Endler’s Livebearer Fish

Endler’s livebearer fish are also known as the Black-bar Endler or Endler’s guppy. The scientific name is Poecilia wingei. They are part of the genus Poecilia as are guppies.

Endler’s Livebearer – photo by Dornenwolf

These fish are native to the Laguna de Patos in northern Venezuela. They were rediscovered by John Endler in 1975, thus their name. Franklyn F. Bond originally found them in 1937.

Due to pollution in the lake where they live it is feared that these fish are now extinct in the wild.

Because they are active, colorful fish who are easy to care for; they are popular in fresh water tanks.

They are so closely related to the guppy that they can interbreed and produce fertile offspring. Some believe they are not a separate species but simply another type of guppy.

Their personalities and coloration seems to be quite different from the guppies, though, thus causing endless debate between fish breeders. It is generally accepted they are their own species.

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Appearance

Endler’s livebearers are small fish. Adult males are usually only an inch long and females one and a half inches to two inches.

The males have bright colors that will develop as early as three weeks of age. The females are a silver gray and are plumper than the male.

Life Span

With optimal conditions these fish can live up to two years.

Keeping Endler’s Livebearer Fish in a Tank

Endler’s livebearers are active, peaceful fish and will not cause problems in a community tank. However, because of their small size they are sometimes bullied by larger fish. For this reason they are best suited to a tank of their own.

Also, these fish will breed with guppies so you won’t be able to keep the species unique unless they are in their own tank.

They are always active, scraping algae of the side of the tank, swimming, exploring, and displaying to each other. Because of this, they are an interesting and fun fish to watch.

Preparing Your Tank

Endler’s Livebearer should have at least a twenty gallon tank. Though they can survive in smaller ten gallon tanks they will quickly breed and outgrow a small tank. An overpopulated tank with have an adverse effect on the water quality.

You will need a good filter and a heater for your tank.

If you use regular tap water you’ll need to use tablets you buy at the pet store to remove the chlorine and ammonia from the water.

Though these fish are small they are still known to be jumpers so put a secure lid on your tank.

Temperature in the tank should be 75 to 86 degrees.

PH levels should be between 7.0 and 8.5.

It can take a while to get the ph level and temperature in your tank is correct so set it up well advance of adding your fish. Always test before adding fish.

Water should be moderately hard.

These fish enjoy an environment with lot of plants such as Java Moss.

A dark colored background will accentuate their bright colors and make them more visible. With new L.E.D. lights you can add light to your tank without raising the temperature.

Never set your tank in direct sunlight or where it can be bumped easily.

Caring for Endler’s Livebearer Fish

Endler’s livebearers are omnivores. They can survive on flake food alone but a varied diet that includes live food such as shrimp brine, bloodworms and some plant material is ideal. The food should be broken into tiny bits for these small fish to be able to eat it easily.

Do not overfeed. If there is any food left after two minutes; feed them less at the next feeding. Leftover food can cause bacteria to breed in the tank and harm the quality of the water.

Because they are so active they appear to be always hungry so feeding them small amounts of food several times a day can work well.

It’s a good idea to change 20 to 35% of the water every two weeks.

Monitor your water for nitrates and ammonia to assure neither is too high.

Adding small quantities of salt to your tank is a good idea for Endlers.

Breeding Endler’s Livebearer Fish

To breed these fish all you need to do is put male and female fish in a tank together. They will take care of the rest. They are prolific breeders and will quickly fill your tank.

Females are able to breed when they are only two months old.

New broods will arrive as often as every twenty-five days. Each batch will produce anywhere from five to thirty fry. The fish are born live as opposed to eggs that are later hatched as their name would suggest.

Fry should be fed four or five times a day with shrimp brine and high quality flake food made especially for fry.

These fish are not known for eating their fry like guppies, but it is still best to assure there are lots of plants in the tank where the young can hide. The fry can be moved to a separate tank for extra protection. This is especially true if your Endler’s Livebearers are in a community tank with other fish.

Breeding nets are not recommended due to the small size of the fry.

It is best to have one male to every three females to keep the females from being constantly harassed by the males.

Females can store sperm for up to one year so they can continue to become pregnant even if there are no longer male fish in the tank.

Possible Problems

If one of your fish shows white spots or damaged fins, immediately move it to a separate tank.

These fish are susceptible to some strains of bacteria.

When you purchase new fish, always keep them separate for a week or two to avoid spreading possible disease throughout your tank.

Endler’s Livebearers are active fish that are fun to watch. They provide your tank with beautiful colors, as well.

They can adapt to various water conditions so they are not hard to care for so they are a good choice for new aquarium owners.