Pregnant Platy question

Kelly Preussner

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I have 3 female platy fish & 2 males. They all get along great with the exception of the occasional male chase. It has been about 2 months I have had them & all 3 females are looking pregnant but not huge. Last week I noticed 1 fry at the bottom that looked fairly large. By the time I caught it the stress was too much & it died in about an hour of being put in Breeder cup. About 2 hours later I saw an extremely small fry & was able to save it. It is living in the Breeder cup. So I guess my question is could one of the females dropped a few fry but still be quite large and pregnant? Also, can the females have multiple births like the molly fish? I was thinking of removing the males. Thanks
 

Retired Viking

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I had mollies which are very similar. I had a breeder tank which hung on the inside of my regular molly tank. It was designed so the fry would fall into a protected compartment below and then you could remove the mother after awhile. I do remember some taking a couple of days before they were done and even finding fry in the tank after I thought it was over. I would end up with 30 or more fry.
 

emeraldking

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Certain females can drop just a small number of fry and after a while drop the rest of the fry. There can be days or even a couple of weeks in between drops while it still concerns fry of the same pregnancy. With ovoviviparous livebearers it only takes a couple of days after fertilization that the embryos are practically developed. The rest of the gestation period is needed to grow. That's why a small number of fry can be born earlier (if they grow faster) than the rest of the batch.
Note: This is not the same as being superfetative. That's a different story.

Like most (so, not all) ovoviviparous livebearers, also female platies are able to store sperm packages. So, that one mating enables the female to become pregnant multiple times.
 

Colin_T

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In the wild, female livebearers hang out in large groups consisting of between 20 & 50 (but sometimes up to 100 or more) females. These groups have a pecking order with the biggest most dominant female ruling the group and she has a group of girlfriends who back her up. All the other females live in the group but are lower down the pecking order.

The groups of females move around rivers and waterways looking for food and places to hang out. As the groups move around a few males follow the group and try to breed with any females. The groups of males have a pecking order too and the biggest male will bully his smaller mates.

In the confines of an aquarium, the males will constantly harass the females and try to breed with them. This puts undue stress on the females and if there are too many males constantly pestering the females, the females can get sick and die.

It is preferable to keep livebearers in single sex tanks (either male or female but not both sexes together). If you want a group of males and females then have 1 male and at least 6 females (preferably 10 or more females per male).

Female livebearers can carry up to 6 sperm packets from breeding with males and they use 1 sperm packet to fertilise each batch of eggs. The gestation period (from the time she fertilises the eggs to when she gives birth to free swimming babies) is about 1 month. After which she will fertilise another batch of eggs using another sperm packet. This allows female livebearers to produce young about once a month for up to 6 months without any males being present.

If you want to breed livebearers for specific colours, then have a tank with females and let them give birth and use up all the sperm packets they are carrying in their body. Give them a few months without being pregnant and then add a male to the tank for a week before moving him out, or move the female/s into a tank with a male for a week and let them breed. Then move the females back into their own tank.

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It is preferable not to move pregnant fish because you can stress them and even damage the unborn fry. If you have to move pregnant females, carefully catch them in a net and then use a plastic container to scoop the female and net up in some tank water. Move her (in the net in the bucket of water) to a new tank and then carefully pour her into the new tank.

If you move the female to a smaller aquarium that would stress her.

If you used completely new water in the new tank it would stress her. If you set up a new tank for her you should fill the new tank with water from her current tank, so the water is exactly the same.

If the new tank does not have any plants in it will stress her. Put some plants in with her. Water Sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides/ cornuta) is the best plant for livebearers. It normally grows on the surface but can also be grown in the substrate where it grows into a lovely light green shrub.
If you don't have any live plants then add a heap of artificial plants to provide her with shelter when she goes into labour, and to give the fry somewhere to hide when they are born.

Make sure the new tank has an established filter in it so the water stays clean.

Do not put the female into a tank with males until at least 1 week after she has given birth otherwise the male/s will stress her out.

Try not to move the female for at least 1 week after she has given birth so she can heal up. If you have to move the female after she has given birth, use the method above for moving pregnant females.

Most female livebearers do not eat their young if the female is well fed and there are plants in the tank, but will eat them when they are confined to a small breeding trap.
 
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Kelly Preussner

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Thanks for all the info! Have not seen any more fry. Since I don’t have another tank I am just watching the one they are all in. I check a few times / day.
 
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