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FAQs on the Endler's Livebearer and Crosses

Related Articles: Endler's Game by Rick Novy, Livebearing Fishes by Bob Fenner, Poeciliids: Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, Mollies by Neale Monks, Livebearing Freshwater Fishes

Related FAQs: Poeciliids 1, Guppies, Platies, Swordtails, MolliesLivebearer Identification, Livebearer Behavior, Livebearer Compatibility, Livebearer Selection, Livebearer Systems, Livebearer Feeding, Livebearer Disease, Livebearer Reproduction,

South American lime green Endler's- Oto?     7/25/16
Hi Neale,
I have a planted tank- see my large photo- of lime green Endler's. I have had it for a while and the population is now waning, down to 9 small fish.
I am debating whether to wait out till this population passes naturally, or add more fish since they could reproduce some more still.
<Understood, and been in this situation any number of times.
It seems like safest type to add would be more lime Endler's, but I was feeling like it might be nice to add a 2nd species for interest.
<A good plan. I gradually switched from Cherry Barbs to Limia in my big tank over the last couple years. The Cherry Barbs were "life expired" and now I'm down to a singleton living in the group of Limia. That Cherry Barb seems happy enough, with friendly company to help him feel secure, even in the absence of his own species. My point is that if you choose the second species carefully, there's no reason you can't phase in a new schooling species even as an existing schooling species dies off naturally.>
I read Otos or Cory's are ok with them, but Cory's are ruled out due to I have gravel and supposedly sand is best for their barbels.
<Correct. There are some midwater Corydoras though, like Corydoras habrosus, for which this is far less of an issue than it is with, say, Corydoras aeneus.>
They also suggested small tetras or Rasboras but seems like it could be a competition thing if adding a very similar type/style and its not as interesting if all the fish are little minnows, all looking the same other than their color.
<A question of taste really. Endler's Guppies will cohabit well with most "nano" tetras and cyprinids, assuming their water chemistry and temperature requirements overlap.>
I like this cute catfish "Otocinclus macrospilus" but they do get to 1 1/4", definitely larger than the little Endler's.
<But very peaceful. One of the standard Otos of the hobby. Don't like very hard water or high temperatures though, so while perfectly compatible with Endler's in terms of behaviour, and both species are primarily algae-eaters, they're not easily combined. I'd be aiming for around 10 degrees dH, neutral pH, and around 24 degrees C/75 F. Water current needn't be too strong given Enders are relatively weak swimmers, but Otos do need lots of oxygen, so air-powered filtration would be my recommendation. Failing that, just avoid overstocking, and perhaps add an airstone in summer.>
It's attractive and a different species so adds more interest, and larger looks nice. However, would the Otos be likely to compete with or be outcompeted for food from the Otos?
<Nope. Add Hikari Algae Wafers or similar, and they'll both nibble away happily. Otos really appreciate some fresh green algae, too.>
Would Otos trouble my longtime resident fish?
<Otos are good community fish, though as noted, they are quite picky about living conditions, and in busy, overstocked community tanks tend to die after a few weeks or months. In the right tank they're not hard to keep.>
Would the Otos eat the fry?
<Unlikely. Like most Loricariids, Otos will have minimal impact on livebearer populations.>
I think you said most would eat fry, just wondering how aggressively they would, since they are supposedly mostly vegetarian.
And should I feed cats algae tabs or will the algae on plants and rocks be sufficient nutritionally?
<Definitely add extra algae-based foods. Otos frequently starve if left to fend for themselves. They consume green algae and aufwuchs in the wild, but are not scavengers and they do not take hair algae, blue-green algae and so
on. Starved Otos will sometimes nibble on the mucous of large, slow-moving fish, but they're completely safe with fish their own size.>
I do want them to police algae aggressively, but I don't want them to starve to death if they are picky on the type of algae. I also have some crypts that I could transplant in there if this tank is not planted heavily enough for Otos.
<Otos actually like bright, open conditions best. Tall plants, flat stones, and plenty of places for them to graze, ideally with a decent current but at the least good quality, oxygen-rich water.>
<Welcome, Neale.>

