What Aquarium Fish Give Live Birth? (5 Most Popular)

When it comes to tropical aquarium fish, live-bearing species consistently rank among the top picks. This is because, unlike most freshwater fish species, females give birth to fully developed offspring rather than depositing eggs. Because livebearer fries are larger than those that hatch from microscopic eggs, they have a greater chance of survival in the environment because they can eat more things and run faster.

Adults benefit from not having to reproduce by laying eggs since they save time and energy by not having to pair up, stay in one spot, or produce thousands of eggs that are devoured before they hatch. Viviparous is the scientific term for a birthing method that results in healthy newborns.

Females who are pregnant can swim, eat, and move around just like they would normally. She just pauses, gives birth to approximately thirty huge, free-swimming fry in a plant cover, and then resumes her normal routine. Due to its efficiency, live-bearing fish are capable of reproducing far more rapidly.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the fish that give birth in an aquarium.

What Aquarium Fish Give Live Birth?

Livebearer fish are, as the name implies, fish that do not produce eggs. Instead, livebearers’ females carry their eggs until the young are able to swim independently, at which point they are born as live fry. Although livebearers make up only 1% of all fish, they account for a significant proportion of the fish kept commercially.

Livebearer tropical fish come in many different types, some of which are well-known while others aren’t as well-known. Some of the most sought-after live-bearing aquarium fish are listed below.


The guppy is, without a doubt, the most popular livebearer (it also breeds quite quickly, which is a lot of fun to experience); therefore, it naturally belongs at the top of this list. What makes them so fascinating is the wide range of colors they are available in. The fins on some are longer than on others.

Common guppies are inexpensive, while the rarer and more valuable elegant guppies can cost several times as much. Keep an eye out for guppies the next time you’re at the pet store. These lively little fish are adorable.

  • Average Size

Adult guppy fish tend to be about two inches long. Females can grow to be as long as 2.5 inches if they live long enough. On the other hand, men may not even make it to two inches! Those with smaller aquariums will appreciate their diminutive stature. But if you keep a larger bunch together, they’ll be just fine in a bigger aquarium, too.

  • Food & Diet

Guppies, while living in the wild, may scavenge for leftover plant matter and other small food items floating around in the water. In particular, mosquito larvae and other small insects are a delicacy for these fish. It’s best to provide a balanced diet with a little bit of diversity in captivity. Flakes or pellets of the highest quality should serve as the main food source.

The nutritional requirements of tropical fish are easily met by feeding them commercial food. Snacks high in protein should be provided occasionally; examples include bloodworms, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae. These foods can be supplied in a variety of frozen, freeze-dried, or even live forms.

  • Behavior and Temperament

Fish in the guppy family are calm and relaxed. The only mildly aggressive behavior you may observe is fin-nipping. They are attracted to the fins of slow-moving animals because of their own speed. When they’re on their own, fish tend to hide because they feel unsafe.

  • Lifespan

Most guppy fish will live for no more than five years. The quality of care you give them is a major factor in determining how long they will live, just as it is for any other type of fish. Both chance and genetics play a role; therefore, there can be no assurances. However, guppy fish in a properly cared-for aquarium are more likely to survive to a ripe old age.

  • Water Parameters

Guppies are easy to care for because they don’t require precision. If you keep the water within the following acceptable ranges, your fish should be fine, but you should still check the water often (with a reputable test kit) to avoid any big variations.

Water temperatures range from around 76°F to 183°F (somewhere in the mid-70s is ideal). Optimal water hardness is between 8 and 12 dGH, with a pH range of 7.5 to 8.0.

Goldfish in aquarium


Mollies, like guppies, are live-bearers with similar maintenance needs. A variety of balloon mollies and high-fin mollies are available in a wide range of colors. Keep in mind that the male-to-female fish ratio is particularly important when purchasing livebearer fish like mollies. Why is it so? Buying an excessive number of males in comparison to females will lead to a lot of stress for the female fish as the males will continue to harass them. It’s recommended that you purchase at least one male with three females to offset the risk of the females dying from stress.

  • Average Size

An adult molly typically measures between four and four and a half inches in length. This size is manageable, so even small aquariums can house them. Varieties of molly can grow to much larger sizes. It’s not uncommon for them to grow to a length of five or six inches.

