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Hi guys. My name is mark and am new to tropical fish. Just have a quick question. Didnt know where else to turn. I bout 4 mollys and noticed that it was 2 male and 2 female. 1 of the females stomach seems to have grown a little and i think she maybe pregnant. I have ordered a birthing tank just encase.
How can you tell if a molly is pregnant? Is there any clear signs. She is always going for food quickly and my guppys seem to be knipping at here. HELP!!
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Welcome to the hobby and the site! I hope I can help you out, it's gonna be a big read, get some ice for your eyes. =P
Indeed. Having less than four females per male can make things pretty nasty even in a huge tank. The males will often harass the females.
For pregnant females? Most often you can tell by them getting rounder. Sometimes it's just eggs growing in, but when you have males and females together, it's about a 95% chance your females are pregnant. Females can also store sperm for up to a year without giving birth, and even pause pregnancies. They can also abort when stressed, and that's bad for her.
If she's already pregnant, they can still mate as the female can still take and store sperm, but often males will be extra aggressive about it because pregnant females are not wanting to mate in the least.
Tank size can also be a factor. If they don't have enough room they can get pretty aggressive. The smaller black mollies, gold dusts and gold nuggets will be fine in a twenty gallon tank(basically any molly under three inches should be ok), but lyretails and sailfins need 30 gallon tanks as they can get 6 or so inches long.
As for signs in personality? It depends, some don't change, some get nippy, some get extra hungry. Mollies are often greedy as is so it's not uncommon to find a greedy-gut or three in every group.
When they're about ready to go into labor they may hide more, hang out around a bottom corner somewhere, some even slide up and down the glass a lot or move away from everyone, and some can get very nippy when in labor and will try to run everyone else off. I've even had some that will slam themselves into decorations which is usually a common sign of PH changing or parasites, but some do this just because they hurt.
Let's see if I can give you a list of things to help out here.
First, if your tank is more than thirty gallons, I'd suggest you go buy three more females to start, and two more after a week has passed. You don't want to add too many fish at once because it ups the acidity in the water.
Be sure your tanks are fully cycled! Toxins in the water from an uncycled or cycling tank can kill your fish, and also make them aggressive. When you get in your nursery use some water from your current tank to start it, and if you can, put in a new cartridge or sponge with your old filter to get some beneficial bacteria on it, this will help that nursery cycle quicker, but you need to monitor it to make sure it is before you actually put fish in there or you'll have a lot of dead babies. Be sure it's also properly heated, both babies and adults would prefer 80 degrees! Nice and stable, stable tanks make for happy fish. As for the filter, with babies you can use a normal filter, just cover up the intake valve with a sponge or with screen. I tied screen around mine with white, undyed thread. Colored thread can hurt them. You can remove it and rinse it off a couple times per week, it'll help keep the babies from being sucked up into it as they will need a filter.
If you don't have room for more fish, I would suggest you take one of the males back an exchange it for another female, and maybe get a second with her. More females, less trouble with males. However that wont stop it since males ARE pretty...well, food and mating is pretty much all they think about, let's just put it that way. Prolific breeders.
