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FAQs on Platy Reproduction, Breeding 2

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

Related FAQs: Platy Reproduction 1, Platy Reproduction 3, 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,

Platy reproduction - why am I only producing females?!?!-- 05/09/09
I have been breeding several of my platies together - 2 males (a white Mickey mouse Hi-fin and a beautiful spotted variablis) and 3 females (regular Mickey mouse, sunset wag, and spotted variablis). I have produced over 40 fry (that have survived), but the unusual thing is that they are ALL female. Not one single male to be seen from 1 day old to 2 month old fish in the tank.
<Do bear in mind that male livebearers might not be sexable until they're three months old, and they all start looking like females. Only once they become sexually mature will the anal fin have the right shape.>
Would this have something to do with tank temperature? I know in birds and reptiles that surrounding temps during egg incubation can have a bit of an affect on ratio of males to females. I didn't think this would be the case
since platies are livebearers. They live in a 29 gallon tank with temps ranging between 70 and 80 degrees (it fluctuates, but not usually out of this range). I'm very confused with this phenomenon and am looking for recommendations/suggestions.
<There's actually much discussion among scientists but no consensus with regard to what affects sex ratios in livebearers. Lots of things have been identified as having an effect, ranging from things like acidity through to
social behaviour. The best I can suggest is that you simply optimise conditions. For Platies, this means coolish water (around 23 C/ 73 F is ideal), a high level of hardness (10+ degrees dH), and a moderately high pH (7.5-8). Provide a ratio of at least two females per male, and feed them predominantly on algae-based foods, such as Spirulina flake, using meaty foods like bloodworms and live daphnia as treats once or twice per week.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Colour Issues when Breeding Platies 4/28/09
I wanted to ask whether male platies are attracted to the more colourful females?
<Male Platies will mate with anything female, given the chance, and tend not to be selective. Female Platies on the other hand certainly are selective. The basic rule in biology is this: sperm is cheap, and males can
make more sperm throughout their lives. But females are born with a finite number of eggs, and each egg is expensive to mature (the yolk, for example, is an energy store). Females may also be responsible for broodcare as well, which means energy is spent protecting any embryos produced. So females parcel out their eggs very carefully, and only fertilise their eggs with sperm from the best males they can find. Interesting, with Guppies at least, females definitely do go for the brighter coloured males. The theory
is that because bright coloured males are "handicapped" in terms of being easily seen by predators, any males that survive *despite* being brightly coloured must be especially fast, healthy or clever. In other words, they have good genes. When teaching this to students, I make the analogy of bright red sports cars. Such cars are of no practical or economic value, quite the reverse in fact, being expensive to run and able to carry few passengers or cargo. But precisely because they're "bad" cars in terms of usefulness, the advertise the owner has disposable income. In other words, a man with a bright red sports car is advertising to females that he has good genes that meant he's acquired wealth and status. Hence, he will be more attractive to females than a man with a more practical, inexpensive motor car. (Apologies to female readers out there who disagree! And men with practical cars! I'm sure my analogy isn't true...)>
I have 5 female platies and 3 males. Of the females, one is a very bright orange/yellow/red colour whilst the other 4 include 3 who are orange with black fins and one which is grey colour. The two males, one being
completely red and the other orange/silver/blue only chase the one female who is very bright coloured.
<An interesting observation.>
Why do the male platies only chase this one platy?
<Is she larger? Males will usually pursue only sexually mature females, and given the option, they might go for bigger females, or at least females who are big enough to advertise sexual maturity.>
They pay no attention to any of the others. And the males seem quite competitive and if not chasing the bright female they seem to be chasing each other away.
<Males are indeed competitive. Typically male livebearers compete with one another for access to *all* the females in a certain patch of area. Again, this is typical animal behaviour: females are choosy, males are
competitive. For males, because they have virtually unlimited sperm, the best thing they can do is mate with as many females as they possibly can, and to do that, the best approach is to drive off any rival males.>
I would like to start breeding the platies, and was wondering whether I should move some of the other females into my breeding tank with the red male and hope something happens. Any advice on how to initiate some activity?
<Platies, and indeed livebearers generally, are kept differently depending on whether you are a serious breeder or just want to add them to a community tank. In a community setting, a ratio of one male to three
females is ideal, and if you do that, aggression and persistent chasing should be minimal. Since all varieties of Platy will interbreed, if you want to produce quality fry of a particular type, you'd keep virgin females
in one tank, and males of the same variety in another tank. When breeding, you'd select a male and one or more females, and leave them together for a day or two. Then separate them again. With luck, the female will produce fry. To prevent inbreeding you'd separate the male and female fry after 2-3 months, because by that time they males at least would have their gonopodia developed and could start interbreeding with their sisters.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Platies: Unfertilized eggs? 4/6/2009
Hi guys, thanks for the awesome site, I'd be lost without it.
<Hi Charlie, glad you find it useful.>
I have a female 'Mickey Mouse' hi-fin platy. I did have a male for a long time too but he died a while back. She has given birth to fry once before that I am aware of (about 6 months ago) but I haven't seen it happen
She still has a belly full of eggs each month or so but I haven't witnesses any birthing or resulting fry.
<Not surprising\Normal>
I was just wondering if she would be likely to be producing eggs still, even if they weren't fertilised.
I understand that female Platies can store sperm for a period of time. Do you know for how long?
<Not for very long.>
I am wondering if the eggs I am seeing inside of her are just unfertilized eggs?
<They are.>
Thanks, Charlie.
<You're Welcome, Mike>

Platy Fry: How big is big enough\Genetics 101 3/24/2009
<Hi Mark.>
I had platy fry on March 8th, and 9 have survived.
I was wondering, as I cannot find it on your forum, as to what colours the fry are likely to be.
<Anyone's guess.>
They all seem an orange colour now, which probably comes from the mother.
<and\or the father.>
I do not know who the father is but could it be more than one?
What I'm asking is, will the fry turn out in all colours, or will the females all be the same and the males represent the fathers colours, or could I have a complete mix?
<Anything is possible. It depends on what colors the father was and both the mother and fathers parents. Since they are already orange, I'm willing to bet the father was as well.>
Second question - when would be a good time to re-introduce them into the main tank? They are alone in a breeder tank and the main tank consists of Platies and Zebra Danios. I read in most places, "when they are big enough not to be eaten" but when is a realistic time?
<Very subjective - The statement "when they are big enough not to be eaten and\or harassed to death" is true. It really depends on what else is in the tank with them. For Platys and Danios, four weeks should be more than adequate.>
<and to you>

Anchor worm and platy fry 12/30/08 Good evening, <Hi,> I'm new to the hobby and about a month ago I introduced a female wagtail platy into my cycled tank. Little did I know, I soon had a brood of fry :) Wanting to ensure the safety of the fry and it being a well planted tank, I moved the mother to another tank. <Floating plants the way to go with these livebearers; instinctively the fry seek shelter in the leaves/roots of floating plants, and it's easy to see them there and scoop them out. The fine roots of species such as Limnobium trap algae and organic detritus, providing lots of good "grazing" for Platies, both newborn and adult.> A few days later, in the fry tank, I noticed small crustaceans which I first thought we daphnia--either way the fry were happily eating them! After a lot of reading on my new hobby, I spotted a male adult anchor worm in the tank today. Needless to say, I removed the little b*****! <Are you sure it's an Anchor Worm? Actually NOT AT ALL common in aquaria, and while can be introduced on live food collected from a garden pond, unlikely to come from farmed Daphnia bought in a reputable pet store. Because Anchor Worms need intermediate hosts to complete their life cycle, they die off eventually in aquaria, rarely reaching population sizes large enough to do any serious harm.> I've seen spotted a couple of adult female anchor worms in there and they have gotten the same treatment.. My question is with the platy fry being about two weeks old and only about 4 millimeters (excluding tail) can the anchor worms do any damage or should I treat the tank or move the fry to another tank? <In theory at least, Anchor Worms can harm any fish, in part as parasites themselves, but more seriously by creating wounds that can become infected. But I honestly don't believe this is the issue here. Portions of live food from the pet store may contain other crustaceans alongside Daphnia, some of which might be mistaken for Anchor Worms. They're difficult to treat without recourse to insecticides such as metriphonate, but in an aquarium, the cycle is broken anyway, so there shouldn't be a long term problem.> Thanks for a great web site and, of course, any help, Sam <Cheers, Neale.>

Breeding Velvet Platies/Live Plants (ID, sel.) 12/17/08 Hi Crew! I have a couple tricky questions and am hoping you can help. First of all I have a 29 gallon aquarium and I am currently trying to breed some velvet platies and velvet platy swords. <Should mix Platies and Swordtails; they frequently hybridise, causing problems with the quality of the offspring.> I have two pure swords, three half sword/half platy (one of which is a female), and three more pure velvet platies (another female in here). They are all from the same batch and mother and father. I bred them myself. My question is how do I get them to breed again? <Assuming you keep the male Platies with the female Platies, breeding will happen automatically. The tricky bit is catching the fry before they're eaten.> And what kind of conditions do I need? <Platies and Swordtails both want hard (10+ degrees dH), basic (pH 7.5-8) water of moderate temperature (around 23-24 C being perfect).> have separated my two females and one pure bred male plattie into a separate 10 gallon breeding tank. I have a sponge filter operating so no babies get sucked up my filter (I learned the hard way when I lost a few last time round), I put two layers of marbles down on a clear bottom tank (no gravel) for the babies to hide in, I feed them a variety of live foods to condition them including flake, blood worms, and Tubifex worms, and keep my nitrates and nitrites all at zero with a stable pH of 6.5 by testing my water weekly. <Your pH is far too low for Xiphophorus spp.> I also do weekly 15-20% water changes to suck up any waste and provide optimum conditions. Every other week I rinse my sponge filter in luke warm water. My platies ARE ready to breed as I have observed the slight transparency in their gills changing to a bright clearer somewhat see-through orange. They also seem to be very affectionate towards each other with my male rubbing up against my two females continuously. I was told by my LFS that their should be two females for every male. I also have a few small live plants such as Cabombas and a small Cryptocoryne for the young fry to nibble the algae off of during their first stages after I remove the parents so they won't eat them. My lights are on a timer set for 12 hours a day and my water temp between a steady 22-24 degrees Celsius. Is there anything else that I should be doing to help my platies to breed? Any help at all would be great! <Improve hardness, particularly carbonate hardness. This will correct the pH. DO NOT just add "pH up" potions!!! Carbonate hardness is what's required.> My second question is in regards to a few new plants I recently bought at my LFS. When I inquired as to the names and water conditions of the plants the manager didn't know, saying that they come in bunches of different plants each time. I took a few pictures of the three plants I purchased below. I was wondering if you would have any idea by any change of their names and water conditions from looking at the pics and my brief description of each. I fertilize all my plants weekly with Flourish, Flourish Iron, and Flourish Organic Carbon and have two 20 watt fluorescent lights in my 29 gallon aquarium. All my plants, both red and green are growing very well.<http://ujyq9g.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pqJ_hZNbZ3xlycfEItpAGb5k3VK-Oxza KhwIZe29ZgNI55sVv8WhJL91tsB0SgKrxuCgPwv0NbOc/121520081806.jpg?download> 1. <http://ujyq9g.bay.livefilestore.com/y1p6yPJwWe0v0KSAgmp-GVWTYUK2eV4n8nO2g8P 1-JDzR63a5w-ffTxEX2fhrYMmjbc0KHk2PpWgM4/121520081807.jpg?download> 2. <http://ujyq9g.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pEMUodsKJseRf-WrLFRsZh1YXdTZVj5cn5Jdq jRpOWgZJhFbirpTrU548ZPETVexiZEA_7oZpDPs/121520081808.jpg?download> 3. 1) The leaves on the first one look very much like a pink flower. It is a bright pink approximately 5 inches high with thinner green stems. The veins in the leaves are quite noticeable and stand out and it appears to be very light loving which is not surprising for a reddish/pinkish plant. There are no roots on the stems. It also strikes me as a more sensitive and fragile species. 2) This second one has bright red leaves on the undersides and a lighter reddish brown on the top sides. The stems are rather thick and bright red as well. It is approximately 4 inches tall and also likes the light. On some stems there are a couple tiny roots. 3) This last one is kind of like a very bushy fern (next to red plant in pic). Its very thick and full and a light brown reddish in color. The stems are very skinny and the plant has many fine threads the same width of sewing thread as well. It stands about 6 inches high and appears somewhat light loving but not as much as the other two mentioned. It has one small cluster of roots at the base from each stem. <The feathery one is Myriophyllum, an extremely difficult to species to grow except in tanks with crystal clear water and incredibly bright lighting. Rots is virtually every other aquarium. The red ones are something like Rotala or Ludwigia. In any case, all these red plants need VERY BRIGHT lighting. We're talking 3 or more watts per gallon.> If you happen to have any thoughts on the above plants it would be very much appreciated. I like to know the names and requirements of the plants I house in my tank. <Almost everyone who buys red aquatic plants without knowing about them first ends up with dead plants. Myself included! Red plants are notoriously difficult to maintain in aquaria because they need so much light. The red colour is an adaptation to intense lighting conditions; the darker the green, the more shade-tolerant plants tend to be.> Thanks a bunch!!! David
<Cheers, Neale.>

Platy vs. platy (Repro.) 10/17/08 Hi. We recently bought one red platy and one Dalmatian platy (picture attached). <Do remember male Platies can be aggressive, so always keep groups of one male to two or more females. Multiply upwards for larger groups. Keeping equal numbers of both sexes is a VERY bad idea.> It seems we bought a pregnant Dalmatian platy who gave birth a week after we bought them. After carefully scooping out 27 live fry and putting them in their own 5 gallon tank away from mommy, they did pretty well. After a week or so I noticed the numbers diminish quickly. Now they are all sadly gone. There are no other fish in the tank and I fed them crushed flake twice a day. <Need more food, or at least a constant supply of algae. Livebearer fry need 4-6 meals per day.> I think the filter monster sucked them away. <Honestly, very unlikely. Even newborn fish fry have no problems avoiding small filters.> Now, my question is this... is the red one a male? <Yes.> The fin by the belly seems to look like the my female Dalmatian. <It's not.> If so, will they breed, or do platy only breed with the same type/color? Help. My 4 year old will be sad that THIS mommy killed all the fish, not the platy mommy. <Platies aren't "mommies". They have no maternal instinct. Newborn livebearers have evolved to swim directly into very shallow water or among dense stands of plants. This keeps them away from larger fish. Since the adults don't see their offspring, they've not had to evolve any instinct not to eat them. Quite the reverse in fact: while 90% herbivores feeding on algae, they will snap at any small animal they find at the surface of the water: mosquito larvae, midge larvae, or newborn fish. Simple as that. Hence whenever you breed Platies or any other livebearer, the system is simple: put lots of floating plants in the tank. Every day, look for babies, and move them to another tank. Expect the females not eat the babies is unrealistic, though to be fair some species of livebearer are better in this regard than others. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: platy vs. platy (Repro.) 10/17/08 Thank you so much. I will go out this weekend and get another female. The only question still not answered is if the platies will mate with platies of another color. <Yes.> Will this red platy mate with the Dalmatian or another color? Or only another red platy? <All the commercially produced Platies are Xiphophorus maculatus or a hybrid based heavily upon it. You don't necessarily want offspring that are a mix of varieties though, as these will be difficult to sell back to the retailer. Indeed, it's as well to ask your retailer if they will take the fry once you grow them on to around 3 months of age.> Thank you so much for all your help. I will be sure to do better if we get more fry. Also, thank you so much for your site. I just discovered it and plan to use it for reference in the future. <Glad we could help. Cheers, Neale.>

Platies (repro.) 9/20/08
Hello WWM crew. I am terribly sorry if you have answered this question, as I am sure you have, before.
<Fire away!>
I have two Platys, one is for sure a female, and of the other I am not sure.
<Very easy to sex: Males have a crooked, tubular anal fin. That's the fin in between the two pelvic fins (the second set of paired fins) and the tail fin. Females have a plain triangular fin. In addition, females tend to be bigger and rounder; males are smaller, often much more energetic, and constantly pestering the females.>
One of them has already had one batch of fry which is awesome. I have relocated the adults so they won't eat the fry. I am anticipating, by the behavior of the fish, another batch of fry relatively soon, and I am wondering if the tank in which I have the adult female needs to be certain size to make it comfortable for her to give birth.
<Shouldn't make much odds either way. The main thing is to put some shady places at the top of the tank for the female to rest among. Floating or tall plants -- whether real or plastic -- are ideal. The idea is she can stay at the top of the tank, but hidden. The baby fish will instantly swim into the leaves, which keeps them relatively safe. Don't bother trying to save every single baby fish -- you'll be overrun before long! Instead concentrate on rearing a modest number properly. A couple dozen is plenty, unless you genuinely want to sell bucketfuls back to the pet store (but do check they want them!).>
Thank You very much,
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Platy and Fry question 9/16/08
Just wanted to say thanks for such a great site. Almost every time I do a search for info I end up here.
I have a 28 gal tank with 2 hang on the back filters, heater with temp steady at 78, smallish air pump, ph is 6.5. It is very heavily planted with an assortment of plants in about 50% of the tank (maybe a little more) some of which are tall enough to cover some of the surface area and has a piece of driftwood that forms a sort of cave and a couple bamboo tubes and a large open swim area. It's been running for about 10 months.
I have red cherry shrimp, 3 black Kuhlii loaches, 1 clown loach (I was given after a neighbors tank cracked and he does a wonderful job at keeping down the snails that came in with some plants), one small bushynose Pleco, 3 platy (2 females and 1 male) and WAY to many fry! When I realized just how many fry there were I moved all the fish to another tank expect the above (no way to catch the Kuhli loaches and the clown wanted the same cave as one of my crayfish so had to go back in to the tank with the platy).
<Hmm... Clown Loach will outgrow this tank pretty briskly, and should be kept in a group anyway. Otherwise sounds as if you have a fun little community going on there!>
I trade the extra shrimp to my LFS to keep the population down and they sometimes take the platy fry as well, but I don't want to be a fish breeder, I'd rather get more fish. I know this sounds distasteful to many, but I was wondering what i could get to "naturally" reduce the amount of fry that live to maturity in the tank.
<Easily done. Most anything carnivorous will eat baby livebearers given the chance. Fast-moving tetras such as Bleeding Hearts and Diamonds, Halfbeaks, glassfish, Angelfish all spring to mind. Which would work for you depends on water chemistry, compatibility.>
I've read that 3 spot gourimis are good in this role, but also that they might not work out with the platy.
<Trichogaster trichopterus is not among my favourite fish for communities; males can get rather cranky.>
If I got one of those I'd prefer a female as they are more peaceful then the males apparently.
I had a dwarf Gourami, but he died about a month ago and he didn't do anything about the fry.
<Modern, commercially bred Colisa lalia are "junk" as far as I'm concerned. There are some nice orange-red thick-lipped gouramis (Colisa labiosus) doing the rounds here in the UK, and besides appealing to those aquarists who go for brightly coloured fish (of which I'm not one) this species is very hardy and easy to maintain.>
So I was wondering if you had any suggestions.
<See above.>
Also I have a platy male in my quarantine tank that i have not been able to figure out what is wrong (if anything) with him. He is orange with a sort of a sword and a little darker tail. He developed an area on his back before the fin that almost looks like algae. It's darkish and not raised at all. He has had it for abut 2 months and behaves and eats totally normally. I have raised the temp to 80F, added aquarium salt and quick cure. But no change.
<Could be anything, even genetics. If there's obvious signs of fin decay or white tufts, then treat as per Finrot/Fungus (e.g., with Maracyn or eSHa 2000), remembering to remove carbon if you're using it. Otherwise just observe the fish for now.>
He is in with a second male platy, that has been acting a little sluggishly for a while and has shown no signs of change with these steps either. I'd be okay with leaving them in the tank, but if I could do something to help them I'd like that better. I was planning on making that tank into a home for fire bellied newts.
Also I know that clown loaches should be kept in group of 6 plus, but I don't have room for that many large fish. So is it better to get 1 more as company for the one I have or to keep it single?
<Well, it's Morton's Fork, but yeah, two is better than one, but anything less than six isn't really the right way to keep these fish. And yes, I know you can't keep six specimens in this tank. Almost no-one keeps Clown Loaches properly, which is why almost no-one sees them at full size or enjoys them for their full lifespan. When you've seen a school of fifty of them (and I have) then it's quite something, especially when some of them are as long as your forearm!>
One last question. With whatever i add to the 28 gal tank can I also add florida flag fish?
<Assuming water quality and chemistry are appropriate, then sure. These are nice fish. They like water that isn't too soft/acidic. Males are feisty, but given their small size, little harm is done. They're great algae eaters.>
I have a pair in my other large tank and LOVE them. Such sweet smart looking algae eating fish. I've read they can be fin nippers on long fins, but I haven't seen any aggression from them at all.
<I'm sure they'll go for things with stupid long fins, like veil-tail Angels, but then so will most other fish. Kept with fast-moving loaches, livebearers, etc you should be fine. Since you have them to hand, why not try them out?>
Thanks so much, Eliza
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Platy and Fry question 9/18/09
Thanks very much for the reply,
<Most welcome.>
It's gotten my head spinning with a whole bunch of other questions, so I plan on doing a lot of research on all of them, but for now:
I was wondering if any fish came to mind (to deal with the platy fry) that can be kept either singly or in a pair. Most of the fish mentioned I think are schooling. I'd considered a Betta, but even with a female I think they wouldn't get along with the flag fish I'd like to add.
<Does depend a bit on the size and disposition of the tank; Jordanella stay close to the substrate, while Bettas prefer to be up among the floating plants. But always a good idea to err on the side of caution.>
I'm definitely going to look into the bleeding hearts although they are large and I'm not sure about a school of them. I've heard of them, but never seen them in person.
<Lovely fish; got some myself. Colourful and quite hardy, provided the water isn't too hard.>
And speaking of seeing in person I'd love to see a school of clown loaches like you mentioned. That must be amazing.
<It is!>
As far as the clown loach goes he will be getting a larger tank eventually, hopefully within the next year, possibly sooner.
<They grow slowly, so no panic just yet.>
I like him a lot and want to keep him happy so I'm going to look into getting another one for him, but was wondering what an acceptable difference in size would be with adding another one.
<They don't mind: put a 1-inch specimen with a 12-inch specimen and they'll still get along fine.>
Thanks VERY much!
<Cheers, Neale.>

