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Platy Fry! (Again)

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Okay – yesterday Billie was looking quite plump. Starting to look a bit squared. I really was expecting another week yet based on when she and Mickey were first together, but…. This morning we had fry. When I first got up and looked, she looked a bit thinner than yesterday. I looked and looked and finally found a little baby fry zipping around. We had either 4 or 5. Twice I thought I was able to count 5 in the tank. This evening I’ve only been able to spot 3 at a time. We do have a lot of plant cover including some floating water sprite which they’re currently hunkered down in. mom looks thinner, but…. still a bit plump. I’m suspecting there may be a few more fry to drop.

I checked the ammonia after a bunch of small feedings today. Crushed flakes, wet toothpick. I also chopped up some dried worms and dropped each of those on top of the water sprite and also reserved a bit of the feeding for Billie.

She has charged after a couple of them several times, but so far they’ve been able to dart back to the plant cover unharmed. We’ll see. Right now I don’t want to try to scoop Billie out to the other tank. (We have a trace of ammonia there today – possibly scooped out too much water sprite yesterday and we’re back out of balance.) Yesterday in the large tank I was really looking to get more light down to the plants so I scooped out a cups worth of water sprite and duckweed. (Compacted.)

So, I’m glad I added that in yesterday because it’s been really good cover. We have a hornwort plant, some foxtail and a couple bunches of java moss as well. This time though the fry don’t seem to be hanging around the bottom like last time. They’re up near the surface (which should be better I think.)

A couple of the fry have eaten, you can see a dark spot in the stomach it seems at times. Also, one or two of them seem to have a tiny mickey mouse pattern near the tail like their father. We’ll see, hopefully they’ll make it. I’ll keep the post updated as we go.

Update – platy birthday + 1 day – 2-20-11

Well, I’ve moved mom out of the tank today. She looked to be in pure hunt mode this morning. I saw one fry darting left and by the time I got to the tank I saw one hunkered down in the floating water sprite on the right. So, I wasn’t sure but thought there were two left at least. After moving the mom out and spending LOT’s of time watching I can now say that there are at least 3 fry in the tank at the moment. I got to see three at once. There may be a few more (we may have the 5 that I saw yesterday), but with the hornwort and water sprite and java moss there are just too many places they could be hiding. They’ve become a bit bolder after moving the mom out though so it seems like I’m more likely to look in and just see them.

Update – platy birthday + 1 day – 2-20-11 – afternoon

Okay – there are definitely 4 – 100% sure. I saw three at the back of the tank and one zipping along the front at the same time. It’s also possible we have more since there are sooooo many hiding places. I suspect with the mom fish gone though, they are getting more adventurous at being out in the open. So, I would imagine that i’m probably seeing most of them.

Update – platy birthday + 2 days = 2-21-11

Well I’ve been really busy today and didn’t have a lot of time to watch the tank. I’ve seen 3 of the fry today. All are looking good. I don’t know where #4 is hanging out, hopefully I’ll be able to see all four sometime soon. They’re pushing 1/2 inch right now I think. (If you include the nearly invisible tail.) I gaged them at about 1/4 inch the day they were born. (I held measuring tape up to the glass while they were a few inches into the tank.) They are much less shy after the mother has been removed from the tank. So, we’re seeing them zip back and forth quite a bit more.

Update – platy birthday + 3 days = 2-22-11

Okay – again a busy day. I had time twice to dip a toothpick with flakes in the tank. I did manage to see 4 fry today in looking at the tank at one time. They don’t look like they’ve grown much, but are a bit more orange this evening than they have been I think.

Update – platy birthday + 5 days = 2-24-11

Well, checked the ammonia again today because some of the plants aren’t looking so hot. (I think they may be starting to deteriorate and I’m afraid they’ll really throw things out of whack quickly.) All was clear though. I did move some of the water sprite back to the ten gallon because it was over in a dark place in the tank and looked a little less than green. So, I also did another wet toothpick – flake feeding. Last night I peeked into the tank about 3am with my flashlight and saw three of the fry come over to the flashlight (that’s the first time they’ve seemed to come over and investigate when I shine the light in.)

