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FAQs on Guppy Reproduction, Breeding 2

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

Related FAQs:  Guppy Reproduction 1, Guppies 1, Guppies 2, Guppy Identification, Guppy Behavior, Guppy Compatibility, Guppy Selection, Guppy Systems, Guppy Feeding, Guppy Disease, Livebearers, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies

Hey Baby! It takes two (guppies) to tango.

Female Guppy/Birth problems    4/21/17
My female looks like she is ready to explode. Her fry look backwards. The dark part is in the front of her chest cavity instead of toward the back. A reddish stripe is starting to appear on her chest. I had her in the breeder
and she was floating vertically with her mouth open and at the bottom of the breeder
. Her cord is flowing and it looks like a baby was protruding from her last night. When I went to check on her this morning I saw nothing in the birth canal, cord is still flowing. Since she was still pointing toward the bottom. She couldn't get upright. So I let her back out of the breeder and she went to the bottom of the tank. She then tucked herself under a shell so she is in the normal position. I'm hoping the fry will turn around. have you ever encountered anything like this?
<Yes. Unfortunately very occasionally livebearers have problems giving birth. Stress (e.g., from males in the tank) may be a key factor, but it's hard to say for sure. Guppies are ovoviviparous, meaning that there isn't a real placenta between the female and her young; what happens is more like the eggs stay inside her, protected, but not actually connected to her.
Sometimes the eggs don't develop properly, and the embryos die, and while they should be reabsorbed, they instead decay, ultimately killing the female as well unless she can expel them. There are fish with true placentas, the Goodeids for example, and they're called viviparous fish. In any event, with your female Guppy, if something goes wrong, sometimes the eggs are released prematurely, to be eaten up by scavengers and snails in the tank. More often the eggs hatch, but the fry develop only for a short time, and premature fry are born. These are unable to swim or feed, and again, get eaten up. It's pretty rare for almost 'full term' fry to be born prematurely, and if you can find and net these into a breeding trap, after a day or two they swim about normally and all is well. Regardless, there
shouldn't really be anything like an afterbirth in Guppies because there's no placenta, so anything else emerging from the cloaca could be faeces, dead tissue from failed embryos, who knows? Watch; isolate the fish from stress; and hope for the best.>
Should I try to take the cord out with some tweezers or let it be?
<The latter; you could also try adding Epsom salt (a useful laxative for fish) to relax the muscles around the birth canal and speed up the delivery. Actually trying to pull anything manually would be very traumatic for all concerned. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Epsom salt is widely sold online and in drugstores.>
Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you,
Angela
<Good luck, Neale.>

Female Guppy/Birth problems    4/21/17
My female looks like she is ready to explode. Her fry look backwards. The dark part is in the front of her chest cavity instead of toward the back. A reddish stripe is starting to appear on her chest. I had her in the breeder
and she was floating vertically with her mouth open and at the bottom of the breeder
. Her cord is flowing and it looks like a baby was protruding from her last night. When I went to check on her this morning I saw nothing in the birth canal, cord is still flowing. Since she was still pointing toward the bottom. She couldn't get upright. So I let her back out of the breeder and she went to the bottom of the tank. She then tucked herself under a shell so she is in the normal position. I'm hoping the fry will turn around. have you ever encountered anything like this?
<Yes. Unfortunately very occasionally livebearers have problems giving birth. Stress (e.g., from males in the tank) may be a key factor, but it's hard to say for sure. Guppies are ovoviviparous, meaning that there isn't a real placenta between the female and her young; what happens is more like the eggs stay inside her, protected, but not actually connected to her.
Sometimes the eggs don't develop properly, and the embryos die, and while they should be reabsorbed, they instead decay, ultimately killing the female as well unless she can expel them. There are fish with true placentas, the Goodeids for example, and they're called viviparous fish. In any event, with your female Guppy, if something goes wrong, sometimes the eggs are released prematurely, to be eaten up by scavengers and snails in the tank. More often the eggs hatch, but the fry develop only for a short time, and premature fry are born. These are unable to swim or feed, and again, get eaten up. It's pretty rare for almost 'full term' fry to be born prematurely, and if you can find and net these into a breeding trap, after a day or two they swim about normally and all is well. Regardless, there
shouldn't really be anything like an afterbirth in Guppies because there's no placenta, so anything else emerging from the cloaca could be faeces, dead tissue from failed embryos, who knows? Watch; isolate the fish from stress; and hope for the best.>
Should I try to take the cord out with some tweezers or let it be?
<The latter; you could also try adding Epsom salt (a useful laxative for fish) to relax the muscles around the birth canal and speed up the delivery. Actually trying to pull anything manually would be very traumatic for all concerned. Do read here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
Epsom salt is widely sold online and in drugstores.>
Any help would be appreciated.
Thank you,
Angela
<Good luck, Neale.>

Manipulating guppy fry sex ratio    10/24/16
Hello!
Once again, I thank you for the excellent information on your website.
<And thanks for the kind words.>
I breed guppies and recently noticed a steep decline in the percentage of males to females. I previously got 2 - 2.5 females per male, but now it is closer to 5 females per male.
This is a problem because I sell to a store and they always want an equal number of the sexes and if this trend continues I won't be able to supply enough males for their order.
<Understood.>
I've looked online and found some scholarly articles and unscientific personal accounts that suggest warmer water produces more males than females. It appears 80-82 F should give me the males I need.
<Have read the same thing, but doesn't seem to be a hard-and-fast rule (as one paper puts it, there's "no consistent sex bias"). Plus, there's also some evidence that while exposing gravid females to increased temperatures diminished the number of female fry, it also increased the risk of the pregnant female dying, so you'd have to be careful. Some experimentation is surely necessary here for establishing the ideals under aquarium conditions -- would suggest 28-30 C as the maximum, and with increased aeration to reduce oxygen stress. Make sense?>
But what is lacking are specific details on when to apply the warm water.
Before pregnancy? During? After?
<Before and during. Sex will be presumably "fixed" at or a few days after fertilisation, but since you can't establish when that takes place, best to keep males and (virgin) females together at the elevated temperature. Take care to acclimate fish to higher temperatures across several days.>
If there is truth to the hot water claims, please tell me how to go about boosting my number of males.
<Other authors have put the sex ratio down to differential survival rates.
For example, if males are smaller at birth than females, cannibalism or starvation could easily favour the females. This is a big issue with cichlids, because the males are often bigger than females after hatching, so hog food, grow faster, and therefore can hog even more food, starving the females. Review your breeding and rearing strategies, and determine
whether rearing smaller groups, perhaps separating by size, and/or providing better, very small foods (such as brine shrimp nauplii or even infusoria) might be better than the one-size-fits-all approach of finely powdered flake food that works for casual livebearer breeding.>
Thank you!
Meghan
<Most welcome, Neale.>

tiny black spots on bottom of breeder     5/8/16
I have a preg. guppy in breeder box. She does/did not look that preg. so I cleaned the tank, yesterday. When I finished there were 2 fry. One lived, one died. Now this afternoon there are about 10 tiny black spots on the bottom of the breeder. She do not look like fry but I guess they could be. She has been in the breeder for 2 weeks. How long should I leave her in it?
<No time at all. Despite the marketing, you're not meant to put Guppies inside the breeder boxes.
Or at least you can, but it won't help. Those boxes stress the female Guppy, usually leading to miscarriages, which is probably why one of your two fry died. They were born prematurely.>
Yes, if I sound like a beginner, that is because I am one!
<Not a problem. Here's the deal with Guppies: All you need to do is ensure two things: females outnumber males, and the tank contains plenty of floating plants. The first thing is important to reduce stress. Males are horribly pushy, and if you keep "pairs" of Guppies, the males will harass female Guppies, and again, miscarriages will happen. The recommendation is at least two females per male, which is easy to do because the females are usually sold cheaply. Anyway, that's step 1. Moving on to step 2, you need somewhere for newborn fry to hide because Guppies sometimes eat the fry.
Guppies evolved in environments where newborn fry swam among plants or into very shallow water where the adults don't go. So they haven't evolved the ability to distinguish between wriggly black midge larvae (that they eat)
and wriggly black fish fry (that might be their offspring). You need to do something to even the odds! Floating plants help, and the fry will instinctively hide among them. Once they're there, you can then use a small net to scoop them up and then put the fry into the floating breeding box for a couple of weeks. That's enough time to grow them on to a size they'll
be safe with adult Guppies. That's what the breeding traps are really for!
Make sense? Once in the trap or box, you can easily feed the fry finely powdered flake food and they'll do very well.>
Thx,
EB
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: tiny black spots on bottom of breeder        5/9/16

Thank you.
<Welcome, Evelyn.>
FYI little spots were black at night, but during day they are beige.
<Fish do indeed change colour by day and night. But...>
They are really little ball shaped fry? Go figure! EB
<Do bear in mind that aborted/miscarried embryos will look like small fish with their tails wrapped around their bodies. If the "spots" aren't moving, I doubt they're viable fry. Cheers, Neale.>

Help my Dalmatian molly is swimming funny and guppy problems        3/25/16
I have 1 male Dalmatian molly and 1 female gray molly, 1 lyretail molly,
and 4 cobra guppies. My Dalmatian molly is swimming as though he can't use his tail, so he's only swimming with his front fins, this hasn't happened to any of my other fish. His tail, I don't know if this helps, but his tail colors, where it is white, looks sort of bluish. What should I do to help him use his tail again?
<This sounds like the Shimmies. It's a neurological disorder brought about by environmental stress. No treatment, but it will get better if the environment improves.
So, let's recap what Mollies want. Firstly, space. At least 100 litres/25 gallons. Next up, high hardness and a basic pH. Liquid rock is ideal! Aim for 15+ degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.2 and you'll be doing fine.
Thirdly, low nitrate. They are extremely sensitive to this compared to many other common fish. Anything above 20 mg/l will stress them in freshwater conditions, and nitrate should certainly not be above 40 mg/l. And finally,
salt. This isn't 100% essential if you have a high hardness and minimal nitrate, but if you don't, adding marine aquarium salt is crucial.
Something like 5-6 gram per litre (about 4 teaspoons per US gal) is an ideal starting point, but really anything up to full strength seawater (35 gram/litre) is fine. Do note of course that most freshwater fish won't tolerate salt well. Guppies and other livebearers will thrive at the 5-6 gram/litre salinity, but things like barbs, Corydoras, etc. won't. Most plants aren't happy about salt either, though some species, including Java ferns, Vallisneria and Anubias will all be just fine at this level of salinity. Do your research and act accordingly.>
Another question, I had 2 red cobra guppies, all of which I thought were male, but one of their abdomens were growing and a dark spot was appearing on it's lower abdomen, which made me think it was pregnant, but it soon
died. My other red cobra guppies abdomen is starting to grow, do you think it's going to die? or do you believe it's pregnant, I have my doubts.
<Pregnant Guppies are usually distinctive in shape, and in other ways behave totally normally. Since gestation is about a month, you should see females recover their normal, non-pregnant shape quite quickly. Just to remind you, the "gravid spot" isn't a patch of colour that develops in the skin, it's simply the uterus pressing against the skin and thin muscles of the abdomen around the vent, to such a degree you can even see the baby fish when they're close to being born. Obviously, only females ever become pregnant, so if you have males swelling up as well, then something's amiss.
For what it's worth, the use of marine aquarium salt as outlined for Mollies will de-stress Guppies as well, and they're often farmed in slightly brackish water precisely because it reduces the risk of disease.
It's not a cure-all, and if yours have worms, Hexamita infections, or whatever you'll need to medicate accordingly. But if they're simply suffering environmental stress, marine aquarium salt is useful. One last thing: double check you've got at least twice as many females as males if you're keeping both sexes together. Male Mollies and Guppies are highly aggressive towards each other and very, very demanding towards the females.
So the more females, the happier everyone in the tank will be. This rule holds true for all types of livebearers, by the way, not just Mollies and Guppies. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Help my Dalmatian molly is swimming funny and guppy problems     3/26/16

Ok so far with what you have said it's already done, my pH is 7.6, my nitrite and nitrate levels are 0,
<Something wrong here. Zero level nitrate is all but impossible. Even the ocean has measurable nitrate! So go back and use your test kits again, then write back. Perhaps use another test kit... will make the observation those
dip-strips are, at best, approximate.>
and there is aquarium salt in the water.
<Marine aquarium salt. Not freshwater salt, sometimes called aquarium salt.
What's the difference? Plain vanilla tonic salt, of the kind sold to freshwater aquarists, is basically sodium chloride, cooking salt without the iodine. Marine aquarium salt is a whole mixture of minerals including sodium chloride but also, crucially, calcium carbonate, which raises the carbonate hardness (as the name suggests!) which in turn buffers against pH changes. Aquarium salt, or tonic salt, is really used only for treating Whitespot, where it makes a useful way to raise salinity without raising pH or hardness, and that's very important if you're keeping tetras and other species that dislike high hardness. So it's a temporary addition to the tank for use across a couple weeks. Marine aquarium salt, on the other hand, is something used to create specific water conditions. It's used long term, perhaps indefinitely in the case of livebearers. There's really no comparison, but unfortunately retailers are more than happy to sell aquarium salt as a (bogus) cure-all to less experienced aquarists, along with 10 gallon tanks, tea-tree oil, and other things that have little/no value in the hobby. With all this said, if you have the aquarium salt now, using it alongside baking soda can create a reasonable alternative. If you add about 5-6 gram (1 teaspoon) baking soda alongside each 5-6 gram (1 teaspoon) of aquarium salt, you should get about the right ratio. Use your test kit to check if you're unsure, or better yet, set the aquarium salt to one side and just use the marine salt mix (generic brands from PetCo and the like are fine). Let me know what your existing hardness level is before
you do anything though. Stating the pH is actually pretty unhelpful even though pH is something lots of people remember from school. Hardness is the thing that affects fish; not pH. Fish react to changes in pH, yes, but so
long as its stable, most freshwater species have a wide pH tolerance.>
I will research the shimmies further more, thank you, but is there a book that has all the aquarium fresh water fish and there diseases and cures?
<There are some excellent books out there. I think the easiest to read and understand is probably "The Interpet Manual of Fish Health" even though it was written over 20 years ago. It covers all the basics, explains the importance of water chemistry and quality, and offers up useful treatments alongside plenty of nice and clear photos. Being an old book, secondhand copies can be had for pennies. But a lot of books on the topic have been written over the years, and I'd encourage you to visit your local bookstore or library, have a peruse, and see which one appeals to you. In any event, the Shimmies is rock-solid in our understanding, and is almost always a symptom of environmental stress. To save me rehashing what I've written before, let me direct you to an article on the subject I wrote for FishChannel.com a while back...
http://www.fishchannel.com/fish-health/disease-prevention/the-shimmies.aspx
Basically, it goes away providing you fish the fish's environment. Your problem is to identify what's wrong with the environment before the fish <?>

Guppies       6/28/15
Can water temperature determine the sex of baby guppies ?
<There is some evidence to suggest so. Bob Fenner>
Guppies     /Neale      6/29/15

Can water temperature determine the sex of baby guppies ?
<While frequently mooted among hobbyists, a quick dip into Google Scholar suggests there's little/no evidence for this, no. Cheers, Neale.>

Female guppy pregnant had 2 fry and now a big red lump!!! Help     12/26/14
Hi, my female guppy just had 2 fry last night and she Seemed to be pushing out a large red bump. This morning The lump is outside her body but under her skin- the Size, shape and color like a raspberry She is getting tired.
Tail dropping Please help - could she have had a prolapse?
<Sounds like it. Very difficult to treat. Adding Epsom salt to the water can help, as will reviewing aquarium conditions. To recap: Guppies need hard, basic freshwater or brackish conditions (10+ degrees dH, pH 7-8; optionally with a little salt added). Ammonia and nitrite should be zero.
Do read here about prolapses:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ParrotDisTrtF.htm
Also here about a different livebearer exhibiting a similar problem where the reproductive system becomes infected:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/halfbeakfaqs.htm
Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Female guppy pregnant had 2 fry and now a big red lump!!!      12/26/14

Help
Neale,
Thanks for your reply.
<Welcome.>
The fish did not make it overnight - she was very tired. :( I did put aquarium salt the first night when I saw her distressed.
<Ah, do understand Epsom salt and salt-salt (such as aquarium salt) aren't the same thing.>
Here are some pictures for you to see just in case - I just want to make sure this is not something my other fish can catch.
<Nothing attached. But no matter: these situations are not catchy, though the underlying stress that led to one fish getting sick and lead to the same thing in other fish.>
Looking closely at the thing. It looks like it had some eggs that did not developed and by the end of last night it got little white dots on it.
<Indeed. Do review my comments on the Halfbeak in the link sent earlier.>
I completely cleaned my tank today with a 50% water change just in case. I wanted to ask you about the carbon filter - I was told never to replace it or change it. Today when I lifted it up it was covered with yuk- slimy
grayish yuk. I cleared it under running water and put it back in. Is that ok?
<Carbon removes organic compounds from the aquarium, including most fish medicines. On top of that, it only works usefully for about a week after being added to the aquarium. Unless you change carbon every week or two, it's a waste of space in your aquarium. Replace with more biological media unless you need to specific benefits carbon provides. Contrast the freshwater situation with the marine, where carbon is very useful indeed:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwfiltrmedart.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_7/volume_7_1/carbon.html
Make sense?>
I have a 10 gallon tank and had 2 adult females and 10 fry. The fry are now about 1 inch long and they are mainly boys. Which I think were the ones that got the female adult pregnant.
<Stress likely a factor; when female livebearers are harassed by the males, miscarriages and other uterine complaints are commonplace. Do remember to keep at least 2 females per 1 male. Best to rehome surplus males as required. Or add males (no females) to community tank elsewhere, reserving females for the breeding tank. 10 gallons is a bit small for Guppies, but
doable if just one or two males and a half dozen or so females. Adding floating plants will be useful, too, by providing shelter for the
females.>
Now I have the 1 female adult, the 10 fry of 1 inch and the 2 baby fry from the girl that just died
Thanks for your help
C
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Female guppy pregnant had 2 fry and now a big red lump!!! Help       12/27/14
Sorry about the photos. Here they are.
<Grim. Yes, I'd put this down to some sort of uterine problem. Pretty rare with livebearers, but kind of like breech births in humans, these sorts of problems do happen. Hard to say what the underlying problems are. So as usual, genetics, water chemistry/quality, and external stress factors such as diet and male Guppies could be considered.>
I will buy a heater for a spare tank I have and will remove the 3 girls left before they get too stressed too.
<Sounds prudent. Unless you have a burning need to breed your fish, it's often easier to keep just the one sex. I like the female Guppies to be honest, their personalities are often sweeter and they are usually that bit hardier than the males.>
Which biological media do you recommend?
<Doesn't really matter. They're all good nowadays. So go by your budget.
The premium brands (such as Eheim Biomech or even Siporax) do work well, have long useful lives (decades, even) but budget brands are pretty reasonable. For many folks, things like Fluval Bio Max is the sweet spot between price and effectiveness. But honestly, even medium-fine gravel can do the trick! If all else fails, stuffing compartments loosely with filter floss works nicely.>
Here are the photos
Thanks
C
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Female guppy pregnant had 2 fry and now a big red lump!!! Help       12/27/14
Thanks a lot for all your helpful advice and knowledge!! I have medium gravel in the aquarium and will be getting some bio media today.
<Cool.>
I took the adult female out this morning. She seems to be pregnant (gasp) I can see pink eggs. I do hope she does not go through the same. I did not realized the little guys could reproduce just yet. And they are her fry so now I am worried.
<Male Guppies become fertile between 2-3 months of age. In the wild this is a non-issue: they'd be far too small to get past the adult males and attract the females. But in the confines of the aquarium their regular social behaviour doesn't work. Much the same as why the eat their fry. In the wild the fry instinctively go into very shallow water where no other
fish go. So adult Guppies don't need to avoid eating their babies because they wouldn't encounter them, and instead snap at any small mosquito-like morsel they come across. But in the aquarium, such morsels are likely to be their fry.>
My daughter enjoys seeing the fry being born and taking care of the babies.
She thinks fish are awesome as they can swim as soon as they are born while we humans cannot walk for months! (Her words) so I did let them breed a couple of times.
<Fish are somewhat more nuanced than that. Even something like Angelfish produce fry that take some days from hatching until they can swim, during which time the adults look after them. Indeed, Angels and other cichlids usually extend broodcare for some weeks after that even. Other fish are planktonic for weeks or months before becoming true free swimmers. Herring and Cod would be like that, as well as most reef fish (Nemo included!). It is indeed relatively rare for fish to be born as fully formed youngsters, something like 10% of fish doing so if you include sharks and rays (most of which give birth to live young). Fish reproduction is astonishingly diverse. A few even produce "milk" for their offspring, famously Discus, where the fry graze special mucous from the flanks of the mother and father. I'd heartily recommend getting something like a Dorling Kindersley book on fish or sharks for your daughter to peruse. Of all animals, few exhibit such extreme diversity. Don't even get me started on intrauterine cannibalism in sharks! Terrifying, bizarre and brutally efficient.>
I had a couple of males and the 2 girls. The boys died if a case of itch and the girls and 13 out of the over 70 fry did too. I was quite attached to the girl who died and the one isolated fur having survived the itch that killed almost all my fish :(
I will let you know how it goes with her pregnancy :)
<Good luck! Neale.>

baby goldfish      5/9/12
Dear Crew,
I have recently brought inside into a 2 gallon tank, some eggs from my goldfish outside pond. I know very little about baby goldfish. I tried to buy a book on them and they were all sold out at the pet stores.
They were born about 4 days ago-so incredibly tiny & vulnerable - I don't know how any of them live. I have an air driven filter but I took out the filter so the babies can have plenty of algae to eat.
<... not all types of algae are useful...>
1)Should I put the filter back in to keep the wastes down?
<Yes...>
2)Do they need food besides algae?
<... Rotifers, other life are cultured (ahead of time) by many folks; others use commercial dried and liquid foods>
3)How old are they when they turn orange?
<A few months usually>
I have a baby from last year he is 9 months old and he has not colored yet.
<Some individuals never color up>
He is alone and I was wondering if I can get a beta in the same tank or 4)should I only keep goldfish with goldfish?
<No... see WWM re... in fact start reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/gldfshreprofaqs.htm
and here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PondSubWebIndex/pdfshbreefaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>
Sincerely,
Barb K.
Re: baby goldfish     5/10/13

Bob,
Thanks so much for your interest in our pets well being!!
<Thank you for sharing!>
By the way, I would love to see photos of just hatched babies-
1)any photos out there?
<Ahh, I don't. Am sure you can find on the wider Net>
I don't have a macro lens to do it myself.
My hatchlings were inactive for about 24-48 hrs, so completely vulnerable!!
I am glad I brought them into a tank, from outside my 800 gallon fish
pond.
2) Last year I had a couple dozen goldfish babies and I did not move them out of the big pond and they all but one got eaten, by a visiting frog I think. The one I saved is 9 months old. I captured him in a crystal clear mug(drinking beer mug), so that I did not touch their fragile bodies.
3)When can I move him/her to the big pond. Yes we have winter here in Arkansas.
<Oh yes>
4)This year, I decided to get the eggs, since it is NOT good to net catch the babies, since this kills them.
<Mmm, do a bit more reading. Folks move the sticky fertilized eggs on spawning media>
I have about 20 hatchlings-babies in a 2
gallon tank, all healthy and active, 6 days old. With a giant magnifying glass, I have seen that They are eating algae. You said something about Rotifers? Sorry I'm an idiot what are they?
<Again, the search tool>
5)What is the proper gallon tank size for this many babies?
<As large as available>
Sincerely,
Barb K
Thanks again
<Welcome. BobF>
Re: baby goldfish      5/12/13

Bob ,
Just one more question.
My goldies are spawning again.
Is it OK to put new eggs with the week old hatchlings?
Sincerely,
Barb K
<Not usually a good idea... all need room, differential growth, and food needs... B>

Guppy Raising in Yangon, Myanmar     3/27/13
Bob
I have been trying to teach the village girls how to raise Guppies to cater to the growing aquarium trade in the country. I bought them this huge urn that can fill at least 50 to 60 litters of water, buy some Guppies and add plants for shelter.
It has been a failure. I am not able to give you any readings on the water but the urn was filled with well water. We are about an hours drive from town and I personally know of folks in the city who have no problems with their livebearers. Do you think well water is not suitable for Guppies?
<Could well be problematical. Guppies require hard, alkaline water w/ little metabolite concentration. See WWM re their requirements Per. BobF>
 I hope you can see the photo as I have been having some problems sending this email out
 Perry

Female Guppy issues -     11/21/12
Dear WetWebMedia,
<Hi, Simona!>
About a month ago, I wrote to you as my female guppy, Missy, had some sort of discoloration from her silver-ish patter on the lower part of her belly and you could see through that transparent bit her red eggs she has in the belly. You advised she might be pregnant. Now, that region is gone dark and she spends all her time at the bottom. She used to feed eagerly and come up to the top swimming happily and now it's just like she is stuck at the bottom, she just shakes there and stays in the same spot, semi hidden most of the time. Is she labouring?
<This is very possible.>
What can we do to help?
<Maintain perfect water quality - 0 Ammonia, 0 Nitrite, less than 20ppm Nitrate - with appropriate water changes.  Provide lots of cover (floating plants are great) for the female to hide in, or optionally remove her to her own tank if you wish.  She needs to feel safe, so lots and lots of places to hide is key.>
We bought algae based flakes and are alternating those with the normal flakes. The male is always next to her but come up when called for feeding (we signal feeding by tapping the tank!).
<This all sounds good.>
What can we do, I wouldn't want to cannot make the labour, if this is what the issue is!
<Other than making conditions optimal for her, there's not much you can do but observe and wait.  With luck, she'll have a good delivery and you'll see some baby guppies soon!  Do be aware, if you do not remove the babies as they show up, they will be eaten by the adults, so if you want to keep some of them, either remove them to their own tank to grow up in, or provide tons and tons of plants for them to hide in.>
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
<Seems to me like you're doing well thus far.>
Thank you very much in advance for your time and help.
<Always glad to help.>
Kindest regards,
Simona
<Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>
Female Guppy issues, continued -   11/21/12

