape. What does the male have that the female does not and is it easily distinguishable?
Have been a lifetime guppy breeder and just decided to try platys as a friend gave me some.
<Males have a tube-shaped anal fin, just like that of male Guppies. Females have a triangular anal fin. Should be apparent in either case within 2-3 months, but sometimes males take a while longer to fully develop. As with other Poeciliidae, females also tend to be larger. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: male and female platys
Thanks for response. Should be easier for me now, babies are about 5 weeks old and have separated them into a pond by themselves. Now to start the culling.
<Glad to have been of help. Good luck with your fish breeding. Cheers, Neale.>

Male or female platys. 8/20/10
I have three beautiful blue adult platys, one male and two females in a 20 gallon tank. I thought they were all the same sex. Wrong.
<Ah yes, have to be careful. Males can take a while to develop, and may look like females even when half-grown.>
They are very good at multiplying and the fry are very good at surviving.
<Can be so. African Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Golden Wonder Panchax and various other surface-feeding predators will shift the odds though.>
I wasn't expecting the latter. I have about 15 fry now, and both females are pregnant. I have decided the best birth control is abstinence and to separate the males and females by taking some to a local pet shop. I expect to only keep three or four. Is it best to keep only males, or females?
<Ideally, females tend to school together nicely and generally behave better, whereas males are not schooling fish and can be feisty.>
The males are prettier, but I could also prevent 3-4 females from being baby machines their whole lives. :)
<Indeed. Females can stagger the development of embryos so that there may be at least 2-3 broods per mating, and possibly as many as six. So even six months after removing the males you could still have fry.>
I know from having guppies, that continuous birth puts a lot of stress on livebearers.
<Yes and no. Being harassed by males if there's nowhere to hide certainly does stress them. But if the tank is big, well-planted with floating Indian Fern or similar, and the males are outnumbers at least two to one by the females, then the females aren't in any great stress. Indeed, wild females are likely pregnant more or less continuously once sexually mature. It's not like with female mouthbrooding cichlids where the poor mom can't feed while incubating. So the bottom line is that in good conditions, leaving the males and females together is fine. Add some predators to eat unwanted fry and that problem essentially vanishes.>
On another note, I was noticing today that some of the fry look more opaque than their siblings and their gills look a little red. They are the size of a grain of cooked rice. They are acting normal, as far as I can tell. My water quality is good. The only recent stress was an Ick treatment two weeks ago.
<May simply be a reflection of the colours of the fry. Normal wild-type livebearers are indeed more or less transparent when born, and develop their markings only slowly. But certain artificial forms may have colours from an earlier stage. If your Platy collection contains a variety of colour forms, then the fry will be genetically very variegated.>
Thank You,
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Mickey Mouse Fish Worry - 7/27/10
Hello WWM.
<Hi! Melinda here today.>
My question is, that I have 2 male guppies, and 2 Mickey mouse fish, but I can not tell the Mickey Mouse Fishes' gender.
<You'll want to check out the platy's anal fin (the non-paired fin on the underside of the fish, near the tail). The females' will look triangular, but the male has a more crooked and more cylindrically-shaped anal fin (called a gonopodium). If you just got these fish from a fish store, you may have to wait until they develop more, as fish stores typically sell younger individuals that aren't yet mature.>
Please help me with this.
<I did a cursory search on google images with "male and female platy" and found some great photos of the fins in question. If you do the same, it would help you get an idea of what I'm talking about so you can compare your own fish to the photos.>
Also, One of the Mickey mouse fish had a long piece of string on it's tail, with a weird black thing on the end.(I'm not talking about the picture of Mickey Mouse on its tail.) My mother insists that they're eggs, but I say they're poop. Which on of us is correct?
<I would first recommend that you read here, as well as the linked files above: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/platyreprofaqs.htm.
Platys don't lay eggs, but are, in fact, livebearers, so it sounds like you may need to do a little more reading on the fishes you're keeping. Here's a link to our information on guppies:
Having information "stored away" on the species you keep helps you avoid issues with their health, because you can provide the right environment, food, etc., for them. Then, if something does go wrong, you're not scrambling to learn the basics, and can rule out various issues which are caused by environment.
To begin with, you'll want the temperature around 80 to 82 degrees, and 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, and Nitrate of less than 20. Please see my note below on keeping sufficient numbers of both guppies and platys to lessen stress on the females, keeping in mind that a tank which is at least 20 gallons is really best for keeping these fish in proper numbers. Now, on to what's going on with your fish: you describe the string as being on the tail, but then mention both eggs and poop, which certainly wouldn't be on the tail, but rather, the underside of the fish, so I'm unclear on where the problem is. If all you're feeding is dry fish food, your fish could be suffering from constipation or other issues, and it's always a good idea to feed wet-frozen foods along with dry foods, anyway, to provide more variety and promote digestive health. If the string is no longer hanging, and the fish is pooping normally, then it was likely nothing to worry about, but do research the fish you're keeping and ensure you're providing the necessary space, water conditions, temperature, etc. to keep them healthy.>
P.S. We feed them all tropical fish flakes when we all wake up, and also before we go to bed. Is this OK?
<Again, this isn't the best diet for them. Please read here:
This will give you a good idea of what to feed to avoid issues with constipation and ensure your fishes' health. Lastly, it is really best to keep livebearers in groups larger than two, and to keep two females, at least, to every male. Otherwise, the females are just harassed and miserable. So, if you have the space, it would be a good idea to go ahead and add enough females to reach that ratio for both the guppies and the platys. If you have any questions after reading, please don't hesitate to write back.

Platy Question regarding reproduction -- 05/21/10
I have two platy's in my tank along with two guppies. One of my platy is a yellow/orange and is a dwarf. The other platy is a Mickey mouse platy and is slightly larger. The dwarf platy is constantly following around the Mickey mouse platy. When we bought these fish at the local Petco/PetSmart, we were not told if they were males or females. Can you tell me what the sex is of these platys? Also, am I stressing the Mickey mouse platy because it is constantly being chased. Any help you can give me would be appreciated. Thank you
<Hello Kristin. Sexing Platies is easy. Males have a crooked, tube-shaped anal fin called a gonopodium, essentially a penis in function if not in anatomy. Females have a regular, triangle-shaped anal fin. All Platies mate with each other, so whether it's a dwarf or not is neither here nor there -- the males of all species will follow the females of all other species about. Keep two females (at least) per male, otherwise the females tend to be severely harassed, and when pregnant, this leads to miscarriages. It's really pretty mean to keep Platies or really any livebearer any other way.
As for general care, read here:
Cheers, Neale>

Will my fry be okay? Platies... 5/19/10
Hello there,
I am very new and extremely inexperienced when it comes to fish. I have a 10 gallon tank with a filter, neutral gravel, heater that is set at 78 degrees,
<Too warm for Platies.>
light, one artificial plant, and a "castle" that has ledges on the back for the fish. I just noticed today that my Sunset Fire Platy is pregnant.
I have done research on the pregnancy, birth and care of the fry. However, my concern is if they will be okay will all the other fish in the tank.
<No, not safe: the tetras will eat the baby fish.>
Aside from the Sunset Platy, I have a Black Skirt Tetra, Blood Fin Tetra, and an Albino Cory.
<These are all schooling fish. The tetras should be kept in groups of at least 6 specimens, and the Corydoras in groups of at least 5 specimens. The Black Skirt Tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) is also a notorious fin-nipper,
so wait for bites to appear in the poor Platy's fins.>
That being said, here are my questions:
1.) Is it necessary to put the mother into a separate tank when I feel she is about to give birth and then remove her after doing so, so she does not eat all the fry?
<You can move the female to another aquarium 8-10 gallons in size. But nothing smaller. If you stress the female, or move her too close to the time she's going to give birth, she will miscarry. It is preferred to remove "dangerous" fish, and leave the female alone.>
2.) If I do have to set up an additional tank, how exactly should it be set up and what should be in there? (I read that I need to put a Java Moss and keep the tank at 80 degrees but nothing more)
<The breeding tank needs to have a heater and mature filter, just like the other aquarium. The preferred temperature for Platies -- i.e., what they need to survive for a long time -- is around 22-24 C/72-75 F.>
3.) If it is not necessary to remove the mother, is it likely that my other fish will eat the fry?
<Gosh, yes, the tetras will eat the fry.>
Any and all help is greatly appreciated because I have NO clue as to how to go about this. Thank you in advance!
I'd get rid of the tetras, keep just a group of two female Platies and one male platy, add at least four more Albino Corydoras, and lower the heater to 22-24 C/72-75 F, the ideal for both Platies and Corydoras. Install some
floating Indian Fern. The baby fish will not be eaten by the Corydoras, and provided the Platies are well fed, they should ignore them. When you see fry, which will hide among the floating plants, you can move them into a
floating breeding trap for 2-3 weeks until they're big enough to set loose. You've already made some bad mistakes here, but nothing that can't be fixed. Cheers, Neale.>

Female platy behavior 5/15/10
My female Mickey Mouse Platy is pregnant but she chasing the male away whenever he gets too close. Is this normal?(my mom said that all pregnant ladies can get temperamental)
<It isn't the female being "temperamental". Male livebearers, including male Platies, want to mate with the females all the time, even when the female is pregnant. This is stressful -- and probably annoying! -- for the female. Understandably, she either tries to hide or attempts to chase him away. If severely stressed, females can miscarry, so this is quite a serious problem. To avoid problems, you must do the following: [a] Make sure the tank is big enough for the Platies, not less than 15 gallons, and preferably at least 20 gallons. [b] Include some floating plants at the top of the tank for the female to use as hiding places. [c] Always, always, always, keep at least twice as many females as males. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: female platy behaviour 5/15/10
can I put the female in a separate tank by herself or will she get upset?
<Provided the separate aquarium is big enough for her, not less than 8 gallons, a single female can be kept on her own for a few weeks until her babies are delivered. For long term care though, Platies should be kept in tanks not less than 15 gallons. They don't need to be kept with their own kind, but female Platies are certainly happier if kept with other females.
Cheers, Neale.>

Stages of platy pregnancy 04/18/10
I have a 125 litre tank with 2 Angel fish, 2 Danios, 1 female bristle nose catfish, 1 yoyo (Pakistani) loach,
<A gregarious species; add a couple more.>
and 6 sunburst wag platys (2 boys 4 girls) and all get along fine
The platys we only got 6 days ago and we have since realised that we believe two of the females are pregnant from the gravid spots both of them seem to be showing
<Hmm... livebearers bigger than Guppies don't really have a reliable "gravid spot" so be careful about seeing things that aren't there. On the other hand, female livebearers kept with males are generally pregnant all the time. That's why it's so important to keep lots of floating plants -- so the females can get some rest away from the males -- and to keep twice
as many females as males -- so the males can't harass any one female constantly.>
Trouble is we obviously have no idea how long these females have been pregnant for so have no idea when they are likely to drop, any suggestions as to what to look for?
<The females will become noticeable swollen within 2 weeks of parturition.>
Also (as shown in the photos) the two fish that we suspect to be pregnant look relatively quite different so is that they are at different stages of pregnancy? (We suspect that pregnant platy 1 is more advanced than the pregnant platy 2- would that is right?)
<Could easily be pregnant.>
The pet store which we bought the platys from has said that they would take the fry off us when they reach a reasonable size so that would not be a problem.
Just that I am very aware that if they do drop and we haven't moved the mum I believe I could pretty much guarantee that the Angels would start eating the fry (the Angels aren't fully grown but would still probably find a new born fry a tasty snack... which isn't really what we want.)
<Correct. Angelfish feed on small wriggly things at the surface. Mosquito larvae. Midge larvae. Baby fish. All the same to them. They are astonishingly good at catching such food: their narrow shape let's the sneak up unnoticed, while their tubular mouth creates strong suction when opened, slurping up the prey. The use of floating plants such as Indian Fern will help a lot, but you need to look for the fry daily, and then place the fry into a breeding trap or net. They'll need to be there for at least 6 weeks, perhaps more, to get big enough not to be Angelfish food [big, wild-type Angels can easily eat Neon tetras]. Do not put the pregnant female in a trap: easiest way to stress her and cause miscarriages! Trust
me on this. If you're happy to settle for just a few fry per brood, then the Indian Fern/breeding net approach works fine. If you want to sell large numbers of fry, you do need to move the females to a 10 gallon or so tank with a sponge filter, heater, and lots of Indian Ferns. Remove her once the fry appear, and rear the fry in the 10 gallon tank. Growth rate depends on water quality, among other things, so water changes and filtration are key.>
Yours truly,
<Do read:
Cheers, Neale.>

