12-17-2013, 10:23 PM
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Hello BooBear9!! Welcome to the forum!
I've had lots of Swordtails and Mollies but not Platies but they're much the same.
Yes Livebearers drop their fry in the early morning hours quite often so you have to be strategic about it. Let me ask a few questions, then I'll tell you what I do.
What size tank is it? Who all is in there?
Because Swordtails WILL NOT be put into a breeder box or net, (they will kill themselves trying to get out and crash the lid off in an attempt to escape, I have learned how to be successful other ways. Not always... but most times.
I have a 75 gallon and also a 10 gallon and it's a bit different for both.
First off depending on who is also in the tank, get them used to feeding way at one end of the tank all the time. Say Front right corner all the time, Same spot. Way at one end cause you want to distract everyone except the babies with food while you catch the babies.
Be ready either with the breeder net or box attached and floating in the tank so you have something to scoop fry into. Have a small workable, manageable net, something you can get easily in behind the hood or glass top. Mine is hinged and slides forward but still has a gap in the back.
Next COVER with as much floating plants as you can the back left or whole left side of the tank with plastic plants or real if you have them. The more the better as they need cover and to hide after they are born.
Each morning, as day 28 approaches and the F squares off, be ready with flashlight and net. Keeping the light OFF, I climb up on a chair and with a flashlight peer into the back corners of the tank. The new fry are always along the edge of the tank, into the corners. Once you know they are there, KEEP THE LIGHTS OFF so no one notices them, including Momma, and sparingly feed everyone as far away as possible. Distract them. Using Flashlight and small net scoop up the fry... as many as you can.
Now if you have a spare tank, just net Momma and move her that morning out of the fry tank and away. In my 75 I sectioned off 1/4 of the tank, made my own cheap and easy tank divider and as soon as I saw the 2 Mommas had dropped their fry I moved them back to the bigger side.
I DO NOT like fry boxes for the simple reason that they get totally board and barely swim around in them. Give them a 10 gallon of space and they will explore the whole tank!! I only use one for gathering them out of the main tank.
Feed them tiny amounts of fry baby food if you can get it, and water changes EVERY day!! It is a proven fact they grow faster in daily changed water. As soon as they are bigger then the BIGGEST mouth in the tank they can go with the bigger fish. Again, LOTS of plants, lots of hiding places.
Best of luck!! Keep us posted and you can always try again in 28 days. Mark it on your calender and count it out so you know when you have to start checking daily again.
Oh yes and make sure your water changes are exactly the same temperature and you use dechlorinator.