FAQs on Platy Reproduction, Breeding 3
Poeciliids: Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks,
Livebearing Fishes by Bob Fenner,
Platy Reproduction 1
Platy Reproduction 2,
Platy Reproduction 4,
Platy Reproduction 5,
Mickey Mouse Platy Question, repro.
Hello! I have found your site to be very helpful, but in reading
didn't find an answer for what I was looking for. We have a 10
gallon tank with two platys and two guppies. Our Platy has given birth
once but the one fry we saw was sucked up by the filter and died.
A few weeks later the Platy had one more fry and as soon as we saw it,
walked away, and came back, the same thing happened. We took out the
filter but it was too late for the little guy/gal. So here are my
questions: is it normal for platys to have only one fry?
<Not really, no... though can "drop" their young over a
period of time>
And what can I do to prevent my filter from sucking up the
<Use a different type of filter mostly. Perhaps a sponge type, or
Should I move them to a breeder box?
<Am not a fan of most of these... as they're too confining.
Better for you to have more room, use some "bunch plants"...
e.g. Foxtail (Myriophyllum), Anacharis (Egeria) or such for the young
to hide in. Bob Fenner>
Platy fry growth questions
Hi. My name is Katie and my daughters and I just recently became
"fish people". Our "nursery tank" is a 2 gal
<Hmm… very small, even for fry. It's difficult to keep small
tanks at the right temperature, for one thing; Platies need a steady
22-25 C. It's often better to rear the fry in a floating breeding
trap within the main aquarium. After around 3 weeks they should be big
enough to be safe with their parents. Obviously you will need to plan
differently if there are more predatory fish in the aquarium, such as
Angels, which can and will eat larger fry than that.>
We have 10+ 3 month old platys. I do a weekly 25% water change and have
the water tested at PetSmart every 2-3 weeks (Ph, ammonia, nitrite and
nitrates all within normal limits) I feed the fry twice a day Hikari
first bites and crushed flake food. 2 of the fry are very large with
big bellies. There are also 4 very tiny ones. The others seem normal.
They all came from the same mama on December 4 2011
Is there a chance that the larger fry could be pregnant already?
<Platies become sexually mature in about 2 months for males, 3 for
What can I do to help the smaller fish to get bigger? Should I separate
<Yes, you need to isolate females to ensure "virginity",
which is crucial if you intend to control breeding yourself, e.g., to
avoid inbreeding or to produce a specific variety of Platy. Females can
produce several batches of fry per mating, potentially as many as 6
batches, though normally much less.>
At what age should I be able to tell the sex? They all look female
<Males and females look the same when young. Around the second month
the male will develop his distinctive gonopodium, or tube-shaped anal
fin, the structure analogous to the mammalian penis.>
Thanks for your help and your wonderful sight.
<Most welcome. Neale.>
Baby Red Wag Platys
I have a 20 gallon community tank (Platys, Mollies, Black Skirt &
Neon Tetras, a Red Flame Dwarf Gourami, a Plecostomus, &
I have 4 baby Red Wag Platys. They have been on their own & look
like mini Red Wags, barely see thru.
Question : How big do they need to be before they will be safe
from being eaten?
<As a ball park figure, keeping the fry in a breeding trap or better
still their own 5-10 gallon aquarium for 3 months should ensure they
reach a size safe to mix with other community fish. None of your fish
are dedicated predators in the same way as, say, Angelfish, so these
fry might be set loose a bit sooner, but you do need them to be at
least 1.5 cm/0.6 inches
long, and that'll take about 6-8 weeks. Cheers,
Hi, <Hi Kirsty>
My Grandad recently got a tropical tanks. We are a little confused
because we know we have several pregnant Platies, but we already have a
couple of babies that we have separated.
<Perhaps the other are getting eaten before you can separate
There are only 2 and there seems to be no sign of any more. The fish we
believe is the mother still looks very fat
and is definitely still pregnant.
<Are you giving this fish them enough greens in their diet? The fish
may well be on the verge of having fry but could just as well be a bit
Could there be a reason there is not more or have the other fish simply
eaten them during the night?
<Could well be. Could also be hiding in the plants. Hope you have a
filter intake that is fry safe. Your best bet at ensuring survival is
to look into a breeder net. Read the breeding portion of this article
and the FAQs here -
> it can't be during the day as my Grandad watches the tank and
checks it regularly. Any advice would be much appreciated. <Do look
into the breeder net/boxes. Quite handy in such cases.>
<Most welcome, Sugam>
Platy Fry Housing and Feeding
I thought my fish were done having babies, since my tank is all female
and they had all had their babies, of which none survived. But, to my
surprise, I found three hiding in between some of the rocks in my
<Unusual. But sometimes fry are born with deformed swim bladders --
"belly sliders" -- and these never swim at the surface like
they should. They
won't get better, and breeders usually euthanise them.>
I have caught two and put them in their own 1 gallon aquarium, but the
last one remains in my 5 gallon with my other 2 female platys. I've
left it in there because I've tried to catch in numerous times,
without catching it. So, can I leave it in the tank the adult
or should I take it out and put it in the tank with it's
<Up to you. Take a big picture view of things here. If the fry is a
belly slider, then sooner or later it'll be eaten, removing the
faulty genes from your school of Platies. Furthermore, even if it's
perfectly all right, taking your tank apart to rescue just one fish is
a hassle, and an unnecessary once given that your Platies will be
producing dozens of fry every couple of months.>
Second of all, what should I feed the two in the 1 gallon? I'm
hatching some baby brine shrimp for them, but I put an algae wafer in
for them while the shrimp hatch, and to my understanding they finished
it off. Can they live on baby brine shrimp and algae wafers, or should
I get that "Liquifry" stuff? Thanks!
<Yes, yes, and yes. They enjoy brine shrimp nauplii, and they enjoy
algae too. But a fry food (I like Hikari First Bites for its
convenience and economy) is an excellent way to get young livebearers
feeding well through
the first few weeks. Even finely powdered regular flake can
Re Platy Fry Housing and Feeding 1/24/12
Well, I have found one more baby, which makes the score 2 in the tank
and 2 in the nursery. I've inspected the babies thoroughly and,
after watching them for about 10 minutes, they started swimming around
at the top. I think they were just hiding from the parents and they
don't have a swim bladder problem. (phew!). Meanwhile, in my 5
gallon, I've gotten a Siamese Algae Eater and I'm worried that
the babies in that tank might be eaten.
<If there's sufficient hiding (bunch plants, live or plastic),
they should be fine>
so much for answering my last email!
<Please always send prev. corr.. We can't tell about what and
who here you've been chatting w/. Bob Fenner>
pregnant red platy question
I have 4 pregnant red platies, the one that seems the most along in her
pregnancy was really fat around last night with her belly hanging down,
then when i got up this morning she looked skinner around but still has
a belly hanging down pretty far. i don't see any fry.
<Could well be eaten, hiding among floating plants, even swimming
about inside the filter if you have a low pressure system with a sluice
leading into the biological media chamber (common on European aquaria
such as the Juwel series).>
Note: all the first were laying on the rocks for a little while this
morning before getting active again. are my platies still pregnant if
they have the belly hanging down i have only noticed pregnant symptoms
for about 4 days.
<Hard to say.>
also last night three of the pregnant one each had something long and
tarnish or brownish hanging out of the bottom of them could they have
just been bloated from poop
and that's why they seems so big pregnant so fast when they really
aren't that far along
<Could easily be. Platies are herbivores and need a high fibre
Alternating between algae-based flake (often sold as herbivore fish
food) and greens such as Sushi Nori, cooked/canned peas, cooked
spinach, sliced cucumber, and blanched lettuce works well. Occasional
offerings of brine shrimp or daphnia provide some extra indigestible
material that cleans them out nicely. Do also be aware that Platies
aren't always as hardy as they should be, and the quality of some
of the more inbred fancy varieties is low. Do start reading at the page
below, and follow the links:
Sick Platy and Mysterious Fry. Need data
About three days ago I noticed that my only platy, a red female, had
started alternating between resting at the bottom of the tank and
floating near the top, seemingly weak and/or sick. All other fish
seemed perfectly fine, and her tank mates were 2 female mollies, 2
catfish, and a little school of neon tetra.
<Mmm... the mollies and Neons need quite different water...
temperature et al. wise. All posted on WWM for your review>
I checked the water parameters and all seemed fine
<Need values, actual measures to help you>
except that the pH was slightly low.
Yesterday, I went and bought two young female Platies, two male
<... how large is this system? Swords can be rather rambunctious;
and get much larger than many people realize. Please see WWM re these
and one male molly to add to my tank. I've had my female fish for
about 3 months and the platy has always been the smallest of the group
and never appeared pregnant. The two new females are also definitely
Today I noticed for the first time a tiny fry hiding in a plant and I
have no idea where it came from. Could the platy have given birth even
though it has always been thin?
It continues to seem sick and resting towards the bottom of the
<I would not be adding more life to a system w/ an apparently ill
Please search/read on WWM (the search tool is on every page at the
and write us back w/ the requested information. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Platy and Mysterious Fry 11/23/11
Thanks for your advice!
Luckily my female platy is now doing much, much better and swimming
around like normal. I'm starting to really think it was her that
gave birth, though she never got bigger and still doesn't seem
smaller. The PH in my tank is around 6.6 so, but it used to be around
6.4, so I'm not sure if that's super low or if its okay.
<Much too low. Platies must be kept in moderately hard to hard
water, and the pH must be above 7. Read here for more on water
A simple approach is to use about one-half the Rift Valley salt mix.
This mix is extremely cheap and works very well. So per 5 gallons of
water, add half a teaspoon of baking soda, half a tablespoon Epsom
salt, and half a teaspoon of marine salt mix. That should deliver
around 10 degrees dH general hardness and a pH around 7.5. Do this
gradually. Mix up the three mineral salts in a jug, enough for your 15
gallon tank, top the jug up with water, stir well, and add only about a
quarter per day, adding another quarter the next day, and so on. This
should ensure the fish have time to adapt.>
My tank is 15 gallons and houses 9 fish and a school of 4 tetra. I read
not to use the PH balance chemicals for aquariums with plants in them,
is that true?
<No; it's rubbish. But don't add pH-up or pH-down liquids
like those sold in aquarium shops. You don't have anything like the
experience to use these safely, and will simply waste money and/or kill
your fish. Do what I've said above, and it'll cost pennies a
month and work very safely.>
I didn't realize mollies and tetra weren't suited for living
together because of temperature... I also have another separate 10
gallon tank with 2 small goldfish where the water is kept colder,
around 73-75 degrees, if you think that would be a better home to add
my tetra to, as my main tank with my mollies/swordtails is around 80
degrees. Thanks for the help!
<The Platies, Mollies, and Tetras can/should get along at 25 C/77 F
in medium-hard water if you keep the water spotlessly clean through
regular water changes and excellent filtration. Cheers,
Platy fry not eating yet
Hi Crew, <Hi Liz, Sugam with you>
I have a 10 gallon quarantine tank that I kept my pregnant platy in
until she gave birth to two fry 2 days ago. I removed her from the tank
and put her back in the 120 gallon community tank. The fry are in the
tank and there is gravel, fake plants and a couple rocks in there for
cover. <Some floating plants would help provide shade and help them
feel more secure. Do ensure there is sufficient plants etc. in the tank
for them to feel comfortable> I have a couple of small filtration
systems and a bubbler on the bottom. <I assume the filtration is
suitably subdued for the fry and you have some kind of protection
against them being pulled into the intake of the filters?> I have
been feeding them crushed flake food and so far I
have not seen them eat it. <Fry typically feed on algae and very
finely powdered flakes. Try and feed about 4 time per day. Very small
There are fry foods such as first bites available that work quite
I don't think they understand that it is food for them to eat. What
do I do? <Instinct will kick in if it hasn't already. Just make
sure food is powdered enough for them.> Will they begin to
understand if I keep putting it in. <Yes, in small quantities.>
Are they just eating it off the bottom and off the plants. <Quite
likely but do not overfeed assuming this to be true.> Do you think
they are okay if they don't eat it off the top right when I put it
in. <Should start to do this soon enough. Livebearer fry are greedy
eaters in my experience.> Any ideas would be helpful. <Try some
specifically formulated fry food. I assume they other behavior is
Should come around in short time either way.> Thank you for your
<Happy to help! You can read here for some more information. Do
review links at the top of the page -
Liz Thayer <Good Luck! Sugam>
Platy fry help! -- 10/22/11
I had 3 play fry in a fish bowl for 10 weeks. All was great. One a runt
not growing as much as other two but eats and swims well. At 10 weeks I
put the 3 of them in the community tank, but very aggressive terra was
sizing them up before so I put a divider so they stay safe. Put them on
side of tank with heater so they are good and water not cold.
<"Not cold" isn't the same thing as warm. Rearing fry
in bowls is a mistake many beginners make. All it does is expose the
fry to poor environmental conditions that eventually kill them. While
Platies are low-end tropical fish that do well around 22-25 C/72-77 F,
that isn't an invitation to keep them in unheated tanks. On top of
that, filtration is essential, not an optional extra.>
They were swimming fine, enjoying their new home with extra space. One
kept hiding in rocks on. day 2 and 3 of being in new home, thought it
wad dead once but fine now. Now ( 6 ) days after in community tank the
other one is hiding in rocks. For 2 days now, he swims funny waving
back and forth and sometimes sitting on rocks breathing hard. He
won't eat now. I have fed them all crushed flakes and 3 or 4 times
frozen blood worms. Last time they got blood worms a week ago.
<Platies are herbivores, so you should be using algae-based flake
food, such as Spirulina flake.>
Runt is fine, seems the most happy and energetic. I just don't know
what is wrong with the one sitting on bottom of tank breathing heavy
and can't swim. All fish in entire tank fine except him.
<Runt is likely genetically or developmentally damaged. It's not
uncommon for one or two fry per batch to fail to grow properly. Plus,
if exposed to poor conditions after birth, otherwise normal fry can
develop badly, for example their swim bladder might not develop, so
they never swim properly.>
Please help, I want my baby fry to be well. I rescued them from
pet.shop with mama ready to eat them. I worked hard on taking such good
care of them.
So upset he' s not well.
<Not much you can do, but instead concentrate on providing the right
conditions for the next batch of fry. Warmth, filtration, swimming
space, and genetically robust parents (avoid inbreeding!) will all
help. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: re: Play fry help! -- 10/22/11
Thanks for getting back to me with help!
<You are welcome.>
My bad sorry forgot to mention, I did water changes in fish bowl every
2 days, watching so there wasn't poop or extra food at bottom to
create environment bad for them.
<Here's the thing. The waste you can see isn't what kills
the fish. It's the dissolved ammonia and nitrite that you cannot
see that kill fish. Water changes dilute ammonia and nitrite, but
don't remove them completely.
That's why a filter is essential.>
I also didn't use heater because in community tank heater did not
It was August and September and warmer in apartment. With October
coming around and weather changing I knew and was sure to get them to
place with heater.
I paid attention to temp of water every day.
