Friday, when I got home from work there was one tiny baby in the bottom of the isolation tank. Hooray! I pulled up a chair and watched the birthing happen in between making dinner and hanging out with the boys.
Momma fish would get kind of agitated, swim around rapidly and then stop, arching her back slightly and a few more eggs would pop out, 2-3 at a time. I found myself coaching and saying, "push!" a lot. :) Some of the eggs drifted down and a baby fish would quickly pop out and swim off. Even though I tried very hard to keep Momma fish fed, she seemed to eat a lot of the babies that swam up through the grate to surface. She also passed a lot of what looked like unfertalized eggs. These sank to the bottom and interestingly, seemed to be a source of food for the babies. In all, I saw a few dozen babies and eggs. Some of the babies seemed to be still-born or at least not developed enough to swim, but several were healthy and robust.
I'm very sad to say that my photography skills are not mad enough to have captured any of this for the archives. Several minutes passed between births, and the births happened very quickly. I was never fast or focused enough to get a good shot. Maybe next time!
I left Momma fish in the isolation tank overnight, as suggested by a few of the websites I was reading as we went along. In the morning, we woke up to a very un-pregnant momma fish and five healthy babies. Momma is back in the main tank now and the babies will stay in the little one until they are big enough to not be food for the other fish.
Although five doesn't seem like many, the ones that made it look very healthy and they are thriving and even growing at an amazing rate. They are still very tiny and nearly transparent. We're it not for their huge eyes, they would be very difficult to see. Best of all, we have plenty of room in the main tank for five new-comers so I do not have to do an unpleasant thing known as culling which would mean getting rid of the ones that are not wanted.
One of the more amazing things that I learned was that baby guppies are born in a gender-neutral state. They will develop into males or females in a few weeks at which time we will start to see their amazing color patterns if they are males, or hope for more babies if we get more females! They should be ready to move to the main tank around that time too. Here is one for now, and I will hopefully brush up on my fish-photography soon. Hooray!
Now then, there are five... Since they were born on Star Wars day (May the 4th, be With You!) should we name them Han, Luke, Leia, Chewy and Aniken? It was the morning of Cinco de Mayo when we woke up... Are they Jose-a, Jose-b, Jose-c etc? Or maybe since I blogged about them here, they should be Freedom, Independence, Spirit, Patriot and Hero? :) Help me out, folks!