Female platy won't drop fry

  1. MissRuthless Well Known Member Member

    I have a female platy who has been pregnant for about a month and a half I think. When I first thought she was going to drop I put her in my then fry tank which was 5g. She never calmed down and never dropped, so I moved her up to a 10g with my other two females. Still no fry. She and the other two have been back in the main tank (55g) for maybe 2 weeks now. She's huge and very gravid, as she has been for probably close to a month. As of today I noticed she's staying in one spot, hovering over some plants in the back corner. She's clamped her fins a few times but not consistently, only here and there for a minute or two (do fish have ongoing contractions prior to birth like humans or only during?). I think she may be breathing a bit faster than the others but it's hard to tell. She hasn't come up to eat, which is strange because she's always right at the surface with the others, but I have seen her poop so she's not badly constipated. There are tons of other fish in there who will eat all the fry in a heartbeat and while I don't want the entire batch, I do want to save at least a few because both parents are/were gorgeous (the male died). This is the first time she has displayed any strange behavior, and at this point I'm pretty sure she has to be either trying to give birth or dying. As I was writing this she started to shimmy back and forth a bit. Could this be labor or is she finally dying from holding the fry in? I've recently bought a floating hatchery, could I possibly put her in there for some privacy while keeping her technically in the main tank, or would that be a bad idea? I do feel that I messed up her pregnancy by moving her around. The other fish, especially the serpae tetras keep gravitating that way as if they expect a meal, and I don't want them to eat the fry or to bother her. I don't know what to do and she's the only remaining platy that I actually like so I really don't want to lose her. PH 7.2, ammonia/nitrite 0, nitrate 20-40.
  2. Nicoldeme Member Member

    Welcome to Fishlore :)
    Take the new net you bought and try to gently scoop her up in it without taking her out of the water. Do you have anacharis or hornwort? Any bushy plant will do, take some and put it in the net with her. Turn off the tank lights and leave her in. I'm pretty sure she won't die from holding fry in, but if aborted long enough, the fry will be born dead. She also may be stressed due to being the only platy, those fish like to have one or two of their own kind. Once she's dropped her fry, get another female so they can stay together (Mine loose colour and stop eating when separated, they need company!)
    Wish you luck with the fry. Do you know how to take care of them yet? Feel free to ask questions on fry care!
  3. MissRuthless Well Known Member Member

    There are two other females with her now, and they're usually inseparable but she's hiding from them. She's been sneaking out a little bit since I fed about a half hour ago, picking at the shrimp pellets on the bottom, but she always goes back to that corner. I suppose I'll try to catch her and put some water sprite in the breeder and see what happens. I had a batch of fry a couple months ago but I didn't separate them fast enough and only saved three, then tried to put them back in the main tank a bit too soon and two got eaten. The remaining baby lives with my neons and other small fish for now and he's almost as big as them :)
  4. MissRuthless Well Known Member Member

    Well she spent the night in the breeder, and she doesn't seem too mad about it but still no fry. I'm afraid to leave her in there when I go to work - when I lost the male I had put him in a dip & pour (which is basically the same as my breeder without the slots in the sides) because he was harassing one of the females relentlessly and stressing her, and he jumped right out of it onto the floor when I wasn't home. Fishy time outs worked well to minimize that type of behavior up until then :/ so as much as I want to save some of the fry, I'm more afraid to have that happen again. I suppose I'd rather have her survive and lose the fry than have her become a kitty snack.

    Any more opinions? I work in four hours so that's how long I have to decide what to do. I'm so sad.
  5. Nicoldeme Member Member

    Leave her in the breeder. Put a piece of paper or cloth over it. She won't jump if she sees something over her. Don't be sad, everything will be alright :) Fishy problems can always be solved with patience and care :)

    Wait, she's in a plastic breeder? Or a net? I personally never use plastic breeders.
  6. BlackNotebookTanks Well Known Member Member

    I have the same problem with my guppy Elsa (named by my lil bro) She looks like she's fit to burst any day now!
  7. MissRuthless Well Known Member Member

    It is a plastic floating breeder. I got it so the fry could be separated from her when they're born so she doesn't eat them all. I let her out before I left for work and she acted normally for an hour or so, ate a bit and swam with the other girls, then went back to her corner. I'll be home in an hour and a half; I think I'll put her back in the breeder minus the bottom thingy that the fry are supposed to fall through so she has a bit more room in there. I'm sure with the plants in there at least a few fry won't get eaten, and I'll try the paper trick as well.