<Common Platies shouldn't be kept below 22 C/72 F; Variatus
Platies, if you can find them, will do perfectly well down to 18 C/59
F, perhaps a trifle less.>
I guess I didn't have filtration, I had raised guppies and fry that
way, ( without bloodworms ) many years ago and only problems were I
only I didn't all the fry before they got eaten. Thanks for about
not giving them blood worms. I see where many other people have given
and since they seem to like so much, thought it was a nice treat. I
guess not anymore.
<Fine as a treat, just not every day!>
platy fry ??? 10/19/11
hi so I have searched everywhere an all through your site an only found
bits an pieces of info that I need specifically so I figured id better
ask to be sure 1st off outside of owning a few carnival goldfish I have
never had fish until last year when I was asked if I wanted fish or
they would be flushed (nice neighbors moved lol) so I said sure cuz im
sure my son would love them well I love them they are Plecos and all
they had were rocks so I of course felt they were lonely so we have
since acquired several other fish ( 4 tiger barbs, 2 blue guaramis, 2
Dwarf guaramis, 2 Mickey platys, a baby algae eater and what we
didn't realize was a pregnant platy and so I moved her when I found
the black spot had shown up and literally a few hours later before I
had even gotten back with the breeding net thing she had had them she
had 24 to start and we have lost a few she now has 19 or should I say I
have 19 babies and I am now wondering since they seem to be doing well
and have gotten to be approximately 4-6 cm in length can they be placed
in the tank with the rest of the fish there is 3 plants and 2
structures that can be used to hide if needed but I wanted to be safe
and check before I put them in any danger of becoming live food so
please let me know if you can help thanks (they're in a 20 gal tank
at the moment and I am looking for a larger one soon as possible just
not sure if I should wait to move them in with the others or is is ok
<The fry should be safe once they're about 1 cm/0.5 inches in
length. If needs be, keep them in a large breeding net (aquarium shops
sell them, inexpensively) within the aquarium until they're big
enough to set loose. Cheers, Neale.>
Platy fry not surviving --
I've tried to raise platy fry several times now without success.
They just seem to die after a week or so.
I've also read many stories reporting the same. My tanks (when
stable) read zero ammonia, nitrite and about 2ppm nitrate. They are
born in an all female 100 litre fully planted/cycled tank of
Platies/guppies with the exception of one male platy and one male dwarf
cherry Gourami. The last batch I moved to a smaller nursery tank (fully
cycled, planted with shrimp) after a couple of days (they were hiding
out in the floating plants once born). Within a few days, they were
nowhere to be seen - presumed dead.
On this occasion, the only possible causes of death that I can think of
are 1) shock of tank transfer;
<Yes; instead, corral them into a breeding trap in the aquarium they
were born in. Use a cup or scoop rather than a net if you're not
sure you can lift them out of the water safely. Or else, leave them
with the adults!
Some will survive!>
2) not able to feed on the first bite flake powder/Microworms;
<Unlikely, and in any case, Platies should be eaten algae as much as
3) unable to deal with the Esha2000 present in the adult tank while
born (I had some trouble with Columnaris which is now almost under
<Possible, but not found this a problem myself.>
4) the Columnaris itself. Can you offer any advise as they appear to be
really fragile fry unlike Guppy fry, right?
<Much inbreeding with Platies and all livebearers sold as
"fancy" livebearers has diminished their resilience. Bear
this in mind when shopping. A less garish, but much tougher, species
such as Limia nigrofasciatus or Xiphophorus variatus might be a better
alternative if breeding is something you want to try out.>
Thanks so much!
Re: Platy fry not surviving 10/13/11
I did move them via scooping them in a container - I wouldn't ever
attempt to net such tiny fish.
Just to say, I've managed, for the first time ever, to get my
columnaris under control. I did lose a few female guppies and most of
my male adults guppies (just got their colour too) but some survived.
The trick, as far as I can tell, was a combination of lower temperature
(24 degrees C), Esha2000, water changes, regular filter cleaning and
feeding less but on frozen brine shrimp rather than flake food. Just
for your information, should it be useful.
<Glad to hear you've found a strategy that works. Frozen brine
shrimp has a useful laxative effect that can be handy for getting the
best health from fish, especially somewhat herbivorous ones like
Guppies. Do try to find the fortified shrimps though; these have more
vitamin content. Cheers, Neale.>
Pregnant Platies 9/29/11
Hello, I have a 27 gallons freshwater tank. I have: 2 swordtails,
both males, 7 Platies, 5 males and 2 females, 5 sorted tetras, 1 von
flame riot, 1 tutty frutty, 1 red minor, 1 neon jumbo tetra, 1 black
<Mmm, better if they were all the same species... these are all
1 reticulated Hillstream loach (Sewellia lineolata),
1 dwarf Gourami, 1
<Also a social species>
1 giant fancy guppy, 2 mollies both females. The water is very healthy
Ph is between 7.8 -8, ammonia level is 0, nitrite level is 0. I just
treat the tank with anti fungus and bacteria tablets last week because
of some rot tail in one of the female platy. The water seems very clear
now and everything is ok. I have some questions. Both females seems
<Can, do cross w/ Swords>
One of them is more mature than the other but they both have huge
bellies. I have notice this a week ago but they seem pretty pregnant.
The smaller one have a black spot near the anal fin but the other
female don't. I have isolated the two females in a net breeder
because they seem stressed between all those male that keep trying to
mate with them even one of the sword tails and I don't know
Now they seem relax in the net breeder. How much time the pregnancy
<Days to a few weeks>
and how many days do I need to keep them in the net breeder before they
have their fry?
Males keep trying to mate with the mature one even outside the net
breeder they cant stop swimming around it. The temp of the tank is 82F
<Mmm, too high. See WWM re each of these species>
Is well planted (artificial plants). Marineland penguin 150 filter. How
can I make my female Platies to give birth?
<? Best to have another established system...>
What are the usual signs of pregnancy and giving birth of the
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaq2.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Pregnant Platy 9/2/11
Hi, my name it Matthew and I have a couple of questions. I'm not
sure if this is how I ask but I thought id give it a try!
My problem is about my pregnant Platy. My pregnant Platy is in a cycled
<Bit small for Platies; 15 gallons is a squeeze with this fairly
chunky, and sometimes rather aggressive species. Although a good
community fish, males are sometimes aggressive towards one another and
the females, so it's wise to give them more room than a 10 gallon
tank will provide.>
with a filter rated for a 30 gallon that I turn down to avoid sucking
<Surprisingly less a problem than many assume. Healthy newborn
livebearers are quite strong swimmers, and will tend to stay at the
surface among floating plants (which you should provide) where they are
sheltered. In tanks without floating plants they may swim about near
the bottom, but that of course puts them at more risk of not just being
sucked into the filter inlet but also nocturnal predators like
All of my water parameters never waver to greatly from zero so I'm
relatively lucky, that's just tap water! But still pre-treated. I
have a heater that maintains a constant temperature of 78Â°
but my aquarium doesn't have a light.
<Fish won't mind about the lack of lighting.>
I'm on a huge circuit and wiring to my room is bad. my lights get
to much power and get blown. And natural lighting is enough to light up
my tank but not enough to cause algae growth. its kind of frustrating.
now everything about my tank is healthy except for my Platy who is
alone in the tank. she's listless at times and doesn't always
want to eat.
<Do need some specific values here. At minimum, you need a nitrite
value and a pH value. Tell me what these are, rather than your
of course she takes live foods but she completely ignores staple
flakes. this is out of character.
<I agree. Is the flake stale? Do you keep it in an airtight
container away from heat and damp?>
I use a PH tester and my water is slightly alkaline, they way they like
<Again, the specific values would be rather better than your
interpretation. For Platies, in terms of hardness you're aiming for
at least 10, and ideally 15+ degrees dH. The pH value should be around
7.5 to 8, but I'd caution you not to place too much faith in the pH
value alone, because you can have soft water with a high pH! Get a
hardness test kit, and use it. At minimum, have your local pet store do
a hardness test on a sample of tap water or aquarium water.>
And I have a live plant that I believe wont tolerate salt.
<Well, the plant will be dying from lack of light, surely? In any
event, at low concentrations, i.e., 2-3 grammes/litre, you can use salt
without harming hard water plant species.>
there is lots of places for fry to hide but she doesn't want to
drop. and I'm sure she's ready, she is showing every sign that
<Why are you sure? How do you know she isn't bloated?
Doesn't have dropsy?>
if she was anymore square she'd be a cube ;) ... now she is also
staying at the top of the tank in a corner being lethargic.
<This sounds more like sickness than gestation.>
when I approach she darts away. I'm not sure what is up with her
but id welcome any advice! Also, if you don't mind me asking id
like to know her strain. She is orange and has yellow on the base of
her tail fin, her dorsal fin is orange at the base. both are of clear
tips. Her biggest feature is her spot before her tail fin. its a
triangle! its weird but she has a triangle pointing towards her head.
but its relatively small. I should add that she was pregnant when I
bought her, the move was not that stressful because she was fine for a
few days after. and she was properly acclimated. I'm not sure
what's going on with her but any advice would be greatly
appreciated! - Matt
Re: Pregnant Platy 9/2/11
thanks Neale! my Platy had fry yesterday but I wasn't home and only
able to save one, which is doing well.
<Oh well, at least you know all is well with the momma fish.>
I took my platy out of my ten and put it in my 20 that has small
community fish like Danios with 4 small tiger barbs.
<Yikes! Those'll eat any fry. But as tankmates, should be fine,
but Tiger Barbs do tend to be nippy in small groups, so be careful.
Look for signs of fin damage. Tiger Barbs are best kept in groups of 6
she settled in fine! the plant that I have is doing very well in fact.
I had to trim it because it had too many saplings lol. it rooted very
well all along the substrate.
I only have one snail in there now to assist with the trimming. thanks
to you I will give it a bit and try to better mature my tank. see if I
can get those better values you mentioned because I don't want to
do any harm to my fish.
<Don't suddenly change anything, even for the better. Go slow.
Fish adapt to "the wrong" conditions given time, and if
quickly switched to "the right" conditions, that can stress
I was super excited to see your name at the end of your reply, wet web
media is my best resource! thanks a lot! - Matt
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>
Fish tank Mysteries: A pregnant platy, fish
disappearances, and a random baby from no where. 8/25/11
Dear helpful people who are much smarter when it comes to fish than I
I've read many of your FAQs since my husband and I purchased our
first fish tank as a wedding gift. I've read mostly just for fun,
since many of our fish appeared to be doing fairly well, or we were
able to figure out any issues. We've owned our 55 gallon tank for a
little over three months now, and we allowed it to go through the
necessary processing before adding any fish. Our first three
"babies" (I call them that, even though they're fully
grown fish) were platies--One male (Blaze, a sunset wag), and two
female, Safire (blue rainbow) and Summer (some kind of white platy with
light orange fins and black spots). Neither of the females were
pregnant, as far as we could tell, when we first got them. However,
Safire grew herself a rather large tummy in the first week, filled with
tiny black eggs.
Confusingly, she's been fully pregnant since that first
week--she's never dropped any fry, and I, who stay at home, have
never seen her shrink down from that size. She does have the black
gravid spot very clearly on her, but as of yet, no babies.
<Curious. Now, pregnant Platies may display the gravid spot, but the
gravid spot doesn't mean a fish is pregnant! The gravid spot is a
patch of darker tissue that presses against a thin, relatively clear
area of skin as the female's abdomen expands. Pregnancy can do
that, and that's why we sometimes talk about the gravid spot as an
indicator of pregnancy. But anything else that swells the abdomen will
result in the gravid spot becoming apparent, for example Dropsy. So you
have to be open minded here.
Intestinal worms can cause dramatic swelling, so if this fish has been
swollen for more than, say, two months without dropping fry, but
doesn't show the symptoms of Dropsy (pinecone scales, lethargy) you
might want to deworm your Platy.>
Considering we have a large tank, we decided to get more fish. A half
grown panda platy female was another addition, plus a bright orange
Sailfin male, and another blue rainbow Sailfin that we thought was
female, so two males and three females. We knew we needed more females,
but didn't want to overload our tank's good bacteria since it
was still fairly new, so we had to wait a little while. It wasn't
so bad, because Blaze didn't seemed interested in mating at
all--O'Ryan, the orange Sailfin, however, got down to that business
in short order with all the females.
Another week of allowing the tank to acclimate, and we got yet more
platys-- a fully grown female yellow twinbar platy, and a fully grown
bumble bee platy female. So, plenty of ladies for the males. Blaze
wasn't chasing any one, and O'Ryan was having a blast chasing
everyone. Summer and Honey soon became pregnant (though I suppose that
could have also happened at the store), and the other females just swam
<Do bear in mind that when you keep adding Platies of different
varieties, their offspring will be "mongrels". That's not
necessarily a bad thing -- varieties are inbred, while crossbred
mongrels are more genetically robust and (on average) hardier and
longer-lived. But such fry will be a veritable calico of colours,
attractive in their way, but more like wild Platies than fancy
We eventually got more fish--A bigger female panda platy, that we hoped
would help protect the little one since she was getting picked
on--didn't do a darn thing--two emerald Cory cats, one striped Cory
cat, four red tetra things, three guppies (all male) and four Gourami
(two opalescent, male and female, and two... red ones with blue
stripes, both female).
<Do please think about getting proper schools of Corydoras and
Tetras; i.e., at least 5 or 6 specimens per species.>
First thing's first--our tank had an algae bloom due to the tablets
we were feeding our Cory cats.
<No, I doubt that's the reason. Do read:
Algae typically does well in situations where the tank is unstable,
i.e., there's an excess of nutrients in the water, and too few
My husband, worrying that this would affect the other fish, checked the
water quality almost obsessively, sometimes several times in a day.
Things had been a little off balance, but they were quickly coming back
under control. And then we noticed that one of the emerald cats was
missing, *after* the water quality was fine again.
<Not uncommon; fixing the problem doesn't stop the earlier
stress from causing sickness or death.>
We lifted castles, checked all sides of the tank (even behind the wall
paper, which we later removed), and nothing. He was just gone, without
a trace, and without a body left behind. We're assuming he was
eaten, so my question here is, would any of the other fish (namely the
platies, tetras and other cories, as the other fish weren't yet in
the tank) eat a dead fish's skeleton?
<Sure. So would snails, and eventually bacteria. Most fish have very
slight skeletons, and decay can be very quick in the warm conditions in
a fish tank.>
The next day, when we were looking for the missing Cory, we found a
body under a castle--but it was the body of the striped Cory, who had
literally been swimming around fine the day before. We got him out, and
then, a day later, found the final Cory floating at the top of the
tank. We're not sure what was going on, as none of the other fish
have been affected by this (it happened about two months ago), but each
of these Corys came from one tank in one pet store near by. We now
assume something had been wrong with them from the beginning, before we
ever got them, and we watched our other fish for a while to make sure
they never caught whatever the Corys had. We have since gotten three
new emerald Cory cats from a different pet store, which we've had
for two weeks, and they have been doing swimmingly.
Shortly after that, our larger panda platy went missing. It was at this
point that I began to feel like our fish tank was now home to some kind
of murder mystery television show. We never found a trace of her, no
matter how much we looked, and we continued to check the water quality
to make sure everything was fine.
