On this page I'd like to discuss other livebearers which I'm keeping at home and which aren't mentioned in other categories on this website.
Here are some little guys among the livebearers zone. These guys are known as tiger teddy (neoheterandria elegans) and are found in the Rio Truando in Colombia. They're really tiny. For a male reaches a bodylength of 1.5cm and a female up to 3cm bodylength. But note that "late males" do occur frequently. These late males will be significant larger in size till equal sized to females.
They're really friendly fish but wouldn't keep them in a community tank for it may not be suitable for its shyness. Unless, the other tankmembers are smallsized as well and for sure not agressive. Otherwise they´ll get suppressed.
Below: neoheterandria elegans, male
Eventhough they are usually kept in neutral till hard water, the neoheterandria elegans tolerates soft water without a problem (starting from a pH 6 and higher).
Another dwarf among livebearers is the least killifish (heterandria formosa). Found in the southeastern part of the US. They also occur in swamp areas at the Keys in Florida. Which make them a perfect type of fish to be kept in brackish water as well. Even when it comes to temperatures which can be lower than average which is a good way to keep them fit. They'll do just fine at temperatures of 15°C till 22°C. And these rates are perfect to get them to breed unlike most other liverbearing tooth carps.
Fry tend to have vertical bars o their bodies which will fade after a while and horizontal markings will appear afterwards.
Below we've a couple of swamp guppies (Micropoecilia picta / Poecilia picta). This species is also known as Scarlet livebearer, painted guppy, poecila picta and peacock livebearer.
These fish are in general hard to keep. Ever since this year (2011) my Micropoecilia pictas are doing really well again after a few months of dissapointment with them. But I've started keeping m.pictas already in the 1990's. I've lost some adults but in some way I've got my third drop of fry of the ones which were left. And the offspring seem to stay fit just like their parents. I've noticed that these fish are kept best when the water is kept brackish. I hardly refresh the tank in order to keep them well. I even overfeed them on purpose. The food that's been left untouched seems to have a better influence on the condition of the water which they need. I only refill some water in case some water evaporates from the tank. With these fish just turn around the tradition to keep them well and bring them to a breeding level. The best temperature you can put these guys on is 28°C to keep then well. I've had these fish at lower temperatures but in some way that didn't work for them.
What's also peculiar is when a picta female is pregnant and almost due but at some point she's not comfortable to deliver, she may absorb the embryos through her body. This does happen to some other ovoviviparous livebearers as well. And it doesn't affect the female at all when she absorbs the embryos.
The Micropoecilia parae occurs in Guyana and Surinam. It inhabits fres and brackish waters. Mostly in swamp areas and slow flowing streams like creeks. Firstly described by Eigenmann (1894).
In the beginning of the 21st century I had two couples of the Micropoecilia parae melanzona var red from an acquaintance of mine. And I got some yellow versions from somebody else who couldn't keep these fish alive. I've found out that he and the other acquaintance of mine had the same problem. Even I was struggling to keep them alive.
But at the end I had still one specimen left of this strain. But again, it does prove that hybrids of far related species can be fertile!
In the wild, the micropoecilia parae comes in multiple color varieties. The photo above shows a yellow variety (photo from the internet). There are even specimens in the wild that are blend colored. With a marking someweher on the body.
Below: two adult pale blue males.
Size wise the micropoecilia parae is similar to the Micropoecilia picta. Also when it comes to care, they're similar. Preferably kept in a species tank. For M.parae (just like most other Micropoecilia species) can become timid when kept with other fish which are more vivid than these. It may result in loosing them at some point.
They do well at temperatures between 22°C - 28°C and neutral till hard water.
A livebearer which has been distributed all over the world like the guppy has been, is the Gambusia holbrooki alo known as "Eastern mosquitofish" (Gambusia affinis is known as "Western Mosquitofish").
In their natural habitats, they do occur in more shallow waters where also a lot of insect eggs and larvae and invertebrates in general occur. But they also feed themselves with zooplankton.
Below: An adult female specimen.
Males do tend to grow up to approx. 4 cm and females up to approx. 7-8 cm. In ponds and outdoor tubs they'll certainly grow up to these sizes without a doubt.
A lot of people think that there's a real resemblance with guppies. But actually anatomically there are sufficient differences between mosquitofish and guppies.
Anatomically there's not such a difference between G.holbrooki and G.affinis. Where the females of the G.holbrooki have a black marking above the belly area, the females of the G.affinis have a yellow-orange marking instead.
The picture below shows a couple of porthole livebearers (poeciliopsis gracilis). A tooth- carp which can be found in Mexico up to Honduras. Just like the girardinus metallicus this species isn't a bright coloured fish as well for it's base is grey till beige. But for sure it's a fish with its own charm. Very typical are the 4 till 5 black spots on each side of the fish.
The Poeciliopsis gracilis is also a superfetative livebearer just like the other poeciliopsis strains are.
This species is also known as the golden livebearer.
This species is to be found in Central America: Creek near El Tuito in Jalisco, Mexico. And they're also to be found in tributaries of the Rio Purificacion near La Huerta, Mexico.
In general they are friendly livebearers but can show some dominance when kept with other tankmates which are a bit too friendly.
It's not a bright coloured fish but like every poeciliopsis strain, it's an interesting livebearer to keep.
