Mysterious Halfbeak birth!

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Rachel Cherie

AC Members
Original poster
Dec 21, 2012
14
0
0
Houston, TX
On December 4th, I woke up and checked on my fish as usual and happened to notice 8 baby halfbeaks. I was told it was a Celebes Halfbeak when I purchased it, but someone told me they thought it was a Wrestling Halfbeak instead . Well, this was quite strange to me since I only had one halfbeak. I started doing a lot of research online and in no instance did I see that a halfbeak could be hermaphroditic. (or impregnate themselves if that is not the correct terminology. When I purchased her, about 3 months ago, she was the only halfbeak in the aquarium as well. The previous owner used to work at the fish store, and they sold her along with two knight gobies to me and I brought them home to be buddies with my young green-spotted puffer (so far they all get along!). So you can imagine my surprise that she gave birth when (from what I understand) she has never been around another halfbeak. I am quite diligent about maintaining excellent water conditions and giving my fish a healthy, natural and very varied diet. Since the birth, I purchased another aquarium and the babies (sadly now only 6 because 2 got eaten on the first day) are quite happy in their own aquarium with some ghost shrimp.
Anyway, I guess the whole point is, not only do I think that this may never have been documented in captivity as I have found nothing that indicates this online, I was hoping to hear from someone who may know a lot more than I do and have better information than just Google. Also, a lot of the behaviors that are typically not associated with the halfbeaks have been quite common with mine. My original swims the whole tank and is actually a bit bossy towards the other fish (even my puffer). The babies are also all over the place (they do spend most of their resting time at the top, though except for one who owns the bottom). Another thing I noticed about the mother, since she gave birth, is that she now has some orange tinges on her belly and fins (was definitely not there before). Does any of this sound more normal to you, than it does to me?

P.S. I would have included a picture of the mom and a baby, but I can't figure it out :/
 

Brackish Master

AC Members
Dec 13, 2012
6
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0
Ohio
Completely normal. I have had it happen, but u are super lucky if any of them survive, let me know if they mature, try to isolate them within the tank, if u remove them it's a bit rough on them to acclimate to another system even if small being they are very underdeveloped, but in regards to searching for info it's a very hard task...brackish aquaria is not very popular and the many species are more mystery than actuall science as of now lol...when I first started I couldn't help but keep getting larger tanks for more species and more new events..but I certainly hope ur little ones live...definitely worth talking about
 

Rachel Cherie

AC Members
Original poster
Dec 21, 2012
14
0
0
Houston, TX
We are on day 22 for the fry, and they are growing like ragweed! I agree, ideally I should have just kept them in the same water, but my 30 gallon was just not big enough to handle that. Originally, I had purchased a used 55 gallon and put the mother with three babies, and left the other 3 with my GSP and knight gobies. While all of the fry seemed happy, the mother was not fairing well through the new tank syndrome. The babies seemed to be much hardier, so I put her back in the 30 and the other three babies in the 55 gallon. The fry made it through the amonia spike and the nitrite spike and never seemed to show any signs of sickness or respitory problems. I was doing daily water changes trying to speed up the process, and we're almost home free! The babies eat and play all the time and seem fantastically healthy. But the mother looks like she might be pregnant again?! Weird. Maybe she is just fat...
I guess when the spring semester starts, I will see if any of the biology professors know anything about them. Thanks for the feedback! I will do an update or two as they grow, or if something goes wrong.
 

Rachel Cherie

AC Members
Original poster
Dec 21, 2012
14
0
0
Houston, TX
I went back to the LFS I bought Millhouse at (That was her name before I knew she was a female, now its Marilyn Millhouse), and the guy there told me the females can hold sperm for up to 6 months. When I mentioned she looked fat and maybe pregnant again, he said that was possible too, because they can store the sperm for multiple pregnancies. Has anyone else heard of this?
 

Rachel Cherie

AC Members
Original poster
Dec 21, 2012
14
0
0
Houston, TX
So, four weeks later almost exactly, I see the mom has had (at least) three more fry. Two are strong and healthy enjoying the company of their slightly older brothers and sisters. The other is still kinda curled and looks like he's having trouble with his swim bladder, as he is angled head up as he is swimming. I'm not very hopeful that he will make it, but I guess what that store clerk told me was true. I hope she's out of juice!
 

livebearerfreak

you are hypnotized! LOL
May 31, 2005
3,205
7
38
29
fairchild wi 54741
Real Name
douglas harvey
I went back to the LFS I bought Millhouse at (That was her name before I knew she was a female, now its Marilyn Millhouse), and the guy there told me the females can hold sperm for up to 6 months. When I mentioned she looked fat and maybe pregnant again, he said that was possible too, because they can store the sperm for multiple pregnancies. Has anyone else heard of this?
yes, perfectly normal. female livebearers ( which half beaks are considered ) can hold sperm for up to 6 months after being with a male once.. i have had females giving birth with no males in the tank at all... i use to be a biig livebearer nut ( hence my name ) heck i have had a all female swordtail tank, and one female swordtail ( dominate one ) became a male.. some species, if no males are present, can then turn into a male ( how that happens is anyones guess ) but being fertile is another question, i would believe so, as a female swordtail that turns to a male, still has sperm packets left, so they COULD use whats left and fertilize another female ( sorry rambling on lol ) anyways, so yes thats perfectly normal for your half beak :)
 

livebearerfreak

you are hypnotized! LOL
May 31, 2005
3,205
7
38
29
fairchild wi 54741
Real Name
douglas harvey
So, four weeks later almost exactly, I see the mom has had (at least) three more fry. Two are strong and healthy enjoying the company of their slightly older brothers and sisters. The other is still kinda curled and looks like he's having trouble with his swim bladder, as he is angled head up as he is swimming. I'm not very hopeful that he will make it, but I guess what that store clerk told me was true. I hope she's out of juice!
you will most likely have frys for the next few months
 
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