On this page I'd like to discuss other livebearers which I'm keeping at home and which aren't mentioned in other categories on this website.
Here are some little guys among the livebearers zone. These guys are known as tiger teddy (neoheterandria elegans) and are found in the Rio Truando in Colombia. They're really tiny. For a male reaches a bodylength of 1.5cm and a female up to 3cm bodylength. But note that "late males" do occur frequently. These late males will be significant larger in size till equal sized to females.
These fish should be kept in reasonbly clean and still water at temperatures of at least 22°C till 26°C. For their physical measurements size allows to keep them in smaller tanks. Despite of the fact that I would like to see them swim in larger tanks, a small biotope offered by nano-aquariums can be a beautiful eyecatcher as well.
They're really friendly fish but wouldn't keep them in a community tank for it may not be suitable for its shyness. Unless, the other tankmembers are smallsized as well and for sure not agressive.
Above: neoheterandria elegans, female
Below: neoheterandria elegans, male
Another dwarf among livebearers is the least killifish (heterandria formosa). Found in the southeastern part of the US. They also occur in swamp areas at the Keys in Florida. Which make them a perfect type of fish to be kept in brackish water as well. Even when it comes to temperatures which can be lower than average which is a good way to keep them fit. They'll do just fine at temperatures of 15°C till 22°C. And these rates are perfect to get them to breed unlike most other liverbearing tooth carps.
Both neoheterandria elegans and heterandria formosa deliver different from most livebearers. Most livebearers need just one copulation to impregnate a female for a couple of times. These guys need a new copulation every single time to realize a new pregnancy. Also the delivery as mentioned before is different. Do most livebearers deliver an outburst of young fry practically at once... These species will deliver one till three young fry each day for a period of one till two weeks.
Above we see a week old heterandria formosa which was born in an outdoor tank. Like most fish also this young has grown faster than the offspring born inside the house.
Fry tend to have vertical bars o their bodies which will fade after a while and horizontal markings will appear afterwards.
Above and below: a bunch of heterandria formosas (males and females)
Besides this version, there's also a golden version. The golden version does occur in free nature. And from time to time also with the captive h.formosas, a golden version will appear.
On the picture below we have some metallic girardinus (girardinus metallicus). This is a kept breed which showed up more frequently in the eighties than nowadays. Its origin goes back to Cuba where they can be found in creeks, ponds and shallow streams. The males will stay a lot smaller than the females. And there are two kinds of males. The ones with a black belly and the ones without the yellow belly. I've got both versions at home.
When it comes to colouration, this breed isn't that intense. But just because these days this fish doesn't occur that often in the aquaristic world anymore, it seemed tempting to keep this one because of its current oddness. And they've got a certain charm as well.
Also the upper part of its eye has a bluish shining. The females reaches 7 cm ( (less than 3 inches) in length while the males will stop at 2.5 cm (1 inch). Be sure that the tank will be wellplanted especially when you like to breed them. And keep the temperature between 24°C and 28°C. For they'll do good at these rates.
Below we've a couple of swamp guppies (micropoecilia picta). These fish are in general hard to keep. Ever since this year (2011) my micropoecilia pictas are doing really well. I've lost some adults but in some way I've got my third drop of fry of the ones which were left. And the offspring seem to stay fit just like their parents. I've noticed that these fish are kept best when the water is kept brackish. I hardly refresh the tank in order to keep them well. I even overfeed them on purpose. The food that's been left untouched seems to have a better influence on the condition of the water which they need. I only refill some water in case some water evaporates from the tank. With these fish just turn around the tradition to keep them well and bring them to a breeding level. The best temperature you can put these guys on is 28°C to keep then well. I've had these fish at lower temperatures but in some way that didn't work for them.
I myself am keeping the red version. This red version does not occur in the wild. But although my adult males are red and some females have a red shining on their bodies, the male offspring can become red or even have the wild colouring instead. So, no guarantee on that one!
