Endler’s livebearer – a small firework in your tank

Endler’s livebearer (Poecilia wingei) is a very good looking fish that is a close relative of common guppy fish. It has become famous due to its small size, peaceful temper, appealing appearance and unpretentiousness. Let’s study it in details.

Endler's guppy

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 as an extinct one for a long time.

However, 40 years later this species was discovered one more time by Prof. John Endler, who described it.

We should mention, that still there is no agreement as for Endler’s guppy (Poecilia wingei) and common guppy (Poecilia reticulata) scientific classification.

Some scientists consider that these fishes should be treated as one and the same species due to the fact, that 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 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 ones. Common guppy prefers relatively strong and chilly water flow and Endler’s one prefers warm and lentic habitats.

Endler’s guppy habitat is quite small, that’s why due to active human activity this species are endangered and are very likely to become extinct.


The distinctive feature of this fish is its tiny size – male isn’t larger than 1 inch (2–2,5 cm), female can grow up to 1.4 inches long (3,5 cm).

The female coloring is sole-coloured 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 there are some breeds, which you won’t encounter in the wild.

Gold Endler guppy has a very interesting coloring – a golden body of the 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 coloring is japan blue. The body and tail are light blue with a black spot on the body side, the head is silvery colored.

As for the fish lifespan in a tank, it varies from 1 to 2 years. 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.

Keeping in a tank

Scientific NamePoecilia wingei
Common NameEndler’s livebearer, Endler’s guppy, endler fish, endlers
Tank size5 gallons and more
Temperature72°F- 78°F (22 to 26 °C)
Size1.4 inches long (3,5 cm)

Due to its size fishes are perfect inhabitants for nano tanks. This is a very active fish, therefore you should buy several couples at once.

Also, if 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 in the same tank.

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.

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

You can put small pebbles or large grain sand on a tank bottom. The tank should be thickly planted, but there also should be some free space for the fishes to swim.

Tank plants with small leaves, that reach the water surface, will be a good choice in this case. It is also desirable to have some floating plants in the tank. They then become a shelter for juveniles.

Keeping Endler’s guppy in a tank is a very simple thing – the fish isn’t demanding to 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.

Since abrupt change of tank water temperature and quality has negative impact on the fins of the males, it’s desirable to perform water renew often, but in small amounts.

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.

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


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 diet. Endler’s guppy is prone to obesity, that’s why you shouldn’t overfeed it.

Compatibility and tank mates

Due to the fish size you should keep it only with small and peaceful fishes. These can be, for example, white cloud mountain minnow, harlequin rasbora, cherry barb, neon tetras, cardinal tetra, oto catfish. Or another livebearers: platy, swordtail.

Also, you shouldn’t take fancy guppy as tank mate, because they don’t 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.


Females, as a rule, are rather unpresentable, with silvery or golden body, they may have some unpronounced spots on it.

The female body is longer and fatter, than that of the male. The female fins are short and rather pale colored.

Male are like 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.

Anal fin of the male has transferred into gonopodium – its organ of generation.


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.

Female become fertile at the age of 2 months. Internal fertilization is performed due to gonopodium (a modified anal fin of the male). The female 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 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 they wouldn’t eat the offspring. Or you can put some more moss into the tank and the juveniles can hide there.

At the age of 3-4 weeks the male gets its adult coloring and the female becomes fertile, when she is 2 months old. You should feed the juveniles 2-3 times a day, this way the grow faster.