Aquarium Shenanigans

You met these two guys, Louie and Rico. They are Mickey Mouse Platies – boy Platies.12They’ve been joined by a few more tank-mates. This is (Good Golly)Miss Molly. Miss Molly is the only female fish in this tank – a fact that is important to remember.mollyThis is Sherman- he is a Turquoise Guppy. A boy guppy.turqThis is Nelson – he is a Lyretail Guppy. Again – a boy guppy.lyreThere is another guppy in there – a Red Gold Tuxedo Guppy, but I missed getting his photo. Even without the photo however, it is important to note that he too, is a boy guppy.

When I got these fish, I made sure to get all male fish, with the exception of Miss Molly, who is a female, but the only Molly I will be putting in there, so she won’t ever be getting married and starting a family. You see, this is not an especially large tank and 6 fish is about the limit of what you want to be putting in there. And, my Dad used to raise fancy guppies, so I know what a pain it is to deal with the babies. We are empty nesters here, and don’t want to be raising any more children. So, at the fish store, I was very specific – I only wanted male fishies.2fish

The other day, Larry was watching the fish and asked me “When did you put these tiny little fish in here?” So I replied that I had not put any tiny little fish in there at all and that he must be seeing things. But he was right. There were tiny little fish – about 6 or 7 as near as we could tell.

I didn’t want to deal with fish procreation because you have to provide the babies with a safe place to hide. The reason is that to adult fish, baby fish don’t look like babies – they look like sushi. I remember the childhood trauma of witnessing a breakdown of some kind in one of my Dad’s tanks  – the little floating tank sprang a leak, or maybe there was a premature birth or something but the result was carnage, as all the babies were consumed before Dad could do anything about it. I don’t need to relive that, ya know? It looked like I had no choice though, since it was 8:00PM on a Saturday night and we live 40 miles from the nearest pet store.

I twittered that somehow my all-male fish revue was having babies and received a twit back from Fish Geek with some stunning information: Livebearing fish have been known to change sex.  Yikes!  

I think this activity must have happened at the fish store, since I’ve only had the platies two weeks and the others less than a week.  That doesn’t seem like enough time for them to draw straws to decide who will turn female, turn female [I think they go behind a rock for this], mate, gestate and have babies.   Worst of all though, we can’t determine who has turned female. I doubt it is the Molly, since the babies aren’t speckled, but other than that, I can’t begin to guess.  No one is talking.3fishOn a positive note, despite our lack of facilities for dealing with babies, at least two of them have survived for 5 days, hiding down in among the plants and rocks. And even though I didn’t want any fish babies, I have to admire the fact that they are still around. I never expected this much drama from one little fish tank!

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18 Responses to Aquarium Shenanigans

  1. Trisha says:

    What a fish drama! It will be interesting to see how long the babies make it in the pool with “the big kids.”

  2. Deb says:

    Great post! Really enjoyable! As for the fish dilema, I am of no help or assistance. I am a fish dummy when it comes to aquariums.
    But keep us posted on how the 2 little babies are doing.

  3. Good Yarns says:

    What a fish story. I had no idea having fish could be such an adventure. Maybe we oughta try it again. We had to get rid of our when we moved. The neighbors adopted our fish and the stuff for it. On the other hand, you make any animal, even cow-shaped salt and peppers shakers sound interesting!

  4. Daryl says:

    Its your own version of Survivor, Fish Tank: “Outswim. Outhide. Outlast.”

  5. CM says:

    Very entertaining! : ) I’m amazed that just when I have been giving this some thought and Nathaniel and I have had several trips to the pet store, you’re getting back to this hobby. Like I told you, you’ve only increased my interest. I now have a stack of library books on the subject and I’m enjoying reading them. One book gives about 15 different recommended tank setups and give ideas on compatible fish and recommended quantities for 10, 20 and 30 gallon setups. I know I want cardinal tetras and I want a blue guppy just like yours. I hate to think that a male guppy has to live life without a mate but I know too well what the alternative is. Can’t we get our fish nuetered?

  6. CM says:

    PS – where are the aquarium links? Am I overlooking them?

  7. Flea says:

    Way cool! I remember the same trauma as a child. I don’t recall any ever making it past a day or two. I hope your babies do well!

  8. Ashleigh says:


    We have 2 ten gallons and 1 five gallon. That was a pain to get the water stable. PH. Akaline. Ammonia. We lost one guppy because it was eaten by another They need fins to survive. they die if they can not swim. We lost a algae eater the first day it came home. it had to of come from the store sick so we got a refund. We now have 2 mollies in each 10 gal tank. A betta by him self in the 5 gal tank. Man! They are not cheap pets to have. Fun to watch though.

  9. Kate says:

    Wow! That’s some drama, too. We never had fish but I had a traumatic experience with some gerbils. A birth occurred and I don’t know whose idea it was to put easter grass-type bedding in there, but one can only imagine, can’t one?

  10. Charlane says:

    oh no!!! I can remember the trauma too from childhood with mollies and guppies. we had a special “birthing” tank.

  11. ellyn says:

    Fish drama. That is the worst kind. Who knew fish were so needy.

  12. TEDDIE says:

    Okay, my question is how do ya know if they are boys or girls to begin with? And if they change how can ya tell? ………….Think I’ll stick with kitties. Not only do ya know the sex,but they are much softer to cuddle than fish =)

  13. Anonymous says:


    I’ve been stalking your blog for some time; your photos are lovely and the food looks lovely too, though the ingredients usually aren’t commonly found, or are expensive, where I live (I stay in Singapore).

    Anyway, I un-lurked to say that one of your platies kind of looks a lot like a girl to me. Could be wrong, but I think it is Louie. It’s hard to say because you didn’t post many large side-view photos of the platies, but male livebearers have a specially-adapted anal fin (link here), and in the first photograph of him in the earlier entry he didn’t seem to have one. The guppies look definitely male and the molly looks definitely female though.

    Hope the babies survive!

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  15. annbb says:

    What fun! I’m now going back to today’s post to see how the babies are doing.

  16. Lawaa (nickname) says:

    too know the sex of a fish , you look at there bottom fin if its triangle its a girl if its kind of flat goin diagonal its a boy. Look on your pictures and your get what im sayin the bottom fin. triangle = girl flat kinda diagnol = boyy

  17. May says:

    Auctually, it’s more likely that your female molly came pregnet. If you buy a female livebearer and she’s even been in the same tank as a male at any point in the past three months (because one meeting with a male can fertalize the eggs for 3 births, or one batch of babies per month for 3 months) she’s already pregnet. The same thing happened to me with my mollies and platies.

  18. Meredith says:

    Just looking at your beautiful photos of your beautiful fish makes me so relaxed =) I used to have 2 guppies before I started focusing on goldfish keeping – one of them was named Nova, he was the boy. They had speckled tails and lots of babies! I couldn’t keep up lol

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