TROPICAL FISH | CONTACT |  FACEBOOK |  TWITTER | DONATE


LIVEBEARERS



POECILIIDAE FAMILY
The Poeciliidae or Livebearing tooth-carp family originated from North, Central, and South America, but now can be found worldwide, as they have been introduced for mosquito control. The fish of the Poeciliidae Family are the best-known of all aquarium fish due to their relative ease of keep, and the many colorful, cultivated varietie available.
Live-bearers are highly developed on an evolutionary scale, and their adaption gives their live young an advantage over egg-laying species. The genera of Poeciliidae that are most commonly kept in aquaria are Belonesox, Limia, Poecilia , and Xiphophorus .
SIZE :Livebearing toothcarps are generally small to medium size, from 1.5-5" (4-13 cm) in length. An exception is the Pike Livebearer which can reach 9" (23 cm)
S: Most species swim in the middle water levels.
TANK :The required tank size varies according to the species, although usually a 20" (51 cm) tank is sufficient. Most species like a well-planted tank with open swimming areas. A cover of floating plants is suggested to serve as protection for the fry.
WATER :Most species prefer a pH from 7-8, a water hardness from 8-18 dH, and a temperature from 70-77F (21-25C). Many species prefer the addition of a small amount of salt.
SB :For the most part, Livebearing toothcarps are peaceful fish that are suitable for community tanks. Combine one male with several females. Do not make the mistake of combining livebearers with fish that require soft, acidic water.
FOOD :Livebearers readily eat a variety of foods including live, vegetable, and flake.
SEX:Males possess a modified anal fin known as a gonopodium which is pointed unlike the "fin-shaped" anal fin of the females.
B :Livebearers are well-known for their prolific breeding. This may be true, but raising the young is not always so easy because the parents are cannibalistic. In a bare tank, all the young will likely be eaten. In a heavily planted tank with an abundance of food, some young usually survive. Alternatives to using a heavily planted tank include using a breeding trap or placing the female in a tank of her own, feeding her while she is releasing the young, and removing her after she is finished.
BP :Breeding is usually easy.
R :Livebearers have the ability to deliver several batches of young from a single fertilization from a male. This process is known as superfetation.

Pike Livebearer, Pike Top Minnow [
Belonesox belizanus
SYN : None
PD : An elongated species with a flat-back profile. The lower jaw is longer than the upper,and turned up towards the water surface. The eye is large and the dorsal fin is located far back on the body. The back is light brown to olive and the flanks are darker with a greenish iridescence. On the flanks are a series of small black spots that often form a broken line. The belly is yellowish white. At the base of the caudal fin is a dark spot. The fins are otherwise colorless.
SIZE : Females to 9" (23 cm); males to 4" (10 cm)
SS : None
HAB : Central America; inhabits still marshes and lakes from Honduras to Southern Mexico
S: top
TANK : A tank measuring 40" (101 cm) with a capacity of 45-55 gallons is sufficient(170-209 l). The tank should be heavily planted with a partial cover of floating plants. Leave open swimming areas and use a tight-fitting cover. The filter should be strong but create little current.
WATER : pH 6.8-8.2 (7.5), 10-26 dH (15), 77-86F (25-30C). Suggest a 1-1.5% addition of salt. This can be accomplished by adding 7.5-11 TSP. of slat to every 10 gallons (10-15 g/10 L).
SB : A predatory species that will feed on smaller fish. Keep in a species tank or combine with other large species. Older fish become more aggressive with age. A shy fish that at first hides among plants.
SC : Cichlasomines species, large Xiphophorus sp (over 4.7" or 12 cm in length), Loricarids, Doradids.
FOOD : Live; fish, earthworms, insects, insect larvae , crustaceans; beef heart; occasionally pellets.
SEX: Female is significantly larger and lack the gonopodium of the male.
B : Spawning is easiest with the addition of salt. As many as 120 live young are born. These measure from 0.5" to 1" (1.3-2.5 cm) in length, depending on the size and condition of the female. The female will not each the young, although they should be removed to a rearing tank of their own. The young grow quickly when fed on a diet of Cyclops and Artemia , and frequent partial water changes are administered. The young can later be fed small guppies. The young must be frequently sorted for size so cabalism does not occur.
BP : 4. Breeding is easy in a large species tank.
R : The Pike Livebearer is the only species of the genus Belonesox .
DC : 6. This predatory livebearer is best kept in a species tank. It requires a diet of live foods, and proper water conditions should be maintained.

