Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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sammies4787 05-10-2009 01:51 PM

How to take care of swordtail fry
So, I have three swordtails in my fish tank that I thought were all male unil a few days ago I found 3 little fry on the bottom of the tank. I found out online that they actually will eat all of the young if given the chance and I wanted to try and save the fry. Well, because it was late that night and there were no stores open to get any equipment I didn't know what to do. I didn't think I could catch them because they were so small and fast. The next morning, which was yesterday, I thought they were all gone. But, this morning, I found all three of them again.

I was wondering how to take care of these fry, should I try to catch them? I really don't think I can because there are so many places they can hide and I can't catch them. I have been dropping alge/spirulina flakes to the bottom of the tank so they can eat them. Would they be okay if I just keep feeding them that way?

Also, I really need to change the water in my tank and also need to do some gravel vaccuming and clean all of the plastic plants and change my filter cartridge ect. But, I don't know if I can do this because of the small little fry in there. What do you suggest? Should I just do a water change and stay away from the gravel, and change the filter cartridge?

How long does it take for baby fry to get big enough to not be fish food anymore? they're probably about a centimeter long now.

Anyways, thanks for any advice, I really appreciate it! Also, what would you do if you had a 16 gallon tank and you didn't want over population in the tank if you have livebearers?


sammies4787 05-12-2009 10:52 PM

So, also, I don't know if they're actually eating the flakes, is there anything else I can give them?

eileen 05-14-2009 11:36 AM

I have never had swordtail fry but have had livebearer fry from endlers, guppies, mollies. I would not vaccum the gravel because you might suck up fry. If you do vaccum I would be very careful. I would not remove any plants real or artifical. That is the frys cover until they grow big enough. They need places to hide to stay safe if you do not want to remove them. I would feed some crushed powder fine fish food that you already feed your fish. I made some for my fry and put it in a pill bottle. It's a fine power and I have a toothpick and dip that in the water of the tank and into the powder then in the tank. This works well and I leave the toothpick in the pill container with the baby fry food. Some of the power will float on the bottom and top or go to some of your floating plants.The fry will be able to eat if they are real small. I go by the biggest mouth of the fish to determine when they are ready to join the other fish in the tank. They may be chased around but if they are bigger then the fishes mouth they will not get eaten.
Also make sure you have floating plants also fake or real is fine that the babies can hide in. Make sure you have all levels covered if you want some of the fry to survive. Some will get eaten but some will survive. With livebearers you can't keep all of them anyways you will be overloaded in no time with a new batch every month. I would keep the nice looking ones and rehome or give away the ones you do not want. Petco takes excess fish for free and you can sell them real cheap on Craiglist in your area or maybe get store credit at some local fish store if you can raise them big enough to sell at about 1/2". Good Luck! Hope this post helps you.

sammies4787 05-16-2009 12:21 AM

Thanks for your reply! I really appreciate it! So, what do you mean by floating plants? Plants that float on the top of the water? So, all three of my fry are still alive after about a week. Thanks for all of the advice, I will do the crushed food suggestion! Thnx!

sammies4787 05-16-2009 11:28 PM

Also, do you know how swordtails change sex? Is it only female to male or is it either way and how often will they do this?

Oldman47 05-17-2009 07:38 AM

Swordtails don't change sex. Young swordtails take varying times to show what sex they are. All newborn swordtails look like females and the males later develop the long tails and gonopodium. This happens at two stages in swordtails. Some show the male characteristics when they are quite young and end up with a smaller thin body shape than other swordtails. The late developing males often are mistaken for females which is where the stories come from. They become heavier bodied than an early male and tend to be the dominant males in a group after they do finally develop their male characteristics.
This means you will never run into silly stories about males becoming females. They can't un-develop now can they.
The sex of swordtails is determined genetically, not by environment, as is sometimes the case with other fish. This means that only the visible sexual apparatus can change, not the real sex of the fish.

sammies4787 05-18-2009 01:11 AM

Oh okay, that does make sense. Thanks.

So, tonight, because there is only one swordtail fry left, I took it out and put it in a bowl. Will the fry live if there is no heater or filter in the bowl? Should I just keep feeding it crushed fish food? When should I put it back in the fish tank where it won't be eaten? Thanks again for any replies! :)

princesuhaib 05-18-2009 01:37 AM

i would get a bunch of plants and put him back in asap. Swordtails should have babies every 28 days, so expect new fry soon, if all water parameters are correct and have 1 male to 2 females or 1 male to 3 females you shouldnt have a problem with getting new fry soon. Just have a lot of plants for them to hide!

sammies4787 05-18-2009 10:49 AM

oh okay I see. Thanks!

Oldman47 05-18-2009 08:39 PM

Swordtails do produce fry at about 4 week intervals and as with most livebearers it is best to keep more females than males. A commercial breeder will typically keep 5 or more females to each male in order to optimize fry production without too much stress on the females. As hobbyists, it is more usual to keep 2 or 3 females to each male. Heavy cover from fine leaved plants is a definite plus when trying to have fry survive. With enough cover to truly protect most of the new fry, the adult fish will be having trouble swimming around in the tank, which is not something most of us would want, so we need to compromise and expect to lose some fry so that the adults can have some room to swim.

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