Re: South American lime green Endler's- Oto?        7/26/16
Thanks Neale.
I will consider my options some more. I will test my water again. I can't. recall from last time what hardness is, but our water here is naturally very alkaline and hard.
<Endler's are good; do also look up Micropoecilia (some of which are extremely colourful) that are similar in size and behaviour. Phalloceros
caudimaculatus is another colourful little fish.>
I do have a log in there too that has an Anubias or something like that attached to it, and it could have affected the hardness.
<Unlikely. As I often point out, if softening water was as easy as dumping a log in it, we'd all be doing that! But unfortunately softening water requires either RO or the collection of rainwater. One is expensive, the other impractical in many places.>
If it's less hard or alkaline, I could always move the little Endler's to the 10 gallon which doesn't have the log since they're such a small number and prefer harder water, and try another fish for the 29 gallon.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: South American lime green Endler's- Oto?       7/26/16

Thanks Neale.
I will check those fish.
<Good luck! Livebearer associations can be a good way to find these fish, and they're often sold very cheaply at fishkeeping club auctions if someone is keeping them locally and has fry to spare. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: South American lime green Endler's- Oto?

Help diagnose?   12/28/11
Hi crew,
I have a pair of female endler guppies housed with some Sailfin mollies and Flagfish in my 46-gallon planted tank. (They  One of these two fish has developed a cloudy white patch on her right side from about the gill to the distance of the anal fin.
<I see this in your successive email>
  she also seems to be somewhat swollen, possibly from fluid retention, though I have not seen any dropsy pineconing.  The fish is still quite active and eats normally.  I want to emphasize that this appears only on one side of the fish and does not appear to be spreading.  Her left side looks normal and none of the other fish appear to be affected.
Unfortunately, I have been unable to catch her for quarantine and I have not yet been able to get a photo.
<Use two nets. REMOVE the afflicted fish/es immediately>
My first guess was Columnaris.
<Mine too>

  Because she is still eating normally, I have been feeding with a flake medicated for gram-negative bacteria. 
After four days there is no sign of improvement, so I will be discontinuing this treatment to try something else.
<VERY hard to cure... see my writings on WWM... Neomycin Sulfate and a few other med.s have proven (at times) efficacious>
I still prefer to treat with medicated food since she does feed normally.
I have available food for treating gram positive infections, and food for treating Protozoans.  Problem is, I'm not sure what I am facing.
<Requires microscopic examination of samples... some staining perhaps...
sensitivity testing... See Ed Noga's work/s re...>
 Costia crossed my mind as one possibility,
<Nah, or not likely. Else all would be similarly afflicted>
 so I am leaning toward trying the protozoan flake next, but I have not seen this fish flashing.  In fact, the fish behaves as if nothing at all is wrong with her.
Can you think of anything I missed?
<Just (like me) knowledge. BobF>
Rick Novy

Re: Help diagnose?    2/15.12
Hi Bob,
Here's how the situation turned out.  I had partially recovered the endler female, then she relapsed.  The infection degraded her condition over the past few days.  This morning I found her on the bottom of the tank sideways but still alive.  Euthanized. It's my least favorite part of fishkeeping.
As a side note, any chance you will be attending the Southwest Area Killifish Event in Phoenix on March 10th?
<Gosh, it's been decades since I had much to do w/ "Kills Fisch"... Not likely. Cheers, B>

photos of affected fish   12/28/11
Here are some photos of the fish I wrote about last evening.  These aren't particularly good photos but better than nothing.  I'm including one of the normal and the ill side of this fish.
<Thanks. B>

