Originally Posted by turtle10
I breed bettas, and it is something that requires lots of betta experience and months of research, not to mention worm cultures and jarring 200+ fry. Just be careful when trying this because ywith out properly conditioning them the female or male could be killed. Bettafish.com has a lot of good info on bettas, I highly recommend you take a took before trying to breed bettas. :)
I totally agree. Breeding bettas is a whole lot more complicated than breeding guppies, platys, or mollies. Another good site for info on bettas (and other fish as well, including livebreeders) is UltimateBettas
As for breeding the livebearers - here are some tips:
1) You need 2 or 3 females for every male, so your pairs of platys and mollies need to become trios or quartets of platys and mollies. Not that they won't or can't breed with only one of each (they can and will), but because the males will drive the females to distraction courting them ALL the time if they're one on one. With 2 or 3 females per male, they can spread their attention between them, which will make them all happier. By the way, male guppies are pretty peaceful with each other, but male platys can become quite aggressive to each other, especially if there aren't enough females to go around, and/or they are too crowded. I currently have 2 male and 4 female platys in a 47g community tank with mollies, guppies, swordtails, and various corydoras and otocinclus catfish, and the two male platys chase each other, but don't cause too many problems due to the size of the tank and 2:1 female:male ratio. Male swordtails can also get quite aggressive with each other.
2) Depending on the size of your tanks, you don't have to keep the three breeds separate from each other. Although mollies and guppies can crossbreed, they are unlikely to do so unless they don't have potential partners of the same species. Likewise for platys and swordtails.
3) Platys can have 20 to 40+ fry every 30 days or so. Guppies average 40 to 60, and can have up to 100 fry every month, sometimes every 3 weeks. I'm not sure about mollies - I haven't had any molly fry yet, and I haven't really looked into it, but since adult mollies are bigger than platys or guppies, they may gestate longer. My point is, if you try to save all the babies, you'll need to make a plan for their future, or you will soon have hundreds of each and you will either need lots more tanks, or your tanks will be seriously overcrowded, or both. Depending on the quality of your fry, you may be able to sell them (online, to a local petstore, or whatever). You ought to at least be able to give them to a petstore, even if you don't get any money for them. I'd check out the local stores before raising entire batches of fry.
4) To answer your first question last, the only way to ensure that the babies grow up is to separate them from their parents (and other fish big enough to eat them) as soon after birth as possible. This is especially true for Guppy
fry hide better, and move really fast when something big approaches them, so you may have a few platys grow up in the tank with the adults, if there is sufficent cover for them. One of my male platys was born in my tank, and is now the probable father of a new generation. However, he is the only fry of either species that has lived more than a week unless I separated them.
The easiest way to do the separating is to separate the mom just before she gives birth.You can put her in a breeding box or breeding net in the main tank, or move her to another tank. If you use a breeding box or net, you will need to move the fry to another tank almost immediately, within a few days at the most, or they won't grow well due to limited room to swim. Some people prefer to use a breeder net or box, because it may stress the fish to be removed from her normal environment right before birth. I've not had a problem with this. In fact, I currently have a batch of guppies and a batch of platys (both 37 days old) that I hadn't intended to raise, because the moms just happened to have been separated out of the main tank for other reasons the night before they both gave birth. Once separated, I couldn't see putting them back in the main tank to get eaten. Remove the mom as soon as the birth as possible. She isn't likely to eat much for the first few hours, but after that she'll be starving, so you want the babies out of her reach by then.
5) You will know when to separate the mom by keeping a close eye on the development of her pregnancys. Female guppies and platys both have what is called a "gravid spot" at the back of their bodies, above and slightly behind their anal fins. This is visible in guppies within 3 or 4 weeks of birth, or at 2 weeks if you want to use a magnifying glass to inspect each fry. When the Guppy
gets pregnant, the spot grows darker and bigger, as the Guppy
gets rounder in all directions. When she is close to giving birth, she will look like she's going to burst and you may be able to see shiny spots (baby fish eyes) through the mother's skin. The gravid spots of female platys and swordtails are is much less noticeable (at least in the darker colored fish - mine are all yellow-gold to red-orange) until later in the pregnancy. You will notice her belly expanding in all directions, and her color looking paler on the sides of her belly before the gravid spot starts darkening. When the gravid spot is big and dark and her sides look whitish, move her into her "birthing room."
For both guppies and platys, other indicators that birth is going to happen within the next few hours include: the pregnant fish separating herself from the other fish - mine usually take up a position at the top of the water near a corner, and/or in or near a plant; clamped fins; slight rocking side to side when swimming (not a lot different from a woman's "waddle" in late pregnancy); decreased interest in food, sometimes not eating at all for the last 24 hours. In a nonpregnant fish, these changes would indicate something wrong - a parasite, bacterial infection, virus, whatever. In a very pregnant fish it is often just the pregnancy.
After birth the boys will be chasing the new mama A LOT, because for the next 24 hours she is putting out a pheromone signalling that she's done with the pregnancy and ready to start the next one. If you notice that behavior from the males, start looking for fry, because you've probably missed the birth.
As noted above, platys are pregnant for approximately 30 days and have drops of 20 to 40 on average, but can be less (especially if it's her first drop) or more. Guppies period of gestation is a little less. Most of us see fry about every 4 weeks, though I know one breeder who says her females drop every 3 weeks.
Good luck with your breeding projects, and have fun!
Edit: the dark orange/red Platy
on the Platy
profile page is probably pregnant. Notice how much her belly is bulging compared to the other platys pictured, as well as the lighter color on her sides. I can detect a slightly darkened area behind the paler sides, which would be her gravid spot. From another angle it might be darker, or it may just be starting to darken.