Today though, I did my usual hand wave beside the planted corner to try to flush out the fry where I could see/count them. I saw 5 today. Very early on I thought there might be as many as five, but the most I could ever see at one time was 4 and usually only 3. Which left me wondering if #5 died, or was eaten or what….. well – still there. We’ve been talking about doing rain barrels outside as the weather warms and I’m thinking this five fry may be our mosquito control crew for the rain barrel. We’ll use it mostly for water plants/garden beds and will probably be putting some floating plants in as well to help control the nitrates and give shade/cover for fry/etc.

Update – platy birthday + 6 days – 2/25/11

They are getting a bit more orange color it seems. Still somewhat clear today. I do see a bit more of the black colorations filling in and I’m thinking that they may not be mickey mouse after all…. maybe closer to the wag that their mother shows. (Although there is one that looks very much like a twin bar at the moment.) I did a water change this evening to try to suck up a lot of the extra food from the last few days. (And a bit of algae.) The tank parameters have stayed in pretty good shape. Just 5 ppm of nitrates (I was really afraid things might go out of whack with my 3 attempted feedings a day.)

I did today finally see one of them make a dive after a falling micro food flake. That’s the first I’ve actually been able to see them go after food I put in. (Although the food seemed to be disappearing.) I have seen them nibble at algae here and there. (I also discovered a snail which I may leave for the time being.) I have red cherry shrimp on order that will hopefully be here Tuesday or Wednesday. Many will go in this tank (but probably not all….) Which is good, I look forward to having them as a cleanup crew of sorts to work on the dead plant matter that’s harder to get out (myrio leaves dying.)

Update – platy fry birthday + 8 – 2-27-11

Okay – well, yesterday I had to pull a young male mickey mouse platy from the other tank and move in with the fry. The 10 gallon has been out of whack with ammonia (daily 50% water changes) since I put the mother of this batch of fry in. So, in addition to adding a second filter I’ve pulled one fish out. I had no choice but to put him in with the fry. There have been a couple of chases but so far I don’t think there’s been a dinner (I’ve seen 4 of the fry this evening.) I picked this particular male for a couple reasons. He is smaller/younger than the other fish and I figured the fry would stand a better chance. He also is one of two males in the other tank (with 2 females…. so we’ve restored the gender balance there. (I specifically asked for a female at the store, don’t know if they missed, or if he/she changed…) Anyway. Both tanks seem to be under control at the moment (after two big 50% changes in the 10 gallon today.) Hopefully we’ll stay in balance through at least the first half of the week.

Update – platy fry birthday + 11 – 3-2-11

Well, at 11 days they (all 5) are looking very much like 1/2 inch to 3/4″ fish and less like fry. They’re nibbling at flakes now and I’m not bothering to break the flakes up anymore. Mickey 2 has been in the tank with them for several days and not one has been eaten. Sometimes there’s a bit of a chase, although I’m thinking that may be good for them long term. The babies are resembling their mom. She is somewhat like the red wag, except it’s not a solid red body, with a blend of yellow to dark orange. (Sunburst platy?) I’m surprised to not see any Mickey Mouse in the batch as their father was likely a mickey mouse platy. It looks like the tails may be all black though.

Update – platy fry birthday + 13 – 3-4-11

Well, they are definitely like little fish now – all of them seem to go after the flakes when it’s feeding time and they have been less shy the last couple days. (Also less afraid of the larger platy in with them.) I added about 7 red cherry shrimp to the tank yesterday to help as a cleanup crew.

Update – platy fry birthday + 15 – 3-6-11

It’s really fun now to watch the little guys browse on food or algae. They’re chasing each other quite a bit now and really behaving as tiny fish. I would estimate that they’re around 3/4s of an inch in length right now. I don’t think they would be eaten by the larger fish int he other tank at this point. (Their mother is the largest.) Oh, and their mother is getting quite plump again. I’m thinking that we may be 1-2 weeks from the next drop of fry. This one should be interesting as it will take place in the 10 gallon walstad tank. It’s very heavily planted and has quite a large stocking of fish at the moment. I’m sure some fry will make it, the question will be how many?

Update – platy fry birthday + 19 – 3-10-11

Well, Saturday will mark 3 weeks for these fry. They’re fun to watch of course and all five are still looking pretty much like little, slightly paler copies of their mother. One has a bit deeper orange/red than the others, but there between 3/4 and 1 inch at this point. All behaving like little fish. Their mother is in the larger tank now and is looking huge again. So….. I think we’re getting close and am expecting to see fry in there in the next 9 days or so….

