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I have a 10 US gallon tank that has been up and running for about 6 days. I purchased 2 female and 1 male platys and they have been in it for about 4 days.

I believe both females are pregnant (they both have dark abdomens and are getting bigger), although one has gotten significantly fatter over the past few days. She obviously came pregnant from the fish store, pregnant with another male fish's sperm.

I am planning for a breeder box birth in the tank but I need to know when to put her in there.

What are the signs that she is going to give birth? When should I put her in the breeder box?

Additional information:

Today I noticed the very pregnant platy chasing the male around aggressively. I believe this is one of the signs but I am not sure.

  • I ordered a breeder box but I am concerned that it won't get here in time! I'm hoping I have at least a week. – Patrick Sebastien Sep 16 '14 at 22:37
  • Since this question has gone unanswered I will answer it now that I have had the chance to observe multiple births from my fish. – Patrick Sebastien Oct 16 '14 at 15:05
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I have found the following after observing several births from my fish.

Signs:

  1. The dark gravid spot will become even darker and move closer to the cloaca. This is not always a sure sign though because some fish do not have light enough scales to view this. Also if the fry are white for example, then there won't be much of a gravid spot. If there is, when it is close to the cloaca, the birth will be soon.

  2. The female may chase the male around aggressively.

  3. The female may hide in a secluded area from the rest of the fish in the days leading up to the birth.

  4. The female'a vent will transform from circular and rounded to square. This is because the fry are moving closer to the cloaca for the birth. The back fin will also become level with the front of the fish, dropping down.

  5. The cloaca will become dialated or pea shaped in preparation for the birth. This means it is very close. Do not confuse this with constipation.

As for when to pinpoint the birth, I have found using a combination of watching for hiding behaviour, looking for the squared vent, and finally confirming with a dialated cloaca, all lead me to believe that the fish will definitely give birth. I usually only use the gravid spot to determine pregnancy.

If you are going to put the fish in the breeder box, which I do not recommend unless you are absolutely sure it is time for the fish to give birth as it may cause stress and cause a premature birth, I would wait even a day after you think she will give birth. If you are truly afraid of the other fry being eaten, then it is better to put her in the same day.

Birth will usually occur overnight, in the dark.

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I have been breeding guppies for a while and the breeder box usually stresses them to stop giving birth.

I would recommend instead keeping an eye on the tank, once you see little eyes swimming around usually hiding in the gravel or thick plants, net them out and then put them on the breeder box for safety.

Make sure the bigger fish are feed well and make as many hiding places as you can.

  • Can you expand on what the signs of getting ready to give birth are? – James Jenkins Feb 10 '15 at 19:54
  • i like how james jenkins put his comment in please do that. – Derrick K. Feb 10 '15 at 22:42

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