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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

Im new to TFK and have a question regarding my black molly.

We acquired 2 mollies at the beinning of January this year and a little less than 2 weeks later they both give birth (within a day of each other) to 16 fry, 11 black and 5 white.

They were due to have more fry around a week ago (I think) but neither one has let them go yet, I have been watching and waiting but nothing. They are doing everything I would expect of them (head down, tail up. Boxing, isolating themselves etc) but nothing.

I have noticed on the black molly she has a white ring around her anal gland that I managed to get a photo of. Is this her birth canal opening up? It has been like this for around a week now.



Any help on what this is, and why they havent dropped their fry yet would be much appreciated.

Oh, water temp is 36C/82F, PH=7.5, NO2=0, NO3=20 and they are currently in a 90litre tank but I have a tank seperater in until they drop so they have around 20litre of space.

If I've missed anything just ask :)

Many Thanks
 

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That white ring is called a vent. It's normally something you have to search for, but when it starts showing it often means they're just about to give birth and are opening up for it. It can still take a couple days, but usually once the vent shows they pop within 12-48 hours, usually sooner, but they have been known to take three or four days.

Mollies, they love to hold. I had one pregnant female hold for an extra month once. =) Don't be shocked if they don't pop on que, some will but a lot wont do that. I have one that is like clockwork, every 28 days, well, she went 32 days once. xD They have the ability to hold, pause pregnancy, and store sperm. They can do this for up to a year without giving birth or even fertilizing their eggs. They can also grow multiple broods at once. Ever heard of people asking why their livebearer is huge but gave birth to only a couple fry? It's often because one brood, usually smaller, was ready to come out first! Though some go the other way around and have a huge brood and then pop out a few more a week or two later. They can hold more than two broods, but it's pretty rare to have two at once, let alone three or more, but they do it.

There's a chance of a baby being stuck too, but if she's not acting sick and distressed, it's likely not.

Try giving your girls a cooked pea to make sure it's not constipation. It happens, especially with pregnant fish. You want to get a fresh or frozen(never canned) pea, boil it or let it sit in hot water, take off the skin and rip off a small chunk(not half for only one or two fish, maybe a quarter), smush it and pop it in for them. If it's constipation, it should help her pass it. You can do this two or three days in a row if you want, but best to do it two days in a row if it doesn't pass, and then every other day until it does, otherwise it can give them fishy diarrhea. Peas are really good for them, but they double as a laxative. =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Sylverclaws,

Very informative post, thank you.

The vent has been showing for approximately 3 days now (just clarified with the wife) so I assume she will give birth any time now?
I was a little worried as she had her first batch of fry on 15th Jan so going off the 28 day pregnancy she should have had them 12th Feb (last Weds). I take it I've no reason to worry then?

EDIT: I'll add a pea to their tank now, thank you :)

Thanks again
 

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Good to know~! I've had Molly and Swordtail fry... so my bit of info would be to do a water change tonight and have the water 1... NO more than 2 degrees cooler than your tank. Like a cooling rain in nature. And you'll find fry in the morning. If you are worried... stick with ONE degree. Keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hi Seahorse,

Thanks for the info. I actually did a 15% change last night but didn't change the temp. I read something about Increasing the temp by 2 degrees, rather than lowering but it also said no more than 82F which is what its at now.

Think I should just lower my heater by 2C then?

Thanks
 

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I second the water change. Mine often give birth the night after our change day too. And 28 days isn't an always, the approximate pregnancy time for mollies is 28-35 days. Bit of a jump, but hey. =)

As for the temp thing? Usually if you keep the water cooler for a while and then raise it a degree a day or so until it's at the desired warmer temp let's them know it's breeding season. However...with livebearers it's -always- breeding season. The males pretty much never cease their chasing. =p

If I were you, I'd lower the temp to about 79-80 degrees. Mollies DO like it warm, but 82 is on the higher side of constant for them. Right about 79.5-80F is perfect for them. That's where my tanks stay too. :3
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, still no sign of any fry but today her bump seems to have gone down and the vent is now narrower :/
Wondering if she may have reabsorbed?

White Molly's still nice and fat so still may get some fry from her.
 

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Well, still no sign of any fry but today her bump seems to have gone down and the vent is now narrower :/
Wondering if she may have reabsorbed?

White Molly's still nice and fat so still may get some fry from her.
I once bought a black molly that certainly looked pregnant. Weeks went by and nothing happened. I was told that the fish reabsorbed... or was it readsorbed? Anyhoo, I got no babies.