Dear WWM,
I love your website and the passion you show when it comes to Fish and answering the query of your devoted readers! Congrats on a job so well done.
<Kind of you to say so.>
I have a query regarding my Female Red Platy. I think I do see a dark gravid spot, cant tell exactly the eye of the fry since she is red.
<Platies don't really have a gravid spot. The gravid spot, despite the name is just a dark patch around the anal fin that is visible when the uterus is pushed against the muscle wall. This happens during the late stages of pregnancy. It is only visible on small livebearers. The bigger the fish, the thicker the muscle wall, and the less obvious the gravid spot. It is visible on Guppies, but on bigger species, not so much. The ONLY way to be sure a female is pregnant is to see her body swell up.>
I want to know when to move her to a safer place for the delivery as she is in the main community tank and the chances of fry survival there are NIL with all the other fish in there.
<Under NO circumstances move a pregnant female into a breeding trap. These traps and nets are lethal! By stressing the female you INCREASE the chance of problems, specifically miscarriages. Instead stock the tank with floating plants. Indian Fern is idea. Check the plants twice a day, and put the BABIES into the breeding trap. After about 3-4 weeks they should be big enough to be let loose with their parents.>
She looks plump but not so plump as some other pregnant platys I have seen before and she seems to have a white plug protruding from the anus. Is that an indicator of a sure shot pregnancy?
<No. Just faeces.>
There also happens to be an Active male pursuing her and courting her right now. Is it common for males to try to mate even when the female is pregnant?!?
<Yes. And also very stressful, and more likely to cause miscarriage. Keep two or three females per male. Again, floating plants help.>
Please answer my Query with urgency as I have to decide what to do with her before she delivers and all the fry are eaten up!
And linked articles
Best regards,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: PLATY QUERY 4/14/10
Thaaaaaaankyou so much for getting back so fast! Love ya!
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy Birth 3/26/10
<Hello Krystle,>
I bought a Mickey Platy approximately 5 days ago. The pet shop said that she looked extremely pregnant (which I thought would be fun to see).
<To be honest, it's almost the default condition for livebearers, unless you specifically purchase what are called virgin females. These are females that haven't been with sexually mature males, and are the ones to buy if you intend to breed a particular kind of fish. Different breeds of Platy will all mate with each other, so that the offspring they produce will be cross-breeds, and consequently less valuable. On the plus side, cross-breed fish are often hardier and can be just as pretty as a true breed fish. It's much like comparing a pedigree cat with a moggy, or a pedigree dog with a mutt.>
Since getting her, I have done plenty of research about platys and their pregnancies (much of my information was obtained from your website - which is very helpful)! I came home from work today to find a fry hiding in my plants.
I immediately put the momma in my 3-way breeder in hopes of preventing the consumption of the fry at birth.
<Oh no! Don't put mom in the trap; just the babies.>
I was also able to round up the single fry from the tank.
<I see. Don't put the fry in with the mom either.>
My question is: how much time should pass in between fry drops?
<In my experience, they all come out in one fell swoop, often overnight. So if you find one, but no others, chances are she gave birth and some other fish (or even the mom) ate them. Do remember these fish have no maternal
instinct; in the wild the baby fish simply hide in places where the adults can't go, like floating plants, so the adults never had to evolve any sort of "don't eat my babies" behaviour. To the adults, anything wriggling at the surface is edible, be it a mosquito larvae (their normal diet) or a baby fish.>
I know she still has some fry inside of her because I can see their little eyes in her belly.
I have been standing in front of my aquarium, staring at her, for over and hour and a half and there has been no progress. Should she have dropped another one by now? I would really like to catch the big event on camera, so I was wondering how quickly they would drop.
<Usually within an hour.>
I am also worried that I may have stressed her out too much by transferring her to the breeder. Is this possible?
<Very definitely yes. Never do this again! Contrary to the marketing, the breeder traps are death traps for pregnant females. Plus, lifting out or catching a pregnant female can stress even damage her. Miscarriages are common, and damage to the uterus can cause blockages and the babies can't get out, and this is a significant cause of mortality. For different reasons, I lost a female Halfbeak this way, and watching her die this way was horrible to see. Never, ever move pregnant females, at least now when they're within a week of parturition. Keep the female in a breeding tank with floating plants, and then remove the female after all the fry have emerged. Alternatively, leave the female in the breeding tank, and just put the fry in a breeding net once you find them. I have about a dozen Halfbeak
fry in a net in a community tank that were rescued just this way. They're a couple of months old, and in about another month should be big enough to set loose (Halfbeaks are a bit aggressive; Platies can be set loose within
2-3 weeks of birth).>
If so, will the rest of her babies die?
<It is, sadly, possible if by netting her you stressed and injured her.>
I have to have more than one fry!!!
<Fingers crossed!>
Thanks for your help,
<Glad to help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Baby platys 2/18/10
Hi Guys & Girls
This is my first time , so please be gentle with me.
<Will try my best!>
I have 135 litre tank with 3 Zebra Danios , 4 Black Widow Tetras ,
<Tend to be nippy, these, so be careful.>
2 Peppered Catfish , 2 Bristle - Nosed Catfish , 4 Platys , 8 Neon Tetras.
The filter is an Otto PF800N Power Head with 2 sponge filter cartridges , a flexible air stone that goes the full length of the tank & some live plants . I also have 3 baby platys 10 weeks old in a breeder net in the same tank
. My question after all this writing is , is it safe yet to let them into the main tank , considering the variety of fish . In anticipation , Noel
<It's difficult to predict entirely, since the key factor is the size of the baby fish rather than their age. That said, Platies will ignore their own babies once those babies are more than, say, two weeks old. Tetras and Danios are more opportunistic, and anything that looks edible will be added to the menu. A baby Platy doesn't look very different to a mosquito larva, so to a Danio, it's all just food! But provided the baby fish are about 1.5 cm long, they should be okay. Adding some floating plants to the tank, such as Indian Fern, will dramatically improve the odds of success. Since Platies will produce new batches of fry every couple of months, you may decide to take a chance now and see what happens, knowing that in a couple more months you'll have lots more anyway. Some folks find a certain amount of "population control" helps keep things from getting too overcrowded.
Alternatively, if you're hoping to sell the fry and make some money, moving the baby fish to their own 35 litre/10 gallon tank will be very wise and maximise your profits. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Baby platys 2/22/10
Hi Neale
Thank you for your quick response.
<Happy to help.>
I will try the babies in the main tank , following your suggestions of course , tomorrow and see how we go . I look forward to talking again soon .
<Cool. Funnily enough, I got a batch of baby halfbeaks last night. Must be the time of year!>
P.S. I've read a lot of stuff on your site and you and the crew are great at the way you all explain things and handle different situations .
<Kind of you to say so.>
Thanks again .....Noel
<Cheers, Neale.>

