Is my Platy pregnant?
I had a pregnant Platy a while ago, but I didn't know she was pregnant until I saw the fry swimming around, I just thought she ate too much. She died and my current female is the only survivor of the bunch and she one I suspect to be pregnant.
My current platy is yellow like a Mickey Mouse Platy, but instead has black on the top and bottom of the rear tail and is female. About 2 months ago I bought another platy, but this one is an orange dwarf of some sort and male (although I didn't know this until I put him in the tank). I thought that since they were different types of platies, I would be ok, but I'm starting to think my female is pregnant (if that sounds stupid, I'm blonde :) ).
Anyways, my current female has always been an eater, but she has always been think and never sick. Recently, I noticed her belly was getting bigger and bigger. I keep reading about a black spot before the anal fin which means they're pregnant, but I've only noticed a lot of small black dots on mine. I remember the fry my other platy had were tiny and translucent with big black eyes... so I'm thinking these black dots are the eyes. They are right where the white of her belly ends in the photo, but there are a lot more than are visible in the photo.
Here is a photo:
What do you think? She's been getting big for I'd say about a month, so does that mean she's going to give birth any day now? Should I put her in a breeding net to be safe? I have a guppy, a catfish and a plecostamus (sp?) in the tank, also.
Looks like you might have babies soon. I wouldn't worry about the breeding net. In my experience it caused more stress to the mommy fish than anything. Do you have some hiding places for the babies? My babies never wanted anything to do with the hiding spots and always stayed around the top of the tank. I don't think anyone in your tank would bother the babies except the parents but molly's will have several fry and will probably do it again in 28 days so unless you really want to keep every single fry you have, I would just let nature take it's course and see what happens.
I was going to let my platy give birth in the tank and let nature take it's course, as suggested, but I found some people willing to take some of the babies and felt guilty knowing they would otherwise be eaten or sucked into the filter. So Saturday evening, around 5, I put my pregnant platy in a plastic breeding box (but I left out the "V" shaped part so she would have more room and hopefully less stress). I sat near my tank reading and around 5:30 I looked over and saw something small moving around. A baby!!
So I sat there for the next hour hoping to see her push another one out, but nothing happened. I woke up around 3:30 this morning (courtesy of my cat) and headed over to the tank. 2 babies!! So I went back to sleep and looked at the tank again this morning. 3 babies!! Here is a photo of the first baby (it's in the center of the photo) and his proud mama:
My question is: how long is this whole process going to take? I read it can take longer if it's her first pregnancy, but is it supposed to take this long? I can still see black dots/eyes in her belly so I'm assuming there are more waiting to come out. Or am I just being a worried grandparent? :)
I forgot to mention I turned the temp up to 78-80 degrees and have been feeding her freeze dried blood worms 2-3 times a day (about 3 per serving). I read this is supposed to help speed things along, but it doesn't seem to be working, unless I'm more impatient than I thought.
Is the mom just free swimming in there with the babies. She probably ate most of them as she was giving birth. Mine came with a grate for the bottom so the babies could drop below and not get eaten. I didn't use it though I let her give birth in the tank and then found the babies and put them in the net.
A note for future reference, the platy pictured in this thread is a twin bar platy. In the picture she looked like she could still have more to drop, however, one note about breeding cups... they cause a lot of stress. Stress during labor can make things very difficult. It would help her a lot if she were swimming free in the tank, but at very least, float a plant in there for her so she's not feeling so "exposed". Most livebearers will actually hide to give birth, this is a natural instinct to prevent predators from eating the fish and her fry as she's giving birth. A pregnant female in labor can't swim as well, and this makes her very vulnerable. Give her something to hide in, some sort of shelter, and see if that helps. Once she relaxes, nature takes over, and it should happen pretty quickly beyond that.
A typical spawning usually will take 1 - 2 days.
I have found that platies, of all the live bearers I have kept (swords, mollies, guppis and platies) platies are the most prone to eating their fry. Could just be coincidence but it's what I've found. It is likely that she has eaten most of the fry.
Dawn has given you some good advice to bear in mind for nxt time, aboutt he breeder traps.
Thank you all for the advice. I haven't been able to find any information on the actual pregnancy and birth of platies, so I really appreciate all of your tips!
I left my house around 2pm today. When I left, there were 3 babies (the mom didn't seem to be going after them, so I figured they would be ok for a couple hours). At 4pm I got a call from my roommate - she said there were about 20 babies! I got home around 5pm and there were 14, so she must have eaten some of them. I wasn't sure if she was done, but I took her out anyways because she looked a little stressed with all the babies swimming around her.
She's a lot happier swimming around the tank and the babies seem to be doing well. Here's a photo of them:
I wasn't going to use the breeding cup because I didn't want to stress her out, but as I said earlier, I found homes for the babies and wanted to make sure I could raise them. There is no way I was going to try and catch them after they were born and put them in the breeding cup - I've done that before and I think it stressed everyone in the tank. I also put her in the breeding cup because her "better half" wouldn't stop bugging her. He even bothered her from the other side of the plastic! He kept doing a little jig and hardly left her side. I tried to leave her alone and not look too much because I noticed when I got close to the tank she would start to move around a lot more.
