Endler’s livebearer (Poecilia wingei)

Endler guppy or Endler’s livebearer (lat. Poecilia wingei) is a very good-looking fish and a close relative of common guppy fish. It has become famous due to its small size, peaceful temper, appealing appearance, and unpretentiousness. Despite that this kind has quite recently become available to aquarists, its tiny size, bright coloring, and demandingness have made the fish popular. Let’s study it in detail.

Habitat in the wild

South America is Poecilia wingei natural habitat. First, this fish was discovered by Franklyn F. Bond in 1937 in Lagoa dos Patos on the North Coast of the continent, on the North of Venezuela. Unfortunately, this endemic species didn’t attract any interest among the scientists, and for some unknown reasons, it was considered extinct for a long time. However, 40 years later, this species was discovered again by Prof. John Endler, who described it.

Initially, the water in Lagoa dos Patos was brackish because some time ago, it was part of the sea. However, as time went on, it was separated from the ocean by a sand mound that turned the lagoon into a salt-water lake. For many years salty water was being diluted with precipitations such as rain until it became a freshwater lake.

We should mention that there is still no agreement for Poecilia wingei and common guppy (Poecilia reticulata) scientific classification. Some scientists consider these fishes to be treated as the same species because they get fertile offspring after interbreeding these two fishes. Another fact that supports their point of view is that the natural habitat of both fishes partially coincides. Nevertheless, nowadays, Endler’s guppy and common guppy are still considered to be different species.

What is the most interesting, it’s that despite the partial coincidence of their natural habitat, no distant hybridization between these species has occurred? This can be explained very easily: biotopes where common guppy and Endler’s guppy dwell are different. Common guppy prefers relatively strong and chilly water flow, and Endler prefers warm and lentic habitats.

The natural habitat is quite small. Due to active human activity, these species are endangered and are very likely to become extinct.

For some reason, the fish kind hasn’t been included in the international endangered species list. At the same time, its natural population is doomed to disappear due to disposal sites approved by local authorities located along dos Patos that pollute local waters. The natural fish population has remained only in one of four lakes where earlier it was found. Doctor Endler, who was the first to describe this guppy kind, considered that they inhabit other waters within the territory, including the area where the peninsula joins with the continent. However, none of these were found.

Description

This fish’s distinctive feature is its tiny size – male isn’t larger than 1 inch (2–2,5 cm), female fish can grow up to 1.4 inches long (3,5 cm). The female fish coloring is sole-colored with golden or silvery tint. Behind its abdomen, there is a small spot, which indicates that they have some embryos inside.

Due to long-term selective breeding programs, some Endler’s guppy breeds, which you won’t encounter in the wild. Gold Endler guppy has a very interesting coloring – a golden body of the fish male has small red spots on it and an emerald-green spot near its tail. The edges of its tail fin are red as well, and it is transparent in the middle.

One of the most beautiful colors of Endler fish is japan blue. The fish body and tail are light-blue with a black spot on the body side, and the head is silvery colored.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to describe all existing Endler fish types. Here is the list of the most popular colorings and kinds:

  • black bar endler’s livebearer
  • el silverado endler’s livebearer
  • french blue star endler’s livebearer
  • el tigre endler’s livebearer
  • sunburst cobra endler’s livebearer
  • yellow tiger endler’s livebearer
  • french blue star endler’s livebearer
  • golden endler’s livebearer
  • emerald endler’s livebearer
  • kohaku koi endler’s livebearer
  • japan blue double sword endler’s livebearer
  • white peacock endler’s livebearer
  • high orange endler’s livebearer
  • japan yellow endler’s livebearer
  • el silverado endler’s livebearer
  • gold el silverado endler’s livebearer
  • multicolor endler’s livebearer
  • shocking pink endler’s livebearer
  • sky blue endler’s livebearer
  • red lace micariff endler’s livebearer
  • cobra endler’s livebearer
  • highfin endler’s livebearer
  • koi endler’s livebearer
  • red endler’s livebearer
  • lime green endler’s livebearer

Difficulties in keeping

These tiny fishes are extremely easy to keep. They prefer dwelling in a school, and for a home tank, you should get two or three fish couples. A small tank will be enough for them, and they are not demanding in terms of tank water parameters.

They are very active; therefore you should buy several couples at once. Also, if you don’t want to get some mixed offspring later, don’t put different species in one tank. It’s possible to keep only various species of male fish in the same tank.

Another thing you should keep in mind is the proper ratio of male and female fish in the tank (1:3 or 1:2). Otherwise, the male fish will haunt the female fish all the time, and this negatively affects the health of the latter.

Care and keeping in a tank

Scientific NamePoecilia wingei
FamilyPoeciliidae
Common NameEndler’s livebearer, Endler’s guppy, endler fish, endlers
Ease of keepingEasy
Lifespan2 years and more
Tank size40 liters (8.8 gallons) and more
TemperamentPeaceful
Tank typeCommunity of fishes
DietOmnivorous
Temperature72°F- 78°F (22 to 26 °C)
pH6.7-8.5
Water hardness9–25 dGH
SizeFemales up to 1.4 inches (3,5 cm)

Lifespan

As for the fish lifespan in a tank, it varies from 1 to 2 years. Often the females live about 6-12 months longer than males. Tank water temperature is a crucial factor in this respect. The higher is the temperature, the faster are metabolic processes of the fish, which decreases its lifespan correspondingly.

