Endler’s Livebearer: The 2024 Care Guide, Tank Mates and Breeding!

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Endler’s Livebearer: The 2024 Care Guide, Tank Mates and Breeding!

Just about everyone has kept guppies before.

But did you know that there is an exotic relative whose popularity is on the rise? Endler’s Livebearer is just as small, colorful in their own right, and a great addition to just about any community tank of small, peaceful fish!


Endler’s Livebearer Guide

Characteristic Detail
Scientific Name Poecilia wingei
Temperament Very Peaceful
Care Level Very Easy
Appearance Males: Black, Green, and Orange blotches; Females: Mostly Silver
Diet Omnivorous
Adult Size Males: ¾ of an Inch; Females slightly larger
Lifespan 2 years
Water Temperature 70-80℉
Water pH 6.5-8.0
Tank Size 5+ Gallons

Endler’s Livebearer Overview

Typical Endler’s Livebearer Behavior

Endler’s Livebearers are similar to other livebearers, such as GuppiesMollies, and Platies. They are active fish yet entirely peaceful towards their tank mates. Occasionally, males may grow overzealous in chasing potential mates and display aggressive behavior towards rivals, but these bouts never result in bodily harm. Endler’s Livebearers also swim regularly in all parts of the water column.

Endler’s Livebearer Appearance

Many Endler’s Livebearers look very similar to wild-type Guppies (such as feeder guppies). Males have patterns of vivid green, red, and deep black blotches that vary from fish to fish. Females are typically a plain silver color with a black gravid spot faintly to strongly visible.

However there is a lot of crossbreeding between Endler’s Livebearers and Guppies, resulting in Snakeskin, Swordtail, and other varieties of Endler’s that have all sorts of color and fin patterns and shapes.

When buying from a professional breeder or distributor, you may notice that Endler’s Livebearers can come in class ratings. “N Class” fish are wild-caught Endler’s from Laguna de Patos in Venezuela. If you want to be sure your fish have no Guppy genetics these are the Endler’s you want.

“P Class” fish look identical to “N Class” but the dealer can’t be certain about their origins. And “K Class” fish are known to have some Guppy heritage. If you’re buying Endler’s with no class rating there’s a good chance they are “K Class” because the two species so readily interbreed.

Life Span

These small tropical fish are prolific but not particularly long lived. 2 years is an average lifespan with 3 being quite old for Endler’s Livebearers.

How Big Do Endler’s Livebearers Grow?

Endler’s Livebearer males will reach ¾ of an inch when fully grown. Females will be significantly larger; at least 1 inch and sometimes up to 1½ inches!

Sexing Endler’s Livebearers

Few fish are easier to sex than Endler’s Livebearers. The colors and size differences make picking out individual sexes quite simple. Males are always the more colorful of the two. Some captive bred varieties are starting to come out with females that have some color. But they are still not at all comparable to an adult male.

Males are also much smaller; as much as half the size of their partners. Endler’s Livebearers (all livebearers, in fact) also have fin differences worth noting. As sexually mature adults, males have a specialized anal fin called a gonopodium.

This fin allows the livebearer male to impregnate the female from within rather than her laying eggs in the water and he then fertilizing them, like most other fish. The female has a normal shaped fin – and a black spot just above it called the gravid spot. This patch is actually her ovary, which will swell and darken when she’s pregnant. You might even see the eyes of the fry through the thin skin of heavily pregnant Endler’s Livebearers!

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Compatible Tank Mates for Endler’s Livebearers

Given their peaceful disposition and tiny size Endler’s Livebearers are excellent tank mates for a wide variety of tropical fish! What’s most important is choosing fish that aren’t going to intimidate or eat the tiny Endler’s. And the same goes for their fry if you’re looking to raise them.

Even relatively peaceful community fish like Angelfish will snap up smaller Endler’s Livebearers once they get too large. So we want to stick to smaller fish like Dwarf and Honey GouramisNeon Tetras, Cherry Barbs, and the like.

I would avoid Bettas; when fully grown an adult is capable of eating an immature Endler’s. Bottom dwellers are easier to match with Endler’s Livebearers. There are a number of small, peaceful inhabitants, including Corydoras and Dwarf Otocinclus.

Also be careful when mixing Endler’s with other livebearers, especially Guppies. We want to preserve the purity of this species’ line, and not only for other aquarists. Endler’s Livebearers are endangered in the wild and it may take aquarium stock to renew their numbers in nature. So we want to make sure there’s no shortage of actual Endler’s Livebearers out there!

