So a few days ago, I noticed one of the balloon molly gals was a bit withdrawn, hanging out in the "birthing tunnel" ornament I put in the tank (it's like a bridge covered with artificial grass, so the birthing mama can hide a bit while she's in labor and the fry can swim up through little holes in the ceiling and hide in the grass). It was Creamy (remember, all fish named by young nieces!), the light yellow female, who had been looking ridiculously pregnant for days.
I've read that livebearers tend to have their babies in the wee hours of the morning, and as it happened, I was up extraordinarily late and checked the tank before going to bed. I could barely even register what I was seeing when a teeny-tiny pair of eyes with a tail fin emerged from the fake grass and started swimming upward.
The whole sequence took less than one second:
Omigod, it's a --
Yeah, one of the other molly gals practically inhaled the baby before my eyes. And then she did it again with another one. I didn't see any others, and Creamy was swimming around like usual and no longer looked ... birthwardly inclined.
I went to sleep pretty annoyed with Shiny, the perpetrator. Shiny's the white molly who weeks earlier had given birth to the lone fry in my fry tank. It's hard to be mad at a fish (I mean, she was just doing what nature dictates, you know? If it swims, and it fits in her mouth, it's food). But I was still pretty p.o.'d. I've got fry food, I've got a lovely heated fry tank, I am so freakin' ready to raise up some baby balloon mollies.
The next day, my eagle-eyed six-year-old niece spotted a rogue baby hanging out near the surface, and we safely dispatched it to the fry tank. The fry born a month earlier, Cutiepie (remember, she names the fish), looked enormous next to the newbie, but not big enough to gobble it up.
This morning, Creamy was doing the hiding-in-the-tunnel routine again, and I found one more baby. So now I have three fry, which sounds kind of pathetic given that mollies are unbelievably prolific, but I'm over the moon.
Hoping to find more babies tonight, if I'm lucky.