<Corydoras are hardy in many ways, but can be stressed in several
Firstly, they're sensitive to dirty substrates. If the flow of
water at the bottom is poor, or you use coarse gravel that damages
their whiskers and bellies, bacterial infections are common. A good
clue is the condition of their whiskers. Healthy specimens should have
whiskers that are quite long; in the case of a Corydoras 5 cm/2 inches
long, you should see whiskers something like 6 mm/0.25 inches long,
maybe a bit more. If the whiskers are just a couple of mm long, then
they're being eroded. The old school explanation for this was that
gravel wore them down, but in fact bacterial infection -- rotting! --
seems to be the key. The point is that gravel doesn't suit
Corydoras, and smooth silver sand is much better. Dirty gravel is even
worse because it's laden with bacteria and yes, in all likelihood,
gravel does scratch the whiskers in a way smooth sand doesn't,
making bacterial infection more likely. Next up, most Corydoras prefer
do be kept relatively cool, 22-25 C/72-77 F. Of the traded species.
Corydoras sterbai is about the only one I can think of that does well
kept warmer than this.
Keep the others too warm and they're stressed, and that means more
likely to get sick. Thirdly, Corydoras are sensitive to medications
that contain copper and formalin. Fourthly, they're air-breathers.
Anything toxic in the air, like bug spray, will affect them more
strongly than fish that don't breathe air. Finally, they're
schooling fish. Kept in groups fewer than 5 and they get stressed, and
stressed fish are prone to disease.>
Then our twin bar platy became ill, with little white flakes coming off
of her face, and her eyes popping out of her head.
<Could be Finrot or else Columnaris (a bacterial infection sometimes
called Mouth Fungus).>
It was awful to see, and we were going to get a quarantine tank, or at
least something small for her that we could try to help her in, but she
literally died within minutes of us noticing her condition. I think
she'd been hiding in a castle waiting to die, and we were so
preoccupied with trying to find the missing panda platy that we
didn't notice her illness until it was too late. It's been
about a month and a week since her death, and none of the other fish
have shown any signs of having what she had.
We have both live plants (ones that the fish like to nibble at) and
fake ones for cover, and we got a moss ball to sort out the algae
<Eh? Won't do that. Marimo Moss Balls are coldwater to
subtropical algae balls that grow slowly and don't really do well
in tropical tanks.>
which had been a little better and a little worse each week. Since the
moss ball, we're having no more algae problems.
We added the guppies to the tank, and the two opal Gourami.
<Male Opaline Gouramis are aggressive.>
Then, our rainbow platy Sailfin matured, and turned out to be male. Not
fantastic. With the deaths and disappearances of out other platy fish,
and the fact that the little panda platy wasn't fully grown, we now
had three male platy for three mature females. Not good at all. The two
Sailfins began fighting almost constantly, and nipping at the other
fish. When they killed the little panda platy, we returned them to the
store we'd gotten them from, and decided to never get any more male
platys besides the nice, laid back one we had. Blaze could have a nice
little harem, and we were alright with that, and any baby fish born
would be extra food for the tank.
And babies that survived to adulthood would get adopted out to a much
nicer pet store we found.
My second question, however, pertains to what followed with the guppies
in the absence of the aggressive platy males. Once the Sailfins were
gone, the guppies (all male, since we wanted no more breeders) began to
swarm the already pregnant Summer.
We're honestly a little startled by this. They're all of
different colors, nothing like the pale and dotty Summer who's
twice their size, but they chase her, and mainly her around.
<Nature. It's what they do. Male livebearers are notoriously
We have lots of cover in the tank, and they don't always chase her,
but they like to follow her the majority of the time. I've seen
several topics where people say platies and guppies can't
<Mate yes; produce viable offspring, apparently not.>
and some where they can, but it either doesn't end well for the
babies/ mother platy. My question here really is, what should we do? We
don't want any guppy females and our tank cannot humanely hold more
fish, because we need a little wiggle room for whatever platy babies
that survive. Are we going to have to take the guppy males back to get
them to leave poor Summer alone?
<Likely. Guppies and Platies want somewhat different conditions
anyway, so they aren't ideal companions.>
Next, just three days ago, the bumble bee platy dropped her fry. They
were all promptly eaten, and we kind of felt bad, though there was
really nothing we could do. Summer then dropped her fry the next night,
and all but one were eaten (since, that fry is gone, and we assume also
Strangely, Safire, who was pregnant first, hasn't had her babies
yet--however, now she's got a strange, little pink bubble with an
orange ball inside of it, sticking out of her cloaca. We've read
that platy can abort their unfertilized eggs, but she's been
pregnant for quite a while.
More worrying is the fact that we've been watching her (this part
has been happening over the last five hours) and that little bubble
thing has not dropped away from her. We're worried that a baby or
egg might be stuck, and that this will inevitably kill her when the
rest of her babies and wastes cannot exit her body, and unfortunately I
cannot produce a picture to show you to see if it's anything anyone
has noticed before. Is there anything you know of from the info I can
provide that we might be able to do about this? Perhaps we'll just
have to wait and see.
<Afraid so. Blockages of the uterus do happen, and there's
nothing that can really help. Epsom salt might be used as a muscle
relaxant, but that's about it. Do see:
Finally (and I apologize for the length of this), randomly, there's
a baby platy in the tank. Not a fry--he's definitely not a newborn,
and he's three times as big as the fry we did manage to see before
they were eaten. He's also very platy shaped. He looks nothing like
any of the mothers in the tank, but we've only noticed him since we
started actually looking for fry.
He looks to be a week old, or more, even though the mommy platy in the
tank have only dropped their fry in the past two days. We've moved
him to a breeders tank to keep the Gourami from eating him. Where on
Earth could he have come from?
<A mother Platy?>
Thank you for any help you can provide, Heather
<You're welcome, Neale.>
Re: Fish tank Mysteries: A pregnant platy, fish disappearances,
and a random baby from no where. 8/25/11
Hello again, and thank you Neale for your help!
The bad news is that I didn't get this message until just a while
ago, so I didn't get to read about the Epsom salt until this
morning. The good news is, Saffire's blockage apparently sorted
itself out over night, and she had her babies! My husband woke up
really early this morning, and scooped about five of them that he saw
into the breeding box with the larger baby.
Unfortunately, they can apparently swim through the slots in the box
(thus defeating the purpose of the box entirely), so we had to rig up
something with our larger fish net to hold them until we can get a
breeders net. We only managed to find three of those tiny fry again to
put into the net, though we saw three others swimming along the bottom
of the tank, unnoticed by the larger fish. We're watching Safire to
make sure she hasn't become ill or stressed from the difficult
birth. So far, all signs are good.
It's slightly frustrating finding out that guppies and platy fish
don't mix now, as the "fish experts" at the three fish
stores we had been going to told us that they all went well together,
along with molly fish and swordtails. My husband loves the guppies, but
I'm willing to take them back and exchange them for more tetras and
Cory cats in order to make the tank more balanced and happy. In all
fairness, Summer was here before the guppies were, so I'd rather
keep her than have her be chased to death.
We're also going to take the moss ball out of the tank, as, if what
you said is truer than what the pet store told us (and it very likely
is), the algae bloom simply cleared up on its own (or because we put a
few more plants in the tank, and the ones we already had just got
bigger. Lucky us).
<They can be kept together, but there are differences that make
maintenance in their own aquaria better. For a start, Platies need
cooler conditions, 22-25 C/72-77 F, which is similar to things like
Neons, Corydoras and Danios. Guppies, by contrast, at least in the case
of farmed, fancy Guppies, are less disease-prone when kept at middling
to high temperatures, 24-28 C/75-82 F. Next up, they're
behaviourally different. Male Platies are not quite as aggressive as
male Guppies, and male Guppies can be surprisingly boisterous for their
size, as you're learning. Water chemistry should be more or less
the same, hard, alkaline conditions, but Guppies are often easier (less
disease-prone) when kept in slightly brackish water, something Platies
don't need (but can tolerate if they need to). Finally, Platies are
predominantly herbivores so their diet should be based around green
foods, for example Spirulina flake food. Guppies are more carnivorous,
and while Spirulina flake suits them just fine, they also enjoy live
foods like mosquito larvae that should be used only sparingly with
I checked the whiskers on the Cory cats to make sure that they were
alright, because we do have gravel in our tank, and thankfully, they
look fine, at about a little less than half an inch long. Luckily we
have a device that lets us clean our gravel well, so that probably
helped with any excess bacteria in the gravel. All three of the pet
stores we've gone to have every different kind of their Cory cats
in tanks with gravel, and I remember one store telling us to get fine
gravel, but to make sure it was gravel and not sand, because the Cory
cats apparently liked to "throw the bigger pieces of gravel around
and it was fun to watch."
<Actually, Corydoras prefer sand or mud. In tanks with sand
they'll swallow the sand and spew it out their gills, extracting
particles of food and, as a bonus, keeping the sand well oxygenated and
spotlessly clean. Throwing around gravel is a sign of desperation, as
the Corydoras is trying to do what comes naturally, which is to sift
through sand and mud.>
They've never actually thrown any gravel, so essentially, we bought
gravel with the poor Cory cats in mind, and it's ended up being the
My husband does think that a sand bottom would be beautiful, however,
and we're going to try to switch it out, or mix it. Is it a good
idea to mix gravel and sand, or should we just avoid it entirely and
stick with sand?
We have no other bottom fish besides the Cory cats, so it would be just
<You certainly can mix them, or just go straight to silica sand
(called smooth or silver sand here in the UK, but often traded as pool
filter sand in the US). A mix looks quite naturalistic, so can be fun,
especially if you add a few round pebbles to the mix as well, so it
looks more like a real river bed.>
We're also going to look into trading out the emerald cats for the
Corydoras sterbai you suggested--they're beautiful, and if they
would be happier in our tank than the emeralds, we don't want to be
hurting the emeralds by keeping them there.
<If these are what Americans called Emerald Catfish, then
they're Brochis splendens, a species that does perfectly well
between 22-28 C/72-82 F. By contrast the Bronze Catfish, Corydoras
aeneus, is a low-end tropical species best kept at 22-25 C/72-77 F. The
two species are similar, but Brochis splendens is stockier in build and
its dorsal fin has a much longer base. Google the two species by their
Latin names to see the differences; they're easily told
We recently found a fish store that has about 230 tanks completely
dedicated to Tropical fish, and though it's a bit farther away than
the ones we had been going to, I'm going to assume (hopefully
correctly) that they actually know what they're doing when it comes
to tropical fish. It's family run, unlike the chain pet stores we
were going to.
<Just as when buying a home or car, don't expect the seller to
provide all the information! Buy or borrow an aquarium book, and read
it. At minimum, find out what a fish needs in terms of schooling
preferences, how big it gets, necessary water temperature, whether
it's a soft or hard water species, and whether it's tolerant of
community tank species. Most any tropical fish encyclopaedia will tell
you this. We all have our favourites -- mine is the Baensch Aquarium
Atlas vol. 1 -- but there are plenty of them out there for every
All in all, by the end of the week our tank should be holding the two
big Gourami (watching the male for aggression--we were told opalescent
Gourami were not as aggressive)
<I think you mean Opaline Gourami, Trichogaster trichopterus.
Females are fairly easy going, but males are notoriously unpredictable,
and some are very aggressive. Catfish and tetras are usually fine, but
other Gouramis and sometimes cichlids like Angelfish may be harassed.
Sexing isn't hard, males have much longer dorsal fins.>
the two dwarf female Gourami, the single male platy, four female platy,
six tetras, and five sterbai Cory cats, with lots of plants and a sand
bottom. There will be a few baby platys, but they'll be adopted out
when they get to be about an inch big. If anything sounds off about
this set up, please let me know so I can try to fix it!
Thank you again, to whoever might be helping me this time,
Re: Fish tank Mysteries: A pregnant platy, fish disappearances,
and a random baby from no where. Eek--Addendum to that last message:
That many fish means the tank is going to be overstocked, isn't it?
What should I be taking back/getting to make sure my tropical tank is
happy, healthy, stress free, and includes the platy fish we already
<For smallish species up to 3, maybe 4 inches in length, the old
"inch per gallon" rule is about right. You can keep a bit
more livestock than this, but do use a nitrite test kit to make sure
the aquarium filter can cope.
Any nitrite reading other than 0 means the tank is overstocked,
under-filtered, or overfed, perhaps a combination of all three.>
I've been doing some research, and my husband and I did a lot of
research back in the day, as to what went with platies. We found some
places that said angel fish were good, and some places said angel fish
<Angelfish are generally good community fish, but they are
territorial and they are predators -- big specimens will easily eat
Neons and male Guppies!
Their behaviour has also become a bit variable over the decades,
perhaps because of inbreeding. So while wild fish are invariably shy,
peaceful fish, some of the farmed Angels, particularly for some reason
Black Angels, are downright crotchety. Approach with caution. For what
it's worth, the wild-type Silver, the Golden Angel, and the Marbled
Angel all seem to be fairly reliable community tank residents, neither
unusually aggressive nor as delicate as some of the fancier sorts like
Veil-Tail and Koi Angels. Do also bear in mind that paired Angels
command a territory about 12 inches out from the nesting site, and that
means they can easily take over a small aquarium! Angels are not
difficult to keep, but do prefer somewhat warm conditions, 25-30
C/77-86 F, so aren't the best tankmates for low-end tropicals like
(most) Corydoras, Danios or Platies. With all this said, they're
probably the most widely available "good" cichlid choice for
Some places say guppies are fine, and no we know that that isn't
really the case. Do platy fish really go with anything?
<Lots. Danios and Corydoras share the same preferences for coolish
water, as do numerous South American tetras like Penguin Tetras, X-Ray
Tetras and Red Phantom Tetras. Bristlenose and Whiptail catfish thrive
in such conditions, as will Otocinclus, these latter far better than in
warmer tanks. Yo-yo Loaches also enjoy coolish conditions, as do many
of the barbs, such as Rosy Barbs and Golden Barbs, and then you've
got various Australian Rainbowfish that'll thrive in these
conditions too. It's a big surprise to many aquarists that
there's no such thing as one perfect temperature for all tropical
fish -- in fact there are subtropicals, low-end tropicals, adaptable
middling temperature species, and then the hothouse flowers like
Cardinals, Rams and Discus that won't do well below 28 C/82 F.
Research is the key. If you think about fishkeeping as like setting up
a zoo, you wouldn't expect random zoo animals to get along in one
enclosure. Same thing here. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Fish tank Mysteries: A pregnant platy, fish disappearances, and a
random baby from no where. 8/27/11
Thank you for all of your help! My husband and I will be looking
at/buying a few more books now to make sure everything will be sorted
out with our tank, and we will definitely be taking your advice!
<Do be sure to look over our selection of favourites, here:
You may also find profit from joining the WWM Forum, where you can talk
things over with both experts and newcomers to the hobby, and this is a
great way to hear different opinions and to share ideas:
Platy, repro. 8/23/11
Why won't my platy give birth? She's been pregnant for
nearly two months. She sits at the bottom of the tank on the
gravel for a lot of time each day. I've attached a photo of
her before I moved her to another tank
<May simply be fat, bloated, constipated,
dropsical'¦ not necessarily pregnant. Read, review,
Help with a pregnant platy fish. --
A few days ago , I bought a pregnant platy but she's very pregnant!
