How to keep livebearers healthy - The Planted Tank Forum
 7Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 12:44 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
okapizebra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 133
How to keep livebearers healthy

Hi everyone! It's been a very long time since I've posted. I wanted some advice on keeping livebearers healthy. I can never seem to get them to live very long. I think my record was a year, and I really think they ought to be living longer than that. I've recently bought some platies that have gone through quarantine and treated for possible worms and have added them to my 29 gallon planted tank. It's planted with lots of crypts, anubias, some java fern, and dwarf sag. The rest of my stock includes brilliant rasboras, zebra and pearl danios, and some juvenile guppies. The guppies are doing well, and I assume it's because they were born in the tank, but their mom has long since passed. However, I really want the new additions to thrive as well.

Water params:
pH 7.8
gH 9
kH 4
Ammo: 0
Trites: 0
Trates: 5-10

Tank gets a 50% water change every week and the only fertilizer I add are seachem root tabs. It's just a low tech, low light system, nothing fancy. So, what can I do to optimize my tank for my platies? Does gH or kH need to increase, and how can I accomplish that and how will it affect my plants? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
okapizebra is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 02:26 AM
Wannabe Guru
 
Triport's Avatar
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Central Coast of California
Posts: 1,329
Personally I have not had livebearers live very long. They seem to breed prolifically but also have pretty short lives. The older ones really show signs of aging with bent spines and trouble swimming etc. I've always just figured a year or two was the norm for them and anything longer was rare. I think most of them do want to have fairly hard water but I'm not sure what the ideal range is or if that would help.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Triport is offline  
post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 02:33 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
okapizebra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 133
Thanks for the response! Yes, that has been my experience thus far. But I see loads of people who have huge mollies and swordtails, yet in my tank they hardly grow at all. How did they grow them up so large and I can't? Surely their genetics can't be vastly superior than the ones I'm buying.

Is my water considered soft?
okapizebra is online now  
 
post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 02:58 PM
Planted Tank Guru
 
Discusluv's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2017
Location: Elk Grove, California
Posts: 5,122
Quote:
Originally Posted by okapizebra View Post
Hi everyone! It's been a very long time since I've posted. I wanted some advice on keeping livebearers healthy. I can never seem to get them to live very long. I think my record was a year, and I really think they ought to be living longer than that. I've recently bought some platies that have gone through quarantine and treated for possible worms and have added them to my 29 gallon planted tank. It's planted with lots of crypts, anubias, some java fern, and dwarf sag. The rest of my stock includes brilliant rasboras, zebra and pearl danios, and some juvenile guppies. The guppies are doing well, and I assume it's because they were born in the tank, but their mom has long since passed. However, I really want the new additions to thrive as well.

Water params:
pH 7.8
gH 9
kH 4
Ammo: 0
Trites: 0
Trates: 5-10

Tank gets a 50% water change every week and the only fertilizer I add are seachem root tabs. It's just a low tech, low light system, nothing fancy. So, what can I do to optimize my tank for my platies? Does gH or kH need to increase, and how can I accomplish that and how will it affect my plants? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Your GH is slightly low for Platys which need 12-18 GH. A bit more suitable for Guppy's at 8-12.


What is temperature of tank? Ideally, temperature for livebearers should be in 74-75 degree range. Higher temps raise metabolic rate and shorten lifespan.



Nutrition: What do you feed and how often? Livebearer's reproductive systems are so active that they can easily become malnourished if not fed a balanced diet.
evil8 likes this.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

Amy
Discusluv is offline  
post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 03:11 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
okapizebra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 133
The tank is kept at 78 degrees. Nothing I can do to keep it cooler, I live in Florida. That's just the temperature of my house.

So, should I increase the gH? How can I do this? Would adding crushed coral/aragonite to my filter accomplish this? Will this negatively affect my plants/other fish?

I feed a variety of different foods. Omega one flakes, omega one veggie pellets, freeze dried bloodworms, imagitarium micro pellets, sometimes they get my omega one marine pellets, frozen emerald entree, frozen brine shrimp, frozen mysis shrimp.
okapizebra is online now  
post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 05:54 PM
snails are your friend
 
Blue Ridge Reef's Avatar
 
PTrader: (13/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 2,713
Crushed coral/aragonite is going to raise KH and pH, something like Seachem Equilibrium would be better to raise GH. Your diet sounds very good. A fan blowing over an open topped tank can go a long way keeping the temps from spiking but as you're seeing it's much easier to heat water than cool it. I'd expect 3 years+ on most livebearers you produce in your own tanks. Imported fish are a different story, but livebearers are very easy to breed. As for getting those whopper sizes, I expect that's got a lot to do with constant live food supply. I've grown swordtails pushing 5" in my pond, they barely reached half that in my aquariums with the best of care. The genetics of the fish probably plays the biggest role in maximum size though. It sounds like you're on the right track, I wouldn't get too attached to the store bought adult fish; the way I look at it, they exist to make specimens that were born in your water.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
Blue Ridge Reef is online now  
post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
okapizebra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 133
Makes sense.

So is using equilibrium necessary? Or are my water params sufficient? Will it really make a huge impact on the lifespan of the fish with a little more gh?