What's the dilation and effacement? :)
 

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She may have reabsorbed them, or paused. I had a guppy do that. I called her Lunaball because she was so pregnant she almost looked like a golf ball. Couple months later I gave up on the chance of babies. ^^; It happens.

My girl popped last night, my gold molly the one who is like clockwork...she was -almost- a week late this time. I did a big water change in the 55 gallon and she popped. T_T I totally forgot to slide her into my homemade giant fry net(it's like a foot long and about eight inches wide or so, hate those tiny things so I made my own and planted it! The girls and fry love it). Heh, only caught one of the kids, there's a few more in there that I am hoping will survive until I can find and catch them. Fat change with two three-spot gourami's and a bunch of other large fish, even saw my pleco snag one. =O

Anywho, don't lose hope just yet! She may have just paused it before the babies hatched inside. After two weeks or so, then you can start losing hope unless she starts getting visibly thinner, then she likely either dropped in secret or started reabsorbing. At full term or close, reabsorbtion can take quite a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Sorry for the late reply, had quite a rammed weekend with the family.

Did a 50% wc on Friday not long after I posted on here and as I was filling back up I got a little surprise, 1 fry molly. I'm slightly perplexed though as it's white and it's my black molly that has lost her belly.
I'm almost certain I've seen another one too but after changing around my tank last weekend it's now quite dense on one side so they have plenty places to hide.
So by the looks of it your right sylverclaws, she must have had them in secret. I think most have been eaten from what I can tell
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Hmm, it sounds like the poor thing is having a bit of trouble. Unfortunately if she IS there isn't much you can do aside from keeping her as stress free as possible and keeping things quiet around her area.

It's also likely she has multiple broods going and may be getting mixed signals.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have a guppy tank with only 6 guppy in there. Do you think it's worth transferring her into there for a while till she perks up?

She doesn't look too well either, as silly as it sounds she looks a little shabby (scales wise)

Water parameters are perfect so I can only imagine it's stress :(
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Nono, don't do that. The guppies will likely pester her to death. Guppies looove it when someone is about to give birth, they'll harass them and chase them and nip at their backsides until they do and eat the kids as they come out. All it takes is one to do that, and there is usually 1-3 per group of five who will. x.x

I would just leave her in her tank. Do a little water change and add in some stress zyme, keep the lights low if you can(I have a lightbulb that's pretty dim I change in when my fish are sick), and make sure that area is quiet.

How big is this tank and how many mollies/other fish do you have in there? Things like not having enough space, or having a high bioload in there without the maintenance to keep up with it can cause problems like this too. So if you have too many fish in there, or just not enough space it can stress her and others out a lot. Mollies prefer 20+ gallons and four or more other mollies. A twenty gallon tank can really only support the bioload of four-five mollies and maybe a small pleco on regular maintenance, If you have more than that, you may need to step up with more cleaning.
You wouldn't believe how much they can get messed up by stress, lack of it right now is what you need. Good food if she'll eat, dim lights(before I got my dim light, I would open my shades and close my curtains in my room, so they got dim light but not a lot of it), and a bit of TLC.

A little aquarium salt may help her out too. Mollies -love- salt! Be sure you dissolve it fully in tank water before actually adding it to the tank. Pop in a tablespoon per ten gallons or so. It's a really light dose, but it might just help her out.
 

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I forgot to mention: Moving a stressed fish can actually hurt them more, even do them in. You don't want to move a stressed fish if you can help it. If you're worried others are picking on her, you can divide the tank she's currently in.
Moving pregnant fish, or ones in labor having trouble can also cause them to attempt to hold or pause which can further mess up the process and cause one to be stuck. One could indeed be stuck. There may or may not be a way to help out if one is stuck but visibly sticking out. Some will pull them out, but this can kill the mother. If you have one stuck and see it, you can ask for help on it, see if someone has good ideas to help out.

Again though, salt may help give her a boost. It boosts their immune systems and helps them feel a bit better. Mollies are actually brackish water fish and not freshwater, they have a lot less issues in brackish, but they can do ok in freshwater. It's always good to give them a little aquarium salt when they are ailing though. If you can, better to give them what they prefer, it may just clear up your problems. Or at least might prevent some in future.
 

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I have seen black mollies fully acclimated to a salt water environment and have been used as 'guinea pigs' as a cheaper alternative to Damsels and Clowns for newly cycled tanks.
 
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