New platy fry in an unprepared tank! 8/16/08
Hello, and thank you so much for taking the time to address my concerns! I think your website of real Q and A is a wonderful resource for fishkeepers. <Thanks for saying this; it's appreciated.> The reason I am writing is because I made a very surprising discovery tonight: our long finned platies made babies! My husband and I are very new to amateur fishkeeping; so much so that we didn't even know we had both a male and a female (fortunately after some research, I can now tell the difference), and we didn't know that platies reproduce so readily. Since discovering the fry, I've researched platy breeding and discovered some differing opinions about conditions for raising them. In some cases, people separate both the expectant mother and the fry from the rest of the tank; in other cases, they leave the babies to fend for themselves and hide in the foliage. <Do read here for my take on breeding livebearers: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/poeciliids.htm In general, when well fed and if there are lots of floating plants, at least some babies from each brood will survive. But in a generic tank without floating plants and if the adults get hungry, then all the fry may be eaten.> I've also seen differing opinions about diet. According to one source, the anal fins of platy females change color when they are pregnant; <Nope.> but I noticed no such change in my fish - no change when she was pregnant and no change now that she's not pregnant anymore - so I'm skeptical about the validity of this statement. I'd really like to know what advice you have for my situation. <Here's how you determine whether a mature Platy female is pregnant. Ask this question: is she now, or has she ever been in the last 3-6 months, with any males. If the answer is "Yes", then she's pregnant. That's pretty much the end of story. Fussing about the "gravid spot" on the abdomen is a waste of time with Xiphophorus spp because you really can't see it clearly in many varieties. It will be very obvious when she's about to give birth because her body will be dramatically swollen.> We first set up our 6-gallon Eclipse system tank about three months ago. We let it alone for about two weeks, adding a product called Cycle that is supposed to facilitate the growth of beneficial bacteria, then added two feeder goldfish whom we named Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. <Cute names; but 6 gallons is too small for Platies, let alone Goldfish.> A couple of weeks after introducing fish, we added several live plants. Rosencrantz died after about a month, so we bought another feeder we decided to call Urich. About a three weeks after that, Guildenstern died. <See above. Goldfish need very specific conditions to thrive, and in small tanks the VAST majority die. For every one specimen you see lingering through a living death in a bowl or 5-10 gallon tank, dozens if not hundreds have died under similar conditions.> We weren't expecting them to live long, as they are bred to be eaten and probably not the most genetically robust of all fish. <Au contraire! Feeder Goldfish are "mongrels" in the sense of having nice mixed genes. The more mixed the genes are, the tougher the animal. It's being inbred (i.e., pedigree) that makes animals weak. In any case, you should NOT buy fish on the assumption they'll die; that's going into the thing with the wrong idea. All fish, and especially Goldfish, can live long and healthy lives *cared for properly*, and in the case of a mixed-breed Goldfish, that lifespan can be anything up to 30 years.> I don't think they died of any illness; just old age or genetic defects. <Neither; they died because the water was foul and your aquarium too small. Did you use a nitrite test kit to check water quality? Without a doubt the filter was immature ("Cycle" is useless in my opinion) and you carried on feeding them without doing the requisite daily water changes of 25% or more needed to allow fish to survive the cycling process. Or to put it bluntly, you allowed them to die. Now, if you're an inexperienced fishkeeper, you can perhaps put that down to lack of knowledge, and I'll leave you to propitiate the Fish Gods when the time comes. But from here on inwards you really must be more careful. A 6 gallon tank is a bucket. It has no value at all for keeping fish. Newbie fishkeepers should start with 20 gallon systems. End of discussion. Anything smaller is very difficult to stock and even more difficult to maintain. Just to make one problem clear, as the male Platies mature, they're going to get aggressive, and in 6 gallons there's nowhere to hide. In other words the weaker males will be bullied, and the females will be constantly harassed.> They both went through a week-long process of simply wasting away: refusal to eat, lying on the bottom of the tank, clamped fins, even vomiting. Since they died one at a time with several weeks in between, it's probably safe to conclude that it wasn't because of a contagion, right? <Water conditions are at the heart of the problem.> Chemistry was all over the place for the first bit, and after about 6 weeks ammonia stabilized close to zero, but we were still having trouble with the nitrite so I started using Tetra's EasyBalance with Nitraban, which seems to have helped. <Hmm... adding products is kind of a waste of time. The problem here is an immature filter in a too-small tank. That means the ammonia produced by the fish will overwhelm the filter and the tank lacks the capacity to dilute the problem. I seriously doubt this tank will ever settle down in the way you want it to. At best there'll be a holocaust of fish, with those that survive being just adequately catered to by the filter. As they grow, things'll decline, and heaven help you if you add a new fish six months down the line. Please do read my thoughts on stocking, maintaining new aquaria: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwlivestocking.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwlivestk.htm These are pitched at beginners and should help.> Currently pH seems to be about 7.7 (though it's hard to tell because the water's color doesn't exactly match the color chart for the test), nitrite is at 0.05ppm, and ammonia is at 0.25 ppm. I still add Cycle and EasyBalance when I do water changes every 1-2 weeks, replacing about 30-40% of the water and also the carbon filter. I also treat the new water (which comes straight from the tap) with API's Tap Water Conditioner, which is supposed to remove chlorine and break down chloramine. <You obviously need to be doing more water changes and adding less food. Well, frankly, you need a whole new tank but let's stay theoretical for now. If ammonia and nitrite aren't zero (the precise value couldn't matter less except to say the higher the number, the worse it is) you need to tackle both the source of ammonia (fish, food) and the removal system (filtration, water changes).> We bought our two long finned platies (their names are Claudius and Gertrude) about 2-3 weeks ago and moved Urich into his own little bowl. He doesn't seem as happy, but he's healthy and I change about 50% of the water and rinse his gravel once a week. <Goldfish bowls are to Goldfish what Death Row is to Humans. I can't abide them, and this poor fish is already on his way to the grave. Whether that takes a week, a month, or a year doesn't matter; it won't be anything remotely akin to a healthy, happy life for a SOCIABLE, BIG fish that needs swimming space and company. Do see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/goldfish101art.htm > Last week two of the plants in the platies' tank died and started to decay, so I removed them. <Did you check the plants are true aquatics? A lot of stores will sell you terrestrial plants. These are often cheap and look nice, so inexperienced aquarists buy them. Problem is, they die. You really must research each plant before buying them: many are demanding in terms of lighting and substrate, and for newbies there are really only a few that can be recommended.> (I'm hoping this is the cause of the elevated ammonia and nitrite, and I expect the numbers will go down in a few days.) I find this really odd since all of the other plants are still perfectly healthy, and the ones that died were doing very well until they suddenly weren't. <Sounds a lot like what happens with terrestrial plants.> I do have problems being gentle with the gravel vacuum around them; they tend to get uprooted during water changes, but that can't be what killed them, can it? <Yes it can, but in all honesty I doubt this plant lived long enough to have grown an extensive root system. But those plants that do have big root systems will be stressed, though rarely killed, if their roots are damaged.> Finding info about the care and keeping of aquarium plants seems to be really difficult, so I'd appreciate any advice you can offer. <Buy a book. There's lot of them on plants. I cannot stress how important it is to have a book with you to identify the plants being offered. Lots of pet stores will sell things like "aquatic palm" and "dragon plant" and "wheat plant" and such like. Guess what? They're terrestrial plants. Is this a con? I'd say so. But you can beat the scam by doing some research. If you know what a Java Fern is for example, you'll know it's hardy and easy to keep and doesn't need much light. Provided you don't bury it in the sand (it hates having its rhizome buried) it's a great beginner's plant. Other species good for newbies are Anubias, Java Moss, and Cryptocoryne wendtii -- all hardy and undemanding.> As far as the platies are concerned, they are healthy and spunky. When I bought them, Claudius (the large, feisty male) actually jumped out of the fish net and onto the store floor! <Platies do jump: don't keep in an uncovered aquarium.> When I brought them home, I noticed that the lower fork of his tail was broken, which I assume happened during his adventure out to terrestrial living; that seems to be healing now, albeit slowly. It has never impaired his ability to swim or otherwise act fish-like, but I think it might be crooked for the rest of his life. He is in fact extremely aggressive with Gertrude, who is a little smaller and not as brightly colored, especially at feeding time. I give them TetraColor flakes, which are supposed to enhance their orange-red colors. According to the label, it is at least 49% crude protein, at least 9% crude fat, at most 2% crude fiber, at least 1.3% phosphorus, and has vitamins A, D3, and E, biotin, ascorbic acid, and omega-3 fatty acids. (I have no idea what all of that means, but I'm sure you do.) <Yes, I do. But in any case these are HERBIVORES so don't use this stuff more than 50% of their meals; use HERBIVORE fish food, such as Spirulina flake. Again: research first, spend money second.> I also give them to Urich, who started out albino and has since not only turned pink but also developed red and orange spots on his forehead and tail fins. ...so I guess the stuff does what it's supposed to! <Well, unless that's Finrot, which wouldn't be out of all probability given the ammonia/nitrite situation here.> Tetra claims that its flakes are completely balanced for the nutrition of tropical fish, but I was wondering what you thought about them being enough for our new fry. Should I switch to something different? <Yep.> Supplement it with other stuff? I'm very hesitant to add live foods like brine shrimp because currently the fry are about their size, and Claudius gets VERY aggressive over food. I wouldn't want him to find a fry and eat it thinking it was a shrimp. I know that platies are livebearers and also unscrupulously cannibalistic. <Can be.> I don't think I mentioned it earlier, but when I found the fry this evening there were only three of them. I was under the impression that livebearers give birth to about 15-20 young at a time, so I fear that perhaps the rest - if there were more to begin with - have fallen victim to their parents' appetite. Being only two or three millimeters long, they would easily fit into the adult fish's mouths. I don't know if you can tell from the pictures I sent you, but further evidence of my husband's and my ignorance about fishkeeping is that our gravel is much too large. This only became a problem when I discovered the fry, because I now understand that they can become trapped in it. One of the three surviving fry I actually found trapped in a crevice under the gravel, right up against the glass. I thought perhaps he had become trapped when I had rearranged the gravel after removing the dead plants (though I can't imagine how I could have missed the presence of fry if they were there at the time), so washed my hands and carefully reached into the tank to free him. He swam away, but then lodged himself into another crevice. I freed him again, and he got himself stuck again! After freeing him a third time, I realized that he was swimming very spastically and twitching with his entire body. It got to the point that he couldn't even swim upright, but kept turning upside down when trying to swim. I concluded that he had neurological damage of some sort, so I put him in a small cup and placed it in the freezer. I've heard that that's a relatively painless way to put a dying fish out of its misery. <No it's not; see WWM re: Euthanasia> The other two seemed very alert and healthy, darting about and eluding the adult fish. I am a little concerned because I haven't seen either of them for hours, but I hope that they have simply found some good hiding places and are waiting out the rest of the night. Our tank is not very well planted anymore, now that so many of the plants have died. Do you think that will be a problem? <Yes.> How long will it be until the fry are large enough that they'll no longer be on their parents' menu? Do they grow very fast? What should I do to keep them alive and safe? <Put the fry in a rearing tank ~10 gallons in size with lots of floating plants. Let the tank get some sunlight so algae grows. Platies feed primarily on algae, and it's the best food for maximum health and colour.> That is my story! I know it's quite long, but I figured the more information I gave, the better the returning advice would be. Thank you so much for addressing all my concerns! I love what you do and I think it's wonderful. - Jenn <I'm glad you think it's wonderful, and that's kind of you to say so. But when we write back saying "you're doing everything wrong, darn it" sometimes folks don't see it quite the same way. I hope this isn't too negative, but honestly your tank and bowl are far from being suitable for the fish in question, so there's only so much practical advice I can give beyond saying buy a bigger tank. A 20 gallon tank would house the Platies and a couple of juvenile Goldfish are ~23C/73F quite happily. Add sufficient lighting that you had between 1-2 watts per gallon and the hardy plants mentioned above would thrive. If you're going with Cryptocoryne spp. that need to be buried in the substrate, try a mix of fine pea gravel and smooth silica sand; Anubias, Java Moss and Java fern are stuck to rocks/wood so don't care about the substrate. I'd use just a thin layer of sand or pea gravel as preferred. Use a decent filter, something offering 4-6 times the volume of the tank in turnover per hour. Until nitrite = 0, do 25% water changes every 1-2 days, without fail. After 2-3 weeks things should be perfectly stable, and you can revert to 25-50% water changes weekly. Cheers, Neale.>

Swim bladder didn't inflate; Xiphophorus, repro., hlth. 8/14//08 Hi, I bought some sunset fire wag platies (a male and a couple of females). They mated and now I have some fry. Most of the fry have developed normally although they seem to grow at different rates, but one baby's swim bladder never inflated. His growth rate has been very slow, but he's such a little trouper. I don't see him "fading" at all; his condition seems quite stable, but I'm wondering what the future holds for him. He's become my sentimental favorite, so it would kill me to lose him; still, I want to do what's best for him. Any suggestions? Betty <Hello Betty. It is quite common for fancy livebearer fry to be deformed in various ways. They are extremely inbred, and demonstrably less robust than their wild ancestors; for example wild and "feeder" guppies (mongrel guppies, essentially) can be adapted to seawater without problems, but fancy guppies will die if you try this. The situation your Platy is exhibiting is known as "belly sliding" and is incurable. Whether or not you destroy him is up to you, but he isn't going to get better and he isn't going to be able to do Platy-like things. Mixing him with other Platies would probably be a bit unfair, but I suppose he'd be happy enough in a quiet tank with a soft (e.g., smooth silica sand) substrate that didn't scratch his belly. (Remember, he's not evolved to live a life on the bottom, so he could be damaged by sharp sand or gravel.) Cheers, Neale.>

New to being a "momma"... Platies 8/3/08 Hello! <Ave,> I bought a 2 platy's recently, the Mickey Mouse ones, and today I noticed a really teeny tiny fish swimming in my tank! I got so excited! I'm a momma!!!! <Fun, isn't it?> I have a breeding net/trap that I put the 4 baby's in, but what else can I do to help these guys thrive? I have 2 large kissers, 2 platy's, and a beta. <It's a Betta, sounds like "better". Now you can go an show off to/educate your friends.> I only added the beta and the platy's last weekend! I have figured out that I bought a pregnant female, but I don't know how to tell if I bought a male & a female, or if it was just luck of the draw when I said "that one". <Females have triangular anal fins similar to those of any other fish; males have a modified anal fin that looks like a crooked tube. It's called a gonopodium and is essentially a penis in terms of function.> Thanks for the help! I can't wait to watch these little guys grow!!!! Mary <You're talking to a fan of the livebearing fishes. Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_4/v4i3/Livebearers/Livebearers.htm Cheers, Neale.>

New to being a "momma" part 2, platy repro. 8/5/08 Hello Crew! I recently asked a question about the pregnant platy that I bought and the new little babies I had swimming in my tank. Thank you Neale for responding to me so quickly. As questions go though, I have another one to ask. Hope you guys don't mind! <Go ahead...> I have read from other questions on your site that these adorable little guys should be fed about 3 times per day, using the same food I fed the parents. I only had them for 1 week before the baby's arrived, so I hope the food is okay. It's your basic TetraFin Tropical Fish Food. Flakes. I've been sprinkling them VERY tiny for those tiny mouths. They seem to be eating when it's dropped into the net area. <Very good.> However, how long do I have to keep them separate from the other fish? How long does it take for them to grow up big like their mother? I'm guessing siblings will mate with each other, so I have to be on the look out for the extra fin, it appears as though the 2 I have are females. <Newborn fish will all look like females. It takes at least a month or two before you can sex them, with males being mature around 2-3 months and females from about 3-4 months. In practical terms, its usually a good six weeks before the fish are big enough to be placed with community tropicals. This obviously depends entirely on the adult fish species. Angelfish are obviously predators that can eat Neons, let alone young Platies, so you have to be cautious there. But Plecs and Corydoras won't bother even newborn fry. So there's no set answer, and it'll all depend on the circumstances. But all things being equal you could release young Platies around 4-6 weeks old into a tank with adult Platies and reasonably expect them to do fine, both in terms of not being eaten but also being able to compete for food (often overlooked). Adding floating plants helps a lot.> I'm sure I may develop another question or two, this is the 1st time I've ever had baby's in my tank! Thank you again for your help! I really appreciate it! Mary <Glad you're enjoying yourself! Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnant platy stops eating 7/8/08 Hi everyone, I have just spent 2hrs. reading and searching. I have 2 females and one male platy. One of my females is very pregnant and the other just started to show. I moved the very pregnant in to a 2 gallon tank (the birthing tank) and she started to act funny. She has been there for 3 days and she had hid the whole time but would come out to eat. Today she would not eat and her spots look to me as gotten darker. I know she is close because she was pregnant when I bought her 1 mo. ago and she has a what I like that call a black stripe from her eyes fin that was not there when I bought her. Is something wrong? Katie <Doesn't read as if anything is wrong Katie... just time going by. Be patient. Bob Fenner>

Baby fish stuck in mama? Help! 5/17/08 Hi! I have a female platy and it looks as though she has a baby sticking out of her for about 2 days now. Have you ever heard of anything like that before? <Mmm, yes> I have guppies that I have seen give birth and they will sometimes have a tail stick out of them for awhile but not for this long. Is there anything that I can or should do to help? I am sending a picture of the one that looks like it has the baby sticking out. Thank you! D <The images sent are those of a male... the structure at the edge of the anal fin is a gonopodium... Not to worry. Bob Fenner>

Re: Baby fish stuck in mama? Help! 05/19/08 Thank you Bob. I was starting to suspect that was the case. I have had Tinkerbell (soon to be renamed) for a little over a year. Why did the gonopodium just now appear? <Mmm, the family that includes Platies, Guppies, Swordtails, Mollies... the Poeciliidae, have some "tricks up their proverbial sleeves" sex determination and change-wise... This and other species can actually change sex, phenotypically and in actuality... your female may have either been or become a male> I have 2 platies and they both looked the same up until a couple of days ago. The other one I am sure is a female (she just had 87 babies). Thank you again for your help. Danya <Ahh! "Nature provides"... It may be so that the one did, is changing sex here to "make a pair"... Interesting eh? Bob Fenner>

Mickey mouse fish -03/27/08 I have Mickey mouse fishes. I tried to look up to see how many fish they have when they are pregnant. All I seen was - 18 to 20 at most. Well we had a mom that I seen was close to having her babies. Put her in the birthing box, within 20 min.s. she was having babies. Left her in there for three hours. She had a whomping batch of 63 babies. Yikiessss..... We then put them in there own tank, ( I call the nursery ). As far as I can tell we haven't lost any. My question is : We have other moms that are pregnant, are they going to have that many babies each time ?? <Potentially, yes.> If so heaven help us. ha ha ..... Thank you for your time . Gwen <Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnant Platy?? -03/27/08 Hi, About four days ago my platy had two fry, one got eaten, one made it. <Likely produced many more than two fry; rather, you saw two, and only one survived long enough to avoid predation. Because parent and juvenile fish do not occur in the same habitat in the wild, evolution hasn't had to "program" adult livebearers not to eat their young. As far the mother Platy is concerned, anything small and wriggling at the surface of the water is food: could be insect larvae, could be baby fish. In the wild newborn fish will move into dense plant growth and very shallow water where the adults cannot go, so they are much safer. They don't swim into deeper/open water until they mature.> The mother still looks pregnant though! <Certainly possible.> She is still fat, and I think I can see a gravid spot still... <The "gravid spot" is only a clear signal in small species: Guppies, Mosquitofish etc. With Platies and other Xiphophorus you can't rely on it. They are too large and the muscle wall is too thick for the thing that makes what we call the gravid spot -- the embryo-filled uterus being pushed against the body wall -- to be obvious.> Is my platy still pregnant?? <May well be; many livebearers have evolved to stagger the development of developing embryos, so that following a single insemination they may produce batches of fry across several months.> Thanks! Bekah <Cheers, Neale.>