Sent from my SM-A505U using Tapatalk
okapizebra is online now  
post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 07:35 PM
snails are your friend
 
Blue Ridge Reef's Avatar
 
PTrader: (13/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 2,713
That's a hard question to answer. I've kept livebearers in rock hard water and currently keep guppies in water that is quite soft. Once they adapt to it, subsequent generations seem to be hardy. On the flip side, Equilibrium is cheap, and if a little bump would help them at all I'd be inclined to do it.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
Blue Ridge Reef is online now  
post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 08:45 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 655
I had a similar problem with mollies. Living in the desert, my water is certainly hard enough, and guppies have always done well and breed like crazy. But when I tried getting some Gold Dust mollies from PetSmart, they all died shortly after getting them. Didn't see any obvious signs of disease, but big box store fish are notorious for having various diseases. They and some otos were my first purchases after cycling the tank. The otos have flourished, so it wasn't tank conditions. Fortunately one of the female mollies did give birth before going belly up, and I now have about 6 healthy offspring who are thriving, and will hopefully breed soon. But they're mutts, so don't have the brilliant coloration I wanted. Oh well, just like the guppies most of the fry will end up as free live food to keep my angels in breeding condition.

Breeders supplying the big chains breed for volume, so many of the more popular fish can be very inbred and don't live long. Buying from other hobbyists here or on aquabid is a great way to get healthy fish with good genetics.
Desert Pupfish is offline  
post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2020, 09:05 PM
snails are your friend
 
Blue Ridge Reef's Avatar
 
PTrader: (13/100%)
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Asheville, NC
Posts: 2,713
Quote:
Originally Posted by Desert Pupfish View Post

Breeders supplying the big chains breed for volume, so many of the more popular fish can be very inbred and don't live long. Buying from other hobbyists here or on aquabid is a great way to get healthy fish with good genetics.
As an LFS owner in my former life, I'm saddened to say that there are few domestic breeders supplying livebearers to box stores. These fish are nearly all coming from Singapore and other SE Asian countries, even what's available to smaller shops. Seagrest and others used to pond breed them in Fl and TX, but as far as I'm aware those operations are long gone. Nearly everything I've seen on lists in the last 20 years was imported or tank-raised domestically in small lots and for 5x the price (which I'd pay for now!)
Desert Pupfish likes this.

Nothing good happens fast in an ecosystem.
Blue Ridge Reef is online now  
post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2020, 01:45 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
okapizebra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 133
And would adding equilibrium harm my other fish or plants at all? What gh should I aim for? I've never used equilibrium before.

I really hope these guys will breed before passing then. My fish are sharks and I fear their babies won't make it. Because of all the plants it's really hard to remove the teeny babies when they're born.

I appreciate all the help!
okapizebra is online now  
post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2020, 03:26 AM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Palm Springs, CA
Posts: 655
Quote:
Originally Posted by okapizebra View Post
I really hope these guys will breed before passing then. My fish are sharks and I fear their babies won't make it. Because of all the plants it's really hard to remove the teeny babies when they're born.
If it's heavily planted with dense species like hornwort, guppy grass, etc, the fry might have a chance escaping the sharks. Otherwise you can try one of those cheap breeder boxes, and remove the mother immediately after birth so she doesn't decide to make a post-delivery snack of her young...
Desert Pupfish is offline  
post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2020, 05:36 AM
Planted Tank Guru
 
PTrader: (0/0%)
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: WI
Posts: 11,896
Except for guppys , don't think Platys like high nitrates...

At 5-10 you should be ok.

Had Platy "explosions" only to have them all just fade out ..
Only thing different from below was Nitrates.

Quote:
Water temperature slightly changes depending on the variety that you have. The Common and Swordtail prefer 70-70F, while Variable prefers 72-75F. Their colors will show better if you keep the temperature in the cooler range.
They all prefer weak currents with a water pH of 6.8-8 and water hardness of 10-28 dGH.
https://www.fishkeepingworld.com/platy-fish/
Blue Ridge Reef and Discusluv like this.

"A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure"
jeffkrol is online now  
post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2020, 09:56 PM
Planted Tank Enthusiast
 
Bandit1200's Avatar
 
PTrader: (4/100%)
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Houston, Texas
Posts: 828
About 25 years ago, I tried to raise some gold sailfin mollies. I had my LFS order a pair. The came in, went into their tank which was reserved for them. All was well for a short time, then they started having issues. When they failed to recover, I figured either I had done something wrong and/or they were sick/stressed out from shipping. I waited a couple weeks while I kept the tank cycled and asked for another pair. A couple weeks go by while waiting for the supplier to ship a pair. Once again they came in all happy/healthy looking, but as the first pair did, they gradually declined and perished.


I had previously used some black mollies as my first saltwater fish so I knew that they could live in brackish or full strength seawater. Eventually I ordered another pair of gold sailfins and this pair I started acclimating to saltwater. Once I had them fully acclimated I added them to the 60G saltwater tank I had at the time and they thrived and reproduced to the point that until I broke that tank down to move, neither I nor my LFS ever had a shortage of gold sailfin mollies again. There were so many that the tank was periodically a gold brick until I would net up a couple gallons of fish to take to the LFS every couple of weeks.
Bettatail and Desert Pupfish like this.
Bandit1200 is online now  
post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-07-2020, 02:29 AM Thread Starter
Algae Grower
 
okapizebra's Avatar
 
PTrader: (1/100%)
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Florida
Posts: 133
I've actually kept saltwater mollies before! It's amazing how much better they do with all the minerals.

So, I think the conclusion I've come to is that some addition of equilibrium is going to benefit my platies. How much it will actually benefit them depends on genetics.

Can someone please confirm for me the extra gh won't bother my plants or other fish? I just don't want to make the tank worse for them to make it better for another.
okapizebra is online now  
Reply

Tags
livebearers, platies, platy

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the The Planted Tank Forum forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome