Endler’s Livebearers (poecilia wingei) are a beautiful freshwater species that will grab your attention no matter what. They are also fairly easy to care for, making them a fairly popular choice for aquarists of all experience levels.
But there are a few things you should know about these fish before attempting to own them. Due to your limited distribution, there are some status requirements that you cannot waive!
Read this guide to learn the basics of Endler viviparous care.
If you are looking for a semi-rare freshwater fish that is easy to care for, the Endler’s viviparous is worth considering. Scientifically known as Poecilia wingei, these fish are so beautiful that fish breeders have developed a classification system to determine their genetic purity.
Interestingly, Endler’s livebearers are part of the genus Poecilia, which is the same genus as mollies and guppies. From a genetic point of view, the fish is the same as the common guppy. But, it was given its own scientific name for conservation purposes.
This makes sense given the limited distribution of the fish. Endler’s viviparous are only found in Laguna de Patos in Venezuela, and the wild population is currently threatened.
Fortunately, this species is easy to breed. It thrives in captivity and breeds continuously, allowing all hobbyists to enjoy its beauty.
Endler’s viviparous cannot be confused with another species. Sure, they resemble guppies in shape and size. You may even see them labeled as Endler’s guppies. But, the bright colors displayed by these fish are unmistakable.
The males are the most colorful of the bunch. They adopt a series of metallic and neon hues. Often those colors are blocked out to create a somewhat psychedelic look!
You may see patches of bright green, orange, yellow, blue, and more! Some fish also have transparent fins with hints of color. The transparent base makes the fins appear to have a peculiar shape.
There are many different color varieties available. Some common ones include:
- white peacock
- yellow tiger
- Sunbeam Cobra
- snake chest
- flame tail
- red stripe
As we mentioned earlier, you will often see poecilia wingei separated into different classes. These fish breed easily with standard guppies, so the classification system is meant to give you more information about a fish’s genetics.
“Class N” fish are those that come from Laguna de Patos. They are the purest fish.
“Class P” fish appear pure, but their genetic origins are unknown.
Finally, there are the “Class K” fish. These are the fish born from mongrel or hybrid fish.
Author’s Note: Like Guppies, males have a slender body and a colorful fan-shaped tail. Females, on the other hand, are duller. They usually take on a silvery or tan color and have a smaller tail.
The average lifespan of an Endler life carrier is between two and three years. In many cases, the females will live shorter lives than the males. This is due to the number of victims that frequent spawning has on the body.
Of course, there is no way of knowing for sure how long Endler’s viviparous will live. Many factors (including genetics and the quality of care you provide) will affect life expectancy.
The typical size of an Endler’s viviparous is 1.8 inches when fully grown. As you can see, these fish are not very big!
Females can lengthen a bit. In some cases, the female Poecilia wingei can reach two inches or even more!
Endler Life Carrier Care
You don’t have to be an expert aquarist to handle Endler viviparous care. Like her more common guppy cousins, these freshwater fish are one of the easiest to trade! They are perfect for both beginners and experienced aquarists.
With all of that said, there are some important care guidelines to follow. These fish come from a single wild habitat, so they have some different needs that you need to address.
Let’s start with the easiest part: the aquarium! Thanks to their small size, Endler’s Livebearers only need a 20-gallon tank size to thrive. A 20-gallon tank is adequate for a group of four or five fish.
If you want to keep more, increase the tank size accordingly. As a general rule of thumb, add about four or five gallons of volume per fish.
Author’s Note: There are some guides online that say Endler’s Livebearers can be kept in a 5 gallon tank. This is not correct and will ultimately lead to a very poor quality of life for these fish.
Like any other species of freshwater fish, the key to keeping an Endler’s viviparous healthy is to replicate its natural environment as closely as possible. This does not only apply to decoration. The water conditions must also match.
Poecilia wingei are endemic to a single body of water: Laguna De Patos. This lake is very warm and has high concentrations of algae. As a result, the parameters are a bit different than what you might be used to.
Endler viviparous prefer hard water and relatively high pH levels. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures (they are a great cold water fish), but moderate temperatures are generally best.
Here are some general water parameters to stick to:
- Water temperature: 64°F to 84°F (mid this range is best)
- pH levels: 5.5 to 8.0 (Aim for neutral)
- Water hardness: 10 to 30 KH
A well decorated tank is a must for this fish! The environments they naturally inhabit are full of vegetation and algae. You don’t have to go as far as adding algae to the tank, but live plants are an important addition.
Live plants act as a source of food and shelter for fish. When the fish spawn, the plants also serve as a safe hiding place for the vulnerable fry.
Add a good variety of floating and stem plants. You can also add some ground cover and foreground plants to keep things interesting!
Suitable plant choices include Java fern, water sprite, duckweed, cabomba, hornwort, hygrophila polysperma, water wisteria, and more.
At the bottom of the tank, use a soft substrate. Endler’s viviparous will spend most of their time in the middle and upper part of the water column, but will occasionally venture onto the substrate to burrow.
Choose a substrate of fine gravel or sand that can be easily moved.
Now to the team!