  • Food & Diet

Mollies are suitable for small to medium-sized aquariums because of their little size. Many species of molly fish do well in tanks with as little as 10 gallons. There should be enough room for up to four mollies in a tank of that size, however, a bigger tank is generally preferable. If you want to keep more fish in one tank, you’ll need to increase its volume by at least three gallons for each additional fish.

  • Behavior & Temperament

Mollies, as a species, are remarkably flexible. Waters that are warm, neutral in pH, and hard are ideal conditions for them. Salt is not necessary to maintain the health of these fish, despite popular assumptions. As far as we know, they thrive in completely freshwater habitats for their entire lives without any problems at all.

From around 72 degrees to around 78 degrees is the ideal temperature range for swimming in the water (some species as high as 80 degrees). The optimal range for pH is 7.5-8.5, and the range of water hardness is 20–30 KH.

  • Tank Mates

It seems like mollies can get along with anything! So long as the other fish in the aquarium are calm, mollies should be fine. Any fish that is known to be hostile should be avoided. You should also keep fish of a comparable size together. Your molly can be bullied or even eaten by larger fish.

  • Lifespan


It’s estimated that a molly fish will live for about three to five years. The lifespan of these freshwater fish varies based on species, although they aren’t the shortest by any means. The length of time they live also depends on the standard of care you give them. Even though they are tough, mollies can still get sick in a dirty aquarium.

A platyfish resembles both mollies and goldfish in appearance. There is a wide range of colors available, and new color varieties can be bred from two different types of fish with differing genetic makeups. Platies are a great first fish since they are hardy and resilient. They are able to adapt to a wide range of water parameters and thrive in less-than-ideal environments. Four platy fish should fit comfortably in a 10-gallon aquarium, making it ideal for beginners.

  • Average Size

Platies, on average, are only about two and a half inches long. Rarely do these freshwater fish ever exceed three inches in length.

  • Diet

They are omnivores by nature and consume a wide variety of foods when living in the wild. Plants seem to be the play’s first choice when it comes to diet. Feed commercial flakes or pellets as your principal food source. It’s recommended to eat vitamin-rich foods like spirulina, kelp, and algae. In addition, there are formulations available that aim to boost color saturation so your platies will always look their finest.

  • Behavior and Temperament

Due to their peaceful nature, they are often considered a model community fish. They are kind, outgoing, and exhibit no signs of hostility. Female plants may have difficulty if the population estimates for their area are off. Males will hunt females around a lot. It’s no secret that these fish enjoy having babies.

To put it another way, if the males outweigh the females, you might expect to see some mild aggressiveness from time to time. Fortunately, this may be readily remedied by maintaining a ratio of no more than one male to every two or three females in your group.

  • Tank Mates

Platies do best with other docile freshwater fish in the aquarium. The most logical option is to get some more platies. However, platies do like to be in the company of others of their own species. It’s best to keep fish in small groups so that they don’t get too comfortable with each other and start to feel frightened or shy.

With regards to alternate species, you’re not short on alternatives. Stick to similar-sized fish with placid demeanors. Avoid any creature that has a predisposition for aggressiveness.

  • Lifespan

The usual platy fish lifespan is between three to five years when kept in appropriate conditions. As you surely know, there are no guarantees when it comes to lifespan. There’s a certain degree of chance involved, especially when it comes to health concerns and genetics. However, the length of time they live depends heavily on the kind of care they receive.

  • Water Parameters

It is well known that Platy fish are exceptionally resilient and flexible. On the other hand, they do have a few preferences of their own. Depending on the species of platy you purchase, you may need to adjust the water conditions accordingly. If you’re looking for some guidelines, though, these should apply to most platyfish.

The water can be anywhere between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit (some species may prefer as high as 82 degrees). Hardness of water ranges from 10 dGH to 28 dGH at pH levels between 6.8 and 8.0


When it comes to aquarium fish, the swordtail platy is a popular choice. Just by looking at them swimming in your local fish store, you can tell why they are nicknamed swordtails. The “sword” on their bottom is a gorgeous, distinctive, elongated shape. Although swordtails are more delicate than common platies and so necessitate more advanced aquarium conditions, they are nonetheless a good choice for novice fish keepers.

