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Old 06-01-2012, 10:49 PM   #1
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So I want to set up a live bearer tank so I have live food to feed to my 55gallon tank with my bloodred parrot cichlid.

At first I thought about getting a couple of mollies, platies, swordtails or guppies to go in the 55 gallon and as the fish have fry, the parrot cichlid will get food and maybe some of the other fish in the tank, (like the bolivian ram). I was thinking mollies might be the best because they get the biggest so they are least likely to become a snack for the parrot cichlid. However livebearers may look out of place in my 55 with rainbowfish. Also my 3 and 5 year old like the guppies so I was thinking of a 10 gallon with 2 males and 5 female guppies. It would be colorful and interesting for them to watch.


So please help me and tell me the pros and cons of
A. Having some live bearers in the 55 gallon and which species would be most suitable for this
B. Setting up a livebearer tank.

Thanks!

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Old 06-02-2012, 09:18 AM   #2
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1-
If your going to have them in your main tank them you would have to have loads of hiding places for them to have their fry.

Ok pros of having them in the main tank

You would not have to worry about scooping out fry.
You wouldn't have to set up a whole tank for them
And you would get a beautiful addition to your main tank.

Cons-
You would never know who gets how many fry, or when so feeding would be a problem ( on the side)
You will have to supply plants for the mothers to birth in. ( they will be chased when birthing)
And if any survive you would have a tank full of livebearers.
You would be putting a fish you don't want in to your main tank.

Now to the side tank.

Pros-
You can watch them live happily without the other fish over there shoulder waiting for fry.
You can see who eats how many fry.
You don't have to keep fish you didn't plan on i your other tank.
You get another tank for your kids to enjoy

Cons-
You would have to keep a fully operational tank. ( plants lights food water changes)
You might miss some fry and they grow to overpopulate the 10 gallon.
The parents might eat the fry and you only catch 10
If one of your fry hides to adulthood with a few siblings you will have fry in your main tank

Thats all i can think of for now, but my biggest question is why would you put feeders in your display tank? ( i know to feed but still)
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:07 AM   #3
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Well my tanks are all planted so no problems there. And I have a local fish store that will take fish for trade in.

Why would I put then in my 55 gallon? Simply for the free nutrition for the other fish and as you said livebearere do add color. I am thinking maybe a few sailfin mollies 1 male and 3 females, or a male swordtail with 3 female swordtails.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:10 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ashleynicole
So I want to set up a live bearer tank so I have live food to feed to my 55gallon tank with my bloodred parrot cichlid.

At first I thought about getting a couple of mollies, platies, swordtails or guppies to go in the 55 gallon and as the fish have fry, the parrot cichlid will get food and maybe some of the other fish in the tank, (like the bolivian ram). I was thinking mollies might be the best because they get the biggest so they are least likely to become a snack for the parrot cichlid. However livebearers may look out of place in my 55 with rainbowfish. Also my 3 and 5 year old like the guppies so I was thinking of a 10 gallon with 2 males and 5 female guppies. It would be colorful and interesting for them to watch.

So please help me and tell me the pros and cons of
A. Having some live bearers in the 55 gallon and which species would be most suitable for this
B. Setting up a livebearer tank.

Thanks!
I would do a mixed bare bottom or sand 20-30 gallon tank with-
2 male guppies
6 female guppies
1 male Molly
2 female mollies
2 male platies
4 female platies
This way there are more fish for your kids to watch and more fry
I recommend adding a small cave or piece of driftwood that has lots of small hiding spots and also adding 2-3 plastic or silk plants per gallon of water so you dont have to deal with the special requirements for live
When placing the plants tightly pack them together on one side of the tank with a few scattered on the other side
Try to make the plants so tight together that adults can't get in or divide the tank in half with mesh large enough for fry to get through but not adults so have the adults on one side then simply let them have birth then the fry can swim to other side
With this method place 75% or so of the plants on the fry side tightly packed and 25% on the adult side less tightly packed but clumped so females arent chased when giving birth
Also if you go with the mesh method put the divider so they fry side is around 5 gallons
Either way add some clumps of floating java moss for fry food and protection
Also if you wanted to do the divided you could add RCS on the fry side- another thing thing to watch and another thing to feed!
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:36 AM   #5
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Thanks great suggestions and a lot to consider.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:34 PM   #6
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Ok it is settled. I am going to get either a 20 gallon long or 29 gallon tall livebearer tank for the kids. I actually have on that was setup before i upgraded to my 55 gallon, I still have the glass lid, filter, and light plus extra heaters, but I just put one of my larger cornsnakes in it and the glass was chipped in a few places on the corners anyway, So I will need a new tank, but a plain glass tank will be pretty cheap since I already have all the other equipment for it.

I will probably do either mollies, platies, or swordtails, and guppies or endlers. at least one male of each species and 3 females of each species. It will have a sand substrate and would like to have live plants as well as a bristlenose pleco because I think every freshwater tank should have a bristlenose pleco ♥

A few questions. I know livebearers like a little aquarium salt but I do not think a bristlenose pleco can tolerate salt and was wondering if there are any salt tolerant plants and salt tolerant bottom feeders that eat algae. also will having no aquarium salt impact the breeding capabilities? Which species would do best if I decide not to have salt in the tank? I was just thinking endlers, guppies, and platies will probably do better wtihout salt than mollies and swordtails?


which of these species are the best at reproducing? They are all colorful and fun to watch I know but just want to know which will reproduce the most frequently. From what I've read online all livebearers have a 28 day gestation period so I am assuming they are all about the same.
Thanks again.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:41 PM   #7
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No, livebearers (generally speaking) don't like a little salt. It's just another old wives tale in the fish world.

