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Guppy not getting pregnant--when to change males?


PineSong
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I've had a young guppy trio in QT together for 4 weeks. No fry and the female's gravid spot remains clear. I've never seen the males follow/chase/harass the female. 

I am hoping to raise guppies of this strain, and these two males are the only males of the strain that I have, so if they can't get the job done my choices will be to order another male, wait out QT and try him, or to give up and send her to make mutts with my Endlers or blue deltas.

Experienced guppy folks, how long would you give this trio to produce fry before you declare them a no-go?

 

 

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On 9/14/2021 at 7:00 PM, Keeg said:

I would wait 20 days after putting them in an actual tank. Quarantine is stressful for guppies I get and they choose not to bred, but when I put them in a new tank, bam babies. 

Hmm. I was considering leaving them in this tank--although I am using it to QT them, it is an actual tank--substrate, plants, light, 2+ years of established beneficial bacteria, snails, etc., it just didn't have fish in it when these arrived.

Long story for another topic, really, but after having something like 13/15 guppies from the LFS die in my 'real' QT tank over the course of two months, when I got these guppies from Aquabid I was superstitious and no way was I putting them in that tank. So they went into this healthy tank and they have been perfectly healthy from the start. Just no fry. 

Meanwhile, I bought a random male guppy from the LFS to 'test' that killer QT tank and he's been in there with no problems for 2 weeks. Another couple of weeks and I'll know if the curse has been lifted.

 

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I also agree with waiting longer. 

I'll throw another thought out there though. I've often wondered if fish, like us, can sometimes simply be infertile. If, by chance, the female can't have babies, then perhaps the males can somehow tell, and that's why they don't chase her around. (Which sounds sad actually, but I have to remind myself these aren't humans we're talking about.) 

 

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The thing about breeding anything is that it's not around the time table of us as keepers of any species. We need to be able to provide the environment and sources of nutrition required to get any species to become healthy and ready to spawn. Rather than looking at this as a failure and taking the next steps, take a step back and focus on the things you can control; food quality and environment quality. Once you focus on those two things everything else will fall into place. Just because the female isn't gravid doesn't mean that they are not spawning or one or all are infertile, it could be something else that's missing that's contributing to the delay. Though guppies are prolific, remember these specific ones are still 'new to you' as well as are still adjusting to the water.  

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On 9/14/2021 at 9:26 PM, CalmedByFish said:

I also agree with waiting longer. 

I'll throw another thought out there though. I've often wondered if fish, like us, can sometimes simply be infertile. If, by chance, the female can't have babies, then perhaps the males can somehow tell, and that's why they don't chase her around. (Which sounds sad actually, but I have to remind myself these aren't humans we're talking about.) 

 

If it's any consolation, the boys are friendly to her and hang out as much with her as they do with each other. They're just not harassing. If anyone here turns out to be infertile, my guess would be the boys. My male Endlers and guppies in my other tanks pursue each other and other fish pretty much non-stop. "Giant male molly? Let me try! Female platy? I will just sidle up alongside and show her my fancy dance..." So I am thinking a female guppy would still read as approachable to them with or without the ability to actually produce.  

I'm going to give these guys another couple of months and see whether the hormones kick in...

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On 9/14/2021 at 9:34 PM, Tihshho said:

The thing about breeding anything is that it's not around the time table of us as keepers of any species. We need to be able to provide the environment and sources of nutrition required to get any species to become healthy and ready to spawn. Rather than looking at this as a failure and taking the next steps, take a step back and focus on the things you can control; food quality and environment quality. Once you focus on those two things everything else will fall into place. Just because the female isn't gravid doesn't mean that they are not spawning or one or all are infertile, it could be something else that's missing that's contributing to the delay. Though guppies are prolific, remember these specific ones are still 'new to you' as well as are still adjusting to the water.  

Thanks. I'm not considering them a failure yet, just curious at what point that would be the case. I have fingers crossed that they will settle in and make cute babies.

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On 9/14/2021 at 11:15 PM, PineSong said:

I'm not considering them a failure yet, just curious at what point that would be the case.

Depends on the species, the source and their requirements. For common domesticated live bearers I'd say tap out after 6 months, at the minimum. 

Kick up the feeding with live baby brine, quality flakes and pellets, and if it's available at your LFS blackworms. With the first and last things I bet you'd see some significant weight gain and possibly some 'activities' within a few weeks.

Edited by Tihshho
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On 9/14/2021 at 11:22 PM, Tihshho said:

Kick up the feeding with live baby brine, quality flakes and pellets, and if it's available at your LFS blackworms. With the first and last things I bet you'd see some significant weight gain and possibly some 'activities' within a few weeks.

Thanks. I have Extreme Krill flakes, Hikari micropellets, Bug Bites, Hikari brine shrimp with spirulina, freeze dried blood worms; I rotate what I feed and feed them 2x per day. I also have frozen blood worms on hand for my betta; although I have not given these guppies any, I could. 

