When Can I Combine Platy Fry Babies with Adult Fish?

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EmeraldHike

EmeraldHike

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One of my Platys recently had little baby fry. As far as I can see, there are between nine and 11 of them. They're difficult to count because they're small and they keep moving around. But there are at least 10 of them. Here are a few photos.

baby-platy.jpg baby-platy-gravel.jpg

Some of the baby platys are very small, as if they were born yesterday, and some are bigger and are starting to turn orange. They're currently in a 10 gallon tank alone. There are no adults in there with them. There were adult fish, but I moved them to a larger tank yesterday. When they were together with the adults, they seemed to be doing okay because the babies were hiding under rocks and in some Java moss. The new tank isn't as established yet and I don't know if they'll have as good of hiding spots, so I want to know when the earliest I can combine them with the adult fish. Does anyone have any experience with this?
 
KristinaW

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I'm not sure if this is the first time you have dealt with baby fish, so I'll try to be as thorough as possible. The short answer to your question, though, is after about a month, you can throw the babies in with the parents. That is, depending on what type of adult fish are in the larger tank. If it's just other platys, that time frame should be fine. If you've got Oscars and Jack Dempseys, you'll need to wait a lot longer - or never transfer them at all. You actually shouldn't be mixing Platys with African Cichlids, unless you want the smaller fish eaten up.

If you don't have any experience with breeding fish, here's some background and some helpful tips that might help.

1. Keep your eyes open for pregnant fish, especially of you've got heavy breeders, such as Platys. These fish tend you breed quite frequently, so you may need to keep closer attention than you normally would with other types of fish.

2. Size your tank appropriately. The smaller the tank, the more chance your baby fish will be eaten by their parents. Also, if the babies don't have places to hide, they'll get picked off quickly. If you only have a few Platys and have caves and moss in which the baby fish can hide, a 10 gallon tank should be fine, but that's the smallest I'd go. Personally, if I were going to allow my fish to free-breed without me moving the parents or the babies into separate tanks, I'd have them in nothing smaller than a 30 gallon.

3. Get a separate breeding tank. Stop by a local fish store and buy a five gallon tank that'll be used exclusively for breeding. Once you see that a female is pregnant, which should be plainly obvious (mine get really fat and their stomachs turn more white than orange), catch the female and put her in the small tank until she gives birth. Once she does, remove her and put her back in the other larger tank. This way, the fry won't have to worry about defending themselves from hungry mouths and can safely grow larger.

4. Add plants, caves, or a breeding trap to your community tank. Java moss is cheap and it'll grow in almost any tank. It'll also do well with cold water. Go out and buy some of that and put it at the bottom of your community tank. Allow it to grow and when the female Platy gives birth, those fry will have the perfect place to hide. Alternately, you can purchase a breeding trap (breeding cage) and add it to the community tank. There are all different types of these cages. When you see the female is pregnant, add her to the trap and when she gives birth, the fry will automatically separate from her. My advice is to add some rocks and lots of live plants to your tank so you won't have to concern yourself with any of this. If there are enough hiding places, you can let the babies stay with the adults and they'll have enough coverage for most of them to survive. Another benefit of live plants is that they and the algae that grows on them can be nibbled on by the fry for food.

5. Bide your time. Once you notice that a female platy is pregnant, you will have about a month to get her over to her own tank, if that's the route you choose to go in. On average, she'll birth about 20-40 babies, with that number climbing as high at 80 under some circumstances.

6. After the mother gives birth, move her back to the community tank.

7. Feed the fry as you feed all your other fish. Nothing special is necessary. Just be sure not to overfeed and to really crush any food down so it's small enough to nibble on. Fry hardly eat anything, so you only need to add very little food to the tank. Just remember, what you feed your fry matters. Cheap food with hardly any nutrients won't give them vibrant colors as adults. Feed them the good stuff.

8. Keep the fry tank clean. Don't go off and forget about those baby fish! Their tank will get dirty, just as any other tank will. Every two weeks, do a 25% water change, making sure not to suck any babes up the siphon hose.

9. Add the young fish to the community tank. Young Platys will grow to full size after approximately 120 days. You can wait until then or you can wait about a month, as I mentioned above. This really depends on what your community tank looks like. If you've got many nooks and crannies, plants, and caves, you may be able to add the young fish to the larger tank sooner rather than later. If it's a bare bottom tank with nothing in it though, you'll definitely want to wait until they can defend themselves (and not get sucked up into the hang-on-back filter).
 
EmeraldHike

EmeraldHike

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Well, that didn't go so well. Last week, I added three fry to the larger tank and they swam down to the bottom. From what I've been able to see, they have been doing okay. I have seen one or two of them doing well throughout the week. I assumed all three were still alive.

Fast forward to this morning. I got the bright idea of adding a few more fry to the larger tank. I caught three with my net and transferred them over. Two Danios promptly ate two of them. They chased them down and swallowed them whole. It was utterly disturbing. What's the moral of this story? Two things: Danios are like sharks and don't add fry to a tank with adult fish in it.
 
When Can I Combine Platy Fry Babies with Adult Fish? was posted on 07-03-2021 by EmeraldHike in the Home Forum forum.
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