Platy fry in main tank 2/23/08 Hello! We have a 72 gallon tank that has been set up for about 2 months and is doing quite well. We test the water regularly and have no water related issues. In the tank we have: 3 golden Gouramis 2 Opaline Gouramis 4 dwarf Gouramis 3 mollies 5 platys (3 sunburst, 2 tricolour) 2 Rafael catfish 1 catfish (had it forever, don't know what kind) 1 7" Pleco (have also had it for a long time) 9 rosy tetras and lots of plastic plants and rocks for cover and structure. Here's the question: just 3 days ago we noticed one single sunburst platy fry in the tank. He is sticking near the bottom of the tank and hiding out. Do I have to remove him to a separate tank or box? If I don't, is he going to get eaten? Will he get enough to eat down there hiding out? (note here that I feed flake regularly and dried bloodworms occasionally, I put in Spirulina tablets in regularly at night once the lights are off to make sure the Pleco and the catfish eat). My kids are quite excited and have named this fry "the ultimate survivor". If I need to move him, I will try, but its a big tank and he is a very little fish so I'm not sure that I will be able to catch him. Thank you in advance for your answer! Cheryl <Hi Cheryl. Congratulations on your baby fish! The short answer is you will absolutely have to separate him. I prefer to use 5-10 gallon tanks for rearing fry, but some people have good success using "breeding traps". If you decide to use a breeding trap, use the biggest you can find. The fry will need to be isolated for about three months until it gets big enough to risk sharing with your existing fish. Your Raphael catfish, for example, will eat baby fish during the night. As for feeding him, finely powdered flake plus algae should do the trick nicely. You can buy "ready made" baby fish food, for example Liquifry and Hikari First Bites. Any of these will do the trick. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: platy fry in main tank 2/24/08 Thank you for your answer re the platy fry. It is now in a breeding container (do not have another tank ready at this point to house her, but will start getting one ready, as I think another platy is also pregnant). <Very good.> New question about one of the female dwarf Gouramis. Her abdomen is very plump, and her eyes may be a bit bulgy, but I don't think that her scales are sticking out like pinecones. Mostly she is just hovering near the top of the tank by herself. If it is dropsy, is it contagious? If she is constipated, will it hurt any of the other fish to have the Epsom salt treatment? (The only other tank I have is a 10 gallon one that is currently housing 3 nippy long fin serpae tetras). <Dwarf Gouramis are prone to a viral disease known rather cleverly as 'Dwarf Gourami Disease'. Anyway, it's very common and incurable. The symptoms are very consistent. Your fish may well have this. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm In any case, by the time small fish develop obvious oedema, the show's over, and there's not much chance of recovery. Oedema is classically associated with bulging scales that give that 'pine cone' appearance. Very different to mere constipation. Chances are you'll have to destroy the fish sooner or later. Please do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dropsyfaqs.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm Do bear in mind that Dropsy/Oedema is a symptom rather than a disease, and while it can be caused by Dwarf Gourami Disease it can also be caused by environment, malnutrition and other factors. So do reflect on the situation, ensure all was appropriate to that fish, and consider whether other fish are at risk.> Thank you in advance for your advice! Cheryl <Cheers, Neale.>

New Platy baby 1/23/08 Hi- <Hello,> I looked all over and didn't find a case like this. I went to Wal-Mart last night and walked by the fish section. I don't normally buy my fish from there, but I noticed that one of the platies was pregnant. I felt bad for her, but didn't want to put her into my tank where the fish are fine, and I don't have sickness. <Understandable.> I am worried there may be something wrong with her, but this morning I got up and noticed that she had fry. <Well done!> Knowing they eat their fry I had to put her in a net. This is only a one gallon tank because I was hoping that she was going to have fry soon and my boyfriend and I would be able to take the fry into another tank. <Hmm... likely she's been taken out of the frying pan and put into the fire... a 1-gallon tank isn't really viable. If nothing else, it'll be difficult maintaining the water quality, so while you may be isolating your other fish from any Whitespot she's carrying, you're probably increasing her chances of developing Finrot and Fungus. So while I "get" what you're trying to do, I suspect actually keeping everything happy and healthy will not be all that easy. Lots of water changes will help -- I'd be changing 50% every day or two.> Try to get the mom back to health and move her into my tank where there are other platies. <Good. Do look out for signs of Whitespot first, and act accordingly. The main risk with new fish is Whitespot. In any case, I'd be moving her to the new tank sooner rather than later.> Problem is she had fry before I thought she would and now I can't get them out and I am worried she may be in a lot of stress. <Move the mother, leave the babies behind. Frankly, if this was me, given the situation, I'd move her to the big tank and be done with it. You can't keep her cooped up in a net for long, and a 1-gallon tank is only marginally better. She needs space to swim about and feed properly.> Should I use a stress coat in the tank or no because of the fry? <Won't make any difference either way. Stress Coat doesn't have anything much to do with what we perceive as "stress", i.e., being unhappy. It's primarily useful for shipping fish, where it helps relieve some of the issues associated with netting and boxing fish. It's value in aquaria proper is minimal. By all means use it if you like, but it won't fix the underlying issues here.> Thank you JJ <Cheers, Neale.>
Re: New Platy baby 1/23/08
Hello- Thank you for your help, the mom has been moved to a new larger tank with no other fish, and the fry have been moved out of the one gallon tank. I tested the water and the ammonia levels were way too high, so they are in a large net/box where water from my larger tank can flow into the net. So far I have found 14. Thanks again JJ <Sounds good. Enjoy your new fish! Neale.>

Platy fry. 12/28/07 hi my name is David, <Hail and well met, David!> I'm a bit of a newbie to the tropical fish scene, my tank has been up and running for 3 weeks now and 6 platy was my start up after the tank cycle, first prob I had was 'ich' which killed 4 of my platy, the remaining two seem to have gotten over this, I hope, (I followed some advice on your page about salt and raising the temp a bit), <Very common problem, as you probably realise now. Poor water quality stresses the fish and this makes them vulnerable to Whitespot/Ick. Prompt treatment is essential. With basically hardy fish like Platies, I'd tend to recommend a standard copper/formalin medication such as eSHa EXIT rather than the salt/temperature option, which is better reserved for fish that react badly to copper/formalin, such as Clown loaches.> the thing is now I have 9 fry in the tank(70 litres) along with the two platy, the guy in the 'pet shop' sold me a small net basket (that hangs on the inside of the tank) to keep the fry in. <It's called a "breeding trap". These can work well, provided you understand their limitations.> is this the best place for them or should I just let them roam around the full tank given that there are only another 2 platy in the tank and I don't plan to introduce any other fish for 3-4 weeks, <Keep the fry in the trap for the first 2-4 weeks, until they're big enough not to be bite-sized morsels! Platies aren't predatory as such, feeding mostly on algae and mosquito larvae in the wild, but very small fry will be considered fair game. Once the fry are, say, 5-10 mm long and a few mm in depth, they'll be too large to eat and will be ignored, especially if there are plenty of floating plants in the tank (real or plastic, doesn't matter).> also I'm going away for 4 days and wonder how the fry will be fed (I have an auto feeder for the big fish), also the guy in the shop gave me No1 fry feed for egg layers and said this was just the same for live bearers. <Feed the adults and babies well for the days leading up to the trip. Then either leave them unfed, or better, put a thin slice of cucumber or 5 cm squared piece of blanched lettuce or Sushi Nori in the tank and breeding trap for the fish to nibble on. A couple of crushed tinned peas will also work well, as will a single algae-based catfish pellets sold for Plec-type catfish (maybe put 1/4 to 1/2 of a pellet in the breeding trap). The platies will graze happily on these foods while you're gone without any risk of water quality problems. For the most part, adult fish can be left without food for 1-2 weeks without any problems, though fry are a little more demanding if they don't have access to algae or mature aquarium detritus to nibble on. I recommend against automatic timers for very short trips: fasting periods of 4 days are fine for fish and likely do some good in the long run. Few fish eat every day in the wild, and many must go for long periods, perhaps months, without food during the cold or dry season in their habitat.> any advice or info would be greatly appreciated. David. <Cheers, Neale.>

Platys, young, beh. 12/18/07 Hi I have 2 Mickey mouse platys and one dark orange platys and now MANY babies of both breeds but only from the one female, there are like 50 babies from 2 different litters in a 225 gal long tank, I have recently given my mother about 12 of the babies and 2 days ago and now I have noticed that most of them are staying at the top of the tank most of the time including the adults. I do not know if this is normal or not please help..... thank you.. <Greetings. It is entirely normal for baby livebearers to stay at the top of the tank. The more Platies you have, the more they will school together, and what you are watching is a bunch of happy, sociable Platies doing their thing! Cheers, Neale.>

Platy fry 12/4/07 Hello, I have about 20+ platy fry in a breeding net, they have been in there for about 1 1/2 months and I am not sure when to release them into the community tank. I have a catfish, two zebra fish, a Pleco, and the two adult platys in the tank. How big should they be before I release them, I have read 'bigger than bite size' but I am not sure how big that is. Is there a measurement? I am really paranoid because I don't want the fish to be eaten (or sucked up by the filter) but I read that if you keep them too long in the net it will stunt there growth. Thank you very much, Megan <Hello Megan. You release the fry when they're too big to be eaten. I know that isn't very helpful, but the reality is that only you can judge by looking at your fish. Zebra Fish (by which I assume you mean Danio rerio rather than Zebra Cichlids, Pseudotropheus zebra) are very predatory towards small animals, but they aren't terribly large themselves, so provided the fry are too large to be eaten whole, the fry will be safe. (Zebra Fish -- in common with all Cyprinidae -- don't have teeth in their mouths, so can't bite, and can only consume prey they can engulf.) Platys are similar, but are not so predatory, and if well fed with plant material and algae show little tendency to eat anything other than newborn fry. Plecs are completely harmless and never eat fish, even the smallest fry. Stunting *does not* happen with most fish in most aquaria, so I wouldn't worry about it. The idea stunting occurs at all is one of the myths in the hobby based on the experience of fish farmers, who noticed that certain species (specifically carp and salmon) are stunted when overstocked. Most aquarium fish don't become stunted unless severely mistreated and/or starved: Tinfoil Barbs, Plecs and Oscars are particularly well-known for getting to huge sizes no matter what. So personally I'd wait until the fry are 2 months old before releasing them. By that time they should be around 5-10 mm long, and easily large enough to avoid predation. Cheers, Neale.>

Adding baby platy to tank 12/2/07 I have a 10 gallon tank in my classroom with one male and one female red wag platy. I thought I had all females when I bought them from the fish store because the sales clerk told me they only had females, but evidently she was wrong. After looking at pictures on the internet later, I realized the smaller one was most likely a male. Anyway, while doing a water change a couple months ago, I found one fry. The fry stayed in a breeder net (box-shaped) within the 10 gallon tank for awhile but then I set up an Eclipse 3 gallon aquarium for him/her so he'd have more room. Now he's almost 2 cm long now. I want to put him/her in my 10 gallon tank with the other 2 platys now so I can keep the 3 gallon tank for any new fry I may find.? Will the other two platys pick on him/her since he would be the stranger in their territory??? Is there some particular way I should add him to the tank so he would not be picked on by the grown platys?? Thanks! Carolyn <Carolyn, Platies are essentially schooling fish and the more the merrier. The only possible problems come from males, which will sometimes chase one another. If there are a surfeit of males, the males may also harass the females in the anxiousness to mate. That's why experienced Platy keepers always recommend keeping two females for every one male -- it's the only way to ensure peace, in small tanks especially! In fact, in small tanks, I'd always recommend keeping just female Platys, since they're no less attractive than the males. In any case, Platies are easy to sex: Only females have triangular anal fins; males have rod-shaped intromittent organs called gonopodia. If your store clerk can't tell the difference, he/she must have very poor eyesight! One good idea with Platy tanks (and livebearer tanks in general) is to use lots of real/plastic plants, especially ones that float at the surface. Not only to they provide hiding places for the fry, they also allow picked-upon fish to get out of the line of fire when they want to. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy fish problem -- 11/16/07 Dear WetWebMedia Crew, I have many Platy fry that range from two weeks to two months old. A few of the fry have very noticeable crooked or "S" shaped tails. Is this condition a genetic defect of some sort or perhaps a condition that is out grown? What do you normally recommend for this type of condition. Thank you as always for your input and great website. Glen <Hi Glen. A certain proportion of most livebearer broods will be deformed in some way, and crooked spines are common. There's nothing you can do to treat this, and the most humane thing is to destroy the fish. They won't heal, and very often fade away slowly as they mature. Now, the actual proportion of deformed fry does depend on certain factors. Inbreeding is the key one. If you want to breed, say, Sunset Platies, it's a good idea to go buy males from one store and females from another. That'll mix up the genes more than buying both sexes from a single batch of fish. Diet is another critical factor. Just as with humans, the Platy mom needs to get the right diet before and during gestation to ensure optimal health. Since Platies are herbivores, this means lots of algae and green foods and not too much regular flake! Stress is the third factor. If the females are harassed, the chances of premature parturition increase, and undersized fry are more likely to develop improperly. Cheers, Neale.>

Baby Platies 11/5/07 Hello, My platy had about 30 babies a couple weeks ago. I have them all in a breeding net and feed them crushed up food, which they seem to be all be eating. They were all doing well and none of them were lost (except one that got eaten before I put them in a breeding net) but recently in just two days five of them died, my adult fish are fine. I am very worried that I am doing something wrong, but within the last two days none have died at all. I am getting my water tested as soon as possible. My other question is that I have just found a fry that has a crooked tail. It eats and is active but it swims a little bit differently. It kind of swims with its whole bottom half of its body, not just its tail. But it is just as fast as the rest and doesn't seem to be picked on at all (if anything the other way around). Thank you so much, Megan <Well... some young do seem to "just die"... and fishes are a bit different than most of what people consider "animals" (Tetrapods) in that much of their early development occurs after being "born"... I suspect that maybe the conditions (water quality et al.) in the breeding net are at play here... I would pour some water through the net daily (after draining some from the tank) to help clear the net openings of debris; and move the young from there as soon as they are "more than mouth size" if you're placing them in the tank with the parents. Bob Fenner>

Platies and Swordtails changing sex 10/26/07 I love your website. I'm very sorry if this topic is already on your website, I've already looked as much as I possible could. I'm doing a mid-term project in science class. I am going to see if Platies can change gender. I have to look up info to support it. I know that only hermaphrodites can change gender. I also know that it can only happen to females, and that it takes longer for guppies to change sex than platies or swordtails. I'm actually going to do the experiment, how long does it take, approximately, for them to change? Also that there must be all females present, no males. I already own a lot of livebearers, adults and babies, I've had fish my whole life. Can you help me please? Thanks a lot. <Greetings. Without wanting to do your homework for you, let me save you some effort on one aspect of your project: There is no evidence at all any Xiphophorus species change sex. As your literature review should reveal, while it has been mentioned in the aquarium literature many times, it has never been observed under laboratory conditions. It is widely believed to be a myth, with aquarists having misidentified a slow-developing male as a female. Sex changes in fish tend to confined to marine perciform groups. The classic examples are among the Wrasses, which typically start off as females, but the largest ones become males. This is called Protogyny ("female first"). Protoandry, where all individuals start off as females, is not so common, but one well-known example is the Anemonefish, where the largest member of a colony becomes the female. Cheers, Neale>

Two questions... platy repro., filtration maint. 10/16/07 I have a 10 gallon freshwater tank at school with 2 platys (male and female) and one fry that is about 1 cm long now. I found the fry during a water change about 2 weeks ago and have him in one of those breeder nets in the tank. It has been so much fun seeing him grow from just a speck to where he is now. When should I put him in the main tank with the other two platys? <When its big enough not to be eaten! At a couple of months should be fine.> Also, how do you know when to change the filter? <Ideally, never. You clean the filter, yes, but that's nothing more than rinsing filter media in a bucket of aquarium water (not under the tap, as the chlorine can kill the bacteria). When you've washed out the worst of the sponges (or whatever), put them back in the filter. Only if the filter media is completely blocked up should they be replaced, and even then, no more than 50% of the media per three months.> My filter is one that hangs on the side. I've had the tank running for about two months now. Should I put a new filter in some old tank water so that the good bacteria can start getting on it? <The water carries virtually no filter bacteria, so what you suggest is a complete waste of time. Instead, avoiding changing too much filter media at once, and let the mature media colonise the new stuff.> Thanks! Carolyn <Good luck, Neale>

Platy fry 10/2/07 I was doing a water change this afternoon in my 10 gallon classroom aquarium and saw something what I thought was a little bug in the bottom!? It was a platy baby! I found two and put them in the breeder's net that I had purchased the other day for the platy that I think is now pregnant. <Pretty much a "steady state"...> I wasn't expecting to already have fry in my tank. I'm guessing they've been in there for awhile and I just didn't see them. I later saw another fry but couldn't catch her. I'm bringing in a turkey baster tomorrow to see if I can get her. <Mmm, better to use a net or siphon> Anyway, I crushed up some flake food to give to the fry, but I didn't see them eat any. I'm wondering will they survive through the weekend without being fed? <Should> I cannot get into school on the weekend. I do have a 20 gallon tank at home that I just put 3 sunburst platys in this weekend. Should I bring the fry home with me and put them in this tank with a divider separating them from the other platys? <Could> This tank would not have cycled completely though in just one weeks time. <Might have... Can test for...> Thanks. Carolyn <Bob>

Setting up fry/quarantine tank, livebearers, platies -- 09/29/07 I'm new to this hobby and I really appreciate having this site to go to for help.? I have a 10 gallon tank set up in my classroom with 3 female red? wag platys.? I've had the platys for almost 3 weeks now and they seem to be doing pretty well.? One likes to hide at times, but she'll always come out for a pinch of food and sometimes she hangs out with the other two so I think she is Ok.? Anyway, our school's back-to-school night was last night and one of my? students'? parents (who used to run a fish store in NY) said one of my platys was pregnant.? <Pretty much a steady state...> I had? thought she? might be because she? has a fatter belly than the other two, but I didn't know if maybe she was bloated/sick.? I? do not see a dark spot on her so I'm assuming it will be awhile longer for her to give birth.? I know it is a long shot to think that I might be at school when she has her fry and can actually save them from being eaten, but I thought I'd set up a tank to use as a fry tank just in case.? <Can use a trap of a few designs... or add some/more hiding material... trust to chance... some young should survive in such a setting> And besides, if it doesn't get used as a fry tank, I could use it as a quarantine tank for any new fish that I want to add to my tank.? I'm going out this weekend to get the supplies to set up this tank.? My question is how to best get this fry tank up and running as quickly as possible.? <Posted... http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwset-up.htm and the linked files above> I have? read that I could take water from my existing tank and put it into my fry tank to get the cycling started.? <Yes> Should I filter? out the waste (fish poop, uneaten food, etc.) that I siphon out during the water changes from my old tank? before putting it into the new fry tank??? <Mmm, no, I wouldn't> I'm doing twice weekly water changes with my classroom tank now.? Should I put the old water I siphon from my classroom tank into the fry tank each time I do a water change or would putting it in during the initial set-up be enough to get the cycling started and keep the good bacteria going until the fry tank is needed? <I would use the "old" water for the new tank... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm> Thanks! Carolyn <Bob Fenner>

Platy fry-- 09/17/07 Hey. My mom and mom started our tank up just over a month now, on Wednesday the 5th I noticed a baby platy. <Very good!> We didn't know any of our platys were pregnant (my mom used to breed fish when she was younger) but she thought on of them was pregnant but not sure. We kept our eyes on the tank a bit longer and caught 2 more baby platys, we managed to get a breed tank to put the babies in, we saw a few more baby platys but they were too fast to catch. <Put floating plants in the tank; the fry congregate there, and they're easier to remove.> then on Sunday 9th, I noticed one of our platys eat something then spit it back out. when I looked I saw it was a baby platy, but it wasn't moving, then it moved, saw caught it as quickly as I could, managed to catch it. I put it in the breeding tank with the other 3. <Most livebearers will eat their fry. In the wild, the baby fish instinctively swim into places (e.g., shallow water) away from where their parents live. So, there's no reason for these fish to evolve ways to avoid eating their fry. But in the aquarium this is short-circuited, and the result is the adult fish eat the fry. Adding lots of floating plants is the #1 way to reduce this risk. Elodea, hornwort, etc. all work well.> the 4th baby platy I caught has a bent tail and can't really swim properly, he stays at the bottom of the breeding tank, he hovers along the bottom, then tries to swim to the top, but just floats back down. he seems to be moving around more and more each day. <No hope. Painlessly destroy.> I am worried in case he is not eating properly, could you suggest anything I could feed he on. I think he may never swim properly, but I want to give him the best chance he can have. <Well, he'll eat regular food, but the bottom line is he's been damaged and won't heal. He'll never be "happy" in the sense of being able to interact with his conspecifics, and is quite likely to be bullied as well. Either keep alone, or destroy painlessly.> so any suggestions would really help. hope you can understand all this. thanks very much. <Hope this helps, and sorry can't offer any magic cures. Cheers, Neale>

