Endler’s Livebearer: A Guide to Care and Breeding

Endler’s livebearers (Poecilia wingei) are a vibrant and eye-catching freshwater fish species that many aquarists, regardless of experience level, have come to enjoy. With their beautiful colors and patterns, it’s no wonder they’ve gained popularity in the world of aquariums.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the captivating world of Endler’s livebearers and provide you with a thorough care guide. By the end of it, you’ll have everything you need to make sure your new fishy friends thrive in their aquatic oasis. So let’s jump right in and get to know this wonderful species!

Species Profile

Endler’s Livebearer, also known as Poecilia wingei, is a beautiful and vibrant freshwater fish species that can be a wonderful addition to your aquarium. These fish are peaceful, entertaining, and suitable for beginner aquarists due to their easy care requirements. Their attractive colors and patterns make them a popular choice among fish enthusiasts.

Here’s a table with essential information you should know about Endler’s Livebearer:

Property Endler’s Livebearer
Scientific name Poecilia wingei
Common names Endler’s Livebearer
Distribution Venezuela
Size Males: up to 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Diet Flake, dried foods, live, or frozen small foods
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum tank size 30cm
Temperature 22°C – 28°C
pH 7.0 – 8.5
Water hardness Soft to very hard
Care level Easy
Filtration/Water Flow Moderate
Water type Freshwater
Breeding Livebearer
Breeding difficulty Easy
Compatibility Community aquariums

Remember to provide a suitable environment for your Endler’s Livebearer, matching the water parameters, tank size, and tank mates according to their needs. In this way, you can enjoy the beauty and activity of these engaging fish in your aquarium.

Endler’s Livebearer Basics

Origins and Natural Habitat

Endler’s livebearers (Poecilia wingei) are small, colorful freshwater fish native to Venezuela. They can be found specifically in the Campoma and Cumana regions of the state of Sucre. These fish inhabit shallow, slow-moving waters with plenty of vegetation.

Size and Shape

Endler’s livebearers are small fish, typically reaching a maximum size of about 1 inch. They possess a streamlined body shape, allowing them to navigate their dense aquatic environments with ease. Males tend to be smaller and slimmer than females, which helps them to display their vibrant colors during courtship.

Color and Markings

One of the most striking features of Endler’s livebearers is their vibrant coloration. Males display a wide array of colors, including black, green, orange, and red. These colors are often arranged in intricate patterns, adding to their allure. Females, on the other hand, are usually more subdued in color, tending towards shades of gray and silver.


With proper care, Endler’s livebearers can live up to 2-3 years in captivity. To ensure the health and longevity of these fish, it’s essential to provide them with an appropriate tank environment, a balanced diet, and compatible tank mates. Regular monitoring of water parameters and maintaining good tank hygiene is also crucial for their survival and well-being.

Diet and Feeding

Endler’s livebearers (Poecilia wingei) have a diverse appetite, making feeding them a manageable task. As small omnivorous fish, they’ll enjoy a variety of foods. Your main focus should be on providing a balanced diet for these active swimmers.

Flake food is a suitable option for their dietary requirements, which should be high-quality and specifically formulated for tropical fish. You can also offer frozen or freeze-dried foods such as brine shrimp and daphnia. These types of food help to enhance their vibrant colors and overall health.

In addition to store-bought options, you can provide live foods like fruit flies or bloodworms occasionally. This not only supplements their diet but also encourages their natural hunting instincts.

Remember to feed your Endler’s livebearers small portions two to three times a day, ensuring they can finish their meal within a few minutes. This way, you avoid overfeeding and maintaining a clean tank environment for your fish to thrive.

Behavior and Temperament

Endler’s livebearers (Poecilia wingei) are social, peaceful fish that are easy to care for and make a great addition to a community aquarium. They generally get along well with other similarly sized, peaceful tank mates. You’ll find them to be highly active and always on the move, which can make for an entertaining display.

These small fish have a curious nature and enjoy exploring their environment. Providing a variety of plants, rocks, and hiding spaces can help keep them engaged and content in your aquarium. Keep in mind that Endler’s livebearers are also fast swimmers, so make sure they have ample space to dart around in your tank.

In summary, Endler’s livebearers are friendly, active fish that can make a wonderful addition to your aquarium, provided you maintain suitable tank conditions and appropriate tank mates.

Care and Tank Requirements

In this section, we’ll cover the essential aspects of caring for your Endler’s livebearers and setting up their aquarium environment.

Tank Size

When setting up a tank for your Endler’s livebearers, it’s essential to provide adequate space for them to thrive. The minimum tank size for Endlers is 5-10 gallons. However, it’s recommended to go bigger due to the number of fry they produce. For a 10-gallon aquarium, start with a trio of one male and two females, while for a 20-gallon aquarium, you can have six to nine of them.

Water Parameters (Temperature and pH)

Endler’s livebearers are adaptable, but it’s best to maintain stable water parameters for their well-being. They thrive in warm and hard water, where:

  • Temperature: Keep the water temperature within the range of 72°F to 79°F (22°C to 26°C).
  • pH: Maintain a pH level of around 7.0 to 8.5.

Tank Setup and Decorations

Recreating their natural habitat is always a good idea for fish to feel comfortable in their new home. For Endler’s livebearers, you can:

  • Set up a densely planted tank with various aquatic plants, which offer cover for the fish and their fry.
  • Include hiding spots such as caves, driftwood, and rock formations.
  • Add a layer of fine to medium-grain substrate for optimal plant growth.