Sailfin Molly [
Poecilia latipinna
SYN : Gambusialineolata, G. poecilioides, Limia lineolata, L. poecilioides, Mollienisia latipinna, Poecilia lineolata, P. multilineata
PD : The Sailfin Molly is an elongated, laterally compressed fish with a large, elaborate dorsal fin. The snout and mouth are turned upwards toward the water surface. The male has a large dorsal fin or sailfin which is brownish-red with iridescent spots. The flanks are brownish-red to olive-green with small iridescent scales. The lower parts may have a violet iridescence. Six to seven transverse markings mark the rear parts of the body. The caudal fin is body-colored with three to five rows of iridescent scales. The colors of this species are highly variable.
SIZE : Males to 4" (10 cm), females to 4.7" (12 cm)
SS : Pacific Mexican Molly ( P. butleri ); Mexican Sailfin Molly ( P. velifera ); Mexican Molly ( P.mexicana )
HAB : Inhabits coastal marshes and river estuaries in fresh, brackish, and even salt water. North America; from Virginia to Northern Mexico .
S: middle, top
TANK : A tank measuring 36" (91 cm), with a volume of 35-45 gallons (132-170 L) is suggested. Use a strong filtration system as this species is a voracious eater. Follow suggestions for P. velifera.
WATER : pH 7.0-8.5 (7.8), 20-38 dH (30), 70-79F (21-26C). A 0.5-3% addition of salt is suggested by some, although unnecessary. Mix 4-23 TSP. of salt for every 10 gallons (5-30 g/10 L).
SB : A peaceful community fish that can be combined with a variety of other fish that can tolerate an addition of salt. Keep one male with several females. Parents consume their young.
SC : peaceful Cichlasomines, other livebearers, Corydoras , Rainbowfish, Loricarids.
FOOD : Algae; live; worms, crustaceans, insects, insect larvae ; plant matter; vegetable matter; flakes; pellets
SEX: The male is slightly smaller, more colorful, and has a tall dorsal fin (sailfin). Females lack a gonopodium.
B :Use a heavily planted tank or a spawning trap as the parents quickly devour their young. The gestation period is 8-10 weeks and each labor produces 15-70 young. The fry measure about 0.5" (1.3 cm) and can be fed Artemia nauplii and crushed flake foods.
BP : 4. Breeding is fairly easy.
R : Black and Albino color forms are available. This species spawns with P. velifera and produces hybrids. This species can be kept in a marine tank after a period of acclimation.
DC : 3. This hardy species requires frequent partial water changes to prosper.

Guppy, Millions fish
[
Poecilia reticulata
SYN : Acanthocephalus guppii, A. reticulatus, Girardinus guppii, G. poeciloides, G. reticulatus, Haridichthys reticulatus, Heterandria guppyi, Lebistes poecilioide, L. reticulatus, Poecilia poeciloides, Poecilioides reticulatus
PD : The guppy is an elongated fish that is available in many different color and pattern variations. The mouth is up-turned and the head is small. Males are smaller, but they have a large, colorful tail. The larger females are plainer in color and have a smaller tail. The wild caught form is smaller and is less colorful than the widely available selectively-bred forms. The color, tail size, and pattern vary greatly on what variety the fish is.
SIZE : Females to 2.8" (7 cm), males smaller
SS : None
HAB : Still and slow moving water on Caribbean coast of Venezuela , Trinidad, and Barbados,often in brackish water. Now usually bred in Singapore and United States. Introduced into Asia and Africa in an effort to control mosquito population.
S: middle, top
TANK : A tank measuring 16" (41 cm) with a capacity of 5 gallons (19 L) is adequate for a pair. The tank should be well planted, and a cover of floating plants is suggested to provide a refuge for young.
WATER : pH 7-8.5 (7.0), 10-30 dH (20), 64-84F (18-29C). A 0.5 to 2% addition of salt is recommended. This can be accomplished by adding 4-15 TSP. of salt to every 10 gallons of water (5-20 g/10 l).
SB : The selectively bred guppies are clumsy swimmers which cannot escape predators or fin-nipping species. Thus it is important to avoid combining the guppy with other than peaceful fish. Otherwise the guppy is a good community fish, except that it prefers some salt to be added to the water. Keep one male with several females.
SC : Corydoras , Platies, Mollies, Loricarids, tetras tolerant of hard, alkaline water
FOOD : Live; worms, insects, insect larvae , crustaceans; flakes
SEX: The male is smaller, more colorful and has a larger tail. Males also have a gonopodium, a pointed anal fin. The female is larger and when pregnant, has dark spot on abdomen
B : Male constantly tries to mate with the female, so more than one female should be provided so as one is not to become exhausted. The gestation period is 4-6 weeks and the female give birth to 10-100 young. The parents chase young and will eat them. Use a breeding trap or well planted breeding aquarium. Some young usually survive in sparsely populated tank with lots of plants. The young can be raised with crushed flakes and Artemia nauplii.
BP : 1. A prolific, easily bred species. Young may be found in the bag on the way home from the aquarium store.
R :The Guppy has been subjected to a great deal of selective breeding, which has produced many different color patterns and tail shapes. Due to the elaborate caudal fin, produced by selective breeding, male guppies are not skillful swimmers. The wild, unimproved forms are usually only sold as food. Males become sexually mature as early as two months old, while females take about three months. The wild form is much hardier than the domesticated breeds.
DC : 1 (wild form). A peaceful, hardy species that requires an addition of salt.
4 (domesticated varieties). These are less hardy than the robust wild form.

