Large Female Guppy Fluctuates Between Looking Pregnant Then Not...

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by Biovetscientist, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. Biovetscientist

    BiovetscientistNew MemberMember


    Bit of background about myself... although I count myself as a novice fish keeper, I have a degree in Bioveterinary science so I am well acquainted with the nitrogen cycle and did a lot of research about water quality and habitat preferences of my fish. I did buy 4 false neon tetras before doing as much research and so my water is possibly too hard for them (GH 11). They are healthy and showing bright colours so I will be purchasing 6 more to have a proper school but I will take care not to do anything to increase the hardness any further.

    I have had 2 female guppies and 1 male guppy for around 6 weeks now. The yellow female dropped 2 fry just over 3 weeks ago (they have been moved to a 5 gallon for now and doing well) so she was clearly already pregnant. She looks like she will drop fry again in the next 7-10 days so no concerns about her.

    My red blonde female fluctuates between looking pregnant and not. You can clearly see pink/orange eggs in her gravid spot. Sometimes they go dark, sometimes light. I can currently see something that is dark and fairly small in her gravid spot. Can't get a pic as have crack on my phone camera. She has a large barrel type chest but I have fed peas every 5 days or so to ensure she's not constipated - she poos regularly and they only get fed 1-2 times per day - small amounts of flake that they eat in under 90 seconds. They have live food on occasion and she tries to steal my BN pleco's food (algae flakes, the odd sinking catfish pellet and various veggies). My male is not as interested in her as he is in the yellow female but the red blonde is a bit of a flirt and so they do still mate. She gets so large every 7 days or so that I get convinced she will drop fry but then she will just go back down to a regular size and start again. Has anyone had a similar experience to this? I am concerned that she is stressed for some reason (although seems happy?).

    I will be leaving any fry in the community tank to fend for themselves as it is well planted with water wisteria (planted in substrate), hornwort, cryptocoryne, java moss, marimo ball and water lettuce. I have a large piece of bogwood which is leaching some tannins still but I don't mind that too much. I have a large internal filter with sponge, activated charcoal and seachem purigen (purigen only added yesterday). I use seachem prime as water conditioner and add maintenance dose of fluval cycle with every large water change. I do one 30% water change once a week and 2 10% water changes in between. My substrate is a layer of shrimp sand with small rounded gravel on top.

    On a side note... I was wondering about stocking. I will be putting my 2 original fry in the tank soon so there will be 5 guppies, 1 BN and 4 (maybe more) tetras. Do I keep as is, or add some more? Any suggestions?

    20 gallon tank
    1 BN pleco
    1 male guppy
    2 female guppies
    4 false neon tetras
    1 unwanted bladder snail

    pH: 7
    Ammonia: 0
    Temp: 26 celsius (78.8 farenheit)
    GH: 11
  2. allllien

    allllienWell Known MemberMember

    Strangely enough, I had 2 female guppies a while back that did the same thing. I had them in with 2 young males (I think they may have been related as they all came from the same place), and never got any fry.. So I bought a new unrelated male to put in with the females, and again, the same, no fry but they always looked pregnant.. I decided I must have the only 2 sterile female guppies in existence lol, but I have no idea what's going on sorry. Interestingly though, I once had the nicest female molly that I really wanted to breed and had the same problem with her (she was a ribbon lyretail), I tried everything -buying all types of males; regular, sailfins and lyretails, but she never got pregnant even once in her life :( She may have been a sterile hybrid or something, which I'm starting to wonder if was the problem with the guppies as they were guppy-endler hybrids. Maybe it's just something that happens occasionally or with certain hybrids, I'm not really sure. I don't normally breed guppies though, but I do breed swordtails, platys and mollys (and that was the only molly I've ever had that never produced fry).

    The pleco really needs a bigger tank, but the others are fine, except I'd remove the snail if you dont want it lol, if it's like most snails, it will reproduce on it's own if it hasn't already laid eggs (Blue Planet Snail Rid will kill them off though if they become pests ;)
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2017
  3. OP

    BiovetscientistNew MemberMember

    It's so odd! I'm not too bothered as I'm not breeding as such but I was concerned that she is under stress for some reason and not able to breed or is aborting. She is not accosted by the male at all and is not bullied and with my water parameters being good I was at a loss. Good to know I'm not the only one! I may consider buying another male if I don't get any with the next bunch of fry from my yellow female. I think my 2 fry in my 5 gallon are both female but have upped the temp in the community tank from 24 celsius to 26 celsius over a period of time so hoping for 1 male from the next batch!

    My pleco is still quite small and I will be buying a bigger tank when I move in a few months, probably a 40 - 50 gallon. Just no room here for it and the reading I've done online said the BN pleco is fine in anything from 20g up, especially as she's still not fully grown so not too concerned atm.