What happened? Platy loss, repro. 8/30/07 Yesterday, I put my pregnant platy in one of those breeding containers, where you put the female in and the fry drop to the bottom. Last night, over the course of about 2 hours, she dropped a number of transparent balls (which I found out from your site are unfertilized embryos) and about 10 fry, none-of which moved. All of that went into the bottom section of the breeding container. This morning, the female was dead in the top of the container and there was absolutely nothing - no unfertilized eggs or still born fry in the bottom. It was completely empty. I'm perplexed. Do you have any possible explanation(s)? Thank you. Mel <Mmmm, reads like too much stress/fright for this fish... Bob Fenner>

My Mickey mouse platy, repro. 8/23/07 Hello. This is Tara. I have a question regarding my orange Mickey mouse platy. I believe that it is pregnant but am not sure. I know I am supposed to see a dark spot by her fin and it is a little dark but not black or brown. Is she pregnant or is she just a little overweight? Another question - I also have two female albino tiger barbs and a variety of other fish (in our 20 gallon tank). One of the albinos looks pregnant as well and I'm pretty sure that they lay eggs. I have no idea what to do in that case because all the offspring I've had has come from livebearers. Any help would be appreciated. I'm not all that fish smart. Thank you :D I appreciate it, Tara <Hello Tara. In theory, the "gravid spot" is an area around the vent where the muscles and internal organs push against the skin as the reproductive cavity expands to accommodate the developing fry. In practise, the size and colour of any given fish makes this only variably reliable. It works best on guppies, sometimes on platies, and hardly at all on mollies and swordtails. Much better to go "by eye" -- if the female is obviously swollen, she's pregnant. In fact, if she's ever been with a male platy, she's pregnant. Fish don't generally become overweight because they only absorb such food as they need, and only a little is stored as fat. Unlike mammals, fish can't keep on laying down fat getting fatter and fatter all the time. They don't need to. Fish have low energy demands most of the time, and even at an average weight they can go weeks without food by slowing down their activity levels. Mammals, by contrast, need energy reserves to tide them over even short spells (hence, hibernating mammals will need to lay down massive fat reserves before the winter sleep). Now, as for your tiger barb. Barbs don't become pregnant but, as you correctly state, they lay eggs. Without a photo it's difficult to say exactly why your barb is swollen. It could be any of a number of things. It might be constipation (yes, fish get constipated). Barbs are omnivores, and when given a processed diet (i.e., flake) they are prone to the exact same problems as us omnivorous humans when we eat processed food instead of fruit and vegetables. So, try feeding your fish algae-based flake for a few weeks instead of regular flake, and on some days, offer chopped cooked spinach, tinned peas, or any other soft vegetables you have to hand in the house (cleaned, of course). Dropsy is another problem with fish. It's a symptom rather than any one disease, indicative of organ failure. Fish become swollen, and the give-away sign is that the scales become raised from the body, so that from above the fish looks like a pine cone. That's two ideas, anyway. Hope this helps, Neale>

I can't tell if my platy is pregnant. -- 7/3/07 I have a five-gallon tank and two platies (gender unknown). One of them has developed a large stomach, but i can't tell if it's pregnant because of a large black stripe. Is my fish pregnant or over-fed? <Greetings. Chances are, if you have a boy and a girl platy, or the girl platy has been with a boy at any time, she's pregnant. Dropsy, the situation where the body cavity fills with fluid, usually causes the scales to life up from the body. The appearance is likened to a pine cone. Constipation or poor diet can also cause swelling, but usually alongside lethargy, poor swimming ability, and odd/stringy faeces. Overfeeding fish is easy, but a good rule is one or two meals small per day. An adult platy probably only needs 2-3 flakes per meal. They're herbivores in the wild, so use a nice vegetarian flake food (Spirulina is ideal) rather than regular flake. Alternate some of the meals with "greens". Sliced cucumber and cooked spinach are popular, but also try Sushi Nori. The health and colours of your fish will improve, the more greens they eat! Platies (and most other livebearers) are easy to sex. The females are bigger and her anal fin is triangular, like that of any other fish. The male is smaller, and his anal fin is bent into a thing that look like a finger that sticks out backwards. It's called a "gonopodium" and is used to deliver sperm into the female when the fish mate. Platies really deserve a bigger tank that 5 gallons though, especially if you want to look after their babies. Consider upgrading to a tank at least twice that size. Cheers, Neale.>

Platy fry with crooked spine 6/30/07 I am a novice fish keeper and have only had my tank since December 06. I started out with 3 platies, a danio, 3 tetras and rubber mouth pleco I have live plants in the tank and from these the tank became overrun with Egyptian snails. I was very slack with tank maintenance in the beginning (I had a baby in late January and let things slide) during this time, 2 of the platies gave birth and of the 2 sets, I have seven fry left in the tank. 5 were strong enough to move out of the breeder but have 2 that are tiny and still in the breeder. After the births one of the platies has taken to sitting on the bottom of the tank and has a diminished (nipped at?) fin on top- but still eats and seems otherwise OK. Other fish all seem fine. PH looks OK- I haven't recently tested nitrites but they were clearly high at the time my troubles began. After not cleaning the tank for awhile I ended up with an algae bloom (green water that turned to grey water) also did something really stupid and added 2 dwarf gouramis at this time because someone in a big box pet store told me that they would eat my snails. <They eat some snails sometimes. It depends on the fish and the type and size of the snails. I suspect they are more inclined to eat snail eggs (which might be just as helpful in the long run).> Even I know better than adding a fish when you have trouble- but I did it.... I removed the plants and I treated this with No more algae -Tank Buddies (Jungle Labs). The algae cleared but within a week I found both Gouramis face down in the rocks. No other fish seemed affected. I noticed that the tank buddies said not for use with invertebrates so I thought maybe that would help with the snails too. Even though I never found anything to back up the claim that gouramis would eat snails, I hoped that they had and maybe that was what killed them (???) <I suspect your gouramis died from stress, poor water quality, or the combination of the two. Also, algicides are not usually such a good idea. Many of them contain questionable chemicals like Simazine. Algal blooms are also your tank's way of coping with excess nutrients (like nitrites). If you kill the algae, you kill the organisms taking up those excess nutrients. In any case, please see here for more on freshwater algicides: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwalgicidefaqs.htm> After all of this, the baby platies started looking sort of stressed but I added aquarium salt (which I had not been using) and everyone seemed to be doing OK. I started doing 30% water changes once or twice a week and everything seemed fine. <Water changes are almost always the fastest and safest way to solve a water quality problem.> Now here is my real question: Of the two baby platies that are not growing as well, one has a crooked spine. I cannot say whether this is from birth or not... but when I looked up fish scoliosis I of course came up with Piscine TB as a possible cause... <Congenital spine deformities in fish are quite common. This is likely the case with your fish. If the fish had Piscine TB it should have other symptoms, such as sores on its body, a sunken abdominal area, etc.> Are Platies susceptible to this? and if so what are the odds that it is in my tank if I don't have any other fish with indicators (except maybe the platy that sits on the bottom with the damaged top fin and the two gouramis that died within days of being added to my tank) <I highly doubt your fish has Piscine TB. But just FYI, if it does, Mycobacteria can infect humans (it doesn't give us TB, but it can cause a nasty infection.) If any of your fish start to show multiple other symptoms of Piscine TB (curved spine, sunken abdominal are, lethargy, sores, etc.) then there might be cause to worry. In any case, it's wise not to put your exposed hands in the tank if you have an open cut, sore or wound.> Would a baby show a deformity like this so early on or would I see lesions or something first? <Baby fish can show congenital spinal deformities quite early.> If I do have Mycobacterium in my tank what should I do about it and how concerned should I be about my fish <Honestly, I'd hold off on worrying too much about Piscine TB unless your fish start to show more symptoms. Just try to be more diligent about your tank maintenance and keeping your water quality good. > thanks for any ideas about this Jennifer <de nada and good luck! :-) Sara M.>

Re: platy fry with crooked spine -- 07/01/07 Thank you so much Sara!! That is really what I was hoping to hear. <cool> Since we have more baby platies than our tank will accommodate I was thinking of setting up a platy tank for my 3 year old's classroom and the thought of bringing TB infected fish/water into a preschool was pretty frightful. How common do you think Piscine TB is? <I don't know of any too reliable statistics on this for home aquariums. One reason for the lack of reliable statistics might be that since other diseases can cause the same symptoms, you can only truly verify Piscine TB at autopsy. And needless to say, not too many people autopsy their deceased fish. I can tell you though that among fish with misshapen spines, it's a lot less common than congenital spine deformities. But, there's really two questions here. The Mycobacteria that cause Piscine TB might be more common than are incidences of infection. In other words, there are probably plenty of tanks that have some Mycobacteria but without any sick fish. Believe it or not, our human homes often have some scary viruses and bacteria, but if we're healthy we usually don't get sick because our bodies have ways of protecting us. Though fish have less sophisticated immune systems, it's a similar story for them too.> You see such conflicting statistics about it. My father has always had an aquarium and I don't think he is even aware of the possibility of anything transmissible to humans. <Well, I might have mentioned in my other email that it is possible for fish to die of Piscine TB without any obvious symptoms of the disease. Or, they might have different symptoms (like a distended abdomen or pop-eye, etc.). Transmission to humans is what I would consider "rare." And we don't mention it to scare you. We just like for people to be aware of it.> I didn't really think that I had it in my tank- but the crooked platy did get my curiosity up. <They have an expression in medicine that goes "when you hear hooves, think horses, not zebras." It means, when you see a symptom, think of the most common causes first. I.e. when you see a baby fish with a crooked spine, think congenital deformity until you see other symptoms of something else. That said, it's good to learn about zebras too (just in case). ;-) > Thank you so much for your time. You guys are wonderful Jennifer <Thank you! Happy to help. :-) Sara M.>

Baby Platies 6/29/07 Hi, <Hello> I have a 54l tank (?about 14gallons??!), which I bought about 5 months ago. I stocked it over several weeks and have had 5 zebras, 5 glowlights, 2 albino Corydoras and, originally a pair of red wagtail platies living quite happily together for about 3months. There are plenty of plants, a couple of pieces of wood / rocks etc and an internal filter & thermometer. All the fish seem very happy, and the platies so content that, unsurprisingly I guess having read most of these FAQs, they produced 6 fry about 3weeks ago. Not having space or money for separate tanks I had no choice but to keep them in the main tank, but they're doing fine and are quite large now. <Will probably be fine with these tankmates, not much big enough to eat them.> They all seem to be female, but I guess that's because they're not sexually mature yet? <Correct.> I then noticed one more baby the other day, which is beginning to worry me - how often are they going to produce babies, and how many do they need to have before my tank is seriously overstocked (if it isn't already)? <They will have fry about every six weeks for up to six months without the need for a male. These thing put rabbits to shame. Unfortunately your tank is not big enough for most fish that will eat the fry, so you will need to find a home for them, perhaps a local fish store will take them as a donation. For your tank I would not want more than 3 or 4 full grown platies, and even that is pushing it a little.> <Chris> Thanks
Baby Platies 6/29/07
Thank you for such a swift and helpful reply, I'll start looking for new homes for them! <Welcome> <Chris>

Neon Sunbursts Moons, repro. 6/5/07 My story begins at my local pet store where I was in search of two beautiful fish for my new (well, up and running for 2 weeks) empty aquarium. <Hopefully "up and running" = cycled (nitrogen cycle has been established)?> I was walking down the long aisle of fish tanks when I spotted the most gorgeous fish I'd ever seen. Inside the tank were 5 Neon Sunburst Moon Platys. I immediately decided: "I want a pair". I went home and did some research on their likes and dislikes, pH level, water temperature, proper decorations, and even what color background would best suit them. Another week later, I went back and got my two gorgeous fish. (This...really has nothing to do with the question, just some background information I thought would make your day a little brighter.) <You're right - it always makes me happy to hear of folks doing research before buying livestock! Great job...keep up the good work!> I bought two females and brought them home, I followed the proper procedures before adding them and finally let them loose in their new home where they have been living happily for a good 3-4 weeks now. <Sounds great. I also want to commend you on slowly stocking your tank, and not adding many fish all at the same time.> However, only 3 days ago I noticed something odd. Very...odd. One of my fish had a huge belly that could only mean one thing. I have a pregnant fish. <Indeed- likely always the case with livebearers. Did you know that female livebearers can "store" sperm for around 6 mos., and basically impregnate themselves at will?!> Shocked and having absolutely NO idea what to do - I researched how to tell the difference between a male and female, I checked the anal fin of the other fish, and sure enough - there was the fin of a male. <At first, it can be challenging to tell, but once you know what to look for, you'll likely not forget. Interesting enough, also, the fish can change sex - I had two female mollies in a 29 gal. for several months, and just a couple of days ago, lo and behold, I noticed one acting strangely like a male...sure enough, the "flicking" anal fin was there...I'm 99.99% sure she underwent her own little "sex change" procedure!> Still clueless on what to do, finally, here are my questions. <Ok- I'm ready...> 1.) My tank is no where near the size it needs to be to raise fry. I've called all my local pet shops and none of them can take fry not born in the store due to the fact that they have no room for them. I have no clue what to do with the little ones when they finally decide to come on out. <Are we talking about the 29 gallon tank, or is the pair in a smaller QT tank? I raise my fry in a 10 gallon tank, if I plan on keeping them; otherwise, I allow the livebearers to give birth in their respective community tanks (the 29 I mentioned is actually brackish and houses a Figure 8 puffer as well; I also have a 44 gal. FW planted tank that houses calico platys) and allow the larger fish to consume the fry. In all honesty, it doesn't take any special equipment to raise the fry, if that's your intention; just very good environmental conditions and "fry food" (or pulverized flake, in a pinch)...> 2.) My two platys seem to have a very...close bond between them. Ever since I've put them in the tank together, they have never left each other's presence. He constantly follows her around and almost has a heart attack (figuratively speaking, of course) if she hides behind a plant or gets out of his sight. He dashes from one end of the tank to another until he finds her. Is this normal...or would it be cruel to break the two apart? I was going to exchange him for a female tonight at the pet store, since I know I have to do something so this doesn't happen again, but I'm just a big baby and don't want depressed fish (am I a sap or what?). <I tend to think the same way. We, as humans, seem to like to attribute human characteristics to our pets. In all reality, you could easily return the male fish for a female, but again, do be aware that if the girls were kept with boys at the fish store, they are likely pregnant themselves. Alternatively, have you decided how to stock your tank? You could always decide on a couple of larger fish to help "control" the fry population. If that's your wish, then I'd suggest simply adding another girl or two to the mix; livebearers generally do best in a 3:1 or 4:1 female:male ratio (the males can be pretty unrelenting when it comes to pursuing the females, and you don't want one to get too tired...) What is your stocking plan at the moment? Thanks in advance for your reply! <You're most welcome. I applaud you for wanting to do what's right for your fish; I do think that you'll be able to fashion a solution that allows you to keep both sexes of these wonderful platys...and I'm glad to help out as needed.> -Beth <Best regards, Jorie>
Re: Neon Sunbursts Moons: two girls actually one girl and one boy 6/6/07
Jorie, > <Hi again> > As for stocking my 10 gallon tank I had actually planned to do as follows: > <I must have been hallucinating last night, for I was sure we were talking about a 29 gallon tank...did I dream that?> > 2 Neon Sunburst Moons > 1 Sucker Fish (Sorry I can't remember the name) > 2-3 Neon Tetras > And maybe a member of the Corydoras Species if I don't get the tetras. > <I would suggest a pair of Corys instead of the tetras; the latter are extremely prone to bringing in parasitic disease, and really aren't that easy to keep. The Corys will make a good "bottom dwelling" addition to your aquarium, and are cute and entertaining to boot. As for the "sucker fish", if you are talking about a common pleco, definitely think again - these can reach over 12" in length when full grown! Find out the scientific name of the particular fish you are interested in and look it up on www.fishbase.org - that'll give you the basic parameters. Also, take a look at David E. Boruchowitz's A Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums for some guides to stocking various sized tanks, including a 10 gallon. You are a bit limited in finding "larger fish" to keep the platy fry population under control; I do suggest careful planning and reconsideration of what you plan to keep. Alternatively, do you have a quarantine tank? If not, perhaps consider using the 10 gallon tank you have for that purpose (a QT is definitely necessary in this hobby; all new livestock should be quarantined for a minimum of 2-3 weeks to ensure health prior to adding to the main display tank), and upgrading to a 29 gallon? You'll have lots more stocking options that way:-)> > -Bethany > <Best regards, Jorie>

My platy fry 5/30/07 Hello i recently had a Mickey mouse platy drop her fry... they seem to be doing great, I've got them in a separate 1g tank and their happy. <Please define "happy". A one-gallon tank is smaller than the average bucket, and is only suitable for holding fry for a couple of weeks, at best.> Now i have a couple of questions I've been feeding them liquid fry food and that seems to be very messy! <Yes it is, because it's meant (in part) to stimulate the growth of algae and protozoans in the aquarium, and these the fry eat. You can skip it completely and use finely powdered flake foods designed for baby fish. Hikari First Bites is one brand, but there are lots of others. Also plain old algae works very well, as these fish are algae-eaters in the wild. I simply take clumps of algae from my garden pond and let livebearer and cichlid fry nibble away to their heart's content.> I've been changing the water daily. <Very good.> A couple of the Fry have black in their belly, is this normal or should i switch back to regular pellet food crushed up? <Don't overfeed your baby fish, but provide lots of small meals through the day. Ideally, six meals. "A little, but often" should be your mantra.> please let me know as I do not want to lose my Fry and also how can i keep my tank cleaner. <Use powdered food and algae, and get a bigger tank with an air-powered sponge or box filter.> Thank you 'Happy Fish keeper' <Cheers, Neale>

Platy Question, repro. 5/21/07 Hello, <<Hi, Shanade. Tom here.>> Just a quick question'¦ I know that my platy is pregnant due to her gravid spot, but she has had the spot there for two months now and nothing, the gravid spot hasn't even disappeared? What do you think is going on? <<It turns out that this condition isn't all that uncommon, Sha nade. Some livebearers, particularly those that are lighter in color, display a darkened gravid spot constantly. Gives the appearance that 'Mom' is pregnant when, in fact, she isn't. For what it's worth, we typically suggest that livebearers, after having mated, will generally deliver fry about every 28-32 days, give or take. Some can go as long as eight weeks, however. Another possibility is that the fry she might have been pregnant with were absorbed back into the mom's body. This isn't typical but can happen if the fry weren't viable. A case of being 'sort of' pregnant, if you will. (Doesn't work with people but fish can get away with it, or so it seems.) :) >> Kind Regards Sha nade <<Have a great day, Shanade. Tom>>

Re: Platy Fry 5/14/07 Hi there! <<Hello, James.>> After your last reply I have done another 25% water change, and waited until my nitrites were zero. <<Very good.>> I have now purchased 3 lemon tetras for my tank. The shop tested the water and said all levels were good. I took care to introduce the new fish slowly and carefully. <<Also, very good, James.>> The 3 platys (2 female, 1 male) which were already in the tank seemed fine initially when the new folk were introduced, however the larger female is now chasing and nipping whichever tetra she can get her hands on! Is this normal behavior for a female and is it likely to calm down when they are all used to each other? <<She is likely to settle down, James, but it bears keeping a close eye on things. Since her nipping seems to be spread out, it doesn't sound like she's looking to 'cull the herd', so to speak. Probably just trying to let everyone know where she, and they, stand in the hierarchy of things.>> I don't want more fishy carnage! My tank is probably too small for more fish so spreading the stress of bullying amongst more fish is not really an option! <<Understood and it's good thinking on your part. As long as she isn't driving the others to hide constantly, I don't think there should be any real problem here. Better to keep water conditions at a high level with proper stocking than create even bigger problems. Frequently, a chronic bully can be re-educated about good fishy manners by isolating him/her in a breeding net/box inside the tank. One or two sessions in 'detention' usually conditions the animal to realize that attempts to browbeat tank mates is futile and the behavior subsides.>> Cheers James <<Good luck, James, and keep up the good work. Tom>>

Starburst platy's, repro., fdg. young, holidays 5/3/07 hello! <Hi there> I have been in touch with you all before. I have kept 4 baby starburst platy's alive now for 2 1/2 months. they seem to be doing well. they were born the 3rd week in Jan. I have a few questions: 1. I switched from giving them the tropical fish flakes to feeding them 'Hikari's first bites' (prob about 6 wks ago). I notice that one of the fish seems significantly larger than his 3 'siblings.' <Typical> I also know that their other siblings...living in a fishtank of a friend... are about 2x the size of mine. she still feeds them the tropical fish flakes. could this be the reason? <Yes> or could it be something else? <Oh yes... likely environmental. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/GrwLmtChems.htm and the linked FAQs file above> 2. I saw that Hikari also makes a 'pellet' food. would this be better for them? or should I wait till they reach maturity? when do they reach maturity? <Better to wait till they're larger... about two months hence> 3. I only feed them once daily as I do not want to overfeed them...is this still ok? <Twice or thrice with smaller amounts would be better... along with frequent partial water changes...> they act like they are hungry but coming up to the top of the tank like they do when I feed them. 4. I'm going out of town at the end of this month and I thought that I could put a little food in separate baggies for the days I'm gone so that the person caring for my cat would not overfeed them. <Good technique> unfortunately, when I did this the food seemed to 'disappear' (because its such a small amount) that it looked like there was nothing in the bag. any other suggestions?? <Plastic containers with snap lids like the fast food places use... a guide like only X number of pellets per feeding... using an automatic feeder (covered on WWM...)> thanks for any and all advice! regards, DTJ <Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_3/cav3i5/Vacation/Vacation.htm and the linked files at the bottom... yes, even the marine ones. Bob Fenner>

Pregnant Platys - eating their own? Sounds like it... 4/27/07 Hi there, <Hello, and Happy Friday!> I've read through all your answers on this subject but am still at a loss. I have two female and one male platy. <In what size aquarium? With or without other inhabitants? What are the current water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and temp.)?> Both females have appeared to be pregnant for several months now, but only two fry have been born in almost 9 months. <Could be a couple of things. If these are juvenile female platys, it is not abnormal for a very small amount of fry (even one) to be born at a time. However, 9 months does seem a bit excessive for this scenario, time-wise. Alternatively, are you certain the fry aren't being born and subsequently eaten? Some livebearers have been known to eat their own offspring; I've got a trio of platys that currently have been doing just that, I think...> Both females are healthy and behaving normally, swimming and eating well. <Good signs.> However, I am quite amazed at their size and the lack of fry. My water quality is very good... <Quite subjective; ammonia and nitrite should be at zero, and nitrates no higher than 20 ppm...> , but I am stumped. Can you give me any ideas as to what is going on? I'm surprised to have seen no sign of ejected or aborted embryos. <I think the most likely scenario is that the fry are getting eaten. Make sure there are plenty of hiding places for newborn fry (and pregnant moms) - breeding grass and other plants, either real or fake, are a big plus. If you have a spare 5 or 10 gal. tank, you could isolate a pregnant female to see if this results in more fry...of course, she could be eating her own, but I highly doubt she'd be able to consume a whole brood of fry by herself, during the time you are away/sleeping...> Many thanks Abi <Abi, for what it's worth, I'm having the exact same phenomenon in my 10 gal. "breeding" tank. I initially purchased 2 male and 2 female calico platys (I thought I had 3 girls and 1 boy, but was wrong), and I've been seeing the same thing you describe above. I recently moved the alpha male into my main FW tank (after his QT period was up), so now I've got the 2 girls and 1 boy in the 10. After 3 weeks like this, still no fry. I'm getting ready to move the other male into the main display tank as well, and see if that helps "speed the process up". I added more decor for cover, also. I've heard of livebearers consuming their own fry before, but had never personally experienced it, in the several years I had been keeping/breeding mollies. Your situation gives me even more reason to think at least some platys have a penchant for eating their own... Best of luck! Jorie>

Platy Fry 4/26/07 Hi there, <<Hi, James. Tom here.>> I have a 20-litre tank which is a month old, the tank has matured pretty well and I have 3 platys (2 female, 1 male) and 5 neon tetras. The 2 females are obviously pregnant and I noticed a live fry while doing my weekly 25% water change. I don't have another tank in which to put the babies. Are they doomed or is there anything I can do to save them without going to the expense of buying another tank? <<James, about the best you can do at this point is to purchase some 'breeding grass' (any floating plastic plants will suffice) and float this at the top of the tank. The babies should 'hightail' it for this as an instinctive, survival behavior. Without a better option, I think this is your best bet.>> Thanks James Hill <<Happy to help. I wish you'¦and the babies'¦good luck. Tom>>

Re: Platy Fry -- 5/4/07 Hi there, <<Hi, James. Tom again'¦>> With reference to my small 22 litre tank, I bought it for my 4 year old, so I didn't think it wise to get too large a tank! <<I understand. Puts a little extra pressure on you, though.>> Sadly, I have lost 3 of 5 Neons due to the tank not being fully cycled before they were introduced. I reckon the shop were just keen to get me stocking up. <<What are the odds, eh?>> Having read a few articles I now believe that the number of fish they are recommending is way too many. However, the 3 platys and the 2 remaining Neons make the tank look quite understocked! <<Ahhh'¦the, very familiar, aquarist's dilemma. 'Understocked is better than overstocked but my tank looks naked!' Been there myself, James.>> Could you give me an idiot's plan for what to add to this tank so as to provide colour and interest. A breed list with quantities would take a lot of the stress out of deciding what fish to buy next! How many fish should I end up with? <<I'd stick with the three Platys but might consider adding three new Neons to replace those that were 'lost'. (A variation, if you can find them, is the Black Neon Tetra. Rather striking gold bars running the length of the fish which is'¦well, black. Quite nice and would fit in the scheme. Just a few, however.) Last, and I do mean 'last', I would look at any of the Corydoras catfish species. These little fish stay almost entirely at the bottom and are absolutely non-stop scavengers. They stay, generally, quite small and provide plenty of interest in any tank. Unfortunately, you're not likely to find the more colorful variations of these at your local LFS. Those would have to be ordered online (or through your LFS) and, with all due respect to the aquatic e-tailers, I, frankly, don't advise it in your case. Lots of stress on the fish and the hobbyist unless one is experienced or, even if one is experienced, quite honestly.>> The tank has a filter (provides quite a current which the platys seem to enjoy!!!) and heater. It goes without saying that I will stock up very slowly and do frequent water testing! <<The 'trick', James, is not so much in 'how many' fish you have. Rather, it's in the 'layering', if you will. Provided that the fish are disbursed somewhat evenly throughout the tank, you can achieve a full look without over-burdening your tank's resources. You already know I'm pleased with your stocking plan and testing schedule! :) >> Thanks for your continued help and support! James <<Happy to do so, James. As always, you can reach us easily with any further questions you might have. Best regards. Tom>>

Breeding grass on top or bottom? Depends on species 4/24/07 Thank you so much for your website! I have spent many hours there and have learned a lot! <Good> I have a 10 gallon tank with platies and one is definitely pregnant. I bought some plastic aquarium breeding grass today and was wondering if it is better to let it float on top of the tank or anchor it in the gravel at the bottom for the upcoming fry? <Near the top for these livebearers> I was concerned if the fry would get enough crushed flake food if living in the grass on the bottom. I suppose I could cut the grass and let part of it float and put part of it on the bottom? Thank you so much! Michele <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Mixing platy fry of different ages 4/24/07 Hi there, <Afternoon Melanie> I have a 55 gal tank. We had baby Platys on March 17. <Congratulations'¦Mum> One survived and we put her into a 5 gal tank. She is now 5 weeks old. In the meantime we replaced "mom" as she died a few days after birth and we now have a batch of new fry that we have in our 55 gal tank that we divided. Would it be ok now at this point to put the 5-week-old platy in with the brand new fry or do we pose the risk of the older fry eating the younger fry? <It is a definite risk, could you not release the 5-week-old into the 55gallon after catching the new fry and put them into the 5 gallon?> Thanks, Melanie <Pleasure, Olly>

Re: Mixing platy fry of different ages 4/24/07 We have other fish that I think would eat the 5-week-old fry. We will just leave well enough alone for right now. I was trying to get rid of the extra tank. Thanks so much for your input. <You could add a small hang-on breeding/rearing tank in your main tank; these are really cheap and should work fine. Alternatively, a natural way would be Java Moss; this wouldn't guarantee 100% rearing success but would provide shelter for the fry http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/vesicularia.htm> Melanie <Olly>

Platy died in childbirth 4/22/07 Hi -- <<Hello, Paula. Tom with you.>> I've been reading your QA's, and you're all wonderful. Please help me on this if you can. <<Thanks, Paula. I'll do my best.>> I have a 30 gal tank with 8 platies and one algae eater. One of my females platies has successfully given birth 3 times. This morning she went into labor. She was enormous, and I was concerned about that. Yesterday she swam and ate normally. Today she delivered a lot of stillborn babies and one live baby. At the end of the day she passed away. <<I'm sorry to hear about this.>> She was not an old platy. She was my favorite. I don't want this to happen to any of the others. <<Understandable, Paula.>> Is there a limit to the number of safe pregnancies? Water temp was about 79 like always. My water is near excellent. <<Here's the catch on livebearers, such as Platys, and pregnancy. (A couple of catches, actually.) First and sadly, not all females will give birth without problems connected to the process. It's more common than you might think, or like, that a female will succumb after giving birth. Second, livebearing females can store the male's sperm for six months after only one mating. In some rarer cases this can even be up to eight months. In short, she can/will continue to become pregnant and give birth to varying numbers of fry for this length of time without even being around a male once she's mated. The best you can do for her is to isolate her shortly before she gives birth and keep her isolated for a few days afterward so that she can recuperate. Given top-notch water conditions -- something you'll want for the fry, anyway -- and a little finger-crossing, she'll have the best chance you can give her to recover without this happening again. I wish there were a way to prevent this from re-occurring with any of the others, Paula, but 'evolution' has tied our hands on limiting the number of pregnancies with these fish.>> Thanks for an educational and helpful web page. Paula <<And, thank you again for your kind words, Paula. I wish you the best of luck in the future. Tom>>

Our pregnant platy 4/11/07 Hi, I've checked through your forums, but haven't found anything that seems to cover my question, which is as follows: <Seek and ye will find. Try http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyfaqs.htm , and also http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/livebrrreprofaqs.htm > We have a pregnant platy who gave birth to about 5 fry April 1st and then about 5 more a couple of days later. She still appears pregnant today- so my question is, how long does the birth cycle last? <Impossible to say for certain. Depends on age of the mother, temperature, diet, genetics. Typically the gestation period is about a month, can be less, can be up to 6 weeks.> Does she just appear pregnant to me, but isn't, or is it possible more babies will be born? <Platies are pretty rotund, especially some of the hybrids and fancy varieties. Although the "gravid spot" -- a dark patch around the vent -- is a good clue, it isn't 100% reliable, and isn't even obvious on some colour forms.> My boyfriend set up this tank a couple of months ago, but fish tanks and aquariums are quite a mystery to me! Any help would be greatly appreciated! <Platies are nice fish and present few problems provided you keep the water hard and the pH around 7.5 and *be sure* and provide them with green foods not just flake. Vegetarian flake food is good, but so is algae, thinly sliced cucumber, plec algae pellets, etc. These fish are omnivores in the wild, and the more greens they eat the better their health and the nicer their colours.> Thanks, Sue <Cheers, Neale>

How long can a female platy stay pregnant? 3/5/07 <<Hello, Jennifer. Tom here.>> We purchased a single female platy (with some neon tetras & an albino catfish) in September. In January a batch a fry (6 remain); her belly began to swell a few weeks later & poof'¦ another small batch of fry (4 remain). This weekend (Mar 3), we found she had given birth to at least 2 more babies (we've seen them hiding under the rocks, but there could be more. How long could this go on? <<Ahhh'¦ The 'Perpetually Pregnant Platy' issue. I'd say she's close to being 'done', Jennifer, based on the timeline you've shared. Female 'livebearers', Platys among them, can actually store the male's sperm in their own bodies for up to six months, or so. A 'one night stand', so to speak, is all they need to keep reproducing for months. The fact that the number of fry is dwindling down indicates that she's about ready to quit being a mom. I doubt the male's sperm would remain viable beyond this length of time, anyway. Now, all you have to do is wait for the little ones to reach sexual maturity. :) >> Thanks. Jennifer Sanchez <<Glad to help, Jennifer. Tom>>

Baby Fry Starburst Platys - 02/22/07 To Whom It May Concern, <Hey that's me!> I am new to owning fish. I have a 10 gallon tank with 4, baby starburst platy's. They are about 6 weeks old. I have had them for about 2 1/2 weeks. They seem to be doing ok so far. I have some questions: 1. I am going away overnight for 1 night. I was told to use Hikari's First Bites right before I leave the house and that they'd be fine until I come back. I am currently using tropical fish flakes. I take 2 larger flakes or 3 small flakes and break them up really small and feed them 1x per day. Is it going to hurt to change them to this Hikari's First Bites? <No, in fact variety is very important, feeding the same food all the time is not good.> If not, should I use this instead of the tropical fish flakes (by Tetra) all of the time until they are adults? <Should get a few different types of food, including the First Bites.> 2. When I go away for 3, 5, 7, or 10 days will it be ok to leave those other "chunks" of food which supposedly slowly break apart to give them food over time?? <Those are not so good, 3 days or less and they should be fine without feeding. Longer its best to get someone to feed them. When I do this I pre-measure feeding into sandwich bags so the feeder does not need to figure out how much to eat. If you travel often I suggest getting an automatic feeder. There is a good review of these by Steven Pro in CA magazine.> 3. In about 1 wk, I'll need to do a water change. Is this going to really stress them out? <Not if done properly.> If the water is clear and the tests show it's fine, does it need to be changed? <Yes, regular water changes are important. Lots of stuff gets removed/replaced that is not tested for.> Thanks in Advance, DTJ <Welcome to the hobby.> <Chris>

Breeding platies 2/18/07 Hi, <<Greetings, Kevin. Tom here.>> I e-mailed you guys before but I had another question. <<Fire away.>> Ok, I noticed that my floating breeding tank was stressing my pregnant platys out too much so I bought a 10 gallon tank that I set up yesterday. <<A good move, Kevin. Hopefully, you used a fair amount of water from the main tank to do this. This would alleviate some of the cycling issues.>> I am planning on putting 1 or 2 of my pregnant-looking platys in there so there is less of a chance that the fry will be eaten. Is that a good idea? Or, should I only put 1 in the 10 gallon at a time? <<A good question, Kevin. Let's work our way through it. If you go with one at a time and the Platy in the main tank gives birth first, you're likely to lose those fry to the other fish. By the same token, you'll probably save most or, all, of the fry in the 10-gallon tank when that Platy gives birth. A reasonable option, perhaps. Now, if you put both together in the 10-gallon tank, the first 'mom' to give birth won't touch the fry for about 12 hours (Nature's way of giving the little ones a chance to 'head for the hills'). The problem here is the other soon-to-be mom. She may not be inclined to leave the fry be. Probably the lesser of the two options, thus far. What I'd like to suggest to you is purchasing a divider for the 10-gallon tank and place one Platy on either side. The fry will be contained in smaller/safer areas making it easier for you to feed them and not have them be turned into 'lunch' in the process. Not an absolute guarantee, of course, but the way I would go in this case.>> Also, how long should I wait before I put fish in the new tank so it is safe for them? <<I assume you mean the 'new' fish in the main tank, right? Actually, there's no hard and fast rule for this, Kevin. The fry will develop fairly quickly based on feeding them good quality food and providing VERY good water conditions. This means water changes daily or, at the least, every other day. (Fry are intolerant of less-than-optimal conditions until their immune systems have a chance to mature and strengthen.) From there, you just keep an eye on them and when, in your opinion, they're large enough to not appear like a meal, they can be transferred. As a rough time frame, I'd say you'll be looking at approximately 8-10 weeks.>> Is there anything special I should do with the 10 gallon breeding tank to make the fry survive better and the pregnant platys give birth? I have 3 frill plants in it right now. <<Stay on top of water changes, as I've mentioned. When both Platys have given birth, one thing you should do is to maintain lower water levels in the tank so that the fry can reach their food. The little ones need it almost in front of their noses to find it or they'll starve. The plants are a good addition to give the fry a place to hide and feel secure. It should go without saying that you'll need to move the mothers away from the fry as soon as possible.>> If you could please answer these questions. Thank you! Kevin <<Well, I hope I've covered your questions satisfactorily, Kevin. If there's anything that you need clarification on, feel free to get back to me. Good luck with your pets. Tom>>

Follow-up question on pregnant Platy 2/24/07 Hi, <<Hi, Kevin. Tom once again.>> I have asked you guys a couple of questions but I always seem to think of more. <<Nothing wrong with that, Kevin.>> Ok, I have a pregnant platy. It has black dots in the "gravid spot" (I think that's what you call it). <<It is.>> Right now I have it in a 10 gallon tank alone with some floating plants and it is like hiding behind them. It seems like she is stressed. Is that something I should worry about? <<I wouldn't be concerned if you're keeping on top of the water conditions in this tank. The 'hiding' behavior is typical/natural for these fish before they give birth.>> Or, is that meaning that she should have her babies soon? <<I'd suggest that she's pretty close to having them.>> Any suggestions on what I could do to have her less stressed because I know if they are too stressed they will not have their babies? <<Monitor the water conditions closely, Kevin. You'll need to do this religiously after the fry are born anyway. If you have supplemental lighting for this tank, you might consider lowering it or keeping it off completely until after the fry are born. Beyond this, Kevin, just let 'Nature' take its course.>> Thank you! Kevin <<You're welcome, Kevin. I hope all goes well with your Platy. Tom>>

Pregnant platy 2/13/07 Hi, <Hello- Jorie here this snowy Chicago afternoon...> I have a question about my pregnant platy. I have done alot of research on their <its> pregnancy and everything but i <I - next time, please use proper capitalization and punctuation, not "net speak"...> still have some ?s. <questions.> Ok I herd <heard> from an employee at PetSmart that right before they are about to "pop" they form like a white spot under its anal vent (like almost looking like it is pooping but not). <Generally it's not best to rely solely on large chain pet store employees' information. However, in this case, the employee was right - what he/she was referring to is called a "gravid" spot on livebearers - see here for more info.: http://www.atchison.com/fishinformation/breedinglivebearers.htm#Birthing and a picture: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl= http://www.justbajan.com/pets/fish/species/guppy/ sex2.jpg&imgrefurl= http://www.justbajan.com/ pets/fish/species/guppy/index.htm&h=130&w=200&sz=9&hl=en&start= 1&tbnid=MClAvU4KmNKlTM: &tbnh=68&tbnw=104&prev=/images%3Fq%3 Dgravid%2Bspot%2Blivebearer%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26sa%3DN > Is that true and are there any other signs that could tell me when I should put it in the breeder tank thing (I have one that floats at the top of my tank and has like a "v" in it that the fry will fall into). Is that a good thing to use? How long can I keep the female in one of those for? If you could answer these questions that would be awesome! <First off, what is your aquarium setup like? How large, how many fish, water parameters, etc. Do you plan to raise these fry into adulthood? Livebearers kept in a community tank are virtually always pregnant and will soon explode in population - as cute as the little ones are, you need to be sure you've got the room to care for them. I'm not a fan of breeding nets, as they tend to stress the fish out unnecessarily. If you do plan on raising the fry, I'd suggest allowing the pregnant female to give birth in her own 5 gal., cycled, tank, and raising the fry there. Otherwise, a female livebearer can safely give birth in a community tank so long as there is adequate cover (plants, decor, etc.) for her to hide in. Also, the fry can use that same cover to hide from larger fish mouths. For food, I recommend Hikari's First Bites or another quality fry food. > Thank you, Kevin <You're welcome, Kevin. Do be sure to read up on platys and livebearers in general so that you can best provide for their needs; another helpful link here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyfaqs.htm Best of luck, Jorie>

Pregnant Platies 2/3/06 Hi, just a quick question. <Ok> Yesterday we brought some red balloon platys for our tropical tank, and was told that they lady in the shop thinks that a few of them may be pregnant. <Usually are.> We enquired about how long it would be until they release eggs <No eggs, livebearers.> etc but they said they couldn't say how long they had been pregnant for as they were new stock in. We brought a nursery net for them, but it seems extremely small, and am now left worrying about whether to put them into it or not, as they may in fact not be pregnant at all, and the space is limited. <Not a fan of these nets, not good enough circulation. Best bet is to leave them in the tank unless ready to deal with many many fry.> Any information you have on the red balloon platys and pregnancy would be much appreciated. Thank you NBLoyce <On future queries please spell and grammar check before submitting. Please read here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm for more on platy reproduction.> <Chris>