Dear Sabrina,
<Hi again, Simona!>
We need help ASAP, PLEASE!
<I just figured out how to make the webmail system we use work reliably on my phone....  doesn't make typing on it any easier though.  But here I am.>
Missy, laboured today 21 fry!!
<Nice!  There may be more yet to come.>
The male helped her while she swam vertically, biting her belly to let the babies out.
<Uhh, he's not helping her
....  More likely he's discovered that she's releasing snacks into the water, sort of a guppy vending machine....  If he isn't leaving her alone and she can't get away reliably, best to either move her into a tank by herself or separate the two some other way.  You can even use plastic needlepoint mesh like you might get at a craft store as a makeshift divider.>
HOWEVER, five hours have passed and she still looks like she may have one or two fry inside her belly (there is still some darkness),
<Not surprising.  This can take hours, maybe even the better part of a day or two.>
so she is still vertical, trying to hold on to plants and the male still around her, but I'm worried those fry may be stuck or dead
<Likely she's trying to hold on until she instinctively feels the fry will be safe/r....  With the male constantly harrying her to drop more "snacks", she will be likely to hold out longer, get more stressed....>
AND IT'S PARAMOUNT SHE SURVIVES. We are not fish breeder, we love our Miss, she did great, laboured 21 babies, now we WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO SAVE HER...
<Get her some peace from the male.  She's done great so far, and will probably continue to do great - IF she can do what she needs to do in safety and comfort.>
please, any advice would be hugely appreciated.
<Take some deep breaths!  Likely she'll be fine, and likely you will, too. 
Guppies give birth, this is natural....  Nature is being nature, Life is being life, new lives are coming into the world, right before your eyes.>
Thanks, Simona
<Best wishes to you and your fishes this Thanksgiving week! 
-Sabrina>
Female Guppy issues, continued - 11/25/2012

Thank you so much for the advice. So, we removed the male for a couple of days. Just put him back today. We counted more than 25 fry at the end.
Missy is not well. She cannot swim properly, she breaths heavily, swims vertically and her belly skin looks very loose.
<Some of this may be just recovering from her first pregnancy, some perhaps from the harassment from the male....  The loose belly skin is normal after giving birth.>
I really don't know what to do to help her... I can take the male out again, no problem,
<Definitely do so.  Sounds like she's having a very hard time recovering. 
The male is going to be constantly pestering her.  She needs to be as safe and comfortable as possible right now.>
but she has plenty of hiding places.
<Very good, but even better if it's impossible for the male to mess with her at all right now (by removing him to a separate tank or dividing the existing tank).>
The issue is that she cannot swim, she rests on the bottom or hanging on the plants all the time, what can I do?
<Give her time, and hope.  There's not much else to be done for her right now, aside from letting her rest.>
Please, help! I have read it might be a bladder issue,
<Though resting on the bottom can be an indicator that there's trouble with the swim bladder, that's not always the case.  In Missy's case, she's just given birth, and has a slightly aggressive male to contend with.  There may have been complications or damage from the pregnancy, or maybe she really does just need rest.  The only thing to do right now is make her safe and comfy, and hope.  With luck, in your good care she will come around.  My fingers are crossed.>
I am alternating standard flakes with algae-based flakes, so that should be OK??
<Yes.  If she is eating, that is an excellent sign.>
I am just so worried about her!
<I do understand.  Just give her time, be patient, and hope.>
PS. I also don't know what to feed the fry, I have been giving them just the algae-based flakes...not sure that's good...
<Sure.  Livebearer fry, for the most part, are easy to feed.  Just crumble the flakes to a fine powder between your finger and thumb and sprinkle it in, or even sink some if needed.  They should do fine.  You can expect for some of the fry to be eaten by the adults, and some to just fail to thrive, but I expect you'll have a few squeak by.  If you keep them separate from the adults, you might have all of them live and grow up.  Won't that be great?  Life is so beautiful.>

Guppy failed pregnancy
Guppy Gravid? Disease? - 10/27/2012

Dear Crew,
<Hi, Pat. Sabrina with you tonight.>
One of my female guppies who became pregnant has not birthed. She is now showing signs of dropsy.
<Can you describe exactly what you're seeing? A photo would help a lot, if possible.>
I believe she is nearly 7 weeks since mating her with a male and she is very large.
<They can get quite impressively huge prior to giving birth. It may be that less time has passed since her eggs were fertilized, unless it's been 7 weeks since all contact with a male. The mating 7 weeks ago may have been unsuccessful and so perhaps she is gravid from a more recent mating.
Or perhaps the temperature is cooler, or for some other reason she's taking longer.... Here is a link to a pictorial essay on YouTube posted by user AquariumCamera that shows the progression from not gravid until ready to give birth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMU5wEsLX7w  As you can see, they can get really, really big.>
Should I perform euthanasia on her?
<I wouldn't, unless you are 100% certain that she has some irreversible disease and you suspect that she is suffering. Are you very, very certain that she is diseased and not just very heavy with fry?>
Will her babies have died?
<If she is in fact sick with something that would cause dropsical symptoms, then this is a possibility, yes.>
Kindest regards,
<To you as well.>
Pat
<-Sabrina>
Re: Guppy failed pregnancy
Guppy Gravid? Disease? - II - 10/27/2012

Dear Sabrina
<Hi again, Pat.>
Many thanks for your reply.
<Glad to be of service.>
The guppy is extremely pine-coned and getting more so by the day.
<Ahh. I see.>
Her body has been in the square / box shape for three weeks (the same as previous females when they are about to birth that I have kept). She can only be 7 weeks on as I put her in with a male only for a few minutes and she lives with twelve of her sisters. I should have also said that she isn't such a young female and perhaps here lies the issue (perhaps 2 months old now). The tanks are kept around 23 degrees Celsius / fully planted / 3yrs settled and nitrite/ammonia free.
<All good.>
My main concern here is to prevent her from unnecessary suffering
<I do agree.>
(the usual sign for me is when they stop eating).
<I use this same rule of thumb with the fish at the lab in which I work - we have Nothobranchius furzeri, which have an extremely short lifespan, and so we do see fish "get old" and die very often. When they stop showing an interest in food is when I will euthanise them.>
Any advice would be appreciated.
<I would separate this fish from the rest of the tank, and keep it entirely isolated. There are some possible causes of dropsical symptoms that could be contagious - parasites, bacteria.... But if this fish is pretty old, it may just be a simple case of things "shutting down" - organ failure - due to old age. I would consider euthanising her if she ceases to have any interest in food, or if she seems to suffer. You will know far better than I, as you've had her and observed her.... You know what is "normal" for her, and what isn't. When you feel it's time, I believe you will be right. When a fish gets to the "pinecone" stage (scales sticking out from the body pinecone-fashion) there is rarely any chance of recovery. While she continues to eat and doesn't seem to suffer, I would just give her the best care she can have.>
Best,
Pat
<Best wishes to you, Pat. I'm sorry for your guppy, and I'm glad that she is in your excellent and observant care. -Sabrina>
Guppy Gravid?  Disease? - III - 10/29/2012

Dear Sabrina
<Hi again, Pat.>
Thank you so much. 
<Glad to be of service.>
All your advice is aligned with my own thoughts and indeed, she has been separated from the others for three weeks already. 
<Ahh.  Very good.>
I did have a young platy go the same way recently from the same tank (although a male of about 1 year).
<Possibly "old age", but do keep an eye on things.  If you see this happen again, there may be worse things at play.  Hopefully this second event is just coincidentally similar, which is not at all outside the realm of possibility.>
The rest of the tank family appear fine (about 12 female guppies and 10 male platies) so I am inclined to think that the platy was just genetically weak rather than any bacterial / parasitical issue. 
<Or old, or any number of things that could cause kidneys or liver to fail....  Any possibility of recent-ish toxic events?  Medications used, anything like that?  If definitely not, then yeah, I'd chalk this up to coincidence for now.>
I'll continue to monitor as you suggested and if she stops eating, do the clover and then vodka treatment.
<Clove oil, not clover *grin*.  One can euthanize with clove oil alone.  My own preference is MS-222 (Tricaine), which is less easily available in comparison to clove oil, but "better" in my experience.  If you do seek it out, just BE SURE to pH adjust AFTER mixing up the MS-222 solution as this anesthetic will lower the pH dramatically.  Sodium bicarbonate will do for raising the pH back to match the tank water.  General rule of thumb is to wait until 10 minutes after cessation of all opercular (gill) movement.  I wait an hour or more, just to be safe.>
All the best to you and your fantastic team!
<Thank you for your kindness, Pat, and thank you for doing your best for your guppy girl.>
Pat
<Best wishes to you,  -Sabrina>
Guppy Gravid?  Disease? - IV - 10/30/2012

Dear Sabrina
<Hello again, Pat!>
Just to update you.  I put our guppy down today as she had developed a rather large red bulge around her back fin/anus and the dropsy was quite full on.
<Sad to hear this....  my sympathies.>
She was nibbling at food but I sensed she wasn't going to recover
<I am sure I agree.>
and I think the dead babies may have been causing some internal problems (hence the nasty red lump that was extruding). 
<I do doubt that there were dead babies....  I think these would have passed.  I think it likelier that there were other, unfixable, problems, and I think you handled this entire issue as perfectly as possible.>
I think it was the most humane thing to do. 
<I agree.  Completely.>
I looked into MS-222 / Tricaine but it is only available on prescription. 
The clove oil and vodka did the trick. 
<Good.>
Thanks for all your support.
<I am sorry for this loss, but also know she could not have had better care.  Thank you for all you did.>
Best,
Pat
<Warm regards,  -Sabrina>

Female Guppy issues (repro.)
Guppy Problems? - 10/18/2012

Dear WetWebMedia,
<Hello Simona.  Sabrina with you tonight.>
Firstly, I would like to compliment you on such an amazing and much  needed resource for the fish world.
<Thank you for these very kind words....  we do appreciate it.>
I plead guilty right away of what  I have seen posted many time on your website, thinking keeping fish is  easy, while it turns out not to be so!
<Surprise!  But hey, here you are, reading, researching, caring enough to learn....  Kudos.>
I bought a male and a female  guppy from a guy where I work. They were basically newborns when I got  them, about 6-8 mm long. I put them in my 20 gallon aquarium and  sadly, the male was sucked up by the filter after a week.
<Yikes!  Surprisingly though, sometimes a baby fish will survive this.  If you haven't yet, do check inside your filter.>
Totally our  fault and we felt so bad about it, and about the fact that Missy was  now alone, then we got another guppy of a slightly different subspecies 
<Just a different selectively bred color variant, I'm sure>
(beautiful, yellow with bright colored spots!)
<Sounds pretty!>
for her. He should have been the same age, but in the three weeks alone, Missy ate like crazy  (yes, just tropical fish flakes, sorry, we will get some algae based flakes ASAP!) and grew so much! Now, they have been together for a month. He is still tiny, she is getting bigger and bigger, so much so that now she is over 10 times his size.
<It's actually normal for adult female guppies to be very significantly larger than adult males.  Though I'll admit 10 times the size sounds a bit much.>
He chases her everywhere but this doesn't really worry us as she is so big and he is so small we feel he is harmless.
<Sounds fine.  Just watch for signs of stress, and make sure there are sufficient places for Missy to "get away" and chill out for a while, if she needs.  Floating plants, decorations with hidey-holes, whatever works.>
I feed them morning and evening by tapping the glass, they come up and then Missy starts eating every single flake, but he loses interest pretty soon, or he is such a gentlemen he lets her eat first??
<You might consider trying to feed them on opposite sides of the tank, if possible.>
I am sure already to this point we are doing so many things wrong, but the worrying thing is yet to come. Missy has some sort of discoloration from her silverish pattern on a part of her belly and you can see through that transparent bit her red eggs she has in the belly, and she seems to have been shot with blood in that point of  the belly.
<Hmm....  Do bear in mind that a gravid female does change color in that area....  Usually it will go from sort of peachy to a much deeper, darker shade....  So it may possibly just be that she's going to give birth.  I actually just found a pictorial essay on YouTube posted by AquariumCamera that shows the progression very well.  See here: 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMU5wEsLX7w&feature=plcp  In each picture, look for the "gravid spot" - that darker area anterior to the anal fin - and compare this with Missy.  Is this normal progression toward giving birth what you are seeing on Missy?  Or is it quite different?  If so, are you able to get a picture?>
We really care about them, we would like them to breed but with him being so tiny I am not sure that would happen, but at the same time, I don't want her to get sick. Please, any advice would be more than welcome.
<As above, hopefully this is just the normal beginning of new lives.  If not, do try to get a photo, or try to describe what you're seeing in as clear detail as you can manage.>
Thank you very much in advance for your time and help.
<And thank you for reading, researching, sharing, caring....>
Kindest regards,
Simona
<Wishing you and your guppies well,  -Sabrina>

Wiggling Guppy     10/6/12
Hi Crew!
<Hi Olivia>
I currently have 3 guppies; 2 female and 1 male. About 3 weeks ago, I noticed that one of my guppies was pregnant, so I moved her to a different fishbowl to avoid harassment from the other fish. This has been in effect for about 3 weeks. Then yesterday, the female guppy was acting aggressively toward the male, so I moved the male to the other fishbowl with my pregnant female, as she doesn't seem to be due anytime soon.
<You are keeping guppies in fish bowls?>
They seem to be doing fine. Then, about an hour later, I noticed that the female had a small gravid spot, and although her stomach looked a bit large, but not nearly as large as my other pregnant female, and she was wiggling around like she was in labor. She has been doing this since last night. Any advice?
<Females will have a gravid spot at a pretty young age. It doesn't mean much in and of itself. I don't know what you mean by "wiggling around." Would you please clarify. what that means. As far as advice, I'd suggest getting a proper aquarium with filtration and heater if you are currently keeping these fish in bowls, and stop moving them around so much. It stresses the fish.>
Thank you for your time and what a great website!
-Olivia
<Welcome - Rick>

Guppy just gave birth, and has placenta-like string hanging. 2/18/12
Hi, my guppy just gave birth today, and it looks like there are about 20 fry. The babies seem to be doing alright, but there is a string of gray/white placenta looking stuff hanging out from the mom. She has been lightly swimming around with it for the last hour or so, and it almost looks as though there are babies in it, like tennis balls in those long skinny nets. I looked through the site about all the birthing questions but did not see anything about that. I don't know what it is, and I don't know what to do about it. Please help. I am debating between seeing if it will work itself out or if I need to attempt to pull it from her. But I am really worried that it will harm her more than help her for me to pull it away, as it is still attached. Thank you for any help you can give me.
-Faith
<Hello Faith. There's not a huge amount you can do, and you are right, pulling the thread would be a bad idea. Use of Epsom salt at 3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres will act as a muscle relaxant and increase the chance of the female expelling this object under her own steam. Cheers, Neale.>

Fat Guppy   11/18/11
Hi, I've got a female guppy which is huge, and her stomach is starting to look square. She has no black spot as she had 7 babies about a week ago.
She did slim down after giving birth, but is huge again. She is still eating and swimming around, but sitting on the bottom of the tank a little more. What's wrong with her. Please help.
<Likely nothing wrong here... but do cut back on the use of dried (especially flake) foods. Bob Fenner>

Pregnant female guppy in distress   10/18/11
To whom it may concern,
I have a very pregnant female guppy in total distress. I have not moved her or cleaned her tank recently because she is very close to giving birth. She looks like she is in labor and has looked so for the last 3 days.
<Yikes. Now, I should point out that Guppies don't go into labour in quite the way humans do. They're ovoviviparous rather than viviparous. In other words, they hold eggs inside themselves, and the eggs hatch, and the babies squirt out. The babies aren't connected to their mothers in any major way. So labour should be pretty quick and easy.>
She is floating in the tank at the top or at the bottom depending on her mood. She is not eating she is also not active and I have seen her look as if she is contracting but she is having no success. I am very worried about her along with 3 other pregnant guppies in the tank with her. The other 3 guppies are currently okay. She is my best breeder/mother and I am worried I am going to lose her.
<How old is she? Fancy Guppies don't live for a terribly long time. 3-4 years is about the average.>
There are no boys in the tank and no fry to speak of. Is there any way I can help her?
<You could try the Epsom salt trick. It's a muscle relaxant and might help. 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons is about right.>
Is there anything I can do? I have noticed she has had one bowel movement and it was whitish and stringy. What can I do for this? Will peas help? I was also wondering if an Epsom salts bath would help but I am worried about hurting her.
<Maybe.>
I am not so much concerned with the fry at this point I just want to save her. I am afraid to isolate her and cause her more stress. Please help I have scoured the net and I can find nothing to help and everyone I talk to thinks I am crazy because it is 'just a fish'.
Thank you for your time,
Nikki
<With small fish like Guppies it's really hard to deal with these sorts of sudden, acute situations. Epsom salt might help. I assume that water chemistry is basically sound: hard, alkaline water. A little aquarium salt can be useful for Guppies. Temperature should be middling, 25 C/77 F or so. Water quality should be good. But honestly, I'm not optimistic. Clove Oil is useful for painless euthanasia.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Pregnant female guppy in distress (update)   10/19/11

I would just like to let you know that she gave birth to about 20 fry, 8 lived the others where deformed and death occurred quickly. The Epsom salt did the trick and she is happily finished delivering. Lucky as she has so earned her name will not be going back to the boys tank any time in the near future as she has earned some long term R&R. Thank you very much for your quick response as I am sure it saved her life.
Nikki
<Thank you Nikki for the kind words, and I'm very glad this story has a happy ending. More or less, anyway. I agree; keep her away from the boys for at least a month so her body can recover. If nothing else, some time to rest and fatten up would be very useful. Cheers, Neale.>

Need help with my Guppies
Guppy deaths/fry care - 10/16/11

Hi <Hello!> im new to your website and I love it. <Glad you find it a useful resource.> Well I purchased a male and a female guppy about a month ago the male only lived 4 days but the female was still alive. <What kind of tank do you have them in? Have you figured out why the male did not make it?> Bout <About> 2 days ago I notice she had given birth to 12 babies I went to da <the> store and purchased a bigger tank but this morning when I went to feed them I found her dead. What could be the reason she died and will her babies survive. <The answer to your question lies in the conditions you have provided for the fish. Fancy guppies are not exactly beginner fish. They tend to be a touch sensitive in my experience. If there is no external sign of disease, the problem likely lies with the water chemistry and environment in your tank but without information on the same, I can only suggest that you read more about the care of this fish here -
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
Please also read the related FAQs linked at the top of the page. If you tank is fully cycled and your water parameters measure up to those suggested, they fry will likely be okay. You may want to consider First Bites or the like for feeding since adult food is likely going to be to large to start with - Sugam>

Poecilia reticulata; repro.   9/5/11
Hi, my female guppy gave birth to 10 fry yesterday and I was wondering what exactly these fry need so they grow up nice and healthy.
Thanks
<Not much! Start by reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
Your main problem will be cannibalism; other fish, including adult Guppies, will view Guppy fry as food. In the wild newborn fry hide among floating plants, and a clump of Indian Fern (Water Sprite) will make a HUGE difference to your success rate. Otherwise, move the fry to a floating breeding trap for the next 3 weeks, after which point they will be big enough to be safe with adults. Guppy fry can feed on finely powdered flake food, but you may find things easier using a special baby fish powder like Hikari First Bites. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Poecilia reticulata; repro.   9/5/11
Thanks, I keep the fry in a separate tank. I find that the mom's gravid spot hasn't gotten any smaller and she is getting chassed around by my two males, what do I do?
<As the article makes clear, you can't keep too many males with females. You must have at least 2 females per male, and preferably more than that. Otherwise, the males will constantly harass the females, often leading to miscarriages, fin damage, even sufficient stress to cause death. The aquarium also needs to be suitably large; I'd say 15 gallons is the absolute minimum for a mix of males and females. Floating plants also help by giving the female hiding places. The "gravid spot" is of limited value when it comes to telling whether a Guppy is pregnant or not, so while sometimes useful, don't put too much confidence in it. Male Guppies certainly don't care, and will chase any female they see, whether pregnant or not, and attempt to mate with it. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Poecilia reticulata; repro.   9/5/11
at the pet store were I got them, they come in pairs 1 male one female so I didn't have much of a choice,
<Unfortunately this is a common way of selling them because lots of people prefer the males to the females. As you're learning, this isn't the ideal way to keep Guppies.>
I'll give my friends the male fry when there older and keep the females to make it more balanced. What should I do in the mean time so that the female doesn't get harassed?
<Do see re: size of tank, floating plants. Otherwise, there are no magic solutions to this. Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnant Female Guppy- 8/20/11
Hello, I have a pregnant female guppy I bought about a week ago from a pet store. I'm about 80% sure I bought her pregnant; her gravid spot is really dark. Yesterday, I noticed that she was separating herself away from the other guppies and I saw her pooping out some white circles, could they be eggs? She's also not eating and staying still/hiding a lot. Her breathing is rapid too. She lives in a 20 gallon tank with 2 other guppies (1 M, 1 F), a platy and 4 black skirt tetras. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, 0 nitrate. I put her in a breeding trap to monitor her if she poops out anything else.
Her gravid spot certainly isn't dark anymore. She has a weird bump at her anus now...I don't know how to explain it so I'll just attach some pictures. My questions are, did she abort her babies? Is she trying to hold whatever's inside her? Or could it possibly be internal parasites? Thank you Daphnee
<Hello, Merritt here. From what you have described it sounds like she is aborting her pregnancy and the white circles are the eggs. She looks healthy from the pictures and I would keep an eye on her. A suggestion for your system would be to add another female due to males harassing females if they do not have enough to mate with, thus he could have harassed her to abort. Did he keep chasing her around and bothering her? Separate her from the others and just keep a good eye on her. Good luck. Merritt>
Re: Pregnant Female Guppy   8/21/11

I have not seen the male guppy chase or harass her or the other guppy. I saw him go after the platy once or twice but that's it. I'll still keep your advice in mind. Today I noticed that she pooped long, stringy,
somewhat clear poop. Could these be internal parasites? Also I noticed some areas of red in her...
Thank you so much for the help
<The white stringy poop is a sign of internal parasites, go to your local LFS and pick up medicated fish food. That will fix the problem and could have been the cause for her to abort the pregnancy. The red could be pigment or other problems, lets just focus on the internal parasites first.
Good luck! Merritt>

Mollies breeding with Guppy??   8/18/11
Good Day to You All,
<Hello Tracy,>
I just came across your site, and I am pretty new to having an aquarium.
Hopefully it's an easy answer for you.
<We can only hope!>
I have 2 Golden Balloon Mollies (what I think are female) and 1 Fancy Tailed Guppy, male. Any chance they can mate and have fry that live??
Because just this morning, I found a new baby fish living under the log in our aquarium! He is often all over both of the Mollies. Thanks so much for your help!
<Yes, Guppies and Mollies can cross breed. It's fairly common in fact, but the offspring are usually infertile, so nothing much comes of it in the long run. The offspring might be called Gollies or Muppies as you prefer!
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Mollies breeding with Guppy??
Thanks so much for the quick response! So do you think there was many, but were eaten??
~Tracy
<Hard to say. Guppy/Molly crosses don't seem to happen as often as you'd expect them to, so it might be such crosses produce small broods anyway.
But in a community tank situation many fry will be eaten, so even if the female releases 50 fry, you might only see one or two by the time you get around to looking for them. Adding floating plants helps a lot by providing cover for newborn fry. Once you find them, remove the fry to a floating breeding trap for 2-3 weeks. After that, they'll be big enough to set loose with their parents. If you have predatory fish like Angels or large tetras, then "trap" the fry for longer. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Mollies breeding with Guppy??
Thanks Neale!!! Your knowledge and help are much appreciated! Cheers!!
~Tracy
<You are most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Mollies breeding with Guppy??   8/18/11
Ok, I apologize for this dumb question, and I promise it's the last one.
How do I get this little thing out without hurting it?? It's currently hiding between the rocks and the log we have in the aquarium. Do I just use the net??
<Yes, that can work. But often it's easier to use a net to drive very small fish into a small container like a Dixie Cup or similar, and then decant the fish from there into the breeding trap.>
Thanks in advance, and I won't bother you again about it!! ;-)
~Tracy
<Is not a problem. Good luck, Neale.>

