Help With Feeding Unexpected Baby Fry In Large Tank! Important 

Sheena-Phx

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Okay, so this is ridiculous, but I need some advice, and quick. I finally got some fish to put in my 80 gallon tank day before yesterday. A few different tropical things. Including some Mollies. I had asked the person I was texting if they were male or female and she said she didn't know. So, once I got them home I sexed them and found that I had 1 male and 2 females. 1 of the females gave birth last night of course because I wasn't going to be ready for babies for a few more days prep wise. I was planning on modifying my filter intake and getting plants over the next few days. Well I woke up this morning and found a baby. Little tiny black molly just floating around. Then I found 2. Then I found possibly 3. But that's it so far. I'm not sure if everyone ate them overnight or if they got killed with my murderous tank setup. Ugh. So, I quickly put some netting around my intake, a sponge on the top part of the intake, and threw every ugly plastic plant that I could spare from my other tanks into this big 80 gallon to give them someplace to hide. One thing that I ignorantly did not realize is that they could swim down into my river stone substrate. And now I think they are going to get stuck, squished, or lost under there and am panicking like a fool. Well, my husband thinks so anyhow. But they are swimming literally down into it and hiding under it. Biggest ignorant thing I didn't realize is that my undergravel filter system is like a death trap for fry. I found 1 unfortunate soul sucked up into the filter of one of my powerheads. So, upon realizing that I am seriously not fit to be a fish fry mother, I unplugged my powerheads about to lose all hope of saving any of these little guys. Now, my next concern is that they are in an 80 gallon tank, under rocks, under my tray for my ugf probably, and who knows where else. How do I feed them? It's not like they are going to swim to the top for food. This tank is like the ocean compared to them. I can't even catch them and move them to another tank because they are under my rocks. My son suggested I remove my 3 inches of river stone 1 by 1 to safely get them out. Lol. I don't see that happening. Does anyone have any suggestions? I don't want to lose more. I'm going to be getting plants tomorrow. I now hate my river stone that I just 24 hours ago thought was beautiful, and I need to remove the whole undergravel filtration system at some point, because I don't want future fry getting hurt. I would love any and all advice possible. Please try to limit the name calling, I'm completely ignorant of baby fry, and wasn't anticipating them so soon. My fault I know. Thank you in advance.
 

Ravenahra

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You're not a bad fish mom, the molly just decided to make things difficult

So, good news

The babies arent going to get stuck or squished by the stones unless you move them around. They're basically stable little caves that the adults cant get in and cant move so dont worry about the rocks.

For food - if you have any algae, brown or green, at the bottom of the tank, stop cleaning it. Mollies can and will eat algae. Also, when you feed the mollies, grind up part of it between your fingers until its pretty much powder and let that sink. You might try to lure your mollies to a side of the tank away from where you see the babies and sprinkle in the powdery pieces while they're eating big pieces.

Baby mollies are tough and will find food.

I never intended to keep any of the fry my mollies had and, now, I have 2 silver female fry who have grown into juveniles. They are no longer scared of the adults and swim with them and join the little feeding frenzy at dinner time.

I did absolutely nothing to help these fry survive. I have a gravel substrate and 2 mature aponogetons that they hid in. I didnt increase the feeding of my adults but the 2 fry found enough food in the smaller chunks and the diatoms growing on my decorations to survive and they're both well over an inch long now.

So, now that they're protected by the filters and have a place to hide from the adults, they should do pretty well until they're older and easier to spot so you can move them.
 
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Sheena-Phx

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Thank you @Ravenahra, somehow you made me feel much better. Thank you so much. I do have some diatoms in there, so hopefully that will help them. I don't think I have anything else yet. I will grind up some flakes when I feed tonight and hope for the best. I read online about babies getting squished and stuck under stones and freaked out. Ugh. I'm going to get more plants tomorrow and maybe all will be well. How many babies do mollies typically have at a time, do you know? I'd like to think that I didn't lose dozens while I slept. Lol.
 

Ravenahra

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Sheena-Phx said:
Thank you @Ravenahra, somehow you made me feel much better. Thank you so much. I do have some diatoms in there, so hopefully that will help them. I don't think I have anything else yet. I will grind up some flakes when I feed tonight and hope for the best. I read online about babies getting squished and stuck under stones and freaked out. Ugh. I'm going to get more plants tomorrow and maybe all will be well. How many babies do mollies typically have at a time, do you know? I'd like to think that I didn't lose dozens while I slept. Lol.
It's easy to get freaked put when googling and I'm glad I've helped.

Fish are a learning process and as long as you're trying and learning then you're a good fish mom.

As for litter size, according to what I've read, mollies have larger litters as they grow older.

For my mollies, the original litters were 2 or 3. The last litter my adult silver (she's about 3.5 or 4 inches) had was about 9 or 10 fry.

The good news is that your mollies will give you more litters and they do give a little bit of warning before they give birth of you can catch it. A couple of hours before she gave birth the last time, my female was hanging out close to the bottom of the tank and kept trying to go as vertical as she could. She would go vertical for a few moments then swim back down then try to go vertical again. So, if your molly is nice enough to do that next time, hopefully it will give you a little warning.
 
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Sheena-Phx

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That's so funny. I've never even had mollies before and as soon as I got them home and sexed them I declared that the 1 female was pregnant, so started making plans to prep for babies. the 24 hours later she popped. I will definitely keep an eye out for that behavior in the future. This whole birthing in the middle of the night better not be the norm, lol. My mollies are maybe 1.5 -2 inches long. So obviously have some more room to grow according to that. Maybe I only lost the one that got sucked up into my powerhead through the undergravel tube then. Poor little thing, I still feel terrible. Alright. I will keep going with my plan to prep for babies, and try not to freak out about the rocks. Lol. I still need to get that undergravel filter out from under everything, but will wait until the fry are bigger to make sure they aren't under the rocks. I'm sure that will be another drama filled endeavor, as I'll probably have more babies then. I don't know how these people with 40 tanks do it. Lol. I just have 5 and it's a full time job. : ) Thank you @Ravenahra again for the reassurance, I truly appreciate it. Hopefully everyone makes it.
 
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