Tank size

Due to their size, dwarf guppy fishes are perfect inhabitants for nano tanks. The best option is a 40 liters tank. However, they will do with a much smaller tank, but considering the idea of keeping them in a school and breeding in the future, it’s better to stick to the initial recommendations. The tank must be covered since the fish may jump out of the water.

Water parameters

Keeping Endler’s guppy in a tank is a very simple thing – the fish isn’t demanding as for tank water parameters. Here are the optimal tank conditions – temperature from 72°F- 78°F (22 to 26 °C), water hardness (dGH) — up to 25°, pH 6.7-8.5. We should mention that keeping Endler’s guppy at a temperature of about 30°C speeds up its metabolism and thus decreases its lifespan.

You should also pay attention to the tank lighting – in case of intensive and long-term illuminating of the tank (more than 12 hours), the fish coloring becomes pale.

Tank setup: decorations and plants

Endler guppy is a schooling fish, and it prefers small tanks with lentic water, thickly planted with various flora. The fish feels very comfortable in tanks with floating plants. The tank should be planted with small-leaved plants, and some areas should be left free for the fish to swim. It’d be good to put some fluctuant species on the water surface. They then become a shelter for Poecilia wingei juveniles.

You can put small pebbles or large grain sand on a tank bottom. Tank plants with small leaves that reach the water surface will be a good choice in this case.

Filtration

To keep the tank clean, a small internal filter not creating a strong water flow is enough. You should renew about 25-30% of the water amount weekly. Since the abrupt change of tank water temperature and quality negatively impacts the fish males’ fins, it’s desirable to perform water renew often, but in small amounts.

Feeding

In the wild, Endler’s guppy diet includes various food such as maggots, small worms, and algae. In a tank, you can feed the fish with artificial, live food, vegetable flakes, dry food with vegetable supplements, live and frozen maxillopods (small daphnia, cyclops, bloodworm). As for inferior plants, you can include spirulina into the fish diet. Endler’s guppy is prone to obesity. That’s why you shouldn’t overfeed it.

When keeping in the tank, it is important to provide the dwarf guppy with diversified food. To do this, you can use quality artificial food. It is safe, well-balanced, contains various additives, for example, color boosters.

When selecting the food, you should consider that the fish has a small mouth and spend most of their time in upper and middle water layers in a tank. Also, for the proper functioning of their gastrointestinal tract, plant components must be present in the food.

Tank mates

This guppy fish prefers swimming in upper water layers, and it is a good tank mate for all non-aggressive fishes.

Due to the fish size, you should keep it only with small and peaceful fishes. These can be, for example, cherry barb, dwarf gourami, ember tetra, emperor tetra, glowlight tetra, harlequin rasbora, honey gourami, kuhli loach, molly, panda cory, platy, rosy barb, swordtail. Also, you shouldn’t take common guppy as Endler’s guppy tank mate because they interbreed. In general, Endler guppy is a peaceful and harmless fish, which can suffer from other fishes. It can get along well with common shrimps and with small ones (like a cherry shrimp), too.

Due to the fish’s small size and other biological peculiarities, I wouldn’t advise keeping them in a community tank, especially if you plan to breed them in the future.

Sex differences

Poecilia wingei females, as a rule, are rather unpresentable, with silvery or golden bodies. They may have some unpronounced spots on them. The female fish body is longer and fatter than that of the male fish. The female fish fins are short and rather pale colored.

Male fish are like a rainbow. They may have various coloring: from red to violet. Its long tail has fancy patterns. At that, the pattern of each fish is a unique one, like a snowflake. The anal fin of the male fish has transferred into gonopodium – its organ of generation.

Breeding

Endler’s guppy breeding is very simple. They breed quite actively in a common tank. Therefore, you just need a couple of fishes for breeding. They will do the rest themselves.

Endler fish is a live-bearing one. This means that their eggs are fertilized and grow inside the female’s body, and it gives birth to completely developed juveniles. For such a way of breeding, their males have a special organ – gonopodium. This is a transformed anal fin that looks like a tube. With its help, the male injects his reproductive products into the female’s abdominal cavity when the eggs get fertilized. An interesting fact is that the female can store these reproductive products for up to three months. Considering that new juveniles appear every 24 days, the female can have up to three offsprings.

Females become fertile at the age of 2 months. Internal fertilization is performed due to gonopodium (a modified anal fin of the male fish). The female fish carries eggs for 22-24 days.

Then she spawns fully formed juveniles (from 10 to 30 small fish). You can also stimulate this process by increasing the tank water temperature by 2 degrees. As a result of one mating, you may get several offspring.

Juveniles are fed with brine shrimp nauplii. For 2 weeks, you should feed juveniles 3 times a day and then switch to feeding 2 times a day. At the beginning of the sixth week, when the male fish become completely colored, you should feed them just once a day.

Adult fish should be put into a separate tank right when the juveniles appear so that they wouldn’t eat the offspring. Or you can put some more moss into the tank, and the juveniles can hide there.

You should feed the juveniles 2-3 times a day. They grow very quickly. The female fish becomes fertile when she is 2 months old. At the age of 3-4 weeks, the males gain their adult coloring, but it gets its maximum intensity and brightness when the juveniles are 6 months old.