Micropoecilia picta var. red
An adult male can reach a length of approximately 2.5 cm and a female reaches up till 6 cm in length. It originates from South-America till Central-America.
male micropoecilia picta
The female micropoecilia picta looks a bit similar to a female guppy but actually it's got a slimmer bodyshape. Further on, the dorsal fin is situated a bit more backwards in comparison to a female guppy. Some have a peacock on their shoulders.
A relative of the micropoecilia picta is the micropoecilia parae. I had two couples of the micropoecilia parae melanzona var red from an acquaintance of mine. And I got some yellow versions from somebody else who couldn't keep these fish alive. I've found out that he and the other acquaintance of mine had the same problem. Even I was struggling to keep them alive.
Micropoecilia parae melanzona var red, male
But the last male left was put together with a female blond endler and a grey female black bar endler. At some point there swam blond offspring in the fishtank and later on it turned out that those offspring were fertile hybrids of the blond endler and the micropoecilia parae. The males had the typical red line on the side and the flame upwards in the tail just like the father had. Of the F1 came an F2 but with a grey base again and the red pattern on the sides remained.
But at the end I had still one specimen left of this strain. But again, it does prove that hybrids of far related species can be fertile!
Above: Micropoecilia parae var yellow, males
A livebearer which has been distributed all over the world like the guppy has been, is the Gambusia affinis alo known as "Western mosquitofish" (Gambusia holbrooki is known as "Eastern Mosquitofish").
The natural distribution of this livebearer knows a wide range from Northern America to Central America. To be more precise → Mississippi river basin from central Indiana and Illinois (southern USA) to Gulf of Mexico and Gulf Slope drainages west to Mexico where they inhabit brackish and freshwaters.
Like the guppy, these livebearers have been distributed by man all over this globe as a biological mosquito control. The disadvantage of the mosquitofish in comparison to guppies is that they tend to nip at other fishes's fins. Because of this and their predatory behavior they can do a real damage in time for the mosquitofish can be as profilic as most guppies are. So, a complete colony can do a massive destructing danage.
In general it's an easy to keep fish. They do even well in poor oxygenated water and a withstand a wide range of temperatures. So, even low temp rates will do the job. This all makes it also a good contender for outdoors like in a pond or tub. Considering the seasons we have overhere in Western-Europe, this fish is an outstanding livebearer to even keep them in outdoor ponds during winter. But be sure that the pond is sufficiently deep to survive the winter season. The mosquitofish is one of the best adaptable livebearers there is when it comes to water conditions. Therefore it's been so easy to distribute them all over this globe.
In their natural habitats, they do occur in more shallow waters where also a lot of insect eggs and larvae and invertebrates in general occur. But they also feed themselves with zooplankton.
Above: An adult male specimen.
Below: An adult female specimen.
Males do tend to grow up to approx. 4 cm and females up to approx. 7-8 cm. In ponds and outdoor tubs they'll certainly grow up to these sizes without a doubt.
A lot of people think that there's a real resemblance with guppies. But actually anatomically there are sufficient differences between mosquitofish and guppies.
The picture below shows a couple of porthole livebearers (poeciliopsis gracilis). A tooth- carp which can be found in Mexico up to Honduras. Just like the girardinus metallicus tis species isn't a bright coloured fish as well for it's base is grey till beige. But for sure it's a fish with its own charm. Very typical are the 4 till 5 black spots on each side of the fish.
The males will become 4cm in length and the females up till 6cm in length. A relative good range of temperature for these guys would be between 24°C and 27°C. Fish like these do need sufficient swimming space. So, keep the vegetation just to the sides of the aquarium.
This species is also known as the golden livebearer.
This species is to be found in Central America: Creek near El Tuito in Jalisco, Mexico. And they're also to be found in tributaries of the Rio Purificacion near La Huerta, Mexico.
In nature they do occur in freshwater but also some areas where brackish water is running. By my own experience, I have to say that they tend to do better in brackish water in comparison to freshwater. They also like fast flowing water. I myself keep them with a bit more movement at the surface. Furthermore, they'll do well at rates of 20°C - 26°C.