I put her in a breeding net when I got home and an hour later she was
at the surface clamping her tail. She's bright red/orange with a
black tail and she's very healthy. Her huge belly is affecting her
spine a little bit but anyway, I removed her
>Mmm, not a good idea to handle pregnant livebearers<
and did a 50% water change and put her back in the net. I moved her to
a bigger breeder net and moved the net close to the heater and filter
and put some plants in the net. Today I got home and she was clamping
her tail again at the surface of the water so I did another 50% water
change. I know she's close to giving birth , but why is she hanging
around at the surface , clamping her tail, and have a white little bump
by anal canal?
<Insufficient data. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Re Platy help -- 08/14/11
Sorry its me again , just wanted to know if keeping two pregnant platys
together is a good thing?
<?; yes... are social animals>
I bought another pregnant platy today and these two platys seem to
enjoy each other's company. Do they relieve each other's stress
from new water, tank surroundings , and the stress from the
<Got me; maybe so. Bob Fenner>
Newbie breeder... Help!
Hello Wet Web Crew,
I'm in college so I have a two gallon tank.
<Great! Just the right size for some cut flowers. Unfortunately not
suitable for fishkeeping. Thanks for writing! Oh, hang on, you're
not done yet. Hmm'¦ fear you aren't going to appreciate
A week ago I bought a male and female Mickey Mouse
Platy they are both very small, like one inch each no bigger
than an inch and a half.
<Will get a bit bigger, but even now, MUCH too large for 2 gallons.
15 gallons would be humane, and 20+ gallons generous.>
Yesterday a saw a fry swimming around the top of the tank.
<Indeed. Unfortunately, finding fry doesn't mean anything
positive or negative. While good fishkeepers will find lots of fry,
when fish are stressed, they often miscarry, and one or two such fry
might be big enough to survive. So there's two ways to look at this
piece of information.>
Its name is Lucky because it got sucked into the filter, but I was able
to save it and it survived.
I went and bought a one gallon bubbler tank to put it in and incase she
decided to have more.
<Unfortunately, this was good money after bad. Maybe buy a
fishkeeping book instead?>
Now the fry is by itself and sits at the bottom of the tank, is that
I wasn't expecting her to give birth for another couple weeks, so
I'm wondering if she could have had just the one fry or ate another
before I noticed. She looks skinny again so I don't think I should
except anymore any time soon right?
<Platies can produce broods some 4-6 weeks apart.>
Ever since she gave birth both platy have been hungry all the time and
sometimes try to eat their poop, when I feed them once a day so
what's that about?
<Fish will sample all sorts of things with their mouths. They
don't have hands. In a small tank, boredom and lack of space can be
contributing factors, so just like the way you see lions pacing in
cages and apes eating their faeces when kept in zoos, odd fish
behaviours can mean that fish isn't "happy", i.e.,
Now the male wants to chase her everywhere and I think it is trying to
breed again, but she swims away.
<But presumably can't swim far, and so gets harassed again and
again. Be under no illusion about the physical stress male Platies
inflict on female Platies. Keep them in 15+ gallons, stock lots of
floating plants, and keep (at least) two females per male.>
What can I do to make sure the fry grows and is healthy and how can I
help my big Mickey Mouse Platies to get along again?
<Start by reading.
Next up, get a bigger tank or take those fish back to the store. You
can't humanely keep them in 2 gallons, and if you try, you'll
likely end up with dead fish. I really hate being the one who has to
scold people around here, but at the start of college term, we do get A
LOT of messages like yours. I know you mean well, and I really want to
encourage you to get into this fantastic hobby. But a 2 gallon tank
really doesn't have any value at all, and if you'd read a book
before spending money, you'd know that. Perhaps the retailer
mislead you, but then that can happen when you go shopping for
anything, and if you're buying a car or a house you'd expect to
have some personal knowledge and not rely 100% on what the seller says.
So anyway, I'm off duty for the next week, so if you write back,
you won't necessarily have someone with my dry British sense of
humour. But I do hope that this reply does at least give you a starting
point to understand what's going wrong, what's going to go
wrong, and what you need to change. Good luck at college. Cheers,
Re: Newbie breeder... Help! 8/7/11
Thanks Neale. I will definitely do some reading on the subject.
They seem to be doing okay for right now and the baby fry does swim
around here and there.
<Good. Where there's life, there's hope.>
Maybe I'll return them if they get aggressive again or things
<Would be easier to return while still healthy and sellable.>
Then maybe go back to Gold Dust Mollies because I had them for a month
and they were getting along when she was pregnant and they are a little
<Yikes, Mollies in 2 gallons sounds even more unlikely to work. If
space is limited, 5 gallons, a Betta, and maybe some frogs and shrimps
for novelty, can work well. Cheers, Neale.>
Newbie breeder... Help! 8/7/11
I know I only have a one gallon and two gallon so my question is should
I separate my male and female platy w/ her fry for a couple weeks?
<You'll need to add something in the way of aeration and
filtration, and change out the water likely daily... with water from
the established tank... Better to use a breeding trap in a large-enough
established system... Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platysysfaqs.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Hey in my community tank I just got a small (young I think)
female silver Mollie. I have noticed my Male Red Platy mating
with her and no one else is! (3 other males in tank). Can
anything come of this?
<Mmm, in the way of progeny? No... there are other possible
cross species crosses... Platies w/ Xiphophorus helleri,
others... Mollies w/ Guppies, Endler's...>
I would love to see these hybrid fish! Should I take her out to
stop any further breeding with other males. Here is a picture of
<Ahh, very nice. Bob Fenner>
Breeding platies 6/17/11
I have a really nice hard to find (at least around here) blue male
platy in a 30 gallon with a few other males. I have two blue females in
a 20 gallon. The water parameters are great in both tanks.
<Meaning? We do need the numbers, rather than your interpretation.
For Platies, you want coolish water (22-25 C); hard, alkaline water
chemistry (15+ degrees dH, pH 7.5+); and of course zero ammonia and
I placed the male in with the two females yesterday evening and he was
stressed over being in the different tank.
He was swimming up and down the side of the tank for a while. I put him
back in his regular tank early this morning. I question is: Are both or
at least one female now probably pregnant or would the male maybe need
more time to stop stressing out over the different tank?
<Impossible to know.>
I have had these two females for over a month and they have shown no
signs that they were impregnated in the store as I have seen no
physical changes in them, but I am wondering if they are now?
<Keep all three fish in a tank at least 60 litres/15 US gallons, and
stock the tank with lots of floating plants. Nature will take over from
The male seemed happy to get back in the all male tank :)
Pregnant platy? 6/10/11
I didn't know where else to look for info so I hope you don't
mind me picking at your brain?
<Just not too much... too little left>
Iv had 2 female platys with 1 male platy for months now, When I had
them in a 6 gallon tank
<Mmm, they/platies need much more room than this. Not only is it
very difficult to keep such small volumes stable and optimized
chemically and physically, the fish themselves will suffer
psychologically and manifest negative behavior toward/amongst
themselves kept in such small quarters. Had you read on WWM...>
they never bothered with each other until I moved them into my 4ft tank
and I noticed the male chasing the female platy!
Then only days later I noticed she would become quite fat with dark
spots at the end of her stomach! So I was assuming she was pregnant but
then the next day she would become quite skinny (still with the black
spots they don't seem to go) so I was just wondering what would be
happening? She's fat 1 day them skinny the next and she's had
the black spots about roughly 4/5 weeks.
<Sounds like over-eating... pregnancies do involve a darkening of
the vent area, but not such an oscillation.>
Oh and another thing where the black spots are, the area there in can
become quite pink but again the next day every thinks fine and changed
again! It does seem she's been pregnant for some time now and
I'm quite worried about her.
Thanks for reading hope you can help :)
<Mmm, well, you could give either the male or female a "time
out"... Do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
re: Mickey Mouse Platy, repro...... bb.....
So im telling you some little doubts and observations in my fish..
<Ah, now, the forum is the place for such things. You'll get
more responses there, and you'll be able to share with a community
of other aquarists. See here: http://wetwebmediaforum.com/
I have been feeding my fish between days(one day I feed them and one
day no) and have been changing 25% percent of the water(3 gallons) And
two days ago I saw my platys in the back of the tank playing a chase
kind of game and then the male platy started to fling his gonopodium
fin to her!!!
<Is what they do.>
It was a worthy moment to watch But the question is were they
And what behavior can I expect in the next days.
<Much the same. Males are "frisky" and will try to mate
with females all the time, provided the males are basically healthy and
happy. That's why you need at least two females per male, otherwise
the females tend to get stressed, and may even miscarry.>
I read online(on your site) that the gestation period is from 28-30
<Yes, but does vary depending on water temperature.>
Thanks for everything!!!
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Mickey Mouse Platy.................. 6/3/2011
Okay thanks a lot but is she officially pregnant after that mating
<Almost certainly. Obviously, constantly being pregnant is hard work
for the female. Hence my advice to keep twice as many females as males,
and to put lots of floating plants in the tank to create hiding places
*at the top of the tank* where Platies and other livebearers prefer to
Thanks for everything!!!
re: Mickey Mouse Platy 6/4/2011
Sorry for bothering you again I don't know what to do.
I followed your advice and bought another female platy (not Mickey
mouse) So I left her inside the bag but in the tank for 10-12 minutes
an and later took her out with a net.
But the problem is she is constantly teased by the other fish. The only
one who doesn't tease her is the pregnant platy.
Please help I don't know what to do!!
<Switch off the lights for an hour or two, and cover the tank with a
sheet so it's dark. Leave like that. With luck, she'll be
accepted once you turn the lights back on. Remember, male Platies will
harass female Platies. It's what they do. Keeping more females than
males help, and using floating Indian Fern also helps. Platies need at
least 15 gallons and realistically 20 gallons to spread out, otherwise
aggression can be a problem. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Mickey Mouse Platy 6/5/2011
Got good news!
Just wanted to let you know that my new female platy(Karev) has been
accepted and now hangs out with the other without being nipped.
My other female platy(Melissa) has been growing fatter but I hadn't
noticed the gravid spot yet. And got my allowance today and tomorrow
I'm going to buy something's like frozen bloodworm food, anti
Ick treatment(cause I noticed white dots on my fish) and the nitrite
<Salt + heat work well and cheaply for Whitespot.
A Nitrite test kit is always valuable.>
I am so happy with this hobby
And got a question: Karev is a Platy like Melissa and Leandro (male
platy fish) but she doesn't have the Mickey Mouse Mark like Melissa
and Leandro but Karev can still breed with Leandro even with that
<Yes, they're all the same species and will breed together.
Think of the different Platies as being like different dog
That doubt had my head cracking thinking..
Thanks for the time on reading all my emails
Pregnant Platy 6/3/2011
I have two female platy and one molly male. A female gave birth
yesterday and I noticed she had pooped out a white/clear tube (either
before or after giving birth). Today, I noticed something clear/white
coming out of my other Molly (whom I had suspected was pregnant) and
just shortly after I initially noticed it, she then pooped out a
<Most likely faeces, especially if clear, stringy, and, if examined,
a bit slimy. When their guts are irritated, fish produce copious
mucous-rich faeces often described as "stringy". Sometimes
intestinal parasites are to blame, but more often than not, a better
diet with more fibre will fix things. Platies are herbivores, so you
should be providing a diet based around vegetarian flake food rather
than regular flake food (don't worry, other fish can eat this flake
too). Live brine shrimp, live daphnia, or wet-frozen brine shrimp are a
I have searched for hours online trying to figure out 1) what it is
(possibly a birthing tube?) and 2) if it is related to birth and if
that happens just before or after they give birth.
<No and no. Platies do not have a placenta. Essentially they merely
hold the eggs inside themselves until the eggs hatch, and then the
babies swim out. There are fish with placentas, like the Goodeids you
may see in the shops, e.g., Ameca splendens, and these are born with
little "umbilical cords" still attached. But Platies
aren't like this.>
Neither platy has had the traditional signs of not eating, getting
quiet and resting either before or after having birth. I have currently
separated the female that just dropped the tube in hopes to catch the
fry before the other fish do.
Can you please clarify the above questions?
I even called several pet stores and no one knew what I was talking
I know I have seen it two or three times now, each around the time I
find new babies.
Your help would be greatly appreciated!!!!!!!
<Do read more, here:
Breeding a couple of "rare" platies
I happened to find two male rare platies at the LFS a while back and
have not been able to find anymore, not even online. They are pale
blue, clear fins, and no "Mickey Mouse" dots near the tail. I
have no idea why the Mickey Mouse spots are popular in the US but they
<What you have are simply less selected fancy Platies, quite
possibly crossbreeds that are closer to the wild type. It's like
when you take a bunch of pedigree dogs, strand them on an island, and
then if you come back after a few generations, they'll all look
more or less like wolves, or at least feral dogs. The Platies we see in
the shops aren't very distant from the wild type, and it
doesn't take many crosses between varieties to end up with a
greenish fish that resembles the wild Platy.>
Anyway I was thinking of getting a couple of females as close to the
male coloration as possible which will probably not be that close and
breeding them. If the blue is a mutation then I may just get a bunch of
orange fish or orange and blue or black mixed.
<It's unlikely you have a unique mutation, though it's
possible I suppose.
It's more probable your fish simply doesn't have the features
typically seen in purebred varieties.>
In all the stores near here they keep the male and females in the same
tank so they are pregnant at purchase. They would have to birth those
babies and then be bred with the two blue males.
<Sort of. Females of the Poeciliidae are able to produce several
broods from a single mating. The biology of this is complicated, but
the upshot is that up to six broods will be descended from a particular
male, and it'll take at least that many broods (i.e., about six
months) to "clear out" the female completely so that
she's ready to be mated with a new male. In practise that's not
what breeders do, and instead breeders use what are called virgin
females, i.e., females that have never been mated at all.>
A guy at an online fish business said they are trying to breed blue
platies in Florida, but they get mostly black and that someone in
Indonesia has a pond of them that he ships to this business all at
once, and has soon as they arrive in California they are "out of
<Blue Platies aren't particularly scarce here in England, so
can't think what the problem is.>
Seems that Asia really has a variety of colors
Is it fairly common for fish keepers to selectively breed for a certain
Is blue a mutation that is hard to get??
<Getting a mutation to order is obviously impossible, but the blue
body gene has been produced at least once already, and fancy Platies
carrying this blue gene are not rare at all.>
I guess maybe it is a crap shoot
<By definition, you can't predict a mutation. But once you have
the mutation (i.e., new allele for a particular gene) and you establish
whether a particular allele is recessive or dominant, it's actually
not difficult to predict how many offspring from a particular mating
will inherit or display that feature. These are the laws of Mendelian
inheritance you should have learned about in high school (certainly
part of the core curriculum here in England). There are books on the
topic aimed specifically at fish breeders, e.g., 'Aquariology: Fish
Breeding and Genetics'.>
Platy Babies 5/30/11
We have platy babies that are over 2 months old now, there are 11 left
from the original 12. All of the babies except two of them are growing
well, some bigger than others obviously. I'm concerned about the
two of them that are still the same size they were at 3 weeks old. They
are just not growing and dwarf in comparison to the others (barely 3 -
<This does happen...>
Will they survive if they have survived this long?
