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How to tell if your Molly is going into Labor

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Published on Sep 12, 2012

It smeared. =(
This is my Silver Molly JUST starting labor. Note how her fins are. They tend to hold them flat, even clench them a bit. Sometimes your molly will bob a bit or even shake. First time I saw it, I thought my molly had a seizure! Scared me.
They also tend to do what looks like a gag (0:44)every so often, I assume it is either from the pain, pushing, or gas. lol
Some mollies have a tendency to get angry when going into labor as well, and will slap their reflection in the glass, or hit things. Mine tried to kill the rock a few times. She didn't hurt herself. I would have removed it, but she was pretty stressed out towards the end there, some mollies get like this one or two DAYS before giving birth.
The best you can do for your molly when they get stressed and hit things, is turn the lights off and cover the tank so they can relax and not see, which I did as soon as I stopped the video. I know, you probably want to watch, but it's better for your molly to be less stressed. The less she can see, the less she'll try to beat herself up on things and will eventually calm down in a corner for the rest of her labor.

Also, note at 1:03 it looked like she gave birth. She didn't. Sometimes just when labor is starting they will release what looks like a short hard poo. I am not sure if it's what's left of hatched eggs or what the babies let out while in the mothers stomach, it does look like plant matter though, so it may be the babies droppings that she is getting rid of, but I am not completely sure.

Most mollies will go into a corner somewhere, or in a plant and move very little, though they will sometimes go to another side of the tank or look around for food or something inbetween contractions. This all starts usually between two and eight+ hours before babies actually start coming out. In her case, she did not drop babies for several hours after this(I don't know exactly when, I just know it was atleast five hours later as I checked before bed and saw none five hours after this was filmed).

If you do not have a breeding tank fit for them to be in for a few days, this happening will allow you to know when to safely move the mother to a smaller breeding area, or block off an area of the tank without worrying she will be in there too long. Sometimes when you move them they will stop their labor for a few hours, but they will resume it shortly. If the move stressed the fish enough to hold her labor off more than six hours, it's best to just return her and hope some of the fry survive when born, otherwise they can hold them for days! The best way to move them is NOT with a net. A breeding container in the tank is usually the best, so long as it is spacious and for a short amount of time. That way you can gently scoop her up and not remove her from the tank at all. I have one of these for when my fry tank, the ten gallon, is full of small babies. I don't want other mothers eating them.

Note that her buddy(A marble molly female), sometimes drops into frame and will also hold still next to her, but eventually leaves. She also has her fins up and is alert. I left her buddy in there because she got very stressed out being the only one in the birthing tank. I use my ten gallon tank for the birthing tank, and for the fry to grow up in on their own. It is sometimes best to have a very docile tank mate with the mother, preferably another of her kind, because mollies do not like being alone. They are community fish. My marble molly is the most gentle of all my mollies, so I chose her to stay with the Silver Female since she was in the breeding tank for about a week. =) They got along in the main tank as well, it's best to find one that gets along with your mother fish! And sometimes it's best to have them moved into the big breeding tank, if you have one, for atleast a week before birth, that way they're nice and used to it.

I also had a fry net in the tank with two past broods in it from other fish, I had that in there when the ten gallon WAS my main tank, I have since upgraded to a 55 gallon since mollies need a great deal more space. I just didn't move the pregnant female to the big tank since she was pregnant, less stress that way, and the fry in the net were still only a week or so old.
Once the mother recovers I move her back to my bigger tank with the rest of my mollies. If they have trouble recovering, you can put them in a QT tank, one of those smaller ones that float inside the tank itself, that way you don't have to move her and get her more stressed, and she can't eat her babies. If your mother seems pretty slow and maybe wobbly after she is done giving birth, it is best to leave her be for a day or so, too much movement can stress her out and kill her. It's rare mothers die after giving birth, but it does happen. The most common cause of it is added stress to the mother too soon after she gave birth, though occasionally it's caused by a baby being stuck in the birth canal. So be careful! =)

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