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How To Care For Livebearer Fry (Age 0-2Mos)


New Member
Dec 17, 2013
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I wanted to start a new topic on the care of freshwater livebearer fry (baby fish).  I've looked long and hard to find out about the care for them, and although I found some topics on it (on numerous sites), I haven't been able to find exactly the answers I've been looking for.  Perhaps, that is the same situation for others similar to me and that is why I wanted to start this.
I read up on the care of newborn fry (and because I had read about it, my baby fish are doing quite well, thanks!).  I have 8 Silver Lyertail Mollies that are now approaching 4 weeks old.  I have not seen any forums that speak of the care after newborn mollies critical age of 0 to 2 weeks.  What is the care for them after 2 weeks of age?  What is the care for mine at 4 weeks of age and moving forward?
Here are some of the questions that I have, and maybe others have too:
1.  How many times a day do I feed the fry at 2 weeks?  At 4 weeks?
2.  How much do I feed them (obviously depending on how many one has)?  When can I start feeding them once a day or every other day?
3.  Should I still use fine fish food (dust) / crushed flakes at 4 weeks of age?  When can I start the Mollies on regular crisps or flakes?
4.  What age and/or what size can I release the baby Mollies into the general populated tank?  Usually they can be released in the populated tank by the time they are half inch to an inch with other tropical non-aggressive fish, but what if I have a predator fish like an African Butterfly Fish and two Albino Clawed Frogs, which usually have much larger mouths?
5.  How many times per week should I clean out the tank (this can also depend on what size tank the Mollies are in, if they are in a separate tank and not in a maternity mesh within the populated tank)?  Should I clean out the tank more often than I would in the populated tank since they are eating more often?
Here is some information about my fish, the tank and my care.  Please let me know if anything I'm doing is not recommended or what I can improve on:
-  8 Silver Lyretail Mollies (half inch in size give or take) alone in tank
-  10 gal. tank (I use a net between them and the filter so they don't get sucked up - that's key!)
-  At 0 - 3 weeks I fed the fish store bought fry food (soft like dust) 3 x day, less than a pinch each time.
-  At 3 weeks I started feeding them twice a day, less than a pinch each time.  I've been too afraid to go any less since I had previous fry batch that died when I went down to twice a week and the water quality and temperature was fine.
-  Cleaning out the tank every 3 days (twice a week)
-  Water Temperature is at 78F
-  Check water quality weekly and everything is fine.  The Nitrate is the only concern.  It is under 0.2 (within normal, but the high normal)


New Member
Aug 7, 2018
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My balloon molly gave birth 5 days ago, and I was wondering if I could just crush up regular fish flakes into dust for them since i dont have the time to buy food specifically for them.


Jan 26, 2008
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Perth, WA
Baby livebearers (mollies, swordtails, platies & guppies) should be fed newly hatched brineshrimp, microworms and powdered fry food from day one. They should be fed at least 4 times per day and given enough food so they have fat stomachs and look like pregnant fish. You continue feeding them like this until they are mature and close to full grown (about 3-4 months under good conditions). Once the fish are adults you reduce the feeding to once or twice a day for normal care, and feed more often if breeding or conditioning fish for breeding.

The best temperature for rearing fry is 28C (82F). Once the fry are mature lower the temp back to 24C (75F).

You should try to do a 50-75% water change each day to remove uneaten food, nitrates and growth inhibiting hormones released by the fry.

Young fish can be added to community tank when the fish are the same size (or bigger) than the smallest fish in the tank.

There is more info on breeding fish and making fry foods at the following link. It also has a section on hatching brineshrimp eggs.
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