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FAQs on the Livebearing Toothed Carps, Poeciliid Fishes 2

Related Articles: Livebearing Fishes by Bob Fenner, Poeciliids: Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks, Livebearing Freshwater Fishes

Related FAQs: Poeciliids 1, Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, MolliesLivebearer Identification, Livebearer Behavior, Livebearer Compatibility, Livebearer Selection, Livebearer Systems, Livebearer Feeding, Livebearer Disease, Livebearer Reproduction,

Re: Emergency Need Help!!!! Platies, reading/using WWM   1/30/07 The fancy guppy was cared for properly and fed properly. I'm not dumb for doing that, so can you explain why now? I have the natural gravel that you buy from the store. <Read where you were referred... the possibilities are too vast to guess from what you've presented. RMF>
Platy Fry Hello crew, I have a question. My female platy has recently given birth. And so, should I leave the fry in the community tank or should I buy another ten gallon tank and raise them in there? <Mmm, if you want to maximize the possibility of their survival, I'd separate them...> Also are there any suggestions in how to tell the sexes of the platies? <This is posted... where you've been referred to... the gonopodia of males...> They mate very often and now I have noticed that all the female platies are pregnant! The question is that I don't know the ph, or the nitrogen, are they sensitive to this? And are they okay now even though there breeding? I asked this before and I never got an answer, please help me this time! <... Read, don't write. BobF>
Please... teach your children well.... Yes I have questions, My first one is that I have a 10 gallon tank, and I'm just wondering how many guppies and platies can I put in it? Also a family member of mine wants to buy Japanese goldfish like pearl fish or something close to that and the fishes cousins. Could you tell me the requirements of that goldfish and the platy question too? Thanks! ^_^ <One last time... these questions are all answered, and much more related material you'll want to, need to know... on WWM... GO THERE, learn to and use the indices, search tool.>
Hannah's Fishy Dilemmas  6/29/06 Dear Mr. Bob, <Lisa> To help with my questions I attached pictures of my fish.. In my 10 gallon tank I have: a) two mollies (a male just died today of old age, so actually one) b) three platies (a boy, a girl, and a mystery) & c) two male guppies I want to know if you could help me determine the genders of my mystery platy <The one labeled "platy" is a male> and tell if my (for-sure) female platy and molly are pregnant. <Could be... but not very> If my mystery platy is a girl could she be pregnant?? I'm pretty sure that both guppies are males, but could you justify? <Don't know about justification, but they both have gonopodia... are males> My last black molly and her mate were kept in a simple fishbowl and about two years ago, I was surprised to find two fry, (but they were both dead :( ) so I have pretty much no knowledge of what to do if she is pregnant, except for what I have read on your (very interesting and WONDERFUL) site. So... what should I do?!?! Ahh! please help!! Thank you sooooooooo much in advance!!!!! Hannah ps. who's who! Picture #1: My black female molly Picture #2: My red female platy Picture #3: My mystery platy Picture #4: my two guppies <Enjoy them! They all appear healthy. Bob Fenner>

Tiny Tank With Fry On The Way   4/30/06 I have a 5 gallon tank with 2 swordtails, 4 mollies, an Otocinclus and 3 small shrimp. My silver molly is pregnant, will she come to term in such a small tank? Also, I do have a few live plants but will the fry survive? I am not sure if it will be too crowded and effect the other fish. Thanks! <Hi, Don here today. Yes, your Mollie will give birth in this small tank. I would think that most will be taken by the swordtails if you leave things as is. This is not a bad thing, it's nature's way. But if you want to raise the fry and keep the fish you currently have, you will need a second (or larger well planted) tank. You are already overstocked, the fry will put additional stress on the system. Look into setting up a 20 gallon long for your current fish and using the 5 as a fry and shrimp tank. If a new tank is not possible I suggest you pick your favorite 2 or 3 fish and find new homes for the rest.>