Short-finned Molly, Pointed-mouth Molly [
Poecilia sphenops
SYN : Mollienisia sphenops is the most common among more than 40 synonyms known.
PD : An elongated, laterally compressed fish with a pointed snout. The caudal fin is fan-shaped. The color is highly variable ranging from the black molly to orange and blue forms. The feral form has an olive-green back and bluish flanks. The flanks are spotted with orange spots, and the belly region is orange. The iris of the eye is blue. The fins are brownish.
SIZE : Females to 4.7" (12 cm), males to 3.2" (8 cm)
SS :Mexican Molly ( P. mexicana )
HAB : In fresh and brackish water in coastal areas from Mexico to Columbia.
S: middle, top
TANK : A 32" (80 cm) or 30 gallons (114 L) is suitable for adults. Young can be kept in smaller tanks. The tank should be well-planted with plants and add floating plants to serve as a retreat for young. Use wood and rocks for hiding places and use a bright light to increase algae growth.
WATER : pH 7.0-8.5 (7.6), 12-30 dH (20), 70-82F (21-28C). A 0.5-1.5% addition of salt can be used,although this is not required. This can be accomplished by adding 4-11 TSP. of salt to every 10 gallons (5-15 g/10 L).
SB : This peaceful species can be combined in a community tank with other species that can tolerate hard, neutral to alkaline water. Best to keep one male to several females.
SC : Xiphophorus,Poecilia, Corydoras , Gouramis, Loricarids, tetras tolerant of hard,alkaline water.
FOOD : Algae; live; worms, crustaceans, insects, insect larvae ; plant matter; vegetable matter; flakes; pellets
SEX: The male is slightly smaller, more colorful, and has a pointed anal fin (gonopodium).
B : As for other livebearers. As many as 120 young are born after a gestation period of eight weeks. Protect the young from the parents for they will be consumed.
BP : 4. An easily bred species.
R : This species was originally crossed with P. latipinna to produce a more disease-resistant black molly. Several different color morphs are available.
DC : 2. A robust species recommended for beginner's community tanks. 4. The Black Molly is less hardy, and requires warmer water temperatures from 77-84F (25-29C). The Black Molly requires well maintained water and rarely lives longer than three years in captivity. Frequent partial water changes are essential for the health of all morphs.