Hiding places! Even if you have the perfect amount of females for males, hiding places are always great. Small caves, A LOT of plants, real or fake. Real ones not only give them hiding and a place to feel secure, but they also help filter and create oxygen for your fish, as well as a bit of extra foraging, which mollies are always doing and it's good for them. =)
Ah yes, food! Food is actually important when you have breeding fish. Flakes and pellets don't always cut it and can make for skinny unhealthy babies more prone to defects and other issues, mom as well since she expends quite a bit in growing the brood. You want a lot of plant matter! Mollies are omnivores but need more plant foods than anything. Things like blanched spinach, romaine lettuce, the insides of green beans with seeds and skins removed(some don't like that, but it's worth a shot!), some will even appreciate some blanched cucumber with the seeds removed. Blanching means to make it soft, often done by heating it up or boiling it for a while, letting it cool off, make sure it's good and squishy after a long soak in hot water, cold water tends to reharden it...All greens must be blanched. And with pregnant females, I like to give them fresh or frozen peas twice per week. All your fish will enjoy that. You want to boil those as you would if making them for yourself, NEVER get canned stuff since that can have stuff in it not good for your fish. Fresh or frozen, heat until squishy, remove the skins, cut them into halves or quarters and feed. Peas help keep their digestive systems normal, and keeps their swimbladders healthy. It keeps them from being or getting constipated, but as good as peas are for them, don't feed them too often! They can also give them fishy diarrhea if fed too often, I like to give them every three or four days with pregnant fish in the mix, or just once per week without pregnant fish, I've noticed pregnant females get stopped up a lot more often. I like to get the frozen food Emerald Entree from the pet shops and pick out the worms. I miss a few, but so long as you pick some out it's fine. It's a good omnivore diet you can feed them daily over fresh foods, but fresh foods are good too. Algae wafers as well. Those make a lovely treat, my mollies will fight for them. I like to brek one into four pieces or so and let them have at it, there's rarely any left after a few minutes. If they eat, feed it I believe Byron said to me once. LOL
Now for protein foods! Protein foods should only be fed two or three times per week at the most: Glassworms are really good, probably the best of the protein foods you can feed them. Mysis shrimp are also good. Bloodworms shouldn't be fed often, a couple times per month maybe, they do have a risk of causing blockages no matter what form they're fed in. Brine shrimp is ok, and highly liked by most fish, as is daphnia, but that can be messy since it's small. =P All foods should be frozen or live, I like the frozen stuff myself, less risk of parasites and it's easy to just pop what you don't use back in the freezer, keeps a long time.
Now remember to remove all uneaten food after a few minutes or it can get lost in the tank and rot. And also don't follow the all you can eat in to minutes rule, that's over feeding. You want to put just enough in for them each to have one or two good bites! Like flakes, flakes should be fed at least twice per week mind, only give each fish about a dime sized bite. They don't need to eat anymore than once per day.
Baby brine shrimp and daphnia are good to have on hand for babies too, most molly babies can eat daphnia, but some are too small and wont be able to fit anything bigger than baby brine shrimp and algae in their mouths, so have algae wafers and baby brine shrimp on hand for them. Flakes are good as well, you can smash them to dust and it should be small enough for them. Once born, wait at least twelve hours before feeding. Some say you can wait days, but that can actually be fatal as the babies need to eat no less than three times per day and those egg yolks disappear within a few hours after being born usually.
I hope that tank you ordered is at least 20 gallons! Molly babies are the fastest growing of the livebearers that I know of. The only ones I haven't bred are Endlers and Mosquito Fish, that I know of. ^_~ Mollies can have 5 to 100 babies per drop and usually drop once per month, though some can have two broods in a month. If you can get a bigger nursery, go for it. =P Once they're too big to fit in the parents mouth, you can move them there, or half there to finish growing, more room, faster growth.
Extra cleaning in the nursery is good, about 2-5% per day, don't over-clean the gravel or mess with the filter too much, you mess with the filter and you kill your beneficial bacteria sending the tank into a cycle, but taking out some of the water is good, and sucking out extra food daily with a turkey baster or something is good as well without over-vacuuming. =)
I know it's a lot of info to go through, but I hope it comes in handy for you! I do a lot of breeding livebearers, and I've had my own share of problems, it's very difficult not to get over-stocked! @_@
Hey, Mark! Welcome to TFK! Looks like you've found the help you need! ^.^
Congrats on the fish - and looks like the soon-to-be babies, as well!
Heys guys. Thanks so much. I have noticed that my male mollys have been getting a little aggressive. I am quite nervous / excitedabout these babies. I am going to the pet store this evening and have made a list of all the items sylverclaw stated.
Thanks guys for the help. No doubt i will be back asking more questions soon lol
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