Guppy fry dying  5/19/11
Hi there,
I've had around 50 guppy fry born in my tank a few months ago, as I was away when they were born by the time I knew they were there they were already big enough to survive in a tank with the adults, so they have all always been in the same tank together. However whilst some of them grew as expected and are now nearly the size of the adults, about 30 hard hardly grown at all, and are still only a couple of cms long.
<I suspect you mean millimeters... This disproportionate growth is natural... in order for all to grow more quickly you need to do very frequent, even continuous water changes (or have a very large volume) and feed several times daily. These are done in the culture industry, the commercial fish breeding business>
I figured the size of the tank considering the amount of fish was restricting their growth, so set up a new tank,
<The size/volume of each?>
heated the water to 26 degrees, exact temperature they'd always been kept at in the other tank, treated the water prior to putting them in with AquaSafe, which neutralises chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals apparently instantly, left it for a few hours being oxygenated and then put around 25 fry in the tank. The next morning a few had died, I wasn't expecting this but guessed it was the stress of the move. Now, 24 hours later, I can only see about 8 fish actually moving, it looks as if the rest have all died- please help! I don't know whether I should move them back, or what to do next, the ph of the water in the new tank is on the high end of 7, which is exactly the same as it is in the original tank. I don't know what could be killing the fish or how I can help, please respond as soon as possible. Thanks so much.
Christabel
<Mmm, likely "some" aspect of water quality at play here... probably nitrogen cycle wise... Would have been a good idea (and is still now) to move a good deal of the "old" system water to the new tank (not used all new), and some of the gravel, filter media, even just siphoned mulm. You need to test for Ammonia, Nitrite... and read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwestcycling.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Guppy aborting pregnancy?   5/2/11
Dear Crew
Happy bank holiday (if you are indeed in the UK)
<Thanks!>
I have five female guppy that I raised from birth (I assume that is the correct expression in the fishy world?).
<Yep.>
They are now 6 or 7 months old. I separated them from their brothers at about 2 months old. All five have been consistently large for the past three or four months - one (I assume) gives birth every mid-month and I rescue between 8 and 13 from the plant cover.
<Sounds about right.>
Three in particular are huge and have been for months. They appear to square off but I never see any birthing or any fry and they appear to stay huge. I have again assumed that perhaps they are carrying eggs but are not fertilised. Am I correct?
<Nope. Female livebearers don't so much store eggs as arrest the development of embryos. Guppies can consequently mate once but produce two or three batches of offspring. There is also some evidence Guppies can mate with more than one male, and have more than one batch of embryos developing at different rates from each of those matings.>
To add to the mystery, one of the female guppies who was massively full of eggs/fry went into labor today but just expelled large eggs which appeared to be clear although somewhat yellow.
<Likely embryos at a very early stage.>
They just dropped to the bottom or were eaten by the other guppy females.
So am I correct to assume here that she has aborted?
<Yes.>
I understand from your website that this is commonly due to bad water conditions or stress.
<More often than not. But if the aquarium is otherwise optimal for your Guppies, then there could be genetic issues at work too.>
My water conditions are all good (fully cycled 100 litre tank, ammonia/nitrite 0ppm, nitrate 5ppm). The guppies did not appear to be stressed. The only change that has taken place in the tank is the withdrawal of 6 split-fin rainbow fish (moved to another tank) and the addition of 6 pigmy Cory and 2 small panda platy. If she is aborting, could this then be due to the fact that her eggs are unfertilised?
<Or at least the embryos are not viable, yes.>
Can they store up eggs, become huge and then release them?
<It is certainly possible for livebearers to suffer from a variety of pregnancy problems. I have seen this with halfbeaks once or twice, with the female swelling up once the embryos died, began to rot, and eventually caused the death of the mother. Sounds as if your Guppy was much luckier.
Halfbeaks are rather touchy compared to Poeciliidae, but still, the same basic physiology is going on here.>
Any further advice here?
<Not really.>
Will they stop producing eggs after a while?
<Female Guppies tend to become fertile around 3-4 months of age, then produce successively larger broods for the next 6-8 months, after which point their fertility declines somewhat. Wild Guppies supposedly produce batches of up to 100 fry, but the inbred "fancy" forms seem to be much less fertile, as you'd expect by comparison with other types of animal breeding.
Batches of 12-20 fry do seem typical.>
I've trawled the net and cannot find good information on why they appear pregnant but hold on to these eggs.
<Do consider constipation and dropsy, as well as developmental abnormalities.>
Your assistance in this area would be much appreciated.
kindest regards
Pat
<Cheers, Neale.>

guppy with long gonopodium  2/24/11
Dear Crew
Hope you are all having a great week so far.
I noticed that one of the 6 moth old male guppies I have had since they were born has suddenly developed an elongated gonopodium - I believe he may be a Ribbon . (See pic attached.)
All seemed fine until this evening when I was doing a water change and checking on inhabitants of the tank.
He is still trying to mate with the females in the tank but am not sure if he will be able too. (Females maybe too scared !!!!!)
Should I move him into an alternative tank?
The tank he is currently (95 litres, lightly planted) in has 5 males 6 females and one male Colisa labiosa
I have another tank (AquaTropic 80 (110L) planted tank ) with 7 neon tetras and 2 male Colisa labiosa - I was going move 3/4 of the male guppies into this tank.
Many thanks in advance.
BJ
<Hmm'¦ wouldn't do anything particular here. Such deformities are not uncommon among Guppies, partly because they're much inbred. It's quite normal for some members of a batch of fry to have deformities, and in the wild these would obviously fail to survive and wouldn't get to produce offspring, so their faulty genes aren't carried forward. Under aquarium conditions things are a bit different, and weaker fry can often survive, so over the generations, the quality of genes in Guppies has become more mixed. While I wouldn't breed from this male, so long as he can swim about and feed normally, I'd just leave him alone. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: guppy with long gonopodium
Hi Neale
Many thanks for this.
Will follow your advise - although this morning al was back to normal as far as I can tell.
<How odd. Sure it wasn't fin damage? Or faeces?>
Guppies are very strange indeed.
BJ
<Indeed they are. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: guppy with long gonopodium
Hi Neale
Will 4 male guppies in a tank as mention in previous email be ok or will this cause a problem?
BJ
<Four male Guppies will need at least 15 gallons. Do be aware that male Guppies fight, and they're also prone to being nipped, even by species such as Neons that don't otherwise harass community fish. Keep an eye on fancy Guppies, and act accordingly when choosing tankmates. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: guppy with long gonopodium  2/24/11
Thank Neale
Hope you are getting time to enjoy the sunshine (if you are in the UK)
The tank is 110L and heavily planted but will keep an eye on the for fin nipping from Tetras and Goramis.
BJ
<Real good. Cheers, Neale.>

mysterious guppy pregnancy 2/23/11
Hello!
I tried to search through the majority of your guppy questions but couldn't find a similar question to this one:
So here is the deal: About (let's say) 7 weeks ago we had a tank catastrophe. We had maybe four guppies in the tank and four of them mysteriously died. I'm thinking the temperature changes must have got them because while our heater had it's light on, I found out it wasn't actually putting out heat and the room gets pretty cold at night. So, all guppies died except one female who was obviously pregnant. I figured her pregnancy saved her (super female hormones right?). I added salt, Melafix, and a new heater and she has done spectacular since then. About 3 days after the fishy catastrophe she gave birth. She ate all but five and for five or six weeks they have done great and I have enjoyed watching them grow (very slowly). For maybe two weeks I have been thinking the one lone female survivor was pregnant again but I thought..."no, there are no males in there but some tiny-tiny fry". Well to my surprise, tonight I went to check up on the tank and poof! there are EIGHT new baby guppies! How on earth did that female get pregnant again? Could she retain sperm from the male for that long? She can't make herself pregnant but I can't imagine a fry that is barely longer than my pinky nail is old enough to impregnate an adult is it? Did the mysterious deaths of the others and her survival turn her into a super-guppy?
Thank you!
Confused and mystified guppy owner of 14!!!!!!!
AKA Cheryl
<Hello Cheryl. When Guppies mate, the female reserves the option to freeze the development of some of her fertilised eggs. She allows batches of them to develop into fry, each batch taking about a month to mature. By the way, it is quite common among fishkeepers to state that Guppies "store" sperm and thereby allow the female to fertilise successive batches of eggs, what biologists call superfetation. In fact they do not do this, and the sperm are all used up at the time of mating to fertilise just the one batch of eggs. It's just that the embryos don't develop at the same speed: some develop immediately, while others, as I've said, are held back, so that the female can produce a succession of broods across a few months. Guppies seem to produce 2-3 broods per mating, though possibly more, but the details are complex, and the female will tweak the size of the brood and the size of each fry at birth to prevailing conditions, particularly how well she's been feeding. The less food in her environment, the fewer but larger each fry will be that she produces. Male fry take about 2-3 months to reach sexual maturity, at which point they'll have an obviously well-developed gonopodium (modified anal fin) for directing sperm into the female.
Mother/son crosses do occur if the males aren't removed, but obviously inbreeding like this is unhelpful and one reason Guppies are delicate and prone to deformities. It's a good idea to isolate males after 2 months in a breeding trap. Trade them in for males from other mothers, or swap with your Guppy-owning friends. I hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnant guppy  2/10/11
Hello,
<Carly>
I have a female guppy who is at present giving birth. She is in her own 38L breeder tank, the problem I have is that she has been in labour for over 24hrs now.
To me it looks as if the fry are so compacted that they can't come out, when she swims you can actually see the fry's eyes inside of her.
She also has a few scales sticking up around her back end. I instantly thought dropsy, but it is localized around her rear, and she is very full of fry.
I basically would like to know is there anything I can do to help her, and if she were to die from trying to give birth, could the fry be saved?
<Best to just be patient at this point... NOT move this fish, NOT place chemicals in the system>
Thank you In advance.
Carly
<Welcome. Bob Fenner who encourages you to read through here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm
and the linked files above>

Swamp guppies; env., soc. beh., repro. 11/7/10
Hi, I have two established male swamp guppies and a few days ago introduced two pregnant females. The two boys and one girl are in good health but one female is showing signs of stress, she has hidden since entering the tank and is now in the open, at the bottom of the tank, finning and breathing rapidly in one spot. She has a very dark grey colour and abdomen is very large. I have done a water change this morning so water quality is ok. Is there anything I should be doing? I this a sign of her giving birth? Advice would be appreciated, Many thanks,
<Hello Louise. Swamp Guppies (Micropoecilia picta) are tricky fish to keep successfully. One problem is that they really do need brackish water to do well. There are some wild populations that occur in freshwater, but under aquarium conditions slightly brackish water, from 5-6 grammes marine salt mix per litre is necessary to maintain them consistently well. A second problem is that the males are highly aggressive and will pester the females. Do not keep fewer than two females per male, and be sure to use lots of floating plants including Indian Fern. Do both these things and you should find your specimens pep up. In plain freshwater Swamp Guppies seldom last long, and harassed females are prone to miscarriages and stress. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Swamp guppies 11/09/2010

Hi Neale, many thanks for your prompt response, I'll try what you suggest, thanks again, Louise.
<Glad to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Question. : sex ratio temperature guppies...   10/16/10
Hi, I love your site lots as it's extremely informative!
<Ah yes>
However I can't find ONE answer... well I was reading the questions and answers because I was bored... so I came across this question saying that if the temperature affects the female-male ratio in baby guppies...
<Yes... many species of organisms actually>
And the answer was yes... but what I wanted to know was the temperature for a male and a female... do you know?
<Mmm, yes... higher temperatures result in increasing proportion of males... and vice versa. Try your search tool with the string: sex ratio temperature guppies...>
And also, I've got 3 adults=> 2 females and 1 male, 20 or so fry=> Just given birth by the larger female today (Yay!), 2 mature "young" adult (around the size of the adults' mouth)=> I manage to save that ONE because I was away on holiday and my friends helped feed them but they never checked if they were pregnant... and I came back just in time... well I found 5, 1 survived.
In that batch of 5... all of them grew to FEMALES and then 3 died... I didn't have any males.
So I would like to know the temperature for more male guppies!
Thanks!
~Jenny... a.k.a. a mad guppy person :D
P.S. I never submitted a question before so do I get a reply to this email when it's answered and does all questions asked get posted on the site?
Thanks again!
<... yes. Bob Fenner>

No babies 9/7/2010
Hello,
I have a 20 gallon tank and have 2 males and 3 female guppies. I bought them pregnant so I know that it is possible for them. I haven't seen any babies in 8 months. There is plenty of plants for babies to hide, but the guppies are not pregnant. Everyone has a pink spot. I keep the heater at 78 degrees. Is there anything I can do?
Thanks,
Sarah
<Hello Sarah. You have to be patient. But in the meantime, check you really do have males and females. Are the females swelling up periodically? The "gravid spot" is pretty unreliable, so forget about that. But when females are close to giving birth, their bodies swell up dramatically. After the fry are born, they pop back to looking skinny. If you're seeing this happen repeatedly across a roughly 4-6 week cycle, then your females are getting pregnant and they are giving birth, so the question is where the fry go.
Yes, the fry do get eaten. Plants at the TOP of the tank are what are important; plants in the middle and bottom levels are irrelevant. Really, it's floating plants you need, such as Indian Fern. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: No babies    9/7/10

Hello,
Yes I am sure that I have 2 male and 3 female guppies.
<Okay, that's a start. Try adding more females. Males harass females, and in doing so, cause stress and miscarriages. This is very common, especially when the females are within a few days of giving birth. The result is stillborn fry that end up on the floor of the aquarium. In mixed sex tanks, you should ALWAYS have at least two females per male. No excuses!>
They were sold in different tanks that were clearly labeled.
<Okay.>
Since I bought the females pregnant I do know that they get really fat if they are expecting.
<Should be pretty apparent. The gravid spot is nothing to do with pink or any other colour. Here's the deal. Guppy females have relative thin muscle walls around the back half of the abdomen on either side of the anal fin.
When they are within a couple of weeks of giving birth the uterus becomes so expanded it pushes against this thin muscle wall. You can see this as a dark region around the anal fin, and in some cases, the silvery bodies of the fry may even be visible. But understand that this is all that the gravid spot it. It isn't a colour change in pregnant females.>
None of the females are fat, The spot is always pink. I have plenty of plants in my 20 gallon aquarium.
<Floating plants? Other kinds of plants DO NOT count.>
What can you tell me about the water conditions. I think it is related to that.
<Guppies need moderately hard to hard, slightly basic to basic water chemistry; aim for 10-30 degrees dH, pH 7.5-8.5. Although not essential, the addition of around 1-2 teaspoons (6-12 grammes) of marine salt mix per US gallon (4 litres) is an excellent supplement, especially if you have soft water. But unlike egg-laying fish, you do not need a specific water
chemistry to get livebearers to breed. If the adults are healthy, they will breed.>
Thanks,
Sarah
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Baby guppy problems and others  6/21/10
Well first of all, hello.
<Hi! Melinda here today.>
So I have a 15.6 gallons fishtank with heater and filter. I've had this tank for about two months now and I had a rather shaky start.
<Did you cycle this tank? Many times, folks have a really hard time starting out in the hobby because they don't understand the nitrogen cycle, and so they constantly have problems due to the buildup of toxic ammonia and/or nitrite. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/fwestcycling.htm. There are WAY too many negative effects of poor water quality to list, but it's pretty safe to say that if your fish are ill, and you're not testing your water (you want Ammonia and Nitrite levels of zero; Nitrate under 20), then the first thing to do is test the water and rule out poor water quality as a cause of fish illness.>
I started out with 3 guppies (1 male and 2 females) Unfortunately, the male died within a couple of days.
<Please do read re: cycling. It's possible to get a sick fish from a store, and also, some fish just don't make the trip home unscathed. But, the stress from a move plus an ammonia spike equals almost certain death, especially in small fish.>
Later, one of my remaining females had babies (about 20 of them) and got pretty vicious. She injured my other female who then got cotton-like fungus.
<I would check water quality. The cotton-like fungus could have had nothing to do with the other guppy, but rather, was Finrot. Also, This tank is really quite small for guppies, especially if you're attempting to raise fry, which are going to be more susceptible to complications due to water quality. Please do read here on guppies: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppysysfaqs.htm and the linked files above.>
I bought a treatment and it worked but most of her tail was gone so she died in a couple of hours.
<Really does make me think Finrot.>
The last female died too. She had red pots all over her body and her tail seemed to be shrinking or something and had a brown line all around it.
<Bacterial infection, Finrot.>
But the babies survived. So I bought other fishes to put in with them
<Why would you purchase more fish without first determining the cause of the last three fishes' deaths? Plus, there are already 20 fish in your sixteen-gallon aquarium.>
(A Corydoras and one I believe might be a flying fox. Some confusion about that one)
<Corydoras are a schooling fish, please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/Catfshbehfaqs.htm, or to get more specific information, type in "Corydoras" in WWM's google search engine. As for the Flying Fox, please do read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/saes.htm. The photos may help you determine whether what you have is a Siamese Algae Eater or Flying Fox. If your fish is a Flying Fox, it may turn out to be too aggressive to be kept in this small aquarium with peaceful fish.>
I stopped putting salt after I put in the Corydoras. Should I start again?
<I would not use it.>
Later on, I bought 4 ghost shrimps. I thought the would be eaten but no all of them are still alive.
<Who is going to eat them? You've got a Cory and a tiny Algae Eater -- not much chance of predation. Of course, anything that's dead is food.>
I also bought an apple snail but it died within a few days (I'd like to know why).
<Likely poor water quality -- in effect, the same reason as all your other fish are dying. Please do read here on apple snails: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/MollusksFW.htm/AppleSnailsF.htm>
Since then, I bought 4 black tetra's and 2 'loches clown'
<Are these Black Skirt Tetras or Black Neons? The Black Skirts need more room than you're offering, but the Neons would work, assuming you're not keeping the water too warm.>
(Sorry my native language is French and I don't know their name in English but they're snail eating fishes. Yes. Snail problems).
<I am currently attempting to learn French, and I couldn't achieve anything near what you've achieved here, so no complaints from me. Your Loaches will (if they live) outgrow this system, and also require pristine water quality, as well as lots of water flow. The snails should be easy to remove by placing a piece of lettuce on a rock with a rubber band. Place in the tank, then remove the next day. It should be covered in the little buggers. Manual removal is going to work best for you due to the small size of the system and its current instability. The last thing we need to do is keep adding fish. In addition to growing quite large (at least ten inches or so), Clown Loaches (which happen to be some of my favorite fish) are schoolers, and really need the company of four or five buddies to feel comfortable.>
When they arrived, the black tetra's ate one of the 6 remaining baby guppies, so I put them in a breeding net. another one died, probably killed by another baby. So I now have 4 remaining (and an adult one my sister bought because she though he was gorgeous). 2 of the babies are pretty small and the other 2 have gotten pretty big. One of the big ones started chasing the smaller ones around so I decided to put him/her (pretty sure it's a her thought) out of the net and into the tank. It went rather well, still alive after a week but the black tetra's are getting rather insistent about their nipping (they don't chase her around but sometimes it looks like they attack her though they don't really do so viciously) Could they be more aggressive when hungry?
<These are some of the nippier tetras (I'm guessing now that they're Black Skirt Tetras. They don't belong in this small tank, and they don't belong with guppies. Please do read BEFORE purchasing.>
I feed 3 times a day (I also have special food for my bottom fishes)
<Likely too much. Please test your water and compare your results to what I list above. There's a good chance that, left alone, this system has cycled by now. However, overcleaning your filter or a number of other things can cause the cycle to start right back over, so it's important to know what your fish are swimming in, especially if they're dying.>
So, since they seemed to be chasing her a little more, I decided to put her back in the net and see if she would be aggressive again. But the moment I put her in the net, the other big baby guppy (Almost sure it's a male that one. He got very colorful while the others only begin to show colors) stared at her for a while then started an obsession with her and wouldn't leave her alone, so I put her back in the big tank where, at least, she isn't constantly followed and nipped at. So I'm now wondering if he's just aggressive. He doesn't seem to be attacking either of the smaller fishes. So my question is: why does he act that way (sorry about the maybe not so useful information above. It's just in case)? Should I buy another breeding net (one that I can separate in sections) or just wait see?
<This fish don't "go" together. Please read.>
I also have another question. My water is kind of yellow. I know the cause, I bought some Voodoo brand wood to place at the bottom (it says on the label it can color the water for a while and the clerk at the pet shop told me it would fade after about 6 months of water changes). The fishes seem to like it (especially my snail eaters and my flying fox?) but, unfortunately, the snails too. there are a lot of snail eggs on it so I'm wondering if it's a good idea to keep it? I also have a plant (a real one) that the snails seem to love as well. I was also wondering if it would be a good idea to buy a 'boule russe' (Russian moss ball in English I think)
<The yellowing of the water is caused by tannins from the wood, and you can add fresh carbon to the system's filter and remove the coloration. If you don't mind it, it won't hurt the fish to leave it in, and I'd start by taking the wood out and cleaning the eggs off before placing it back in the tank. I would first determine why your fish are dying and adjust stock so that it's appropriate for the tank size you have prior to making more changes. I'd do manual removal of the snails. There's a lot to do to get this system "right" before you continue to stock it, either with plants or fish.>
Sorry if there are grammar mistakes but English isn't my native language so I sometime have some difficulties with it. Thank you for taking the time to read.
<Not a problem. Please do write back if you have any more questions after reading.
--Melinda>

Guppy fry, fdg.   6/16/10
Hi Guys and gals
Thank you creating such a great and informative site.
I have 20 guppy fry that are about 2 weeks old and doing well.
I have set up a nursery tank with live plants and have placed then in there.
As recommended on most sites I have been feeding them every couple of hours. However I am due to go away for the weekend and was wondering if I can get away without feeding them of this period? If not would a feeding block do?
Many thanks in anticipation
<Hello there. No need to feed them if you're just gone a few days. If you want, put a slice of cucumber in the tank and they'll nibble on that. Feeding blocks are a bad move. They pollute more than they help. Cheers, Neale.>

Female guppy -- 05/21/10
My female guppy for the last three days has been releasing this orangish fluid from her anus spot. I thought she was going to have her fry and I put her in a 2 way breeder. Nothing happened for 24 hours so I let her back into the community aquarium and she has been active and still is releasing that orange fluid again. What could this be? Thanks, Jake
<She could have been miscarrying, which is common when female livebearers are stressed. If you don't have twice as many females as males, the males will harass the females, and this easily stresses them. Miscarriages often
follow. Adding some floating plants such as Indian Fern will help, but if you have too many males, this problem can be persistent. Moving females into breeding traps or nets -- despite the advertising -- is even worse. By all means put the fry in the trap once they're born, and they'll be safe there for 3-4 weeks until big enough to set loose with their parents. But don't ever put the adults in there. Cheers, Neale.>

My guppy just had babies 3-4 weeks ago.  5/9/10
<Well done!>
She had 20-30 of them and I let her stay with them in the breeding tank for a day and then removed her.
<Generally, it's a good idea to move the fry, if only for a few weeks, into a breeding net where they're safe from the mothers. Don't put the mothers in breeding nets or traps -- despite the marketing, these things stress and can kill expectant mother fish. But if you put some floating Indian fern in the breeding tank, you'll spot the babies hiding after they're born, and can easily scoop them into the breeding trap or net, and raise them there safely.>
A week later she died. The babies have been growing a little but haven't shown much color yet. I have a friend who would like some of my babies to add to her fish tank at home. I was wondering how long till I can give some away to her.
<Oh, they can be moved safely almost at once. But obviously if they're small, other fish will eat them. It takes about 3-4 weeks for baby Guppies to get big enough to be reasonably safe from other Guppies. If mixed with other, more predatory fish like Angelfish, you'll need to grow them on for longer, perhaps 3-4 months.>
Then, a week ago my "mixed" breed fish (according to the fish store) which I am absolutely positive is all or mostly a platy, had babies. She had around 5-8 of them. Within a week I only had 3-5 left. I added them in with the guppy babies and they are doing great.
<Good; rearing Platies and Guppies together shouldn't really be a problem, though Fancy Guppies do prefer slightly warmer water than Platies, 28 C vs. 24 C.>
She had some babies that were a little....messed up (two were hooked together)
<Common with livebearers -- implies inbreeding, among other things.>
and they died a few days after they were born.
<Yes.>
The female also took about 5 minutes between each baby. My guppy had one after the next. I was wondering why she had such a hard time, took so long and why she didn't have many babies.
<Various reasons. Stress and diet are key factors, though the sizes of each brood of fry can vary with the age of the mother too, older mothers usually having bigger broods.>
When can you tell male from female and how big should they be right now?
<It should be obvious after about 2-3 months when the males develop their colours and especially their tube-like anal fin.>
~Julie
<Do read:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies, repro., growth    4/15/10
We've recently gotten a few guppies, and we just had our first batch of fry born. My question is this ... How long should the fry be kept separated from the adults ? We aren't trying to show breed this is just something to help teach our daughter to manage the responsibility of pets.
Thank you, Nita.
<Hello Nita. Depends on the size of the other fish, but assuming you just have adult Guppies, then if you keep the fry in the breeding trap/net for about 3-4 weeks, you should be fine. The addition of floating Indian Fern will dramatically improve their odds. Cheers, Neale.>

Lots of Guppy Trouble    3/21/10
Hello,
<Hello Madison,>
I am twelve years old and have been taking care of a tank full of Guppies for at least a year now and last night discovered an odd appearance in my clear pregnant Guppy.
<Oh?>
My friends and I noticed some fry in the tank first and knew it was her, since she was the only female that far along in her term, but when we spotted her she appeared to have a fry coming out sideways?
<Can happen. Unlike humans, Guppy mothers aren't connected to their babies via an umbilical cord. Some fish do have umbilical cords -- Halfbeaks for example -- but not Guppies. Instead, all the Guppy moms do is hold their
eggs inside them, and when the eggs hatch, the babies swim out. This means that the baby Guppies are not all pointing one way, as with human babies, when they're inside their mother, but all jumbled up, depending which way
up the eggs are.>
We caught a few fry and after watching her for an hour straight went to bed. Five hours later we checked on her and she still had this "fry" coming out sideways, but she had birthed two more fry into the fry tank. About 26 hours have passed since we first noticed this and I have been searching for answers.
<It sometimes happens that a fry gets stuck. The reasons for this are varied. It is notoriously difficult to solve this problem. The fry is probably dead (stillborn). You could try lifting out the mom and very, very gently seeing if you can slide the fry away from the mother. But do not use any kind of force at all: if you're too rough, you'll risk damaging the mom by causing internal bleeding. If the mom is feeding and swimming normally, you can see what happens without interference from you. But the problem is that the foetus obstructs the anus, and that means the mother can't defecate. Within a few days that will cause pain and eventually death. I have lost a female Halfbeak from precisely this problem. See the photo here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/halfbeakfaqs.htm
>
I have a 10 gallon tank with one Molly, a sucker fish,
<Gyrinocheilus aymonieri by any chance? A very big (to 35 cm) and aggressive fish that should not be in this tank.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/ChineseAlgEatrF.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/algaeeatersart.htm
The only good algae-eaters for a tank this size would be Nerite snails.
They are small, harmless, don't breed, and tolerate hard and even slightly brackish water very well. In fact the Molly will quickly get too big for this aquarium. I prefer keeping Guppies in bigger tanks than 10 gallons because the males are very aggressive towards each other and pester the females.>
and plenty of peaceful Guppies. I try not to change my water too often, for fear of depriving my little friends of nutrients.
<No, their are only poisons, not nutrients, in the water. Change 25% every week or two.>
Today we decided that it might be better for one of my friends to take some fry home for her tank, just in case there's something in the water of mine.
She took four of the six fry so I'd still have some to observe just in case. The temperature of the tank is always a steady temperature at about 78 or 79 degrees and the Ammonia Alert thing that sits in my tank says that it is still safe at about .02 ppm.
<That's not "safe" as such. Anything above zero is stressful, and implies the tank is either [a] overstocked; [b] under-filtered; and/or [c] overfed.>
I don't have another tank that I can put fish into, so for now I'm having her stay in the fry tank.
<Don't put females in breeding traps. These stress the female, and can cause miscarriages. Stock the tank with floating Indian Fern. She will hide there. When you see the fry, move THEM into the breeding trap for 2-3 weeks.>
I'm letting her out for a while every hour or so to make sure she gets plenty of exercise, but she just seems to hide among the plastic plants!
<Yes. The males will pester the females. Keep two or more females per male.>
I also have a young but fully developed male Guppy that has always been yellow with black spots like a leopard. Today I noticed he has a red mark about where the "cross mark" would be between his eyes and his gills, so just about at the top of his head. I have observed my Guppies many times, often just watching them go about their business while I listen to music, etc. and I have never noticed this before. Could it be a parasite? If so, what do you think it is?
<No idea. Could be incipient Finrot, connected with poor water quality.>
A problem I have also observed is that my fish seem to have their fins being nibbled on. This problem was persisting before we got the sucker fish and I'm starting to think that my Molly is aggressive because it seems to
chase my guppies around the tank whenever they come near the bottom or go near it.
<Yes, Male Mollies will attack male Guppies and they will also harass female Guppies. Mollies and Guppies shouldn't really be kept together, certainly not in such a small aquarium.>
Before I though it was my Red Tails but they died peacefully a few months ago. I feed my fish very slowly, making sure that no food is made excess to dirty the tank.
<Good.>
I hope you have an answer for the sake of knowledge and for the lives of my little friends.
<Please do start by reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/mollies.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/poeciliids.htm
Sincerely,
Madison