Also, at what age do they begin to breed?
<Can w/in two-three months>
I have noticed some of them have some rather large round belly's
all of the sudden. I haven't been able to tell yet which are male
<Look at the anal fins... males are tube-shaped... gonopodia...
organs for genetic transmission>
They are only barely an inch in length growth wise. I'm so
confused, please help. This was our first successful live birth. P.S.
The momma Platy keeps trying to mate with our tetra is that normal?
<Not atypical. Read here:
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
sunburst platy 5/22/11
do platys self prgnate?
<No; but females can "store sperm" in their tracts... for
successive batches of young>
we have a sunburst that had 45 frys with no other platy in tank now it
looks like she is pregnant again. what do we do
<? Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/platyreprofaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>
Baby Platys born dead 5/8/11
I have or had a pregnant platy. I put her in a breeding net last
This morning I woke up and there were seven dead babies.
<Mmm, does happen... often, moving livebearers so/too close to
parturition can result in such mortality>
She looks like she is still pregnant, she is still just as big as she
was last night. Could she still be having babies?
And why were the first seven dead? Thank you!
<In a word, "stress". Best to "time" when the
last batch were "produced", and place said mothers in these
nets a week or so ahead of time. Bob Fenner>
Re: Baby Platys born dead 5/8/11
Thank you so much.
I took her out of the net, I hope that was the right thing to do.
<Best not to keep moving>
I put a bunch of plants in the tank so that if she has more babies
(hopefully live ones) they will have a chance at surviving.
Tania L. Rogers
<Life to you. BobF>
Pregnant Platy 2/23/11
I have a pregnant female platy who looks like she will be dropping her
fry very soon.
She has been hiding out under plants and rocks for a couple of days now
and is very plump.
<What they do. Floating plants help significantly.>
However I noticed the beginnings of some mysterious white protrusions
around her anus and sides
<Curious. White fluffy threads like cotton wool imply fungus, not
uncommon among Platies when kept in soft water. Camallanus worms are
pinkish and emerge only from the anus. Bacterial rot simply produces
dead white skin, which may well peel away in strips.>
and put her in a breeding box to keep an eye on her.
<Do understanding breeding traps stress fish: they make them more
likely to sicken and die. Breeding boxes are fine for putting newborn
fry into, and you can grow them on there for three weeks, ample time
for them to get big enough to then release safely with their parents.
But as places for adult fish? Not a good idea.>
The white protrusions have gotten bigger and appear to be part of her
There are two little protrusions and one big one that has a loop in it.
I am quite alarmed and cant find anything on this by searching the web.
I am not sure if its possible for her insides to push out (mammals can
have prolapsed privates
during pregnancy) or if there is something else going on with her.
<Livebearing fish have a single urogenital opening known as a
cloaca. It can happen that stress, poor diet or some other factor
causes the embryos to die within the uterus, and once that happens
infections are common.
These are almost always fatal to the female livebearer because the rot
inside the uterus clogs up the anus, causing further damage and
preventing defecation. My gut reaction here would be to euthanise the
fish, using 30 drops of clove oil in one litre of aquarium water.
Submerge the fish in this, and it'll be unconscious within a minute
and dead within ten. Note the old school methods using ice are not
humane. In future take care to buy healthy female livebearers, feed
them lots of algae-based foods, and most crucially of all, ensure they
aren't stressed. Keep them with at least two females per male, and
use floating plants to provide proper hiding places *at the surface*
where the female can hide away from persistent males.>
Thank you for your time!
Re: Pregnant Platy 2/24/11
Thank you so much for your response. I ended up releasing her back into
the main tank because I didn't want to stress her out further.
Unfortunately she died in the night, which was somewhat expected.
Hopefully this will not happen to my other platys. Thanks again for
<Too bad about the Platy. Yes, I too hope for better luck with your
Help!!! Baby platies 1/30/11
I was cleaning out my 30 gallon tank and moved my platies to the 20
gallon long for now. During the draining I found six baby platies and
kinda freaked out (I have all females, so obviously some were pregnant)
They are about 5 mm each.
I put one in a jar with too warm water and accidentally killed it.
Then I used the jar and caught them with the same water from the
The five are in the jar swimming and my question is: How do I feed them
in the 1/2 gallon jar until they are ready for the tank???
<You don't. Place them in a floating breeding trap. As a
stop-gap for a day or so if needs be, you can use a net weighed down
with a few grains of gravel. The idea is to keep the baby fish
somewhere the adults can't find them. Water will flow through the
net, bringing warmth and oxygen, while carrying away waste products.
They won't live long in a jar, believe me.>
I guess I am a little freaked at the moment. Also while draining the
tank there were many string like grayish inch long worms swimming
around. Is this normal for an established tank or a problem???
<It isn't uncommon for free-living nematodes and planarians to
live in fish tanks. They generally do little harm, but if there are
LOTS of them, they do indicate a lot of waste in the gravel, and that
in turn suggests
maintenance could be a little better.>
Also, What I find weird in the stores is they separate the male and
female guppies, but put the male and female platies and mollies in
together <Indeed, is weird and hopeless. Unfortunately, this is the
least of the
sins committed by the average aquarium shop. Cheers, Neale.>
Platy fry? 1/18/11
I searched your site but couldn't find this situation. I have a 4
gallon aquarium that I keep on my desk at the office. I had three
tetras, and one became quite the bully and I eventually lost the other
two. I let the
bully alone for a few months and then added two sunset platys. The pet
store owner said that should work well. Seemed to get along fine at
first but then the aggression showed up again. I showed up at the
office this morning and the platys were dead. After cleaning up the
tank a bit I noticed a fry! At first I just thought it was some
floating debris from when I disturbed the gravel. I have removed the
bully tetra to another tank, but what are the odds that this little fry
will survive? Anything special I should do? I have no experience with
<Hi Julie. Four gallons is a bucket, not an aquarium, and the reason
your fish are killing one another and/or dying mysteriously is that the
tank is too small. Tetras do indeed turn aggressive when kept in groups
of less than six. This isn't news. Likewise, Platies are aggressive
in small groups sometimes, especially if the males aren't
outnumbered by the females by at least two females per male. So get rid
of the fish you have, and choose livestock likely to work in this tank.
Frankly, Cherry Shrimps and/or a single Betta is all that has any
chance of being successful and more importantly HUMANE. Please read
The fry should survive for a while without problems, but once they get
to a certain size the smallness of your aquarium will come into play.
Adult Platies will bully the juveniles, or water quality will drop and
they'll be poisoned. Either way, their fate is in your hands. Hope
this clarifies things for you.
Re: Platy fry? 1/19/11
Thanks for the information and quick reply!
<Glad to help.>
So I guess my next step is also to find a different fish store that
knows what they're talking about since they told me I could easily
have 4 Platies or 4 tetras or a combination in my
<Well, advice from anyone selling you something has to be taken for
what it is. You wouldn't trust a guy selling you a new car or a
house. Buying a fish tank is no different. Buy or borrow a book,
understand the basics, and then go shopping. For beginners, a 10 gallon
tank is really the minimum if you want a variety of stuff. Four gallon
tanks with Cherry and Bumblebee Shrimps can be beautiful, but they
aren't what most people expect when they buy their first fish
Should have come to you guys first.
<The door's always open.>
And maybe I'll look into getting a bona fide aquarium as well.
Blue Wag platy question, sel., genetics f's
I recently discovered the Blue Wag Platy. It is a beautiful fish, but
it seems that it is really hard to find. Many people on fish discussion
boards are asking others about it and no one knows where to get them,
unless you live in a place that has a LFS that happens to sell them. I
was wondering why they are so hard to find. My spouse says it is
because blue must be a recessive gene. I was wondering why there
isn't more blue freshwater fish??? I guess the other colors make
them easier for a mate to find them. Thank You!!!!
<Hello John. Blue Wagtail Platies are an artificial form not a wild
type, so evolution doesn't really come into the explanation. Farms
could easily produce lots of them if they wanted, but for one reason or
another the red and orange forms seem to sell better. That's the
basic reason you don't find them so often in the shops. Personally,
I prefer natural-looking fish, so I'm most excited when I see the
plain green Platies. Each to their own, I guess. There actually are
quite a lot of blue freshwater fish, including such favourites as the
Malawi Blue Dolphin Cichlid (Cyrtocara moorii), the Lake Kutubu
Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia lacustris), and the Blue Tetra (Boehlkea
fredcochui). But you are quite right in that blue isn't a very
common colour. In fact most freshwater fish are green, brown, or some
combination of these two colours. Why? Because most freshwater habitats
are quite murky and contain lots of mud, wood and aquatic plants. Fish
living in such places have greens and browns that help them blend in.
Mottled brown is particularly common among those fish that lurk among
the shadows, for example. For the most part though, unless you're
an advanced aquarist interested in unusual fish, these cryptically
coloured fish won't be the ones you'll be keeping, though there
are some exceptions, Common Plecs for example, and African
Butterflyfish. Those fish with bright colours such as Guppies and Neons
are very much in the minority, and a great many of these have been bred
over the generations to be even brighter now than they were in the
wild, Guppies being the classic examples. The colours on farmed Guppies
are far different to those of wild Guppies. With that said, because
males tend to have the colours and not the females, it's widely
assumed that bright colours evolved because females selected males with
bright colours, such males having had to be strong and smart simply to
stay alive long enough to reach sexual maturity. Anyway, to summarise,
your Blue Platies are uncommon because they don't sell well; there
are lots of blue freshwater fish; and the reasons why fish have
particular colours are complex and have much to do with issues such as
camouflage and sexual selection. Cheers, Neale.>
male and female platys, sexing 8/29/10
How do I differentiate between males and females? I have placed them in
a glass container but cannot tell the difference in body shape. What
does the male have that the female does not and is it easily
Have been a lifetime guppy breeder and just decided to try platys as a
friend gave me some.
<Males have a tube-shaped anal fin, just like that of male Guppies.
Females have a triangular anal fin. Should be apparent in either case
within 2-3 months, but sometimes males take a while longer to fully
develop. As with other Poeciliidae, females also tend to be larger.
Re: male and female platys 8/30/10
Thanks for response. Should be easier for me now, babies are about 5
weeks old and have separated them into a pond by themselves. Now to
start the culling.
<Glad to have been of help. Good luck with your fish breeding.
Male or female platys. 8/20/10
I have three beautiful blue adult platys, one male and two females in a
20 gallon tank. I thought they were all the same sex. Wrong.
<Ah yes, have to be careful. Males can take a while to develop, and
may look like females even when half-grown.>
They are very good at multiplying and the fry are very good at
<Can be so. African Butterflyfish, Angelfish, Golden Wonder Panchax
and various other surface-feeding predators will shift the odds
I wasn't expecting the latter. I have about 15 fry now, and both
females are pregnant. I have decided the best birth control is
abstinence and to separate the males and females by taking some to a
local pet shop. I expect to only keep three or four. Is it best to keep
only males, or females?
<Ideally, females tend to school together nicely and generally
behave better, whereas males are not schooling fish and can be
The males are prettier, but I could also prevent 3-4 females from being
baby machines their whole lives. :)
<Indeed. Females can stagger the development of embryos so that
there may be at least 2-3 broods per mating, and possibly as many as
six. So even six months after removing the males you could still have
I know from having guppies, that continuous birth puts a lot of stress
<Yes and no. Being harassed by males if there's nowhere to hide
certainly does stress them. But if the tank is big, well-planted with
floating Indian Fern or similar, and the males are outnumbers at least
two to one by the females, then the females aren't in any great
stress. Indeed, wild females are likely pregnant more or less
continuously once sexually mature. It's not like with female
mouthbrooding cichlids where the poor mom can't feed while
incubating. So the bottom line is that in good conditions, leaving the
males and females together is fine. Add some predators to eat unwanted
fry and that problem essentially vanishes.>
On another note, I was noticing today that some of the fry look more
opaque than their siblings and their gills look a little red. They are
the size of a grain of cooked rice. They are acting normal, as far as I
can tell. My water quality is good. The only recent stress was an Ick
treatment two weeks ago.
<May simply be a reflection of the colours of the fry. Normal
wild-type livebearers are indeed more or less transparent when born,
and develop their markings only slowly. But certain artificial forms
may have colours from an earlier stage. If your Platy collection
contains a variety of colour forms, then the fry will be genetically
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Mickey Mouse Fish Worry - 7/27/10
<Hi! Melinda here today.>
My question is, that I have 2 male guppies, and 2 Mickey mouse fish,
but I can not tell the Mickey Mouse Fishes' gender.
<You'll want to check out the platy's anal fin (the
non-paired fin on the underside of the fish, near the tail). The
females' will look triangular, but the male has a more crooked and
more cylindrically-shaped anal fin (called a gonopodium). If you just
got these fish from a fish store, you may have to wait until they
develop more, as fish stores typically sell younger individuals that
aren't yet mature.>
Please help me with this.
<I did a cursory search on google images with "male and female
platy" and found some great photos of the fins in question. If you
do the same, it would help you get an idea of what I'm talking
about so you can compare your own fish to the photos.>
Also, One of the Mickey mouse fish had a long piece of string on
it's tail, with a weird black thing on the end.(I'm not talking
about the picture of Mickey Mouse on its tail.) My mother insists that
they're eggs, but I say they're poop. Which on of us is
<I would first recommend that you read here, as well as the linked
files above: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/platyreprofaqs.htm.
Platys don't lay eggs, but are, in fact, livebearers, so it sounds
like you may need to do a little more reading on the fishes you're
keeping. Here's a link to our information on guppies:
Having information "stored away" on the species you keep
helps you avoid issues with their health, because you can provide the
right environment, food, etc., for them. Then, if something does go
wrong, you're not scrambling to learn the basics, and can rule out
various issues which are caused by environment.
To begin with, you'll want the temperature around 80 to 82 degrees,
and 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, and Nitrate of less than 20. Please see my
note below on keeping sufficient numbers of both guppies and platys to
lessen stress on the females, keeping in mind that a tank which is at
least 20 gallons is really best for keeping these fish in proper
numbers. Now, on to what's going on with your fish: you describe
the string as being on the tail, but then mention both eggs and poop,
which certainly wouldn't be on the tail, but rather, the underside
of the fish, so I'm unclear on where the problem is. If all
you're feeding is dry fish food, your fish could be suffering from
constipation or other issues, and it's always a good idea to feed
wet-frozen foods along with dry foods, anyway, to provide more variety
and promote digestive health. If the string is no longer hanging, and
the fish is pooping normally, then it was likely nothing to worry
about, but do research the fish you're keeping and ensure
you're providing the necessary space, water conditions,
temperature, etc. to keep them healthy.>
P.S. We feed them all tropical fish flakes when we all wake up, and
also before we go to bed. Is this OK?