  • Average Size

Swordtail fish can reach lengths of up to 6.5 inches. They can develop to a maximum length of 6.5 inches for females and 5–5.5 inches for males. And this is despite the fact that males have longer tails. In their natural environment, swordtail fish consume a great deal of algae and other forms of plant life. Please don’t ignore the need to provide them with healthy herbivorous diet options. Give them a balanced diet of meat and greens to keep them healthy and happy.

When it comes to how often you feed them, you have to be very selective since they will devour whatever you give them. However, their health and way of life might suffer severely from overfeeding.

  • Food & Diet

Swordtail fish are adaptable eaters and will eat almost everything you offer them. They are omnivores and will happily consume high-quality flake food as well as live foods, including bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, mosquito larvae, and fruit flies.

  • Behavior and Temperament

The swordfish tends to be calm and social, so it should get along OK with any tank mates you choose. Even though they aren’t shoaling fish, it’s best to keep them in groups of 5 or 6 so they feel more at home. Males should remain a minority; females should be the majority.

You shouldn’t put too many male swordtail fish in the same tank because of their aggressive nature. In order to promote peaceful coexistence, it is recommended that you keep the male population to a maximum of two or three and increase the number of females to match.

  • Tank Mates

In spite of their name, swordtail fish are not aggressive and are quite active. When housed with other swordtails or other docile species, they become quite social and love each other’s company. When kept with other fish of the same family, like platies, mollies, or angelfish, the swordtail fish makes a terrific friend. Other corydoras species that are more mellow make terrific companions, too. Larger species of tetras can also do well, but it’s important to keep them in groups of at least five to prevent bullying.

  • Lifespan

It is usual for live-bearing freshwater fishes, such as the swordtail fish, to have a lifespan of three to five years. The environment they are kept in, and the food they are fed have a significant impact on their life expectancy. Their health and happiness are profoundly affected by the quality of care they receive. Their longevity can be dramatically shortened by factors including genetic predisposition and sickness, though.

  • Water Parameters

Here are the specifics you need to know about the conditions in the tank for a swordtail fish:

  1. Water Temperature – Swordtail fish thrive in water between 65 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Comfort levels peak at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, so that’s the temperature you should shoot for.
  2. pH level – Swordtail fish do best in neutral to slightly alkaline water, with a pH between 7.0 and 8.4.
  3. Water hardness – Swordtail fish can only survive in extremely hard water, with a dGH of 12-35.

Mosquito Fish

One of the last items on the list is a fish that is rarely seen while being part of our lovely sport. The mosquito fish is a little livebearer that needs a tank that’s at least 10 gallons in size to thrive. The first half dozen live-bearers are much easier to breed. After the fish has been sexed and you’ve confirmed that she’s pregnant, she’ll likely give birth to several juveniles. Keep in mind that once the mother is done giving birth, she may consume her young, so it is best to remove her.

  • Average Size

The female mosquito fish can grow to a maximum of 2.8 inches in length, while males top out at 1.6 inches. Furthermore, males are often more slender than females. Fry are about a quarter and a third of an inch in length upon birth. If they are to be introduced to ponds or aquariums with larger fish, adequate hiding space separate from the larger fish is required.

  • Food & Diet

Mosquito fish will consume nearly any foreign object placed in their aquarium. Dry flake and pellet food is all they really need to eat to stay alive, though it’s best to give them some natural treats every now and then. They can be fed mosquito larvae, which can be caught or purchased in some areas, but this is not required for their survival in captivity. Alternatives to larvae include bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, and scuds.

If you want your mosquito fish fry to have a chance at survival, you should separate them from their parents as soon as possible after birth.

  • Behavior and Temperament

In spite of their diminutive stature, mosquito fish have earned a reputation for being aggressive toward other fish. If you have a slow fish or a fish with a long fin, beware; they will nibble at it and cause damage. Thus, you should use extreme caution when deciding which other fish species to house in the same water system as your mosquito fish.

  • Tank Mates

Koi, goldfish, and carp are all fish that can live harmoniously together in the same aquarium or pond. Keep in mind that when these grow, they will become much larger than the mosquito fish and that some of the mosquito fish may be eaten.

  • Lifespan

Due to its sensitivity to their surroundings, the mosquito fish’s lifespan can change significantly. A mosquito fish can live anywhere from six months to one and a half years in the wild. They can live up to three times as long as their wild counterparts if kept in captivity. Women tend to outlive their male counterparts.

