Endler’s Livebearers: The Guppy’s Little Cousin

Care Guide for Endler’s Livebearers – 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 …


Care Guide for Endler’s Livebearers – 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. There has been a lot of breeding to make specialty colors. This can sometimes lead the to weaker or less hardy strains. 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 is named after Dr. John Endler who rediscovered this species in Venezuela and introduced them to the pet trade. Males get up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, are slender in profile, and have all the vibrant colors and patterns. Females can reach 1.8 inches (4.5 cm), have a rounder abdomen, and are usually tannish-silver in color.

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. Hybrids come from Endlers and guppies that have been bred together to create almost every color of the rainbow. Common types of Endler’s livebearers and Endler hybrids include black bar, tiger, cobra, El Silverado, and lime green endlers.

Are Endlers identical to guppies, No. However, they are closely related and can spawn together to produce fertile offspring. 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 a good choice for beginner fish? Wild Endlers can already be very colorful and didn’t need as much line breeding to produce beautiful strains. We find them to be a very tough fish and are much easier to care than guppies or 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 can tolerate pH levels from 6.5 to 8.5, as well as almost any water hardness (or GH). This does not mean that they are immune to illness. However, if you stay on top of their tank maintenance as you would with any other fish, they are very easygoing and will reward you with 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. To grow a population, you don’t necessarily need many Endlers. As long as there aren’t too many predators that could eat the young, it is possible to have a variety of Endlers.

How many Endlers need to be kept together? They are more comfortable being with other Endlers and would prefer to be kept in a group. 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. If you find that the Endler population is growing out of control, you can add some African dwarf frogs or other predatory fish that will eat some of the fry while leaving the adults alone.

What do Endler’s Livebearers eat?

They don’t have to be picky about what they eat and will eat any food that fits in their mouths. 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. Bottom line: make sure to feed them a variety of foods so they get all the necessary nutrients to boost their immune system and display vibrant coloration.

How to breed Endler’s livebearers

As long as you have clean water, good food, and at least one fish of each sex, babies should start appearing every 23-30 days, depending on 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. After they have grown to about 0.5-1in (1.3-22.5 cm) in size, you might consider selling them to a fish store or giving them away to your friends who are starting fish keeping.

Baby Endler’s livebearers don’t usually have many colors initially so they can blend in with the environment and avoid 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. For more information on where to buy live fish online, see our list of recommended vendors: