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LittleTants 05-08-2008 03:34 AM

Pregnant Molly... I think...
Hi, I think I'm in the same boat as the other post going... with a pregnant Molly. She has certainly gotten very fat and is bigger than my other mollies which I purchased at the same time.

And she has a boyfriend - a sailfin who has been swimming as close as possible to her non-stop for the past few weeks. He swims in front of her and puts his big sail up and is always poking his nose in her backside. My only guess is that the female is pregnant?

I don't have any live plants (only a couple of fake) in the tank but do have a shipwreck where the fry might hide. Is there anything I should do to help her? Will I be able to see the fry when they are born?

Otherwise I have a couple of gouramis in the tank along wtih plattys, clown loaches and a couple of clown loaches. Not sure if the fry will survive.

I am prepared to set up a smaller aquarium if needed. Should I begin one now just in case?

I didn't know that my fish could get pregnant! Help!

iamntbatman 05-08-2008 01:35 PM

Well, the most important question is: do you want to keep the fry, or not? If you want more mollies in the tank or would like to start a second (and third and fourth and so on) tank, then you should try your best to save as many fry as possible. You can also usually give your fry to a LFS - some will just take them off your hands, some will trade you for fish food or plants or other supplies, and some will even pay you (although this is unlikely with molly fry).

As it is now, it's unlikely that many or any of your fry will reach maturity. Without suitable places to hide, your other fish are likely to eat all of the fry while they're still young. You can increase your success by a lot of different options:
1. Move the pregnant female to another tank and move her back after she has the babies
2. Move the fry to a new tank after they're born
3. Do 1 or 2 except with a breeding net or trap in the tank the mother is in now
4. Leave her in the tank but provide a lot more hiding places for the fry. Plastic plants aren't really a good option - some sort of bushy live plant is much better. I recommend bunches of hornwort. Having a larger gravel size can also make all kinds of little nooks and crannies available for fry to hide in.

iamntbatman 05-08-2008 01:36 PM

Oh one more listed clown loaches twice. Did you mean to say another type of fish?

LittleTants 05-08-2008 09:43 PM

Thanks for the advice! So I guess I'm going to be a grandma!

We would like to purchase more mollies as we only have half the fish we'd like to at this stage so I'll probably try to save them all (plus I would feel so guilty having them all be eaten after all the care the little boyfriend molly has been giving the mum!).

I may start a smaller tank and will go to my store and ask about breeding nets. I'm not really keen on live plants at this stage as I'm new to fishkeeping in general and am trying to keep it all fairly straightforward for the time being. But I'm happy to add more hiding places as well.

Thanks for the catch - I meant to write 2 chinese algae eaters (which were purchased as an accident and I'm not sure how long I'll keep them!)

Should I put the boyfriend in the other tank with the Mum if that's the option I choose? And then just remove the parents when the fry are born? I think he'd go insane without her in the big tank!

Also, how many fry are usually born? How big are they?

Thanks again - wow, I'm getting lots more experience than I was hoping for!

LittleTants 05-08-2008 10:05 PM

Ok, sorry - did a bit of research and have a better understanding now of how often Mollies give birth and how big/many fry there are.

Now that I've read this, I'm not really sure I'd like my molly to continue giving birth over and over and over. Is it a bad idea to let the other fish eat the young? Will this disturb the balance of the tank?

I may consider getting rid of Mollies in favour of Platties - these aren't livebearers too right?

Does anyone know how to tell Mollies and Platies apart? I have 4 but I think only 2 are sailfin mollies and the other 2 are Platies...

iamntbatman 05-09-2008 10:01 AM

Platies are also livebearers and will be just as prolific as mollies.

Chinese algae eaters are, in my opinion, just about the worst fish anyone can keep. Their name is a total misnomer - these fish would rather eat anything than algae. They'll eat algae only if they're starving. They also get quite large, about 6". Finally, they can get extremely aggressive. They tend to suck hickies onto your other fish that can be fatal. They will also very likely eat a number of your fry.

There's nothing unhealthy about your other fish eating the fry. Actually, it can be a good supplement to their regular diets.

If you plan on raising the fry in a second tank, it's probably a good idea to get it started now so it will be well cycled and ready for any fry.

Why no live plants? For some reason people think that they require tons of extra care and are a pain in the butt. For some plants, this is true. However, plenty of species do fine by just sticking them right in the aquarium. Plants like hornwort, cabomba, anacharis, and java fern all require very little care and make the aquarium look much nicer. They also help oxygenate the water and reduce the amount of fish waste in the tank. I definitely recommend live plants for most freshwater tanks.

okiemavis 05-09-2008 03:52 PM

+1 on getting rid of the CAE's. I've kept them myself and still have one, who's a little jerk and is kept in his own tank. Not only will they start to attack and kill your other fish as they get bigger, but they'll also be very pissed to be sharing the tank with another CAE, which will only make matters worse.

(I was sold mine because he was a "nice, small algae eater" right when I was starting out. Ugh, that LFS was very wrong!

iamntbatman 05-09-2008 04:05 PM

I love when the pet store sells you nice little fish! When I first started out, I wanted some kind of catfish for my 10g, and Petsmart sold me a Pangasius! What a cute little guy! As soon as I found out that he'd turn into a three foot monster, I took him right back. Oh well, he was a dumb fish anyway.

LittleTants 05-09-2008 10:27 PM

Thanks for the opinions guys - I'm feeling much the same about the CAE's. And just like you said my Pet Store guy told me they'd be a 'great little fish to eat all the algae' but all they seem to do is swim around at high speeds and chase other fish. Luckily not too agressive yet. I'd absolutely love to get them out but am not exactly certain how to catch the darn buggers! They are so quick! And we have a 275 litre tank!! To be honest I'm waiting for my husband (who's away for a month) to come home and I was going to give him that mission, ha ha. I thought he'd love the thrill of the hunt. But if anyone has any tips for catching them I'd love to get them out of there!

I think I might try to save the first fry just for the experience and to add more fish to the tank.

And thanks for the advice on live plants. Is it bad to mix live and fake?

Thanks everyone - have a great day!!

Oldman47 05-10-2008 12:18 PM

If you want to fill out your population, save some of the mollies by putting the female in a separate tank to have them. After a very few weeks, the fry will be big enough to put back into the main tank and as they get larger they will help it look more fully stocked. Once you have enough fish, do nothing to save the fry and you will not likely have any survive.
Its a good idea to learn one thing at a time so learning fish while not using real plants is probably not a bad idea. I have both fish and plants but primarily I am learning about the aquatic gardening aspects. I have been keeping fish since about 1957 so most of what I need to do is pretty automatic now. The plants, on the other hand, are presenting a new learning challenge. It helps keep your interest when there is more to learn.
A cool little fish that does eat algae and stays about the size that SAEs are often sold is an otocinclus. At full grown they are only about 1 1/2 inches long and they don't harass your other fish. They can be a bit of a challenge to keep if you have no algae but I rarely have that problem because I run enough lights for plants.

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