Livebearers not breeding-suggestions?

mcr123

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Hi everyone,

Apologies for the long winded post, but I want to give as much information as I can to hopefully get the best answers possible. I currently have a 20 gallon tank set up. I’ve kept tanks on and off for years. This tank was set up in November. It contains livebearers as well as live plants (Annubias, Java ferns, ludweggia, and one or two others. I may have botched the spelling).
The filter is an aquaclear 50.
A problem I am currently having, and have had in this house for years with livebearers, is that the livebearers will not breed in my tank.
I currently have 2 female swordtails (I know I need to pick up a male-the store did not have any left), 1 male and 1 female tux platy, and one male and 2 female black mollies. I also have a yo-yo loach that’s serving as my catfish since they can handle higher ph, as well as an algae eater. I just added the swords and with no male, obviously I’m not concerned about them specifically. But the others won’t breed and in the past, neither would other swordtails and livebearers I kept. I’ve tried different ratios of males and females but no luck.

I have had enough experience in keeping tanks that I am 100% positive in identifying males and females so I know when I have both. I am also aware of the signs for a pregnant fish, which I haven’t been having, so I think I can pretty much rule out the idea that they’re giving birth and the babies are being eaten before I can find them.The fish are active, eating, and otherwise look healthy, but refuse to breed. The male platy completely ignores the female. The male molly will occasionally chase the females for a quick second and then gives up.

Water parameters are as follows.
Temperature: 79* F
pH: 7.5
Nitrite: 0
Nitrate: 20ppm or less
KH: Around 40ppm
GH: Around 120ppm
I am using aquarium salt as directed.
Tap water is treated so it is de-chlorinated.

I feed a mix of a couple different types of flake food, usually 2-3 times a day. I am not over feeding.

Thank you for any and all suggestions!!
 

Naughts

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Just thoughts...
The fish may not be quite old enough to breed if they were bought in November? In this case give it time.
Their natural behaviour might be inhibited by either the algae eater (which can get aggressive as they age) or the loach (which will be stressed without a shoal and this could induce aggression)? Both are large-ish fish and aggression can be given off in chemical signals without overt physical aggression. You may want to reconsider the tank stocking.
 
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mcr123

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Thank you for the reply!
The platys I believe are mature because they are full grown in terms of size. The mollies are definitely mature enough because the 2 females were pregnant when I got them. They were put in probably in early December if I remember correctly.
I didn’t know that the algae eater and loach could prevent/reduce breeding. I know you said some of the aggression can be chemical but in terms of physical aggression, the algae eater bothers the loach if it gets too close, but neither one seems to exhibit any physical aggression towards my livebearers. Also, the loach is a very new addition-I’d say 2 weeks at most.
 

nik_n

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Hello. My only suggestion would be to feed fish food that is high in protein. Highly nutritious food can spark breeding behavior. I used it to get my blue gouramis to spawn. Frozen blood worms are a great for swords, platys and mollies. I kept swords and mollies in the past, and had success breeding them. The ratio that work for me was 2-3 females for every male. I kept and bred swords with angels in the past so I don't think the yoyo loch will cause any trouble. I know that yoyo loaches prefer to be in a school so I would suggest getting more. They are great for controlling the snail population so you don't need to worry about pest snails.
 

Colin_T

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If the fish were normal sized at the shop, they are mature and old enough to breed.

You don't need males with females to breed them. Females can carry sperm packets for up to 6 months and use these to fertilise batches of eggs.

Try feeding them 3-5 times per day with a variety of dry, frozen and live foods. Make sure they have plenty of plant matter/ algae in their diet.
Do more water changes to compensate for the extra food.

Increase the GH to 200-250ppm. Platies, swordtails and guppies are fine at 200ppm, mollies like a higher GH of 250+ppm.

You don't need salt unless you are treating diseases.

Deworm the fish. See section 3 of the following link for treating intestinal worms.
 

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