They tend to reproduce after 4 weeks of gestation with an average number of 10 to 20 fry.
In general they are friendly livebearers but can show some dominance when kept with other tankmates which are a bit too friendly.
Max. size of a male up to 4cm and females up to 6,5cm.
It's not a bright coloured fish but like every poeciliopsis strain, it's an interesting livebearer to keep.
Another livebearer which I'm keeping is the so-called leopardfish (phalloceros caudimaculatus). I've got both varieties : phalloceros caudimaculatus auratus (golden) and phalloceros caudimaculatus reticulatus. Besides leopardfish, they're also called one spot livebearer, dusky millions fish, speckled mosquitofish or speckled caudy.
A female phalloceros caudomaculatus auratus
When it comes to appearance they resemble a lot to the eastern mosquitofish (gambusia holbrooki). But leopardfish are a bit smaller (male → approx. 2,5 - 3cm, female → approx. 5cm) and they do have (as already mentioned) a golden variation. And they're less aggressive in comparison to the eastern mosquitofish but they'll remain finnippers just like the gambusias. I myself keep them together with my least killifish for they're shortfinned and an excellent combination.
Further more, there's a typical difference between male and female pattern, The males are much more blotched on their bodies then females.
Ph.caudimaculatus auratus ♂
Unlike the gambusias, leopardfish ain't that suitable for the control of mosquitos or other insect plaques for that reason. Not that they don't eat them but it doesn't seem to be their first choice...
Ph.caudimaculatus reticulata ♂
A male phalloceros caudimaculatus reticulatus is shown above
A group of both genders
Besides that they do extremely well in enviroments with rates above 20°C, they do also well in water rates starting from 8°C. Quite hardy fish which doesn't seem to bother about the water conditions too much. But also in free nature they're native to still streams and swamps with variable water conditions in Southern Brazil, Paraquay and Uruquay. Therefore, they're so easy to keep and adjust pretty well in most enviroments.
Above: A female ph.caudimaculatus reticulata.
The golden version (Ph.c.auratus) is less common than its grey relative. To maintain a strong golden colour, it's recommendable to mix them with some greys.
A not so bright coloured livebearer which is also endemic to Mexico is the priapella intermedia. Anotomically, totally different from most livebearers. What's really remarkable are they eyes. They've got a blue shimmer around the eyes which makes this livebearer very interesting.
This livebearer occurs in rivers (with a good water flow) with less vegetation in it. They occur with swordtails in their natural habitat.
They reach up to 5 - 7cm in size and do well at rates of 22°C - 28°C. A good water flow and a frequent water change is highly appreciated.
What's really remarkable is that it takes a long time before the genders are clear. So, even at a size of 4cm a male specimen with apparently female features can still develop the male features.
When kept with other fish, be aware of it that only friendly fish are compatible. If there's too much dominancwe coming from other fish, these priapella intermedia will slowly dissappear in the tank. And when it comes to a breeding plan, please be sure the tank ain't too crowded with other fish. These fish tend to breed better when kept with their own species.
Priapella intermedia is considered not being too profilic. After 4 weeks of gestation, just 5 till 20 fry will be born.
A rare fancy strain of the mollies is the chocolate molly also known as choco molly.
It's probably a mutation of the fancy strain "black molly". The true origin of this fancy strain is a bit vague. Assuming that this species is a mutation of the black molly, the chocolate molly is suppose to be also a poecilia sphenops. But anyways, it's a nice specimen of a molly. I myself have got this strain back in 2014 from Peter and Astrid Raschke.
The name chocolate molly refers to the brown body colour.
It differs per individual specimen wether it's totally brown or not. There are specimens which have a yellow edged tail and or fins. Some are more sand coloured instead of real brown. But those sand coloured ones do reproduce real brown offspring again.
Above: female (left), male (right).
Besides this phenotype, also a lyretail version is available. Some are shown in the pictures below.
A very slender wildform of the molly is the socalled liberty molly. The liberty molly is also known as "Poecilia salvatoris" and "Poecilia gilli". About the name P.gilli... rumors go that P.gilli ain't the same as P.salvatoris. In all these years that I've been keping them, I don't see any differences between those sold as being P.salvatoris and P.gilli. To me they're one and the same strain.