Freshwater 20g... unexpected surprise...  - 04/27/06 Hello... and thanking you already for any help/advice you can give,    I've been searching your site but haven't been able to find exactly what I'm looking for so I do apologize if this type of issue has already been addressed and I just couldn't find it.    I recently bought a 20g tank for freshwater fish. I am very new to this hobby and mistakenly took the advice of the PetSmart salesperson - I didn't know a thing about cycling until stumbling across your website. I did purchase a bottle of Cycle and have been adding as per the directions but no one at the shop told me not to add the fish right away. <A very common mistake... often deadly> My bad for not investigating further.  I've had the tank for almost three weeks and so far the fish I have are doing alright - I have 5 platys and 5 mollies. They're "happily" swimming and eating and there don't seem to be any problems ( please keep your fingers crossed for me :) ). Here's my problem  - I specifically asked for only male fish because I didn't want the possibility of having fry until I became more accustomed to taking care of the adults if that makes sense. Well, lo and behold I now have eight fry ( three of them I noticed last week and the five new ones I noticed three days ago - the new ones are still "baby babies" ). This is my question ( finally :o ) - I would like at some point soon to get into the tank with my gravel cleaner, how safe is it to do so with these babies hiding everywhere? <Not generally a problem. They avoid such> Secondly, since I biffed the cycling process should I wait awhile before cleaning the gravel in an effort to not create an even larger problem? <Yes... you are wise here. "Cycle" (Hagen product) does often fail or not work in the first place. I'd wait another month or so before changing water> Thank you again... it's so very very much appreciated!! Geri       <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Re: fish fry stuck in mother Thank you very much. <Happy to be of some help.> So if they don't come out does she die and the fry live? <If the egg material isn't reabsorbed into the female's system, which is typically what we'd expect, yes, it can be fatal to her. Once born, the fry are going to be reliant on you, not "Mom". You might try adding a small amount of aquarium salt to the tank, on the order of one tablespoon per 10 gallons. I've no first-hand experience with using salt for this purpose but have run across this suggestion during other research. Good luck. Tom> Everett

Livebearer problems    4/10/06 Firstly hello to you all, the site is great, I have spent 2 nights now looking at the numerous posts and replies trying to find the answers to my questions. I also read the tips on asking questions page which was very informative and also a good laugh (I probably shouldn't have said that, but some of the posts listed here as examples are hilarious. <Heee! Agreed> A great suggestion would be to have a monthly list of bad/funny emails, that would make people a little more considerate.). <Were there but time...> Okay, my tank has been set up for 2 years now and been a brilliant source of interest and wonder for my 2 kids (now 5 and 8). I have 2 adult Albino Corydoras (been with me from the start), 4 young Bronze Corydoras (added early Jan), 8 adult Loricate Catfish (Otocinclus, now been with me for 1 year), 6 female Platys, 2 male Platys, 3 male guppies, 5 female guppies. Also due to breeding in this tank I have 1 guppy fry and 12 platy fry all in a breeding net. <Okay> Tank temp is 79 degrees and cleaned by 2 box filters in the rear corners also 2 air stones 1 in the breeding net and the other running at the rear, substrate is smooth pebble and fine sand the cats/Corys seem to love it. <Wow, time warp!> The problem started 18 days ago I swapped 16 young platys and guppies with my local shop for flake as I seem to do quite often (my kids love the livebearers having babies, and as you know they oblige every 4/6 weeks). The owner had some swordtail platys which looked fantastic so I took 1 male and 1 female. All seemed ok and after 3 days they went from my 12x12x12 quarantine/fry tank into the one above. Its then that disaster happened the following day the female sword died, we had the funeral (dead fish go to a big river in the sky you know, kids fault) and I hoped that was it. 2 days later the first male guppy died (another funeral) and I had a really good look at my fish to see if I could see any more problems. A couple of the female guppies and 1 female platy had tiny white spots on their tails, I had a look at your site and spoke to my fish shop owner who said that half of the swords that he got in were dead or suffering from white spot (a bad batch he said), he gave me (he felt guilty) anti white spot plus (Interpet) and I treated my tank. <Probably not Ich... but... likely another protozoan> I then during the next 7 days lost 2 male and 3 female guppies, 3 female and 1 male platy (guppies also looked like their tails had been shredded) I took a selection of the deceased back to my local shop (my kids understood, I think even they had gotten fed up with a funeral per day) and was told to also treat for fin rot (Interpet fin rot) and add some aquarium salt to the tank. This I have done and haven't lost any more fish for 4 days now. I cant see anymore white spots and the remaining live bearers look ok except, they all seem to have clamped fins my last female guppy seems to wobble and shimmy through the water rather than swim (don't think she'll last much longer), also my Corys and cats have now taken to occasionally rubbing themselves on the substrate what should I do about this? <Is likely resultant from exposure to the "med."... if so, this will solve itself within a few weeks> , I'm keeping up the water changes approx. 10-20% every other day. Is their anything else that I should be doing? My fry seem to be holding their own they haven't been affected or so it seems. <Mmm, maybe...> I blame myself for not keeping the swords in quarantine for a week as I had planned. <Two weeks...> With my tank being well established and all seeming ok I am so disappointed that I have now only a few livebearers left. I know my tank was a good habitat due to its breeding successes and my albino Corys had on 2 occasions recently laid eggs all over the glass (none rescued due to fry tank being full and with this many Corys and cats the eggs don't last long). I had wanted to try and breed the Corys on the next spawn but how do I know if the eggs have been fertilized as both albinos look the same sex (female obviously, just adding that so you don't). <I see> Please help and please don't hammer me too badly re the quarantine my 5 year old has already given me the guilt trip by saying I killed her guppies by adding the swords (kids got to love em, if you ring their necks you get arrested). <The promise of tomorrow... if they make it that far!> By the way the male sword is still here and doing fine (cant say he's my favourite don't know why). Regards, Dave Wilkinson Hull, Yorkshire, England (the home of correct spelling) <Oh! Our friend, roommate of 14 years is from Yorkshire as well... I would likely just leave all go at this juncture. Should you experience another of these "wipe out" syndromes, I would utilize a one-dose treatment with Flagyl/Metronidazole... otherwise... the requisite isolation/quarantine of all new livestock for two weeks. Cheers, Bob Fenner>

