The Miracle of Fish Birth
March 13, 2014

The Miracle Of Fish Birth

So perhaps you have heard about the platypus being the only mammal that lays eggs. But, did you know that there are a few species of fish that give live birth? I happen to have owned one such fish, and it came as quite a surprise that she had babies.

My boyfriend and I bought a Platy together. I always like to name my pets, so I named this one Simba. Simba, however, gave live birth to several fish just a week later. We bought a pregnant fish and didn’t know what exactly to do. The baby fish were so tiny at first that it was hard to spot them. Then, week after week they grew.

At first they were shy and would hide in the plants toward the bottom of the tank. Then as they grew stronger, they would venture toward the surface for food. Just like a litter of puppies, I started to see distinguishing characteristics within this school of fish. One was the alpha male, another one was the runt.

I am sad to say that Simba has passed on now, but she left her legacy. I now, after almost two years, have third generation fish in the fish tank as Simba’s children have also reproduced.

The Platy species belongs to a family of fish called Poeciliidae. This name is commonly referred to as Live Bearers, noting their rare ability as fish to give live birth. Platy are a colorful, mellow, freshwater species.

These traits are what I believe make them such great fish, especially for anyone just starting out with a fish tank. Before my boyfriend and I discover the Platy, we had tried several other fish including the Gourami. These fish, however, were extremely sensitive to any changes in water, and they were aggressive toward one another. This means that they didn’t survive very long, and I was not a very happy fish owner.

Other fish that belong to the Pociliidae family and share the live-birthing characteristic include mollies, guppies and swordtail.

In contrast, the Platy got along so well with one another that we kept about six at one point in a single five-gallon tank. They also survived some pretty harsh water conditions that would have left most fish upside down in the water, such as those long instances in which my life as a college student may have gotten in the way and we were unable to change the water or filters for the fish for several months at a time. These Platy were survivors though, and they pushed all the way through to the end.

I highly recommend Platy as a starter fish for anyone thinking about getting an aquarium. They are especially great for anyone with kids, because they are easy to take care of as a freshwater fish. They have bright colors, which are more common for salt water fish, even though they don’t require salt water, and they show the circle of life better than any other pet I can think of.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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