January 21, 2011

BABY FISH

The news at our house is BABY FISHIES. In the comments section of the post about the fish, Steph said it looked like I had both male and female fish and that the females looked pregnant. Me: *flipping out with both panic and glee*

Later that same day, William was watching the fish and he yelled out "BABY FISH BABY FISH I SEE A BABY FISH!!" and we all went rushing over and there were two tiny baby fish in the tank. I did some mad Googling and some mad Steph-emailing, and so far we know there are at least two babies that are alive as of this morning---but we are trying not to get too attached. It's touch-and-go because the grown-ups eat the babies, you see. And it's hard to tell what's going on because the babies are very good at hiding. Maybe babies are being continually born and eaten and we just keep seeing new ones, or maybe there are only two but they have good survival skillz. And we don't even know if these are baby platies or if they might be baby MINNOWS. What a wild and crazy time to be alive!

Adults swimming. One particular fish is almost always separate from the others.


SOME sites suggest letting nature take its course in this situation: the grown-up platys are, um, PROLIFIC BREEDERS, so if you make special arrangements for the babies you can end up with a tank overrun with fish. Other sites suggest an in-tank baby fish nursery, and I got one of those but have been unable to catch the babies. (The way you're supposed to do it is put the mama fish in the nursery until she has the babies, then remove her---but I am not even sure I know which ones are pregnant, and their pregnancies last 4 weeks so I don't want to coop them up for a really long time, and wouldn't she just eat her babies right away if they were in a little box and unable to hide? Gruesome.)

Other sites suggest removing the babies to another tank, and we even HAVE another tank but it's unheated; also see note about not being able to catch the babies. Other sites (and also Steph) suggest adding more small plants for the babies to hide in, so that's the current plan.

We spend a lot of time gathered around the tank looking for babies and shouting "I SEE ONE, I SEE ONE!!--oh wait, that's a flake of food."

Adults, cruising for babies to eat.
(And see, there's that one apart from the others again.)

17 comments:

Jess said...

Four weeks seems like a long time for a fish to be pregnant, somehow. But the concept of a fish nursery is rather adorable.

Stimey said...

Dude. I don't know whether to congratulate you or shudder with horror.

Suzanne said...

I'm just glad you're having this little Wild Kingdom adventure with fish and not hamsters. Because, dude, nothing traumatizes a classroom full of 8th graders faster than learning sometimes mommy hamsters ALSO eat their young.

Linda said...

I returned to the earlier picture and tried to see which ones were boys and which were girls and which one was pregnant. I am unable. Steph, can you tell us how you knew? I love learning stuff like that.

Alice said...

i'm with linda - i was unaware there even WAS a way to visually indentify boy fishes from girl fishes, much less from a not-zoomed-in-photo. steph is like a fish knowlegde superhero!

Rah said...

Going back, I can see that 2 of the fish in the earlier picture look pregnant to my really untrained eye. But like others, I would love a lesson from Steph on how to tell gender from a picture!

Nicole said...

Do you think that one fish is by itself by choice, or do you think that it is a social pariah? Like maybe it's constantly committing fish faux pas. Or maybe it's just a loner, prefers to swim alone? Or maybe it insulted the queen bee fish? Or it has bad fishy body odour? Are you wondering that? I am.

claire said...

It's a modern day fish soap opera!

I stared and tried to analyze which fish was knocked up but alas could not.

lifeofadoctorswife said...

This sounds rather horrible - the excitement of babies, the fretting about whether they'll be EATEN, the fruitless attempts to catch them. YIKES.

I hope they continue to survive!

I too am curious about how one can tell if a fish is pregnant. That's got to be a useful skill to possess.

Bird said...

This kind of excitment/entertainment could keep our house abuzz for a long time. Reminds me of the time our goldfish ate a spider. Fish are amazing, the life and death aspect of the mama/baby fish makes it a lot more animal-planet-comes-alive! Have fun!

Jessa said...

If they were expensive fish, I'd be all about removing the babies to a separate tank. In this situation though I think it's perfectly acceptable to let nature take it's course.

Mrs. Irritation said...

One of your readers could tell from a picture the gender and maternal state of your fish??? DUDE! That is a skill!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, it's Steph. I just grew up in a house where we had a bunch of fish tanks going all the time and picked a lot of fish stuff up.

Basically, you can tell the sex by looking at the bottom fins - the male has a pointed fin and the female doesn't. Females also have sort of a rounder shape overall. And when they're pregnant, their bellies get round. This site has some pictures of the 2 sexes:

http://www.aquaticcommunity.com/aquariumforum/showthread.php?t=5309

Hotch Potchery said...

Fish babies!!!! Very exciting.

Suzanne said...

I was told fish babies also need to have the fish food squished up into tinier flakes, because they have itty bitty mouths, and that is another reason (if you are going to keep them) to put them in the baby nursery. Tiny fish flakes are bad for adult fish.

DawnA said...

I recently got ONE molly. They suggest two or three but when the pet store associate said they were "explosive breeders" I decided that one would have to learn to be a loner. So far so good.

Bethany said...

Gosh, I don't even know! We had so many fish growing up, but as far as I know, we didn't have baby fish...but who knows, maybe we did!