Ahhhh! About baby Platies 1/27/10
Well thanks to all your help here at WWM, I am the proud owner of 1 baby platy.
You guys have been so helpful in my aquarium and I can't thank you enough.
Now I feel obligated to tell you the story...
Today, I was sitting on my occasional "Fish Watch" which I do sometimes daily to calm down, and just to make sure my fish are a'ok. Well today I was looking through my aquarium, and saw a pair of eyes in the gravel!! So
I said to my self..."what is that?" Then I realized that it was a little baby Platy. I quickly rushed and scooped my fish out of the aquarium, turned off the power, and took out my ordainments. Through minutes upon minutes, I found a little fishy burying it's self in the gravel. I quickly ran downstairs and grabbed a plastic, clear cup. (That's just a temporary fix until I buy a breeder net) and I came upstairs and could not find the fish! Now this is a 20 gallon aquarium, which is kind of hard to find a pretty much clear tiny baby fish. Within an hour, I finally found "him"(not
sure of the sex yet, guessing "he" is only about a day old). Surprised that he was actually hiding in the, lets say sucker part of the filter. Now I was so happy that I had actually turned the filter off. I grabbed "him" and put him in the cup. At the moment he is happily swimming, but has yet to eat any of the miniscule amounts of food.
<Finely powdered flake works, but they also enjoy Artemia nauplii as well as green algae from the roots of floating plants.>
Now I cannot thank you enough for all your help. I just don't know how, and I thought you would feel happy in these signs of life. Now I do have some questions for y'all...
1. When do you suppose I will be able to put him into the tank? -he is an estimated day old, with parents in a 20 gallon aquarium only with platys.
<Give it 3-4 weeks.>
2. When is the estimated time I can predict his sex?
<Sexually developed within about 2 months.>
3. How often should I change the water in this little cup?
<Take a skewer or similar, and make a few holes in the cup so water can move in and out. Sturdy plastic cups are required for this: I find those measuring cups that come with some detergents are great for this, but obviously don't use one that's had detergent put in it. Done this way, slooshing new water through on a daily basis should be fine.>
4. How much should I feed him?
<Little but often.>
Thanks for all your help, and support. This site is the best, most reliable site for support with your fish related questions. I will be suggesting this site to everyone; well I have already suggested it to many...but will really open my mouth.
Now I don't really realize witch mother "he" came from. Is there any way I can tell without waiting until he is grown?
Thank you so much, and I apologize for the lengthy message. I just needed to tell someone!
Thanks again, god bless
<Good luck with your baby fish! Neale.>

UFOs, FW, on the bottom 1/20/10
I have 3 Mickey mouse platys and we noticed the other night that there was a bunch of little grey balls that look like fish eggs but I know that platys are live bearers. do you know what they can be?
<Could be anything, really. Fish faeces perhaps? Granules of some kind from a leaky chemical filter package? Maybe snail eggs (these are usually wrapped in a jelly blob). As you note, Platies don't lay eggs. Cheers, Neale.>

Different babies together... Platy repro. 12/20/2009
Hello crew!
I have many Platy babies! Lots!
<Is the way of things.>
My girlfriend and I have a 46 gallon community tank, that houses probably 20 or so species. We have 5 Platys, two different kinds. We fell for them right away. After a short while, our (Sunburst, I think they called it) female Platy gave birth. She is a basic platy, orange and black, a little over 2 inches. we also had a mating pair of dwarf Platy's who's female was due soon.
<Not really "pairs" in this species... always kinder to have two females (or more) per male. Otherwise the males tend to harass the females.>
We counted about 12 young, who are all adorable orange with developing black spots. Not more then 10 days passed and our Dwarf Platy was solid and black bellied. Just to see what would happen, we put her in the breeding
tank, which has the box that allows the babies to safely pass through the bottom... no more than 3 hours later, Dwarf Platys.
<I see.>
Now the Sunburst young have been eating like crazy, growing fast and becoming adventurous. Do you think they pose any threat to the Dwarf young?
<Not much. There will be some squabbling over food, and the smaller ones can lose out, even starve. But livebearer fry of different ages aren't cannibalistic. Well, not Platy fry, anyway. Pike Livebearer fry are VERY
cannibalistic! But that's a whole other thing...>
I only ask because of the size difference. The sunburst must be 3 times the size of the others. Also, would it be a good idea to throw a snail or something in the tank to control waste?
<Why would a snail control waste? Anyone who tells you this is either lying so they can sell you something, or else ignorant. If a plumber told he was going to stick some snails down the lavatory to control waste, you'd laugh.
In fact when raising fry, best results come from clean tanks with optimal water quality provided through regular water changes and brisk filtration (air-powered filters are ideal).>
Like I said, I've never had baby fish to take care of. I'm not sure what to expect.
<Do read here:
Breeding Platies is fun and not difficult. The floating traps are largely useless, and you certainly shouldn't put the females in them. At best, you can put the fry in them for 3 weeks until they're big enough to set loose with the adults. But by far the best approach is to add clumps of floating Indian Fern. The fish breeders friend!
Cheers, Neale.>

