The niecelets and I hit a new-to-me LFS this weekend that I hadn't realized was only 15 minutes from my house. It was huge, with lots of really beautiful fish. We were hoping to find a new balloon molly (of course), after the unexpected loss of one last week. No luck, but we stopped at one of our regular LFSs afterward, and lo and behold, they had an absolute stunner, an almost all-black beauty with white speckles and highlights that the 6-year-old niecelet promptly named Gem.
Gem. Isn't she a beauty?
Got the QT tank set up for Gem at home, added water, heater and ridiculous decor the girls insisted on (I'm a sucker, what can I say?), and gently placed Gem in her temporary new home. Seconds later, the 9-year-old niece screams, "A baby just came out!"
Yep. Gem had dropped an adorable little fry. Because we'd seen how eagerly the other mollies consume their offspring, there was much chaos as we netted the new baby and transferred it to the fry tank with the existing 3 babies.
But baby oh baby, Gem was not done! We had a tense 5 minutes or so when a half-in, half-out fry, being born tail first, appeared to be stuck. He was HUGE when Gem finally got him out. After that, babies were coming fast and furious. We would give Gem a break for 10 minutes or so, and leave her alone in the dimly lit room, only to come back to 5 ... 6 ... even 7 more fry at a time.
One of our many fry.
She had TWENTY BABIES altogether!
The fry tank is positively swarming now, and they've been nicknamed The Noodles. Our very first fry, Cutiepie (born about 8 weeks ago, gender still unknown), was promoted to the big tank, lest he consume his new pseudo-siblings, and has settled in happily. The remaining 22 are all, miraculously, alive and well.
There's a real variety of color in this batch. Several dark ones, some white ones, some striped ones, and the one and only all-black fry, the little whale who got stuck during birth (he's now known as "Shaft"). They gobble powdered flake food, and tonight had their very first meal of defrosted frozen baby brine shrimp. Many adorably round tummies!
Another one. They're all the colors of the rainbow.
I had expected a little die-off at the start, but 48 hours in, all appear healthy. I already have a routine going, using a turkey baster to siphon uneaten food from the bottom of the tank, then draining and replacing a little over 75% of the water daily.
Once Gem has completed her QT, I plan to use her vacated tank for half the fry, to give them all maximum room to grow and to maintain good water quality.
Poor little thing was exhausted after delivering all those babies, and refused food for 24 hours. Now she's eating like crazy and zooming all over the QT tank, being a typical little balloon molly. If she doesn't break with ich or anything else funky in the next week or so, she's going to join her new girlfriends in the big tank.
I asked for it, and I got it! We have oodles of Noodles and couldn't be happier!