Re: Lots of Guppy Trouble -- 03/24/10
Hello again,
Yesterday night my Guppy died. I think there was something different going on, because after I sent you my previous email she began floating in a 'headstand' position. After she died my mom set her out on a paper towel
and began poking ever so gently at the large red bulge that originally appeared to be a fry coming out sideways. At first a yellowish liquid came out with what appeared to be eggs in it. She tugged on the bulge and a few minutes later separated it from the Guppy. As soon as she pulled the lump away the Guppy went flat. It appears that her insides were, in fact, the lump. There was what appeared to be a little blood and some more yellow liquid that leaked out in the separation, but other than that nothing.
"It delivered 6 fry and then it looked like it had a bubble. Then it looked ragged and it tripled in size. It was floating funny in a sort of headstand until it died and it swam weird. A couple hours later it died and I laid it out on a towel. When I squeezed it's belly it squirted out this milky white stuff with little bubble things in it. I think the skin is what looked jagged. When I pulled the bubble thing pulled out it's innards were gone."
That's what my mom recalls from our 'fish autopsy'.
Our aforementioned 'algae eater' is a Picasimus, actually. I'm just a little fond of calling it 'Algae Eater', I suppose. As it turns out, our 'Molly' is actually a Bleeding Heart Tetra, unlike what we were told. I have no definite answer if it's a male or female, but I'm pretty sure it's not what's nibbling on my other fish's fins, mostly because it has little
bite marks on it's tail as well.
My Tetra generally just floats at the bottom and darts up for food. We got the Tetra at the same time as my first few Guppies and they seem to get along very well. Actually, all of my fish seem to have nibbled on tails, which makes me worry a little. Do you think my Picasimus is what is eating their tails?
<Hello Madison. No, I don't think the Plec (likely Pterygoplichthys pardalis) is the immediate problem here. That said, your Plec will become simply huge and very quickly, if it is the common Plec, Pterygoplichthys pardalis. We're talking 45 cm/18 inches within two years. Unless your tank is at least 210 litres/55 gallons in size, return this fish PRONTO! Now, there may be two things going on here. A single Bleeding Heart Tetra is an unhappy Bleeding Heart Tetra. Unhappy tetras tend to be nippy tetras. So one reason for ragged fins may be a frustrated Bleeding Heart Tetra. In any case, that species needs a MUCH bigger aquarium than 10 gallons; 30 gallons upwards is more realistic. The other reason for raggedy fins is Finrot, and Finrot is very common in immature, overstocked tanks. Take some time to read our articles about stocking tanks.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestk.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

Baby guppies!! More chatting, sans reading...   3/8/10
Melinda, my female guppy just gave birth to 20+ babies.. But the good thing is that I just hatched a bunch of brine shrimp bad thing is that I they are in a 8 gallon tank.. I think that's too much...
<This is too small for any guppies, much less multiple numbers.>
But I don't see anymore... I saved as many as I could.. The babies are in a breeding trap...
<They stand a good chance of being eaten in the tank, but traps aren't great either -- please read on WWM. Ultimately, the best systems to rear guppy fry include a lot of floating plants, ensuring a large number can escape predation by adults in the tank, rather than attempting to separate the young, or small, filtered systems which the fry can be moved to.>
I didn't put the mother in because I didn't know which one was the mother I have 2 female very pregnant females..
<Good... shouldn't be placed in the trap at all.>
And non of them look any slimmer... It's only been like 20 min.s since first birth.. What should I do?
<Please read on WWM:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppyreprofaqs.htm and related pages above. Should you choose not to actively "care" for the fry, you can be assured more will be along shortly, if there is a male present. In this size system, I'm not sure that you have many options... should they live, the tank would be even more overstocked.>
And it's almost time for bed, should I just let nature take it's course for now on?
<These fish should be in a more suitably-sized system, along the lines of twenty gallons, and more fish would only lead to a more-overstocked tank.
It is up to you; the breeding trap isn't a great place for the baby guppies, but it will keep them from being eaten. As for food, try crumbling flake food into tiny pieces and see if they'll eat that until your prepared food is ready. Whether you keep these fish is up to you, really, but please do take the time to read about guppy care and ensure that you're providing all that your guppies need.>
Thank you!
<You're welcome!
--Melinda>

guppy mother -- 02/12/10
one of my 4 female guppies had 2 babies I have the babies in a breeding net and wondering how can I tell which one is the mother I have had these mother guppies for about a week and have babies already xD anyways how can
I tell which female is the mother. thank you!
<You can't tell, really. A female Guppy who has given birth recently will look a lot "thinner" than she did before, but that's about it. Any sexually mature female that has been with any male will likely have been inseminated. If you want to breed Guppies of a particular sort, you need to start with virgin females. Cheers, Neale.> 

guppies and tank stocking. Repro.   2/10/10
Okay the first one is about guppies I got this little lady and she's in a all girls guppy tank and she has a gravid spot .... is she prego or are there just eggs?
<The gravid spot isn't particularly reliable. It isn't a colour marking that switches on when a Guppy is gestating. Rather, it is a part of the body that usually lacks strong pigmentation, and when the uterus expands through pregnancy, the uterus wall presses against the thin skin around the back of the abdomen, and a dark region, the gravid spot, appears. Whether or not the gravid spot is visible or reliable depends on the colouration of the fish in question, its size, and its age.>
I put her in a tank with some males and she had the gravid spot before I put her in is this possible?
<If she's ever been with a male since she became sexually mature, yes, she's probably carrying young.>
second question ... I have a Raphael catfish in a 20g and thinking about adding 2 angels and 1 Redtail or rainbow shark would this work?
<No. Red-tail and Rainbow Sharks are highly territorial, and need a tank at least twice this size to settle down properly without terrorising their tankmates.>
thanks !!!
<Please do "thank us" the way we like it best, by using proper English. It's appreciated by us and by our other site visitors, not all of whom have English as their first language. Cheers, Neale.>

Baby Dalmatian Mollies & Guppies  -- 1/28/10
I am a new fish owner and I have a question regarding my baby Dalmatian mollies.
<Do start by reading here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm
Mollies are easy to keep under some conditions, particularly in large tanks with clean, slightly brackish water. But they are VERY disease prone when exposed to less than perfect conditions. They are a bad choice for beginners.>
I have been trying to figure out their ailment but I get a myriad of possible diagnosis.
<Oh?>
They were given to me since they were freshly born along with two baby guppies and I was happy but I don't have experience with owning fish. They have been doing good for 2 months and a half. During that time I have successfully changed the water in their tank etc.
<OK. Now, since Guppies and Mollies do well in slightly brackish water, the next step is a no-brainer. Add about 3-5 grammes of marine salt mix (not tonic salt, but the stuff used in marine tanks) per litre of water. This is very cheap to do, but will save you lots of heartache in the long term.
Next step is crank the heater up to about 28 C (82 F). While wild Mollies and Guppies are tolerant of cooler water, the store-bought fancy varieties (like Dalmatian mollies) are extremely sensitive to cooler conditions. Keep them warm!>
Recently, I have changed living locations within the past 2 weeks (high calcium water) and have changed their water with the faucet water treated w Chlor-out. My friend also gave me a new tank and gravel that have been used.
<How big is this tank? Newborn fish shouldn't be kept in anything less than 38 litres/10 US gallons. Sounds a lot, I know, but you need the water volume to minimise variations in quality and chemistry. In smaller tanks, most of your fry will be killed by poor water conditions. Trust me on this. Adult Guppies need at least 15 gallons, and adult Mollies at least 20 gallons for the smaller Shortfin Mollies, and 30 gallons for the Sailfin Mollies.>
I washed out the tank, rinsed some of the gravel. I put my fish in this past weekend and two of them immediately starting "itching'" and acting funny. Because of my inexperience, I wasn't too concerned... But apparently, it may be some type of parasite. A day or two went by, and one of them died. I inspected it looking for white spots, nothing. The fins did look shorter, and the mouth was sticking out.
<Likely Finrot. Review water quality, and act accordingly. Let's be clear here, virtually all "mystery deaths" are because the aquarist [a] didn't use a big enough tank; [b] didn't keep the water sufficiently well
filtered; and [c] didn't keep the fish sufficiently warm.>
Yesterday, I have noticed that another one is having trouble swimming, it looks bloated, has a bit of gunk in one eye, sometimes it swims really fast, a bit aggressive at times. As the day progressed it worsened. Its jaw was sticking out like the dead one, and because of this it has not been able to eat. It kept swimming in circles and even sinking head first or rolling over. I placed it in another bowl to observe it better with the same water taken from the tank to keep it from shock. It swam bumping into side of the container and was lethargic. This morning I found it dead.
<Indeed.>
I recently found out that the tank had fish that had died in it before! I dont know what were their symptoms but I know it was a big mistake not having cleaned the gravel. I feel so terrible!
<Learn from your mistakes. Read about Mollies, and set up a tank suited to them.>
I cant tell you much about water conditions, I dont have a filter yet, or a fish tank warmer so the water has been cold bc it we have been having 30 degree weather.
<Madness! These are tropical fish, and WILL NOT live in an unheated tank, any more than a Polar Bear would be happy in the Sahara. Get your act together!>
Until I get a tank warmer, I have sometimes used a Ziploc bag filled with warm water and placed it in the tank to warm up the water- My fish stay close to it. :)
<Smiley face or not, this is a pointless (and clearly ineffective) way of looking after your fish.>
My guppies are not showing any symptoms but I am afraid they may be next.
<I agree. All will soon be dead.>
How do I help my fish?
<Read. Make a list of what you need. Go shopping. Set up tank.>
:(
<Cheers, Neale.>

Hello. I have a question 12/10/09
Hello
First off let me say that I love your site!
<Cool.>
Have you information or paper about the effects of nest colour on guppy reproduction?
<Nest colour? Guppies don't make nests. They are ovoviviparous. Females select males for mating based on a variety of factors. There is an extensive literature. Search for terms like "mate selection", "mate choice", and "Poecilia reticulata." Cheers, Neale.>
Hi
Hello. My name is Mehdi Taati. My friend in three separate trials researches about the effects of vitamin C, E and different salinities on guppy reproduction. Have you article or information about these subjects?
<Hello Mehdi. We help people keep tropical fish; we aren't able to provide help for students doing projects. Your university library should have access to scientific journals like Copeia and the Journal of Fish Biology that carry articles on these types of topics. Cheers, Neale.>

Ich with guppies and newborn fry  11/28/09
Hi there,
<Hello Sharon,>
I read your thread about ich and it looks like we should be considering salt as opposed to "Ich Attack" for our fish.
<Yes, salt/heat is generally safer than standard medications. Since Guppies are very tolerant of salt, you can keep them in brackish water conditions and consequently never get Whitespot/Ick or Velvet.>
Here's what we have in our 10 gallon tank:
<Not wild about 10 gallon tanks for Guppies, given how aggressive the males become.>
2 male guppies (separated by divider) 2 female guppies, 2 upside-down catfish (male side),
<Tank is too small for Upside-down Catfish; these get to about 8 cm/3 inches in length, and are quite boisterous things.>
8 - 3 week old fry on male side and 3 - 3 week old fry on female side. This morning we noticed a cloud of newborn fry (both sides). The problem is we think we have ich - some of the older fry have what look like little crystals on their bodies & tails. They are acting fine. However, one of our adult females, who looked as if she had been sick for a while but was coming around, just died. We had noticed what looked like the scales on her back were standing up and shining white, but it was probably ich.
<Remove the Upside-down Catfish to a tank of appropriate size. Then raise the salinity in the Guppy-only tank to SG 1.003 at 25 degrees C (about 6 grammes salt -- or better still, marine salt mix -- per litre). Run the tank like this forever, if you want: your Guppies will be hardier and happier, and unlikely to get sick unless you do something really silly. The catfish will not tolerate this amount of salt. If you choose to do the
salt/heat method with the catfish, you'll have to use much less salt; something like 2 to 3 teaspoons of salt per 3.75 litres /1 US gallon. Should still work, but less quickly and perhaps less reliably, and won't
have quite the same tonic effect on the fish.>
Since we have this influx of newborn fry, I am unsure how to treat - if "Ich Attach" will kill them.
<Yes, will work. Some risk to the fry, but not substantial. Even if some fry die, you'll have a billion more before you know it.>
And if you recommend salt instead, or along with it, can you describe how to do that (container, how to deal with divider)?
<See above; also read WWM re: Ick.>
We have a filter that waterfalls water back in and a heater (temp is in the mid-70s). I am not sure the filter is able to work efficiently due to the divider in the tank.
<Your suspicions are correct: by definition, anything that divides the tank up also reduces water flow.>
We've removed the carbon filter because we noticed the ich (that's what the aquarium guy told us it may be) and were going to treat. I'd used tea tree oil 2 days in a row a few days ago but did not add today when I saw the newborn fry.
<Tea-tree oil products are largely preventatives rather than cure, and have zero impact on Ick anyway.>
thanks for your help!
Sharon
<Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy fry stopped coming??? - 11/07/09
Hi there, your site is amazing and I am THRILLED to have found it, thanks so much for helping all of us owners and all our fish! I am sure you have saved many lives.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
I have already searched your site for several hours and can not seem to find an answer yet, although similar time period of a day or two but not over a week.
<Oh?>
I will give you background. I have a 10gal with 2male & 1 female (angry little thing so she did not get to be with the other pregnant mothers)
guppies, 2 balloon mollies, 2 albino Cory cats, 8 Red Cherry Shrimps.
<That's a busy tank. I'd say overstocked.>
I have separated the 3 other female guppies into a 14gal tank (with 5 ghost shrimp) so they can have their fry. They are in a large breeding net, which I made out of netting, the kind that is used under wedding gowns, with holes large enough for the fry to get out but small enough for the mothers to stay enclosed.
<Would tend to recommend against "nets" or "traps" of any kind; usually work the opposite to what people want. By stressing fish, they promote miscarriages. Things like shrimps and snails crawl into the nets, eat the foetuses, and the result is mysteriously vanishing baby fish. Much, much better to place floating plants in an understocked tank, let the fry swim into the plants, and then use a net to catch them and place them in a trap.
That's what I'm doing at the moment with my Halfbeaks, which are also livebearing fish (albeit much different to Guppies in terms of taxonomy).>
This also allows the gentle current and aeration from the filter to flow through the tank. They have plenty of swimming area and seem to be doing well, active and eating well. The question is I found 2 fry in the 14gal tank a week ago and none since then.
<Eaten or stillborn; could be either.>
These 2 babies are doing well, already trying to eat the adult flakes instead of their "first bites".
<Wouldn't worry too much about this.>
Although the mothers all seem fine, do you think they are all ok?
<See above; most "failures" with livebearing fish are to do with how the fishkeeper prepares for the Big Day. In an understocked tank (e.g., two females, one male in a 10 gallon tank) Guppy fry will be able to hide among floating Indian Fern and Amazon Frogbit with ease, and if you check the floating plants two or three times per day, you'll find the fry and net them out safely.>
When will they start having babies again?
<Gestation period is about 4-6 weeks, depending on various factors.>
What would the signs be if they aborted?
<Female looks slim again, but no babies...>
They all still look very pregnant! Each of my tanks have plants for the fry to hide in, but the tank with the fry the leaves are broader and I can clearly see there are no babies hiding in there, they are brave little things anyway!
<Plants must be floating plants, or they're no good.>
I do not have salt in my tanks because I usually sell the babies to other local community tank owners and I have always been told if a fish goes from a salted tank to an unsalted tank he may not survive.
<This advice is garbage. Guppies shouldn't need to be kept in slightly brackish water, but it is often easier to do so, especially if you live in a soft water area (pH less than 7, hardness below 10 degrees dH). Very little marine salt mix (not "tonic salt" or "aquarium salt") is needed, 5 grammes/litre should be ample (about SG 1.002-1.003). This is a cheap and easy way to raise pH and hardness (which, incidentally, plain salt, such as tonic salt, doesn't do). This has no bearing at all on what happens when you move the Guppies to another tank. Wild-type Guppies can be acclimated to seawater conditions for heaven's sake! So adding or removing very low levels of salinity is neither here nor there. But that said, if you move Guppies from a slightly brackish aquarium to a soft, acidic freshwater aquarium, yes, they'll get sick. That's not because the brackish water conditions are bad, but because soft, acidic water is bad!>
While I am here I may as well ask my other questions, instead of playing email tag! I have been trying to feed my fry microworms but they don't seem to have a clue they are supposed to eat them, for that matter neither do any of the adult fish!
<Waste of time with these fish. Algae and finely powdered flake is ample.>
Although I know my fry do not need this food I have talked to serious breeders who say it helps in the growing of the fry and the faster they grow the less likely they will be to get diseases.
<Debatable. I rear Halfbeaks and Limia nigrofasciata on finely powdered flake and wet-frozen foods such as wet-frozen brine shrimp; small live daphnia also go down well. Halfbeaks are certainly *a lot* more difficult to breed than Guppies, while Limia are virtually identical (if genetically far less inbred and so less prone to deformities).>
Anyway is there a way to send a clue to the fish these worms are to eat?
Should I just continue to drop in a few once a day until they get the clue?
They are SO small and do not seem to pollute the tank, probably sucked into the filter.
<Use an air-powered sponge filter in the fry-rearing tank. A very common mistake is to assume fry don't make much mess. While this is true up to a point, you're still adding a lot of food, most of which doesn't get eaten.
Fry are also many times more sensitive to water pollution than the adults.
Hence serious breeders often change a portion of the water *daily*, and invariably connect good numbers of fry to providing excellent water quality. Healthy fry are at no risk of being sucked into an air-powered sponge filter; indeed, they often peck away at the algae and other tiny life forms on the sponge.>
We have a male Betta, we adopted, would he even possibly be ok with these other fish?
<I wouldn't mix them, but you can certainly try. Male Bettas end up being pecked by other fish though. Keep Bettas in 5 gallon tanks with an air-powered sponge filter and a heater. Avoid Betta Bowls and other "micro habitats" -- just review the e-mails we get about sick Bettas and you'll soon see why!>
I think the male guppies may be an issue even though they are about 1/5th his size, so should we even try?
<I wouldn't, but in theory, it can be done.>
Last one, I promise! Of my 2 balloon belly mollies, I believe one is female and one male based on their anal fins. The male is missing his two fins in front of the anal fin, this doesn't seem to harm him any as he swims and eats fine but I am wondering in the long run will this harm him?
<May be damaged or deformed, perhaps by Finrot or physical damage. Some breeders deliberately cut off the anal fin from the male to prevent buyers from breeding that particular variety.>
Also if he reproduces with the female will the fry have this trait? He looks almost exactly like the molly pic you have on this page
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/mollies.htm
(first pure white one about 4 down)
Thanks you so, so much. This will be in my top site for info from now on! I will also remember to donate and would encourage any reading to donate as well!
<Glad to be of help; good luck. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Guppy fry stopped coming??? -- 11/07/09
Thanks so much for all the info,
<My pleasure.>
I think I may make some of those spawning mops and just let whatever fry survive live in there!
<Certainly worth a shot. Floating plants cheaper, easier, better though:
more hiding places, provide food by trapping/culturing algae and infusoria, remove nitrogenous wastes from the water.>
Just so you know I am a caring pet owner,
<Have no doubt.>
the fish are usually more evenly spread between the two tanks but when I thought my moms were about to pop I did some shuffling, usually my tanks are not overpopulated :)
<Cool.>
Thanks again, you guys do a really good thing!
<Thank you for saying so.>
Trillian
<Cheers, Neale.>

Guppies, repro. - 10/25/09
Hello,
<Hello,>
Well I'm fairly new to freshwater aquariums, and about a year ago I bought a ten gallon tank without any understanding of how difficult it is.. So I got really into it, but it was extremely hard to maintain.
<Indeed, small tanks are difficult to look after. For beginners, something in the 20 to 40 gallon size range is ideal.>
Instead of struggling I bought a 130 gallon tank, which is of course much easier to keep stable. One thing I really enjoy is breeding fish, but now that I have my new large tank I can't seem to get babies! I did everything right as far as I know. I set it up in mid July with liquid ammonia and even added a liquid bacteria supplement. I added some fish from my first tank in August and let them settle in. Finally about five weeks ago I went and bought two male guppies and around five-six females (sorry can't get an accurate count) along with some other fish (will list at end).
<Well, the "other fish" can be part of the problem. To most other fish, a newborn guppy is a snack. If you add some floating plants, such as Indian Fern, you'll at least give the newborn guppies somewhere to hide for a while. I find it you do that, it's easy enough to rescue whatever baby fish you find each day, and move them into a breeding trap or another aquarium (your old 10 gallon would be ideal).>
Recently in the last week or so one of my guppies appeared ready to burst, so I put her in a maternity tank.
<Now, what do you mean by "maternity tank"? Putting pregnant fish in floating breeding traps and nets is usually a bad idea, so don't do that.
The stress leads to miscarriages, and even if the babies are born, there's nothing to stop the mother eating them. In the wild, newborn fish swim into very shallow water or hide among floating plants, so they're well away from their parents. Consequently, adult guppies haven't had to evolve a maternal instinct, since they don't normally see their offspring. To an adult guppy, a baby fish is simply a morsel of food!>
The next morning she appeared normal in size with no babies. This happened more than once, still without any babies. Why aren't my fish getting
pregnant?
<They probably are.>
And is that a sign that I'm over feeding?
<Not really.>
As for all the fish:
Platys: 2 male, 4 female
Mollies (Not by choice, they are left over from first tank, but seem happy): 1 male, 2 female
Guppies: 2 male, 5-6 female (4 babies in a maternity tank free from fish store)
Ghost Shrimp: I bought ten, who knows how many I have White Tetras (don't remember which kind they are white with long fins and tails): 3Grey Tetras with two black stripes (same thing, don't remember, long fins and tails): 3
Rainbows: 7
<The Tetras and the Rainbows will certainly eat baby fish, and the livebearers possibly so.>
Before I end I just thought you should know that I totally respect what you guys are doing. I was reading some of the defensive and angry emails you guys put up with, and I don't know how you do it. So for all those I hope this compliment makes you feel better. : )
<Thank you for these kind words.>
Sincerely,
Brittney
<Go buy a clump of Indian Fern, and let it float in the tank. It'll grow quickly, thereby lowering nitrate levels, and provide shade, so it's a useful plant anyway. Every morning, look over the plants, and you'll eventually see baby fish swimming about. Scoop them out, and pop them into a breeding trap or into the 10 gallon tank. You'll need to rear them for 3-4 weeks if you want to put them with adult livebearers, perhaps longer if you're going to keep them with tetras and rainbows, since these are more overtly predatory. Cheers, Neale.>

why wont my guppies give birth? 10/25/2009
hi I'm Liz,
i have three female guppies and two of them have black gravid spots iv had them for a month and a half and the two with the dark gravid spots wont give birth. their gravid spots are just as dark as when i first got them
and they are both huge with babies. do you think that they have had babies but ate them before i saw them? i check on them a few times each day just to check if they've had their babies but i haven't seen any. i have them separated from my male guppy. please help me, they don't look sick but they aren't having babies, I'm worried.
<Hello Liz. There are at least two possible problems here. One is the very common mistake of putting pregnant females in floating breeding traps or nets. Don't do this! It stresses the females, leading to miscarriages, and the miscarried fry could easily be eaten by snails during the night.
Secondly, even if the babies are born, the female may well eat them. Females have no maternal instinct at all: in the wild, the babies would swim into shallow water or hide among plants, so the adults have not had to
evolve any ability to recognise their fry. From the adult's perspective, anything small and wriggly at the top of the water is food! This leads me to the second problem. Do you have any floating plants? Indian Fern is
ideal. Besides providing shelter for females where they can hide from males, it also provides cover for newborn fish. Check the floating plants daily, and assuming the tank is reasonably big enough fry will hide away safely (for Guppies, a breeding tank of 10 gallons is adequate, or 20 gallons for mixed male/female collections). Every day you can pull out the babies, put them into another tank or a breeding trap, and raise them separately from the adults for a few weeks. Once around 20 mm or so long, they can be mixed with the parents safely. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: why wont my guppies give birth?  10/27/09
hi its Liz again thanks for the help,
<My pleasure.>
before i emailed you i searched the Internet for hours. i have my females in a separate tank and i have a third tank set up for when the babies arrive.
<Is this second tank big enough?>
i have plants in with my females for the babies to hide in.
<Floating plants? Plants at the bottom aren't much good...>
i have another question. since i put the girls in another tank the biggest male has gotten has gotten a bit aggressive towards my other fish. is this normal?
<Yes.>
if not why do you think he's doing it?
<Male Guppies are aggressive, hence my recommendation to keep them in big tanks with tankmates unlikely to be bothered by them. The best tankmates are things like Corydoras catfish that completely ignore them, or Danios, which are too fast to be bothered by them. Other livebearers, on the other hand, particularly females, may be pestered by them. Cheers, Neale.>  

Re: why wont my guppies give birth?  10/27/09
hi Liz again,
yes I'm pretty sure the second tank is big enough, its 10 gallons.
<Cool.>
i have both floating and bottom plants. thank you for telling me that its normal for males to be aggressive and my other fish are Danios and Corydoras.
<I'm surprised the male Guppy is causing either species particular problems. Usually, these make good tankmates for Guppies.>
your advise was great and i saw my female give birth today unfortunately i also saw her eat it 3 seconds later but that's normal.
<Can be.>
thanks again for the help.
Liz
<Happy to help. Good luck, Neale.>