I don't want frys with that... 12/19/2009
Good morning!
I have two Platies, 3 tetras, and a nice bamboo shrimp in my 10 gal tank. I bought the tank with the equipment included, filter, heater, etc, so my equipment is probably pretty basic. When I got my second platy, my otherwise-helpful (and VERY knowledgeable) fish guy at the pet store didn't tell me she was pregnant.
<This is pretty much a constant state of existence for these livebearers!>
However, about 1.5 or 2 months later, I now have little tiny baby Platies!
<It could be the work of the male you've got, or some other male... The only way to know for sure is to take the prospective fathers on "Maury!">
While they are adorable, I really don't care to make the effort of having an additional tank, keeping the babies, figuring out what to do with them, etc.
<This can become a huge project, so I totally understand. When our Angels first spawned, we looked into raising the fry. We realized that it just wasn't something we were interested in doing -- lots of little tanks, lots of water changes, etc.>
From what I read on your site, they will just get eaten up by the other fish - while sad, that seems like the most reasonable option to me.
<This is the option we've taken with our Angels. It is sort of sad, but the eggs (ours never get to free-swimming stage) provide good nutrition to the other fish in the tank. At least it's not a total waste.>
I know I'm heartless, but is it OK to just let it be, and let nature take it's course?
<Not heartless... and sure.>
Will the other fish be OK, no additional complications?
<They'll be fine, and will enjoy the nutritional benefits.>
I know this cycle will occur again, as my two Platies are a male and female.
<It will occur again, and soon. Often these male livebearers become a bother to the females when there are only one of each. You may want to consider another female or two, though these really aren't the best fish for a ten-gallon tank. In order to avoid becoming unbelievably stressed, the females must be of a larger number than the males, and have places to hide and "get away from" their amorous tankmates. Also, be sure that you've got the "right" kind of tetras, in terms of water chemistry, temperature, etc., by searching WWM. Keep an eye out that your tetras don't turn into angry fin-nippers (some will, some won't -- more research would help you determine the risk).>
I'm just a single gal with a 10 gal tank, not a breeder - is it OK to just let it go?
<Yep. Just keep reading!>
Anna Brown
Tiffin, IA
<You're welcome!
Re: I don't want frys with that...
Thank you so much for your reply!
<No problem!>
I've been reading on your site about the best fish for 10 gal tanks. Thanks for all the detail! I have to admit, it's a bit frustrating though, because I've gotten SO MANY conflicting ideas about what fish are, and aren't, suitable for my tank. When I established my tank, one pet-store person said a couple guppies were good starter fish, then when I took my dead guppy back in for a refund another guy said it was a terrible starter fish and he never would have recommended it.
<Fancy guppies aren't terribly hardy, so I guess I'd agree with this.
Platies aren't very hardy, either, unless they're kept in the right conditions... really, I guess no fish is.>
He told me Platies were good fish to keep in my 10 gal. You guys disagree, and a co-worker had yet other ideas. What's a girl to do?
<Haha it does get confusing, I know. Basically it's going to come down to your research and you making the decision... the only I reason I don't recommend Platies for ten-gallons is the inability of the females to get a break from the males. It can lead to stress. Also, the mix you've got here is sort of at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to water chemistry... I'll explain that below. However, different things work for everyone!>
Still, I appreciate all the detailed info you have on your site - it will definitely help me be a more informed fish-buyer. I will likely get another female platy and a couple more neon tetras (to go with my existing 3). That should max out the tank for now, I think. <What are you keeping pH and KH at in this tank? You'll need to find a happy medium between the Neons' needs and the Platies' needs... with the Neons enjoying softer, more acidic water, and the Platies enjoying harder, more basic water... so keep this in mind. It's always easier to mix fish that like the same water chemistry.>
Thanks again!
<You're welcome!>
Anna <><

How long are Platys usually in labor? 11/17/09
Good Evening,
<Good morning!>
My husband and I came home from work tonight and found a new addition to our fish tank. About 7:30 this evening we noticed our platy had given birth to one baby.
<As is their wont...>
We are now wondering if Mom will have more or do platys sometimes only give birth to one baby.
<Typically around 20 fry are produced, but the numbers vary wildly.>
We ran to the pet store and bought a nursery net and put the baby is there.
We checked our tank thoroughly and only found the one baby.
<Likely others already eaten. Adding floating plants such as Indian Fern will help dramatically in this regard, by providing hiding places for the newborn fry.>
Mom has red stringy discharge coming out of her vent.
<Most probably simply faeces, particularly if you feed a colour-enhancing flake food.>
But do we need to keep an eye out for more in the next few days or not?
<Sounds wise to keep an open mind, yes.>
Thank you, Tina
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Momma platy 11/10/09
my wagtail platy just had seven or so fry born. All seem healthy. This is the second set in about two months. Only one of two survived. However this morning, (three days after the last birthing) she has what seems like
a sac of eggs attached to her rear. Has she exploded and will she be alright?
<Difficult to say without a photo. Under some circumstances, female livebearers become infected after giving birth, or they seem to pass out things like that look like failed embryos. If you're lucky, things clear up
by themselves. But if the thing doesn't drop off within a day or so, the fish eventually dies, because the blockage gets in the way of the anus, preventing the digestive tract from working. There really isn't much you can do about this, and euthanasia is essential. You can't pull the blockage out without damaging the fish, since it's clearly attached to the internal organs.
In short, if the female looks fine by the time you get this message, you should be okay, But otherwise, things don't look good.
Cheers, Neale.>

Platies, repro./breeding gear -- 08/26/09
I have used your site before and would never research any other site for information because yours is always so informative and helpful.
<Kind of you to say so.>
Thank you. I have a question about my pregnant platy. She gave birth about 6 weeks ago (had 2 survivors) and now she is about to give birth again. My question is can I separate her in the holding cage I used for the fry ( a mesh sided cage with air flow and some fern floating) or will she in turn just eat the fry after being born.
<Floating plants such as Indian Fern, even a bunch of plain vanilla Elodea pondweed, will provide the best solution to this problem. If you pick over the plants first thing in the morning, you'll likely find good numbers of fry. As for "cages" and "traps", these are a mixed bag in terms of usefulness. Yes, some have compartments that trap and isolate newborn fry safely. On the other hand, anything bigger than a female Guppy will feel very stressed inside one, and this in turn increases the chances of miscarriages. Obviously, this defeats the object of the exercise! That said, if you use plants to hide newborn fry, and then transfer the fry to a floating trap or cage once you find them, you have a useful combination of approaches. After 3-4 weeks, most livebearer fry are easily big enough to cohabit with their parents, and indeed other small, non-predatory fish.>
I want to separate her for several reasons: the male in the tank won't leave her alone, even in her hiding places.
<Normal behaviour on the part of the male. As I've written here *repeatedly*, you absolutely must keep *at least* twice as many females as males. Also, only floating places at the *top* of the aquarium help; caves, rocks, bogwood, and bottom-level plants aren't of much use at all, since livebearers are surface-swimming fish by choice.>
It's hard to get the fry out once she gives birth - they hide out in the gravel and it's hard to recover them and most got eaten. I would appreciate any suggestions you can give me. Again your site is the BEST!
Sincerely, Donna
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: platies -- 08/26/09
Thanks for the advice. I do have 2 females and now both fry that lived last time a females also. He just seems to favor that one though.
<Often happens; adding one or two more adult female Platies will still help.>
But again thank you for the advice. I have just about a hand full of the fern floating at the top is that enough? I think it's called peacock fern, that was all that was available at the time at the store.
<No, Peacock Fern, which are species of Selaginella, typically Selaginella willdenovii, are not aquatic plants, and simply die underwater. They are land plants. I have no idea why pet shops sell them to aquarists, but it's a total con. The fern you want is specifically Ceratopteris thalictroides, the Floating Indian Fern, but as I said, plain Elodea, as you'd stick in a Goldfish aquarium or garden pond, works just fine too.>
I didn't put her in the cage so I left her in the main tank but she is hiding under a piece of wood - a new place the male hasn't discovered yet!
<Platies are surface-dwelling fish; their upturned mouths have very specifically evolved to allow them to snap up things like mosquito larvae from the surface. So, a Platy that spends its time on the bottom is a
stressed Platy. Bear that in mind, and act accordingly.>
Again thank you for your quick and always useful information.
<Glad to have helped. Cheers, Neale.>