    Yep, will have to hunt it down first or stick some lettuce in to entice it out. Thought I'd got them all but my Mum saw one in there when she was feeding them while I was away.

    I will probably keep the 20 gallon once I've established the bigger tank, as a dwarf puffer tank. Find them fascinating and would love to have some, just can't really with my male guppy having such a beautiful tail! Also a bit concerned about the specific feeding requirements so will see if this is something I want to commit to.
  4. Aster

    AsterWell Known MemberMember

    It's hard to give anything definite without a pic, but a few questions.

    Is it possible she could be having fry and you're not getting them before they're eaten? That would be the only other reason beside aborting that she's getting large and shrinking again without visible signs of fry.

    What are you testing with to get a reading of 1 ppm for nitrate? Do you mean 10?

    You can make a separate thread about stocking so you get more comments about that.

    As far as I know, temperature doesn't influence the gender of fry, so raising the temp won't cause more males to be born.
  5. BeanFish

    BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    That unwanted bladder snail will become a bunch of unwanted bladder snails.
    I would not keep the pleco and I would wait until I upgrade. What species are the fake neons? Cardinals? They all need at least 6 of their own type.
  6. OP

    BiovetscientistNew MemberMember

    Not sure really. She seems to get super fat at least once every 10 days which is what is odd! I mean, fatter than my other one did the day she gave birth to her fry (albeit, only 2).

    I have a lot of scientist friends and one of them tests my water for me in the lab so I get really accurate nitrate results. Have no idea what kit they use for this... I do also use the liquid test kit but they only got back to me last night with the latest reading so thought it safe to quote that.

    I have heard some anecdotal evidence of higher temp influencing more males so thought I'd try it... will comment with my findings when she drops the fry, but will take several drops to get an accurate pic - must be the scientist in me!

    Bean fish...

    I will definitely get on top of those guys then!

    Will see if I can temporarily rehome the pleco to a bigger tank until I can upgrade. I will definitely be getting more of the neons. They are the green neons (Paracheirodon simulans). Thinking of getting another 6 to have a reasonable schooling group.
  7. Aster

    AsterWell Known MemberMember

    The gestation period is longer than 10 days, typically around a month, and usually at 10 days they really won't be that big. Have you seen her poop? Do her scales look raised?

    Interesting, I get a pretty fair mix of males and females at 75 degrees. You say the two fry are 3 weeks old, they still could be late developing males at that age.
  8. OP

    BiovetscientistNew MemberMember

    Yes I know that the gestation is more like 28-31 days, this is why I don't believe she's getting pregnant, or if she is, she's aborting but I cannot identify any reason why she would, other than maybe genetic?

    She poos regularly and I feed cooked, shelled peas every 5 days or so to keep them regular. No raised scales, she definitely gets more of a squared off, heavily pregnant look than a dropsy look to her. The black thing that I saw in her gravid spot vanished in the middle of the day, but has now returned. Potential fry moving about? First time I have seen that in her. Her gravid spot is a completely different colour from the yellow female (who has a dark gravid spot at the minute as she is due around Sunday) so it's hard for me to compare.

    I personally don't think I'll get any more males due to temp (more pot luck) but I thought I'd see if I got any and compare as I go along. Very difficult to tell when I only had 2 fry last time so not very representative. I did think that, one is a bit smaller than the other but both eating well so thought that one of them may be male and the other female. Both still the same pale yellow colour that they were born with (Mum is yellow too).
  9. Aster

    AsterWell Known MemberMember

    If she seems healthy and unstressed I wouldn't worry about it. I think she'll drop on her own time.

    The fry remain in the eggs until right before they are born, so it's unlikely they're moving especially since she's not close to dropping. I'm not sure what it could be, but sometimes their gravid spots just change. What color is her gravid spot? Blonde females typically have an orangey gravid spot.

    I wouldn't go by size to determine gender, one may just be growing faster. If their analfins start forming into a point then that's a sure sign it's a male.
  10. FishandFun

    FishandFunValued MemberMember

    Stocking sounds good, wouldn't add anything else except for the 6 more false neons.
  11. OP

    BiovetscientistNew MemberMember

    Yes, she's a red blonde so her gravid spot is pinkish orange. Her spot has changed to dark grey on a few occasions in the 6 weeks I've owned her so think she's either aborting before the fry are viable or something odd is going on.

    She does appear to be happy and healthy so think I'll definitely take your advice and not worry too much.

    Gender of the fry doesn't concern me too much, mainly curiosity. Probably too soon for any obvious changes in that department but will keep an eye out.