New fry and tank care  - 03/13/2006 Hello WWM Crew:     I very much appreciate all your information and support.  I have written a couple of emails recently and have found great comfort in your replies and advice!  Thank you!!  My 3 1/2 daughter, Katee, has recently had some new additions to her fish family.  About four days ago her Mickey Mouse platy, "Sunshine," gave birth to 7 babies.  I was able to retrieve 5 right away and place them in a breeder's net within the tank.  Her tank is 16 gallons containing a total of 4 male guppies, 1 mm platy, 1 red platy, 1 silver platy, 1 baby black molly (given to her from the pet store about 4 weeks ago), and a dwarf Plecostomus.  Today we found 2 more babies swimming around the tank, retrieved one and put it in the net.  The last is still in the big tank. now named "Houdini."  I noticed that the tank near the net is growing algae...I am trying to keep it clean by sucking out the waste with a children's medicine dropper and I also use it to clear any uneaten food after 20  minutes.  Is this the best way to keep it clean? <Perhaps a length (five, six feet) of flexible airline tubing fashioned as a siphon would work best here> Any additional ideas?  How is it possible to do a water change if the fry are hanging at the top? <Careful siphoning> Do I even want to do a change? <Yes, some every week> I made a 5 gallon water change last Monday and added the required salt at that time too. I have been prepping my daughter that not all the babies might make it, but so far we have a 100 % success rate.  How many fish can her tank support? <About this many when fully grown> I am attempting to keep this tank as low maintenance as possible, is that asking too much?   <Mmm, no> We do have a place some of the babies can go to at school, a very well maintained 20 gallon tank with only 6 platys.  How long do the fry need to stay in the net? <Till more than mouth size...> Is it better to leave them there or let them be free...."Houdini" has done very well and he is the smallest.  Currently the fry are being fed 3 - 4 times a day with "first bites" and the others get flake food each evening.  Should I maintain this schedule? <Yes> For how long?   <A month or so> Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.  Both Katee and I are extremely grateful for your input.   Sincerely, Debby <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