Are My Platies Bloated, Pregnant, Sick, Overfed, or Just Fat? Pregnant.
Platy Questions\Breeding\System 8/23/2009

<Hi Camron.>
I have two female neon redtail moon platys. Gorgeous fish! I have had them for a little over a week now. They are a little over 1 in. each. I feed them a diet of tropical flakes, Spirulina flakes, and goldfish flakes. With occasional treats of brine shrimp and brown seaweed (which I hear is okay to give herbivorous fish.)
<That's fine.>
I house them with 4 goldfish (2 males 2 females) who are quite gentle with the platys.
<This is a cooler water species of Platy, but I hope this is a large tank.>
They get pushy around feeding time (but that is just normal goldfish behavior) and the platys still get their share of food. I also have 1 male sunburst wag platy housed with them. He has been a perfect gentleman to the two females.
<Hmm.... probably not.>
He has not shown breeding behavior as of yet.
<That you have seen in any case.>
But that is fine. He is lively and active even though he has not shown interest in breeding yet. My concern is with the two females. The two females have gotten fat during the time I have had them. Yet I do not know
if it is because I have fed them too much,
<How much are you feeding them?>
if they are bloated, if they are pregnant, if they are just growing, or if they are just fat. I have includes a picture of the two females (named Jen (Jenifer) and Kira). What is going on with my two girls?
<Look pregnant.>
Should I prepare for babies, do they need a diet change, do I need to feed them less? Please just let me know what is going on (if you can) so I can do what is best for my two little ladies. Thank you.
<Have a read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/platyreprofaqs.htm >

Re: Are My Platies Bloated, Pregnant, Sick, Overfed, or Just Fat?
Pregnant. Platy Questions\Breeding\System 8/23/2009

Thank you so much for you prompt reply!
<Hi Camron, no problem.>
I thought they might be pregnant too. However, I have never had platys before. I thought it wiser to get a second opinion from someone who has actually seen platys that are expecting. Now that you have seconded my opinion, I will be watching them. I will move them to another spare tank I have if they continue to grow in girth.
How far along do you think they are?
<Impossible to say - The article I referred you to should give some details.>
Should I move them now, instead of waiting?
<I would set up the tank soon, so it is cycled when it is time.>
As to how much I feed them . . .
Hmm . . . Well, they eat as much as they want to and then do not eat anymore. I feed them twice a day. I have small fingers and tend to give fairly small pinches of food. I shall list how I feed them presently. Let me know if it is too much so I can cut back if needed. I give them 3 to 4 pinches of Spirulina, mostly because the goldfish will eat the sprinulia too.
And the goldfish get their goldfish flakes twice a day (usually 2 to 3 pinches per feeding). The goldfish always eat the majority of their flakes.
The platys will sometimes eat a little of the goldfish flakes, which I hear is okay to give platys as a supplement to their diet. And usually the platys get their tropical flakes at each feeding (again I usually give 2-3 small pinches of food per feeding). The only reason I give the platys more than 1 or 2 pinches of food per feeding is because the goldfish (being the opportunists they are) will eat some of the tropical flakes too. The goldfish get a few granule-sized pellets once a day during their morning feeding. The platys have tried to nibble at the pellets, but they don't seem to like the pellets much. And once or twice a week I will give all my fish freeze-dried brine shrimp (crumbled into very fine pieces or powder), live plant material (such as brown seaweed, blanched lettuce, peas, maybe very small pieces of orange), or occasionally brine shrimp eggs. The platys seem to like the eggs a lot and seem to like the brown seaweed. The male platy is very active and goes after all types of food he can fit into his small mouth. The two females seem a bit more shy. The females don't go after the food much when they are full. This is most likely because they are still getting used to the tank.
<provided your water quality is good and remains so, you are feeding them a nice balanced diet.>
The male platy does not constantly chase the ladies or pick at them that I have seen. Is it possible he would breed with the females when I turn the lights out and it is pitch black?
<Or just when you aren't watching.>
Also, one of the platy females (Jen, the darker one in the picture I sent) hurt her fin.
I am treating her hurt fin with MetaFix (sorry if I didn't spell that right).
<Melafix - it is useless as a medicine. Provided your water quality if good, the fin will heal up quickly on its own.>
Let me know if this will harm her or her offspring so I can make all necessary corrections.
<Stop with the Melafix.>
Also one of my goldfish (a beautiful white calico with patches of brown, orange, and blue on him called Elrond (El)) seems to have hurt his tail fin. It was probably from when I accidentally sucked him up with a small (mini) gravel vacuum I have. I had to work quickly to rescue the poor guy. Anyway, he is fine now. I am also treating his fin with MetaFix as well. His tail had been very red on the side with the hurt fin before I caught the injury to his fin. It is now much less red and he seems to be doing well.
<Good news, but again, this is just the healing process, not the Melafix.>
Other than Jen and Elrond's fins, nothing new to report currently on the health of my fish. Thank you so much for all your wonderful
<Enjoy the experience! Write back if you have other questions.>

