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Baby Platy Fry | Home Fish Aquarium Guide

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Baby Platy Fry


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The first part of this is taken from my “Why are my plants melting” post and updates…

1-7-11 – 10:30pm
Well, I was starting to vacuum the gravel and caught sight of a little white flake of food floating up towards the siphon when it suddenly darted down…. we have babies. I saw 4 at one time and then a 5th being born and there still seem to be a few to go (at least.) Snoopy, our red wag (red-orange body with black tail and fins) is giving birth. She had been a bit cranky the last week or so chasing the other two around (a bit moreso today it seemed.) She is the one I suspected was pregnant just based on her size. We added Mickey (a male) into the tank on Tuesday December 21st. Prior to that Snoopy had been a solitary female since around this time last year I believe (I’ll have to look back, but I think she may have been in there a bit longer.)


So, that’s 2 weeks and three days gestation (which seems AWFULLY short when I’ve been reading that they usually have 4 weeks or so. Anyway – the little guys are real cute – two little dots for eyes and a transparent body. Those tail fins REALLY go when they zip around. They’re all very smartly sticking to the java fern pretty closely.

It’s interesting to see Snoopy hovering near the top with her mouth almost at the top of the water and the other two huddling somewhat close to her in a similar pose. They’ve been quite a bit more tranquil now that she’s in labor (do you even say that for a fish?) She goes in fits and starts as she tries to birth one and then hunkers down and rests. My only regret is that this had to happen when the tank is less than ideal. Ammonia is less than 0.25 after the change but more than 0, nitrites are 0.25 and nitrates are around 20ppm.

as of 1:30am Snoopy was still giving birth (at least 4 hours after things started.) I saw a few fry, but the lights were out so I couldnt see how many there were. Today 1/8/11. Things seem to be approaching normal in the tank, the behavior of the fish is more like usual. Snoopy seems smaller, but I’m still thinking she may have a few more fry to drop. If what I’m reading is a guage, then at the least she may have another drop in about 4 weeks, so around February 4th or so.

I’ve fed this morning and I’ve done two things for feeding. First is the regular large flakes for the adults and I’ve put some flakes in a ziplock bag and pulverized, then used a wet toothpick to get the flake dust on it and deposit that into the tank (looks like tiny snow.) I have seen at least two fry this morning darting in and out of the java moss and cave. I’m afraid I don’t know if any more survived the night. They could have and could be hiding under/in the java moss clumps or around the big cave or a smaller one as well. there are lots of places for them to be hiding.

However, the big fish didn’t seem as hungry today which may mean that they’ve had high protein snacks….

As for the water paramters I’ve just tested nitrites today at 0.25ppm and will do another partial water change today being careful not to suck out any of the baby fry. It really is amazing to see them zipping around. They are no bigger than a grain of rice, mostly whitish or clear (towards the tail they are much more transparent.) They also have two little black eyes.

We’re now talking about going ahead and getting a new tank when we can get back out (several inches of snow and ice overnight and potentially a lot more coming tomorrow night. So, we may be effectively snowed in for a few days. Even if none of these fry make it, there will likely be another back before long. Our new female may have been pregnant as well. She doesn’t look as large as snoopy has, but she is a lighter color and I can see a tiny black spot that I think could be a gravid spot. If so, we should find out in another 2 weeks.

In some ways I would like to take all the plants/decorations out so I could see the little guys, of course that would take away any chance they have of living through the next few days I suppose.

So how many were there total? That’s a good question, I don’t really know, but…. at about 9:30pm I was able to spot 4 at the bottom of the tank and I thought I saw a fifth just a second after it was born. I remember another two or three catching just a moment or two after they separated from their mother so that would be at least 8 which sounds like a relatively small brood.

I have warned my wife and kids not to get too attached to them as “fish are mean” and it’s possible that none of them make it. Yes, I could have separated the mother into a plastic tub I guess and then taken her out after birthing or just moved the big fish into a temporary plastic tub “hospital” tank, but we’ll see. I have considered the possibility of selling them to the lfs for store credit, but have heard that they would at least need to be big enough to be sellable or they’d wind up as feeder fish there so…. I think our plan to get another tank might help with the possibility of raising them until they’re big enough to sell/trade.

Anyway, more updates to come….

Update 1-8-11 – 1:50pm

Okay – definitely still have 2 fry hiding in the java moss potentially more. Will probably do a water change about mid afternoon. I also will likely be doing a bottle test of some potting soil for the natural planted tank that we’ll be putting together over the next week or two.

Update 1-8-11 – 8pm

Okay – another round of fry about the same time as the water change today. I’ve seen at least three swimming around at the same time. I think these may be new births because they seem to swim out in the open at first before hunkering down and hiding. We had seen 2 hiding prior to that. Snoopy, the mother was seated on the gravel and the other fishes had their noses in corners which was why I started looking more intently again. I see one fry that has died floating. Mickey slurped it in and spit it back out. I’m not sure if that’s what killed it or if it was already dead. I suspect several others have been slurped since this time yesterday though and have in the last few minutes seen at least two together in the java moss.

Oh, one other note – I measure one that appears to be about 5/16ths of an inch long.

Okay – 8:30pm – I can only confirm one living at the moment and have seen two floating, snoopy still acts as though she is not done.

update- 1/9/11 – 9pm

Unfortunately as of tonight I have not been able to see any platy fry since last night. I saw two dead last night, but there was at least one still living when the lights cycled off. Even after a water change today I couldn’t spot one, we’ll see over the next few days. I did get a new 10 gallon tank which the adults will start moving into when the next drop happens.

update – 1/10/11 – 9:30pm

I haven’t had much time to look for them today, but still no sign of the fry. I think this round of birthing seems to be over however the behavior in tank is still not quite back to normal. (Water quality issues?) Our plan with the new tank is to move the male out to the new 10 gallon as soon as it seems fit. Then the females get to stay in the 5 gallon until the next drop at which time they’ll move one at a time over to the new 10 gallon and the fry can keep the small tank.

update 1/11/11 3:42 pm

Well – another water change and we’re back to the dropping behavior. Snoopy is sitting on the gravel and hiding under plants, the other two have their noses stuck in corners as well. Not sure if there are a few more fry to be born in this batch or not.

update 1/11/11 9:00pm

Did another water change and we’re at 0 ppm ammonia – just a shade above zero for nitrites (but not close to 0.25) and between 5 and 10 ppm nitrates. No sign of baby fry as I was changing but the behavior still seems to be that of the drop from snoopy. She’s hanging around the bottom of the tank, in corners. It may just be a sign of stress in general. I’m hoping to not be doing a water change for a few days to help out on the stress side of things. Next cleaning though I’m going to move the java moss and clean underneath which may may clean up a lot of extra debris. (The edges where the gravel is not covered by plants are looking brilliantly clean with all this cleaning lately. I’ve tried to avoid any kind of scrubbing in the last several changes which could get rid of the good bacteria. Hopefully if there are any fry I’ll be able to see them when the java moss is moved and I clean under it. At this point I still haven’t seen any in a couple days and suspect there are none currently living in the tank, but if Snoopy was holding on to one or two still, who knows?

update 1/14/11 – 10pm

Unfortunately the birthing behavior continued for several days and it became clear that snoopy was stressed for other reasons as well. At first I suspected gill flukes and treated for that. The next day Snoopy died. I regret that I didn’t recognize symptoms earlier. I confused the sitting on the bottom to give birth with her sitting on the bottom because she was ill. At one point I suspected swim bladder disease, but am leaning back towards gill flukes. The remaining platies in the tank have similar symtoms and I am still treating. In accordance with the directions for this treatment I did a large water change today and pulled out almost all the plants. I don’t believe any fry are surviving now in this tank. Hopefully once this infection clears up we will have another batch. If the two platys in the tank now don’t pull through I will need to wait at least 7 days before restocking. Personally I am thinking two weeks might be a safer period (although I plan to still feed the tank to keep the bacteria colony going.)

That much said, new fish may not be under the same stresses that the current fish went through that has seen them become sick. It would be better to be safe and wait though. Hopefully the two remaining fish (mickey and mrs. fish) will make it and turn the corner her in a day or two, but their behavior has been very unusual the last few days. Listless, hovering at the top or bottom of the tank, no reaction to food. Very little reaction/interaction between them. Very little startling at a move next to the tank. This will be the last update to this post. Future updates are in the “why are my plants melting” and potentially a new post about gill flukes and other aquarium pests.

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January 8, 2011 - 12:40 PM
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