Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Crazie Queenie 07-21-2011 01:10 PM

nursery tank? raising fry??
Hey! Been reading a lot of the posts on your forums and have picked up so much new info my brain is starting to hurt. So i decided this was a good place to ask for some advice.

So 1 of my mollies has had fry and i am totally unprepared as i didnt realise she was quite that close to giving birth. I rushed out the next morning as she gave birth during the night, she also died afterwards :(, to buy a little breeder cage thing to rescue the fry before they all got munched and i managed to rescue 5 of them after turning everything upside down trying to find the little things! The problem is that i dont really have a clue about raising fry... Ive ordered a small tank, a heater, a sponge filter, fry powdered food and live baby shrimp all for a new nursery tank. What else do you suggest i get and how do you suggest i go about raising them? Also the tank doesn't have a hood so doesn't have a light attached, will this be a big problem? The nursery tank will end up being used for molly and guppy fry just to add. Also again my main tank doesn't have salt in it as my pleco and corys would hate me if i did that but i know mollies and guppys prefer some salt so would you suggest salting the nursery tank? or gradually salt the tank after adding the fry since it might kill them from the shock of the change?

Thanks in advance for any advice. I will be away this weekend unfortunately i just wanted to get this posted up before i leave. My fishes will be well looked after by my house mates they have strict instructions as to lighting and feeding so they should be fine :-)

Byron 07-21-2011 07:36 PM

First, may I welcome you to Tropical Fish Keeping forum. Glad you joined us.

Now to your questions. Forget the salt; no freshwater fish needs salt. Mollies can manage in brackish water, and other livebearers tolerate salt better than most other fish, but the fact remains that none of them "need" it. [The do need mineral salts, but that is not the same thing as sodium salt; mineral salts occur in medium hard to hard water.] Having said that, if your molly was in brackish water and had fry, the fry should obviously remain in that for the beginning.

To the fry tank. You won't need a hood, though a cover is useful to keep water in the tank and dust out, also a more constant temperature (less of an issue in summer of course). Keep the water level a bit lower, just in case fish decide to jump esp as they get larger. If you had plants, light would be necessary (or a window location).

Feeding livebearer fry is easy, as they can take finely ground flake foods from the start. Pinch them up in your hand. Include veggie-based flake foods like spirulina and algae and kelp to provide the vegetable green food molly require. Newly-hatched brine shrimp are fine [you're spoiling the fry so early;-)] but not necessary with livebearers.

For the future; fish tend to give birth in the early morning, egg layers usually spawn then too. Floating plants is the best protection; livebearer fry tend to quickly move to the surface, and with floating plants will be more protected longer. Stem plants allowed to float work fine; cabomba and similar fine-leaf plants are ideal.


Crazie Queenie 07-25-2011 03:44 PM

Hey thanks for all the info and the welcome!

I'm pretty gutted as when I got home today after my weekend away I found out that 2 of my fry had died :o( On the bright side though my guppy that had been looking like he was in a bad way has perked up again and is looking good and all the others look happy and healthy to.

Hmmm i may get some mineral salts to add to the tank then as my water is more soft than medium or hard. The mollies arent in brackish water so i shall take your advice and just give the salt a miss :-)

I love my fish! So I like to give them a treat or 2 every week so i decided the fry would deserve a wee treat as well :oD I like to spoil them :o)

As for the plants i have plenty of cover for the fry in my main tank but none of it is floating my plants are all attached to driftwood and sit on the bottom and i have a couple of ornaments but the big fishies can fit in them so i guess that is not very helpful to them O.o. I'll see if i can find a floating plant for the fry tank along with the driftwood with a plant attached that i got for it :o)

I'll try to see if i can find a make shift cover for the fry tank to keep the dust out and the water in :o)

Thanks for the info on when they tend to give birth i will definitely keep that in mind as one of my other mollies looks like she is going to have her fry soon.

Once again thank you for your input it is much appreciated :-)

AbbeysDad 07-25-2011 04:00 PM

+1 with everything Byron said (including the welcome). No need for salt at all, even though mollies in the wild are found in brackish lagoons, many/most we get are tank raised and never saw nay salt.
As just food for thought, you can keep fry for some time in a net breeder basket in your main tank, but for best results, I feel they should be moved to a separate tank until large enough to no longer be FOOD.