Fish stuck in mother 7/29/09
I just got home from work and went to check on my pregnant platy. There is a baby "stuck" halfway out of her and i am unsure of what to do. I have been home for an hour and it is still "stuck". Is there anything i can do?
<There's nothing you can do. When the baby is ready, it'll come out. If it's stuck in the mother by the next day, you might be able to use forceps or even your fingers to pull it out, but if there's any resistance at all,
there's a chance you'll do harm to the mother, so be careful. Cheers, Neale.>

re: Fish stuck in mother 7/30/09
Thanks. Ten minutes after i sent the message the fish was fully delivered and all babies are doing great!! Thanks again.
<Glad to hear it. Good luck! Neale.>

platy's, repro. 7/12/09
Hi I have a relatively general question about platy fry; I am new to this whole fish tank thing. We have just had our tank for about 4 months and have been through several fish we also had a bought of ick (we think). Now we have one male and one female platy a baby Dalmatian molly (don't know where he came from) and a sucker fish.
<What's a "sucker fish"? Do avoid the Sucking Loach, Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, an extremely aggressive fish that reaches 35 cm and once above a certain size does little to remove algae. Also avoid Plecs, typically species of Pterygoplichthys, as these also get very large, 40-50 cm, and do little to control algae but will totally ruin water quality in a small aquarium. Both these fish need tanks upwards of 210 litres/55 US gallons.
In most tanks, the only, repeat ONLY, worthwhile/safe "sucker" are the Bristlenose catfish, Ancistrus spp.>
Well I suspected that our Mickey play was pregnant but wasn't sure but I saw a small fry under a decoration piece today. Now how do I take care of this fish and I am not sure if there's more - do I just leave it where it is and watch him?
<Juvenile livebearers are very easy to rear. They eat algae and finely powdered flake food, and in a spacious, mature aquarium generally find enough to eat without any further help from the fishkeeper. Floating plants are the key, and things like Indian Ferns will provide both food and shelter for baby livebearers.>
We kind of did that with the molly fish. The fish store "guy" said to just leave it alone and it would do fine. We have put nylon on the filter for fear of the molly being sucked in.
<Actually, healthy livebearer fry are at almost no risk of being sucked into filters. Assuming you have floating plants, they'll stay up there anyway, well away from the filter inlet. Unless the filter is massively out of scale to the size of the aquarium, the water current won't push the fry about either.>
Now we will watch the platy. Also do I have to expect that these fish will keep on reproducing?
<Pretty much.>
We have a 29 gallon tank and I thin we've figured out how to keep the water quality good now. We haven't added any more fish since the ick outbreak. I would take any info that you can give me on how to keep this baby alive.
<Mostly read, watch, and experiment; Platies will produce fry about every 6-8 weeks, so you have ample scope to try out different things. If you don't want babies, just keep males or else just females, though females can store embryos from a single mating for several months before they "run dry". Do see here:
Kind regards
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: platy's 7/12/09
Hi thank you so much for the information.
<Happy to help.>
We have what I believe is a clown Pleco - which they said is a community fish and peaceful so hopefully that is the case.
<Yes; the Clown Plec is usually Panaque maccus, a very good community tank species. Gets to about 10 cm in length. Feeds mostly on plants and wood rather than algae; Hikari algae wafers are a very good staple, coupled with bogwood, sliced courgette (zucchini) and cooked peas. Panaque catfish are very distinctive and interesting animals; do read here:
Occasionally other catfish are sold as Clown Plecs, notably Peckoltia spp, but basic care is very similar.>
I discovered another fry so it seems we have at least 2 I can see.
<Expect more! If you add floating plants, many fry will survive; if you have too many fry, adding something predatory, like an Angelfish, will reduce the numbers.>
This is the first site I've been on that has actually given me a quick, detailed informative answer to my questions. Thanks for all the help and will more than likely be asking more questions.
<Feel free!>
Sincerely, Donna
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: platy's, repro. 7/14/09
Hello again I have another novice question that I couldn't really find an answer for on the site. Do I need to separate my baby platy fry in fear of the other adult platy's eating them?
<Some people do. If you have lots of floating plants such as Indian Fern most will survive long enough (a few days) to be netted out and put in a rearing tank (or placed in a breeding trap) for the 3-4 weeks it takes to get them big enough to be safe from the adult Platies (just an FYI, there's no apostrophe in a plural, it's one Platy, two Platies.>
I swore that I saw the "Dad" chow one down today.
<May well be...>
Also should I get another female to stop the male from chasing her constantly?
<That's what I recommend; at least two females per male. There's a reason I say that, and you've no figured it out! Again, floating plants will help by creating resting/hiding places at the surface, where Platies will use
Also can my male platy reproduce with my female molly?
Again we only have the 2 platy a baby molly and the Pleco. Again thanks so much for such a GREAT site.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Population Control - Platies and Corydoras 06/29/09
Thanks for all your help.
<Most welcome.>
I'm not digging any options.
I'm not cut out for handing over fry to sell either to idiots or for feeder fish.
I seem to get emotionally attached watching the babies in all their stages.
<As do I.>
Can I separate the males out and put them in a community by themselves without females to live their lives?
Or will they fight.
<Actually, I find male livebearers kept together make both love and war.
Yep, I mean the bigger males will indeed try and mate with any smaller males they can catch. Whether both parties enjoy the experience, I cannot say. As for fighting, it's nothing too serious, provided there is adequate space.>
I do know Platies are social fish best keep in numbers.
<Actually doesn't matter all that much, provided the tank is reasonably peaceful. Have kept singleton Mollies, Platies or whatever in community tanks many times.>
But I'm concerned they will fight? I'm thinking this as a temporary solution as I find a way to get my existing Platies into good homes or keep until they die and slowly introducing fish that are not livebearers.
<One way around the problem.>
The Platies are absolutely gorgeous in my opinion.
<Yes, they are. But inevitably, you'll end up with too many. Each brood numbers, what, a couple of dozen, and females will produce batches of fry every couple of months. Without some sort of population control, you can end up with hundreds within a year. Euthanising newborn fry may well be the least emotionally tiring way to do things; do see WWM re: humane methods of euthanasia.>
What age (months, weeks?) are Platies sexual reproductively capable?
<Around 2-3 months for males, slightly later for females.>
Thanks in advance,
<Cheers, Neale.>

Platy non-repro. 6/24/09
<For equines?>
I have a pregnant platy who showed a birthing tube and then let go a brown blob thing. On closer inspection and a bit of research i noted that it was a deformed baby.
<Could be>
As it has eyes, and that but its stomach area was severely bloated. It now been over 8 hours and she's still showing behaviour of being pregnant and showing her birthing tube. Will she have more babies?
Is it taking so long because they are all dead?
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Question from a teacher about platies: What should I do with them? 09/19/09
<Hi there>
I've seen tons of questions about platies but can't seem to find the answer to this one. I began the school year with 4 platies and a plecostomus in my
20 gallon tank.
<Mmm, do try to discern which species of "Pleco" you have... some get way too large for a 20>
I've tried several times to keep a fish tank at home with no luck.
<Mmmm, a diminishing small percentage of "success" here is due to chance... Mostly a matter of study, application>
I'm not sure if its the water or what. Anyway, right before Spring Break (early March) my daughter noticed tons of "baby fish" in the tank. We removed them to a smaller tank and took them home with us for break. They did okay at home (no heater or filter). When we returned to school, she noticed several more babies in the tank that were much bigger than those that were separated. We decided to put all of the babies that were separated back into the regular tank. They have been growing quite well, many are spotted. Last week, we noticed more babies. We also lost one of our adult platies. Here's my big question.... the school year is coming to an end. I am happy trying the tank at home. My question is how many fish should be kept in one tank?
<Perhaps ten adults... or twice this many juveniles>
I'm embarrassed to even admit this but there are now the 3 adults, 1 plecostomus, and 50 babies in the tank.
<No reason for embarrassment>
Some of the other teachers have suggested sending fish home with the kids. I plan on keeping the adults, plecostomus and some babies. If I do send a
fish or two home with the kids, will the fish survive without a heater?
<Not well or long... but... still worthwhile in my estimation>
If it's not a good idea, what can I do with all of these babies???
Thanks for any answers!
<I'd look around... other teachers, systems at school perhaps... ask the Admin. re... Otherwise, a local fish store, perhaps a fish club (see the Net per your region). Bob Fenner>

