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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Live Bearers

Live Bearers

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Traits & behavior

Omnivores
This means they eat both plant and animal matter, including prepared foods, small live foods and certain vegetables.

Middle to top swimmers
You will see your livebearers swimming in the middle and at the top of your aquarium. To create a beautiful aquarium environment, be sure to add some bottom swimmers as well. Ask a PetSmart associate to help you choose.

Live births
Livebearers can reproduce rapidly in a community aquarium because they give birth to babies, rather than laying eggs. To aid in survival, provide hiding spaces for baby fish.

Things to remember

Adding fish
Whether you're just starting your aquarium or introducing new fish into your tank, don't forget to add only 1-3 at a time.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information..
 

Nutrition

Staple diet
Choose a vegetable-based flake or pellet food. Feed according to the directions on the packaging.

Specialty foods
Vary their diet by including frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms and other small worms, mosquito larvae and daphnia. Always remember to thaw frozen foods before feeding.

Frequent feedings
For optimum health, feed your livebearers as much food as they will consume in 1-3 minutes, twice a day. You can alternate between regular staple diet feedings and 2-4 meals per week of a specialty food.

Health

Signs your livebearers are healthy:

  • Eating vigorously and swimming actively
  • Clear eyes, smooth, clean skin and fins free from any lesions or inconsistent colorations
  • Calm, steady gill movements

Things to watch for:

  • Lying on bottom of aquarium
  • Poor growth or weight loss
  • Inflamed gills, skin or fins
  • Fins clamped to sides
  • Scraping body on rocks

If you notice any of the signs described above, check your aquarium water quality and consult a PetSmart Aquatics Specialist.
 

Environment

Aquarium
Livebearers should be kept in a large aquarium, with surface area being more important than depth. Minimum aquarium size should be 10 gallons. A good rule of thumb is one gallon of water for every one inch of full-grown fish.

Décor
Decorate their aquarium with lots of live, bunch plants. Be sure to place them on the sides and back of the aquarium so they'll have enough space to swim in the center.

Filtration
Livebearers need well-oxygenated water, but do not like forceful water motion.

Salt
Mollies require a small amount of salt in their aquarium. Add two teaspoons of aquarium salt per gallon of water. This will not harm other types of fish living in the aquarium.

Fish compatibility
Livebearers can share their aquarium with other tropical community fish of similar size and temperament, as long as they share similar water requirements.

Water changes
Test water weekly to assess water quality. It is recommended that 10% of your aquarium water be changed per week. At the very least, 25% of your aquarium water should be changed per month.

Water temperature
These fish require water temperatures ranging between 74-82° F. Use an aquarium heater to maintain water temperature.

Aquarium placement
Place your aquarium in a low-traffic area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.

Aquarium stand
An aquarium stand will safely support the weight of your filled aquarium.

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