Saving Baby Swordtails with the Aqua-Nursery

26 Mar

I love my Velvet Red Swordtails and want to have some more of them. They look great in the pond or aquarium and they are very popular if I want to sell a few or give them away.

swords1

 

The problem is this: Momma Swordtails will eat many of their own babies as soon as they are born. I’ve always kept the mother in a densely planted tank and then removed her as soon as possible after giving birth. That works pretty well, but there’s another way to do it.

Here it is, the Penn-Plex Aqua-Nursery. I ordered it online through Kensfish.com. It cost $8.25.

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It’s a variation on the old “breeder-trap” idea. A breeder trap is a slotted plastic box. The mother has the babies and the babies fall out of slots in the bottom and they swim away into the main tank. That’s fine most of the time but I want to get some babies, then put another mom into the trap and have the option of where I want to put the babies. Anyway, you’ll see how it works and see if it would help you keep some baby fish.

I hung the Aqua-Nursery on the side of a 10-gallon tank. You have to attach an airline to the bottom of the nursery. This serves two purposes. One, it keeps water flowing through the nursery, which is nice, and secondly, the air causes water to be drawn from the mother’s section to a little baby section. The babies get gently sucked into their own little compartment. So clever!!

Of my 4 adult female Red Swords, none looked very pregnant, but I selected one last night. I took about 20 minutes to acclimate her to the water, just like bringing a fish home from the store.

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And, amazingly, she had babies during the night. I was surprised it happened so fast. The compartment for the mom is quite small for a Swordtail. The Aqua-Nursery is better suited for Mollies, Guppies, and Platies. But if the female Sword is ready to pop I think it’s OK.

Here are some of the babies that went from the Mom section to the kids section.

Here are some of the babies that went from the Mom section to the Kids section. Half of the babies were in their own section, the other half were safely below the mother.

The bay section can be removed and then you can put them wherever you want.

The baby section can be removed and then you can put them wherever you want.

If you want the babies to go right into the aquarium just leave the baby section off completely. The airline still helps keep the mother's water circulating.

If you want the babies to go right into the aquarium just leave the baby section off completely. The airline still helps keep the mother’s water circulating.

I started a fresh batch of Brine Shrimp to feed the babies in a few days. Live baby Brine Shrimp isn’t needed to raise livebearers but they love it.

Note I have this sitting on a fluorescent light fixture to keep it warm and speed the hatching. Also notice the cover to prevent a salty spray from getting onto the lights.

Note I have the Brine Shrimp on a fluorescent light fixture to keep it warm and speed the hatching. Also notice the cover to prevent a salty spray from getting onto the lights.

The Aqua-Nursery worked pretty well. It’s an ingenius little device.

I think the manufacturer is implying that you can keep all the babies and raise them in the little nursery section. I don’t think it’s big enough to do that BUT it is big enough to keep maybe 10 babies and raise them a few weeks until, hopefully,  the other fish in your tank won’t eat them. Like I say, it best suited for small livebearers like Guppies and Platies.

Remember you need an airline attached to make the nursery work properly.

So good luck to you if you want to raise some baby fish! If you save just a few every once in awhile you can have a never-ending supply for your aquarium. A big plus is you can avoid the disease issues that happen when you buy from those big stores (they know who they are, I’ll be nice today).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Responses to “Saving Baby Swordtails with the Aqua-Nursery”

  1. Lavonne Christianson March 26, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Hey Dennis,
    I got angels from you in the fall. They are beautiful! I have a pair that have layed eggs on the down tube twice. They tend and defend them for about 20 hours and then the eggs disappear! I don’t know if they are getting eaten or what? What do you think?

    • fishtanx2011 March 26, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

      Hi. That’s great! Well mostly great,right? Mine do the same as yours. I remove the eggs from the parents. I use a piece of PVC so I can remove it. Then I treat the eggs with Hydrogen Peroxide as a fungus inhibitor . Then I raise brine shrimp to feed them. I can show you how I set that all up if you ever want to own 100 Angelfish.

    • fishtanx2011 June 14, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

      Yes that’s what mine do. Must be in the genes. Have you tried removing them yet? If you do, keep me posted, I would love to hear about it.

  2. castlecrimson17034 May 1, 2014 at 11:28 am #

    Hi, I love your blog! It’s perfect timing that I’ve discovered it since I was planning on buying an aquarium for my Betta and his companions. Do you have any tips for beginners? I browsed your blog but I haven’t seen an entry on fighting fishes (or maybe I have overlooked it?). Thank you

    • fishtanx2011 June 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

      I was looking at my lone male Betta a few days ago and I thought I should get a photo of him on the blog. He’s a blue Half-Moon Betta. First one of that fin-type that I have had. I like him a lot. I had him in a community tank for awhile but he got nipped up too much so now he’s in a 3-gallon tank, with filter, heater, and plants. He looks happy!

  3. Anthony Parry June 4, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    I have hurt purchased this exact same one. But no where can I find how long it’s OK to leave the pregnant fish in the pen for safely. I don’t know what day my fish will give birth. Thank you and I hope this will be seen. Soon. Cheers.

    • fishtanx2011 June 4, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

      Hi Anthony. I think its safe to leave the mother in there as long as it takes. She’s fat and ready to have babies and won’t
      need the room she normally does. Plus she is glad to get away from pestering males. So a guppy or platy can stay in there as long as you want. A molly or swordtail is a bigger fish and i would try to avoid leaving the Mom in there more than 10 days. Let me know how it all turns out!

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