We have a new baby fish (fry) – a swordtail was born in our fresh water fish tank. But before I tell you more about this little adorable fish, let me explain about the tank.
We have a 7-gallon tank originally with only a betta. Since bettas cannot have other bettas in the same tank we wanted to give Bubba Betta a friend or two to keep him company that he could get along with and not kill. Bettas can be territorial.
My husband came home from the pet store over two months ago (before COVID-19) with three swordtails, two females and a male. One female died after a short time in the tank. The second female appeared to be pregnant right away. Of course I was nervous about her losing the babies to the Bubba Betta who will eat anything he can fit into his big mouth. We decided to put the female swordtail into a breeder which fit inside the tank but safely kept her away from Bubba and the other fish in case she dropped her babies otherwise the babies would surely be eaten.
Well, the next morning sure enough she had dropped seven babies. Boy, we were very fortunate to put her in the breeder in time! They were so adorable! Each day I would watch the tank closely for any more babies being born but I guess the mother had completed her birthing. It was time to remove her from the breeder so she could swim around freely. She would have eaten all the babies if we kept her in there any longer. Not a good mother! There are narrow slats in the tank between the two layers that allow the fry to slip down to the lower level away from the mother. As you can see in the tank the fry are at the bottom of the breeder. But also there are these same slats on the side of the tank that allow fry to escape. These are the ones that the betta watched closely in case one of the fry came through them.
Each day I looked into the tank there were fewer babies alive in the breeder. I guess the ones that were not strong enough died and were eaten by those who survived. It came down to three babies left in the breeder with Bubba swimming around alongside and watching them carefully. I only hoped that at least one or two would survive.
Now you are worrying too! Huh? Bubba is quite ingenious. One day after swimming around the breeder and salivating over the sushi he could gobble up he figured a way to jump up into the breeder and eat a couple of fish. Luckily one quick swimmer escaped and survived. I witnessed the fry escaping. I was cheering him on! He was clever and quick enough to get away.
This little guy is still going strong and now swims next to the male who surprisingly does not try to eat him. It must be a female then. Right? Oh, I almost forgot, the female passed away before she could eat the baby, thank goodness. The baby was smart enough to hide away in the plants that are in the tank before that. I guess the birthing process was too much for her.
Now to get back to Bubba – since he was already inside the breeder we left him there. Serves him right for eating two babies! I was quite upset with him! He will have to stay there until the surviving baby is large enough to fend for itself.
Bubba is still in timeout for over two months and counting. If we take him out too soon he will attack the baby sword which can’t defend itself still being so small. Bubba is very upset with my husband, John, for putting him in there. He raised his gill cover at John – comparable to giving him a raspberry or maybe worse! Ha! John has to remove Bubba every so often to clean out the little breeder tank. When he does this he has to put Bubba into a glass or jar until he finishes. No wonder Bubba gets so upset with him!
It’s so funny when he reacts to John. If I go up to the tank he is sweet and flashes his little fins at me and stares at me. I swear he is listening when I talk to him. Look how sweet he looks at me compared to John.
I keep a close watch on the baby every day to make he is growing and safe. That is all I can do. I hope he makes it! He is a survivor having been able to escape the mouth of Bubba! Stay tuned for more updates on the new addition to our freshwater tank. I will post more photos as he gets bigger. It may be awhile though.
Blessings & Hugs! Stay Safe, Stay Well and God Bless!
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Janice Spina aka J.E. Spina
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