  • Water Parameters

The optimal range of temperatures for mosquito fish is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they are incredibly resilient fish, capable of withstanding temperatures from below freezing to well above boiling. Mosquito fish can also thrive in a wide range of pH levels, from 6.0 to 8.0, making them suitable for introduction into virtually any established aquarium.

Is Fish Giving Birth In Your Aquarium Good Or Bad?

Generally speaking, it’s best if fish give birth in the wild rather than in captivity. This is because the conditions in an aquarium are not suitable. Here’s why:

Lack of Space

 Aquariums are typically much smaller than natural habitats, which means mother fish cannot find a suitable place to give birth. In the wild, they can search for secluded areas with plenty of food and protection. However, in an aquarium, there is rarely enough space for this.

Poor Water Quality

The water quality in aquariums is often not ideal, as it can be contaminated with pollutants and toxins. This means that the baby fish may not survive if born in such conditions. On the other hand, water quality is much better in natural habitats, allowing for a stronger chance at survival.

Stressful Environment

The environment of an aquarium is generally very stressful. The noise from pumps and lights, as well as the presence of humans, can be too much for a mother fish to handle while giving birth. In the wild, there is no such stress, and she can give birth in peace.

Lack of Nutrition

An aquarium does not have the same variety of food sources as a natural habitat. This means that baby fish may not get enough nutrition to survive and grow properly if born in captivity. On the other hand, in the wild, they can easily find an abundance of food sources.

Disease and Parasites

Aquariums often contain diseases and parasites, which can be passed on to baby fish. In the wild, these conditions are much less common, providing a safer environment for them to thrive.


Aquariums also pose a risk from predators. Even if the aquarium is well-protected, some predators may still be able to get in and prey on the baby fish. In the wild, there are usually more hiding places for the mother and her babies.

Human Interference

Finally, there is always a risk of human interference in aquariums. This can range from accidental mishandling to deliberate harm. In natural habitats, the mother fish is less likely to be disturbed and her babies have a much better chance at survival.

Overall, it’s safer for fish to give birth in the wild rather than in captivity. The conditions are much better, and the baby fish have a higher chance of survival. Therefore, if possible, it’s best to allow mother fish to give birth in their natural environment.

However, if you do have fish that give birth in your aquarium, there are some steps you can take to ensure that they are healthy and that their babies have a good chance of survival.

  1. It’s important to maintain good water quality by doing regular water changes and using a high-quality filter. This will help keep the water in your tank clean and free of toxins, which can be harmful to both adult fish and baby fish.
  1.  It’s also a good idea to provide plenty of hiding places and cover for pregnant fish. This is especially true if you have other fish in the tank that might harass them during their pregnancy. You’ll need to provide plenty of hiding places for the fry (baby fish) so that they can avoid being eaten by their tank mates.
  1. When the baby fish are born, they will need to be separated from their parents as soon as possible. This is because adult fish could eat them or otherwise harm them in some way. If you have a separate tank for raising fry (baby fish), then that is ideal. Otherwise, you can designate one corner of the main tank and provide plenty of hiding places for the fry to hide.
  1. Once the fry have been separated, it’s important to provide them with a well-balanced diet that includes high-quality foods designed specifically for baby fish. Feeding them too much or not providing enough nutrition can be detrimental to their growth and development.
  1. Finally, you may need to supplement the diet of the fry with live foods or special pellets designed for baby fish. By taking these precautions, you can help give your fry a better chance of survival.

By following these tips, you can help give baby fish the best chance of survival and ensure that your aquarium is a safe and healthy environment for them to grow up in. 


Which Livebearing Fish Breed Fastest

Live-bearing organisms, like the guppy, have the quickest reproductive rate of any organisms. Two to three months of age is the typical time when guppies begin reproducing, and they have young around every 30 days thereafter. Twenty-five to fifty infants make up a typical batch of fry.

What should you feed livebearing fish

The livebearing fish should mostly consume vitamin-enriched fish flakes. Vegetables that have been blanched, such as spinach, lettuce, algal wafers, and cucumber, make healthy snacks for these fish. Shrimp and bloodworms, whether fresh or frozen, are excellent protein sources.


Aquarium fish giving birth can be a good or bad thing, depending on the circumstances. In some cases, it can lead to overpopulation and overcrowding in the aquarium. However, if done properly, it can result in healthy and happy fish populations. It is important to take into account the specific needs of your fish when determining whether live birth is right for your aquarium.