Re: my guppy fish
Help!! 6 of my baby guppies have died!!! :( -- 09/19/09

They are in a 2.5 gallon tank with a heater and a sponge filter... I do daily 50% water changes, or 50% water changes once every 2 days...
<This may be too much>
I've tested the water and it shows 0 ppm of ammonia, nitrite and 10ppm of nitrates... the remaining survivors are in a breeding trap in my main tank... My angelfish are constantly trying to eat them
<What they do>
but that is the best thing I can do... What shall I do??? Can I rear this fry in the breeding trap till they are old enough to not be eaten??
thanks
<Read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Re: my guppy fish  9/25/09
hello there,
<Hello,>
My guppy fry are 2 weeks old now, they had grown tremendously over the period of 2 weeks.
<Good.>
My problem is that most of them had died. They seemed to die of one by one.
<Have you fed them enough?>
I tested my water parameters and its shows 0ppm of ammonia, nitrite and 10ppm of nitrate. the ph is 6 because they are in a 47 gallon high-lighted co2 injected tank.
<The pH is far too low! Aim for pH 7.5 to 8. I'm sure we've discussed this before. If the tank only contains Guppies, then the use of MARINE aquarium salt mix (not common aquarium or tonic salt) will work fine, at a dose of about 6 to 9 grammes per litre. If there are other, non-salt-tolerant fish in this aquarium, then use a Rift Valley cichlid salt mix such as the one described here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/fwh2oquality.htm
For livebearers, use at about 50% the recommended dosage.>
They are currently in a breeder trap. 10 out of 24 died in a separate 2.5 gallon tank a week ago (the water has no ammonia, nitrate with a little bit of nitrate) so I moved them to my main tank. I don't know why they are dying, I feed them baby brine shrimp, microworms, and crushed quality flakes. Their bellies are fat and healthy, they are all active but they just suddenly die of. Before they die, their gills seem to enlarge and their bellies get skinnier. They are listless and can't balance properly.
What is wrong?
<Water chemistry.>
I think that there is a disease in my tank because my harlequins and angelfish have white spots on their fins. I'm 100% sure that its not ich because I had it before and these white spots are not tiny but rather big.
<Incipient Finrot. Check water quality. At pH 6, biological filtration will be working very poorly. Again, use a Rift Valley cichlid salt mix at 25-50% the dosages described in that article to harden the water in a community tank.>
I don't think they are fungus either because its not fluffy. Instead it looks like that the fish's fins suddenly turned white and it spreads over the body. The angelfish have spots on their fins ( not as small as ich but not too big either). The fins of harlequins are strange, the disease seems to effect only one fin. It turns one of their fins white, whether its the dorsal or the other fins. One or two of the harlequins have the white stuff spreading over their body. Any suggestions on what is happening??
<Fix water chemistry, quality. Treat as per Finrot.>
please!! thanks!!
<Cheers, Neale.> 

re: my guppy fish  9/27/09
hello there,
<Hello,>
I had added some baking soda and magnesium sulfate (gH booster) to my tank.
This had increased the ph from 6/below to 6.6... I will aim for 7-7.5 in the next few days.
<Good.>
I'd moved the remaining guppy fry back to the 2.5g tank that is constantly monitored for ammonia and nitrites... About the Finrot outbreak in the main tank, what antibiotics do you recommend for me??
<Anything other than Melafix.>
I have no idea what to use. Should I treat with melafix and Pimafix or Maracyn and Maracyn 2??
<Personally, I prefer medications such as eSHa 2000 or Seachem Paraguard, but people speak well of Maracyn.>
Do you recommend both or something else? should I treat with tonic salt?
<Salt won't help bacterial infections.>
One of the harlequins have the 'Finrot' white fungus or bacteria covering its body from the infected fin. It is struggling to swim, its perfectly healthy but when it stops swimming, its body will flip so it must constantly swim to balance or it will turn upside down!! Will it recover if I give it antibiotics?
<Seachem Paraguard and eSHa 2000 treat Finrot, Fungus and Mouth Fungus (Columnaris) so they should help.>
I tried to euthanize it but its just too fast!! It still eats normally and acts like if nothing happens. The white area is swollen up. Any help please?
thank you so much!
<Cheers, Neale.>

re: my guppy fish... Neale's out 9/30/09
helo there,
<Yellow>
my 47 gallon tank have a ph of 7.5 now. I fear that it will drop back to 6 over time as that's what it always do. In my 2.5 gallon tank, the ph is already 7.5 (ph of tap water) and I added half a piece of cuttlefish bone to gradually maintain that ph.
<Worth trying... but this form of CaCO3 is not very water soluble>
Should I still need to add marine salt? If so, is the brand 'Instant Ocean' recommended?
<I would and yes>
I've currently added 6 teaspoons (6 grams each) of tonic salt to the small guppy fry tank with one fry remaining. I was very disappointed with the stuff that the pet stores in new Zealand has to offer. Even the fish specialist stores doesn't sell antibiotics.
<Likely proscribed there>
So I bought Melafix
<Worthless... Please see WWM before writing us>
and tonic salt. Hopefully they would work... the other solution is to buy antibiotics online but that would take 2 weeks or more to arrive here and it would've been too late. I treated as per instructions with Melafix and
14 teaspoons of tonic salt (1 tablespoon is 3 teaspoons) to my 47 gallon.
The recommended dosage
is 27 teaspoons of tonic salt. Should I do so?
<? What is this "tonic"? Most are of little value, toxicity>
Also I need to treat the tank with Melafix for 7 days before a water change. Will the plants and fish be ok if I leave the salt in full dose for 7 days?
<... depends on what is in this product. "Fix"es have been known to interrupt nitrification/cycling...>
I have Otos and cories which I am worried about as they are both catfishes. Do you have any other methods of curing my fishes??
<...?>
I'd noticed that after the treatment yesterday, all of the severely infected fish (3 in total, harlequins) started producing huge amounts of mucus or slime coat over the infected area. They still clamp their fins. Is the slime coat helping them? the other fishes are infected also but show no reactions at all.
please help me!
<Please learn to/use the search tool on WWM, the indices. Start reading here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppydisfaqs.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Where are my baby Guppies?  8/18/09
Ok please help me, I have been reading up on your website lately, but haven't found the info I really needed, (maybe not enough looking) but I have two female guppies and one male, about a week ago, one of the guppies was pregnant.
<Almost certainly the case. If female livebearers are kept with males of their species -- or even closely related species -- they will very likely be pregnant. Embryos can be stored for several months, and it takes as long as 6 months after her last mating for a female to require insemination once more.>
You could tell because its stomach was huge! was in an breeder tank at the size of 10 gallons,
<To be honest, while you can keep Guppies in 10 gallon tanks, I don't recommend it. Multiple issues... one is that males are aggressive and harass the females, leading to miscarriages. Another is the risk of cannibalism; adults don't recognise their offspring for what they are, and will sometimes eat them. In bigger tanks floating plants can provide just enough shelter that the babies are safe until you can find them and isolate them.>
but due to ammonia spike in my larger tank, I had to move about 7 fish into the tank, these fish are rather small, still young, but after moving those fish back into the bigger tank my guppies stomach shrunk, I knew it didn't have babies, well I hope, because I never saw them. I check on my fish more than 10time a day, feeding them, sitting in bed just looking at them, etc. but now the guppies has no signs of pregnancy whets-so-ever. Please explain.
<To breed Guppies, you need to consider both pregnancy and delivery. The female needs to feel secure so she doesn't miscarry. A spacious tank with lots of floating plants helps greatly. After they are born, the fry need somewhere to hide. Again, floating plants help. Try Indian Fern and Amazon Frogbit for two easy-to-keep floating plant species.>
also I have black molly/Mollie, and a Sailfin Molly, I don't know the sexes but I'm pretty sure the black is a female.
<Females have triangular anal fins; males have crooked, almost tubular anal fins.>
I am unable to see the gravid spot, however, because the molly is really dark.
<You cannot see the "gravid spot" on Mollies, or indeed any of the larger livebearers. Remember, the gravid spot is merely the fact you can see the uterus pressing against the muscle wall of the body. This is only possible on small livebearers, such as Guppies. On bigger fish the muscle wall is too thick, therefore the gravid spot is not obvious.>
also its stomach has grown greatly in the past week or so, if able can u send me pics or links to see pics of pregnant mollies, thank you so much for you help
<Cheers, Neale.>

Female Guppy - Believed to be pregnant, interesting "poop" 7/19/09
Hello,
<Hi,>
Thank you for all the useful information available on your site. I am new to having fish and am looking for a few answers.
I have a 26 gallon bow front aquarium with the following fish:
1 Cory Catfish
<Really should be kept in a group; they're schooling fish! Singletons are pretty miserable. Get four more.>
3 Pearl Danios
<Likewise, a schooling species.>
2 Rasboras (I think that's their name; they have a black triangle on their side)
<Again, a schooling fish.>
4 Guppies (2 Male, 2 Female at the suggestion of our local Pet Store)
<A bad suggestion, mostly made because they want to sell them as "pairs"!
Male Guppies are notorious with regard to "sexual harassment" and persecute the females when kept in small tanks. We always recommend at least twice as many females as males, and personally, I keep three females per male livebearer. Reduces stress, and the females are much happier.>
**We had two guppies (both male) when we first set up the tank and one of them started getting really big on the underside. I took it to the shop before it died and they said it was "a genetic issue seen in fish from chain establishments ie PetSmart". About a week later he expired. We didn't think anything more was wrong.**
<Never come across this.>
We have had the tank set up for about two months. All of the fish except the 3 Guppies and the 3 Danios have been in the tank since we first set it up (well within 2 weeks of set-up). The water was tested by the shop prior to adding these last six fish. The results were as follows:
pH 7.4
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite 0 ppm
Nitrate <10ppm
GH 8 dGH
KH 4 dKH
We did not do a partial water change before adding the new fish, at the recommendation of the store.
<Strange recommendation! A 25% weekly water change is always a good idea, whatever else you're doing.>
Now, five days later, we have noticed that both females look pregnant. I talked with the shop and they said they probably are. I am concerned that the female guppy may be going down the same road as the guppy we did have that expired. However, this one is female and that one was male.
Today I went back to the shop and had the water retested. The results were pH 7.6
Ammonia 0 ppm
Nitrite trace (? - said nothing to worry about, siphon the gravel and do a 25% water change; probably due to overfeeding getting used to the number of fish)
<Any nitrite is worth worrying about. Can't say I'm terribly impressed with this pet store so far. Siphoning gravel made sense in this situation when people used undergravel filters; as the gravel got clogged, turnover dropped, and filtration efficiency declined. If you don't have an undergravel filter it is still a good idea to keep the gravel clean, but that won't make much difference either way with regard to ammonia and nitrite, since most of the filtration is going on in the filter.>
Nitrate 20 ppm
GH 8 dGH
KH 3 dKH
<A bit on the soft side for Guppies, but if they're happy so far, no big deal.>
They recommended doing a partial water change and siphon of the gravel.
<Sure.>
Since we thought the female guppy was pregnant and possibly about to give birth, we placed her in a 3-Way Breeder inside the main tank to protect the fry.
<Do understand females *hate* being in these things, and they can cause miscarriages. Much better to stock the tank with Indian Fern and other floating plants. The fry will hide among these plants, and you can then net them out each day and pop them into the breeding trap. After about 3-4 weeks they should be big enough to work with most smallish community fish.>
Shortly after doing this we noticed she started "pushing out" reddish, light brown round stuff. Sorry for the lack of explanation but it's hard to describe. Whatever it is, it does not appear to be moving at all and has fallen to the bottom of the breeder.
<Think these are merely faeces, and not stillborn embryos, which tend to be silvery.>
The other fish in the tank have come up to try and eat it (which they obviously can't do through the plastic). At first we assumed it was poop, but she has excreted about four more of these things. Kinda like little sausages? I know I may be over thinking things, but I would rather ask a stupid question and fix something if need be than to let fish die. Anyway.
while taking pictures to send, some of the "stuff" fell out and another fish ate it.
Do you have any idea what this might be?
Also, how often should I feed the fish in my tank?
<"A little but often" is a good rule; a portion of food the size of a fish's eye is about right for one meal, if offered 2-3 times a day. In any case, add food such that it all vanishes within 30 seconds or so. Feed catfish at night, in the case of a school of 5 Corydoras, one or two Hikari Algae Wafers or similar 5-6 times per week should be ample. Regardless, the aim is that your fish are gently rounded but not bloated. Overfeeding doesn't kill, it's the water quality problems that occur if uneaten food gets sucked into the filter that causes sickness. So if your fish look healthy, and you have 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite, you're fine. For what it's worth, your female Guppy looks healthily fed. With Corydoras, look at their bellies, and check that the belly is slightly convex rather than concave.>
I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for your help.
Jamie
<Cheers, Neale.>

Nematodes? RMF

Preg guppy with sac 6/6/09
I have a pregnant guppy that has what looks like an amnio sac hanging out.
I have been watching her for 3 days now, no fry and the sac is not changing. Not going back in or dropping off. What is it?
<Likely a prolapsed uterus, or something similar.>
Should I be worried?
<Yes.>
What can I do to help?
<Not much; if at all possible, leave the fish in a tank on its own, and observe. If the fish can feed and defecate normally, there's no great urgency, but if the fish can't do either, in all honesty, I'd recommend
painlessly destroying the fish.
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
I have seen this before in Halfbeaks, and though it takes some days to kill the fish, it does, and I can't see how pulling or otherwise manipulating the fish would help without causing trauma and pain (the uterus being
attached to the inside of the fish).>
Char
<Cheers, Neale.>

Nitrate/baby guppy problem 05/29/09
Hi Crew, it's me again....
We have a nitrate problem in our 28 gallon.
<Nitrate is best removed from freshwater tanks simply by [a] not overfeeding the fish; [b] not overcrowding the aquarium; and [c] doing more water changes. Fast-growing floating plants are also good at using up nitrate, but that should be viewed as a supplement to frequent water changes, not an alternative.>
Our ammonia is at 0, nitrite 20 mg/l, nitrate 40...so the pet store recommended a bacterial supplement that claims to be 'for fresh and saltwater aquariums'. Will this work?
<No. Nitrate is broken down by anaerobic bacteria, such as those that live in live rock (in marine aquaria) or stagnant mud (in ponds). It is not easy to create these conditions in a freshwater aquarium, so denitrification (the breakdown of nitrate to nitrogen gas) rarely takes place quickly enough in freshwater tanks to make any difference.>
We have a male Betta, my only remaining Neon Tetra, 3 Glo-Fish, 3 Giant Danios, and an African Dwarf Frog. Our 10 Ghost shrimp and 5 Mystery snails all died...and my Betta, who used to easily eat 20-30 pellets (!) a day, now only gets 4 or 5..those giant danios...:)But anyway he's usually a bundle of energy and now he's lethargic and fights with his own reflection.  Plus his eyes look clouded. We got him almost 7 months ago so could these be age-related cataracts? And my baby guppies (they were born on April 7th) are in the 2.78 L, there's only 2 of them and both look pregnant. One just died...so should I move them to the 28-gallon in a breeder net with our nitrate level?
<I can't see Guppy fry doing well in 2.78 litres of water. Seriously, that's not an aquarium; it's a soda bottle.>
Yes, we have live plants-Umbrella, Amazon Sword, Peacock Fern, Aqua Fern, and White Ribbon. The Amazon Sword ones-and only those ones-are dying. Why?
<Probably not enough light. Umbrella Plant (Spathiphyllum wallisii), Peacock Fern (Selaginella willdenovii), Aqua Fern (Trichomanes javanicum) and White Ribbon Plant (Dracaena spp.) are all non-aquatic plants that will die kept underwater within a few months. Any retailer who sold you these was CONNING you out of money. So I wouldn't trust him/her on anything.  There are many retailers who sell these plants to inexperienced fishkeepers. These plants ALWAYS die and NEVER last for long underwater.  Total waste of money. The reason they "look" healthy is that their leaves are stiff, being adapted to living on land where gravity is more of an issue than underwater. So it takes a long time for them to look dead. But
DIE THEY WILL. Take them out, put them in houseplant soil, and stick them on a windowsill. Enjoy them for what they are: houseplants! As for your Amazon Sword, these are demanding plants that need strong lighting (at least 2 watts per gallon, ideally 3 or more watts per gallon) and a rich
substrate containing iron and other minerals; plain gravel will not do!  Usually when people fail to grow these plants, it's because [a] there isn't enough light; and [b] they stuck the plants into plain gravel without considering their need for fertilizer.>
Please help...
Kiara.
<Cheers, Neale.>

Sorry another question this time about our fry 4/24/09
How fast do they actually grow?
<Males reach sexual maturity within about 3 months. Females a bit longer.  Should be sellable size within 4-6 months. All written elsewhere at WWM; e.g., here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebindex/guppies.htm>
We have 40+ fry in a separate tank. They are doing great and growing really well. Yet Only the other day I noticed 6 more baby guppies in our main tank. They must have been have been born before I put my female into her breeding net. Yet these babies are a lot bigger than the ones in the separate tank any idea as to why?
<Different batches of fry.>
I've decided to leave the fry that are in our main tank well alone as they seem to be doing so well so thought I would let nature take its course.  Any way thanks in advance and I absolutely love your site !
Deanne
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy Breeding 4-14-09
I have 1 male and 2 female guppies. What should I do to make sure the baby guppies are okay and that the parents do not eat them? I have a 3.5 gallon tank and the water quality is good.
<Hello! Well, guppies usually don't eat their fry but I have seen it happen. The best prevention method is to remove the fry from the parent tank into a separate grow out tank. If you don't have the space, you can
easily leave them in the main tank and add extra plants for hiding spots.
Some might get eaten though. Here are some links on guppy breeding, http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm ,
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/poeciliids.htm Good luck! Merritt A.>

Guppy Breeding, school paper?  4-16-09
Also, are there environmental influences that determine the sex ratio of fry- such as salinity, hardness, pH, or temperature?
<Hello Again! Regarding guppies the influences of hardness, pH, temperature and salinity has not been proven to determine sex ratio. There have been scientific experiments to test the theory but none have proven it. You are welcome! Merritt A.>

Guppy Still Pregnant? Or Sick?   4/9/09
Hi, and thanks for such a great site! I just
[cid:image002.jpg@01C9B87F.04BC3390] it!
<?>
Well on March 31st I knowingly got a pregnant female guppy (from PetSmart) who just gave birth to 22 healthy fry, no deformities (though one was killed by one of my Neon Tetras). But I think I can still see eyes in her stomach! (I saw her give birth and had to catch the fry 1 by 1!) Does that mean she is still pregnant?
<Perhaps... sometimes deliver over several hours time>
When I caught the fry, I fed her frozen brine shrimp and that totally messed up my water quality. (My 2 Neons are gasping at the surface, so I'll do a 50% water change now.)
<Yikes!>
She gave birth soon after a water change, so could this water change make her drop the babies she's retaining (if any)?
<Yes>
Please tell me if crushed Top Fin tropical-fish flakes are a good idea for the fry?
<Should work>
Thanks a bunch,
Livebearer Lover.
P.S. Our water here is rather soft...but I can't add Epsom salt... :(
<Mmm, please read here:
http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwsoftness.htm
and the linked files above re how to adjust/increase the water hardness in a safe manner. Bob Fenner>

More female guppy fry than male!  4/4/09
Hi guys,
<Neil>
I've had three batches from difference female guppies. However, all the fries are female. How could this be possible? Is there a method to balance the female/male ratio?
<Mmm, not if you don't have any males... But there are means of changing sex ratios of new batches of young...>
I love my male guppies and I want to keep their traits. Did you guys experience anything like this and what is the usual ration for female/male fries?
<Mmm, use your search tool with this string: changing sex ratios of live bearing fish young
Mainly temperature and exposure to steroids...>
Thank you and hope to hear from you soon!
Neil
<Bob Fenner>

Poecilia repro; Mystery fish (Rasbora borapetensis); Apple snail repro, aestivation 03/29/09
Dear Crew, I'd like to ask if my tank is suitable for breeding guppies. I have a 40 gal. tank, 3-4 platies, a few Danios, and 8-10 mollies. Just a few days ago, I recently purchased 4 male guppies and 3 female. I also purchased 5 snails. I do have a separate tank about 35+ gal., but I've never really used it for breeding.
<Well, the 40 gallon is certainly plenty big enough for breeding livebearers, though Danios are very good predators and will take any small fry they can find.>
Every time a get fry in my tank, we don't usually scoop them out. They're pretty good at hiding, and we usually notice them when they're 1-2 weeks old. Up until now, I've never been concerned about the other fish eating the fry, because they get fed about 3 times a day. But now, I'm thinking that I should transfer some of my fish to the other tank, or at least those
I suspect are going to reproduce. Should I? It's never been a problem before.
<Up to you; floating plants will protect some fry, and it's really only a big deal if you actually want to rear the fry and sell them on. If this is the case, moving the fry to a breeding tank as/when you find them is a good idea. If you get a production line going, and have just a single variety of Guppies (or Platy, or whatever) then the offspring should be good enough to
sell. Retailers tend not to want cross-breed fry, e.g., from Black Cobra males and Green Snakeskin females. On the other hand, if all you care about is the occasional fry surviving, then by all means let nature takes its course.>
Also, I was wondering if you could identify my Danios.
<Not Danios.>
When I bought them, my dad thought they were pretty cool, so we purchased 4-5 of them. Now, I'm having a little trouble breeding them, so if I knew what they were called, it might help. I'll attach pictures of the fish.
<These are Rasbora borapetensis, known as the Black-line or Red-tailed Rasbora. A nice fish, gets to about 5 cm long, needs to be kept in groups of 6+, and prefers slightly soft/acidic water (pH 6.5, less than 10 degrees dH). Water temperature should be relatively cool, 22-26 C recommended. Not particularly easy to breed, and certainly not compared to Danios. Rasboras generally are fussy about water chemistry, and won't breed at all if it isn't right.>
One more thing. I'm worried that my Golden Mystery Snails won't reproduce that well. Once, about a year ago, there was some reproduction, but eventually, the snails all died away.
<Absolutely typical.>
What should I do to keep the population alive?
<Allow the Apple snails to aestivate for 3 months of the year. Apple snails are adapted to a seasonal climate, and during the summer rest for three months buried in mud. Kept at tropical temperatures all year long they simply "burn out". This is why you ALMOST NEVER see full size Apple snails in aquaria. Adults can be the size of tennis balls, but the ones in fish
tanks are usually a lot smaller.>
Should I know how to tell the difference between a male and a female to add one or two if there isn't enough for reproduction?
<Sexing isn't easy, though the penis on the male is apparent if you know what to look for. Applesnail.net has some pictures.>
Thanks for reading the questions. I'll be looking for a reply soon! Bebe
<Hope this is soon enough! Neale.>

Fry Deformities 3-25-09
Hello! I have not been able to find the answer to my question anywhere. I had a female guppy give birth about two weeks ago. We have about 16 fry that seem to be doing really well. The only concern is that about four of them are oddly shaped. They look like the letter "V" with their body dipping down in the middle. The actual torso area is tilted whereas the other fish have a straight torso. Is this a defect? They are growing and seem to be otherwise healthy. Any answers you have would be a great help.
Thank you,
Jennifer
<Hello Jennifer, Merritt here today! What you are describing is a genetic deformity that occurs in many live bearing fish. Other types of deformities range from being shaped in a upside down "u" or not having an operculum (gill covering). Since the fish are swimming fine and are healthy you should not have to "cull" them. Culling is the process of destroying fry that are not genetically correct or healthy. You are welcome! Merritt A.>

Fry tank algae eater   1/31/09 Hello, I need your advice on an algae eater for a 10 gallon fry tank. I have a Fancytail guppy fry tank that has 15 babies that are a one and a half weeks old. At any given time there can be babies ranging in age from newborn to 2 weeks old and I don't want to use an algae eater that can or will harm or eat them. Thank you in advance of your advice... Cindy <Cindy, the short answer is a few snails, ideally Nerite snails. Anything else (e.g., fish) will pollute the water too quickly, reducing the growth rate and health of the fry. Do not even think about Otocinclus or adult Ancistrus; they'd be totally inappropriate for this system, though you could rear some juvenile, 1.5 inch-long Ancistrus in there if your retailer sells them (some do). Shrimps might be an option, but honestly they eat the same green algae than the Guppies should be eating. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Fry tank 1/31/09 How many do you think I would need and what size should I look for, and oh, are they easy to find? <I find 1-2 Nerite snails per 10 gallons is about right. They are very industrious! All are fairly small, about the size of your thumbnail, at most. Are they difficult to buy? Depends on where you live, I suppose. Here in England most of the better aquarium shops have them. You can also buy them online. Cheers, Neale.>

Mollies Breeding With Guppies? ~ 01/09/09 Hi, I have a 12 gallon tank with 3 Mollies, (one female and two males I know its not recommended-just my luck) and 3 male Fancy Guppies. My female Molly has had many babies before with the other Molly males. (I have watched them mate) I recently looked into the tank and one of the fancy guppies was mating with my female Molly. (for a couple hours) I am 100% sure it was that because of past experiences. So I have some questions: 1) Can Mollies and Guppies successfully mate? (like successfully fertilize?) <Mmm, no, not as far as I'm aware... there are members of the family (Poeciliidae) that can produce via young from crosses... e.g. guppies and platies, but Mollies (now Poecilia spp., formerly Mollienesia) do not cross successfully with guppies (Poecilia reticulata), though they can interbreed amongst Molly species> 2) Can the Molly give birth to hybrid babies? <Not from crossing with a guppy> 3) And if so, can the babies survive? They wont have deformities? 4) If so, with they have traits of both parents? (Female Molly is a Dalmatian Molly and the Male yellow fancy guppy. he is just white and yellow) 5) Is this common? Do you know of any surviving hybrid Molly/Guppies? <The behavior of reproduction is common amongst the common Poeciliid livebearer species, but ... the young produced from species crosses tend to be more feeble, not survive for long> Thanks so much! <Do please write back if you "hear" otherwise. Bob Fenner>

Re: Mollies Breeding With Guppies?  1/11/09 Will do. I'll tell you if anything happens... Thank you Hannah. BobF.