There's something in the water...  - 03/11/2006 Hello all,     Thank you very much in advance for your expertise.... <Glad to share it> I am very happy I found your web forum, I have found it extremely helpful.  My 3 1/2 year old daughter is obsessed with fish!!! <Do sneak in the occasional spread sheet, business tome...!> We have a lot of exciting things happening in our 16 gallon tank.  We recently have had 5 new Mickey mouse platy additions to our family, they are happily residing in a breeder's net and eating well and are very active, even the tiniest of them all.  Unfortunately the "Mama" broke her back during birth and had to be put down (it was a happy and sad day yesterday!)  Now that I have taken a deep breath I believe that the red platy and another platy in the tank are pregnant too!!!  This tank has now 5 fry, 3 Mickey mouse platys, 1 red platy, 4 male guppies, and one dwarf Plecostomus.  From surfing your site I see dark areas on the lower parts of their bodies.  Do the fish show any other signs before giving birth? <A clearing of the distal vent area... a day or so ahead... and "hiding" behavior> The red platy is being slightly piggish at mealtime and chasing off the others, while the yellow Mickey mouse is hanging back and down in the plants.  How many fish can my tank support? <Mmm, "well"... depends on size, maintenance... but a couple of dozen... a good idea to "share the wealth" here... with the growing of young, to give these out to others that want them> Do I let these new ones fend for themselves? <This is one way... and in general best, yes> There are lots of hiding places in our tank, many plants, large pebbles, rocks etc.  How many fry can go into the breeders net and not be over crowded? <... depending on size... a dozen or two...> Should I get a second one? <If necessary, yes... and/or keep an eye out for sales on new/used tanks/systems> Can you place multiple fry from different "Moms" into the same net? <Yes> Thank you for any advice you can give me.  All is helpful!!     Katee also has a very happy 5 gallon tank that has never given an ounce of trouble.  On the other hand her 2 1/2 gallon tank smells sulfuric. <A very common trend for "too-small" systems to have/be trouble...> At one time it had black slimy algae growing in it, but I replaced all the plants with new ones and it has not returned, except for the smell.  Any idea? <More aeration, moving (during water changes) new water for the tiny tank from the larger ones... time going by> This tank only has 1 fish a two inch red-eyed tetra named "Poop."  Can this tank support any more fish? <Of some species yes> Thank you again.  Have a wonderful day.  Sincerely, Debby <Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner>

Platys and Mollies  - 03/05/06 Ok first I want to say HI! Then I want to apologize in advance for the simple questions I am about to ask. Ok I just got two mollies of some unknown variety and the same with two Platys. I really want babies now that I know they are live bearing fish. I am extremely new at this for I have a one gallon tank don't know anything about hard water, soft water, brackish, nitrites, and I have them in a tank with water from my sink. I'm sure right now you are thinking "oh great"! Well I REALLY want to get into breeding these fish but I'm not sure how to tell their sexes. <Not hard to do... they have internal fertilization (as our species does)... males have modified anal fins, gonopodia, for genetic intromission... gone over on WWM> OK if that's not bad enough here is the worst thing these are Wal-Mart fish! Anyways I know that males have a gonopodium but I can't really tell if any have this. <Oh! May be too small to see at this point> I have one black and white platy, black back with white fins and belly and semi iridescent black scales, who always keeps its anal fin tucked, I hope to god that was the right name, I am almost positive that its a he. The other platy is smaller by just a little bit and is bright orange with yellowish fins I am sure this is a female because that fin is always out and look round but she is smaller than the other. Aren't males smaller? <Yes> The mollies are what I am most concerned about. One is yellow with kind of iridescent spots. The other is larger and has a yellow color with orangish and black spots. This one seems to be dominate over the other it seems that it chases yellow one about until she feels satisfied about her position in the tank. I am not sure if they are both female and I don't know if they are okay where they are now they seem to be fine i think except for the chasing between the two mollies I think they both might be female , and that is okay for now I suppose. Later today I should be going out and getting some new fish and my friend is giving me another ten-twenty gallon tank. <Much better... the present one gallon is too small, unstable> I broke the first one he gave me within the hour of getting it, I dropped it in the sink while trying to clean the hard water out of it. Well I need to know what to put in this new tank. Currently I have rocks, one fake plant, an air pump, and a thermometer. I got from my friend a filter, a thermal something and a light for the top of the tank but I don't know how to use any of these things. <Posted on WWM... but I would have a "fish friend" come by and help you in person> I think the mean female molly is pregnant she has that dark spot in her belly how can I tell when she will give birth? How many fish can fit in a ten-twenty gallon tank? <Both posted...> I must know so I don't over fill it especially if their are babies on the way. Ok well the platys seem to be right at home just swimming about but the mollies hide by the plastic plant in the tank a I put bulbs for a plant called an Aponogeton is this an okay plant? One more thing I feed them regular fish flakes is that okay? How often do I feed them? Thank you for your help I hope this is better Maria <Please see WWM. Your answers are there. Bob Fenner>

