pregnancy problems help!
new to this site and if this topic is elsewhere i apologize for the repeat.
recently i purchased a female lyre-tail sword and she was definitely pregnant, almost about to pop. i carefully moved her to a breeder cage and within hours she was dead, no fry born. i returned her to the store and got a replacement. she too was in the family way and ready to blow. this time i did nothing but watch her. today she is very listless and not eating. staying in one spot and when she does move she looks very awkward. she really looks about to bust and i am worried that perhaps she cannot expel her fry, possibly like the last one, or is this normal behaviour. i have had fish in the past and started over in this last year or so. water is perfect, cycled, planted, no over crowding, regular partial water changes etc. etc.
i have had platy fish give birth recently in another tank and some those fry platys survived (4 of them anyway, rest were picked off) also had fancy guppy fry, again 4 survived.
i didn't notice any problems like this lyre-tail is displaying.
what do i do? is there a way to help a fish expel fry when they are positively going to give birth? or do i just let things be? i really don't want to do this again with another replacement if this one dies.
a 5.5. gal with separated bettas,
a 2 gal with dwarf frog and betta,
a 60 gal. with orandas.
a 15 gal with hi fin platy's and lyre-tail swords
a 30 gal with assorted guppy molly platy
a 5.5 with 8 fry from platy and guppy
also mom to 5 cats, 4 ferrets, 3 lizards, 1 human.
Could it be that the fish weren't actually pregnant but were bloated due to internal parasites, bad diet, bad water, etc...? Then the stress of moving them from the store and into a breeding net just did them in. Or if they actually were gravid, well, the stress of moving a heavily gravid female livebearer into a small confined space can in many cases result in birthing problems. I have heard of abortion and premature birth, and maybe this also is some form of stress related complication.
How long has the swordtail's tank been set up? You mention another healthy tank, but it sounds like the one with the swordtail might be new?
If it is new, are you absolutely certain it is cycled? I ask because the listlessness and rapid decline sounds consistent with ammonia poisoning. Paleness and "gasping" at the surface would be other red flags. I recommend testing your water for Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate to be on the safe side. If any Ammonia or Nitrite shows up, the best remedy would be a large water change followed by transferring a generous amount of "gunk" from the filter and/or gravel bed of your healthy aquarium into your new aquarium. That gunk should contain a population of "good" bacteria that can process the dangerous wastes into mostly-harmless Nitrates.
In case the above does not apply, how was the mother swordtail acclimated to her new home? It's possible your home water's chemistry (PH, GH/KH) differs from that at the pet store, and the rapid change in "climate" could have caused stress for your fish if she wasn't slowly acclimated to it.
The more information you can give us about your water, where the fish came from, and how she was introduced into her new home, the better we can help you.
sadly this one passed away too. to answer a couple of query's: the tanks i have are all cycled, 5 and 6 months old, water tested, clean and healthy. before i introduced any fish at the beginning, they were up and running for a good month and fish were brought in only two at a time, spaced a week or two between new arrivals each time and with weekly partial water changes.
no other fish have been affected at all, only the two pregnant swords. the first one that died, was purchased on sunday march 17th and the was in the tank for about 3 days to acclimate before i moved her to the breeder containment. i also made sure it was well camouflaged around plants etc. so the other fish could not stress her out and she did not feel vulnerable. there was adequate air and filtration.
when she died a few hours later i was surprised and disappointed. i returned her to the store and was given a replacement sunday 24th, march. this time, i let her be in the tank with no containment. this a.m. she is dead.
there were no symptoms of disease or dropsy. however both came from the same tank at the store.
i do have quite a bit of experience with fish tanks and ponds, so i do recognize illness or stress (most times).
i wonder if it isn't that tank at the store, yet 2 other fish from it are fine and healthy, or possibly the breed. lyre-tail swords are fairly new around here, perhaps it was genetic or maybe they were to young or small to pass the fry.
whatever the case, i will be returning this one today and NOT taking one from that tank. i will get store credit instead and wait for something else. in the future i will avoid purchasing obviously pregnant fish if possible.