Poecilia reticulata (health; repro)  11/05/08 Hi I have two pregnant female guppies, one of which perplexes me, the other of which I need some advice. As to the confusing one, she is about 2 cm thick in her pregnancy- I hope this paints a picture, I just don't know how else to describe it, but her gravid spot is still pinkish. I have the temperature around 75 degrees, so I wonder is this has anything to do with her slow development? Then the other female has a very dark gravid spot, and she looks like she wants to be left alone, but the males keep bugging her (I have 5 females and 3 males). Should I put her in the breeder net to see how she does there? Also, if I should put her in the breeder net, should I be worried about her bullying the fry that are already in there? They are already about a cm long, so I know she can't eat them anymore. Thanks, Nate <Nate, not every swollen Guppy is necessarily pregnant, and in some cases internal parasites, bacterial infections, or organ failure can all cause swelling. It's important to note that the gravid spot isn't a "thing" that happens when the fish is pregnant: it happens because the internal organs (which are dark) are pressed against the wall of the abdomen. In other words, both pregnancy and dropsy can cause a gravid spot to appear. So above all else I'd be checking to see if other issues could be at work.  Review water quality and chemistry, for example. Do also review diet; Guppies are mostly herbivores in the wild, and unfortunately in aquaria some hobbyists forget this and give them regular flake food. What Guppies (and most other livebearers) need is an algae-based flake staple augmented with high fiber foods such as live daphnia now and again. Constipation can easily occur otherwise, and needless to say this can cause dropsy-like symptoms. At 1 cm in length the juvenile Guppies should be safe with adult Guppies. I'm not a big fan of breeding nets for most livebearers, but female Guppies at least may be confined in them for short periods without undue problems. Cheers, Neale.>

Poecilia (reproduction)  10/16/08
My guppy pregnant guppy looks close to giving birth and I read that a higher water temperature could speed up the maturation of the babies inside her. The only problem is that I don't have an extra heater (I found a 2 gallon tank to put her in.) Is there anything that I can do to help raise the temp a little
<Nope. That's the job of the hearer. A two-gallon tank isn't viable for keeping Guppies, so wasting time, money trying to "fix" this situation is completely pointless. The female Guppy will likely eat any babies that emerge, and besides, water quality and stress will be working against you. Do understand female Guppies view anything small and wriggly at the surface as food, whether mosquito larvae or baby fish. In the wild, baby Guppies immediately swim into floating plants and shallow water where bigger fish cannot go. If you want to "rescue" the baby Guppies you have to understand this, and not work against it, because you'll fail. As I say repeatedly on WWM, keep Guppies in a 20+ gallon tank, stock with lots of floating plants (Elodea, Hornwort, Indian Fern), and then remove baby Guppies to a breeding net or 8-10 gallon tank with a heater and sponge filter as you find them. That's how this job has been done, is done, and always will be done. Cheers, Neale.

Some Pregnancy Problems, guppy   10/14/08
Good Evening,
<Good morning,>
I have a female guppy that I got two weeks ago.. She was large then, but she has almost doubled in size since and her gravid patch is now a deep maroon color. She started to become sluggish, her anal fin kept moving a lot, she stayed in one spot at the top of the tank, so I thought that she was about to give birth and put her in the net breeder.
<Hmm... while I agree she's close to delivering her young, I'm dead against breeding nets for confining females in most instances. They do tend to stress the fish, worst case causing miscarriages, and I don't know any experienced fishkeepers who use them in this way. It's much better to stock the tank with floating plants (*anyone* can keep Indian Fern alive, for example) and let her hide there. Better yet, the baby fish hide among the leaves so you can scoop them out and *then* put them in a breeding net. If the female is in the breeding trap, there's nothing to stop her snapping at the baby fish she's just given birth to.>
When She got there, she displayed the same behavior for the first day, and stopped eating, I thought nothing of it, as I know this to be an additional sign that the pregnancy is nearing its end.
<Stress...>
The next day, she still had not given birth, and had begun to dart around inside of the net. I took her out for fear of stressing her too much and she seemed to calm down.
<Good call.>
Then, she started moving about at a normal rate, as though she wasn't pregnant at all. It has now been two days since I took her out and she has resumed eating. I was wondering if you had any explanation as to why she looked like she was about to give birth, and then resumed behaving normally. Do you have any advice as to when she will give birth or what I should do in the mean time?
<There's nothing much to do. Your job is keep her healthy and well fed. She will deliver the babies as and when. Put floating plants in the tank and let Nature run its course. Check the plants in the morning, and with luck you'll see some baby fish! Simple as that.>
Thanks,
Nathan
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Guppy Pregnancy Questions  10/14/08 Hi, I have emailed you yesterday because I have a pregnant guppy who I think is coming very close to birth. I did as one of your staff told me to and took her out of the breeder net that I had her in. <Indeed.> Then, she started to move around and explore a little. Now, she seems to be trying to avoid the male and the other female a lot (I have two females, and two males), <With livebearers, you should have (at least) TWICE as many females as males. Otherwise the males harass the females.> but she can't get away from them. I was wondering what you think that I should do about them bugging her because I think she might be getting stressed out? <Yes, she will be stressed. Stress can lead to miscarriages. Add more females of the species to "dilute" male aggression. Stock the tank with floating plants (Indian Fern is ideal) so females (and fry) can hide. No magic solutions beyond these, I'm afraid. Much written about Guppies here at WWM; start here:- http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/guppies.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Pregnancy Questions  10/14/08 Hi again, I know about how I am supposed to have two females for every one male, but so far, that has not been a problem because one of the males that I have doesn't bother the females (I don't know why, but he just leaves them alone) do you think that I still need to get some more females? <Yes. Cheers, Neale.>

Guppy fry question  -08/27/08 Hello WWM Crew, First of all, let me say that this is the most amazing, informative site! <Thanks for the kind words.> Two questions for you: I have a 5 gallon tank which is well planted, I keep the water perfect with bi weekly water changes and I feed them good quality food. <Bit small for Guppies, to be honest...> My fish seem very healthy and hearty! In this tank are 2 males and I think 5 females. I say this because two of the females along with one of the males came from a batch of fry that we had in March foam a mother guppy who died after giving birth. One is obviously a male but the other two I can't seem to tell their gender. They have gray bodies with a short ,but iridescent tail and I can't figure out if their back lower fins are pointed or rounded. They do hold them up against their bodies, which are slender like most males are. They are about 5 months now... shouldn't I be able to tell by now? <Male Guppies will be sexually mature within 3 months. Sexing Guppies should be fairly easy; if the anal fin isn't a simple triangle, it's a male! Males also tend to be smaller and less deep bodied, and should have brighter colours, particularly on the unpaired fins. Breeders take this approach: if they can't confirm its a female, they remove it from the tank of "virgin" female Guppies and eliminate it from any breeding programmes.> My other question is another one of my females had a batch of 41 fry on the 27th of July which makes them about 4 weeks old now. They are in a separate tank without any other fish and seem to be thriving just beautifully. I noticed this morning before feeding them that the females bellies were very rounded as if they had just eaten... I also noticed about 7 much smaller fry in the tank... am I crazy to think that these are new fry?? <Well, if there are baby fish there, and just the one female, then yes, they're hers! Guppies tend to produce batches of fry every 4-6 weeks, but this will vary depending on things like diet and water temperature.> Please let me know. Oh, just to let you know, this same mother just birthed another 40-something fry on Saturday.....Holy-Moly.... <At some point you will need to restrict the numbers of fry; rearing huge numbers isn't practical unless you have a lot of ~10 gallon tanks to keep them in and to separate off males from females. Pet shops want quality, true-breed rather than mongrel Guppies or deformed fancies, so you also need to be sensible about selecting good specimens of a single variety. The mantra for any fish breeder is that it isn't quantity but quality you're after.> Thanks for your time, Yvonne <Cheers, Neale.>

guppy not having babies -- 07/14/08 i got a guppy and she has had babies before but i am never awake to catch the babies they are usually all gone so i bought a trap put the preg guppy in it to get babies i put her in when she looked really fat and the gravix spot was dark black and its been 3 days and has not had babies what could cause this?. <Likely she's eaten them. The "gravid spot" isn't a terribly reliable indicator so don't get too hung up on it. The best way to ensure good broods of livebearer fry is to fill the tank with floating plants, such as Hornwort or Elodea. Every morning, look for fry, and remove them to your breeding tank. With most livebearers, batches of fry are delivered 4-6 weeks after insemination.> another thing is i read that some fish breed during the rainy season so they might have babies if u simulate rain or change the temperature is this true? <Not for Guppies, no.> also is there a sign when she will have her babies like will she swim at the bottem of the trap or some thing plz help me thanks <Not this easy, I'm afraid. There's an art to breeding all fish, even Guppies, that comes with experience. And please, hit the Shift key periodically next time and try and put capital letters in places where most of us expect them. Call me an old fuddy-duddy, but when I see people who don't use capital letters, I assume that they're either five years old or else had a bad experience with a personal pronoun at some dive bar in Vegas. Basic grammar is in fact the only thing we ask from people who send in questions, right on the page where you found our e-mail address. Cheers, Neale.> re: guppy not having babies i have her in a trap that the babies slide throught a v ans its been three days what should do it looks like she is going to explode and she is still eating. and i do not have a tank to put her in due to the fact i cannot buy plants <Please check your grammar and spelling before submitting questions to WWM. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMAdminSubWebIndex/question_page.htm You won't just be helping us to help you, you'll also be making it possible for us to share this discussion with others around the world, which is the whole point of the site. Cheers, Neale.>

Questions!! Guppy repro., ant control   6/3/08 Hey!! <... okay> I have a couple of questions for you. First of all, my friend is having trouble with breeding the guppies that I gave her. With my guppies, I've noticed that right before they give birth, they form point at the anal fin. <Mmm, I usually go with the darkening of the area of the vent (from the young's eyes), a lightening of color at the vent itself> She thought she saw a point forming so she put her guppy in her breeding trap. After 5 minutes, the point went down and the guppy did not give birth. She has released the guppy into her tank again and now it looks more like it's pregnant. Is the reason for this to happen because she stressed the guppy out????? <Likely so... not good to move livebearers so close to parturition> Also, I e-mailed you guys a couple weeks earlier about my tank being infested with ants. I can't find the way that they are entering in. Every time i suck them up with the vacuum, they come back within a hour. Any other advice? <Boric acid granules around the outside of the tank, and Silicone lube on cords, airlines will form an impenetrable barrier> Oh....I almost forgot. My dad bought those plastic ant traps to put up but we don't know where to put them. <Mmm, if they're just sticky types most anywhere... if pesticide-laden not anywhere near the tank... for fear of poisoning.> Thanks!!! -Sarah <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Guppies, Reproduction 5/6/08 How fast do they reproduce and are they livebearers <All your answers can be found here in an excellent article by our very own Neale Monks. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppies.htm > <Chris>

Guppies/Breeding 3/31/08 I am new to this website and I love it. <Thank you.> This morning my momma guppy gave birth this morning to 20 or 21 beautiful healthy babies and one miscarriage. How do I know when to take her out of the tank and when she is done. She hasn't eaten any yet but she has tried. The little guppy babies are actually amazing swimmers and quite fast as well. <You can take mother out now. Generally, all fry are released within a few hours. You may be interested in reading here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppies.htm James (Salty Dog)>

guppies... Lucy, you got some 'splaining to do!  3/30/08 Hello , I was wondering if you can help im new to the aquarium business and I have had a tank set up for 10 days and went and got some guppies yesterday ,I bought 2 females and 6 males <Disaster waiting to happen... always keep more females than males, or just males by themselves. When too many males to the females, the females get harassed constantly, effectively being gang raped every single day! Not nice. If there are twice as many females than males, then the females get some respite. Hiding places will help, and certainly you shouldn't keep males and females together in tanks smaller than 20 gallons.> and by the evening I could see that one of the females abdomen was huge and had a very dark spot at the bottom ,which I thought doesn't take a genius to know that she was having babies but I thought maybe it was too quick the way her abdomen swelled ,when I checked this am the abdomen has gone down and the dark spot isn't as prominent, I've been looking in the tank for any babies but I cant see any, but I can see hidden at the bottom back of a artificial plant a thick cotton wooly type mass attached ? <Don't really understand what you're saying here. Lack of grammar isn't helping. Anyway, when pregnant, yes, females will swell up somewhat. Often (but certainly not always) a dark patch around the anal fin becomes apparent. Gestation lasts about 6 weeks, plus or minus a bit depending on environmental conditions. Guppies don't lay eggs, and if you're seeing anything "fluffy" in an aquarium, that's likely fungus. This means you have poor water conditions, likely from overfeeding, overstocking, or under-filtration.> I am confused as to whether this could be anything a nest ? or is it likely that the babies have been eaten ? ,I have little neon tetras ,zebra & leopard Danios Pakistani loach, and a Cory catfish in the tank also .many thanks look forward to hearing from you Rhiannon <Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnant guppy not swimming, not much needed data...   3/14/08 Hi, <Betsy> We have a guppy who is very pregnant. Yesterday she started laying on the side of the breeder tank. She is still breathing and will swim every now and then. Does this mean she is in labor or is she sick? <Perhaps a bit of both... but... not good behavior> Hope you can help with our questions! Thanks Betsy <I would NOT move this fish (too easy to damage), but would take great care in feeding very little, and would add a bit of "floating grass"... See WWM, search tool, with the term... Myriophyllum, Ceratophyllum, Anacharis/Elodea/Egeria... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm and the above linked files for more background. Bob Fenner>

Guppy fry -- 03/10/08 hi, I have looked all over for information on the growth rates of guppy fry and when they will begin to show colour and I have found conflicting answers. I have read one article that said they will show colour at 60 days and others that have said 6 months! mine are about 3 months old and seem to have stopped growing completely and only show a tiny hint of colour. the two guppy mothers were a yellow guppy (silver body and a yellow tail) and a tequila sunrise guppy, which both mated with a dark blue and orange male. I was wondering how long it usually takes to show colour on their tales (they all appear to be females but I've also read that males can look like females until they are full grown)? I was also wondering how old they should be before selling them because I definitely don't have room for them all. thank you! Michelle <Hello Michelle. Females Guppies take around 3 months to reach sexual maturity, males a little less. You should be able to sex males after about two months, but this varies depending on how fast they are growing, and this depends how much they are eating and how warm they are being kept. Shops are not interested in Guppies until they are at least 3 months old, and likely larger, because they have to be big enough *not* to be eaten by other fish. Stores aren't generally wild about mongrel Guppies either, which is why breeders always keep one strain to a tank. I'm a big fan of mongrel Guppies though -- they have been scientifically proven to be hardier and more adaptable for a start -- but I may as well be honest and tell you that you may have problems getting rid of your stock. Finally, please remember we usually only answer messages written properly, i.e., with capital letters where they should be. I was feeling kind this morning, but next time please show us at least some respect by making the huge effort of holding down the shift key when starting new sentences. Cheers, Neale.>

Pregnant obsessed male, Guppy   12/30/07 I have a male guppy that has picked up a very odd habit. Out of all six females he is currently with, he obsesses over a single pregnant one. <Hmm... not really odd. She's presumably bigger than the others, but whatever, male Guppies harass female Guppies. In the wild the males get eaten by predators very quickly, so the females get a break. But in the aquarium... we recommend providing lots of floating plants and swimming space to keep things as tolerable as possible.> Three of the females I bought from a breeder are virgin, never been pregnant before girls, but he has absolutely no interest in any of them, even though they actively seek him out. The one he constantly chases after and tries to breed with, is the largest and very pregnant, one there. <Annoying perhaps, but happens.> He's stressing the poor girl out pretty badly and I'd hate to see her miscarriage my line of green cobra fry. I want to move her badly, but the only other tank currently in working condition is my fry grow up tank with is populated by about 20, 3 day old fry. <Why not move the male to another tank, or even confine it to a SPACIOUS breeding net (not a small breeding box.> The third tank of mine, my supposed emergency tank, got knocked out of commission thanks to an overzealous cat 2 days ago. <Oh.> Is there anything I could possibly do in the community tank to make him give her a break? <Not really. Bigger tank, more females, more plants... all these things would help. But as fond of Guppies as I am, they aren't very smart, and nothing you can do will re-educate him!> Or does this particular male have a preggo obsession? <Looks like it, yes. Cheers, Neale.>

Weird guppy breeding mystery  11/26/07 Hey, <What?> I just got home yesterday from WVA and my older brother took care of the fish. Well, when I got home, I checked my pregnant guppy. Her belly was gigantic but her black dot wasn't completely black yet. <The "Gravid Spot" is a very unreliable indicator of pregnancy. It's a clue, but not the clincher.> So I decided to wait a couple of days till I would put her in my breeder. I found out today that her belly shrunk in size and her black dot was pink again. I didn't find any babies. <She probably ate them. Breeders really don't work all that well. Next time stock the main tank with floating plants like Hornwort. Each morning, check for babies. They'll hide there away from the other fish. Collect the babies, and move to a trap or another tank.> -Help!! I'm confused!?!? -Sarah <Hope this helps, Neale.>

Sexing Guppies   10/2/07 Hi, How long does it take to tell the gender of baby guppies. <Guppies are quite easy to sex (as well as fast growing) and it should be clear within the first month. Certainly by the end of the second month you should have the boys and girls separated if you intend to keep the females as "virgins" for a proper breeding program. Cheers, Neale>

Guppies, repro., Myxosoma   -- 10/28/07 hi, i just emails you about the different color swordtails. this time i have a different question about fancy guppies. <OK.> one of my mollies died from whirling disease so i got a male and a female fancy guppies. <Never heard of "whirling disease". Check water quality and water chemistry. Livebearers need HARD and ALKALINE water to do well. Mollies (arguably) need slightly brackish conditions; they are certainly easier to keep in brackish water. So adding around 3-9 grammes of marine salt mix per litre helps them enormously. Other livebearers are fine with this amount of salt, but most other tropical freshwater fish are not. This is why I don't recommend Mollies for beginners or for community tanks.> the pet store also gave me a baby because all the others were eaten. my female guppies is pregnant but the male is chasing away all the males in the tank (actually all the males and a tetra that i cant tell) but he is also what seems to be him trying to impregnate all the females. is it possible to have a guppies mate with a tetra, molly, swordtail, or platy. <Obviously there are two things going on here. Yes, male Guppies are promiscuous, and will try to mate with every female Guppy in the tank, and often with other small livebearers of similar type. But Guppies are also territorial; the males try to dominate a patch of water, and will drive away any potential rivals. In small aquaria this often manifests itself as aggression towards the other fish in the tank.> please help me. he seems to be very territorial with the males too. <Not much I can say except this is normal for Guppies. This is the importance of researching fish beforehand, so you know the potential problems. Throwing a bunch of species together and hoping for the best isn't wise. Your local pet store doubtless sells cats, dogs, mice and rabbits. But put them all together in one cage and there'd be carnage! Just so with fish: just because your pet store sells a variety of fish, doesn't mean they will all get along together. Cheers, Neale> <<Hi Neale. Though there are several causative mechanisms for the descriptor "Whirling disease", one in fisheries is prominent: Look for the term/organism Myxosoma cerebralis... Cheers, BobF>>

Re: Myxosoma -- 10/28/07 Cool! Learned something new today. But be that as it may, I can't see anything relating Myxosoma to Poecilia (Mollienesia) spp. Presumably more likely to be "the Shimmies" in Poecilia (Mollienesia) spp., and that definitely is brought on by improper water chemistry, poor water quality. As ever, please edit, fix my replies as you see fit. Cheers, Neale <I do agree with your assessment. BobF>

Pregnant Guppy  10/20/07 Hello, I love your website and have found it very helpful. <That's good!> I am fairly new to the whole guppy fish thing and am experiencing my first pregnant fish. I currently have a 30 gallon community tank and my newest additions where 3 female guppies (unfortunately one recently pasted away) My biggest female guppy is pregnant, or appears to be so, she has the swollen belly with now a square-ish body and the black spot right behind her abdomen. <That's the so-called gravid spot.> When I purchased her, she was already pregnant, but it was hard to tell if she was pregnant or just fat. <If she's been with males, she's pregnant.> The reason I say this is because she is silver, but she has a black tail and orange fin. The black starts mid-abdomen. <Don't get too hung up on the gravid spot. It isn't very reliable, and its visibility depends on the size of the fish and it's colouration.> I recently noticed that she was watching herself on the side of the tank as she was swimming, she wasn't eating when I fed the other fish. So I put the breeding box in the tank, and place her in it, turned the overhead light off and let the fish be. I do have a black light behind the tank so I could still see her. A few hours after I put her in the box I noticed that she started shacking and appeared to be pushing. <Not a big fan of breeding traps. The problem is they often stress the females, leading to miscarriages. Guppies are usually fine, but Mollies, Swordtails and Halfbeaks go nuts.> I left her alone, this morning when I woke up, I checked on her and there where no babies, but she was all silver now. The color had completely faded from her tail and fin. <Hmm... I'd personally take her out the trap. The mother's health comes first. Eventually the babies will come out, and if you have some floating plants (even pondweed, like Elodea) then some babies will survive hidden there long enough for you to gather them up each day and put into the breeding trap (or breeding tank).> After I put my son on the school bus and got ready for work, I checked on her before I left for work and she was starting to get some of the color back. Am I wrong in thinking she was in labor and should I let her out of the breeding box and is the color changes normal? <Fish change colour for a variety of reasons, but stress is one of them.> Thanks Katie <Hope this helps, Neale>

Pregnant Guppy Died   9/11/07  Hi there I not too sure if you could help me out here, I have had a few pregnant guppies over the last 12 months and we have only managed to save a few of the fry (not been able to get the time right for putting them in the breeding net). But this week the latest pregnant guppy died - she got a lot larger than the others did and started swimming at a funny angle with the head pointing upwards (I have been told that this could be sign she is about to have to her babies) so I put her in the breeding net. About a hour later I went to check on her and she was still enormous, would not eat her food and just sitting on the bottom of the net. I honestly thought that she was on her way but about another hour later I went to check on her and she was on her side dead and there were loads of red lines on her tummy. We checked out water and it was fine so we ask our local fish store to check it and they said it was fine but could not give us any advice on what had happened with her, if you don't mind I would really like some advice as we still have another pregnant guppy and I DON'T want to lose her as well? Thanks in advance Mandy <Hello Mandy. From your description, it's almost certain that the embryos in her uterus died and began decomposing, and fungal and bacterial infections set in, eventually killing the fish. Why this happens I cannot say, but genetics may be a factor, as are likely diet and water quality. Putting aside genetics, which you can really only fix by selecting stock more carefully, look at diet and water chemistry. Guppies need green foods. Lots of people forget this, and just give 'em plain old flake. That's not good enough. At the very least, they should be given algae-based flake INSTEAD of tropical fish flake. There are lots of brands, sold as Spirulina flake or livebearer flake. Guppies will also take a variety of green foods from the kitchen: squished tinned peas, sliced cucumber, spinach, Sushi Nori, and so on. Next up, water. Fancy guppies are just not hardy, and people are often surprised when they die when kept in "ordinary" aquaria. Wild guppies are practically indestructible, it is true, but not fancies. So you need to keep a close eye on the water quality and chemistry. Zero ammonia and nitrite, obviously, are important. But large, regular water changes are non-negotiable too. 50% a week would be a good starting point. Guppies absolutely must have hard, alkaline water. A pH around 7.5-8 plus hardness of 15 degrees dH upwards are required. Some people like to add a little salt to the water in guppy tanks. This won't do any harm (guppies can live in seawater!) and marine salt mix at least will help raise the hardness and pH if you live in a soft water area. Salt also has a mild therapeutic effect on livebearers particularly, reducing their sensitivity to nitrate. On the plus side, what you describe isn't "a disease" and won't be caught by the other guppies. All I can suggest is you optimise conditions for the remaining fish as far as possible. Avoid using breeding traps -- they stress the females. Instead, use the traps to isolate baby guppies once you've found them. Filling the tank with floating plants (hornwort is ideal) is the best approach. This gives the babies someplace to hide. You can then remove them every day as you find them, and put them in the trap. Don't "trap" baby guppies for more than a couple of weeks, and remove them to their own aquarium as soon as possible. That's the only way to rear substantial numbers of healthy, full-sized fish. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Pregnant Guppy Died   9/11/07  Thanks very much for the quick reply: the water quality is fine the LFS checked it also for me no ammonia, nitrite or nitrate I checked the hardness using strips I it says GH 120 mg/L and KH40 mg/L but I have no idea what that means though - I feed the fish Tetra Pro colour once daily one day a week they get live blood worm and a couple of times a week I put in a couple of Algae wafers and then about once a fortnight I put in a few fresh peas which they really seem to like. I do have a lot of plants in my tank but I don't what any of them are called so I am going to go to the fish store and see if they have any of that hornwort and whilst I am there I will look for some livebearer food - however would this cause problems for the Rams? I do only do a 15% water change every week so I guess I will need to do more in future then however I do add salt at every water change as I have been told that fish really do need it Regards Mandy <Greetings. Your water is not ideal for guppies. Assuming that the general hardness is quoted in mg/l of calcium oxide (10 mg/l CaO = 1 degree dH) then your hardness is borderline between slightly soft and moderately hard. One degree of carbonate hardness = ~18 mg/l calcium carbonate so you have about 2.5 degrees on the KH scale, which is a very low level of carbonate hardness. You need to kick these up a bit for long-term success with livebearers. I'd suggest adding crushed coral to a box or canister filter, but any aquarium book will reveal some of the other options available. Moving onto diet. Colour-enhancing food is fine as a treat, but that's not what these fish need. They are algae-eaters and insect-eaters, and you need to respect that. Make NOT LESS than 50% of their meals algae-based flake food. Spirulina flake is ideal. This is really non-negotiable with livebearers. Colour-enhancing food doesn't really have much of an effect on their colours, and frankly a healthy diet will bring out the best colours too. Just as with people, beauty comes from the inside. Your cichlids will happily eat algae-based food, and in fact most cichlids are at least in part herbivorous and the change will do them good. Hornwort (Ceratophyllum spp.) is easy and cheap to obtain. It's sometimes sold as pond plant. Yes, you need more water changes. You are correct about salt, most fish don't need it. But in some (few) cases, salt can be helpful. If you live in a soft water area (as you seem to) adding marine salt mix to the guppy aquarium helps. Never, EVER use domestically softened water in an aquarium, by the way. One last thing: rams and guppies are completely and utterly incompatible. For one fish to stay healthy, the other must be exposed to the wrong conditions. Rams need warm (28-30 degrees C) water with very low hardness (< 6 degrees GH, < 5 degrees KH) water with a high level of acidity (pH 5-6). Guppies want moderate temperatures (24-26 C), hard water (15+ degrees dH, 10+ degrees KH) with an alkaline pH (7.5-8.5). Guppies have a high tolerance of salt (up to seawater salinity) while rams have virtually none at all. There is no way, in the long term, to keep these fish healthy in the same aquarium. Zip. Zero. Nada. Nix. When kept too cold, rams become prone to Hexamita, hole-in-the-head, and other diseases. When kept in acidic water, guppies are prone to finrot and fungus. And I could go on. Please, take some time to read about the requirements of what different fish need to coexist together in the same tank. Just as penguins and elephants have different needs, so too do different species of fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Pregnant Guppy Died   9/12/07 Thanks again - I had no idea about this difference and the man at the pet shop knew what fish we had - will really have to make a decision now - thanks again Regards Mandy <Indeed all fish have particular needs. Establish what water chemistry you have "out of the tap", and then choose fish to suit that. Any aquarium book will list hardness and pH requirements. When you choose fish that *like* your water to begin with, everything about the hobby becomes an order of magnitude easier. Cheers, Neale>

