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Livebearers: Freshwater Species Profile

Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Livebearers: Freshwater Species Profile
Livebearers are very hardy, considered to be good fish for beginners, and are usually very popular aquarium residents. They can be a lot of fun and many experienced aquarists continue to delight in keeping them. There are many varieties readily available in many different colors.
What is a
A. Livebearers are fish that do not lay eggs. Instead, the females retain the developing young inside their bodies, usually around 20-21 days, and give birth to live babies capable of looking after themselves. Livebearers are known for being especially prolific breeders.

Soon after getting a male and a female livebearer, you will have a aquarium full of small, free-swimming fry. If you have larger fish in the aquarium with them, most of these small fry will be eaten, even by the parents. Just like in nature, this is an excellent, free food source for your community aquarium.

To successfully raise the young fish you will need a separate aquarium or a breeding trap placed in the main aquarium. The adult female should be removed once she releases the babies.

Please be responsible with your fish and keep the males and females separated or only get one gender. Otherwise, be prepared to deal with the large numbers of fish that will be coming your way!

  Minimum Tank Size: 20-30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Max. Size: 3"-5"
Color: Assorted colors
Diet: Omnivore

Molly (Poecilia var.)

The molly is a tropical fish that prefers a little salt in their water. A teaspoon of aquarium salt per 5 gallons of water will go a long way in helping them stay healthy. This is a very attractive tropical fish that comes in many colors such as orange, green and black. Some of the more popular varieties include the Sail Fin and the Dalmatian. Mollies will eat flakes, frozen, freeze-dried and live foods.

  Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Max. Size: 1.5"-2.5"
Color: Assorted colors
Diet: Omnivore

Platy (Xiphophorus maculates)

The platy is well suited for the beginning freshwater fish hobbyist. Platies comes in many color varieties including the Salt and Pepper and Red Wag Tail. The female Platy is usually larger than the males of the same age. Females can reach a size of up to 2.5 inches whereas the males usually get to be about 1.5 inches. Platies will accept most fish foods including flakes, frozen, live and freeze-dried foods.

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