I'm not sure what the intended goal is, are you trying to pump out feeders or have a community tank? If it's a balance of both just pick the livebearers you like best. Otherwise just grab some feeder guppies and let them go at it.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:52 PM   #8
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No, livebearers (generally speaking) don't like a little salt. It's just another old wives tale in the fish world.

I'm not sure what the intended goal is, are you trying to pump out feeders or have a community tank? If it's a balance of both just pick the livebearers you like best. Otherwise just grab some feeder guppies and let them go at it.

Alright great then no salt! That solves one problem, I will have live plants and my bristlenose pleco

Well the initial idea popped into my head as I was debating food brands in another thread. I was thinking how much all of my fish love the frozen food and how there is never any leftover. On top of that whenever we go to a fish store my kids are plastered to the livebearer tanks telling me how much they want them. I've never really been a big fan of livebearers but my kids like them so then I thought well, I could get a couple in the community tank and when a female gives birth the bigger fish could just eat the fry and I would have free nutrition.

So then I thought, well there aren't really any livebearers that would look good in my community tank. I like the balance of my rainbow fish, bottom feeders, bolivian ram, and parrot cichlid. It flows nicely, so I was thinking I could set up a tank full of livebearers for the kids entertainment and they could also enjoy getting to see the fish give birth. Then I could net out fry and feed it to the community tank as a nutritous meal and save money on fish food because I buy a lot of frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms.

And I know what your probably thinking, no my kids won't be upset feeding the baby fish too the bigger fish. We have 6 snakes and I keep various size frozen mice and rats and they help me feed the snakes and understand that they eat mice and that's the food chain. They understand that we eat chicken, pork, and beef and were it comes from as well. (I grew up on a farm )
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:56 PM   #9
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A lot of people use their extra fry as feeders, so don't worry it's not that weird of an idea really. Having an effective cull eater is almost essential when you have a breeding setup going.

Since it's going to be a display type tank I'd just pick stuff that you guys like looking at, the fry will come.
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Old 06-02-2012, 06:59 PM   #10
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Just a suggestion but if you get the 29 with endlers then you would have A) A cool tank with gorgeous fish and B) A bunch of feeders that dont eat their young. Endlers dont eat their own young and even a full grown adult should be eaten by a decent sized cichlid.
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Old 06-02-2012, 07:04 PM   #11
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A lot of people use their extra fry as feeders, so don't worry it's not that weird of an idea really. Having an effective cull eater is almost essential when you have a breeding setup going.

Since it's going to be a display type tank I'd just pick stuff that you guys like looking at, the fry will come.
Thanks, I will let the kids pick out the fish then and just make sure I have the right ratio of male to females.

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Just a suggestion but if you get the 29 with endlers then you would have A) A cool tank with gorgeous fish and B) A bunch of feeders that dont eat their young. Endlers dont eat their own young and even a full grown adult should be eaten by a decent sized cichlid.
I thought of that but my kids (ages 3 and 5) didn't show any interest in the endlers. They really like the mollies and swordtails the most which is why I figured I would have a variety of livebearers.
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Old 06-02-2012, 08:37 PM   #12
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Oh yea that makes sense. Although the mollies and swordtails dont bear as many fries.
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:12 AM   #13
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I see what your saying, the endlers produce more fry each month? I will definitely have guppies do they produce as many fry as endlers? If I had endlers in with guppies would they crossbreed? Also I heard that mollies and swordtails might crossbreed too? I am not sure if this would be a good thing or a bad thing...
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Old 06-03-2012, 01:29 AM   #14
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was just reading another thread about crossbreeding and hybrids, I guess it won't really matter though, If I have a few species mixed together I will still get fry and they will be for feeding so it's not like I will be trying to raise hybrids...

so besides endlers and guppies, which other livebearers produce the MOST fry? swordtails, mollies, or platies?
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:02 PM   #15
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Endlers may do alittle more than guppies but not enough to worry about. Platies are definitely after guppies and endlers with mollies and swordtails coming last. And I know endlers and guppies will interbreed. I am not sure what others can...
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:37 PM   #16
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The odds of having a real hybrid really aren't that great either. Endler x guppy hybrid is commonplace but the molly x guppy thing is extremely rare. Either way, for the intended purpose that these fish are serving I wouldn't worry about it.

One key to having a lot of survivors is to feed frequently. Just feed 2-3x a day in small amounts and it'll help keep the adults from going after the fry as much.
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Old 06-03-2012, 08:07 PM   #17
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One key to having a lot of survivors is to feed frequently. Just feed 2-3x a day in small amounts and it'll help keep the adults from going after the fry as much.
oh that will be great! My kids are always upset that I don't let them feed the fish very often and when I do it is such small amounts, my youngest one goes "mommy I think the fish are still hungry". It will be nice having something they can feed more often, even if they still have to feed tiny amounts.
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Old 06-03-2012, 09:45 PM   #18
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You may want to have a few swordtails. They don't have as many fry but they have larger ones.
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