As for a cover for the soon to be fry tank, until you find something more permanent, saran like plastic wrap works really well - you'd be surprised...oh it doesn't stand a long test of time, but a roll goes a very long way!

(too bad the mother passed)

Best wishes

Romad 07-25-2011 04:21 PM

Hi Crazy Queenie,

Welcome to TFK. I'm going to learn along with you on your fry thread. I've always had pregnant Platys in my community tank and the fry end up as nom noms for the other fish.

I had to remove a few platy yesterday to a hospital tank and one of them started dropping fry immediately. It was so cool to watch and I managed to get about 6 or so into a fry tank before they got eaten.

Good luck raising yours and I'm sorry momma didn't make it.

Crazie Queenie 07-25-2011 05:22 PM

Thanks for the info AbbeysDad :o) Will try some plastic wrap, or cling film as it is called over here, until i can find something permanent :o) Was pretty gutted about the mother dieing as she was a really nice looking Molly :o(

Would i be able to put my shrimp in the fry tank or would it want to nom nom on the Fry? I want to take it out of my main tank as i only have 1 left out of 5 because i think the rest got eaten the same day i got them and the only one left hides under one of my pieces of driftwood permanently i have never seen him/her come out from under it.... I love shrimp though so wanted to get more but only if it would be ok to put them in the fry tank till they are big enough not get eaten by my other fish??

Thats cool Romad i hope all your fry are doing well and continue to do so! Good luck in raising yours to! :-D

Byron 07-25-2011 06:56 PM

I'm just following up on your comment about soft water. Do you know the hardness (GH) of your tap water? And what is the pH? If it is "soft" this could explain the behaviours and death.

Livebearers must have medium hard to hard water, and the pH will correspondingly be above 7. In soft, acidic water they absolutely will not last long-term, the minerals are lacking. There are easy and safe ways to harden water in a tank, which I can mention when I have your response on the numbers.


Crazie Queenie 07-26-2011 07:22 AM

Hey Byron,

I tested my tap water and it went the color that corresponds to 0 for GH and it says the PH is about 6.4. I tested the tank water as well and it says the PH is somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6 but the GH one is kinda confusing because it has one color round the outside which corresponds to 8 GH but then the color on the inside is the one for 0. Rather confused. Can you suggest a good make for the other type of testers? cause these strip ones seem crap.



Byron 07-26-2011 09:40 AM


Originally Posted by Crazie Queenie (Post 751494)
Hey Byron,

I tested my tap water and it went the color that corresponds to 0 for GH and it says the PH is about 6.4. I tested the tank water as well and it says the PH is somewhere between 7.2 and 7.6 but the GH one is kinda confusing because it has one color round the outside which corresponds to 8 GH but then the color on the inside is the one for 0. Rather confused. Can you suggest a good make for the other type of testers? cause these strip ones seem crap.



API liquid test kits are reliable. Sera [if I've spelled that correctly] also are though more expensive if you can find them. I use API.

You should get the pH test, and probably nitrate. Once a tank is established these are all you normally need. Ammonia and nitrite are good to have when setting up a tank. You can get all 4 mentioned tests in API's "Master" kit.

Hardness is a test I wouldn't get unless you intend to adjust the hardness in the tank. Once you know the hardness of your tap water, that is what the tank will be unless something is put in the tank to alter hardness. But this is where we come to your livebearers; if the tap water really is what you think, this is going to cause problems for livebearers and they will not last.

My first suggestion is to contact your water supply people; many have a website, and water data is posted. Find out from them the hardness, get the GH (general hardness) and KH (sometimes called alkalinity) numbers. I want to be certain of these before suggesting adjustment.


Crazie Queenie 07-27-2011 03:59 PM

Hey Byron,

Well i looked for the info you asked for but couldn't find any actual data on it but i did read in several places that the majority of Scotland including where i am has soft water. I have ordered the API master kit not sure when that one will get here and i also ordered the API GH and KH general and Carbonate test kit which should hopefully be here by Friday.

My chemistry geekyness is actually being useful for once with all this haha :-D


P.S Have you got any suggestions about the shrimp thing i mentioned previously?

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