The origin of the liberty molly is a bit vague as well. Besides El Salvador, this molly seems to occur as well in Guatamala, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua.
It's a gray based body that can be clear but also spotted. Typical for the males is that they have black, white and red markings in their dorsal and some red in their caudal. Females are able to have the same colouration but less and some females have clear fins.
They prefer brackish water conditions and depending on the individual fish, it can be dominant or even peaceful in the behaviour.
They breed easily and after a gestation of 4 - 6 weeks about 10 - 20 fry will be born. Both genders can size up to almost the same size of approx. 7 - 10cm.
It's a beautiful looking molly which for sure worthwhile to keep. But not always suitable with shy fish in one tank.
This livebearer is to be found in Lake Nicaragua (also known as Cocibolca or Granada in Nicaragua) on the Atlantic drainage to the Rio Parismina (Costa Rica) and the Rio Tenorio drainage (Costa Rica) on the Pacific slope.
This is a slender livebearer, translucent till yellowish bodied. With a base of the first dorsal rays with a black blotch or some moe black in the dorsal. And those males also have a yellow marking in the dorsal and some vertical bars on their bodies. Something that misses out on the females.
They have wide range of temperature tolerance. They feel quite happy with temps of 18°C - 40°C. Which makes this livebearer interesting to keep outdoors as well during a certain period of the year.
After 4 weeks of gestation, a number of 10 - 50 fry will be born. And they'll size up to 6cm.
This small livebearer is also known as the "Four spotted merry widow". "Four spotted" simply because there are in general four black (sometimes three or five) spots on both sides of the fsh.
This species is endemic to Rio Sixaola in Costa Rica. It's not a very profilic livebearer for after a gestation of 4 weeks 5 to 20 fry will be born. From own experience the average number of fry will be 10-15.
Comfortable water temp rates are between 20°C and 34°C. Which makes this an easy fish to keep.
And because of their size, they can also be kept in smaller tanks. Furthermore, they're friendly fish . Even to their own newborn offspring.
Phallichthys amates pittieri
This livebearer is also called "Orange-fin merry widow", "Iridescent widow' and "Olomina" and are to be found in inland and mountain streams in Costa Rica (Cahuita) and Northern Panama.
The species does look similar to the Phallichthys amates amates but is really smaller in size. They'll size up till 3 - 4cm in length. After a gestation of 4 - 5 weeks they'll repoduce a number of 10 - 30 fry.
A juvenile male
An adult female
Also with this phallichthys breed the males have an extended gonopodium.
This livebearer is als known as "Banded merry widow" but also as "Picotee livebearer".
Phallichthys fairweatheri can be found in slowly flowing and standing marshy peripheral area of rivers in countries like Mexico to Guatemala and Honduras.
It's a gray bodied livebearer with some yellow vertical markings on its body and also in the fin area there are some yellow markings to be noticed. Like most phallichthys breeds, the male has got an extended gonopodium. One of the phallichthys breeds that has a less extended gonopodium is the phallichthys quadripunctatus.
After a gestation of approx. 3 - 4 weeks a number of 10 - 30 fry will be dropped. They'll size up to approx. 3 - 5cm.
A very vivid livebearer is the brachyrhaphis roswithae. This species is named after Roswitha Etzel and originates from Panama. Brachyrhaphis stands for short needle and refers to the short gonopodium of the male.
It's quite a hardy and vividly fish which loves to swim in the upper zone where the water surface is a bit more vivid. So, no still water surface for these guys...
They're friendly with their own kind but they tend to be very dominant in their natural behavior among other fish. In such a case, you'd better combine them with other rigid fish. But better is to keep them in a species tank. Smaller fish will mostly become casualties of their biting habits. I've seen a couple of times that fullgrown specimens grabbed fullgrown endler females and bit them in half right away.
In order to give them the comfort they need, a bright open spot is appreciated.
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