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Old 08-13-2006, 12:30 AM   #1
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Fancy Guppies: Seeking Advice

I have this relatively small female that has only popped out two fry so far. It's now been about 12 hours since she had the first fry. As soon as I saw the fry's tail emerging, I carefully put her in the Aqua Nursery (Penn Plax) that we had on stand-by. I was wondering what sort of experiences all of you have had with livebearers.

She's small enough that with only two fry out, I can't imagine there are more than maybe 2-3 more coming. Her gravid spot is still dark, but that's all I have to go on. Is there any other indicator to guage when she's done? What's the maximum number of fry a mature female fancy guppy can produce?

I know that, typically, livebearers only birth for a few hours. The time span between the two fry she's had so far was significant. I didn't measure exactly, but I believe it was at least 8 hours apart. How long can it take to deliver all the fry?

Obviously, the nursery isn't exactly a stress-free environment for her, so how long should I keep her in there? I'd love to collect all the fry, but I don't want to keep her couped up longer than necessary. Could the stress of being placed in the nursery cause the delay between the delivery of the first fry and the second?
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Old 08-13-2006, 11:55 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome! I live in the ATL area too.

The stress could definiately do it. But are you sure you caught her just as she was giving birth? Maybe she was just about done. Check the main tank to see if there's any babies in there.
As for the gravid spot, I believe that livebearers can simultaneously carry several different litters at different points of development, but someone else should probably confirm this. The max number in one litter is really high though - around 80 in a good breeder. But it doesn't sound like yours is quite there yet.

I don't know what else you could do to save this litter, but in the future when you notice she's about to give birth, you could try a tank divider instead. Just put all the other fish on one side, and dump a bunch of java moss on momma's side. The babies will hide in the moss and mom wouldn't be able to find and eat many of them before you remove her.

Good luck with those babies!
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55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
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Old 08-13-2006, 03:46 PM   #3
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Thanks for the advice! I'm about 20 miles north of Atlanta, technically. I love it down here, but I do make my "sanity" trips back home to NE PA in order to keep my usage of "y'all" and "ain't" to a minimum.

Unfortunately, the little girl couldn't hold out through the night. She only had two fry but they seem to be doing well. They're already in their very own 2.5g tank. Maybe she suffered some kind of birthing complication? I cleaned up and put away the Aqua Nursery stuff, only to be informed we have another female that's nearly ready to pop. On that note...

I don't have any First Bites or other fry feed so, for now, I've milled down some regular flake food to a medium powder consistency. I've found that the smallest paper Dixie cups and a disposable plastic spoon make a very adequate fish food mill. Just grind the flakes into the side of the cup for a few minutes, works like a charm. Will this be sufficient for raising guppy fry, or should I put First Bites or another fry feed on my shopping list? (along with a few more 10g tank dividers)

The fry tank was filled and treated with stress coat (and a touch of stress zyme) and slightly less than 1/2tbs of aquarium salt. Only the fish and a 1" airstone (running as slow as possible) are in there at the moment. If we do PWC's often enough, do you think there is any need for a filter? I don't have anything that would cut it right now. I guess a small sponge filter is in order. Right now, they can't be more than 3mm in length, but what would be a good size to put them into the main guppy tank?

Thanks again for your advice and suggestions.
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Old 08-13-2006, 05:30 PM   #4
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I bet we live pretty close to each other.

I'm sorry to hear about the momma. Birthing complications are definitely possible, and probably due to her being so small.
The ground up fish food should probably be just fine. Livebearer fry are bigger than egglayers and can take larger food sooner. If you plan on raising a lot of babies, I'd recommend thinking about hatching some baby brine shrimp for them.
Your fry tank sounds fine. If you're totally opposed to a sponge filter, my suggestion would be getting some fast-growning plants (hornwort, watersprite, etc). These will work as a biological filter to take up a ammonia/nitrite/nitrate until you can do your PWC. That's how I have my fry tank - just aerated and plants for filters. Oh, and a heater! And if you really want to get fancy, get an apple snail. They'll clean up all the uneaten food. You'll have to vacuum up all their poop, though. But that poop has infusoria in it, which is also a good baby food.

I think 1/3 to 1/2 the adults size would be sufficient to keep them from being eaten in the main tank.
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I just want my planted tanks to be perfect. Is that so much to ask?

55g: (Mostly) African riverine species: Alestes Chaperi, breeding pair of Kribs, and rhino pleco
30g: Newly established reef tank
10g: Planted but fishless
5g: Unplanted with various snail species
2.5g: Heavily planted with betta.
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Old 08-14-2006, 12:55 AM   #5
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Your ideas and advice are terrific! No opposition to sponge filtration here, I just need to put it on the list for the next LFS shopping adventure. Also, I'm out of BS eggs, but there should be some more here this week. I'm keeping an eye on the other female that looks more pregnant than all the others. (they're all pregnant, apparently) She's much bigger, so everyone's hoping she will produce lots of fry. If she has hers soon, then we'll really need those nauplii. :P
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:00 AM   #6
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"The max number in one litter is really high though - around 80 in a good breeder."

I have bred guppies since the 70's. A good breeder female can and will produce 120-180 fry at a time. One of my last drops was 134.
Females can hold packets of sperm from 5 different males. The latest one being the most viable. Anywhere between 23 and 45 days between drops depending on temperature.Young females can become pregnant at 3 weeks of age which is the reason why a person seperates the sexes as early as they can tell them apart.
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