The blackstripe livebearer (Poeciliopsis profilia) originates from northwestern Mexico where it's endemic to the east side of The Gulf of California. It inhabits shallow waters like streams, mangrove areas, estuaries and even brackish lagoons. Eventhough it's a freshwater fish, it also occurs in brackish waters as already been mentioned . It shows that also this livebearer is adaptable.
Below: An adult female.
If not kept in a species tank, this species should be kept with friendly smaller fish. Otherwise, they'll become timid and will disappear slowly from the tank. They're also not demanding when it comes to water parameters. They can also be kept in softer water without any problems but start keeping them in soft water when they're juveniles or younger.
It's really hard to get your hands on this species. Mine were acquired by Klaus Tegelhütter.
Another livebearer which I'm keeping is the so-called leopardfish (phalloceros caudimaculatus).The Phalloceros caudimaculatus in free nature is grey or golden bodied with just one or two markings (depending on the location where they're found) on both sides of the body. The golden version is called Phalloceros caudimaculatus auratus.
Most kept specimens are aquarium strains and are speckled. I've got 2 varieties : phalloceros caudimaculatus reticulatus auratus (golden speckled) and phalloceros caudimaculatus reticulatus (grey speckled). Besides leopardfish, they're also called one spot livebearer, dusky millions fish, speckled mosquitofish or speckled caudi. But I do have to mention again that these two varieties are not to be found in free nature. These are socalled aquarium strains. The original wild versions have got a wide range of distribution as shown in the picture below (red marked).
When it comes to appearance they resemble a lot to the eastern mosquitofish (gambusia holbrooki). But leopardfish are a bit smaller (male → approx. 2,5 - 3cm, female → approx. 5cm) and they do have (as already mentioned) a golden variation. And they're less aggressive in comparison to the eastern mosquitofish but they'll remain finnippers just like the gambusias. I myself keep them together with my least killifish for they're shortfinned and an excellent combination.
Further more, there's a typical difference between male and female pattern, The males are much more blotched on their bodies then females.
Unlike the gambusias, leopardfish ain't that suitable for the control of mosquitos or other insect plaques for that reason. Not that they don't eat them but it doesn't seem to be their first choice...
The reproduction is quite easy. And they won't chase nor eat their fry. This species can be kept with other friendly fish.
A not so bright coloured livebearer which is also endemic to Mexico is the priapella intermedia. Anotomically, totally different from most livebearers. What's really remarkable are they eyes. They've got a blue shimmer around the eyes which makes this livebearer very interesting.
This livebearer occurs in rivers (with a good water flow) with less vegetation in it. They occur with swordtails in their natural habitat.
When kept with other fish, be aware of it that only friendly fish are compatible. If there's too much dominancwe coming from other fish, these priapella intermedia will slowly dissappear in the tank. And when it comes to a breeding plan, please be sure the tank ain't too crowded with other fish. These fish tend to breed better when kept with their own species.
Another species within the Priapella genus is the Priapella olmecae. The Priapella olmeca has its ditsribution from the southeast of Mexico; Rio Agua Frio, Rio de la Palma, Rio las Maquinas, Lake Catemaco and neighboring lagoons. It inhabits both slow and fast flwoing waters with less vegetation. The banks are shaded by overhanging scrub where they like to hang out.
This livebearer is to be found in Lake Nicaragua (also known as Cocibolca or Granada in Nicaragua) on the Atlantic drainage to the Rio Parismina (Costa Rica) and the Rio Tenorio drainage (Costa Rica) on the Pacific slope.
After 4 weeks of gestation, a number of 10 - 50 fry will be born. And they'll size up to 6cm.
The Alfaro cultratus (also known as knife livebearer) occurs in Nicaragua, Panama and Costa Rica where it inhabits shallow waters like rivers (mainly shoreline), ditches and creeks with mainly a low till moderate water flow. But sometimes they also occur in fast flowing waters.
Despite of the fact that they require a carnivorous diet, mine are already used to have also flake food made of greens. But a carnivorous diet remains preferable. They'll reach up till about 8 cm.
A very vivid livebearer is the brachyrhaphis roswithae. This species is named after Roswitha Etzel and originates from Panama. Brachyrhaphis stands for short needle and refers to the short gonopodium of the male.
In order to give them the comfort they need, a bright open spot is appreciated.
The Brachyrhaphis roseni (also known as Cardinal brachy) occurs in rivers and streams (mostly shallow areas of these streams) with a rocky landscape and vegetation in Panama and in Costa Rica. The subname "Roseni" means honorific. Just like his cousin Brachyrhaphis roswithae, the B.roseni can preferably be kept in a species tank. Also this vivid but also nervous Brachyrhaphis species can show the dominant and aggressive behaviour towards other kinds of tankmates. But they're okay with their own kind or even other Brachyrhaphis species. But to avoid crossbreeding, it's better to not combine them with other Brachryshaphis species.
The male stays a bit smaller but can reach about 5 cm and a female cam nax up till about 8 cm. Both genders are real good fry predators. So, keep in mind to be certain that sufficient hiding places for the fry is present if left in the adult tank.
As being real carnivores, they can be adapted to flake food. And sometimes they're willing to eat greens as well. But they'll remain carnivores.