Livebearing fish are the easiest fish to breed. Here are some tips on breeding livebearers and caring for their fry.
Some of the most common livebearing fish are, Mollies, Guppies, Swordtails, and Platies. Livebearing means that they give birth to their young instead of laying eggs. Most livebearers give birth monthly and with little help from humans. Livebearers came have anywhere from a couples of fry up to a hundred every four to six weeks. If you are breading livebearers be prepared for lots of babies.
Taking Care of Livebearers
Livebearing fish need clean water. Be sure to clean their water often but only about 15% at a time. A variety of food is also good for livebearers. Flakes, brine shrimp and bloodworms are good for most livebearers. Once you have baby fries be sure to feed them finely crushed flakes or purchase liquid fry food.
If you are looking to successfully mate your livebearers you should have at least two females for every male. Three is even better. If you only have a pair the male is like to exhaust the female and eventually kill her. To sex your fish look at their anal fin. Males will have a rod-shaped copulatory organ called the gonopodium. The gonopodium will actually swing to the side when the male is trying to mate with the females. A female’s anal fins will be rounder.
Setting up Tank for Breeding
The temperature in the tank during breeding and gestation should be between 78-80 F. You will also need to add places for the baby fry to hid. Floating plants and breeding grass are best. Other options are caves or aquarium ornaments the fry can fit in but the larger fish can not. Some adult fish will try to eat the babies. While most baby fish are fast swimmers they will need places to hide.
Controlling the Population in Your Tank
If you find your tank being over populated by the amount of fry that your livebearers are having there are different options you can chose. You may want to remove the males from the tank. This will not immediately take care of the problem since females can hold sperm and give birth up six months after being removed from the male. But it will ensure that after that time period they will not have anymore fry. You may also chose to remove some of the hiding places and allow them to be eaten. Some local fish stores will also buy your baby fish once they reach a certain size.
Before breeding livebearers always be aware of the amount of space you have in your aquarium. While it might be fun to see babies swimming in your tank it’s not fun or healthy to your fish to have an overcrowded aquarium.