Baby Molly and Pregnant Platy   3/3/06 Hi, I have one breeding net it has one baby Molly in it is it ok to put a pregnant platy in with he baby Molly ? <Should be okay... if the molly is large enough... more than mouth size. Bob Fenner>

Platy & Guppy Questions... and Neons in the mix   2/22/06 I'm new to the hobby, but your site has been quite helpful.  I have a couple of questions about the health of my fish and I hope you can help.  I have a 10 gallon tank this is well filtered, heated to about 79 F, and planted as my main tank and a 2.5 gallon hospital tank.  I have 7 guppies, 2 male and 5 females; 3 platies and 13 platy fry that are 2 days old and doing very well; 3 neon tetras, a Chinese algae eater and 2 bamboo shrimp.  I know I have a bit too many, but water quality seems to be pretty good and I test it at least every other day and I have another 10 gallon being shipped.  When I first brought the platies home, one had a white rectangular wound on her back so she went straight to the hospital tank where she is now, and gave birth 2 days ago, and the white stuff has spread around her a little, but its not spotted like ick is and appears to have some trouble swimming in the main tank.  Also in the hospital tank is one of the Neons who has some gill trouble - loss of gills or the cover, <Happens> but it appears to be slowly returning to a more pink color and one female guppy who has gotten progressively worse, she has some raised scales, large white growths.  One of the guppies in the main tank also has a few scales that appear almost like a shed skin coming off, but they don't appear to be getting any worse.  None of the other fish seem to have any trouble, but I'm not sure what to do about the fish in the hospital tank or the one guppy with the "shedding" in the main tank.  Any help or advice you can offer me would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks. Arlie Hubbard <I would separate (when you get the new ten gallon) the Neons, read re their water quality (softer, acidic, warmer) and the livebearers... and keep their environments to their liking... This is all that is needed here. Oh... and keep an eye on this Algae Eater... often trouble with other fishes. Bob Fenner>
Re: Platy & Guppy Questions... and Neons in the mix   2/23/06
Thank you very much for replying so quickly.  I went to Petco today and they recommended Mardel Maracyn.  I'm now treating exclusively with that.  I will definitely take your advice and I'm glad you didn't notice any major issues with my setup.  Thanks again for all of your help. Arlie Hubbard <Welcome my friend. Bob Fenner>

FW Pecking Order   2/22/06 Thank you so much for your prompt advice.  I now seem to have a new problem. The death of my (slightly aggressive) male molly seems to have upset the pecking order in the tank.  My three male guppies used to get along swimmingly, hanging around together as a defense against getting picked on (presumably).  With the molly gone, the two biggest guppies are turning on the smallest and bullying him, and he is losing his beautiful tail, not to mention the fact that he no longer swims with the other two.  I understand the behaviour, but don't know what to do.  He will be gone by the time I quarantine another fish to help balance out the aggression.  Is he doomed to die?  And if he does, will the largest one then turn on the second largest and kill him too?  Help! Kathy <Move all the rocks and decorations around to new locations to set up new areas, then lower the water temp to 77 F to reduce their metabolism. Add a clump of floating plants or ABS black plastic pipe to establish a refugium for sick or injured fish to hide in.-Chuck>