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Hormones are an interesting thing. Micks Fish UK on YouTube just toured a pleco breeder and that guy said something about keeping guppies in his breeder tanks as he found their hormones helped the plecos to spawn. His theory is something along the line of the plecos thinking "if other fish are spawning it must be safe for me to spawn." Now whether they're actually thinking that or their body is registering the hormones emitted by other fish that are spawning and acting accordingly is hard to know, but it's something to consider. Adding a pair of endlers, or other livebearer to your slow to spawn guppies might just get the hormones flowing.

In the human world, young women in close contact may or may not (the science isn't clear yet) synchronize their menstrual cycles. If you work in a workspace with multiple young women you'll tend to find there are baby booms where everyone seems to get pregnant at or around the same time. Did they all consciously reach that decision independently or was there some hormonal shift that brought it about? (Or were they all snowed in with nothing else to do nine months earlier.)

My Super Red plecos are in with my neon swordtails who breed nonstop. Does that motivate the plecos to spawn? I don't know, but it's an interesting idea. Keeping some prolific livebearers who are spewing out hormones with each spawn might just encourage reluctant breeders to be less reluctant. (You might have to limit water changes to let the hormones build to a decent level though.)

Stress hormones like cortisol have been shown to have a negative impact on fish health, maybe some testosterone or estrogen in the water could motivate fish to spawn. It's an interesting idea to play around with. Toss a few mollies, swordtails, guppies, platys, etc. in with anything you're trying to spawn and see what happens. Fish sex and birth is likely pretty messy with some sperm oozing out during conception and other fluids emerging with births. Odds are all of those fluids are packed full of hormones of one type or another and your other fish are swimming in that sea of hormones. If the fish you're trying to spawn are too aggressive to keep livebearers with, then create a livebearer heavy tank and instead of giving the fish you're trying to breed fresh water in a water change, rotate in some of the supposedly hormone heavy water from the livebearer tank. 

A bit of Googling on the subject shows that fish farms inject hormones to induce spawning and a guy on YouTube that I haven't watched before (JH Aquatics) has a video dated 02/07/2020) of how he uses water from tanks with fry and adolescent fish to get his tetras to spawn. He assumes their hormone rich water does the trick. It's an interesting idea to play with.

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On 9/15/2021 at 11:21 AM, CalmedByFish said:

This has the potential to be an interesting thread of its own, or the topic for a club speaker or such. 

Live food, which is often viewed as a spawning trigger would have natural hormones in with it also. I suspect hormones in fishkeeping will eventually evolve into a hot topic. 

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On 9/15/2021 at 2:15 PM, Bullsnark said:

I have a bunch of females that I thought should have been dropping fry, but nothing as well.  It’s frustrating  D432B573-0551-4ADB-9A1E-BAA82A04F1E9.jpeg.7bbbd37af6cf1c28290d9537f99f6caa.jpeg

These don’t look ready to drop. I hope this helps I have girls dropping as I type this. The orange one you can see the gravid spot is partially orange where some of the fry have already birthed but that entire area was black  she was born March 30 this is her first batch she is 2.75 inches long  FD0D4D74-8356-46E9-927A-1388F0941EC5.jpeg.3558de804f7f8b1547e04137f3e387a8.jpeg

this one just dropped the first two also her first you can see how square she is her dob may 10 I could not get a pic of her gravid spot  her being much younger and only 2.25 inches she looks like a balloon 2C9BBEFA-604E-4BFB-8844-F1B224A445DA.jpeg.62631945a4164f3cd81d327788052785.jpegE7FC0B3E-5E2D-469F-B771-1CC700996C5A.jpeg.f0b9c6af6954497377ed287e31be10b2.jpeg

these two girls also born March 30 are sisters of the first and you can see the difference in the gravid spot one is pregnant the other not showing  same batch same male exposure25F3E396-616A-4C84-9C73-AED76AE3735F.jpeg.4cbf6585ead112d4d2f87288fdc964d6.jpeg

This one is balloon girls sister she just started showing3D8269AC-094B-4755-A838-CB7D2B9E687F.jpeg.4a7eac61aa0993a92449bdc25bf65de6.jpeg

my other mommy is tucked in the corner I can’t get a pic.  So with guppies there is no timetable and nothing necessarily wrong with the male or female if they do not drop when we think they should. I hope this makes you folks feel better and eases some concerns 

 

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On 9/15/2021 at 12:16 PM, GameCzar said:

Try turning the lights down low and putting on some Barry White.  😉

Consider it done! 

On 9/15/2021 at 12:44 PM, Marnol D said:

Could try turning the temperature up a degree or so and adding daphnia or seed shrimp. I found with my guppies if the water was cold (lower 70s-74F~)they didn't wanna do the deed. I also just have mutt guppies that i add in new blood every so often so they arent to finicky. 

What are the water parameters looking like?

Temp is already high 70's.

Ph is between 6.8 and 7.2 on co-op strips

Kh is 40

GH 300

Nitrites and Nitrates both 0 

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