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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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!
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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?
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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.
 

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snails are your friend
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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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
 

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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.
 

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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.
 

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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!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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!
 

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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...
 

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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.

Water temperature slightly changes depending on the variety that you have. The Common and Swordtail prefer 70-70°F, while Variable prefers 72-75°F. 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/
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
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.
 

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20-30yrs of captive breeding cannot undo eons of evolution to water conditions that it has equipped fish to deal with. Molly can swim back and forth between semi-brackish almost pure fresh conditions to almost pure salt conditions with no ill effect. Dump a 50% water change of close to rain water or softer or even tannic water in on them (rapid change in water chemistry/osmotic pressure) and you will stun the fish. They have no internal mechanism for that water shift because during eons of evolution those shifts never happened in their natural environment.

Other end of spectrum, take some neon or other true softwater fish, if you slowly acclimate those fish to higher PH/GH they’ll acclimate just fine, as tank ages PH/KH/GH will shift down, but then throw a big a** water change at them that is fresh out of tap, not prepped properly to allow gasses to equalize and your hitting fish with a osmotic shock that it has never encountered in eons of evolution and has absolutely 0 metabolic functions capable of dealing with that shift, if bad enough that fish will be gasping at surface within a hour and probably a dead floatfish by next day. In milder cases fin rot will set in, then within a couple days the secondary bacterial and fugal infections will set in, the dreaded fin rot. This is 100% the aquarium keepers fault, not the tank/fishes.

Prepping water and normalizing it to your tank parameters is huge part of running a successful aquarium. All my change water has been setting at least 24hrs in 5gal bucket, with a bag of almond/oak leaves, superpeat pellets, crushed coral and crushed oyster shell and a pump moving water around. My change water PH/KH/GH matches my tank exactly, just with a lower DOC/TDS level. I actually change 10% or less of tank water per week in neon/ember tetra and betta tank which is grossly overcrowded.

Rotala rotundifolia and red root floaters grow off the charts fast with no CO2 and med light in this tank, zero algae of any form, I’ve never even really cleaned glass except to wipe biofilm of glass. If I don’t thin those 2 plants every 7-10days whole 7gal tank will be overtaken and start to suffocate itself out. But trimming out some plants and doing a 1gal+- water change takes less than 30min a week. I feed betta and 11 tetra once, sometimes twice a day, usually once a day. Yes I’m walking a thin line but that’s only because of huge fish bio load for a 7gal tank, with 1 betta this tank was effortless. But I love my neon/embers and their worth the effort.

Here’s a few of them hanging out just outside of current sweep of filter. Ember tetra are totally awesome/chilled, male neons are total a**holes, if I had control of their ratios it would be 1 male per 4 female in this size tank. Females are are chill, males are total d*cks. Male to male aggression off the charts, male to female aggression when spread out to 1male/4female is workable. I would never even dream hitting these guys with my tap 5min out of tap. Their so happy.

 

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Good afternoon okapizebra,

I've always had guppies in my tank and they are an absolute joy to have and raise. They are a fish with a lot of character and some of my females have had some vibrant colors but not all; I will assume it had to do with which male they bred with. One thing I have always done is maintain a 10 to 1 ratio. Ten females for every male guppy. The males are incessant and prolific mates, they live up to the role of the male thats for sure. Good water quality is a MUST especially when the fry appear. I have always maintained live plants in my tank and that seems to calm them down alot and stimulate good broods of fish in the long run. One place I have always gone to for EXPERT advice on them is: www.ifga.org (The International Fancy Guppy Association.) As far as water chemistry parameters for them; Guppies prefer pH at 7.5 and a water hardness of 8 to 12 DH. and the ideal temperature for them to be healthy and prolific is 77*F. When you know your females are pregnant (they have the black spots on the bottom left and rear of their abdomens,) ensure to feed them a protein rich diet. Bloodworms, Krill shrimp, and flake food seems to do the job for me. Once the fry appear ensure to do weekly water changes and stay on top of the water chemistry this will make a HUGE difference in the longevity and growth of your fry. At one point I had so many guppies I was given them away to family and friends who had community tanks.

Bump:
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I appreciate everyone's advice and experiences!

Can someone give me some advice on using equilibrium? It says it's supposed to be added to RO water. I'm afraid it's not going to dissolve in my already high-ish GH water. Can anyone give me insight on this?
 
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