Update – platy fry birthday + 25 – 3-16-11 – second batch – day 0

Sometime between last night and this morning Billie lost weight again….. I saw one fry darting this morning in the large tank. There are so many plants in there I’m afraid there could be 30 fry and we’d never see them. I suspect there’s been a bit of snacking though. She (Billie) was very plump last night and this morning I noticed that she was much leaner. Then as I watched she turned and moved in a direction and a little grain of rice darted out from in front of her.

The previous batch of fry are really fun to watch at this point. I’m hoping to use these in an outdoors rain collection barrel as mosquito control (and give them a chance to grow up in the outdoors with live food…) I hear that the colors can be really deeper that way. (I hope they don’t get too big for the tank before the weather is suitable!)

Update 3-16-11 – I spent a bit of time looking and can find at least 4 fry at the moment – again the floating plant cover is pretty thick so there could be 30 and I wouldn’t be able to see them all…. We’ll see how many make it.

Update -3-16-11 – 7:35pm – I have counted as many as 7 for certain and I believe there may be 9. (Didn’t think they moved that quick, but I couldn’t be certain they were still in the same spot.) That water sprite is extremely hard to see through. I’m having to look from different angles to see them all and at times it’s hard not to double count. I still think there could be another dozen or more in there and stay hidden.

Update – 3-16-11 – platy fry birthday + 26 – second batch birthday +1

Well, I caught a glimpse of one or two fry today. I’m not sure if they haven’t survived or are just better at hiding. They may be better at hiding. I also have not had as much time to look for them today so… that could be a factor. The first batch fry – who are all 26 days old today…. I was feeding today and managed to get them next to something I could measure so I could get a better idea of their size…. 7/8s of an inch sis the longest… 3/4’s of an inch at the shortest. They’re all looking good at this point though!

Update – 3-23-11 – platy fry birthday + 33 – second batch birthday +8

The second batch of fry I haven’t kept up with as much as the first batch. In part because the plant cover is so thick in there. I’ve only managed to see one (out of 9 that I had seen earlier) in the last two days. The one that I have seen has a bit more orange color now than when it was first born. I’m also starting to see a little bit of black on the tail. I haven’t fed this tank like I did the other with flakes crushed up. So, this little guy has been fending for him/her-self the last week. I’ve only fed the tank two or three times int he week. (Once was an algae wafer that all the fish went crazy and gorged themselves on.)

That first batch of fry are really fun to watch though they are browsing and exploring the tank pretty much as an adult. They all look to be female at this point, but as you may know that is something that can still change…

update – 4-2-11 – platy fry birthday +43 days – platy fry (second batch) birthday + 18

Well, the first batch fry are looking pretty good size – 6 weeks !!!! It’s hard to believe they’re just six weeks old. There is a bit of color variation amongst them. So far it looks like all girls but…. you know that’s not a given with platies. They are now roughly half (perhaps a bit more than half) the size of the male platy in with them.

In the 10 gallon tank I think we only have one survivor from the second platy drop. He/She has been dubbed Elmer/Elmira… Has really started showing some color in the last week and is getting a bit bolder in moving out in the open. I think he/she could still be eaten, but I would say the risk is lower now. We’ve been having some ammonia issues in this tank. It’s almost 4 months old now, heavily planted, but some of the water sprite is deteriorating and I’ve suspected that the brown dead leaves are part of the problem. I’ve been trying to dig the dead leaves out, but it’s a challenge.

Billie, the mother of both fry drops is starting to look a bit plump again…. which means we may be getting ready for the third batch of fry. My guess would be as early as next Saturday (day 25 since the 2nd drop.) Mainly since that was the interval between the first two drops. So, I’ll guess between the 9th of April and the 12th will be her next brood.

update 4-11-11

Still no drop…. although Billie is looking quite plump. We’ll see in the next few days.

Update – STILL 4-11-11

I see at least four fry. So this is about 27 days since the last drop and in that same window. It’s entirely possible she dropped them earlier and I missed them, but I’ll assume they were today. Only one baby fish from the last drop survived predation. He/She is tentatively named Elmer/Elmira….