<Again, this isn't the best diet for them. Please read here:
This will give you a good idea of what to feed to avoid issues with
constipation and ensure your fishes' health. Lastly, it is really
best to keep livebearers in groups larger than two, and to keep two
females, at least, to every male. Otherwise, the females are just
harassed and miserable. So, if you have the space, it would be a good
idea to go ahead and add enough females to reach that ratio for both
the guppies and the platys. If you have any questions after reading,
please don't hesitate to write back.
Platy Question regarding reproduction --
I have two platy's in my tank along with two guppies. One of my
platy is a yellow/orange and is a dwarf. The other platy is a Mickey
mouse platy and is slightly larger. The dwarf platy is constantly
following around the Mickey mouse platy. When we bought these fish at
the local Petco/PetSmart, we were not told if they were males or
females. Can you tell me what the sex is of these platys? Also, am I
stressing the Mickey mouse platy because it is constantly being chased.
Any help you can give me would be appreciated. Thank you
<Hello Kristin. Sexing Platies is easy. Males have a crooked,
tube-shaped anal fin called a gonopodium, essentially a penis in
function if not in anatomy. Females have a regular, triangle-shaped
anal fin. All Platies mate with each other, so whether it's a dwarf
or not is neither here nor there -- the males of all species will
follow the females of all other species about. Keep two females (at
least) per male, otherwise the females tend to be severely harassed,
and when pregnant, this leads to miscarriages. It's really pretty
mean to keep Platies or really any livebearer any other way.
As for general care, read here:
Will my fry be okay? Platies... 5/19/10
I am very new and extremely inexperienced when it comes to fish. I have
a 10 gallon tank with a filter, neutral gravel, heater that is set at
<Too warm for Platies.>
light, one artificial plant, and a "castle" that has ledges
on the back for the fish. I just noticed today that my Sunset Fire
Platy is pregnant.
I have done research on the pregnancy, birth and care of the fry.
However, my concern is if they will be okay will all the other fish in
<No, not safe: the tetras will eat the baby fish.>
Aside from the Sunset Platy, I have a Black Skirt Tetra, Blood Fin
Tetra, and an Albino Cory.
<These are all schooling fish. The tetras should be kept in groups
of at least 6 specimens, and the Corydoras in groups of at least 5
specimens. The Black Skirt Tetra (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi) is also a
so wait for bites to appear in the poor Platy's fins.>
That being said, here are my questions:
1.) Is it necessary to put the mother into a separate tank when I feel
she is about to give birth and then remove her after doing so, so she
does not eat all the fry?
<You can move the female to another aquarium 8-10 gallons in size.
But nothing smaller. If you stress the female, or move her too close to
the time she's going to give birth, she will miscarry. It is
preferred to remove "dangerous" fish, and leave the female
2.) If I do have to set up an additional tank, how exactly should it be
set up and what should be in there? (I read that I need to put a Java
Moss and keep the tank at 80 degrees but nothing more)
<The breeding tank needs to have a heater and mature filter, just
like the other aquarium. The preferred temperature for Platies -- i.e.,
what they need to survive for a long time -- is around 22-24 C/72-75
3.) If it is not necessary to remove the mother, is it likely that my
other fish will eat the fry?
<Gosh, yes, the tetras will eat the fry.>
Any and all help is greatly appreciated because I have NO clue as to
how to go about this. Thank you in advance!
I'd get rid of the tetras, keep just a group of two female Platies
and one male platy, add at least four more Albino Corydoras, and lower
the heater to 22-24 C/72-75 F, the ideal for both Platies and
Corydoras. Install some
floating Indian Fern. The baby fish will not be eaten by the Corydoras,
and provided the Platies are well fed, they should ignore them. When
you see fry, which will hide among the floating plants, you can move
them into a
floating breeding trap for 2-3 weeks until they're big enough to
set loose. You've already made some bad mistakes here, but nothing
that can't be fixed. Cheers, Neale.>
Female platy behavior 5/15/10
My female Mickey Mouse Platy is pregnant but she chasing the male away
whenever he gets too close. Is this normal?(my mom said that all
pregnant ladies can get temperamental)
<It isn't the female being "temperamental". Male
livebearers, including male Platies, want to mate with the females all
the time, even when the female is pregnant. This is stressful -- and
probably annoying! -- for the female. Understandably, she either tries
to hide or attempts to chase him away. If severely stressed, females
can miscarry, so this is quite a serious problem. To avoid problems,
you must do the following: [a] Make sure the tank is big enough for the
Platies, not less than 15 gallons, and preferably at least 20 gallons.
[b] Include some floating plants at the top of the tank for the female
to use as hiding places. [c] Always, always, always, keep at least
twice as many females as males. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: female platy behaviour 5/15/10
can I put the female in a separate tank by herself or will she get
<Provided the separate aquarium is big enough for her, not less than
8 gallons, a single female can be kept on her own for a few weeks until
her babies are delivered. For long term care though, Platies should be
kept in tanks not less than 15 gallons. They don't need to be kept
with their own kind, but female Platies are certainly happier if kept
with other females.
Stages of platy pregnancy 04/18/10
I have a 125 litre tank with 2 Angel fish, 2 Danios, 1 female
bristle nose catfish, 1 yoyo (Pakistani) loach,
<A gregarious species; add a couple more.>
and 6 sunburst wag platys (2 boys 4 girls) and all get along
The platys we only got 6 days ago and we have since realised that
we believe two of the females are pregnant from the gravid spots
both of them seem to be showing
<Hmm... livebearers bigger than Guppies don't really have
a reliable "gravid spot" so be careful about seeing
things that aren't there. On the other hand, female
livebearers kept with males are generally pregnant all the time.
That's why it's so important to keep lots of floating
plants -- so the females can get some rest away from the males --
and to keep twice
as many females as males -- so the males can't harass any one
Trouble is we obviously have no idea how long these females have
been pregnant for so have no idea when they are likely to drop,
any suggestions as to what to look for?
<The females will become noticeable swollen within 2 weeks of
Also (as shown in the photos) the two fish that we suspect to be
pregnant look relatively quite different so is that they are at
different stages of pregnancy? (We suspect that pregnant platy 1
is more advanced than the pregnant platy 2- would that is
<Could easily be pregnant.>
The pet store which we bought the platys from has said that they
would take the fry off us when they reach a reasonable size so
that would not be a problem.
Just that I am very aware that if they do drop and we haven't
moved the mum I believe I could pretty much guarantee that the
Angels would start eating the fry (the Angels aren't fully
grown but would still probably find a new born fry a tasty
snack... which isn't really what we want.)
<Correct. Angelfish feed on small wriggly things at the
surface. Mosquito larvae. Midge larvae. Baby fish. All the same
to them. They are astonishingly good at catching such food: their
narrow shape let's the sneak up unnoticed, while their
tubular mouth creates strong suction when opened, slurping up the
prey. The use of floating plants such as Indian Fern will help a
lot, but you need to look for the fry daily, and then place the
fry into a breeding trap or net. They'll need to be there for
at least 6 weeks, perhaps more, to get big enough not to be
Angelfish food [big, wild-type Angels can easily eat Neon
tetras]. Do not put the pregnant female in a trap: easiest way to
stress her and cause miscarriages! Trust
me on this. If you're happy to settle for just a few fry per
brood, then the Indian Fern/breeding net approach works fine. If
you want to sell large numbers of fry, you do need to move the
females to a 10 gallon or so tank with a sponge filter, heater,
and lots of Indian Ferns. Remove her once the fry appear, and
rear the fry in the 10 gallon tank. Growth rate depends on water
quality, among other things, so water changes and filtration are
PLATY QUERY 4/14/10
I love your website and the passion you show when it comes to Fish and
answering the query of your devoted readers! Congrats on a job so well
<Kind of you to say so.>
I have a query regarding my Female Red Platy. I think I do see a dark
gravid spot, cant tell exactly the eye of the fry since she is red.
<Platies don't really have a gravid spot. The gravid spot,
despite the name is just a dark patch around the anal fin that is
visible when the uterus is pushed against the muscle wall. This happens
during the late stages of pregnancy. It is only visible on small
livebearers. The bigger the fish, the thicker the muscle wall, and the
less obvious the gravid spot. It is visible on Guppies, but on bigger
species, not so much. The ONLY way to be sure a female is pregnant is
to see her body swell up.>
I want to know when to move her to a safer place for the delivery as
she is in the main community tank and the chances of fry survival there
are NIL with all the other fish in there.
<Under NO circumstances move a pregnant female into a breeding trap.
These traps and nets are lethal! By stressing the female you INCREASE
the chance of problems, specifically miscarriages. Instead stock the
tank with floating plants. Indian Fern is idea. Check the plants twice
a day, and put the BABIES into the breeding trap. After about 3-4 weeks
they should be big enough to be let loose with their parents.>
She looks plump but not so plump as some other pregnant platys I have
seen before and she seems to have a white plug protruding from the
anus. Is that an indicator of a sure shot pregnancy?
<No. Just faeces.>
There also happens to be an Active male pursuing her and courting her
right now. Is it common for males to try to mate even when the female
<Yes. And also very stressful, and more likely to cause miscarriage.
Keep two or three females per male. Again, floating plants
Please answer my Query with urgency as I have to decide what to do with
her before she delivers and all the fry are eaten up!
And linked articles
Re: PLATY QUERY 4/14/10
Thaaaaaaankyou so much for getting back so fast! Love ya!
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Platy Birth 3/26/10
I bought a Mickey Platy approximately 5 days ago. The pet shop said
that she looked extremely pregnant (which I thought would be fun to
<To be honest, it's almost the default condition for
livebearers, unless you specifically purchase what are called virgin
females. These are females that haven't been with sexually mature
males, and are the ones to buy if you intend to breed a particular kind
of fish. Different breeds of Platy will all mate with each other, so
that the offspring they produce will be cross-breeds, and consequently
less valuable. On the plus side, cross-breed fish are often hardier and
can be just as pretty as a true breed fish. It's much like
comparing a pedigree cat with a moggy, or a pedigree dog with a
Since getting her, I have done plenty of research about platys and
their pregnancies (much of my information was obtained from your
website - which is very helpful)! I came home from work today to find a
fry hiding in my plants.
I immediately put the momma in my 3-way breeder in hopes of preventing
the consumption of the fry at birth.
<Oh no! Don't put mom in the trap; just the babies.>
I was also able to round up the single fry from the tank.
<I see. Don't put the fry in with the mom either.>
My question is: how much time should pass in between fry drops?
<In my experience, they all come out in one fell swoop, often
overnight. So if you find one, but no others, chances are she gave
birth and some other fish (or even the mom) ate them. Do remember these
fish have no maternal
instinct; in the wild the baby fish simply hide in places where the
adults can't go, like floating plants, so the adults never had to
evolve any sort of "don't eat my babies" behaviour. To
the adults, anything wriggling at the surface is edible, be it a
mosquito larvae (their normal diet) or a baby fish.>
I know she still has some fry inside of her because I can see their
little eyes in her belly.
I have been standing in front of my aquarium, staring at her, for over
and hour and a half and there has been no progress. Should she have
dropped another one by now? I would really like to catch the big event
on camera, so I was wondering how quickly they would drop.
<Usually within an hour.>
I am also worried that I may have stressed her out too much by
transferring her to the breeder. Is this possible?
<Very definitely yes. Never do this again! Contrary to the
marketing, the breeder traps are death traps for pregnant females.
Plus, lifting out or catching a pregnant female can stress even damage
her. Miscarriages are common, and damage to the uterus can cause
blockages and the babies can't get out, and this is a significant
cause of mortality. For different reasons, I lost a female Halfbeak
this way, and watching her die this way was horrible to see. Never,
ever move pregnant females, at least now when they're within a week
of parturition. Keep the female in a breeding tank with floating
plants, and then remove the female after all the fry have emerged.
Alternatively, leave the female in the breeding tank, and just put the
fry in a breeding net once you find them. I have about a dozen
fry in a net in a community tank that were rescued just this way.
They're a couple of months old, and in about another month should
be big enough to set loose (Halfbeaks are a bit aggressive; Platies can
be set loose within
2-3 weeks of birth).>
If so, will the rest of her babies die?
<It is, sadly, possible if by netting her you stressed and injured
I have to have more than one fry!!!
Thanks for your help,
<Glad to help.>
Baby platys 2/18/10
Hi Guys & Girls
This is my first time , so please be gentle with me.
<Will try my best!>
I have 135 litre tank with 3 Zebra Danios , 4 Black Widow Tetras ,
<Tend to be nippy, these, so be careful.>
2 Peppered Catfish , 2 Bristle - Nosed Catfish , 4 Platys , 8 Neon
The filter is an Otto PF800N Power Head with 2 sponge filter cartridges
, a flexible air stone that goes the full length of the tank & some
live plants . I also have 3 baby platys 10 weeks old in a breeder net
in the same tank
. My question after all this writing is , is it safe yet to let them
into the main tank , considering the variety of fish . In anticipation
<It's difficult to predict entirely, since the key factor is the
size of the baby fish rather than their age. That said, Platies will
ignore their own babies once those babies are more than, say, two weeks
old. Tetras and Danios are more opportunistic, and anything that looks
edible will be added to the menu. A baby Platy doesn't look very
different to a mosquito larva, so to a Danio, it's all just food!
But provided the baby fish are about 1.5 cm long, they should be okay.
Adding some floating plants to the tank, such as Indian Fern, will
dramatically improve the odds of success. Since Platies will produce
new batches of fry every couple of months, you may decide to take a
chance now and see what happens, knowing that in a couple more months
you'll have lots more anyway. Some folks find a certain amount of
"population control" helps keep things from getting too
Alternatively, if you're hoping to sell the fry and make some
money, moving the baby fish to their own 35 litre/10 gallon tank will
be very wise and maximise your profits. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Baby platys 2/22/10
Thank you for your quick response.
<Happy to help.>
I will try the babies in the main tank , following your suggestions of
course , tomorrow and see how we go . I look forward to talking again
<Cool. Funnily enough, I got a batch of baby halfbeaks last night.
Must be the time of year!>
P.S. I've read a lot of stuff on your site and you and the crew are
great at the way you all explain things and handle different situations
<Kind of you to say so.>
Thanks again .....Noel
Ahhhh! About baby Platies 1/27/10
Well thanks to all your help here at WWM, I am the proud owner of 1
You guys have been so helpful in my aquarium and I can't thank you
Now I feel obligated to tell you the story...
Today, I was sitting on my occasional "Fish Watch" which I do
sometimes daily to calm down, and just to make sure my fish are
a'ok. Well today I was looking through my aquarium, and saw a pair
of eyes in the gravel!! So
I said to my self..."what is that?" Then I realized that it
was a little baby Platy. I quickly rushed and scooped my fish out of
the aquarium, turned off the power, and took out my ordainments.
Through minutes upon minutes, I found a little fishy burying it's
self in the gravel. I quickly ran downstairs and grabbed a plastic,
clear cup. (That's just a temporary fix until I buy a breeder net)
and I came upstairs and could not find the fish! Now this is a 20
gallon aquarium, which is kind of hard to find a pretty much clear tiny
baby fish. Within an hour, I finally found "him"(not
sure of the sex yet, guessing "he" is only about a day old).