Compatible tank mates for Endler’s Livebearers include:

  • Other Livebearers
  • Dwarf and Honey Gouramis
  • Danios and Rasboras
  • Neon and Cardinal Tetras
  • Cherry Barbs
  • Corydoras
  • Dwarf Otocinclus

Water Conditions

Temperature

Endler’s Livebearers are very hardy when it comes to the range of temperatures they thrive in! While they like things slightly warmer than room temperature they will happily live and breed from a range of 70-80℉. Warmer is always better if you can help it; warm temperatures boosts their metabolism and appetites as well as their disease resistance!

Water Chemistry

Endler’s Livebearers prefer conditions similar to those that other livebearers enjoy: neutral to alkaline water (pH 7.0-8.0). However, slight acidity (pH 6.5) is not a problem at all. Water hardness (dissolved minerals) are also something they prefer, making Endler’s Livebearers much easier to keep considering tap water tends to have some dissolved minerals anyway.

They aren’t especially sensitive to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. In fact, they are excellent first fish for helping a new tank to cycle! But we still want to make sure that our filter is running properly and that we’re performing water changes on a regular basis.

Tank Setup

Tank Size

Being so small, you could easily keep a small group in even a 5 gallon aquarium! That said, your Endler’s Livebearers are going to multiply. If you’re looking to raise the fry in the main tank then you’ll want 10 or even 20 gallons of space. Because once the fry mature they will breed and breed some more!

Plants and Substrate

Plants, either live or artificial, are very helpful for Endler’s Livebearer young to survive. Unfortunately the adults will eat any fry they encounter after spawning. It will take a few weeks for the fry to grow large enough to not be edible. So thick, easy to grow plants are a great way to provide for them in case you can’t move a pregnant female into a breeder trap.

Plants also help absorb ammonia and carbon dioxide, release oxygen into the water, and provide shelter and food for both adults and young fry! Some easy to grow plants that can shelter fry include:

  • Guppy Grass (Naja guadalupensis)
  • Java Moss (Vesicularia dubyana)
  • Giant Hairgrass (Eleocharis montevidensis)

Feeding Your Endler’s Livebearers

What Should I Feed My Endler’s Livebearers?

As true omnivores, Endler’s Livebearers eat a little bit of everything! In nature they eat mostly tiny invertebrates, including mosquito larvae, worms, and water fleas. They also consume green algae. So we want to offer them both plant and animal matter in their diets, similar to us humans!

The base of their diet should be a high quality flake or micro pellet, considering how tiny their mouths are. You can supplement this with live or frozen treats like brine shrimp, tubifex worms, or daphnia! Their vegetables can come in the form of spirulina enriched flakes or blanched spinach and other greens. Your Endler’s Livebearers may even pick at the algae wafers you leave for their bottom dwelling tank mates!

How Often Should I Feed My Endler’s Livebearers?

Endler’s Livebearers are active fish with high metabolisms. You should feed them lightly three times per day or give them two moderate feedings per day; as much as they will eat without any leftovers.

Breeding Your Endler’s Livebearers
How Do I Condition Endler’s Livebearers to Spawn?

Here is some more good news: you don’t really have to do anything to condition Endler’s Livebearers to spawn. They are as easy to breed as their Guppy cousins; in fact, you’re more or less guaranteed to see some fry, even if the conditions are less than ideal.

Good food, warm conditions, and clean water always helps. And the fry aren’t as hardy as their parents, so make sure your water is extra clean if raising them in the main tank.

How Can I Tell if an Endler’s Livebearer is Pregnant?

Female Endler’s Livebearers can give birth roughly once per month, depending on the temperature and how willing she is. As her fry develops her belly will visibly swell and the gravid spot will darken. You may even see fry visible through her skin as it grows thin.

After she’s been pregnant for 18-20 days, you should move her to a separate breeding tank or hanging breeder trap if you intend to. Because she will have her babies anywhere from 21-30 days after mating.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Feed Baby Endler’s Livebearers?

Endler’s Livebearer fry are fairly large and can immediately eat baby brine shrimp or crushed flakes!

How Often Will My Endler’s Livebearers Have Babies?

A female can get pregnant as often as once per month!

Why Shouldn’t I Keep Endler’s Livebearers with Guppies?

The two species are closely related and interbreed too easily.

Want to Learn More?

If you still have questions or would like to show off your fish, be sure to join our Facebook Group!

Can endlers tank mates include shrimp, and will endlers eat shrimp if kept in the same tank?

Yes, endlers tank mates can include shrimp, especially larger species like Amano or Cherry shrimp. However, while endlers generally will not eat adult shrimp, they may eat baby shrimp or very small shrimp species when kept in the same tank.

What should I do if I have a pregnant endler and endler guppy in the same tank?

If you have a pregnant endler and an endler guppy in the same tank, it's important to provide plenty of hiding spots for the fry. Since these two fish species can interbreed, be aware that you might get hybrid fry. To maintain pure lines, keep different fish species in separate tanks.

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