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Livebearers / Poeciliidae / Pike Top Minnow

Pike Livebearer, Pike Top Minnow
Belonesox belizanus

Synonyms: None
Physical description: 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/Length: Females to 9" (23 cm); males to 4" (10 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Central America; inhabits still marshes and lakes from Honduras to Southern Mexico
S: top
Aquarium: 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 chemistry: pH 6.8-8.2 (7.5), 10-26 dH (15), 77-86°F (25-30°C). 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).
Social behavior: 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.
Suggested companions: 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.
Breeding techniques: 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.
Breeding potential: 4. Breeding is easy in a large species tank.
Remarks: The Pike Livebearer is the only species of the genus Belonesox.
Difficulty of care: 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
Synonyms: Gambusia lineolata, G. poecilioides, Limia lineolata, L. poecilioides, Mollienisia latipinna, Poecilia lineolata, P. multilineata
Physical description: 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/Length: Males to 4" (10 cm), females to 4.7" (12 cm)
Similar species: Pacific Mexican Molly ( P. butleri); Mexican Sailfin Molly ( P. velifera ); Mexican Molly (P. mexicana)
Habitat: Inhabits coastal marshes and river estuaries in fresh, brackish, and even salt water. North America; from Virginia to Northern Mexico.
S: middle, top
Aquarium: 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 chemistry: pH 7.0-8.5 (7.8), 20-38 dH (30), 70-79°F (21-26°C). 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).
Social behavior: 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.
Suggested companions: 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.
Breeding techniques: 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.
Breeding potential: 4. Breeding is fairly easy.
Remarks: Black and Albino color forms are available. This species spawns with P. velifera and prodcues hybrids. This species can be kept in a marine tank after a period of acclimation.
Difficulty of care: 3. This hardy species requires frequent partial water changes to prosper.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com