Mexican Sailfin Molly, Yucatan Sailfin Molly, Green Molly, Sailfin Molly [
Poecilia velifera
SYN : Mollienisiavelifera
PD : The Mexican Sailfin Molly is an elongated, laterally compressed fin with a large, elaborate dorsal fin. The snout and mouth are turned upwards toward the water surface. The male has a large dorsal fin or sailfin which is orange to blue with iridescent spots. The sides of the male are bluish green to orange and covered with small shimmering scales that are multi-colored. The coloring is highly variable.
SIZE : Males to 6" (15 cm), Females to 6.5" (17 cm)
SS : Pacific Mexican Molly ( P. butleri ); Sailfin Molly ( P. latipinna ); Mexican Molly ( P. mexicana ); Black Molly, Sphenop Molly, Molly ( P. sphenops )
HAB : In fresh and brackish water in river estuaries and coastal areas of the Yucatan Peninsula,Mexico.
S: middle, top
TANK : A tank measuring 36" (90 cm) with a volume of 35 to 45 gallons (132-170 L) is adequate for adults, although larger tanks are preferred. Young can be kept in smaller tanks. The tank should be well-planted and have lots of open swimming area so that the sailfin of the male can develop. The tank should have strong lighting and the growth of algae should be encouraged. A cover of floating plants is suggested to serve as refuge for the fry.
WATER : pH 7.0-8.5 (7.8), 12-38 dH (30), 72-82F (22-28C). A 0.5-3% addition of salt is suggested,although unnecessary after a period of acclimation. Mix 4-23 TSP. of salt for every 10 gallons (5-30 g/10 L).
SB : A peaceful, community fish. Keep one male with several females. This fish should be combined with fish that can also tolerate hard, neutral to alkaline water. After acclimation, fish may be kept in a marine tank.
SC : Gouramis, other livebearers, peaceful cichlids, Corydoras, Orange Chromide
FOOD : Algae; live; worms, crustaceans, insects, insect larvae ; plant matter; vegetable matter; flakes; pellets
SEX: The male is more colorful with a tall sail-like dorsal fin. Males also possess a gonopodium.
B : The gestation period of the female is four to eight weeks. Usually the number of young range from 25-60, although large females can produce as many as 200 at one time. Protect the fry fry the parents.
BP : 5. Breeding is moderately difficult for a livebearer.
R : An overcrowded tank will lead to stunted growth and the male may not develop their beautiful sailfin. There are several color variations including the Albino, Black, Red, and Green hybrids. Often P. velifera and P.latipinna crosses are sold. The only way to distinguish P. velifera from P. latipinna is that P. velifera has 18-19 rays on its dorsal fin, while P. latipinna only has 14.
DC :6. This species is more sensitive than other Mollies, and regular water changes are essential for maintaining healthy fish. Favorable conditions are necessary for the development of the stunning sailfin of male fish.

Swordtail [
Xiphophorus helleri
SYN : Mollienisiahelleri , Xiphophorus brevis , X. jalapae , X. rachovii , X. strigatus
PD : The Swordtail is an elongated species with a slender body. Males possess a characteristic, sword-like appendage formed by the lower rays of the caudal fin. The original form imported to the hobby has an olive green back with greenish-yellow flanks. A reddish stripe, bordered by greenish areas, extends from the the snout to the caudal fin. The fins are greenish, while the sword is variable. Most Swordtails available today differ in coloration do to years of selective breeding.
SIZE : Males to 4" (10 cm), females to 4.7" (12 cm)
SS : Other Xiphophorus species
HAB : Occurs in a wide range of habitats in Central America; Mexico , Guatemala , Belize,and Honduras .
S: all
TANK : A tank measuring 20" (50 cm) with a capacity of 10 gallons (38 L) is only suitable for young fish under 2.8" (7 cm) in length. If adult fish are kept in a tank this size, aggressive tensions maybe present. A 28" (71 cm) tank with a volume from 20-25 gallons (76-95 L) is more suitable. Leave open swimming areas and use planting along the back and edges of the tank. A cover of floating plants can be used to provide refuge for fry.
WATER : pH 7.0-8.3 (7.3), 10-30 dH (15), 68-82F (20-28C)
SB : A fish recommended for a community tank having fish that can tolerate neutral to alkaline water conditions. Older individuals, especially males, will become combative in cramped conditions. It is best to keep one male with two or three females.
SC : Colisa , Trichogaster , other Xiphophorus , Corydoras , loricarids, tetras tolerant of hard water
FOOD : Flake; small pellets; live; worms, crustaceans, insects, insect larvae .
SEX: Males are smaller, possess a gonopodium, and have a sword-like appendage on the caudal fin.
B : After a gestation period of four to six weeks, the mother gives birth to 50-120 young. Suggest separating the pregnant female from other fish. The fry are eagerly consumed by the parents and other fish. The fry measure about 0.3" (8 mm) when they are born, and grow quickly.
BP : 3. An easily bred fish, although the young are hard to protect unless a breeding trap or other means of refuge is used.
R : Many different color morphs are available including red, green, red-eyed, albino, neon,Lyre-tail, Wag tail, Simpson, and the Tuxedo. Besides these many cultivated forms, there are a number of separate wild populations with varying colors and patterns. Swordtails are known for undergoing "sex-reversals," when females appear to become males. This occurs most commonly to to five months after birth and in old females. When this change occurs early in life, a male is simply going through late development. Sometimes old females develop male characteristics after they are no longer fertile.
DC : 1. Swordtails are fish that are suitable for a beginner's community tank.