Dead pregnant guppy  8/16/07 Hi, <Hello.> I had a pregnant fancy guppy who was in fine health. I put a new male fancy guppy in the tank with her 2 weeks ago, he was quite active and a bit aggressive which is why I chose him, as my previous male guppy had been picked on by my tetras. (I have 3 balloon mollies, 2 painted tetras, 1 pleco, and these 2 guppies). <Surely the better solution would have been to remove the tetras? Painted tetras are, I believe, albino Gymnocorymbus ternetzi that have been injected (into the muscles) with with fluorescent dyes. Do you realise that this is done without anaesthesia and large numbers of them die in the process? It also weakens their immune system. It's possibly one of the nastiest and more venal aspects of the fishkeeping hobby, and if I could, I'd run up to the guys who do it and inject their muscles with massive amounts of fluorescent dye and see if they liked it! Please please please do not support this evil trade, and do not buy painted fish. In addition, Gymnocorymbus ternetzi are notorious fin-nippers. A guppy is a swimming buffet as far as they are concerned.> The male had always 'bothered' the female and constantly swims by her side (maybe trying to mate??). She has given birth before (by mating with my previous male) and been fine afterwards. <Yes, he's partly trying to mate, but he's also "guarding" the female to prevent another male from mating with her. This way, he monopolizes what, in his mind at least, is a limited resource: fertile females. Now, guppies should ALWAYS be kept either as single sex groups or in mixed sex groups where the females OUTNUMBER the males by at least 2 to 1. No-one listens when experienced fishkeepers tell them this, because they think it's cute to have a boy and a girl, and the boys are prettier anyway. And then, they end up with stressed or dead female guppies.> I did a 30% water change 36 hours ago and they all were acting fine. She may have had a slight decrease in appetite, not too sure. I did not see any signs of health problems with her. She was a big slower due to her swollen belly. In any case, I came home today to find, sadly, my pregnant female guppy dead with her tail and fins bitten off. <Well, the Gymnocorymbus ternetzi may well have eaten her fins, and the Plec will eat a dead fish given the chance.> I was expecting her to give birth within a week or so. (I'm so sad she died!). <Yes, I understand, and I'm sorry for your loss.> 1) Is it possible the male killed her?? If so, how can I prevent this in the future? I'd prefer not to get him more females as I am afraid of overloading the tank. <Yes, the male could well have stressed her. In a small tank (anything less than 20 gallons in this case) the female would have had no place to hide. He would stress her by chasing, and also preventing her from feeding properly. While male guppies generally don't kill the females outright, what they do is make it more difficult for the female guppies to stay healthy.> 2)The male guppy is now swimming alongside the mollies and bothering them... Is he trying to mate? Does he need a female guppy's company? <Yes, he's treating the mollies as if they were guppies. Mollies and guppies are members of the same genus, Poecilia, and will even (occasionally) hybridise. Both guppies and mollies should be kept in groups. They aren't schooling fish as such, but they are sociable.> I'm very upset about her death, and would really like to prevent it from happening again. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! <My advice is that you go buy or borrow a book about Livebearing fishes. Or at the very least read some of the articles here at WWM (see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestkindex.htm ) on the subject. Lots of people get even the basics wrong. These fish need hard, alkaline water. Some (mollies for example) need brackish water to do reliably well. All are more or less herbivorous, so at least half the diet should be green foods, not standard flake. Get these things wrong, and livebearers won't do well. Simple as that. Cheers, Neale>

Re: dead pregnant guppy  8/16/07 Update: I decided to try and dissect the female to see if I would see any eggs/embryos in her, and when I dissected near what I thought was her gravid spot I did not find anything (however, it was a messy, not too accurate dissection... I don't usually keep a mini dissecting kit around =)) Anyways, I found some pale yellowish gel-like liquid, and other organs/intestines... nothing resembling offspring, although I'm not too familiar with fish anatomy. Is it possible she wasn't pregnant? I noticed her 'gravid spot' getting larger and darker in the past couple of weeks, and she definitely looked more swollen this past week. I did not see what she looked like the last time she was pregnant, so this was my first time observing what I thought was a pregnant female. <Interesting. To be fair though, after a couple of hours in a tropical aquarium, decay of the insides of a fish is significant, and you won't see all that much. So it's difficult to explain things from your observation. Female guppies when kept with male guppies are almost always pregnant, but at the early stages of gestation the fry are very small and difficult to see.> Also, could the water change have been too stressful for her? I had my hand in the tank to move around some of the plants/decorations and fix the filter orientation. It took about a half an hour. <Water changes, done properly, aren't a problem. Even a 100% water change is fine. What matters is that the pH and hardness of the new water and the old water are very similar, and the temperature difference is small (a sudden drop in temperature by a degree or two is harmless, and even therapeutic, prompting many species to spawn).> Thanks again for your help! <Good luck, Neale>

I need some answers... Guppy repro.   8/12/07 First of all - I am really new at having livebearing fish. I have a 10 gallon tank with 2 Mickey mouse platys, one yellow molly and 3 guppies - 1 male and 2 females. One of my guppies, became pregnant, I don't know if by MY male or one at the pet store, but that doesn't really matter I guess. Anyway, I ordered a brand new 5 gallon fish tank off of eBay, because they had a pretty purple one, and I wanted it... I was going to use it for the fry when she had them. But I misjudged how far along she was and it hasn't arrived yet. So the other day, I was getting sick of waiting for it and knew she was going to pop any day, and I went out and got a breeder tank with a nursery in the bottom. The minute I got home, I cleaned it and put it in the tank with the pregnant female inside. Within 10 minutes, there were 4 fry in the bottom. <What timing!> The next morning I woke up, and there were still only 4 in there, so thinking she was done giving birth, I released her back into the tank with the others. The fry are doing well, but the mother still looks VERY pregnant, and her gravid spot is still very black. What does this mean? And what should I do?? <Very likely this female will have more young... I would place her back in the breeder tank... and feed frequently, small amounts, add a sprig of real or artificial "grass" (like Myriophyllum, Parrot Feather...) to discount cannibalism... and enjoy! Bob Fenner>

Baby Guppies - 08/11/07 My guppy just had her babies last night and this being the first time having any kind of baby fish, I am very excited! I read somewhere that feeding them cooked egg yolk is good for the babies when you have nothing else, is that true? <Mmm, can be... better for most folks, times to simply grind up fine some flake or pelleted foods... feed frequently, but small amounts... a few times daily> Because they seem to love it and are very happy. There are 4 of them but since I wasn't watching her have babies I don't know how many she ate. The most important question I have is out of the 4 of them, 3 are happily swimming around and are healthy, but the 4th one is curled up in a ball and is swimming in circles kind of fast, so it shows he has just as much energy as the other 3. I want to know if that's something he/she will grow out of it and develop normally. It's kind of sad to watch. Thanks!! ^_^ <I do hope your little fish rallies... Nothing to do here but hope really. Bob Fenner>

Guppies, repro.  8/6/07 < Hi Linda, Twothless here with you> My granddaughter was given three male guppies and two female guppies in a jar, can you believe that? <Certainly. You can win a Goldfish in a bag at Fairs/Carnivals. It's sad that these poor animals are subjected to torture due to ignorance. But, I digress.> Well, I bought her a ten gallon tank with filtering system, gravel, plants, sea shells, a castle. I wanted the best for these little guys. I got up last week and saw something in the water and realized someone had babies, lot and lots of babies, I'm counting 20+. So, not knowing anything at all about these guys I found your site and read several hours, great site by the way, and found that I needed to get the babies safe, so I bought another 10 gallon aquarium and moved the adults to the new one. The babies are growing, eating and are playful little guys, they are doing great. My question is, hmm, well, the three male guppies will not quite chasing this one large female, it seemed cruel to me that they just won't let her alone, so I have taken a small minnow bucket my husband had in his work shop and he cut the top off and I sank it in the aquarium so that she has her own little house to live in. It gives her half the tank and what I feel like is some much needed rest and privacy. The males can't get to her, ha ha. I am not going to put yet another aquarium and I would like to know if I should give up a couple of the males, which I would hate to do, they are real beauties, or in time will the leave the female alone? I can't put her back in with the babies yet, they are only a week old. I just feel like its cruel for her to be chased by the males all the time. They didn't bother her before, why won't they leave her alone now? What would you do? <Good question! I would utilize a breeding net/frame for the babies. They hang on the tank and the holes are too small for babies to fit through. The mother should be fine back in the main area with the males. However, the ratio needs to be at least 3 females to every male so that no one female gets too stressed. So, raise a couple female fry to add to the main population to keep a good ratio. Put the rest of the fry, and all ensuing batches, into jars and give them away to children... Hahaha, I'm kidding! The fry will either need to be given to a local pet shop or some other scenario will need to be worked out. I keep guppies in my turtle pond but I let nature run it's course. Guppy breeding is pretty well known and they are well adept at controlling their own populations through many contrivances. Good luck with your new Guppies!>

Platies and guppies? Crosses   8/4/07 Hey there WWM crew, I couldn't find an answer to this question on the site nor anywhere else in my books or other online sources, so maybe you can still help me out. The other day I saw my female guppy mating with my male platy, and a female platy trying to mate with just about everyone and anyone. Is this normal first of all? <Mmm, yes... Poeciliids are wanton this way> And secondly is it possible that my female guppy may get pregnant with a half platy half guppy group of fry? Thank for your continuous help! Sincerely, Erica <And yes, can occur... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/livebrrreprofaqs.htm and some of the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Best Tank to move fry to  7/29/07 Hi Jamie! Twothless here.> Hello! My name is Jamie and I am very glad to have found your site. We started our hobby with my son who saved up his money to buy a 48 gallon bowfront tank. He purchased (among others) two green cobra female guppies and one black-tailed red male guppy. As can be expected, we have had a guppy fry explosion. =) In order to better (and more safely) house the babies, we purchased a cycled ten-gallon tank locally, and added the fry - The 15 or so one-week-old babies that had survived "Natural Selection" - to the ten-gallon tank. It's now about five weeks later, and we have the original 15 six-week-olds, about 7 three-week-olds and probably thirty to forty (they are hard to count!) or so two-week-old groups of fry. The last batch we moved the second female into the ten-gallon to deliver, so they all survived delivery. I purchased a second tank - 29 gallon cycled tank from a private party with the notion of trading the fish that came with it and moving some of the babies into that tank... however, we've since grown attached to the fish that came with that tank... apparently, this is how the "addiction" begins! After that lengthy introduction, my question regards the now six-week old babies. We have a LFS we plan to bring them to, but at their age they'd be sold as feeders, so we'd like to grow them larger first. I would like to separate the females from the males and move them to another tank (since the two original girls should have another batch in a week or two. We are doing partial water changes two or three times a week right now on the baby tank. The fry are fed often and I think the six-week olds should just about be old enough to cut back a bit. Plus -- the thought of 15 breeding guppies (although most of them seem to be boys at least that we can tell) is a scary thought! Would either of our tanks be a good location or should I be looking for another tank? We do plan to bring the male guppy to the LFS (My husband is friends with the owner) to give the girls a break (and us!) after the next six months. Although, that plan may change if we find a green cobra male locally. 48 gallon --- Semi-planted, lots of hiding spots - friendly tank. The Columbians and the Blue Powder Gourami can get a little grumpy around feeding time, but otherwise they all get along well) Currently houses the following: 12 Neon Tetras 2 Cardinal Tetras 2 White Cloud Minnows 2 Glo-Light Tetras 2 Columbian Tetras 1 Long-finned Zebra Danio 2 Kuhli Loaches 1 Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami 1 Flame Dwarf Gourami 2 Ghost Shrimp 2 Green Cobra Female Guppies 1 Half-Black Red-Tailed Male Guppy (Will be brought to LFS) 1 Common Pleco (about 5" -- Purchased before we knew how big they get -- we will have to make a decision about him soon) 29 Gallon - Semi-Planted with Driftwood - This was bought as an established tank. The fish all get along with each other, although the larger SAE will chase the smaller one occasionally. The Clown Loaches are pretty inseparable) Currently Houses the following: 2 Otos 2 Large Siamese Algae Eaters (one 5"-6"; one is 3-4") 2 Clown Loaches (One 5" or so the other is 3 or 4") 1 Boesemanni Rainbow Fish (About 3"-4") Any thoughts that you have on this would be very appreciated. There is another 20 gallon tank that I am looking at locally (is there a twelve-step program??) for a good price... but of course, it comes with a Black Tip shark <Bala Shark?>(which we would absolutely trade in -- we don't have any aggressive fish), a Kuhli Loach, (we would keep! We love these little guys!) an algae eater (hopefully not another one that gets big), Skirted Tetra, and a couple of others that she can't identify. < Well, you certainly ARE pushing the limits of stocking densities there. But, if your a nitrAte testing water change freak like I am, then all is well... Well, if you're asking which tank I think the fry would be better off maturing in, I would say the larger of the tanks. It seems to have an environment conducive to the guppies growth and reproduction anyway. So, why change what seems to be working, right? Your only problem now is how are you going to keep the young males from flying in under the radar and sowing his seed. -Twothless> Thanks very much for your time! Jamie <No worries! Good luck with your fry and... ahem.... addiction. -Paul

Birthing without a mate? Guppies   7/28/07 My daughter's guppy gave birth to 4 live guppies on May 20. We purchased her pregnant from a pet store. She was removed from the babies immediately and has been alone since. On July 24 we found 3 new babies in the tank with the mother! There has not been any other fish with her since the birth and I am trying to figure out how this happened? Is this common and is she done? Yikes! <Greetings. Yes, this is normal. Guppies practise something called "superfetation" which means that they can divide up the fertilized eggs into several different batches of embryos. Each batch develops at a different rate, allowing the female to give birth to a succession of broods following a single mating.. Their close relatives the dwarf mosquitofish can actually stretch this out to no fewer than 6 broods from a single mating! Anyway, welcome to the wonderful world of livebearers! Cheers, Neale.>

Is my guppy pregnant?   7/16/07 Hello, I have recently purchased two Blue Neon Guppies. One male and one female. I was told that the female is pregnant and should drop fairly soon. But It has been a week now and she hasn't seem to have gotten any bigger or smaller. Is there any other way to tell besides the gravid spot whether she is in fact pregnant? <Mmm, not practically, no> I cannot seem to get a clear picture as of yet but I will try extremely hard to do so. All I can say is she is much bigger then the male but not as bloated as some of the pictures you have on you web site of pregnant guppies. I am really interested to know if you have any other information for me. Thank you for your time Stephanie Hall <Patience my friend... all in good time. Livebearers don't "like" being moved... give her time here. Bob Fenner>  

Small guppies pls help -- 07/03/07 Hi <,> my problem is i <I> had brought a mix of average size guppies about 1 year ago, but when they had babies they came out very small and have stayed like it... They have now having babies of their own, and id like to know if the babies will be normal size or really small, and as to why they are so small... <Mmm, could be either... perhaps the smallness of the F1 generation was due to mainly environmental factors, nutrition...> Will having average size babies be a problem for the female guppies? <Mmm, no, not likely... will/would just have fewer> My fish tank is quite large and all tests are fine.. Am at a loss please help.. In reading some of what other people asking u <you> about how to tell preg guppies i took a close picture of a light large preg guppy, which clearly shows her babies i hope this might help other guppy keepers.. Thanks pls respond soon dawn <Thank you for your image... Will indeed help others. Please run your correspondence through a grammar, spell checker before sending. Bob Fenner>

Guppy fry and Sailfin catfish (L83)  6/12/07 Hi, <Ave!> I have several aquariums with fancy guppies fry. I keep 1 sailfin catfish (L83) in every tank and they do a great work. <Very good.> However - I have 2 questions: 1. How much salt can be added to the aquarium while the sailfin is there? what about Epsom salt? (due to guppies with constipation). <I'd personally not use Epsom salts here but instead simply feed the right diet. Guppies shouldn't get constipated because they are so easy to feed on the right foods. Stop using generic fish flake if that's what you're using. Instead, use livebearer flake, Sushi Nori, thin slices of cucumber, tinned peas, etc. The good thing is any leftovers will be scarfed up by the catfish. Only add small amounts of animal protein, ideally "high fibre" things like brine shrimp and daphnia. The problem with Epsom salts is used routinely they can interfere with the normal digestive processes of the fish. Think of Epsom salts as the equivalent of laxatives in humans. Used to treat an acute case of constipation makes sense, but if the person is regularly constipated, then laxatives aren't the solution, a change of diet is.> 2. Can it be that the sailfin will eat live guppy fry? I'm also certain that I've seen one do it yesterday, while it was looking for the algae wafer. It was moved to another tank. <Potentially I suppose it's possible but hardly likely. Under normal circumstances the guppy fry should be at the top of the tank and swimming too quickly to be eaten by this catfish. Possibly your catfish will eat a sick (or stupid) guppy, but hey, that's Nature taking care of culling the poor quality stock!> Thanks, Shay. <Cheers, Neale

Re: Guppy fry and Sailfin catfish (L83)  6/12/07 Thanks for the answer. <No problems.> About the feeding: I mainly feed the fry with live or frozen baby brine shrimp, Kenfish.com kens premium growth meal (size 00 and later 01), Hikari Tropical Fancy guppy and Hikari Tropical first bites. <All fine foods, but the accent with these foods is on protein rather than vegetables. There's no escaping the fact guppies are partly herbivorous, and they need some algae in their diet. Just the same as with humans: give us a high-protein diet and we may put on weight quickly, but our health isn't otherwise very good.> I use automatic feeders to feed all of the above 5 times a day, and give the baby brine shrimp twice a day after the dry food. <OK, but do try and focus on the veggies.> It might be that the constipation isn't really constipation. Occasionally a fish will have a swollen up belly, becomes grey, doesn't eat (even live brine shrimp), stays at the bottom and dies after several days. Growth rate is good, and water is kept at 25-28c, changed every 2-3 days 50%. What could be the cause to that? <There's always a certain number of baby fish that don't survive. The reasons are various. Diet is one factor. Genes are another. Water chemistry/quality a third and fourth. At the end of the day you can't really expect every single baby fish to make it. You seem to be doing all the right things, so I wouldn't worry too much. Optimise water chemistry and quality. For guppies, a fairly high pH and hardness level is needed.> Thanks again, Shay. <Cheers, Neale>

Guppies, repro.  - 05/01/07 Hello. My name is Sharon Goglin and I'm 11 years old. I bought a female guppy and a male guppy. <Hello, and welcome to the hobby.> I can't tell if my female is done having babies but she still looks pregnant. She only had 2 the first time but I can't find the gravid spot because the female has a clear body and you can see through her. I don't know if it's the inside of her, or the gravid spot. I don't think I'm over feeding them. Because I feed them right when I wake up and when I go to bed. If it will help, I can send a picture of her. <Females guppies are almost always pregnant when kept with males. The gravid spot isn't easy to see sometimes, so don't put too much  significance into it. The number of baby guppies varies. But your biggest problem is that adult guppies will eat the babies if they catch them. Always put lots of floating plants in the aquarium so the babies have someplace to hide. Look for them each day, and when you find some, scoop them out and put them in another aquarium or into a breeding trap instead the main aquarium.> PS - Also one of the baby guppies back is shaped in a weird way. It's head is normal, but the tail slants diagonally upward. How can I fix this? <Yes, it is very common for guppies to have deformities at birth. Breeders usually kill these babies or feed them to larger fish. They can't be "fixed" In nature, fish produce lots of babies, and let Natural Selection eliminate any that "don't make the grade". Thanks, Sharon <Cheers, Neale>

Superfetation  3/30/07 My son bought a female guppy nearly two months ago, and within the first week she had 8 babies. She has been kept in a tank by herself for the time since, and yet she just had three more babies tonight. As they are live bearers,  I am not sure what is going on, and I came across the term superfetation, and  wanted to know exactly what all this meant? Will we have any more babies to deal  with? <Mmm, plainly put, this is the capacity to store viable sperm in (this case female guppies') reproductive tract. A useful strategy for when it "takes two to tango" and there are no males about. You may indeed have more young from this "lone" female. Bob Fenner>

Have a stocking question, platy repro.  3/16/07 Good evening, I find your website most helpful, although overwhelming at times as I am a beginner at all of this. <"A few steps... at a time...">   We have a 10 gal. tank for our 7 year old that we established in October.  Heated, has filter and currently has 2 male guppies and one male platy and one female platy who has gifted us with 13 fry over the past 4 weeks (we got her the beginning of January already pregnant~surprise!  we thought she was a male).  The male platy is not doing so well and is behaving much like the previous 2 male platys did before their demises in December and January.  We plan on giving the fry to our local Preschool's tank when they are big enough.  The guppies are pretty aggressive so I know we need to get another female or two in there to help with that <A good idea> but are afraid another female platy will come into our home already pregnant.  Is there another breed we can bring in to balance the female/male ratio to minimize aggression but also prevent us from being a nursery? <Mmm, not really... all potentially interbreed...> Of course this is assuming that the male platy doesn't make it.  I know the female can store sperm for 6 months so we are prepared to "parent" until she is done, but would prefer not to become full-time breeders.   Thanks for a great website! Bridget <Am curious, wanting to help with the anomalous losses... If you'd like, please write back re your system, water quality tests, maintenance routine matters, behavioural notes. Bob Fenner>

Guppy Question, beh., repro.   1/19/07 Hi, <<Hi, Goldie. Tom here.>> I don't really have a problem, just more of a question. <<We do that kind of thing, too. :) >> I have two guppies, one male and one female. The female is pregnant. I've read a lot about guppies, and I'm confused by the behavior of my fish. The male keeps hiding and swimming away from the female. Also, the female is the one that keeps attacking the male. Everything I've read says the males are the ones that like to nip at other fish. I'm confused. I'm positive about the gender of my fish, so I know I don't have them confused. I haven't seen anyone else write about this, so I was concerned. Is this normal behavior? <<This can be completely normal, though not typical, as you've already determined for yourself. In larger groupings, this behavior might not be quite as apparent but, in a one-on-one situation like you have, it's pretty sure to get your attention. I would normally suggest a ratio of one male to three-four females to keep a male from stressing a lone female to death'¦sometimes literally. In your case, you have an 'alpha' female in with a fairly timid male. Might actually prove advantageous in your case but it's not unknown for a dominant female to pull a 'reverse' and badger a male to death. Hopefully, she'll simply keep him 'at bay' but keep an eye on them to make sure it doesn't get more out-of-hand than that.>> Goldie <<Tom>> Re: Happy Guppies - how to keep males from harassing the females.    1/10/07 Thanks, Jorie, for the reply, it was very helpful. <I'm glad - that's what I am here for!> Here is more info on my situation. <OK> I also have three Swordtails (7 months) that I have raised from babies.  The one male is separated from sister females at this time and he is peaceful.  If I put him in with his sisters, would he behave as badly as the male guppies do with their sisters?   <This is largely a matter of each fish's individual personality.> Or do you think he can live a perfectly happy life without his own kind? <Absolutely, yes he can.  If you don't want to breed the Swordtails, I'd leave well enough alone and keep him where he's at. No need to look for more problems, right?!> He is growing nicely where he is in the 35g. <Sounds as though he's doing well there.> My 20g tank is full and established with one large female guppy, 3 gouramis and the 2 growing sister swordtails.  It is a peaceful tank.  My 35g is the one out of balance with the annoying but beautiful 3 male guppies, 2 tired sister guppies, and the one growing male Sword taking the rest of the brunt from the male guppies.  Any further suggestions with balancing my fish/tank setup?   <I think you can either move the two stressed female guppies into the 20; they are small enough that they wouldn't significantly alter the bioload. You may have to move the male sword, then, as well, if he is continued to be picked on by the male guppy.  Or, as you say below, you can add some more female guppies to the 35 - you certainly have room for 4-6 so more.  With livebearers, provided that you have the room (and I think you do), a good male: female ratio is 1:3, or even 1:4.  Also, the gouramis should control the fry population, I would think - have they not been eating the fry? That would/should solve the overpopulation concern you cited in your earlier e-mail.> I am thinking some more fish for the 35g to establish a better community so that the male guppies can't annoy everyone all at once, and the fry population stays in check, as you said. <Sounds very reasonable.  Just be sure to QT all new fish - I've learned this one the hard way, trust me! Also, if you can add more plants/decor for the females to find cover in, that may help also...> I also thought about moving the fish I have around but can't figure anything that would work any better and would be afraid of losing the fish from the move.  Any suggestions on new fish for the 35g that would work nicely to balance things out?   <The additional female guppies should help the problem out quite a bit, if not entirely...> What would you do?     <Probably add some more female guppies to the 35, as discussed above.  Also, add some more decor and/or plants. I think this should do the trick!> Thanks again, MDM <You're welcome - good luck, and enjoy picking out the new girls!! Jorie>

Pregnant guppy harassed by pervs?? 1/2/07 Hi crew.. <Hey PanSy, JustinN with you today> I've recently just gotten some guppies from an uncle, and they seem to be active and eating well. It seems that I've got at least one pregnant female and I just discovered that there are at least 2 others always following closely and even nipping at her constantly (see photo.. sorry that was the best I could take using my camera phone). Should I separate her from the rest? Thanks... Yours sincerely, PanSy <This is very typical behavior for guppies. They are typically kept in groups of 3-4 females per 1 male to break down this taunting and aggression. Hope this helps you! -JustinN>