Surprised that he was actually hiding in the, lets say sucker part of
the filter. Now I was so happy that I had actually turned the filter
off. I grabbed "him" and put him in the cup. At the moment he
is happily swimming, but has yet to eat any of the miniscule amounts of
<Finely powdered flake works, but they also enjoy Artemia nauplii as
well as green algae from the roots of floating plants.>
Now I cannot thank you enough for all your help. I just don't know
how, and I thought you would feel happy in these signs of life. Now I
do have some questions for y'all...
1. When do you suppose I will be able to put him into the tank? -he is
an estimated day old, with parents in a 20 gallon aquarium only with
<Give it 3-4 weeks.>
2. When is the estimated time I can predict his sex?
<Sexually developed within about 2 months.>
3. How often should I change the water in this little cup?
<Take a skewer or similar, and make a few holes in the cup so water
can move in and out. Sturdy plastic cups are required for this: I find
those measuring cups that come with some detergents are great for this,
but obviously don't use one that's had detergent put in it.
Done this way, slooshing new water through on a daily basis should be
4. How much should I feed him?
<Little but often.>
Thanks for all your help, and support. This site is the best, most
reliable site for support with your fish related questions. I will be
suggesting this site to everyone; well I have already suggested it to
many...but will really open my mouth.
Now I don't really realize witch mother "he" came from.
Is there any way I can tell without waiting until he is grown?
Thank you so much, and I apologize for the lengthy message. I just
needed to tell someone!
Thanks again, god bless
<Good luck with your baby fish! Neale.>
UFOs, FW, on the bottom 1/20/10
I have 3 Mickey mouse platys and we noticed the other night that there
was a bunch of little grey balls that look like fish eggs but I know
that platys are live bearers. do you know what they can be?
<Could be anything, really. Fish faeces perhaps? Granules of some
kind from a leaky chemical filter package? Maybe snail eggs (these are
usually wrapped in a jelly blob). As you note, Platies don't lay
eggs. Cheers, Neale.>
Different babies together... Platy repro.
I have many Platy babies! Lots!
<Is the way of things.>
My girlfriend and I have a 46 gallon community tank, that houses
probably 20 or so species. We have 5 Platys, two different kinds. We
fell for them right away. After a short while, our (Sunburst, I think
they called it) female Platy gave birth. She is a basic platy, orange
and black, a little over 2 inches. we also had a mating pair of dwarf
Platy's who's female was due soon.
<Not really "pairs" in this species... always kinder to
have two females (or more) per male. Otherwise the males tend to harass
We counted about 12 young, who are all adorable orange with developing
black spots. Not more then 10 days passed and our Dwarf Platy was solid
and black bellied. Just to see what would happen, we put her in the
tank, which has the box that allows the babies to safely pass through
the bottom... no more than 3 hours later, Dwarf Platys.
Now the Sunburst young have been eating like crazy, growing fast and
becoming adventurous. Do you think they pose any threat to the Dwarf
<Not much. There will be some squabbling over food, and the smaller
ones can lose out, even starve. But livebearer fry of different ages
aren't cannibalistic. Well, not Platy fry, anyway. Pike Livebearer
fry are VERY
cannibalistic! But that's a whole other thing...>
I only ask because of the size difference. The sunburst must be 3 times
the size of the others. Also, would it be a good idea to throw a snail
or something in the tank to control waste?
<Why would a snail control waste? Anyone who tells you this is
either lying so they can sell you something, or else ignorant. If a
plumber told he was going to stick some snails down the lavatory to
control waste, you'd laugh.
In fact when raising fry, best results come from clean tanks with
optimal water quality provided through regular water changes and brisk
filtration (air-powered filters are ideal).>
Like I said, I've never had baby fish to take care of. I'm not
sure what to expect.
<Do read here:
Breeding Platies is fun and not difficult. The floating traps are
largely useless, and you certainly shouldn't put the females in
them. At best, you can put the fry in them for 3 weeks until
they're big enough to set loose with the adults. But by far the
best approach is to add clumps of floating Indian Fern. The fish
I don't want frys with that... 12/19/2009
I have two Platies, 3 tetras, and a nice bamboo shrimp in my 10 gal
tank. I bought the tank with the equipment included, filter, heater,
etc, so my equipment is probably pretty basic. When I got my second
platy, my otherwise-helpful (and VERY knowledgeable) fish guy at the
pet store didn't tell me she was pregnant.
<This is pretty much a constant state of existence for these
However, about 1.5 or 2 months later, I now have little tiny baby
<It could be the work of the male you've got, or some other
male... The only way to know for sure is to take the prospective
fathers on "Maury!">
While they are adorable, I really don't care to make the effort of
having an additional tank, keeping the babies, figuring out what to do
with them, etc.
<This can become a huge project, so I totally understand. When our
Angels first spawned, we looked into raising the fry. We realized that
it just wasn't something we were interested in doing -- lots of
little tanks, lots of water changes, etc.>
From what I read on your site, they will just get eaten up by the other
fish - while sad, that seems like the most reasonable option to me.
<This is the option we've taken with our Angels. It is sort of
sad, but the eggs (ours never get to free-swimming stage) provide good
nutrition to the other fish in the tank. At least it's not a total
I know I'm heartless, but is it OK to just let it be, and let
nature take it's course?
<Not heartless... and sure.>
Will the other fish be OK, no additional complications?
<They'll be fine, and will enjoy the nutritional
I know this cycle will occur again, as my two Platies are a male and
<It will occur again, and soon. Often these male livebearers become
a bother to the females when there are only one of each. You may want
to consider another female or two, though these really aren't the
best fish for a ten-gallon tank. In order to avoid becoming
unbelievably stressed, the females must be of a larger number than the
males, and have places to hide and "get away from" their
amorous tankmates. Also, be sure that you've got the
"right" kind of tetras, in terms of water chemistry,
temperature, etc., by searching WWM. Keep an eye out that your tetras
don't turn into angry fin-nippers (some will, some won't --
more research would help you determine the risk).>
I'm just a single gal with a 10 gal tank, not a breeder - is it OK
to just let it go?
<Yep. Just keep reading!>
Re: I don't want frys with that...
Thank you so much for your reply!
I've been reading on your site about the best fish for 10 gal
tanks. Thanks for all the detail! I have to admit, it's a bit
frustrating though, because I've gotten SO MANY conflicting ideas
about what fish are, and aren't, suitable for my tank. When I
established my tank, one pet-store person said a couple guppies were
good starter fish, then when I took my dead guppy back in for a refund
another guy said it was a terrible starter fish and he never would have
<Fancy guppies aren't terribly hardy, so I guess I'd agree
Platies aren't very hardy, either, unless they're kept in the
right conditions... really, I guess no fish is.>
He told me Platies were good fish to keep in my 10 gal. You guys
disagree, and a co-worker had yet other ideas. What's a girl to
<Haha it does get confusing, I know. Basically it's going to
come down to your research and you making the decision... the only I
reason I don't recommend Platies for ten-gallons is the inability
of the females to get a break from the males. It can lead to stress.
Also, the mix you've got here is sort of at opposite ends of the
spectrum when it comes to water chemistry... I'll explain that
below. However, different things work for everyone!>
Still, I appreciate all the detailed info you have on your site - it
will definitely help me be a more informed fish-buyer. I will likely
get another female platy and a couple more neon tetras (to go with my
existing 3). That should max out the tank for now, I think. <What
are you keeping pH and KH at in this tank? You'll need to find a
happy medium between the Neons' needs and the Platies' needs...
with the Neons enjoying softer, more acidic water, and the Platies
enjoying harder, more basic water... so keep this in mind. It's
always easier to mix fish that like the same water chemistry.>
How long are Platys usually in labor? 11/17/09
My husband and I came home from work tonight and found a new addition
to our fish tank. About 7:30 this evening we noticed our platy had
given birth to one baby.
<As is their wont...>
We are now wondering if Mom will have more or do platys sometimes only
give birth to one baby.
<Typically around 20 fry are produced, but the numbers vary
We ran to the pet store and bought a nursery net and put the baby is
We checked our tank thoroughly and only found the one baby.
<Likely others already eaten. Adding floating plants such as Indian
Fern will help dramatically in this regard, by providing hiding places
for the newborn fry.>
Mom has red stringy discharge coming out of her vent.
<Most probably simply faeces, particularly if you feed a
colour-enhancing flake food.>
But do we need to keep an eye out for more in the next few days or
<Sounds wise to keep an open mind, yes.>
Thank you, Tina
<You're welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Momma platy 11/10/09
my wagtail platy just had seven or so fry born. All seem healthy. This
is the second set in about two months. Only one of two survived.
However this morning, (three days after the last birthing) she has what
a sac of eggs attached to her rear. Has she exploded and will she be
<Difficult to say without a photo. Under some circumstances, female
livebearers become infected after giving birth, or they seem to pass
out things like that look like failed embryos. If you're lucky,
things clear up
by themselves. But if the thing doesn't drop off within a day or
so, the fish eventually dies, because the blockage gets in the way of
the anus, preventing the digestive tract from working. There really
isn't much you can do about this, and euthanasia is essential. You
can't pull the blockage out without damaging the fish, since
it's clearly attached to the internal organs.
In short, if the female looks fine by the time you get this message,
you should be okay, But otherwise, things don't look good.
Platies, repro./breeding gear --
I have used your site before and would never research any other site
for information because yours is always so informative and helpful.
<Kind of you to say so.>
Thank you. I have a question about my pregnant platy. She gave birth
about 6 weeks ago (had 2 survivors) and now she is about to give birth
again. My question is can I separate her in the holding cage I used for
the fry ( a mesh sided cage with air flow and some fern floating) or
will she in turn just eat the fry after being born.
<Floating plants such as Indian Fern, even a bunch of plain vanilla
Elodea pondweed, will provide the best solution to this problem. If you
pick over the plants first thing in the morning, you'll likely find
good numbers of fry. As for "cages" and "traps",
compartments that trap and isolate newborn fry safely. On the other
hand, anything bigger than a female Guppy will feel very stressed
inside one, and this in turn increases the chances of miscarriages.
Obviously, this defeats the object of the exercise! That said, if you
use plants to hide newborn fry, and then transfer the fry to a floating
trap or cage once you find them, you have a useful combination of
approaches. After 3-4 weeks, most livebearer fry are easily big enough
to cohabit with their parents, and indeed other small, non-predatory
I want to separate her for several reasons: the male in the tank
won't leave her alone, even in her hiding places.
<Normal behaviour on the part of the male. As I've written here
*repeatedly*, you absolutely must keep *at least* twice as many females
as males. Also, only floating places at the *top* of the aquarium help;
caves, rocks, bogwood, and bottom-level plants aren't of much use
at all, since livebearers are surface-swimming fish by choice.>
It's hard to get the fry out once she gives birth - they hide out
in the gravel and it's hard to recover them and most got eaten. I
would appreciate any suggestions you can give me. Again your site is
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: platies -- 08/26/09
Thanks for the advice. I do have 2 females and now both fry that lived
last time a females also. He just seems to favor that one though.
<Often happens; adding one or two more adult female Platies will
But again thank you for the advice. I have just about a hand full of
the fern floating at the top is that enough? I think it's called
peacock fern, that was all that was available at the time at the
<No, Peacock Fern, which are species of Selaginella, typically
Selaginella willdenovii, are not aquatic plants, and simply die
underwater. They are land plants. I have no idea why pet shops sell
them to aquarists, but it's a total con. The fern you want is
specifically Ceratopteris thalictroides, the Floating Indian Fern, but
as I said, plain Elodea, as you'd stick in a Goldfish aquarium or
garden pond, works just fine too.>
I didn't put her in the cage so I left her in the main tank but she
is hiding under a piece of wood - a new place the male hasn't
<Platies are surface-dwelling fish; their upturned mouths have very
specifically evolved to allow them to snap up things like mosquito
larvae from the surface. So, a Platy that spends its time on the bottom
stressed Platy. Bear that in mind, and act accordingly.>
Again thank you for your quick and always useful information.
<Glad to have helped. Cheers, Neale.>
Are My Platies Bloated, Pregnant, Sick, Overfed, or
Just Fat? Pregnant.
Platy Questions\Breeding\System 8/23/2009
I have two female neon redtail moon platys. Gorgeous fish! I have
had them for a little over a week now. They are a little over 1
in. each. I feed them a diet of tropical flakes, Spirulina
flakes, and goldfish flakes. With occasional treats of brine
shrimp and brown seaweed (which I hear is okay to give
I house them with 4 goldfish (2 males 2 females) who are quite
gentle with the platys.
<This is a cooler water species of Platy, but I hope this is a
They get pushy around feeding time (but that is just normal
goldfish behavior) and the platys still get their share of food.
I also have 1 male sunburst wag platy housed with them. He has
been a perfect gentleman to the two females.
<Hmm.... probably not.>
He has not shown breeding behavior as of yet.
<That you have seen in any case.>
But that is fine. He is lively and active even though he has not
shown interest in breeding yet. My concern is with the two
females. The two females have gotten fat during the time I have
had them. Yet I do not know
if it is because I have fed them too much,
<How much are you feeding them?>
if they are bloated, if they are pregnant, if they are just
growing, or if they are just fat. I have includes a picture of
the two females (named Jen (Jenifer) and Kira). What is going on
with my two girls?
Should I prepare for babies, do they need a diet change, do I
need to feed them less? Please just let me know what is going on
(if you can) so I can do what is best for my two little ladies.
<Have a read here:
Re: Are My Platies Bloated, Pregnant, Sick, Overfed,
or Just Fat?
Pregnant. Platy Questions\Breeding\System 8/23/2009
Thank you so much for you prompt reply!
<Hi Camron, no problem.>
I thought they might be pregnant too. However, I have never had
platys before. I thought it wiser to get a second opinion from
someone who has actually seen platys that are expecting. Now that
you have seconded my opinion, I will be watching them. I will
move them to another spare tank I have if they continue to grow
How far along do you think they are?
<Impossible to say - The article I referred you to should give
Should I move them now, instead of waiting?
<I would set up the tank soon, so it is cycled when it is
As to how much I feed them . . .
Hmm . . . Well, they eat as much as they want to and then do not
eat anymore. I feed them twice a day. I have small fingers and
tend to give fairly small pinches of food. I shall list how I
feed them presently. Let me know if it is too much so I can cut
back if needed. I give them 3 to 4 pinches of Spirulina, mostly
because the goldfish will eat the sprinulia too.
And the goldfish get their goldfish flakes twice a day (usually 2
to 3 pinches per feeding). The goldfish always eat the majority
of their flakes.
The platys will sometimes eat a little of the goldfish flakes,
which I hear is okay to give platys as a supplement to their
diet. And usually the platys get their tropical flakes at each
feeding (again I usually give 2-3 small pinches of food per
feeding). The only reason I give the platys more than 1 or 2
pinches of food per feeding is because the goldfish (being the
opportunists they are) will eat some of the tropical flakes too.
The goldfish get a few granule-sized pellets once a day during
their morning feeding. The platys have tried to nibble at the
pellets, but they don't seem to like the pellets much. And
once or twice a week I will give all my fish freeze-dried brine
shrimp (crumbled into very fine pieces or powder), live plant
material (such as brown seaweed, blanched lettuce, peas, maybe
very small pieces of orange), or occasionally brine shrimp eggs.