The five from the first batch are looking good and when the weather gets a bit warmer still they’re going to become some outdoor pond/container guinea pigs….

Update – STILL 4-11-11

I’ve now seen 12 new baby platy fry in the tank. It’s now after lights out and I think there could be more of them, unfortunately I think I’ve seen one eaten and a couple that may be eaten before morning, but we’ll try to do a head count tomorrow.

Update – 4-12-11

Well I was able to count up 11 fry this morning. I’m surprised that many made it through the night. My last check though I was only able to see about 4-5. I didn’t work too hard at it though so – who knows…. I’m not doing anything special with the feeding at this point. (Which is pretty much the same as last time.)

Update – 4-12-11

Okay I’ve been able to count 8 of the little guys…. it took a while to find that many, there certainly could be more hiding in the plants. (Although I do almost hope not….)

So, since the gestation seems to be 25-27 days… here’s the forecast for the next drop. I’m thinking around May 6-8th Just for a bit more confidence I’ll say the 5th-9th. (Mothers Day drop for Billie?) I’ll update in a few days how many have survived this drop. In about a week we should have a good idea of how many will make it I think.

Update – 4-14-11

I’ve been able to count at most 3 baby fry today. I added some guppy grass yesterday or day before so we have more floating plants right now. So…. there is more cover and they’re harder to see.

I’m beginning to research how old platies are when they reach sexual maturity…. because we have of course the 5 from the first drop in the 5 gallon tank.. they’re all still quite small but we had moved an adult male in with them (when the other tank was out of whack with ammonia….) The girls must be starting to look good to him because I see him sidling up next to them …. sooooo…. That first batch was born on 2-19 they are almost two months old. I have seen information suggestion that sexual maturity is around 4 months. Although I’m finding some sources suggesting that it’s as early as three months. (!) I’ve seen some suggest 2-3 months. We need to get them outside soon…….


All right – I’ve migrated two of the first batch of fry out to a container outside. One boy, one girl…. yes… as of the 22nd I was able to distinguish two males in the original batch of 5 platy fry. So that would be around 63 days old. From what I understand if you can identify males then they’re sexually mature.

The most recent batch I’ve been able to consistently see 2 baby fish – at 13 days they’re still seeming quite small. (Of course I’m comparing them to their older siblings – and we’re potentially halfway to the next brood…..

Update 5-8-11 – Happy Mothers Day…

Well – Billie has made it an authentic Mother’s Day I suppose – I counted 14 fry in there a few minutes ago. There are two surviving from her last brood, 1 from the one prior to that and only 2 from the one prior. (There had been 5….) Three of those five had moved to a container outside and they were doing well. We had a cold snap getting down to about 39 or 40 for a low and they recovered quickly. Unfortunately, we had a second cold snap that sent us down to about 36 degrees and had a cool day in the low 60s following. No fish in the outdoor container survived (red cherry shrimp did though…)

Anyway – today is a fry birthday so let me count up the days…. Judging from my last forecast we should be at 27 days since the last drop. So.. the next one is forecast for June 4. (That is unless one of the OTHER fish is expecting and might give birth sooner….) This is where you can really see the potential for population explosion in platies…. if ONE female has given us 8 + 14 surviving fry (counting the three that froze outside because if I’d left them in the tank they would be with us…. (giving myself a terrible browbeating over not bringing them in when it was getting colder again.) That’s 22 fish (although the batch of 14 may diminish through predation in the next few days.) Since February 19th until May 8th. (More if there were less predation…)

I’m hoping that our shrimp are having similar population growth although I suspect their babies are more likely snacked upon.

June 25th – another drop. I think I missed updating one drop in between. They’re running a bit less than 27 days at the moment. I saw 6 of them on the morning of the 25th though. I also on that day moved one more outside. We now have four platies outside (and seeming to be very happy.) Okay – the other drop that I didn’t note here was around June 4th…. I think it may have been a few days before (June 1/2?)

We dont’ have too many survivors in the 10 gallon from the earlier drops. One moved outside on the 25th was from the early June drop. There looked to be another one, but I haven’t seen it since about the 20th of June.

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February 19, 2011 - 10:11 PM
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