Platy, Moonfish [
Xiphophorus maculatus
SYN : Platypoecilusmaculatus , P. nigra, P. pruba , P. pulchra
PD : A laterally compressed fish with and upturned mouth. The body may be elongated and the caudal fin in generally fan-shaped. The original form had a dark brown-olive back with bluish flanks. The flanks are often marked with two to five transverse stripes. The belly is whitish. Most Platies now available are selectively produced.
SIZE : Males to 1.5" (4 cm), females to 2.3" (6 cm)
SS : Other Xiphophorus species
HAB : Inhabits rivers on the Atlantic slope of Central America; Mexico , Belize, Guatemala , Honduras
S: middle
TANK : A tank measuring 20" (51 cm) with a capacity of 10 gallons (38 L) is suggested. Use well-planted areas and maybe a cover of floating plants to serve as refuge for fry.
WATER : pH 7-8.3 (7.4), 10-28 dH (18); 68-79F (20-26C)
SB : A peaceful community fish. Adults may consume fry, although not as often as other Xiphophorus species.
SC : Poecilia , Colisa , Corydoras , tetras which can tolerate harder, more alkaline water, Loricarids.
FOOD : Flakes; small pellets; occasionally algae; live; insects, insect larvae , worms, brine shrimp
SEX: Males are smaller with a gonopodium.
B : This species is sexually mature at four months. As many as 80 fry are born after a gestation period of four to six weeks. The fry should be protected from the adults.
BP : 2. An easily bred species.
R : There are numerous cultivated varieties available: Wag tail, red, Moon, blue, Coral,gold, Tuxedo, Mirror, Mickey Mouse, Comet, and black. X. maculatus had been crossed with X. helleri .
DC : 2. A hardy fish suitable for a beginner. If this fish dies, first test the pH to be sure that it is not below 7.0.

Variegated Platy, Variatus Platy [
Xiphophorus variatus
SYN : Platypoecilus maculatus dorsalis , P. variatus , P. variegatus
PD : An elongated fish with a fan-shaped caudal fin. The back is slightly arched, and the belly is full. The body coloration is variable, even on the original strain. Usually the flanks are yellowish too range, to bluish with black spots. The dorsal fin is generally yellow and the caudal fin is red. Females are generally less colorful.
SIZE : Males to 2" (5 cm), females to 2.7" (7 cm)
SS : Other Xiphophorus species.
HAB : Inhabits shallow, slow-moving rivers in Southern Mexico .
S: middle
TANK : A tank measuring 20" (51 cm) with a capacity of 10 gallons (38 L) is sufficient. Follow suggestions for X. maculatus .
WATER : pH 7-8.3 (7.5), 12-30 dH (16), 68-79F (20-26C)
SB : A peaceful fish recommended for a community tank.
SC : Colisa , Corydoras , Poecilia , Xiphophorus, Loricarids, some tetras tolerant of harder, alkaline water.
FOOD : Flakes; small pellets; algae; live; insects, insect larvae , worms, Brine Shrimp
SEX: Males are smaller with a gonopodium.
B : After a gestation period of four to seven weeks, a female will have 20-150 young. The female should be isolated prior to having the young, and the temperature should be raised to 72-81F (22-27C). Start feeding with crushed flakes and Artemia nauplii. The young are sexually mature at six or seven months.
BP : 2. An easily bred fish.
R : Numerous cultivated varieties are available including the Marigold, Sunset, Black, and High-finned forms.
DC : 1. A robust species suitable for a beginner.


Suggestions
Fish Home | Rain Forest Info | Travel Images | Mongabay Home


By Rhett Butler







FISH

Preface
Introduction
Fish Anatomy
Water Chemistry
The Aquarium
Plant Care
Plant Species
Food
Disease
Biotope Aquaria
   Ecosystems
   Country Database
Breeding Fish
Aquarium Photos


Fish Species
   Catfish
   Characins
   Cichlids
   Cyprinds
   Killifish
   Labyrinth Fish
   Livebearers
   Loaches
   Others
   Perches
   Rainbowfish
Non-fish Species


Languages
   Chinese
   Croatian
   Finnish
   German
   Japanese
   Portuguese
   Spanish
Bibliography
Links
Resources
MONGABAY.COM

About
Contact
Newsletter
Environmental news
Rainforests
Books
Rainforests for Kids
Madagascar
Environmental news






what's new | tropical fish home | rainforests | news | search | about | contact

Copyright Rhett Butler 1994-2013

If you find errors, such as outdated scientific names, please feel free to send corrections to us.