Filtration and Aeration

To maintain a clean and healthy environment for your Endler’s livebearers, you should ensure proper filtration and aeration within the tank. Here are some guidelines:

  • Use a reliable filter that provides mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. A sponge filter or a hang-on-back (HOB) filter will work well for this purpose.
  • Keep the water flow gentle to moderate, as Endler’s livebearers prefer a calm environment. An adjustable flow rate filter can help you achieve this.
  • Attach an air stone or an air pump to promote oxygenation, which is beneficial for both your fish and the live plants in the tank.

By following these guidelines and closely monitoring your Endler’s livebearers, you’ll be able to provide them with a comfortable and healthy living environment.

Suitable Tank Mates

When setting up a tank for your Endler’s livebearers, it’s essential to consider their compatibility with other fish species. Since they are small and unable to defend themselves effectively, you should avoid including aggressive fish in the tank. Instead, opt for similarly sized and docile species for a peaceful and harmonious aquatic environment.

Some aquarists prefer to keep Endler’s livebearers in single-species tanks due to their rarity and unique genetics. Additionally, Poecilia wingei can interbreed with guppies, potentially affecting the offspring’s genetics. Therefore, maintaining genetic purity is a priority for many fishkeepers.

Suitable tank mates for your Endler’s livebearers include:

  • Neon Tetra
  • Glass Fish
  • Bolivian Ram Cichlid
  • White Cloud Minnow
  • Zebra Danio
  • Cory Catfish
  • Otocinclus
  • Honey Gourami
  • Betta Fish

By carefully selecting the tank mates for your Endler’s livebearers, you’ll create a beautiful and thriving aquatic environment that allows them to showcase their stunning colors and coexist harmoniously with their tank mates.

Breeding Process

Breeding Endler’s livebearers is quite simple, especially if you have prior experience with guppies. These fish breed naturally and continuously, so it’s essential to have more females than males in the tank. This allows females time to recover between spawnings.

Females give birth to live, fully-formed fish rather than eggs and can produce up to 30 fry at once. Once born, the fry will sink to the bottom of the tank and consume their yolk sac. To ensure the survival of the fry, it’s crucial to separate them from the adults, as Endler’s livebearers lack parental instincts and may eat their young.

A heavily planted aquarium will help increase the fry’s survival rate. After birth, you can start feeding the fry with powdered food designed specifically for their needs. Within a week or two, they can graduate to eating baby brine shrimp.

Endler’s livebearers mature rapidly, reaching maturity in approximately two months. Male fry will begin to develop their distinct, vibrant coloration at around four to five weeks of age. By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to effectively breed and care for these stunning fish in your aquarium.

Common Diseases and Treatments

Endler’s livebearers, like any other fish, can experience health issues. Some common ailments you might encounter with your fish include the shimmies, wasting disease, and body fungus. Here’s how to deal with these problems:

  • The shimmies: If you notice your fish exhibiting unusual swimming patterns or shaking, this could be the shimmies. It can be caused by poor water quality. To treat this, check and adjust your tank’s pH levels, temperature, and ensure proper filtration.

  • Wasting disease: This disease can result in emaciation and lethargy in your fish. It could be due to parasites or poor nutrition. Addressing the root cause by feeding a balanced diet or adding a parasite treatment can help in recovery.

  • Body fungus: White cotton-like growths on your fish indicate a fungus infection. To treat body fungus, use antifungal medications and make sure to maintain optimal water conditions in your tank.

Remember to always monitor your tank’s water parameters and maintain a clean and healthy environment for your Endler’s livebearers. Early detection and treatment of diseases go a long way in ensuring their well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do Endler’s livebearers eat?

Endler’s livebearers have a diverse diet and can eat a variety of foods. You can feed them high-quality flakes, small pellets, or even live or frozen foods like brine shrimp and daphnia. Make sure to provide a balanced diet for your Endler’s livebearers to ensure their health and well-being.

Are guppies and Endlers the same thing?

Although they are often mistaken for each other, guppies and Endlers are not the same thing. They both belong to the family Poeciliidae, but Endler’s livebearers are a separate species (Poecilia wingei) and are sometimes called Endler’s Guppy or Cumana Guppy.

Are Endlers hardier than guppies?

Yes, Endlers are generally considered to be hardier than guppies. They can adapt to a wider range of water conditions and are less prone to diseases. This makes them a great choice for beginner aquarists or those looking for a more low-maintenance fish.

How many livebearers should be kept together?

Endler’s livebearers feel more comfortable in a group of their own kind and should not be kept alone. For a 20-gallon tank, you can start with six to nine fish. This will help them to socialize and feel more secure in their environment.

Are Endlers schooling fish?

While they are not strictly schooling fish, Endler’s livebearers do enjoy swimming in groups and will display unique social behaviors. Providing them with a group of their own kind will create a more natural and comfortable environment for them.

What is the ideal tank size for Endler’s livebearers?

The ideal tank size for Endler’s livebearers depends on the number of fish you plan on keeping. A 10-gallon tank is suitable for a small group of Endlers, but a 20-gallon tank or larger is recommended for a more substantial group and to provide ample swimming space for these active fish.