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Fish Tank Forum • View topic - Breeding live bearers
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Breeding live bearers

Articles on general fish keeping

Breeding live bearers

Postby The Lizard » Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:23 pm

I know that when I first entered the hobby, the first thing that I wanted to do was breed fish! It is of course excellent fun and can also get you a little bit of money. My lfs often swaps me my platys for other fish that I'd like. So ive decided to make a topic where people can put in the suggestions of breeding techniques in live bearers for everyone to see. There is no proper way of breeding them, this is just a list of ways which have worked well for me.

Things to buy:
A spawning trap
Two fish (duh)
Brine shrimp.

Picking your fish:
Pick 1 male for 2-3 females. If you have limited tank space, 1 male for 1 female should be fine but if the male is to aggressive, get more females or swap the male. Try to pick males and females that have the same colour pattern but they don't need to be the same. Obviously don't try to mate a platy and a guppy together. Pick a healthy looking male, with good size and just generally looks healthy. To distinguish a male and a female look at the pictures below:
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The top fish is a male and the bottom fish is a female. If you look closely at the left bottom fin on the female, you will see that it is a proper fin. If you look at the male fish in the same place, you will notice that the fin isn't there but is in fact a pointed fin. It is known as a 'modified anal fin'. So that's how you distinguish them. IF you are buying fish with a mixture of genders in the same tank, then try to pick 2 fish which look as if they are mates. Also try to pick one which is already pregnant. You can usually tell because she will be a lot fatter by the anal fin and will have a dark spot.

Breeding them:
After three or so weeks of having the fish, they should be getting ready to spawn.-- DO NOT WORRY IF THEY HAVEN'T!!!! It does not mean that they are ill, it just means that they are either not ready to or the male isn't really courting her. Just be patient. -- Either put the female in the breeding trap if she looks ready to spawn (about to burst :wtf: !). If I am honest, I have tried to put my platy in the breeding trap but she has never spawned in there. I just dont think that she likes it. So what I do is I wait until she has spawned (She will do it when the light comes on in the morning) and try to net the little fry and put them into the breeding trap. If you don't want to do this, try putting java moss in the tank for the little fry to hide in as THE PARENTS WILL EAT THEIR OWN FRY. If you only have 1 fry the first time, do not worry as the others may just have been eaten or she may have only spawned one. I hear people say that they can spawn 40 fry, but this isn't always the case. The most my platy has ever spawned is 5.

What do I feed them?!! :book:
I feed my fry frozen brine shrimp. for the first 5 days, get one brine shrimp and crush it until it is in a paste and then drop it in for the little fry. If they do not eat, do not worry. My fry do not tend to eat for the first 3 days or so. The fry will really like the brine shrimp because it is very good for them as it has a high protein and fat content which speeds up there growth. Remove any food which is getting algae on it as it will just rot.

Some more tips:
If you are going to use the java moss method, do not get fish which are very keen to eat anything. They will eat your fry.
You can remove your fry from the breeding trap when they are about 1 1/2 cm long. They wont get eaten then unless you have a really mean fish in your tank.

Check out the advice below for other tips and tricks that other people suggest as everyone has a way which works best for them! Try a range of techniques that work best for you.

GOOD LUCK
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Re: Breeding live bearers

Postby Mick » Thu Dec 23, 2010 5:53 pm

Thanks for adding that article, good read :thu:
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Re: Breeding live bearers

Postby malakye » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:03 pm

Good read, thanks for adding that.

Breeding traps can and do stress pregnant fish so should be used with caution, in all honesty having a heavily planted corner is much kinder to both the fry and the mother. For most livebearers a better ratio is 2 females to one male that way the male does not harass the female too much either. All livebearer fry can simply be fed crushed flakes/granular foods.
Guppies, swordtails and platy's usually drop fry every 4 weeks with mollys being every 5 weeks and they can all store sperm for several months.
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Re: Breeding live bearers

Postby konstargirl » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:10 pm

I always find livebearers to be very easy to breed. I think they are like the easiest because they are so popular! I was thinking of breeding platies again in the near future. :lolflag But not now. The girls look too tired.
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Re: Breeding live bearers

Postby Jack Middleton » Fri Jul 15, 2011 3:37 pm

I wouldn't bother with the breeding trap personally, if you're serious about breeding them then having a breeding tank would be ideal; bare bottom, cycled and with the ratio as afore mentioned 1 male to every 2-3 males, the more fish you have then the less this ratio matters but in most instances 1:2 or 1:3 works best, just leave the pregnant Females that are ready to give birth in the tank and remove the Males, placing a Female in a breeding net could stress her and cause an abortion of the fry. As part of the pregnancy process, a hormone is released that lasts for throughout and up to about 12 hours after the pregnancy has finished, this hormone prevents them from eating their fry, giving you time to transfer the mother to another tank, or to transfer the fry to a breeding net. If you buy Female Liverbearers from a mixed gender tank then the odds of them having been inseminated is high. Liverbearers can store sperm in packets for use in the later months, so they can continue to reproduce for up to approximately 6 months without the need for a Male. I'd also like to add that you should never breed two off-spring with each other of an off-spring with either of the parents, or there will be a reduction in genetic diversity and any resulting off-spring may suffer from the founder effect.

A couple of edits I suggest you make:
The gegestation period varies in the same way as it does with other live-bearing species, the average for most Livebearers is 4-6 weeks, however Endlers and members of the Micropeocilia genus can be inseminate and give birth in about 3 weeks.

I also suggest that you change the word from 'spawn' to 'give birth', Livebearers do not spawn, spawning is where the gametes are released outside of the body of an organism, this doesn't occur in Livebearing fish.

Brine Shrimp aren't the best foods to feed fry, they're low in lipids so do not contain much fat, Infusoria work well, but in most cases feeding a liquid fry food or powdered flake is generally the the best staple diet for a developing fish.

The average brood size varies from species to species, Guppy's, Swordtails and Platy's generally give birth to about 30-60 fry, Molly's can give birth to anything in the region of 40-120 and Endlers anything from about 10-30, they're just averages from experience so obviously there can be more or less dependent on the individual fish. Brood size tends to increase with age.

Oops, just seen how old this topic is, oh well, the information still applies. :oops:
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Re: Breeding live bearers

Postby Mick » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:27 pm

And much appreciated!!
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Re: Breeding live bearers

Postby tashiegail » Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:02 pm

Hi all,

This is all great advice!! One my my Dalmatian Mollies gave birth last night, only to 5 fry (buy enough for me) I didn't put her in a breeding tank as I have some moss and grasses, but that meant my only challenge was trying to catch the fry to separate them which was a little tricky. I've put them in a netted nursery, inside the tank.

It was fascinating to watch how my pregnant Molly's behaviour changed over the past couple of days, and how my other Mollies acted towards her. She kept to herself by hiding in the grass that I have in my tank, whilst the other were really curious.

I've only been at it for about a month now, but fingers crossed I seem to be on the right path!

- tashiegail
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Re: Breeding live bearers

Postby malakye » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:29 pm

Congrats on your new additions tashiegail. You should tell us more about yourself and your fish in the welcome or freshwater chat section.
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