My livebearers don't seem to be breeding   2/7/06 Crew: <Tim> I have a cycled 29 gallon tank that has been up and running since about October.  I lost a few fish early on when the tank was still cycling but everything has been fine since then.  Currently my tank is a little overstocked but the fish seem healthy. I have 3 platys, 3 swordtails, 3 green Corys, 6 lemon tetras, 8 zebra Danios, one small bushy nosed Pleco and 2 small clown loaches.    Of the swordtails, one is a male and two are female.  Of the platys at least one is a male and one is a female, but I have trouble telling for the third platy.  It looks like a male but I can't tell whether it is just pulling up its anal fin as it swims.  I also have a number of plants. including java fern, java moss, Cryptocorynes, Ludwigia, Cabomba caroliniana, Hygrophila, Amazon sword, hornwort and Anacharis.  Some of the hornwort is floating at the top.  I was having some trouble with rams horn snails getting out of control but not anymore since I introduced the loaches.   <Ah, yes> (There are still snails but not too many).  I have not added any salt for the sake of the plants and the tetras. <Good>   The temp is set 78.  The ph is fluctuates between 6.8 and 7.0, the carbonate hardness is 3-4, and the GH is 7-8.  I have two 2 bulb t-5 strip lights that provide a total wattage of 72 (4 bulbs at 18 w each).   I have algae but it is under control since I adjusted the timers to turn the lights out for 2 hours during the middle of each day.  I'm adding co2 regularly using one of the low tech plastic gadgets where you add the fizzy tablets.       <Sounds like a very nice set-up, livestock mix> To the best of my knowledge the platys and swordtails have not had any fry.  They seem to be engaging in courtship behavior.  Is it possible they are having fry and I have not seen them before they are eaten. <Yes, most likely here> How can I tell if the female is pregnant?  Any ideas what I can do? Thanks.   Tim <Mmm, the general "roundness" of females, their more hiding/slower moving behavior, the darkening of the vent area are all indications... quite "pregnant" females can be moved in advance... to other systems, a breeding net/trap... but young may cause crowding issues here with growth... I would let "nature take its course"... unless you have other tanks, intend to give away the offspring. Bob Fenner>

Snails in Livebearer Tank - 2/4/2006 Hi Bob, <<Lisa writing tonight.>> I always wanted a healthy planted, livebearer, tank. <Sounds great.>> This is 15g tank with mollies, platies, swordtails. It was cycled by "fishless cycling" , and I have not lost a single fish since last six months when this tank was set up. <<Good stuff!>> Well the problem is that the living conditions in this tank are so good that it is now having lots of unwanted guests "Snails". I do not want to use chemicals. <<I wouldn't either.>> I read that loaches eat snails, but right now, they are not available at LFS. Do Bettas eat snails, <<Not usually.>> can they be put in this tank? Any other method? Picking them manually is very tedious and stresses the fish, which I want to avoid. <<Search on WWM for tricks to catch them.  Know that where there are snails, there is snail food.>>   Thank you Sandeep Raghuvanshi India <<You're welcome. Lisa. Canada.>>  

Mystery Guppy Theater - 10/27/2005 Hi Crew! <Good morning to yah!> GREAT!!! site MANY thanks! <Thank you for these kind words!!> Two issues today. First I was hoping you could help me identify the fish in the photos I attached! <Can't tell from the photos which fish I am to identify....> He/she/it is SUPPOSED to be a feeder guppy.  <Okay.> From my limited experience it seems that this fish has male anal fins, and a female gravid spot??? I figure that since the fish were all off food for three days (as advised by LFS owner) the dark spot on my mystery fish wasn't likely to be food? <Could be just coloration.> I bought the fish in a group of feeders. (BIG mistake!) I ended up with a fungus that I was told to use Binox on, and I am now battling high nitrates. (I assume it is because the Binox killed the good bacteria??)  <Entirely possible.> I managed to catch the owner of the fish store the day my water conditions were checked and he advised that I should not have used Binox in a new tank (I guess his employees should have been told this!) <Best to reserve medications for quarantine/hospital tanks only, if in any way possible.> and told me to cut food for 3 days, and do daily 5 gal water changes. I have a 15 gallon. <Sounds great.> This tank is only a month old to begin with so I am concerned about the large daily water changes.  <Not a concern. Bacteria reside in the substrate, filter, on decor.... not in the water column itself.> From what I have picked up both from your site, and a "fish only" store over a hundred miles away I have decided on adding plants, <Excellent!> 1 gallon changes every other day, an air stone and using salt.  <Sounds good.> The only fish in the tank are guppies and a Cory cat. <Mm, you might want to omit the salt.... and get a couple pals for the Cory.> So the second question is am I doing the right thing to lower nitrates?  <Yes.... just test/observe as you go.> All my other levels are fine. The LFS owner tells me the high nitrates are the end of my cycle period and to keep my fingers crossed that I don't lose any fish before it completes.  <Just keep testing, changing water. You should be okay.> HELP!! :o) Thanks so much! -Doug Alley Cat <Wishing you well, -Sabrina "Bruno" Fullhart, who will probably never live it down once it's posted.... Still, it's older and better than "Tiny Bladder".... Yikes....> <<Bruno...???  Yes, it is better than "Tiny Bladder", or "The Piddler".  MH>>