I have 2 female Mickey Mouse platys that I'm pretty sure were pregnant 1/20/07 <<Hello. Tom with you.>> I have 2 female Mickey Mouse platys that I'm pretty sure were pregnant and gave birth 1-2 weeks after we bought them. <<That confirms it for me. They were pregnant. :) >> They grew to be very fat and had small black dots in their bellies. I wasn't sure if they were just fat and full of feces or if they truly were pregnant until I discovered a tiny fry in the tank while I was cleaning it one day. <<The 'small black dots' are the gravid spots. These are the most easily observed, physical indicators that live-bearers, such as your Platys, are 'with child', so to speak.>> I'm new at this fish mommy job, but loving it, so I'm not sure but it appears they have the same round bellies and black dots again. <<I wouldn't be surprised.>> My question/s is/are: Is it possible for them (2 females) to be pregnant again without a male Mickey present? <<Absolutely. In fact, I'd count on it. Live-bearing females can/will store sperm for upwards of six months, perhaps a little longer.>> I have them in a tank with a Buenos Aires tetra and 2 Bleeding heart tetras. Could one of them be the father? <<No. Female Tetras lay eggs which are fertilized, externally, by the male. An entirely different 'mechanism' at work here.>> The last time they gave birth I never noticed the darkening of the vent. When should I put them in the birthing cage? <<Most folks familiar with breeding live-bearing fish actually 'time' it, if you will. They count the days from the last birthing (about 26-28 days) and move the females into birthing tanks/boxes at that point. What does seem to be an issue is that the females may give birth over a period of several days, i.e. a few here and there until the process is over'¦for the time being. Typically, the 'extended' birthing period occurs with young females. Provided they're healthy, mature females will generally give birth to far larger numbers of fry over a shorter time frame. For what it's worth, if you opt to get some males to keep things going, figure on giving the females some 'down time' after giving birth. Just like with people, the females need time to recuperate and, the males are not the least bit sensitive to this need, if you get my meaning. ;) >> Thanks for your help! <<Happy to do so. You know where you can find us if you have anything more. Tom>>
Re: Pregnant Platys 1/20/07
Hi My platy is currently pregnant and I'm waiting for her to pop! I was wondering if you could post how long it takes to tell a platy is pregnant even though you can't she it yet. a.k.a how long are they visibly pregnant and how long are they nonvisible pregnant? Thanks <A few days to a couple of weeks or so. RMF>

Platy fish repro. 1/12/06 what is the gestation period for platy fish? <Mmm, four to six weeks> what is a typical birth number? <Mmm, a few to a few tens...> someone I know just bought several, 5 male, one female. the female gave birth to two about 10 days ago, and two more about 3 days ago. all are still living surprisingly! thanks, Lyn <What a planet eh? I'm not leaving! Bob Fenner>

Sunburst Platy Questions, repro. 1/19/07 Yes, I have a question that I would like to ask you experts. I have three sunburst platies and the day after one of them had babies. I isolated them in a small little plastic bin inside the large tank. <Mmm, that has perforations for some water transfer hopefully> I have no other fish in the tank except the isolated fish and in the actual tank their is one small sunburst platy fry swimming around. I'm just wondering if those three adult platies are okay in there and if the small fry is okay out their all alone. <As long as its not consumed by the adults> Also, two platies got exceptionally big and I'm wondering if their pregnant or something, I also don't know the difference between males and females, I looked at sites and none of them helped me at all. If they give birth what do they look like so that I can take it out. Thanks and could you send me pictures too? <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Good morning... I have a question regarding platy mating behavior. - 12/29/06 <<Hello, Linda. Tom with you this afternoon.>> I have a question regarding platy mating behavior. <<Okay.>> I currently have 5 adult, 1 juvenile, 1 fry in a 37 high tank along with assorted tetras (11 total tetras). I've noticed that the one adult male platy will only mate with the largest female. The juvenile male platy will mate with the others but not the larger female. Is this an alpha male, female behavior? <<Undoubtedly. Depending on the female's disposition, this may be the only male she'll allow to approach her. Not at all unheard of.>> I'm getting ready to start a 55 gallon livebearer tank and will move all the platy's into the new tank. It will be interesting to see if the behavior holds in the bigger tank. <<I suspect it will, Linda, at least until the juvenile male matures. That might be when things get 'interesting'. :) >> I do intend to add other livebearers, probably swordtails and guppies along with other platys. <<I foresee quite a collection! Quarantine, if I may, will definitely be in order here, though. Good for you if you've already planned this.>> Tank water parameters are ph 7.4, nitrates 0-5, nitrites 0, amm 0. <<All good'¦>> Other than the alpha mating behavior all the fish are fine and act completely normal. <<Well, for the fish, the mating behavior is normal. Survival of the fittest and all that.>> I don't make a point to save the fry. A few survive and prosper on their own. <<Understood.>> I do 25/30% water changes every two weeks. Any comments will be appreciated. <<It sounds to me like you have everything in fine order, Linda. Other than my comment about quarantining new fish before adding them to the 55-gallon tank, I can't think of anything that immediately jumps out at me concerning your plan. As an aside, I noticed that you didn't mention Mollies as part of your livebearer stocking plan. I suspect that you're already aware of the fact that these are considered to be a brackish water species though my head swims (pun intended) from the agreement/disagreement aspect of this. Freshwater? Brackish? Marine? And not one comment about this from a Molly. :) >> Thanks, Linda Ritchie <<Good luck in your venture, Linda. An enjoyable and prosperous New Year to you. Tom>>

Platy fry death - 12/12/06 Hi <<Hello, Ian. Tom>> I woke up this morning to notice that my female platy was giving birth. I have watched her all morning and she just dropped about six fry at one time all which are dead. Is this normal? <<Normal? No, but not unheard of, sadly. If this is her first birth, which I suspect from the small number of fry, she may have carried them too long for them to remain viable. Please try to keep her isolated for a short time to recover. She may have been excessively stressed prior to giving birth and she'll need a little time to recuperate before returning to the community. Good luck. Tom>>

Pregnancy platy? 11/16/06 Hi there! <Hello> I have a community tank with a male and female blue platy. I've only had them for a couple of months, but I think the female might be pregnant - not sure though. <With livebearers (platys, mollies, guppies, etc.), when you have both sexes in the tank, it's entirely likely that the females are all pregnant...that's what they seem to do!> I have read the previous questions and entries on how to tell if a female platy is pregnant, and I don't see any black dots near her anal fin, but her belly is huge compared to the other platies. She is active, swimming around normally, and eats LOTS, so I'm wondering if she's just fat? She doesn't appear to be sick in any way. I've also noticed that the male has been following her around the tank for weeks, mimicking her every move, that's why I finally thought that she might be pregnant. Is this a common trait for males to do when the female is expecting? <Male livebearers do like to harass females, which is why a 3:1 (at least) female: male ratio is recommended, space allowing. I have noticed what you are describing, though, that there is sometimes an increase in the "stalking" behavior when the female is pregnant. I suspect your platy is in fact pregnant - no need to do anything special (in fact I recommend against breeding boxes, as in my opinion, they unnecessarily stress out the pregnant female). If you have a separate tank AND you plan to raise the fry (lots of work, water changes, etc.! But rewarding, if you do it...), then I might suggest moving the girl to her own quarters. Otherwise, just leave well enough alone, ensure there's adequate cover (plants, decor, etc.) both for the purpose of her giving birth without being harassed, and for the fry to hide, once born), and let nature take its course. Please email me back. Thanks! Brittany <You're welcome. The gestation period is about 4-6 weeks, so just be patient, keep up with the water changes, and you'll likely wake up to babies one morning (unless there are large fish in your community tank who will relish a feast of fry. Good luck, Jorie>

Platy aquarium: fry, poor water quality 10/16/06 Hi Bob, <Hi Meridith - you've got Jorie instead of Bob this evening...> My name is Meridith. I am a total novice with fish. <That's OK - we all start somewhere, right?!> I have developed the interest because of my 2 and 3 yr. olds joy of fish. <Yes, I have a 3 1/2 yr. old niece who loves to come visit my boyfriend and me to watch the "Nemos"!> I have a 5 gallon hexagon tank with a type z rite-size filter and a BioWheel. <I have the same tank myself. It's not currently set up, but I've used it in the past.> We had 3 different types of platies and a black Molly. The black Molly died about a month ago and all has seemed fine with the rest. <In my experience with mollies, especially black ones, I've noticed they greatly appreciate either a little aquarium salt, or being in true brackish (part salt-water) environments. Seems to keep them healthier and happier. Just future info. for you. Your platys may benefit from a bit of aquarium salt as well, but in my experience, it isn't as essential.> The other day I discovered a very healthy looking tiny baby with good color. <Welcome to the wonderful world of livebearers...soon there will be more, then more, then many more...> I did not even know that any were pregnant. <Pretty much any time a female livebearer (guppy, platy, molly) is kept in a community tank with males, it will become pregnant. Also, these fish have the ability to store sperm for up to 6 months, and pretty much become "pregnant at will"...> I did not even know what the difference between a male and a female was. I started trying to see, who's the Mommy? <The female has a more rounded anal fin, whereas the male's is more pointed and elongated. Do a search on "Google" and you'll find pictures - once you see the difference, you'll see it is quite easy to tell the two apart. Also, when the females are pregnant, they become more round in their bellies, and the gravid spot (right by the anal fin) will become dark and enlarged once they are ready to give birth.> I did some research and found your web site. <Glad you did - welcome!> I found a Mommy all right, she kept hiding and laying around, I was worried because she did not look good and then I saw her pop out 2 babies. <The females tend to hide when giving birth - this is totally normal. Hopefully she's back to normal now?> I went to the store and purchased a small maternity tank and put her in it. I decided that she was just laboring hard and I watched her have 7 more babies in the little tank. (the kind that hangs inside the big tank). This morning she was dead. My kids don't know yet. <I'm not a fan of these "breeding boxes"...they tend to stress the fish out and don't allow for proper filtration. Have you recently done a water change and/or tested the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate? I'll bet it's time for a water change. Do read here if you haven't already: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm > She appeared to have a slight case of ick. <Like a dusting of salt?> I teetered back and forth because of the babies and I treated the tank with Quick Cure. <Very harsh medication. Better ways to treat ich such as adding heat, salt...also, you never want to medicate your main tank. The link I sent you to above talking about establishing a cycle will address why - the medication destroys the cycle.> After reading on your site I am more worried because I have treated for this now for the 3rd time since I have had the tank and never removed the BioWheel. The directions say remove all carbon filters, I read about people removing the BioWheel on your site. Now what? I am like 12 hours in with one baby a couple weeks old, maybe and some others born last night that seem very iffy health-wise one newborn escaped into the tank along with the 2 that were born there. I also have 2 Cory cats in the tank one seems healthy and the other is missing most of it's fins. I feel very overwhelmed and not sure what to do next. Please help! <OK, take a deep breath - we can fix this. First off, I'd like to recommend a very helpful beginner's book by David E. Boruchowitz - it's called a Simple Guide to Freshwater Aquariums. It's a very good starting point. With regards to your situation, you may be overstocked. How many fish are in the 5 gal. hex? 2 cories, 3 platys, and the babies? If that's all, you are likely OK, *if* you keep up on your water changes. You should be doing 50% weekly. Second, ditch the breeder box - you don't need it. I highly doubt the cories will touch the babies, and most livebearers don't eat their own fry, in my experience. Third, replace the carbon pad along with a 75% water change...you need to get the medication out. Re: the BioWheel, yes, I'd replace it. Normally, you don't ever want to replace a BioWheel, but if you truly had ick in the tank, that is a parasite and quite hard to get rid of. Fourth, if you have a spare tank, I'd isolate the coy with missing fins, and treat that tank with MelaFix. Make sure to keep the water pristine, as the fish will be more likely to get an infection due to the injuries. I think most, if not all of your problems, are due to poor water quality - let's get that in check and re-assess. Do you currently see signs of ich in your tank? You haven't mentioned it, so I'll assume not... Do check out the book I've recommended, along with the link. Also, see here for more useful info.: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/taptrtmnt.htm Thank you. Meridith <Hope I've helped. Please be aware also that the babies are even more sensitive to poor water conditions than the adult platys are. Do invest in a good test kit (liquid kind, the dip-sticks are very inaccurate) and keep ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels at zero. Good luck, Jorie>

Platy repro. troubles 9/18/06 Hey guys. I'm having a little trouble because I bought two platys about two weeks ago and I now know that they are a male and a female. I came home today and found a few fry swimming in the tank, so I scooped them up and put them and both platys (male and female) in a breeder tank <Mmm, just the female/s please> that floats in my big tank (about 100 gallons). Then found out which fish was the female, partly because I found it on the internet, and partly because I saw the male eat a fry, when I realized that I took the male out. So I periodically checked on the female, and after about 3 hours I had about 30 fry. I think the female is done dropping them, how can I tell? <Mmm, a few hours going by... the color of her vent/area...> I left all the fry in the little breeder, which is only big enough to hold about a quart of water. Can I leave them in there, and how long? What should I do with the fry, because obviously I can't leave thirty platys in such a small breeder. I have a one to two gallon beta tank with filter), should I put the beta in a different tank and put the fry in the beta's? Please help, I would like to try to keep all the fry. Thanks, Jason (California) <Mmm, more to this than the questions you're positing. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Baby platies - 09/07/06 Hi, <Hello there - Jorie here.> I have a five gallon corner Eclipse that has one female Red Wag Platy and 23 baby platies. <Yay - baby platys...my favorite! Aren't they adorable? 22 of the babies are five weeks old, and are about a 1/2 inch in size. The remaining baby platy is two weeks old. All babies are currently in a net breeder inside the tank. All are doing well - I do a 10% water change about every two to three days. <Sounds great - fry are usually even more sensitive to poor water conditions than adults are, so keep up the good work with water changes.> Could some or all of the older babies be put back into the tank with the mother? I have breeder grass that could be placed at the bottom... <A tank with just the mom platy, I take it? I personally have never seen livebearer parents (either platy or molly) eat their own young, although I have heard reports that it can happen. It's worked out fine letting the babies grow up with their parents, and other adults of the same species, for me with many batches of molly fry.> My only other option would be to place the net breeder with in my 25 gal. tank that has angel fish in it. <Mmmm, I wouldn't choose this option. Might frighten the little guys, potentially stressing them out...> I am concerned about the current cramped quarters in the 5 gal. tank. <I'd say move several babes into the mom's tank and see how it goes. I don't expect there will be a problem and I do this all the time, but as I said, it isn't unheard of for parents to consume their young. If all goes well, then you can move everyone else. as you mentioned, breeder grass, or even floating plants, various decorations, etc. will help - give the little guys a place to "hide out" if need be.> Linda <Good luck and have fun with the little ones! Jorie> Platy gravid spot question - 09/01/06 First of all, I love reading your site! It is very informative and entertaining. My question is about a platy. She is obviously pregnant, and I noticed today what looks like baby fish eyes gathered towards the rear of the orange "balls" in her abdomen above the anal fin. <You're very likely correct in your assumption.> I am wondering if this is the gravid spot, <It sounds like it.> and when the fry should be released if it is. <If you are able to make out the eyes of the young, I would expect your Platy to give birth in the very near future.> I am not sure what to look for, and I can not find any clear pictures. <Usually, before a fish gives birth, its gravid spot will turn a reddish color.> What temperature should the Platy and or fry be kept at? My aquarium is currently at 78 degrees and water conditions are all within acceptable range. <Sounds perfectly adequate. Just be sure to separate the fry from their mother as soon as they come into this world (commercial breeding traps serve this purpose well)> Thank you for any information. <You're welcome. Platy fry are some of the easiest to rear, so this should be a rewarding experience. Best of luck, Mike G> Sarah W.

Male Platy wants To Breed All The Time 8/28/06 Hello, I hope you can help. I recently bought a ten gallon tank, and moved my male and female platy into it, until then they had been in a gallon tank, and were very happy, but he started attacking her, she was not mating with him, and she had become reclusive. I moved them, and bought 5 more platies, 2 female Bettas, and was told at the pet store that I could not pick my platy's sex. < Change pet stores. You are the one buying the fish, you should be able to pick out the fish.> My thoughts were of course, that it would distract 1st. platy (Benjamin), my 3 year old son, Benjamin named him, ha! from further attacking Maggie, 2nd platies, but it has gotten a lot worse, she isn't eating, is wobbly, and he actively pursues her, the other 5 platies appear to be this ratio, 3-2 for the girls, one of these males is particularly larger then all the other fish, but seems only to peck a little, not overly aggressive, I have moved my male Betta into the gallon tank, and one of the female Bettas is sick and I have her in the Betta tank that Sunshine used to live in to hopefully get better. What can I possibly do with this fish? Right now he is in a big bowl of water that I set up for him, although the water has been conditioned, there is no filter, or bubble stone, or heater. I feel he will eventually kill Maggie if I leave him in the community tank. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thank you very much for your time. Charlie < I would reduce the water temp of the main tank to the mid 70's. At the upper temp range these fish are very active. Add some floating plant material or a floating ZooMed Aquarium Log for the picked on fish to hide. Floating material is very important for fish that have been beaten up or chased. Near the surface is where the food is so they won't starve and can regain their strength. As a last resort you could trade him in for a smaller platies.-Chuck>
Re: Aggressive Platy Gets To Go Home 8/28/06
Dear Chuck! Thank you so much for your speedy reply, I have returned Benjamin to the community tank and am off to a different pet store to get these excellent things you have suggested, I have no doubt that they will be most helpful. I love Benjamin, he is a quirky, and incredibly energetic little fish, and beautifully coloured, I would hate to lose any of them, and my son keeps asking me, " Mommy, why is Benjamin in the fruit bowl?" Thank you again for the information, I will let you know how it goes, I was in a panic today, I am so glad that I have found you! Have a most excellent evening!!!! Charlie and Benjamin! < I hope things work out. I'm sure it will be better.-Chuck>

Newborn Platy Fry Care (less than 24 hours old at the time of this message) 8/27/06 Hello Crew, <Ryan> I have a 10gal tank, with 6 adult red platy's. 5 of whom are new, and apparently, 2 of them were preggers. I separated them last night into a floating birthing tank, separated from each other, and with a grate to allow the fry to drop down to for safety. Yesterday, we awoke to find one fry. This morning, we awoke to find over 20. We could not be happier. We've now allowed the mommies back into the general population. 1. What should I be feeding them? <Mmm, frequent, small amounts of either finely ground "flake food", or specialty liquid "tube food" made for livebearers is best here> 2. I have a 2gal tank that is empty right now, no filter though. Should I transfer them to that tank? And if so, should I add a filter/aeration or not? <A bigger volume would be better, and filtered, aerated for sure> Any and all advice would be most appreciated by us, and I'm sure the mommy platy's too. <Mmm, please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above> As the dolphins in The Hitchhikers Guide said to the humans before fleeing, "So long, and thanks for all the fish", advice that is. <Heeee! Doug Adams work/s... the movie was/is fab as well... Bob Fenner> Ryan & Jen Toronto, Canada

Breeding Platies 8/23/06 Hello there <Hi to you> 2 of my female platies recently had batches of platy fry (all at the same time after waiting for ages- be careful what you wish for!!). I am hoping to rehome some of these with friends and the rest will go back to my LFS to sell. My tank is not large enough to keep many and I have no room for a larger aquarium. I would like to breed some more from the fry, but what steps do I need to take to prevent inbreeding problems? <Mmm... could just keep some females, raise separately, breed back to their father/s... But generally little issue in inbreeding> I have 3 females - one red wag, one calico and one rainbow. The rainbow female has not yet had babies, and in the 4 months I have had her she has not appeared pregnant. My male is also a rainbow. Should I rehome the male I have currently and get a new unrelated one to prevent any inbreeding problems? <As stated, not usually a problem...> I will keep my current females and a couple of female fry if this is what I need to do. <Can, do "store sperm" in their tracts...> So far the fry have been really healthy - I had another batch 6 weeks ago and only 2 survived as the tank was not heavily planted and they were eaten before I could separate them (my females don't like breeder nets/traps so I this time I left them in the main tank with lots of plants and have 30 fry now!! (eek) The two I have left from that first batch are large and lively and are now swimming into open space and getting quite brave. <Congrats!> Any advice regarding this would be fab! Thank-you Louise <Mmm, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Question about sunburst platy... repro., dis. 8/23/06 Hi, My sunburst platy is pregnant and has Popeye. She is in a breeder tank in a 10 gal tank along with baby platies, some hers from a previous birth, and some from a Mickey mouse platy. Is she a danger to the babies? <Possibly... if hungry... whatever the cause of the Popeye...> And can I put medicine in that tank and not bother the babies? <No, not likely> The babies are some 4 weeks old and some 2 weeks old. Also, will her eye keep her from giving birth to healthy babies? <Mmm, possibly> She is still eating, but hangs out on the bottom of the tank a lot. I think some of this may be because she is close to giving birth. <Maybe> Thanks. Ruth Parsons <BobF>