Thank you again for all your help. It's good advice that I will definitely use in the future... if this happens again! :D
reminds me of the day my mickey mouse platy fry were born but i had to catch them :shock: :D
and dont worry it will happen again around a month or two, as livebearers can have three or more litters without a male being present :D my platy is pregnant again as is going to pop soon :D
How big of a tank is this? If the tank is large enough, and well decorated enough, there is no reason you can't raise the fy in the tank with the adults. I have swordtails and mollys here now, and never do I move my pregnant females or fry until the fry are big enough to sell. With the swordtails, I move fry out after they're about 4 wks old to make room for the new ones, but they all stay together and I average about 30 new fry every month (from each female).
I have found this to be healthier for all of the fish, and much easier on me.
For your situation, let me warn... the fry can't stay in a bare breeder cup for long or they will die. With decorations and extra circulation in the tank they may manage a couple of weeks... but not a good idea to keep them in there for longer than that.
For you and all the others out there who are still under the impression that breeder cups are good... a few notes about those hard cups:
They block most of the circulation of water, especially if you're running a hang on filter unit, which in turn creates a stagnant waste pool in your tank.
Food that is uneaten falls to the bottom of the cup and stays there... tends to grow fungus after about 2 days. This can cause a lot of health issues in newborn fry.
Due to lack of circulation, oxygen also becomes depleted within the cup.
Most of those cups tend to sink, which can trap a fish inside without the abilty to move around enough to get water flow or oxygen replenished water.
Breeder cups stress fish more than most people realize. This can cause problems while giving birth. Remember, enough stress can be lethal.
Whenever someone has asked me about the various breeder cups/containers, I always suggest the netted ones if it has to be used. With the netting there is complete circulation of water, which is very important. Always add some plants (live or fake no matter) to the cup/net so the fish have places to hide while in the cup/net.
Well fed adults don't usually eat the fry. When I am breeding I always increase the number of water changes so I can increase the feedings. My adult breeding stock eats 2 - 3 times/day, and when fry are born, they tend to feed safely right alongside of their parents without hassle.
As I said, I don't use breeding cups/nets. I keep my main tanks decorated enough to accomidate any fry that may be born. The fry have a lot of places to hide where the adults can't get to them, at all levels of the tank (planted low growing plants, rock structures, mid level plants, and floating plants.
Watch the size of the tank vs the number of fish you end up with. A 10 gallon tank can be great for 2 - 3 platies, but when 14 fry appear out of nowhere, suddenly you have 16 - 17 fish in a 10 gallon tank. Even though the fry are small, the number of them passing waste into the tank will tip the scales on water quality quite fast. You can predict about when the next ones will be due, so this is a time to begin the extra feedings, the extra water changes, etc. Mollys, platys, swordtails, guppys, etc. can all have 30+ fry every 30 days. I think my biggest spawn yet was 76 at a time, but I have heard of some as large as 90 - 100. The average is 30 - 50. You know when she gave birth this time, now mark your calender for 30 days from now... and as long as male and female are in the tank together, this will continue every month. The first spawn is usually very fun and exciting, until about the 4th or 5th when you have fish coming out of your ears. Most fry are about 4 - 6 months old before a pet store will usually take them, so that gets to be a lot of fish very quickly.
Watch your water quality in the tank now, feed them well (fry can eat 3 - 4 times/day, very small amounts each time... crumble flake food into a powder and give them just a tiny pinch each time) and enjoy!!!
Dawn, I am so glad you responded to my initial post! You have been so helpful and informative, I hope you don't mind helping me out a little more!
I have a 16 gallon bow front with 5 fish already. I know the worst case scenario is 1 fish per gallon of water, but I also know that the more fish you have, the more waste there is (that's why I had 5 fish in a 16 gallon tank).
One of my concerns is that the other fish will eat them. If they have enough hiding places, this should be less likely to happen, right? Plus, they're fast little devils! I have some large rocks and plants in my tank, but the tallest plant only reaches about halfway up. You mentioned that you have some floating plants in your tank - would you suggest I get some? My tank is very deep, so getting plants that reach all the way up has proved to be impossible so far. There is one fry that is loose in the tank - I spotted him hanging around one of the rocks. He did a good job of hiding from the other fish.
I feed my fish 2-3 times a day. I use flake food and have algae wafers for the catfish and plecostamus. I have a male guppy in the tank and he's a bit of a punk - he's been going crazy over the fry. I'm assuming he thinks they're treats, so I'm really afraid he's going to try and eat them. The platies don't seem to care much so I'm not as worried about them. I have the Hikari First Bites food for the fry which they seem to love so far. Another concern about taking them out of the breeders cup is that they will not come to the top to eat the food. I don't want them to starve. The last batch of fry I had hung around the bottom of the tank, eating whatever they could find down there. Is that safe for them? If I get some floating plants, will they be more likely to come to the surface to eat?
I change my water 1-2 times a week. With the increased feeding, I'm aware that this will also increase. My last concern is that they are going to get sucked into the filter. I have a Whisper filter with an extension tube to reach farther down the tank, but the end has large slits that the fry could easily slide through. It isn't near the decorations, so I'm guessing they wouldn't wander over to it. What do you think?
I'm going to take the fry out of the breeders cup, but I would appreciate your input on the above, especially about how to feed them once they're in the tank. I've kept fish successfully for many years, but the whole breeding thing is new to me.
Once again, thank you so much for your help!
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