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This article refers to breeding all types of livebearing fish. If you are interested in simply having a few fry of your Molly, Guppy, Platy etc. then make sure there is a male and two/three females together and you will inevitably get fry anyway (known as ad-hoc breeding - all fish are left to 'get on with it'). It is important to have more females than males, at least two females per male.
Livebearers have the ability to store sperm for up to and around 3 batches of fry, so if you buy females only from a store that have been mixed with males, they will be holding sperm if not already heavily pregnant.
If however you want to breed them properly then this is the article for you!
Make sure you have a place for the fry to go to after they have grown over an inch because otherwise you will become overstocked very quickly!
- 2 Stock tanks - These should be your planted and well - maintained tanks for your adults. The males and females should be kept separate to prevent un-wanted matings between fish. 57 Litres (15 US G.) or more should suffice depending on species of livebearer.
- Breeding tank - One is fine depending on how many fish you want to put in to breed, 38 Litres (10 US G.) or more depending on species of livebearer.
- Grow-out tank - A reasonable sized tank around 38 Litres (10 US G.) or more, used as a store for growing fish in until a suitable home can be found
Planted vs non-planted
The stock tanks should be planted (as mentioned earlier) because your adult fish live in there.
The breeding tank should be planted and/or furnished to provide cover for the fry when they are born
The grow-on tank can be either as it is only intended as a 'store' for the fish that are developing until they can be moved somewhere else. However if it is a bare set-up then it is easier to clean and maintain because there will constantly be fish moving in and out of it.
Choosing fish to breed from
Assuming that you are breeding for a certain trait in the fishes colour or fin shape then you will need to purchase fish that show this variety in the first place. As there is no guarantee that they have genes only for this trait (eg lyretailed guppies may stiil have fan tailed offspring) then some back-crossing may be necessary.
The breeding process
Caring for fry