Fins of guppy fry   12/19/06 Hello there, I'm pretty new to fishkeeping and got an aquarium a few weeks ago. I bought some guppies which in turn produced some young. Around three weeks after their birth I noticed that most of these have almost nonexistent tails which peter out into a sharp point without ever being broader than the tail bit that has some skeleton in it. <Ahh! "Throwbacks" of a sort likely here... more like their genetic predecessors> I also noticed that the ones that aren't any particular colour seem to suffer less from this than the ones that have a dark, almost black back half of their body. <Interesting, eh?> Some of the ones that have particular small tails are also missing the dorsal fin or have very small ones. The tails don't look particularly ratty and are on the whole quite symmetrical which lead me to believe that it mightn't be fin rot but perhaps some genetic thing. Also the adults in the tank seem to be perfectly fine. The affected young ones seem quite happy and are eating well   The only difference is that they have to move an awful lot to get from point A to B in the tank. They are slightly smaller than the fish with normal tails perhaps due to the extra energy they need for swimming? <Perhaps> I was wondering if they could be males whose fins still have to develop into something fancy. Or perhaps they are genetically malformed ones? <A distinct possibility> Or after all some disease I haven't heard of. Have you got any ideas about what might be going on? Thanks very much, cheers, Silke. <As you are finding... guppies don't generally breed very "true"... especially of mixed parentage... Along with this notion is the fact that more first broods have a higher percentage of such mixed young... And finally, don't be so sure that these young won't develop better finnage with time... Enjoy the process and thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner> My guppies... repro. mostly  - 12/04/06 <<Hello, Craig. Tom with you this afternoon.>> I have just started out so this question might seem a bit strange as I do not know a lot about aquariums but, I am learning. <<Never ending, Craig. Not a day goes by that I don't learn something new.>> I have 160 liter tank. I have 3 male guppies and 6 female guppies. I was about to clean out my tank the other day and noticed that my guppies had had babies. To my surprise, I have now 15 fry. The problem is after I found all the fry I noticed one of my female guppies was swimming vertically but was going strong. She's done this for about 5 days on and off, still eating and swimming about but then she was lying at the bottom of the tank still breathing, just not moving. Can you help me with this matter. It would be a great help. <<Craig, your Guppy is what is known in the hobby as a 'livebearer'. In short, what this means is that the fry are born inside of her and she gives birth to them 'alive' as opposed to her laying eggs that are fertilized by a male and later 'hatch'. Sadly, the mother doesn't always recover well from giving birth this way. Not uncommon among these types of fish (Mollies, Swordtails, Platys and Guppies being the most common) but sad nonetheless. I would guess that the female you refer to is the 'mom' in this case and it's doubtful that there's anything that you can do for her. What you can do, in the future (because with Guppies, there will be future fry!), is to find a way to isolate the female after she's given birth. This will give her the time she needs to recover without being bothered by the males and stressed. (Male Guppies don't care about her condition!) You also need to do some research so that you can tell when one, or more, of the females is pregnant, i.e. the 'gravid spot' (right behind her belly), so you can deal with this situation when it comes up again. Lots of information on our site and I urge you to do your 'homework'.>> Thanks, Craig <<Sorry that I couldn't be more helpful here, Craig. Like it, or not, (and I don't, quite frankly) there are situations that come up that there's little we can do about. I'm afraid this is one of those. (P.S. Take some time with your capitalization and punctuation when we hear back from you, which I hope we will. Saves us a little time in editing for our readers from around the world.) Best regards. Tom>> Growth of Guppy Fry - 10/18/06 Hi... <Hello there - Jorie here.> When do the babies start to get there color, 'cause  I've had my guppies for about a month or so and they don't seem to be growing very fast? <Livebearer can take 6-8 mos. to fully develop.  Be aware that the fry are more sensitive to poor water quality than their parents are, so for proper growth and development, it is paramount to keep the water clean.  Also, what type of food are you feeding them? I use Hikari's First Bites for my baby mollies...seems to provide them with all the nutrition they need.  Jorie> Guppies And Bettas  - 10/14/06 Hi. I have had my betta [Sushi] for 2 or three months. I have recently moved him into a 10 gallon tank. The tank has mirrored glass walls so when he sees his reflection he gets bigger, I know why but is it healthy? < After a while he should get used to it and settle down.> And I have tried to turn on the filter but every time I do his fins get sucked into it. I am scared that his fins will be damaged so I shut off the filter. Do you recommend sponge filters? < Look online or at you local fish store for a pre-filter sponge. They are usually sold for power heads but many will fit some outside power filters too. They clog pretty quickly so you will have to take them out and clean them weekly. Sponge filters are great. they just don't look so good in a display tank.> In addition to this I just got three guppies, 2 females and one male and put them in the tank with my betta. The females don't swim around much, they just sit at the bottom. Is it because my betta is in there? < Sitting on the bottom doesn't sound right, they may be ill.> Also my female guppies are as big as the male, which is pretty small. All the things I've read about female guppies say they should be bigger than the males. And I want to breed my guppies but not sure how. I know if my female, if pregnant, and has her fry in the tank the betta will eat them. I plan to take out the betta if one of my females have fry, but will the male eat them. Thanks for your time Shelby, age 12 < The females should be bigger than the males. Get the water temp. up to 80 F and feed them high quality food and they will grow up in no time. They are livebearers, so when a female is pregnant and ready to give birth she should be removed to her own tank. In the tank you can get a livebearer trap from the LFS. This will allow the fry to swim away from the female and hopefully not get eaten. All the fish will eat guppy fry, so raise them until they are large enough to go back in with the adults.-Chuck>

Female guppy, repro. issue  - 09/14/06 I recently got my tank all set up again, I had mollies before and had several batches of fry from them. I now have guppies. One of my females was getting huge so I set her up in a breeder tank with some floating plants in it to give the fry a place to hide. <Good> She had 7 fry two days ago, and I separated her out into a floating breeder tank so that she wouldn't eat the babies. My question is, her belly although a lot smaller than before is still very dark, and looks how it did before having the other babies. She doesn't seem in distress and is eating and swimming just fine. But is it possible for guppies to have fry in batches over a few days? <Possible, yes... but unusual for parturition to last this long> I don't want to put her in with the rest until I'm sure she's done cause as it is the other fish are trying to get the fry through the netting. I would greatly appreciate any help you can offer. thank you Laurie <I would leave this female where she presently is. Bob Fenner>

Bully Guppies?   9/11/06 Hi. <<Hi, Joanne. Tom>> I hope you may be able to answer this question for me. <<I'll give it my best, Joanne.>> I have a 180 litre tank in which I currently have 11 neons and 18 assorted male guppies. The tank is heated, has an internal filter, airstone and fluorescent lighting. My water quality is good and I have had no problems. <<11 Neon Tetras and 18 Guppies in the U.S. equivalent of a 48-gallon tank? Joanne, if I weren't happily married, I'd kiss you! We spend so much time telling hobbyists to get larger tanks for their pets that it's a breath of fresh air to have someone write in that has provided room to spare for their "charges". Well done!>> The fish shoal and seem happy, until now. Last night I realized I was missing one of the fantail guppies. I have 6 of these. The fish in question I had always classed as the alpha male as he had the most beautiful tail! <<"Alpha-ness" is more behavioral than physical but I understand your thinking...>> I eventually found him hiding and his tail was virtually gone. <<Uh oh...>> What remained was in tatters and he was obviously scared, seemed to be shaking and he died minutes later. <<Sorry to hear this, Joanne.>> I haven't been able to find any info that says the other guppies would fight without females present. <<Not likely that you would, Joanne. In the world of Guppies, the females do the 'selecting'. The "boys" will show off and try to attract the attention of the females but an Alpha female is known to kill a male, or males, that she deems unacceptable for breeding.>> This only happened after I had added some more guppies 2 days before. <<It's possible/plausible that the males may have fought over the "right" to breed, whether, or not, females were present. The new additions may have triggered this response but, frankly, this is speculation on my part.>> Is it possible they did this?   <<Highly unlikely, though not impossible, that one, or more, of the new Guppies did this. Typically, the "established" fish have, or display, dominance over fish that are subsequently added to the aquarium. (Timing can be very important when adding fish.)>> If so, do you know why and, can I prevent this from happening again? <<An educated (and I use the term loosely) guess is that the established Guppies viewed the new fish as potential breeding partners. The "subordinate" males went after the most likely candidate (the He-Bull, in a manner of speaking) in order to increase their standing with the "females". Since the "predominant" male is most likely to be chosen to mate with a female, it makes sense, from the fishes' points of view, to get rid of the biggest competition. Whether, or not, utilizing a tank divider to keep the new fish separated from the older ones is really academic. In a sense, you'd be trying to cheat "Nature". (You might like to see a Great White Shark live harmoniously with a seal but, it isn't going to happen.) Bob would have a more eloquent explanation but the fact is that, in some cases, Nature must run its course.>> Thank you in advance Joanne x <<I hope I've been of some help, Joanne. Tom>>

Mmm, FW guppy damage  9/10/06 Hi. <<Hi, Joanne. Tom>> I hope you may be able to answer  this question for me. <<I'll give it my best, Joanne.>> I  have a 180 litre tank in which I currently have 11 neons and 18 assorted male  guppies. The tank is heated, has an internal filter, airstone and fluorescent  lighting. My water quality is good and I have had no problems. <<11  Neon Tetras and 18 Guppies in the U.S. equivalent of a 48-gallon tank? Joanne,  if I weren't happily married, I'd kiss you! We spend so much time telling  hobbyists to get larger tanks for their pets that it's a breath of fresh air to  have someone write in that has provided room to spare for their "charges". Well  done!>> The fish shoal and seem happy, until now. Last night I realized  I was missing one of the fantail guppies. I have 6 of these. The fish in  question I had always classed as the alpha male as he had the most beautiful  tail! <<"Alpha-ness" is more behavioral than physical but I understand  your thinking...>> I eventually found him hiding and his tail was  virtually gone. <<Uh oh...>> What remained was in tatters and  he was obviously scared, seemed to be shaking and he died minutes later.   <<Sorry to hear this, Joanne.>> I haven't been able to find  any info that says the other guppies would fight without females present.   <<Not likely that you would, Joanne. In the world of Guppies, the  females do the 'selecting'. The "boys" will show off and try to attract the  attention of the females but an Alpha female is known to kill a male, or males,  that she deems unacceptable for breeding.>> This only happened after I  had added some more guppies 2 days before. <<It's possible/plausible  that the males may have fought over the "right" to breed, whether, or not,  females were present. The new additions may have triggered this response but,  frankly, this is speculation on my part.>> Is it possible they did  this?   <<Highly unlikely, though not impossible, that one, or  more, of the new Guppies did this. Typically, the "established" fish have, or  display, dominance over fish that are subsequently added to the aquarium.  (Timing can be very important when adding fish.)>> If so, do you know  why and, can I prevent this from happening again? <<An educated (and I  use the term loosely) guess is that the established Guppies viewed the new fish  as potential breeding partners. The "subordinate" males went after the most  likely candidate (the He-Bull, in a manner of speaking) in order to increase  their standing with the "females". Since the "predominant" male is most likely  to be chosen to mate with a female, it makes sense, from the fishes' points of  view, to get rid of the biggest competition. Whether, or not, utilizing a tank  divider to keep the new fish separated from the older ones is really academic.  In a sense, you'd be trying to cheat "Nature". (You might like to see a Great  White Shark live harmoniously with a seal but, it isn't going to happen.) Bob  would have a more eloquent explanation but the fact is that, in some cases,  Nature must run its course.>> Thank you in advance Joanne  x Re: Mmm, FW guppy damage  9/10/06 Hi Tom, <<Hi, Joanne.>> Thanks for your reply. It was nice for someone to appreciate that I was trying to keep my fish happy by having a large tank, rather than people telling me I need more fish in there! <<First, you're most welcome. As for your tank, you have plenty of "fans" here at WWM! If more folks followed your lead our mail would be cut by 30%, at least.>> I wanted to update you, since the sad demise of my favourite guppy I spent a lot of time sat in front of the tank watching their behaviour, sad I know. <<Not true! I can't pass either of mine without stopping to check things out.>> I did notice a newer addition behaving quite aggressively towards some of the other guppies. After half an hour of tail nipping I separated him for 10 minutes and then reintroduced him, mainly as he didn't seem pleased and I felt bad about it! <<Sure he wasn't pleased. You took away his "chew toys". Interesting that one of the new additions appears to be the culprit. That certainly wasn't my take on the situation, was it? Unusual, but I should be used to fish doing things out of character by now. (I believe they do it to embarrass me.) :)>> He had calmed down and since then the guppies have resumed their playful existence, much to the delight of my 9 month old daughter! <<Excellent. Good move, by the way.>> I must add also that I 'lost' 5 of the newly introduced guppies. I had bought them from a store I had not been to before, nor will be returning to as the assistant who netted the fish did not seem concerned for their welfare and I wish I had walked away as instinct told me to. <<I think we've all had purchasing experiences like that. I certainly have, regrettably.>> I have never lost a  fish before as I always take the utmost care of them and found it quite distressing. My tank readings are optimal so I know it isn't a water quality issue and can only assume that they came from a bad batch or were stressed beyond recovery. <<Considering what many fish go through before coming into our hands, it seems nothing short of a miracle that more aren't lost.>> I will wait a few weeks before adding any more and will stick to my regular stockists in future. <<A wise choice.>> I also wanted to say that I have found this site invaluable, the best by far on the net! Thanks again Joanne <<Nice chatting again, Joanne, and thank you for your kind words. Keep up the good work! Tom>>

Deformed Baby Guppy  - 09/07/06 Hi, <Hello> Just wondering if it is common to have a baby guppy that has a Siamese twin? <Not sure I've heard of that, but I know guppies can be born deformed with some frequency...don't know if it's the constant breeding that causes it or what, but it can and does happen.> Actually, I'm not sure that is what it is. But the guppy has a smaller guppy growing from its underside and is 5 times smaller than the other; it appears to still be alive.  Will this fish live? <I doubt it.  In the fish breeding business, destroying "undesirable" babies is referred to as "culling", and it is done fairly often, from what I understand.  In general, when euthanizing a fish, there are a few acceptable, humane methods you can choose from - I personally use and recommend using pure clove oil: put the affected fish in its own container of tank water, then add a generous amount of clove oil.  The oil has anesthetic properties, and it basically slows the fish's respiratory system down and "puts it to sleep" peacefully.  Make sure you've allowed the clove oil to work long enough to do its job, then dispose of the fish. Other methods of killing a fish humanely include smashing its head into a hard surface, etc.  I think you can see why I prefer the clove oil.  Freezing and flushing are definitely *not* acceptable methods, as studies have shown that fish indeed feel pain.> What should I do to take care of it? <See above.> Thanks <Never an easy thing to do, but it is for the best.  I assume, however, that you have other guppy babies to enjoy and watch grow, so please do this! Best regards, Jorie>

Guppy Fry   7/30/06 Hi! <<Hello, Rachel. Tom>> I have my first ever fry of guppies. My female turned out to be pregnant when I got her. <<Congratulations. What you experienced isn't, in the slightest way, unusual for those who purchase Livebearers like Guppies, Mollies, Swordtails and Platys.>> I put her in her own tank once I figured out she was pregnant. A couple of weeks later she had 18 babies. Unfortunately, she died the next day. I don't really know why. Everything was fine with the water and I haven't lost any of the fry (they are now 2 weeks old). <<I'm sorry to hear that your female died. This, too, is not unusual, though. Likely, this was her first birthing and appears, from what I know, to be the one females will succumb to most often. Seems somewhat odd to us since females that give birth multiple times have, typically, increasingly large numbers of fry with each successive event.>> Anyway, my question is when do I need to separate the males from the females? I'm going to find them new homes as soon as I can, but I don't want anyone getting surprise babies like I did. I am also not sure as to how old they have to be before I can sex them. <<Both of your questions really go hand-in-hand, Rachel. When the fry have matured to the point that you can, in fact, tell a male from a female, you need to separate these to avoid the "problem" you had. With the other three groups of Livebearers I mentioned, sexual maturity, almost invariably, comes by the third to fourth month of their lives. With Guppies, as you learned, this is not so easy to "lock down". Some interesting studies have been accomplished in the wild where natural predation occurs and it appears that sexual maturity can be, at least loosely, linked to the species of predator that the Guppies must contend with. Where Killifish are the primary predators, sexual maturity in Guppies seems to be "accelerated" since the Killifish have a "taste" for the immature fish ergo, a "breeding" Guppy would be less inviting. On the flip side of the coin, in regions where Cichlids prey on, and have a preference for, mature Guppies, sexual maturity/activity can take longer to develop. (Why rush the chance to be "lunch"?) The difference in timing might be only a week or, two, but that's a long time to a Guppy. All this being said, at about ten weeks, your Guppies will, almost certainly, be sexually mature and active. While possible that this might occur sooner, I don't see it to be as likely. Since it's the female that does the selecting for mating, the chosen male must meet her "standards" in coloration/development. Not much of a chance that this will occur in only a matter of a few weeks.>> I have read many pages on the internet and it seems they all have different opinions about this. <<No hard and fast rules on this one, Rachel, frustrating as it may seem.>> Well, thank you very much for your time and help. Rachel <<I hope I have helped a little. Good luck. Tom>>

I've got a dwarf puffer that I've had in a guppy tank for some time now.    7/13/06 <<Why in a guppy tank?  Guppies eat so quickly compared to DP's, and DP's are notoriously vicious for their size.>> Yesterday, I walked past the tank, and I noticed that the dwarf puffer had a fry coming out of its body.  I quickly did a bit of research, and I found that dwarf puffers lay eggs, not birth live.  Yet there are about 3 or 4 babies swimming around the tank, each with barely-there puffer spots. <<??? DP's certainly do lay eggs.  That's quite confusing indeed!>> My question:  How is this possible?  Could it be that it's not a dwarf puffer, but a different type? <<No.>> I've owned many dwarf puffers over the past few years, and they always look the same as the one I had.  Is it possible that maybe a guppy gave birth to fry, and this puffer ate a baby whole, and it didn't break down in the puffer's body and he passed it as it was when he ate it? <<I'm not sure.  I do know that live artemia have been expelled out of some fishes' digestive tracts, but I've never heard of this happening with DP's.  What exactly does the fry look like?>> I've never seen anything like this, nor have I heard of anything like this happening, but none of my guppies have even looked pregnant, much less given birth before. Help! <<I wish I had more information for you.  Are you certain the fry was coming from its body? Study it closely and make a definitive ID; DP, guppy, or neither. Lisa>>

Guppies no longer breeding  6/15/06 I have a 30g guppy tank. I started w/ 5 guppies and they multiplied to probably 70 or 80. I got a marine betta for my 160 reef tank, and started feeding the babies to the betta. however, I still constantly had a large amount of babies until recently. The guppy population has been reduced to about 20 now. It doesn't seem like they're reproducing like they were.  In fact, it seems like they have stopped producing at all. Could it be a natural reaction to me taking the fish out constantly? <Interesting... but no> Like, "Oh, they keep getting rid of us, let's not give them anything to take out!"? or maybe they're all bred out and I need to introduce some new stock? <This is a distinct possibility, yes> They're basically mating with family members now. The males don't seem to chase the females as much anymore. Are they all sexed out? <Perhaps in a manner of speaking... too old> Nothing in the tank has really changed, everything is how it should be. I've tried raising the temp (81f) I've done a water change every week for a month. I haven't tried salt yet. I just discovered that here on your site, so I will. Other than that, any suggestions?  Thanks!!! <I would investigate more frequent water changes, improved nutrition, and try adding some new stock... Bob Fenner>

Lethargic Post-Pregnancy Guppy, Capitalization - 06/07/2006 Hello, my female guppy gave birth yesterday, I removed her from the tank, but now she is floating/swimming upside down. <Not a good sign....> She is not dead, I still see her breathing.  Seems to be tired and weak, and she has a small blood spot on her head.  I don' t know what to do.  If you know of anyway to help her please let me know.   <Without knowing anything about the system she's in (tank size, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, temperature, tankmates....), there's not much I can say.  I can only suggest that you test ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate urgently, and maintain ammonia and nitrite at ZERO, nitrate no higher than 20ppm.  If these levels are not right, do water changes to fix them.  Remember to use a chlorine/chloramine neutralizer and match the temperature and pH of the new water to the temp and pH in the tank.> Thanks <Also, for any future emails, please remember to capitalize "I" and the beginnings of sentences....  Our volunteers really don't have enough time to correct these.  Thanks!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Guppy Pregnancy, and He Loves Our Site! - 06/01/2006 Hi, first of all I love your website!   <Awesome!> But I do have a couple of questions that I have been looking for.  First, my female guppy, Sunshine, has giving birth to at least 19  fry, I say at least because that's how many I have caught & she had them sometime memorial day weekend, and unfortunately I was not there, so I noticed them on Memorial Day).  A long time ago, sometime in April (April the 8th to be exact) I purchased her from PetSmart and I purchased a male too, but then he unfortunately died, and then about a month later I purchased another male and female and the male disappeared and the female died later Memorial Day, so I thought the first male got Sunshine Pregnant, but I don't know.   <I agree, either the first fellow or another that she was with prior to your purchase.> But she still looks as big as she was before my fry were born and her gravid spot is starting to turn black, but for some reason it is a little orange, can you help me? <It is possible that she's not quite done having baby fish yet.> The reason I think she still be pregnant is because the females can "store" sperm. <Indeed they can; however, they only have one "batch" of fry at a time, so it's a little early yet for her to be on another "batch" of babies.  Some livebearers, like Heterandria formosa, will store sperm and will have fry in varying stages of development pretty much all the time, and only give birth to one or two at a time.> Thanks for all your help, and I love your website.   <And we love our readers.> One more question, is there a way I can join your website so I can ask you questions there instead of email?? <We do have an interactive web forum ( http://www.wetwebfotos.com/talk ), but as far as the site is concerned, it just works through email.> But if that is not possible then e-mail is fine!  I love your website! <Heh!  Thanks very much for your kind words.> Thanks,  Josh S. <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Guppy Pregnancy, and He Loves Our Site! - II - 06/06/2006 Another question, The babies are in a smaller tank right now, the tank is about as tall as a license plate (maybe an inch shorter), not including the light, about as wide as two inches cut off from a license plate, but its in a hexagon shape, sorry if so confusing. Are the babies all right in that? Probably not, probably too small, but anyway I have to clean it out about every 3 to 4 days, because it doesn't have a filter, and I was thinking, is it going to kill them?   <Ultimately, it may.  They should be in a larger space with very, very clean water.> I might start putting the babies in the breeder net in the weekend, advice please. <I would load the main tank with plants (java moss works great) for the babies to hide in and let them fend for themselves.  Some of them will get eaten by the adults, but some will survive, and they'll be stronger and healthier in a bigger tank.> Also when I look at the momma fish sometimes she looks orange, and then other times she looks black, is there any thing to worry about? <Probably not; this is probably just her coloring.> Thanks for your help,  -Josh <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Guppy Pregnancy, and He Still Loves Our Site! - III - 06/06/2006 Also, I don't know if I asked you this in the last e-mail, but can I put the baby guppies in the breeder trap? <Not for long.> For like a weekend, <Maybe.  Use the net-type, though.> I think raising baby guppies in a breeder trap until there big enough is cruel.   <Me too.> Thanks Again, and I love your website!  -Josh <I'm glad we could help out, Josh!  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Guppy that breeds like a bunny  5/31/06 My husband and I bought some fish for our tank 6 weeks ago and were accidentally given a female guppy. I put her in my 10 gallon tank with 2 pygmy catfish. Two weeks after we brought her home she gave birth to 9 fry. Four weeks later we have 7 healthy fry. Tonight we came home and she had given birth again to around 25 fry. How is she still getting pregnant? <Mmm, can/do store sperm in their tracts...> There are no other guppies in her tank besides the 4 week old fry. Are guppies capable of breeding at 1 week of age? <Mmm, nope> If not, how did she get pregnant again, and how many times can we expect this to happen? We do not have a net for the fry. We keep lots of plants in our tank and two structures from them to hide in and it has seemed to work so far. Any suggestions on what to do to stop it? <Possibly let "nature take its course"... predation... to limit numbers> We have a second 10 gallon tank with red phantoms and a 30 gallon talk with ghost fish, knife fish, danios, tetras, angel fish and another type. Thanks! <Or... if not considered distasteful, feed some of the young to these other fishes. Bob Fenner> Weird fish chest-better grammar, etc. Guppy repro.    5/24/06 Dear WWM, <Vincent>    I am a young beginner at fancy guppy breeding. My fancy guppy seems to be nice and fat, and her gravid spot is huge! I really think she is pregnant, but I am also a bit worried. I had her in a breeder's net for about a week, and then I took her out again when she didn't drop. Soon after I put her in her old tank with the other two, a male and a female, her chest started to drop down to make her stomach a box shape. The next morning I saw her, and her chest was reddish with a pink ball inside it. I could see it real well. Right under this ball, I saw that her scales were sticking out. Also, my other female has been with the male for weeks now but she doesn't seem pregnant. What could that mean? I'm really worried about both of them. Help! Thanks. -Brendan- <Could indicate a few things... a "missing" by your of actual parturition (birthing), with the young consumed by the adult fishes, or a "skipping" of the process... perhaps resorption. I would not add chemicals here, but rather continue your close observations of this fish's behavior. Bob Fenner> Guppy Reproduction, Gender of Fry, Hybridizing With Mollies - 05/22/2006 Hi, I have a female guppy who about 8 weeks ago gave birth to her first ever batch of fry. She gave birth in the main tank so sadly I only was able to save 7 of the fry. Then a few weeks later she was pregnant so I put her in a breeder. She gave birth to 23 fry this time!!!! My concern is all 30 of the fry she has given birth to are female. I've looked everywhere even Pet-Co and can't find an answer. Can you help? <Though it is possible that some water parameters (temperature, primarily) can affect the gender of the fry, yours may just be too young yet to have developed into males.  All baby guppies look female for a while; the males will develop stronger coloration and the gonopodium as they grow.  Please read here for more:  http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/guppyreprofaqs.htm .> P.S. on your site it said guppies and mollies can't have babies, that's a lie. I had a male guppy and female molly mate and they had funny lookin' fry. <Though highly uncommon, it may be possible that the two could hybridize.  Fry from such a pair will more than likely be sterile - just like crossing a horse and a donkey gives you a sterile mule.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Bad female behavior  4/29/06 I have a question....Will pregnant females keep attacking the males guppies till they finally kill them? I have a 10 gallon tank that did have 3 females and 1 male...Twice I have had to put another male in there because this 1 female keeps killing them...What should I do?... Thanks <<Seclude your Alpha female with a tank divider or move her to another tank. This isn't an uncommon situation but I must say that I'm surprised that she's this assertive/aggressive. Her behavior is unlikely to change, however. Tom>>

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