Platy Fry versus other fish! 7/23/06 Greetings <<Hello to you, Steve. Tom here.>> I'm a relative newcomer to the fishy world, and as I couldn't find an answer on your site that suited my circumstances, just had to email you. <<Does happen, Steve. Glad you wrote.>> I have a established 54 litre planted and graveled tank with ammonia, nitrites and nitrates seemingly under control - and it appears that my Platys agree as two of my three females have given birth. <<Congratulations...I hope. :)>> To make matters a little more interesting, my Platys have a few larger tank mates, namely Flymo (a six inch Synodontis Eupterus) and Finsbury who is a slightly aggressive Angel Fish. <<Oh, yeah. This does, indeed, make things "interesting". Two fairly large, territorial species in a 54L tank, alone, would make things interesting enough.>> I've now got 60 Platy fry lurking in a breeding trap net who are beginning to look a little overcrowded, so I need to know how old/how big they should be before I can release them into the main tank (unfortunately limited space in a shared house means I cannot have a second tank to rear the babies so they have to stay in the net in the main tank). <<The only help I can give you here, Steve, is to recommend that you find a new home for the little ones. No way in the world can your 54L tank support this many fish. Even if they don't become "lunch" and, they don't drive your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels through the roof, at about three months of age, or so, they're going to want to start doing some breeding of their own. I'd predict that you'd lose the entire lot, the Syno and Angelfish probably included. Now, it's not unheard of that your local fish store(s) may very well be interested in a supply of healthy, juvenile Platys. Provided that you don't come off as being extremely desperate to "unload" your fish, you might be able to strike up some type of business arrangement that will beneficial for all concerned. In any case, you've got to lower your livestock levels soon.>> Please help! Regards Steve Couchman <<Best of luck, Steve. Tom>>

Re: Platy Fry versus other fish! 7/24/06 Greetings (and thanks to Tom for a quick reply) <<Hello again, Steve.>> I've attached the original email (and your response) for your reference. <<<From us "editors", THANK YOU for doing so. -Sabrina>>> Firstly, yes, I will be getting rid of most - if not all - the babies to my local fish store. <<Excellent!>> However, my problem (which I may not have made clear) is that my little breeding net is going to be getting fairly cramped for the baby platys and I want to get some of the older ones out of the net and into the main tank until they are big enough to be sold on. 36 of the fry are just over a month old, the others a few days; how old/how big should they be before I put them in the tank to avoid losing them all to the Syno and Angel? <<Even the "monthlings" are still too young to deal with your larger fish but you could try inserting a tank divider that would give the larger fry more room without placing them in harm's way. This would have the added benefit of letting you observe any overt "predatory" behavior from the Angelfish, especially, without creating problems for the maturing fry. Depending on how mature your Angelfish and Syno are, they might be fairly uninterested from the beginning but absent some "direct experimentation", I see the divider as a good, interim move.>> As of my last check, ammonia levels were very low (with 36 fry in the tank) and has never been up to .25. <<This is one area that you're going to have to stay on top of, Steve. Fry, of any type, need the highest water quality you can provide. Anything less than "pristine" - in the truest sense of the word - is going to make them susceptible. Even when kept in a separate breeding tank, small water changes every couple of days might be necessary.>> I look forward to hearing from you soon. Regards Steve <<I hope all continues to go well, Steve. Tom>>

Breeding different livebearers... platy gender concerns 7/13/06 I would like your crew to know that, since Mosquitofish are very similar to guppies, they can crossbreed. <Thank you for this> A person at an experienced pet shop mentioned that Mosquitofish are, basically, just plain looking guppies and the two species will crossbreed. <Mmm, actually, there are a few Poeciliid species commonly termed "Mosquitofish/es"> Although, the person doubts that any really interesting offspring will result at first. I thank you for your replies to previous e-mails. As I have raised my livebearing fry, I came up with a new question. Since I plan on selectively breeding my platies, among other fish, I wanted to know how to determine their gender as early as possible. <Mmm, really just keen vision, observation... gonopodia and behavior> I am wondering whether or not a female platy will have a slight extension on the anal fin by the tip. <Yes... the first ray or two...> And I'm saying very slight. I've always heard that females will have fan-like anal fins, but is it possible for a female to have a more pointed fan type of anal fin. As I am saying this, I want you to be clear of what I am picturing. The fish in question's anal fin spreads out like a fan, but its tip is slightly (and I mean slightly) longer than the rest of the fan-like fin. This tends to make me wonder since the earliest form of a male's anal fin is usually the fan-like shape becoming more extended and pointed. <Agreed> I really don't want to mess up with this, so any help would be appreciated as to how to correctly determine a male from a female at their earliest development. I'm shooting for a way to be able to completely prevent any breeding between siblings. <Early separation... the first few weeks...> I really wish I could keep each little one separate, but that would be very difficult to do- since I don't have the kind of money to be able to provide separate containments for each of 10 or more offspring. Thank you for taking the time to read my question/concern. <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Platy, fry, deaths 7/8/06 Hello! <<Hello. Tom here.>> About a week ago, I transferred my pregnant sunburst platy into a separate tank. <<Good move.>> Just yesterday I noticed ten baby fry swimming around (I believe they must have been in there for at least a day since they were free swimming). As soon as I noticed this, I immediately took the mother out of fear that she might eat them. <<Also good.>> A few hours later, I noticed one had died. I put the mother back in to see if it would help the other nine stay healthy. <<Unlikely this would be of much help.>> The whole rest of the night they were becoming slower and slower until I woke up this morning and noticed all the other nine were also dead. <<Sorry to hear this.>> The mother didn't eat any of them, in fact, she was swooshing her tail around them to see if they would swim up and once they didn't she hid in a rock for a while. <<Platys are a little less inclined to eat their fry than other livebearers might be but don't rule this out. Your first action - removing the mother - was best.>> I don't know if I did something wrong or if her fry were just weak considering it was her first pregnancy. I'd like to have better luck next time, and for then I'd like to correct anything I did wrong. <<First of all, it doesn't sound like you did anything wrong. You didn't describe the tank the fry were in so a couple of thoughts here. If you haven't provided plants for your fry to hide in, particularly floating types, these would be an excellent idea. Inexpensive, artificial "breeding grasses" are readily available for this purpose. Will reduce stress and provide a sense of security early on. Another tip would be to keep the fry confined to a small area of the tank for feeding reasons. This will keep the fry and the food supply in close proximity and reduce the chance of starvation. Platy fry will do fine on most all finely-crushed fish foods but feel free to research further.>> Thank you for your time. <<Happy to help. Tom>>

Re: Hannah's Fishy Dilemmas - 06/30/06 Hello again, <Lisa/Hannah> Sorry for more questions so soon... :) but can you tell by the picture of my red platy how far along in her pregnancy she is? <Mmm, no... there is generally some clearing of the vent area near (a day or so) parturition... a distinct view of the fry's eyes...> She is looking very (VERY VERY) large! What are normal behaviors of a pregnant platy or should she be acting any differently? Is there anything I can do to speed up the pregnancy, besides the normal care? <Mmm, no... nothing to "do"> And lastly, what temperature should I keep a 1&1/2 gallon tank at, when I put the very pregnant fish in? (I want to make sure I know what to do when my platy has her fry.) <More important that this and other aspects of water quality be consistent/constant... room temperature is likely fine... Please do read on WWM re livebearers, platies... Bob Fenner> Thanks Again, Hannah Dosa ps. I also wanted to compliment your website and your FAQ crew...as these have been very informative and very helpful! <Ah, good>

Platy Males and Fry Problems 6/14/06 Hi WWM crew! <Hi Jing - this is Jorie.> I own a 10 gallon freshwater tank equipped with the basics (carbon filter, bubble stone, heater, light). I currently have two male platy, two male white cloud and one female white cloud. There is also a platy fry in the tank. I have checked the water recently and everything was normal (except that the water was very hard). <Parameters are always helpful, for everyone's definition of "normal" varies substantially...> My question is concerning the two male platies. The yellow Mickey-mouse platy often swim aggressively against a side of the tank. He has been doing that for some time now and I don't know why. He doesn't look ill, but this behavior is certainly erratic. <Do you mean attacking his own reflection, or scraping himself against the side of the tank? The former would likely just be a showing of aggression, and nothing to worry about, while the latter would likely indicate something wrong with the fish. Make sure there aren't any visible parasites or any white spots (i.e., ich) on the fish, or any other visible signs of injuries to the side, and do double check your water parameters...scratching can be the sign of environmental problems.> My other platy, a half-orange half-red, is showing some dorsal fin damage. At first I suspected that it might be bacterial fin rot, but the fin was clear and the base of the fin was not red. His fin has been looking a bit ragged for more than a month now, and it doesn't seem to be getting worse. I am really puzzled at this - can it be physical damage?. <It absolutely could be physical damage - I, too keep livebearers and I cannot believe how much aggression some show towards others. Have you noticed the Mickey-mouse (or anyone else for that matter) attacking the red-orange platy? Is there adequate cover (e.g., decorations, plants, etc.) for the fish to hide in, if necessary? To prevent secondary infection, you may want to isolate the affected fish and consider treating it with Melafix - not necessary, but it aids in fin regeneration and the prevention of secondary infection. Also, be sure to keep up with water changes, as this fish is even more susceptible to secondary infection with its injuries.> The platy fry right now measures a bit over 1/2 inch. The other platys are a bit over 1.25 inch. Is it safe to let the fry swim with the adults? It still looks pretty small. <I have never witnessed any of my adult livebearers attempting to eat their own young, although some people claim it does happen. I've never had a problem allowing both molly and platy fry to swim free with adults of both species - but I won't say that it is entirely unheard of for an adult of either species to attempt to eat its own young. In my own experience, however, it hasn't happened.> My last problem is that previously my Mickey has been bullying my Orange-Red for quite a while now. <Well I think we've just solved the above fin-damage issue...you may want to try re-arranging the tank decor, as this will allow each fish to re-establish its own territory. If the bullying continues, though, you might ultimately have to separate the two.> However, just yesterday, I saw the Orange-Red retaliating. Now my Mickey chases the Orange-Red some of the time, and the opposite happens sometime, too. It's like they are having a masculinity contest, with their fins fully extended and all (plus, there are no female platies). I cannot find any explanation of why this happens; is it normal? <As mentioned above, I see all sorts of aggression between livebearers...in fact, my own tank at times has housed some pretty amazing molly-on-molly action! It usually isn't a problem, but if there's evidence of physical damage, well, that's obviously not good. Perhaps the introduction of the little guy will change things up a bit, and the aggression can be more evenly spread among more fish, thus causing less problems to any one isolated individual.> Thanks, Jing <Hope I've helped - I've given you a couple of thoughts, and my suggestion would be to not try them all at once, so that you can see exactly what works and what doesn't. By all means, however, if you see that one fish is becoming badly torn up from fighting, etc., you should remove it immediately. In the absence of this, I think you should be able to solve, or at least minimize the problem, but it's likely that you'll always see some aggression between the fish you have...that's normal. Good luck, Jorie>

Baby Platy 5/31/06 OK I woke one morning to find two baby platy swimming in the tank. They had survived. Now a couple of weeks later they are about a half inch long and I see a tiny little fellow swimming around in the breeder grass. Problem is I only have one female and one male. Why is this one so much smaller than the others <Mmm, not as much to eat... different genes...> and could it have been born at a later date. <Not much, no> I am new at this. I have had the male and female for about six months and didn't think I would ever see fry. But now I have two of normal size and one tiny fry that I didn't know existed until today. I have read and read but I cannot find anything about this. Oh I did put a spacer in the tank to keep the larger fish away. <Good... enjoy them. Bob Fenner>

Platy Mom 5/29/06 Hello! <Hi> I just found your site and it's already cleared up a few mysteries regarding my fish - thank you. <OK> I've a 10 gallon tank with three Platies, four small Neons and a Chinese sucker fish... One platy has been pregnant - although it took us a long time to figure it out. <They are pretty much perpetually pregnant.> Last night I saw a little platy hanging out by the fake seaweed. Woo hoo! We put it in a little breeder insert (it floats in the tank), along with the mom, thinking more would follow. Nothing followed. but 24 hours she still looks pregnant! even more so! She still has black specks inside her, they seem to be moving... So we've popped her back into the breeder insert. (We know that if she has the fry in the tank, the sucker fish will absolutely find and eat them all. Is this normal? A stop and start kind of delivery. Or is it a single fish delivery and, after delivery, Platies still look pregnant? Thank you for your advise! <Probably the best thing to do is leave here where she is. The moving can be very stressful especially in her state. Start and stop birthing is not uncommon, although at times complications do occur. Nothing can really be done to help her out except give her a quiet place and good water quality.> <Chris>

Platy fry problems - 5/15/2006 Hi. <<Hi Carol.>> I read lots of the questions and answers on your web pages, but I'm still not sure what I should do about my platys. <<OK>> I purchased two sunset plates. One great <<grew?>> very large and the other remained small. The small one had one baby (I'm pretty sure not more, because I keep a good eye on my tanks.) <<Fry can and do get consumed very quickly.>> Then about a month later she had 14 fry. She seemed to have trouble towards the end and then died within a few hours. The first baby born well before the others is doing well. The other fry seemed to do well for about a month or so, then they started to die. I would lose one or two a day. I moved them to another tank (separated from other fish with a divider.) They picked up for a while, but again they are starting to die. <<Did you cycle the new tank?>> All the other fish in the tanks are thriving. <<Fry are much more sensitive than adults are, though.>> What am I doing wrong with the platy fry? <<Hard to say for certain. Are you offering them foods they can eat? Pay extra-close attention to water quality.>> I thought that we had done well keeping them all alive for a month, but I don't understand what is going wrong. My ammonia and nitrites are zero, the nitrates are kept at 40 or below. <<That much nitrate is too high for fry, in my opinion.>> I salt the aquarium water when I do a water change (about 3/4 tsp. to every 1-gallon.) <<While that is a small amount of salt, I still don't recommend the blind salting of all water sources. Salt can be beneficial for some fish, when added to some water conditions. It is not necessary, nor beneficial, to add carte blanche.>> Any help would be appreciated. Thank you. Carol <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Re: Platy fry problems - 5/16/2006 Hi - Thank you so much for getting right back to me. <<No problem.>> To be a little more specific - yes, the other tank was fully cycled and healthy. I have raised lots of fry (including very small zebra danios,) and I know that the food that I'm feeding the platy fry is okay for them. <<OK.>> I'll do some water changes and get the nitrate down to 20? Is that good enough? <<Should be. I like to keep them lower, personally.>> Should I not bother to put aquarium salt in the water? <<I don't.>> I always heard that it was good for the fish. How can I test to see the salt level and is there a level that is good vs. not? <<I wouldn't think the small amount you add would hurt.>> Please advise - and thanks so much for all your help. Carol <<Glad to help. Lisa.>>

Platy Surprise - 05/13/2006 I have 3 fish. 1 male Betta, 1 plecostomus and 1 sunburst platy. Just before I noticed something that looked like a teeny tiny fish. Low and behold! It was. So far I've counted 6-7 fry. The Betta doesn't seem to care that they're there and even seems to be watching over them (if that's possible). <Watching them as meals, perhaps....> I've never had my own fish before and never bred any. I've read the other Q & A's and realize that I am going to have to get a net for the new babies but I don't know how to go about getting them into the net... <A net is unnecessary. I would recommend instead that you get a lot of java moss for them to hide in. Some of the fry may be eaten, but you'll likely have a few survivors.> They are hiding in the pebbles except for 1 which is constantly darting around the other fish. I don't want to hurt any of them but am at a loss as to what I need to do. <You'll be fine, don't fret!> Also, what do they eat. I would have asked the LFS but the thought of the fish being pregnant never even crossed my mind. <They'll eat crushed flake food with no problem. You might sink a tiny bit of it for them to find in the substrate, if that's where they're hanging out. Remember NOT to overfeed, as that will foul your water and likely result in less survivors.> Please help my babies! Thank you so much. <Glad to be of service. Again, I'd toss in some java moss, maybe a lot of java moss, as cover for the growing fry. Be sure to keep your water clean for them with regular water changes. You'll do great. Wishing you well, -Sabrina> Sexing Platies - 05/10/2006 Hi there, You guys (gals) have been awesome at answering my questions. It's so great for beginners like me to have somewhere to go to get straight and sound answers. It seems like when I ask the LFS, I get different answers each time, with a little hesitation, which doesn't instill much confidence. I think I'm working on fixing the last of their suggestions now (thanks to your crew). My question for today is...How can I tell what gender my orange/wagtail platy is when it doesn't have either a female anal fin or a gonopodium? I've read that I can also look for a "gravid" spot, but I've also read that this can be hard to spot on platies. I also don't know exactly what I'm looking for. Is there a clear picture anywhere of what a "gravid" spot looks like? Thanks! Donna < The anal fin of a male platy should resemble a horizontal tube and extend out underneath the body under the caudal peduncle. A pregnant female may have a dark spot just before a normal looking anal fin. The darkness may be the eyes of the fry just before they are born.-Chuck>

Sexing A Platy II - 05/10/2006 Sorry, I should have made my question a bit more clear :) I know what the male and female fins look like (hope this doesn't sound rude...hard to say things in emails sometimes), I have 2 other male platies with gonopodiums. The problem is that this orange platy doesn't have either anal fin, nothing there, nada, zip. I don't think "it" is pregnant as I don't see any dark spots. That's where I get confused. How can I tell for sure if it's a male or female if it's not pregnant? Does the "gravid" spot mean the female is pregnant? or is this spot always visible, even when she's not pregnant? Thanks again! Donna < Without either fin structure the sexing of you platy becomes a problem. The dark gravid spot is the eyes of the fry, so yes it does have to be pregnant to have the spot. I suspect you have a deformed male with an underdeveloped gonopodium. Do the other males try and mate with it? If not then they probably think it is a fellow male.-Chuck> Re: Sexing A Platy - 5/11/06 The other males have not tried to actively mate with it...but when I bought the 2nd male (thinking it was female, but it just wasn't fully developed yet), the 2nd male became very aggressive toward my 1st male and would not let it near "it". I ended up putting the 1st male into another tank to prevent further injuries, and now the 2nd male has "it" to himself. They swim around together, but I haven't seen any noticeable signs of mating behaviour - unlike my mollies where he is always chasing and sniffing at her vent. So, there is no other characteristic, like the tailfin or dorsal fin, or anything that can tell the sexes apart? Donna < The anal fin was pretty much it. Sounds like you other fish cannot tell either.-Chuck.> Pregnant Platy question 4/25/06 Hi Bob, <Kristen> I am hoping you could give me some advice. We have recently had baby guppies (we have 4 fry) and they are still in the main tank. The tank has a lot of plants and some good hiding spots. Also in the tank are a few types of danios and one dwarf gourami. So far, they are still alive. Are they in danger? Should they be removed to a separate tank? <Mmm, if you want to maximize the possibility that these young won't be consumed, yes. Otherwise... some, all may be> We also have a pregnant platy (she looks like she is going to explode!). The male platy mysteriously died a week or so ago. Once she gives birth, will the mother (or other fish) try to eat the babies? <Yes> Thanks for your help, Kristen <Welcome. Bob Fenner> Breeding Conditions For Platys 4/25/06 Hey how are you guys, i am interested in breeding platys and would like to know if there are any specific water conditions that they need to breed successfully as i had 2 female platys which am sure were pregnant and looked like they were going to burst they were so fat but recently their size has gone down but i have not noticed any fry swimming around in my tank. thanks fo the help. <... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm scroll down to the livebearers... read. Bob Fenner>

Platy fry and ghost shrimp fry 4/9/06 I really need help. My ghost shrimp had babies about a month ago and now my "Minnie" platy is going to. I need to know if i can put all the fry in the same breeder net. As of right now I can afford to get another tank. I also need to know if i really need to get another tank do to overcrowding. At this point I have 1 frog, 1 Beta, 2 kuhli loach, 3 Cory cats, 2 platies and 2 adult shrimp plus i don't know how many baby shrimp. I know I am pushing over crowding and really don't want that... Please tell me what to do. Can the fry go into one net and how long before I really have to get a bigger tank? Thank you Leeann <Mmm, the shrimp and platy fry can go and stay in the net as long as both are fed (small amounts a few times daily). The Betta and others will consume both if they are small enough to ingest... You will eventually need another tank if these animals keep reproducing. Bob Fenner>

Fish fry stuck in mother 4/9/06 <Tom> I really searched for this in the FAQ-- Sorry to bother you but, my platy has been in an isolation tank now for 2 months and gets bigger and bigger. Finally she dropped one baby/fry who seemed pretty big to me, as I have seen other fish fry a lot smaller. I think that the fry are stuck in her---anything that I can do ? <I would advise a series of small water changes, Ed, in the order of 5-10% per day. Also, try raising the water temperature by a few degrees. In many cases, the water changes alone may be enough to induce your pet to give birth but I'm concerned about the period of time that she's been like this combined with the size of the fry that she dropped.> Thanks, <Hope this helps your pet, Ed. Tom> Ed