Need help my platy is pregnant! 5/14/09
upon buying my fish for my tank the hassle had began. Between trying to get the filter working, getting the temp right, battling ick (or what I thought was ick), then clearing the tank so the snails can go back in, and
finally curing for a fungus my black skirted tetra got I was overwhelmed.
<Black-skirt tetras -- Gymnocorymbus ternetzi -- are schooling fish, and singletons not only get unhappy, but are also VERY prone to being fin-nippers; not a species I'd mix with Platies!>
Then my platy got really fat I look on line, yes she was pregnant. This wasn't the news me a novice really wanted to hear but regardless when life gives you lemons...
<Unless you purchase virgin Platies from a breeder or unusually responsible retailer, female Platies are pregnant "right out of the bag".>
So we have decided to keep the babies we have a birthing trap and a separate tank already set up waiting for the babies.
<Don't put the mother fish in the breeding trap; these things are far too small for them, and the stress of being confined leads to all kinds of problems, including miscarriages.>
What I wanted to know was I have read on line over and over again that it takes about 28 for the babies to come we have had her for exactly 20 days, when should we put her in the trap,
what types of behaviors would she show just before giving birth,
<Often the female rests among the floating plants that you will sensibly add to this aquarium. Amazon Frogbit or Indian fern are ideal. Check these every morning when you turn the lights on, and with luck, you'll see the
baby fish hiding among the floating plants. (The instinct of the newborn fish is to swim up to floating plants and hide among them, where predators won't see them.) Expect to get around twenty babies. Use something like small plastic cup to scoop up the babies, and put them in the trap. You can rear them there for the first month or so, after which point they will be big enough to let loose in the community tank, assuming you don't have any predatory fish in the community tank.>
and lastly how much should I feed the fry when they are born
<"Little but often" is the watchword here; ideally 4-6 tiny meals. Also leave a clump of thread algae or similar in the trap so they can graze through the day. The container of baby fish food will explain all of this
on its labeling. Do also see here:
Cheers, Neale.>

Population Control - Platies and Corydoras
Hi! Hope all is well with the crew members!
I discovered what I believe are a handful of Peppered Corydoras (maybe Albino Corydoras, they are clearish/grey at this stage) fry in my tank tonight.
<Well done! Peppered Corydoras and Albino Corydoras are the same species, usually, Corydoras paleatus.>
After getting really excited, I've turned to a state of worry about the rapidly increasing population. I was under the impression that Corydoras were not that easy to get to spawn?
<My Peppered Corydoras spawn all the time. So no, not that difficult. Other Corydoras species are much more difficult to breed, and some have not yet been bred in captivity. So it all depends, really!>
I certainly haven't been trying after I realized I had enough babies on my hands with the Platy fry. These certainly don't look like my Platy fry usually do, although I do have one bluish/grey Platy (but she is currently
pregnant in my opinion). They don't necessarily look like my Corydoras either, but more so than they resemble a Platy. They are also hanging out in caves and on the floor of the tank.
<That does sound more like Corydoras than Platies.>
In my experience, the Platy fry usually prefer the floating plants up top and would venture out occasionally mid and top level. But then again, I didn't notice any eggs in my tank either.
<Corydoras eggs are usually stuck to the glass and plant leaves, often halfway up the sides of the tank.>
Obviously, I have no real clue who these guys belong to. I am new to all of this (going on four months now) and my current 40 gallon tank that houses the Corydoras and Platies is currently recycling (after a medication attempt and misunderstanding about how long I could turn off my filters).
It seems I am prone to make every available mistake possible in this hobby, so I am still having to do daily large water changes as my ammonia and nitrites are spiking. Anywho, my point is, if even my Corydoras are having kiddos in such a unstable environment, what will the reproduction rate be like when I get everything squared away with water quality?
<Likely similar; in fact, the water changes are a key trigger for Corydoras breeding, because cold water replicates rainfall, which is what makes these catfish frisky!>
I'm having visions of tanks in every corner of my house and as cool as the fish/fry are, I'm not digging that idea.
<I wouldn't worry about it.>
Can you advise my best bet in controlling my population? I've read you can resell them to local LFS, however I would prefer not to do so if I can avoid it as I'm not comfortable with how I see them treat their Bettas.
<Do try posting on forums, such as the one we have here at WWM, or any other that appeals. Most have a "sale/swap" thread, and if you chat with people online, you'll be able to figure out who is a good fishkeeper and who is not. From there, you can offer up baby fish as freebies.
Alternatively, just leave them in the tank. Without specific care, few will reach even an inch in length, at which point they might just start to have an impact on filtration capacity. Thirdly, you can always euthanise fry as you see them. Fourthly, you can observe the tank carefully, and when you see eggs, remove them.>
I recently boycotted any LFS that sells Bettas in a cup and/or tinny tiny bowls. Maybe I should revisit this policy as it seems every store does this?
<Pretty much yes.>
And also, from what I've read, inbreeding isn't a good idea either.
<It's not a great idea, no, you do tend to get a lot of fish with genetic abnormalities such as crooked spines or small size.>
Can you suggest a plan of action for me? Maybe another type of fish that would help keep the fry population down? My PH is usually right at 7.6 and temperature steady at 75 degrees. Any other humane ideas (I'm not even sure adding predators is considered humane)?
<Adding egg-eaters is surely humane; Bristlenose catfish for example should do this rather well.>
I hope this wasn't a stupid question.
Thanks in advance,
<Well done, anyway! Cheers, Neale.>

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