The most important thing you will need is a proper filtration system and a secure lid.
The filtration system doesn’t have to be super powerful, as these fish don’t produce a ton of waste. But, you have to circulate the tank efficiently to keep ammonia and nitrates low.
A standard hanging filter works well. The outlet of this filter provides a good flow of water, which is a great advantage.
Just make sure to cover the entrance or use a sponge. Weak young fish could easily be sucked into the filtration system!
Author’s Note: Don’t forget to fill your tank with a secure lid. These guys are surprisingly agile and can jump out of the tank without missing a beat!
Common Potential Diseases
The good news is that Endler’s livebearer is not known to suffer from any special disease. The bad news? They are still susceptible to all of the common health problems freshwater fish face.
Some of the biggest problems you might have to deal with are Ich, parasites, and fin rot.
Ich is a parasitic infection that often attacks fish when they feel stressed. You are more likely to encounter this disease if the parameters of the water in the tank are not correct. It could be wrong temperature ranges or too much ammonia.
Whatever the case may be, you need to address it quickly! Ich can spread throughout the community and wipe out all your fish if you’re not careful. Fortunately, simple medications can solve the problem in no time.
Parasites, such as skin flukes and worms, are also quite common in this species. This is especially true with wild-caught specimens. Be sure to quarantine any new fish to ensure parasite problems don’t spread.
Finally, there is fin rot. This disease is often a product of bacterial infections or physical injury. It is common with fish that have flowing fins such as Endler’s viviparous.
To treat this condition, quarantine your Poecilia wingei and use over-the-counter medications to stop the bacteria from spreading.
Food and Diet
Endler’s viviparous are omnivores. They will eat just about anything they can get their fins on!
In captivity, it is best to provide a standard diet of dried flakes or pellets. Look for a balanced product that is formulated to enhance coloration.
To complement commercial food, you can provide live, frozen, or freeze-dried snacks. These fish have a healthy appetite for protein-rich foods such as bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, and black worms.
Author’s Note: Most Poecilia wingei will feed on plant matter and aquarium algae throughout the tank between feedings. But you can also provide some plant-based foods with your diet. Blanched peas and zucchini are favorites for this fish.
behavior and temperament
Active and inquisitive, Endler’s livebearers are one species you won’t get bored with! These fish are constantly exploring the tank and gliding through the water.
You may see them weaving through plants, checking the substrate, or playing with each other.
For the most part, Endler’s livebearers are non-aggressive. However, some questionable behavior can come from females from time to time.
In a group, fish establish a social hierarchy. Intense fights are rare, but you might see some bigger fish biting the bigger ones. Females can also become territorial.
The ideal is to have at least three females for every male. The bigger the group, the better! More female fish will ensure that one specimen does not become the target of everyone’s bullying.
Endler’s Life Carrier Tankmates
There are many compatibility options available if you want to keep Endler Livebearers in a community tank. However, you need to plan things carefully.
You should never keep these fish with aggressive species. They are too small to defend themselves against a hungry or agitated fish. Try to keep them with fish of a similar size that are also docile enough to live in peace.
Author’s Note: Many fish keepers like to keep Endler’s livebearers in a single species tank. Even if they choose to house them in a community tank, most owners will keep guppies out of the equation!
Guppies and Endler livebearers will breed with each other. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but it will affect the genetics of the resulting youngsters. Poecilia wingei are rare, many aquarists want to keep the genetics as pure as possible!
If you are looking for suitable tankmates for your Endler’s livebearers, here are some good species to try.
- neon tetra
- glass fish
- Bolivian ram cichlid
- White Cloud Minnow
- zebra danio
- cory catfish
- gourami honey
- Betta fish
If you have any experience with guppies, you already have a good idea of what to expect from Endler livebearers.
In most cases, you don’t have to do anything to promote spawning. They will just reproduce on their own. Not only that, but they will play continuously!
This is why it is crucial to have more females than males. Giving birth takes its toll on females. They give birth to fully formed fish, not eggs. If you only have a single female, the male will repeatedly impregnate her.
With a larger pool of females to spawn, mothers have a chance to recover a bit between calving.
After breeding, the female takes only about 23 days to give birth. She can give birth to up to 30 fry at a time.
When they emerge from the womb, the fry will immediately sink to the bottom of the tank. They will stay there for a while while they eat the yolk sac.
In the meantime, you should do your best to separate the adults. These fish do not exhibit parental instincts and will eat the young if given the chance. A heavily planted aquarium will do a lot to increase survival rates. But if you want all the fry to live, you need to move the adults to a separate tank.
You can feed the powdered fried foods immediately. They are already free swimmers from birth, so they will accept powdered food without any problem. In a week or two, you can graduate to baby brine shrimp.
This species matures quickly. It only takes about two months to reach maturity. The males will acquire their characteristic color around four or five weeks of age.
Endler’s livebearers are wonderful freshwater fish and we highly recommend them. Between their beautiful colors, high activity level, and hardy nature, there’s a lot to like!
We hope you have found this guide useful and encourage you to refer back to it if you decide to own poecilia wingei yourself. Trust us, you’ll be glad you did!