Mystery Guppy - Just a Sweet Transvestite From Guppselvania? - II - 10/29/2005 Hi again! <Hello!> Thanks for your prompt response! Sorry I forgot to point out the fish I needed help with! He/she/it is the all orange one.  <I see....> I hope these pictures are a little more helpful.  <Um. Well. Confusing, for certain.> I am sorry for the quality, but my digital cam is new to me, as are my aquarium photography skills. I would REALLY like to know what is up with this fish!  <Me, too. I would name this fish "Dr. Frankenfurter".> Is it just a unique colored guppy?  <Mm, I've seen plenty of gold-colored guppies, have a couple myself. Though this fish does look somewhat more like a small swordtail.> Is it male or female?  <Uhh.... Yes? I make the same observations as you on this - the animal has a rounded, robust belly common in females, a "gravid spot", does NOT have the slender body shape of a male, but very distinctly has a gonopodium. I think this fish's genes are a little confused.> I have observed that it is the most shy fish in the tank.  <I would be, too, if I were so confused on my gender! But I don't think fish are so picky about such things.> It often likes to sit in the Java Moss that is rooted in the driftwood and sometimes vanishes completely for hours. It seems to show no mating behavior, and is not aggressive at all. The dark spot in the belly NEVER goes away or varies. I sent a pic to a fish store owner an hour away from me, and he agrees that it seems to have both male/female characteristics, and feels that it may be a swordtail because they are known to change sexes(!?!).  <Mm, I agree with the observation that it might be a swordtail, but I think the idea that they "change sexes" has been discredited; late-developing males may look like females for a while, but not so very much so as this fish, I think.> I found an article where somebody thought they had a wild platy, and it was suggested that they had a Gambusia, but I looked at the available pictures posted on http://www.fishbase.org/search.cfm  and I don't really think that is the fish I have.  <No, this is not at all a Gambusia. I have quite a bit of experience in dealing with mosquito fish.... have seen/handled thousands.... your fish is not one, I assure you.> Is it a mystery to me to be sure!  <And to me. I honestly think this fish is exhibiting both male and female characteristics. It can happen in other animals, why not fish?> Also, you suggested I get my Cory cat a couple of pals.  <Yes - they're schoolers.> I have always been told that too many cats in a tank could lead to one of them starving?  <I've never seen/heard such a conviction.... To give you a bit of an idea how much of a schooling fish this really is, they live in groups of hundreds or *thousands* in the wild. Really. I like to see them in groups of six or more, with three being an absolute minimum.... You'll see much more active, happy behaviour out of them if you choose to do this.> The one I have is doing a GREAT job keeping up with the uneaten food, and I assume he is the one eating the snail eggs.(?)  <Could be.> Are these neat little cats the kind of fish that prefer uneven numbers in their "school"?  <The uneven numbers thing is kind of bunk, in my mind.... I promise you, they don't count each other in the wild and kick someone out if there's an even number of fish. They don't really care how many there are, as long as there are "several".> And should I just add extra flake food if I get 2 more cats?  <That'd be just fine.> I read what I could find about hospital tanks, and I have one set up. 5 gal. No gravel, no light, large clump of Java Moss, external biofilter, heat between 76/78f. The tank has been up just under a week. No fish. When/if I need to medicate fish, should I put only the visibly ill in the hospital/QT tank, or all of 'em, and then do a water change on the main tank?  <It really depends on what disease you're medicating. If it's a disease that might be isolated to a single fish, then just the single fish would need to be medicated. If it's a disease that may have spread to everyone else, like Ich, then everyone would need to be treated.> Thanks for your help, and thanks most of all for this GREAT resource! <And thank you, again, for these kind words!> Doug Alley Cat #89 <Wishing you well, -Sabrina.... It's just a jump to the left!>
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