Platy with broken gonopodium. Ouch! 4/4/06 Hello WWM, Recently at a pet store, I found a tank filled with high fin platies. <Gorgeous animals> Having always loved variatus platies, I picked out a trio of the only sunset variatus male, one matching female, and an orangish variatus female. Upon getting them home and settled into a 20 gallon hex that they share with some guppies and Cory cats, I noticed that the male's gonopodium appeared to be broken off. Though both females were pregnant at the time I fear that none of the babies will be of the sunset variatus type. <Mmm, doubtful... will likely be some...> The male's gonopodium appears to be quite broken, ending abruptly after the short spine that usually comes out of the bottom of the gonopodium. The whole long area appears to be completely gone. I have never seen this before, and was wondering if the male still has the ability to impregnate the females. <Mmm, only time can/will tell. Possible> He still seems to try, but I do not know if it is possible. I was trying to establish a breeding group of them, and cannot seem to find a source of them online or otherwise. Thanks for any help. Sincerely, Ricky Chawla <Am sure you'll have variatus platies from this trio. Bob Fenner> Juvenile platy swim problems 4/3/06 Hello! Here's the specs: I have a 55 gal tank, 7 ph, 0 Ammonia/0 nitrite/0 nitrate. It holds one dwarf Pleco, two cherry barbs, two adult platies and a dozen juvenile platies about 2 months old. The problem: One of the two month old juveniles has taken to sitting on the bottom and it seems to work harder than the others when it swims. It's still eating and doesn't look distressed in any other way. This problem started about 1 week ago (when it was age 7 weeks). This particular fish was born prematurely the day after I bought the mother. It did not seem to struggle at all then, in fact until it was a month old, it was larger and more aggressive than the others (who were born two days after it). The fish is an odd sport. It's almost colourless except for black fins yet the mother and all the other fry are bright orange. Anyway, all seemed to be well until this brood was about 4 weeks at which point I noticed the parents had ick. I treated with Maracide (malachite green/chitosan) at recommended dosage for a week and everyone cleared up with no deaths. I did notice that this particular fish didn't seem to grow after the treatment. None of its other siblings were affected. My question is: Do you think this new swim problem is a genetic thing that simply didn't show up until about age 7 weeks? <Yes> Or could this be due to damage from exposure to the Maracide? <Small possible factor> Or is there something I'm missing? <Nothing apparent here> The fish looks fine. The back seems a tiny bit more curved than the others. Perhaps it's gills are slightly red but it's so transparent it's hard to judge. The tail looks a tiny bit worn but not torn. I think it's from sitting on the bottom. Any advice or ideas are appreciated. Because it's such an unusual looking fish I'd hate to lose it. Thanks for your time. <I would actually cull this individual (a small bit of water in a bag, the freezer... is about the best way to euthanize). Some small percentage of livebearers often "turn out" defective, not immediately, but within weeks, months as yours has here. Better not to allow to reproduce, pass on this/these traits. Bob Fenner> Sexing platies - 04/02/06 Hi there from a newbie from New Zealand! <Well, "Hi" back from Michigan, USA! Tom with you today.> I have an 80 litre (I think this is equiv. to 16 gallons) <Actually about 21 gallons but who's counting?> tank with a variety of fish (guppies, tetras, Pleco, red fin shark, various catfish, a silver dollar fish and a few others that are all happy living together) plus 4 platies (2 males, two females.) <Okay, now we're definitely "counting", Lisa. For example, your Silver Dollar will require a tank twice the size that you currently have, at the least. They can grow to eight inches (about 20.5 cm). Your Red-finned Shark can reach five to six inches (13-15 cm). The Pleco is hard to account for since there are many varieties ranging from small to huge! Same goes for the Catfish unless they're Corydoras or a similarly small species. Offhand, though, I'd suggest that you might want to plan to upgrade to a tank in the range of 300 liters, possibly larger, if you want your pets to reach their potential.> One guppy just had a successful birthing in a slotted breeding device and the babies are now in a protective net in the tank. I put the expectant mother in a birthing device when her gravid spot was really dark and she was really bloated and three days later the birth occurred. <It sounds like you're taking excellent care of your fish! Well done.> One of the female platys is really fat with a gravid spot like the guppy mummy, but one of the males also has this spot so am rather baffled by this.. I want to be able to put the expectant platy mummy into the slotted birthing device when she's nearly due but what should I look for? <What you've described is, frankly, exactly what to look for, i.e. dark gravid spot and a fat belly. I'd say the "blessed event" isn't far away. I'm sure you already know this but, like your Guppies, Platies are live-bearers so you might see a few "babies" get loose before the mother is completely ready to give birth.> Lisa <Cheers and good luck. Tom>

Platies Breeding - 04/02/06 I just bought a male and female platy. They had been breeding but my male got sucked into my filter and died. My female was going crazy. Would she breed with another platy after that? Thanks for your time. Rachael < Place a strainer over the filter intake to prevent another disaster. Then she will calm down and breed with any male platy that suits her.-Chuck>

Platy repro. panic 3/16/06 My platy has just given birth a couple days ago, I had no idea she was pregnant! I believe there are five fry. I've never owned fish before, I got my tank in September. This is the second time I've found babies, the first time they were eaten. I don't know what to do with them, I grind up food for them, they seem to eat it. They're living in the same tank as the other platies, and one guppy soon to be more) but there are many small hiding places which they have found. Should I be doing anything else? <... if you want to raise the young, perhaps acquire other tanks...> Also, the mother is the only one left from September and I really love her, but I don't think she's doing too good. She is sickly thin, doesn't eat as much as she should, and now she can't swim properly and stays at the bottom most of the time. I put food in under the filter so it sinks down to her, I don't know what else to do. And lastly, I have many other pregnant platies, that look close to give birth, what should I do with them? I'm going to Big Al's Fish Store in two days and wanted to know what I should pick up. Please help me and my fish, and please email me back at XXXX@yahoo.ca as soon as you possibly can! Thanks so much! <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm scroll down to the linked files on Platies et al... and read. Enjoy the process... Bob Fenner> Female Platy 3/2/06 I have a 55 gallon tank with a rainbow shark, i.d shark, <See WWM re this animal... incompatible...> 2 Dalmatian mollies, 2 tetras and 7 assorted platies and a pleco. I believe that one of the platies is pregnant but her belly does not have a dark spot she is just really big. She is hiding in a rock cave or in a crevice of an anchor decoration that I have. Does this mean that she is hiding because she is going to have her fry? <Maybe> Should i be putting her in a breeding net now? <I would, yes. Better place for close observation. Take care in gently netting this fish> What is the difference between and net and a box for breeding? <Mainly that the former has holes/netting, while the other does not...> IF she does have fry how big would they have to be before i can let them loose in my tank? <Mmm, more than "mouth size"> I also came across a little molly fry. I only seen one and it is gone now because i did not have anything to put it in. I am assuming that one of the fish ate it. Do you think my molly had more than just one and they all got ate before i could find them or could she have only had one and the rest are still to come? <Impossible to tell... but might be either> She still seems pretty big. Thank you Amy <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Sterile female Platy? - 02/25/06 Tank specs: 20 gallon tall, running for 8 months, Aquaclear 50 filter(2 sponges and bio-media), 80 degrees, 40 watts CF lights, planted with moss, ferns, swords, vals, and tiger lotus, light brackish (I vary the SG between 1.008-1.010), <This isn't "all that light" saltiness...> white sand substrate about 1 inch deep, driftwood and small terra-cotta pot for decor. Livestock: 1 blue devil fiddler crab, 1 small flounder, 1 bumble bee goby, 3 ghost shrimp, MTS, 8 platys (ranging from adult to just born, goby keeps them in check) My question: I have one male and two female adult platys of the same age. Only one of the females gets pregnant and drops fry. The other female is ignored by both the adult male and adult female platy and has never dropped fry, or even looked pregnant. This female is not as large or round like the female that drops fry. Could she be sterile? Could she actually be a deformed he? Sherry Niemi <Could be sterile, yes. I would move these platies to a less-salty setting. Bob Fenner> Platies With Too Many Babies - 02/20/06 Hi There, My local pet store is clueless so I hope you can help. I had 2 very pregnant platies in my tank until this morning. I noticed one was swimming on her side and I saw blood coming out of her birthing area. She is now dead and caught in the filter with her stomach full of babies. It is a devastating experience. Do you know what caused this or was it something I did wrong? <Sometimes there are too many babies and not enough room in the female. The gut spits and the female dies with the fry.> I'm hoping someone can respond ASAP because the other pregnant platy is still in there and hiding under a rock. Is there anything I can do to make sure she doesn't die either? The first one was hidden under a rock before she came out and died her death. Please help soon! Thanks < The problem is in the wild these fish do not get the great food that we feed them and the females are able to have many more babies than wild fish do. It is just that you can only stretch the birthing chamber so far. There is really nothing you can do.-Chuck>

Baby Platy Hiding Out 2/14/06 Hi, I have an 8 gallon tank with 2 mollies, 2 honey gouramis and 1 platy. I used to have another platy (was never sure which was male & which was female) but he gave up the ghost about 3 months ago, he just sat on the bottom a lot. Anyway yesterday I was feeding the survivors when I noticed a tiny little platy, orange with little black areas on his fins and upper lip (maybe 5 or 6mm long) loitering in the plants at the bottom of the tank. There don't appear to be anymore -- I didn't even know that the platy was pregnant. Can I leave him where he is? He seems quite happy pottering around in the roots of the plants and there's a piece of driftwood he can hide under. He is eating the flaked fish food off the bottom and seems to have got used to keeping out of the way of the other fish. I don't want anyone to eat him but I'm worried if I move him I'll disturb the natural process of things. I've called him Casper. Look forward to hearing from you Vicki < As long as he has a place to hide he should be OK. Keep your fish well fed and they will be less likely to go after him. If you go away for a vacation then I would separate him.-Chuck>

Baby red waxy platy 2/8/06 Dear XXXX, I have recently purchased 3 platys from the local petstore. Two adult platys male red platy female red waxy platy. The petstore said the baby is around 2 weeks old. We already had 3 danios and 3 cherry barbs and we have put the baby in a different (smaller) tank until he grows a little larger. We have tested the water of the tanks and every thing seems to be all right. I am wondering if there is anything I can do to help the baby grow strong and healthy. Thanks Austin Wise p.s. please send < http://www.google.com/custom?q=baby+platies+growing&sitesearch=wetwebmedia.com Bob Fenner>

Platy Fry Question 2/7/06 Hi there, I just returned from a trip and found 11 new baby platys in my tank. All seemed well except now I've noticed that one of them has a white translucent "string" coming out of its mouth. It seems to be getting longer and it's not eating and isolating itself. What is this? I don't know whether to isolate it, medicate it, or???? <... interesting. Would like to see under a microscope... could it be some bit of "filter floss" or other material they've all bitten into? Possibly is a parasite of some sort... I would take a closer look before actually pouring chemicals. Bob Fenner> Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Sarah Old mail (miracle birth) - 7/2/06 Hello, <Sorry for this.. I just found your message in my box. I fear I must have moved it there some time ago and due to circumstances was unable to reply until now... Many apologies.> I have a rather odd situation. I have 4 red wag platies. 2 female, 2 males. Well now, I have 5. I found a baby platy in my tank the other day. But just one. My female platys were never pregnant though. <Could have been pregnant with a small batch (perhaps a first-time mother?).. or maybe a miscarriage.> I am positive that it is a red wag platy fry. It is starting to eat some flakes. Also, is there anything else I should feed it? <Finely crushed flake food (I grind it up in a polythene food bag) will be fine. Provide plenty of hiding spaces (Java moss) for it to escape from its parents. Best regards, John> Platy repro., rearing 02-05-06 I wondered if you guys could help. I don't seem to have much luck raising my Platy fry. I normally find them when I siphon water out of my BiOrb during a water change. <The item I reject re this products name is Bio... it isn't capable of supporting "life" by and large> They are absolutely tiny and clear. I rescue what I can using a cup to scoop them out and put them in a net inside my smaller nursery tank( cycled for nearly a year now). Out with the net are 3 baby mollies and one baby platy that yes he came out the BiOrb but was about an inch when I first saw him. I suppose they can hide well in the substrate. Any way for about the first week I can see the fry swimming around in the net. I put some floating plant in the net so they can hide plastic). I feed them crushed flake food and remove any left overs after an hour or so . They are fed about three times a day. Now I can't see any sign of life in there. <Mmm, sounds/reads like you're doing most all right here> I thought that maybe I should feed Liquid fry no 2 which I have had to mail order just today as I can't find a Local stock of the stuff. Do you think this might be successful? <No... the crushed flake should do> I have also ordered some water lettuce for the tanks. I maybe also thought that some now they may be getting sucked through the net. or are they just d....Any advice would be greatly appreciated. One frustrated fish owner Thanks in advance for your help Lesley from Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland <I suspect it is the system itself, the unheated BiOrb that is at fault here. Try raising the young and their parent/s (at least the gravid females) in a heated and filtered system. If this doesn't "do it", it may be that your water is too soft/acidic... Bob Fenner> Platy Breeding Question 2/1/06 Hello WWM Crew. I have a 10-gallon tank with a collection of tropical fish including tetras, platys, a sucker fish <What sort, species? This tank is too small for many...> and an albino Cory. I am new to owning fish so you may have to bare with me. <Am keeping my clothes on ?.> I got a male platy and a female from the pet store in November. Unfortunately my male died but over Christmas break I noticed my female platy getting fat and low <How low?> and behold, she had babies and I didn't even know about it. I managed to save the three fry that I had found in my tank and I put them in a net breeder with some plants to hide in. I then got another female platy who now has a gravid spot. I understand that nearly all females are pregnant when you buy them at the pet store so I put her in another net breeder to wait for her babies to show up. Then I see my original female drop fry. This means that she must have retained sperm in the pockets you talked about on the website from the male that died. <Yes> I have separated her now also to try and save as many fry as possible but I intend on giving the fry away when they are bigger to my local fish store. My question, after all this back story, is how long can both my females store sperm? <Several batches, months> Will they get pregnant many more times. Also, I know how to sex the adults, the different fin shape, but when do platys reach sexual maturity? <A few months... 3, 4, 5> I don't really want a lot of babies and I would want to take the males out of the tank as soon as possible to prevent any more breeding. Can you tell the sex right away when they are still see through or do you have to wait until they have coloration? <Have to be a few to a handful of weeks to see...> Thank you so much for your time and any advice you can give me would be very helpful. Hannah <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Platy fry - how many? - 01/12/2006 Hi, I am sending this from Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa. I have 5 Platys in my 30 l tank. I have had this tank for 3 months, and the Platys for about 2 months. This morning I saw one fry! I missed the birthing process (unfortunately) I was wondering how many fry does a Platy have at a time? I am very excited to have Livebearers (and Tetras) in my tank. Regards Tienie de Coning <Is a variable number... a handful to dozens... depending on the size of the female mostly (positively correlated). Bob Fenner> Hello. My Platy had SEVEN babies! 12/14/05 Hello, This is Amee. My sunburst platy had three babies last week. <Congrats!> She hates being in the breeder tank, so we took her out and put her in her separate tank. When she had her babies, we took them out and put them in the breeder tank. She also went back into the aquarium. Well, my black and yellow platy jumped into the breeder tank that had the babies in them while I was at school and ATE the babies. <Rats!> I was so sad. But... then she got really fat. I decided to put her in the breeding tank and, to my surprise, she had SEVEN little babies! This made me so happy. This is the most any of my fish has ever had at once. I know it may seem small to you, but not to me. I'm happy. And usually all our fry are transparent. Not these ones, they have black fins and black little butts. It's so cute. Hehe. I just HAD to let you all know. You've helped me a lot! I love this site. I come to it whenever I need to know something. I love it. Thank you, Amee Ciardo <Thank you for the report. Bob Fenner>

Platy fry colors 12/14/05 Hello! I have A LOT of platy fry in my tank, two of which are about 2 months old, and about 15ish that are about 2 weeks old. I was wondering how long it takes for the fry to get the same vibrant colors as the adults? <Two to three months generally> The female that gave birth to these guys is orange. The two older fry are kinda light brown with a vertical black stripe down the middle and some of the young ones are really pale, almost white and some are brown. They look so plain compared to all the other fishies. They are all growing fine and all look really happy. They are such brave little guys to swim around with the adults. Thanks for your help! Shelley <Feeding small amounts more frequently, being diligent re water changes, using foods with carotenoids, Spirulina can help "speed up" the coloring wait time. Bob Fenner>

Platy Fry 12/12/05 Hello there! I have a couple of questions to ask you guys. I just bought a Minnie Mouse platy from a pet store, and she gave birth to her babies that night. I counted the fry and there are 33 of them. I am feeding them 3 times a day is a food called FIRST BITES. A week has gone by and they don't seem to be growing very fast. Do you have any suggestions to what other foods I should feed them to make them grow faster???? <You could hatch some baby brine shrimp. But crushed flake food will be fine. Just make sure you siphon out any leftovers and waste. It's a good thing to over feed fry, but only if you control the water quality.> Also when can I release the fry back into my tank? (I have large tetra's in my tank, platies, neons, stripped fish, and more blood hearted tetra's) Please answer, any help will be greatly appreciated. Ashley <With those tankmates you will need to keep them apart for quite a while. At least until they are big enough not to become lunch for the large tetras. How soon that will be depends on how much they eat and how clean their water is kept. Good luck with them. Don> Freshwater: Raising Platy Fry 12/7/05 Hi, <Hello Penny.> Our platy male and female have produced a brood per month since we started up our 30 gal. community tank. I managed to save 1 from the first brood, who is now about 9 weeks old. It is in a net box suspended in the main tank, along with the 11 others I've caught from the last two broods. At what size should I put this fellow back into the main tank? <Make sure he is large enough, first off not to be eater and second large enough to be able to compete with the other fish in the display for food.> We have the parents, 1 clown loach, 8 neon tetras and 2 chubby catfish. I am concerned about him being eaten, and also about him eating the younger fry. <Well Penny this is the problem with attempting to raise a brood in an in- tank net or holding device. There are simply to many fry produced by live-bearers and attempting to raise all of them in such a small space, usually spells death for a large percentage of the brood. This is why fry raising is best accomplished in a smaller tank, nothing special though, something along the lines of a 10-gallon tank with a sponge filter. This extra space will increase your chances of saving fry as well as allow you to keep them long enough, so you can be sure that they will not become snacks upon introduction back into the display. This separate space also allows you to monitor the fish more closely and ensure that all are eating.> Thanks very much, <You are welcome.> Penny <Adam J.>

Platy Births 12/8/05 Hi, I've had platys for about a year and they have reproduced a lot, but I have never seen them give birth. Today my sister started yelling that my fish was having babies, so I ran in my room to go see and the one that we think is having babies has this reddish - orange colored "bubbles" is what we called them and I am wondering what they are. But now I think she is having the babies but I have been on your site trying to figure it out and my sister said that she is now having them but they aren't moving. Are they "still born"? I'm very worried about them because I've 2 females and 1 male and they mated and somehow I got 26 all together and now I have about 18 platys and I think they are giving birth to "still born" babies! What am I doing wrong? <Sorry for the delay in answering. My bad. By now I'm sure you know if they were still born or not. It is normal for fry not to move much during the first moments of life. Hopefully yours started to swim within a few minutes. If not they probably were dead. A sharp swing in water conditions and poor nutrition are the most common causes. Stress from overcrowding may also factor in. Don>

New Tank & the Infants of Platies 12/9/05 Hello there! I am a new aquarist and I love it! <Me too!> I have had a 29 gallon fresh water set up for about 4 months. Three weeks ago I set up a new 12 gallon tank with three platies. I thought they were unhappy in the new tank as they were hiding a lot, so I moved them back into the 29 gallon tank. Then, to my shock and delight I found a baby in the new tank. You could have knocked me over with a feather! I was hyperventilating like a proud new mum might! <LOL, yes. Platies have babies. Lots and lots of babies. Congrats on the first of many.> After 3 days, I now have 6 babies. So, I moved the 3 adults back to the new 12 gallon tank and put the babes in a breeding net. <In which tank? Why did you move the platies?> The trouble is that the new tank hasn't cycled yet. I put the bacteria in at the set up. I've been told the tank may not cycle. What's your view? Should I put the babies in the established tank? Thanks so much. <I think you need to get a test kit and find out what your ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels are. If you "put bacteria in the tank" either from another tank or using a commercial product, it can jumpstart the cycle. You may get a much smaller ammonia spike or no spike at all. You can simply feed the bacteria fish food for a few weeks and make sure you have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and that you are starting to get nitrate. In that way you have cycled your tank. However, if there haven't been fish in the tank for a while, the bacteria haven't had anything to eat and may have starved to death if you haven't been feeding them. There really is no way to know where you are in the cycle without testing. I'd put everybody in the established tank until your new tank has finished cycling. A few babies may be eaten, but if you have some plants and move them (I like the turkey baster method) to a breeder net, they should be fine. Fish, especially fry, are very sensitive to poor water quality. For more info on cycling, read http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm.> Christina W. <Catherine W.>

New Tank & the Infants of Platies - II 12/9/05 Thanks for the support. The babies are in the new tank with the 3 adults right now. I test every other day and the ammonia and nitrites are at zero. I have had a few fish in the new tank since day 2 of set up. The tank has now been going for 3 weeks. I have fed the fish small amounts twice a day, so the bacteria have something to feed on. I think I'll continue to monitor the ammonia and nitrites and move them if I see an increase. I can't wait for the next lot of babies to come along in a few weeks. Wow - I had no idea (until I read some entries on your site) that most female platies are pregnant when purchased. Yes, I knew they were plump, and I did see the black gravid spot, but somehow, I was in denial. Christina <Sounds like a great plan! If you have nitrates in your water but no nitrates in your tap, you've probably cycled, although continued monitoring is always a good idea. Best of luck with your "grandfish."

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