    How long is okay for her to stay in the breeder??
  8. Nicoldeme Member Member

    As long as the breeder doesn't prevent water flow, she can stay in there literally forever. I have a net breeder that I can just leave fish in for days at a time if I need to. Just leave her in the breeder, she'll drop when she's ready :)
  9. MissRuthless Well Known Member Member

    You guys will never guess what happened!!! I'm so happy and yet I feel like such a bad fishkeeper o_O

    So I felt bad for her earlier and let her out before I left for work. I checked the breeder, saw no fry so I pulled it out and set it on the edge of the tank and left. WELL. I just came home with a few new fish for that tank, so as I'm sitting there acclimating them, I look over into the breeder... And I see FIVE little tiny fry stuck to the bottom!!! Mind you the breeder has no water in it at this point. So I grab it and throw it back in the water, and when it fills up I can see a couple of the little dudes swimming!!! They must have been sitting in the tiny water droplets that were left on the bottom surface... I can't believe it!!

    Two didn't make it so I fed them to my angels, who were SO happy that I finally let them eat some babies instead of chasing them off. The other three I put in a dip & pour and hung it in the tank, and I put mom back in the breeder. One is sitting on the bottom so I don't know if it'll survive, but the other two are swimming well. I think she must have been slowly dropping them around the tank and that's why the angels and tetras were hovering around her. I still haven't seen any survivors in the tank, but I have a lot of hungry fish in there so. I'm hoping she'll drop the rest soon, she's still huge. And I brought home a new male tonight too so maybe there will be another pregnancy in the future.... Eeep :)

    Question - I read that fry are always the same color when born, but my first batch was orange when they came out and these are definitely black. Coincidentally, the first mom was a red wag and this one is black, white and bluish (neon blue?). So they kinda resemble their mothers? I've been waiting all this time for my older fry to "get her adult colors", but she looks the same now as she did in the beginning, just a bunch bigger. What should I expect with these ones?
  10. MissRuthless Well Known Member Member

    Update: only one of the rescued fry survived.

    But - she's been in the breeder all night, I just sneaked up on her with a flashlight and I now have at least 21 fry in there!! She looks almost back to normal size so I'm going to let her go shortly. I can't even believe the fry are still alive. She was pregnant for a good seven weeks I think!!

    yaaayyyyyyy :D
  11. LJC6780 Well Known Member Member

    Do you have some ground krill or brine shrimp to feed them?
  12. MissRuthless Well Known Member Member

    I do have brine shrimp, but my last batch was raised mostly on crushed flake because I got tired of grinding up the shrimp. So they'll be started on flake when they can eat, and I'm hoping to be hatching live brine shrimp soon enough that they can have some when they're older.

    I don't want to baby them too much though, I don't know what I'll do with them if they all make it. To be horribly honest, I'll most likely cull the group in a few days and feed the weaker ones to my angels. Most of the reason I keep livebearers is as a food source for them since I'm hoping they'll mate when they're old enough... Just don't tell my daughter that, lol!!
  13. LJC6780 Well Known Member Member

    Yeah, I currently have one guppy in a separate tank since I expect fry any day now ... i almost want to just put her back in the community and let nature take its course but I really want my son to see the baby fish grow. Maybe after this batch I'll just keep them all in the same tank ...
  14. MissRuthless Well Known Member Member

    I hear that. I'm actually meeting someone off Craigslist tomorrow to pick up a bunch of guppies, he's getting rid of as many as possible because they've overrun his tank. I grew out a platy fry with my neon and glowlight tetras, but my bigger communities have flames, serpaes, tiger barbs, pictus cats, the angels, and they're all hungry fish, all the time lol... I'm pretty sure this mama dropped the rest of her fry in the tank but I haven't seen any. I guess it really depends on the tankmates, and how big their mouths are!! ;)