Keeping live-bearing tropical fish in has been fun and educational. At roughly the same time, I added two females of three different varieties to the tank. The most prolific variety surprised me.
I expected red cobra guppies to run away with the competition. They had a head start of several weeks and a reputation for rapid procreation. The first brood is all grown up now, but somehow, only males survived. I haven’t seen any babies from the original females (2) for a long time and suspect they’re food for larger fish.
Early on, the sailfin black mollies were serious contenders. The largest of the three varieties produces huge broods, but most failed to survive more than a few days. Only one of the four adults (a male*) has survived, along with maybe a dozen babies that are doing well but still sexually ambiguous. If any females make it to maturity, mollies could again become contenders.
* A molly female died when a rock she was hiding under fell during a water change. The alpha male, unwilling to share the sole female, bullied the other male into hiding until he starved. The second female pumped out tons of babies in the days before I found her floating belly up. .
The platy females slaughtered the baby-making competition. It’s not even close. They’ve had tons of babies in at least four different broods. New babies appear almost daily.
The platy fry come out with black fins and tails and are otherwise either orange or light tan. In recent weeks, the oldest are showing more color in sometimes surprising ways. Most resemble one of the original females (red wag or sunset wag). The rest sport black speckles or patches of black, orange, or iridescent blue.
Getting clear pictures of the desired fish is a challenge. There are too many and they move fast. In addition to three random photos (above) is a short video at feeding time to at least give you an idea.
Overpopulation was the inevitable result of my experiment with livebearers. I intend to hang onto the mollies and, unless I decide to try a different variety, guppies. Eventually, I’ll surrender most (or all) of the platy fish to a nearby pet store. Whatever happens, you know I’ll keep you posted.
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