Care Guide for Endler’s Livebearers – the Guppy’s Little Cousin

Endler’s Livebearers Care Guide – The Guppy’s Little Cousin

Livebearers (or fish that bear live young) like guppies and mollies are always popular fish at pet stores because they’re so colorful and quick to make babies. However, lots of inbreeding has been occurred in order to create specialty colors and that can sometimes result in weaker strains that are not as hardy or long-lived. Therefore, we often recommend Endler’s livebearers as an energetic and entertaining nano fish that is easier for beginners to keep.


What is an Endler’s Livebearer?

Poecilia wingei gets its common name from Dr. John Endler, who rediscovered the species in Venezuela and introduced them into the pet trade. Males reach up to 1 in (2.5 cm), are slim and feature vibrant colors and patterns. Females can grow to 1.8 inches (4.5cm) in length, have a longer abdomen, and are often tannish silver.

The male endler (above) is colorful and slender, whereas the female endler (below) is silvery tan with a rounded abdomen full of babies.

What are the different types of Endler’s livebearers? In this article, we are focusing primarily on purebred Endler’s livebearers or class N endlers, but the care requirements are somewhat similar for Endler hybrids. Endlers and pugpies can be bred together to produce hybrids. Common types of Endler’s livebearers and Endler hybrids include black bar, tiger, cobra, El Silverado, and lime green endlers.

Are Endlers the same as guppies? No, although they are closely related and able to spawn together to create offspring that are fertile. Poecilia wingei can be an Endler’s livebearer. Poecilia reticulata can be a guppy and a hybrid is an Endler guppy.

Endler’s livebearer (left), Endler guppy hybrid (middle), and guppy (right)

Are Endlers good beginner fish? Wild Endlers are already quite colorful and did not require as much line breeding to create beautiful strains. Therefore, we find them to be very hardy beginner fish that are easier to care for than guppies and many other types of livebearers.

How to Set Up an Aquarium for Endlers

When we say the Endler’s livebearer is a hardy species, we mean that they can live in wide range of water parameters that might be considered nonideal for other aquarium fish. For example, you can keep them at room temperature in an aquarium without a heater. They are tolerant of pH levels ranging from 6.5-8.5 and nearly any water hardness (or GH). Of course, this is not to say that you can completely neglect their husbandry because like any fish, they can be prone to bacterial and fungal infections if the pH becomes too acidic or the nitrate level is extremely high. If you take care of your fish tank as you would any other fish, they will be very friendly and will give you many babies.

How many Endlers are allowed in a 5-gallon aquarium? We recommend getting larger tanks for the large number of fry they will produce. For a 10-gallon aquarium, start with a trio of one male and two females. For a 20-gallon aquarium, buy six to nine of them. It doesn’t take many Endlers in order to grow your population. All you need is the right environment with no predators.

How many Endlers are needed? They prefer to be with their own species and feel more at home together. We recommend that one male be kept for every 2-3 females due to their intense desire for mating. This will give the girls a break from the constant attention of the boys.

Males are tireless when it comes to courting females, so aim to get more females so that they are not constantly being pursued.

What kind of fish can live with Endlers and what fish are they compatible with? Endlers get along with most peaceful community fish, but not enough to eat them. You can add African dwarf frogs to the mix if you feel the Endler population is out of control.

What Does Endler’s Livebearers Eating?

The good news is that they are not picky eaters and will consume anything small enough to fit in their mouths, such as flakes, pellets, Repashy gel food, and daphnia. They are great at scavenging for food all over the aquarium, both at the water surface and substrate level, and have even been known to pick at algae if they’re hungry enough. Keep in mind that they need to be fed a variety foods to get the nutrients they need to grow strong coloration and boost their immunity system.

How to Breed Endler’s Livebearers

If you have good food and clean water, your babies will start to appear around 23-30 days depending upon the temperature. The parents are not above eating their own offspring, so to increase the fry survival rate, provide lots of cover in the form of aquarium decorations or dense plants such as water sprite, wisteria, Pogostemon stellatus, and guppy grass. Also, make sure to use a sponge filter or cover the intake of your filter with a pre-filter sponge to prevent the babies from getting sucked up. When they reach a length of 0.5-1 in (1.3-2.5cm), you can either sell them to your local fish shop or give them to friends who are just starting to fish keep.

Baby Endler’s livebearers are usually not very bright at first, so they blend in with the surroundings and can escape predation.

Endler’s Livebearers make excellent pets for hobbyists new and old. They are easy to care for, have amazing colors, and have lively personalities. Our list of recommended vendors has more information about where to purchase live fish online.