The platys seem to like the eggs a lot and seem to like the brown
seaweed. The male platy is very active and goes after all types
of food he can fit into his small mouth. The two females seem a
bit more shy. The females don't go after the food much when
they are full. This is most likely because they are still getting
used to the tank.
<provided your water quality is good and remains so, you are
feeding them a nice balanced diet.>
The male platy does not constantly chase the ladies or pick at
them that I have seen. Is it possible he would breed with the
females when I turn the lights out and it is pitch black?
<Or just when you aren't watching.>
Also, one of the platy females (Jen, the darker one in the
picture I sent) hurt her fin.
I am treating her hurt fin with MetaFix (sorry if I didn't
spell that right).
<Melafix - it is useless as a medicine. Provided your water
quality if good, the fin will heal up quickly on its own.>
Let me know if this will harm her or her offspring so I can make
all necessary corrections.
<Stop with the Melafix.>
Also one of my goldfish (a beautiful white calico with patches of
brown, orange, and blue on him called Elrond (El)) seems to have
hurt his tail fin. It was probably from when I accidentally
sucked him up with a small (mini) gravel vacuum I have. I had to
work quickly to rescue the poor guy. Anyway, he is fine now. I am
also treating his fin with MetaFix as well. His tail had been
very red on the side with the hurt fin before I caught the injury
to his fin. It is now much less red and he seems to be doing
<Good news, but again, this is just the healing process, not
Other than Jen and Elrond's fins, nothing new to report
currently on the health of my fish. Thank you so much for all
<Enjoy the experience! Write back if you have other
Fish stuck in mother 7/29/09
I just got home from work and went to check on my pregnant platy. There
is a baby "stuck" halfway out of her and i am unsure of what
to do. I have been home for an hour and it is still "stuck".
Is there anything i can do?
<There's nothing you can do. When the baby is ready, it'll
come out. If it's stuck in the mother by the next day, you might be
able to use forceps or even your fingers to pull it out, but if
there's any resistance at all,
there's a chance you'll do harm to the mother, so be careful.
re: Fish stuck in mother 7/30/09
Thanks. Ten minutes after i sent the message the fish was fully
delivered and all babies are doing great!! Thanks again.
<Glad to hear it. Good luck! Neale.>
platy's, repro. 7/12/09
Hi I have a relatively general question about platy fry; I am new to
this whole fish tank thing. We have just had our tank for about 4
months and have been through several fish we also had a bought of ick
(we think). Now we have one male and one female platy a baby Dalmatian
molly (don't know where he came from) and a sucker fish.
<What's a "sucker fish"? Do avoid the Sucking Loach,
Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, an extremely aggressive fish that reaches 35
cm and once above a certain size does little to remove algae. Also
avoid Plecs, typically species of Pterygoplichthys, as these also get
very large, 40-50 cm, and do little to control algae but will totally
ruin water quality in a small aquarium. Both these fish need tanks
upwards of 210 litres/55 US gallons.
In most tanks, the only, repeat ONLY, worthwhile/safe
"sucker" are the Bristlenose catfish, Ancistrus spp.>
Well I suspected that our Mickey play was pregnant but wasn't sure
but I saw a small fry under a decoration piece today. Now how do I take
care of this fish and I am not sure if there's more - do I just
leave it where it is and watch him?
<Juvenile livebearers are very easy to rear. They eat algae and
finely powdered flake food, and in a spacious, mature aquarium
generally find enough to eat without any further help from the
fishkeeper. Floating plants are the key, and things like Indian Ferns
will provide both food and shelter for baby livebearers.>
We kind of did that with the molly fish. The fish store "guy"
said to just leave it alone and it would do fine. We have put nylon on
the filter for fear of the molly being sucked in.
<Actually, healthy livebearer fry are at almost no risk of being
sucked into filters. Assuming you have floating plants, they'll
stay up there anyway, well away from the filter inlet. Unless the
filter is massively out of scale to the size of the aquarium, the water
current won't push the fry about either.>
Now we will watch the platy. Also do I have to expect that these fish
will keep on reproducing?
We have a 29 gallon tank and I thin we've figured out how to keep
the water quality good now. We haven't added any more fish since
the ick outbreak. I would take any info that you can give me on how to
keep this baby alive.
<Mostly read, watch, and experiment; Platies will produce fry about
every 6-8 weeks, so you have ample scope to try out different things.
If you don't want babies, just keep males or else just females,
though females can store embryos from a single mating for several
months before they "run dry". Do see here:
Re: platy's 7/12/09
Hi thank you so much for the information.
<Happy to help.>
We have what I believe is a clown Pleco - which they said is a
community fish and peaceful so hopefully that is the case.
<Yes; the Clown Plec is usually Panaque maccus, a very good
community tank species. Gets to about 10 cm in length. Feeds mostly on
plants and wood rather than algae; Hikari algae wafers are a very good
staple, coupled with bogwood, sliced courgette (zucchini) and cooked
peas. Panaque catfish are very distinctive and interesting animals; do
Occasionally other catfish are sold as Clown Plecs, notably Peckoltia
spp, but basic care is very similar.>
I discovered another fry so it seems we have at least 2 I can see.
<Expect more! If you add floating plants, many fry will survive; if
you have too many fry, adding something predatory, like an Angelfish,
will reduce the numbers.>
This is the first site I've been on that has actually given me a
quick, detailed informative answer to my questions. Thanks for all the
help and will more than likely be asking more questions.
Re: platy's, repro. 7/14/09
Hello again I have another novice question that I couldn't really
find an answer for on the site. Do I need to separate my baby platy fry
in fear of the other adult platy's eating them?
<Some people do. If you have lots of floating plants such as Indian
Fern most will survive long enough (a few days) to be netted out and
put in a rearing tank (or placed in a breeding trap) for the 3-4 weeks
it takes to get them big enough to be safe from the adult Platies (just
an FYI, there's no apostrophe in a plural, it's one Platy, two
I swore that I saw the "Dad" chow one down today.
<May well be...>
Also should I get another female to stop the male from chasing her
<That's what I recommend; at least two females per male.
There's a reason I say that, and you've no figured it out!
Again, floating plants will help by creating resting/hiding places at
the surface, where Platies will use
Also can my male platy reproduce with my female molly?
Again we only have the 2 platy a baby molly and the Pleco. Again thanks
so much for such a GREAT site.
Re: Population Control - Platies and Corydoras
Thanks for all your help.
I'm not digging any options.
I'm not cut out for handing over fry to sell either to idiots or
for feeder fish.
I seem to get emotionally attached watching the babies in all their
<As do I.>
Can I separate the males out and put them in a community by themselves
without females to live their lives?
Or will they fight.
<Actually, I find male livebearers kept together make both love and
Yep, I mean the bigger males will indeed try and mate with any smaller
males they can catch. Whether both parties enjoy the experience, I
cannot say. As for fighting, it's nothing too serious, provided
there is adequate space.>
I do know Platies are social fish best keep in numbers.
<Actually doesn't matter all that much, provided the tank is
reasonably peaceful. Have kept singleton Mollies, Platies or whatever
in community tanks many times.>
But I'm concerned they will fight? I'm thinking this as a
temporary solution as I find a way to get my existing Platies into good
homes or keep until they die and slowly introducing fish that are not
<One way around the problem.>
The Platies are absolutely gorgeous in my opinion.
<Yes, they are. But inevitably, you'll end up with too many.
Each brood numbers, what, a couple of dozen, and females will produce
batches of fry every couple of months. Without some sort of population
control, you can end up with hundreds within a year. Euthanising
newborn fry may well be the least emotionally tiring way to do things;
do see WWM re: humane methods of euthanasia.>
What age (months, weeks?) are Platies sexual reproductively
<Around 2-3 months for males, slightly later for females.>
Thanks in advance,
Platy non-repro. 6/24/09
I have a pregnant platy who showed a birthing tube and then let go a
brown blob thing. On closer inspection and a bit of research i noted
that it was a deformed baby.
As it has eyes, and that but its stomach area was severely bloated. It
now been over 8 hours and she's still showing behaviour of being
pregnant and showing her birthing tube. Will she have more babies?
Is it taking so long because they are all dead?
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>
Question from a teacher about platies: What should I do with
I've seen tons of questions about platies but can't seem to
find the answer to this one. I began the school year with 4 platies and
a plecostomus in my
20 gallon tank.
<Mmm, do try to discern which species of "Pleco" you
have... some get way too large for a 20>
I've tried several times to keep a fish tank at home with no
<Mmmm, a diminishing small percentage of "success" here is
due to chance... Mostly a matter of study, application>
I'm not sure if its the water or what. Anyway, right before Spring
Break (early March) my daughter noticed tons of "baby fish"
in the tank. We removed them to a smaller tank and took them home with
us for break. They did okay at home (no heater or filter). When we
returned to school, she noticed several more babies in the tank that
were much bigger than those that were separated. We decided to put all
of the babies that were separated back into the regular tank. They have
been growing quite well, many are spotted. Last week, we noticed more
babies. We also lost one of our adult platies. Here's my big
question.... the school year is coming to an end. I am happy trying the
tank at home. My question is how many fish should be kept in one
<Perhaps ten adults... or twice this many juveniles>
I'm embarrassed to even admit this but there are now the 3 adults,
1 plecostomus, and 50 babies in the tank.
<No reason for embarrassment>
Some of the other teachers have suggested sending fish home with the
kids. I plan on keeping the adults, plecostomus and some babies. If I
do send a
fish or two home with the kids, will the fish survive without a
<Not well or long... but... still worthwhile in my
If it's not a good idea, what can I do with all of these
Thanks for any answers!
<I'd look around... other teachers, systems at school perhaps...
ask the Admin. re... Otherwise, a local fish store, perhaps a fish club
(see the Net per your region). Bob Fenner>
Need help my platy is pregnant! 5/14/09
upon buying my fish for my tank the hassle had began. Between trying to
get the filter working, getting the temp right, battling ick (or what I
thought was ick), then clearing the tank so the snails can go back in,
finally curing for a fungus my black skirted tetra got I was
<Black-skirt tetras -- Gymnocorymbus ternetzi -- are schooling fish,
and singletons not only get unhappy, but are also VERY prone to being
fin-nippers; not a species I'd mix with Platies!>
Then my platy got really fat I look on line, yes she was pregnant. This
wasn't the news me a novice really wanted to hear but regardless
when life gives you lemons...
<Unless you purchase virgin Platies from a breeder or unusually
responsible retailer, female Platies are pregnant "right out of
So we have decided to keep the babies we have a birthing trap and a
separate tank already set up waiting for the babies.
<Don't put the mother fish in the breeding trap; these things
are far too small for them, and the stress of being confined leads to
all kinds of problems, including miscarriages.>
What I wanted to know was I have read on line over and over again that
it takes about 28 for the babies to come we have had her for exactly 20
days, when should we put her in the trap,
what types of behaviors would she show just before giving birth,
<Often the female rests among the floating plants that you will
sensibly add to this aquarium. Amazon Frogbit or Indian fern are ideal.
Check these every morning when you turn the lights on, and with luck,
you'll see the
baby fish hiding among the floating plants. (The instinct of the
newborn fish is to swim up to floating plants and hide among them,
where predators won't see them.) Expect to get around twenty
babies. Use something like small plastic cup to scoop up the babies,
and put them in the trap. You can rear them there for the first month
or so, after which point they will be big enough to let loose in the
community tank, assuming you don't have any predatory fish in the
and lastly how much should I feed the fry when they are born
<"Little but often" is the watchword here; ideally 4-6
tiny meals. Also leave a clump of thread algae or similar in the trap
so they can graze through the day. The container of baby fish food will
explain all of this
on its labeling. Do also see here:
Population Control - Platies and Corydoras
Hi! Hope all is well with the crew members!
I discovered what I believe are a handful of Peppered Corydoras (maybe
Albino Corydoras, they are clearish/grey at this stage) fry in my tank
<Well done! Peppered Corydoras and Albino Corydoras are the same
species, usually, Corydoras paleatus.>
After getting really excited, I've turned to a state of worry about
the rapidly increasing population. I was under the impression that
Corydoras were not that easy to get to spawn?
<My Peppered Corydoras spawn all the time. So no, not that
difficult. Other Corydoras species are much more difficult to breed,
and some have not yet been bred in captivity. So it all depends,
I certainly haven't been trying after I realized I had enough
babies on my hands with the Platy fry. These certainly don't look
like my Platy fry usually do, although I do have one bluish/grey Platy
(but she is currently
pregnant in my opinion). They don't necessarily look like my
Corydoras either, but more so than they resemble a Platy. They are also
hanging out in caves and on the floor of the tank.
<That does sound more like Corydoras than Platies.>
In my experience, the Platy fry usually prefer the floating plants up
top and would venture out occasionally mid and top level. But then
again, I didn't notice any eggs in my tank either.
<Corydoras eggs are usually stuck to the glass and plant leaves,
often halfway up the sides of the tank.>
Obviously, I have no real clue who these guys belong to. I am new to
all of this (going on four months now) and my current 40 gallon tank
that houses the Corydoras and Platies is currently recycling (after a
medication attempt and misunderstanding about how long I could turn off
It seems I am prone to make every available mistake possible in this
hobby, so I am still having to do daily large water changes as my
ammonia and nitrites are spiking. Anywho, my point is, if even my
Corydoras are having kiddos in such a unstable environment, what will
the reproduction rate be like when I get everything squared away with
<Likely similar; in fact, the water changes are a key trigger for
Corydoras breeding, because cold water replicates rainfall, which is
what makes these catfish frisky!>
I'm having visions of tanks in every corner of my house and as cool
as the fish/fry are, I'm not digging that idea.
<I wouldn't worry about it.>
Can you advise my best bet in controlling my population? I've read
you can resell them to local LFS, however I would prefer not to do so
if I can avoid it as I'm not comfortable with how I see them treat
<Do try posting on forums, such as the one we have here at WWM, or
any other that appeals. Most have a "sale/swap" thread, and
if you chat with people online, you'll be able to figure out who is
a good fishkeeper and who is not. From there, you can offer up baby
fish as freebies.
Alternatively, just leave them in the tank. Without specific care, few
will reach even an inch in length, at which point they might just start
to have an impact on filtration capacity. Thirdly, you can always
euthanise fry as you see them. Fourthly, you can observe the tank
carefully, and when you see eggs, remove them.>
I recently boycotted any LFS that sells Bettas in a cup and/or tinny
tiny bowls. Maybe I should revisit this policy as it seems every store
<Pretty much yes.>
And also, from what I've read, inbreeding isn't a good idea
<It's not a great idea, no, you do tend to get a lot of fish
with genetic abnormalities such as crooked spines or small
Can you suggest a plan of action for me? Maybe another type of fish
that would help keep the fry population down? My PH is usually right at
7.6 and temperature steady at 75 degrees. Any other humane ideas
(I'm not even sure adding predators is considered humane)?
<Adding egg-eaters is surely humane; Bristlenose catfish for example
should do this rather well.>
I hope this wasn't a stupid question.
Thanks in advance,
<Well done, anyway! Cheers, Neale.>