The fishes that give birth to live fry are what we call Livebearers. This is a very peculiar happening that takes place when it comes to aquarium fishes. Livebearers will keep their egg inside the body till it hatches and then give birth to live fry.
When it comes to aquarium fishes livebearers include almost all of the members of the family Poeciliidae. Among them are Guppies, Swordtails, Platies, and Mollies. Most of the fishes are ovoviviparous meaning that the female will just protect the eggs and not with nutrients.
Livebearers, when the female is pregnant you will notice a swelling in the belly. The swelling will put no obstructions in her activities like swimming and eating. At the time of giving birth, the female will look for a protected area or you can put her in a breeding tank.
The fry that they give birth to have a higher chance of surviving than the ones that hatch in the open. When compared to the fry of fishes that lays eggs, they are larger and can eat and adapt easily. The livebearers fry are easy to feed and hence take a lot less effort to raise them. With their large size, they get an advantage when it comes to being eaten by their parents or other fish.
When they are about to give birth there are certain tank conditions that you must opt to. You will need to have a larger sized tank. Set the water temperature to around 70 to 80℉. Strong filtration is not required as the fry might get sucked into the filter, using a canister filter will be fine.
The pH levels need to be around 7.5 to 8.5. If the pH levels are low then you will need to increase the pH levels. Also, don’t forget about nitrifying bacteria as no fish can tolerate high levels of ammonia. You will need to generate nitrifying bacteria in the tank.
Generally, it is not that hard to breed livebearers. It is also not that hard to distinguish male livebearers from females. There are differences between a male and female from which you can easily tell the difference. Just keep a male and a female in one tank and they will breed easily. Sometimes while purchasing females, they are already pregnant, you can point this out by looking at the belly. If the belly seems to be big, it means she is pregnant.
If you think the belly is big enough and the female is about to give birth, transfer the female into a breeding tank. After she gives birth transfer the female back to her tank. Then you can feed the fry with foods made specifically for them.
Some popular livebearers:
Platies are the type of fish that thrive in a group. Also, remember to cover the tank as they find fun in jumping out of the water. They are hardy fish and a good choice for beginners. They come in various vibrant colors and breeding will give rise to more new colors.
Platies are not good parents, as they don’t hesitate to eat their fry if they get hungry. So, keeping the parents and the fry separate is a good choice for the survival of the fry.
This is a very popular choice among aquarium owners. It comes in various colors, patterns, and styles that give a very vibrant look to your aquarium and your home. Besides that, they are hardy and can adapt well to other fishes. They are also very easy to breed and can breed very fast. They require warm water with temperatures of around 78℉. They eat a huge variety of food and are not that picky.
This is also one of the best livebearers and is quite similar to guppies. They don’t tend to eat their fry, unlike guppies. They come in various shiny colors that make them look vibrant and gorgeous. Also, these fish are vulnerable and it is better to keep them with fishes that are bigger than them. You can keep them with guppies and it can also breed with guppies.
These fish get their name from the extension that the males have that looks similar to a sword. They are also a good fish for beginners and don’t require that much care. As the belly swells transfer the female into another tank and removes the female after it gives birth. As the female can eat their fry it is better to separate them.
Mollies can grow to about 4 to 5 inches in size. They come in different colors and several varieties. When you notice belly swellings transfer the female to a separate so that no issues pop up with the birth. After she gives birth, they are known to eat their babies so it is better to separate the fry and the female.
This fish is also a good beginner fish. They will almost eat anything that you provide them with. For them to thrive they will require water temperatures between 59 to 86℉ and pH levels of 7 to 8. Remember to separate the female from its babies after it gives birth.
Mosquito fish is a little hard to breed and is not that common. It is a small fish and is a hardy one. It doesn’t require that much care. When it comes to giving birth you can move the female to another tank. The female will give birth according to her wish as if she senses danger she will not give birth and can do it some other time. After she gives birth females are known to eat their babies so separate her from the babies.