Re: Help diagnose? Chondrococcus, Endler's  -- 12/28/11
Hi Bob,
Thanks for the feedback.
You know, this fish gave me fits the last time I tried to net her.  Two nets is standard operating procedure for me in any tank larger than a few gallons, and I chased her for a good 45 minutes the last attempt.  Today, I hardly got the net wet before I managed to snare her.  Go figure.
Anyway, I now have her quarantined in one of those 2-1/2 gallon mini bow front plastic tanks, so I can be a lot more aggressive.
I have two antibiotics on hand, API tetracycline and Mardel Maracyn (containing erythromycin). I have plenty of both for the small tank, but I'm inclined to go with the Maracyn if only because the product explicitly states Columnaris on the box.
I'll wait a few hours in case you scream "No! Use the tetracycline!"  
But, I suspect these two antibiotics will have similar effect.  If I see no improvement by Monday, I'll go hunting for something containing Neomycin Sulfate.
<Likely too late then>
Do you think I need to do anything to the tank she came out of?
<Too likely too late there to do anything of use either. The fish will resist the pathogen or not. I would bleach the system if all die. B>
  I can easily continue feeding those fish the antibiotic flake food for a few days.
Re: Help diagnose? -- 12/29/11

I will let you know how it turns out.
<Thank you. B>

Re: Help diagnose?    1/14/12
HI Bob,
Update for you.
It looks like it's probably not Columnaris as I expect this fish would be dead by now if it were.

  Also, none of the mollies, Flagfish, nor the other endler female in the main tank show any signs if infection at all.
I treated the endler female with erythromycin and had some limited success, but it did not completely cure her. I left her in the bath for an additional week without any more improvement. I am currently removing the meds with carbon and will try tetracycline in a few days, putting her back on the medicated food at the same time.
<Nice to have a scraping, culture... Cheers, BobF>
Re: Help diagnose?    1/14/12

I could get a scraping. Unfortunately, I'm not enough of a biologist to really know what to do with it.
<Requires just one bit of gear... a decent microscope... If you have interest, get hold of a copy of Ed Noga's "Fish Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment", 1st or 2d ed.... and have a read. Cheers, BobF>

Endler's Article   7/30/11
Neale / Bob
I now have everything ready to send for the Endler's livebearers article:
Article itself
Brief note regarding the title
Photo thumbnail sheet
23 photos, 17 from the breeder and another 6 from me Do you want me to send all of this stuff to this email address? it will for sure be several emails due to file size of the photos.
Rick Novy
Re Endler Article   7/30/11
Hello Rick,
 Please send to me at this address.
 Do not send lots of big photos! The biggest photo should be cover art suitable, so choose one and send it at 1000 x 800 pixels or thereabouts [the WWM Digital document is 900 x 600 pixels, so nothing needs to be bigger than that].
 All the rest of the photos should be less than 900 x 600 pixels, and realistically 450 x 300 pixels is fine.
 Send NO MORE than eight photos in total. I do not want, and cannot use, many more photos than this. Please be realistic about this. I don't have the time to process 23 photos. So pick between 6 and 8 that you really like. I will not use any more than this. If you want a big image displaying a dozen or more varieties, then MAKE THIS YOURSELF by cutting and pasting individual photos into a black rectangular Photoshop document 900 x 600 pixels in size that I can use for a double page spread. Again, I just don't have the time to do this kind of artwork for writers, and have to assume they prepare any artwork they want in their article.
There's no rush. I'm doing the current WWM Digital magazine now and have all the articles I need for it. So yours won't be edited for at least another 6 weeks.
Thanks, Neale

Endler's Game - 10/28/2005 Hi, how are you? <Beat, pooped, exhausted, drained - and soooo ready for a quick hike before bed! Woo-hoo!> I searched the site up and down before emailing and I can't find the questions and answers that I am looking for. So here I am emailing you. :)  <And here I am answering. Oh, Sabrina with you this evening.> I have been raising fish for about 2 years now and I have been having some problems with one of my tanks. I invested in some Endler's (total Endler's - 12). I cycled the water before purchasing these little guys. The pH, Ammonia, Alkalinity, Nitrates and Nitrites matched the water from the pet gallery almost down to the T. <Hopefully ammonia and nitrite are zero, nitrate less than 20ppm....?> I added them to the tank about 1 1/2 months ago and when I added them some were a little stressed out, but slowly got better. Well, about 2 weeks ago I lost 1 female and 1 male. The girl looked like she was gasping for air and her fins were almost all clamped up, the pH is always 7.0, and all nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, etc... Is always where it should be. <Hopefully as above....> Then the male he would just float at the bottom of the tank "almost look like he was relaxing" but I guess that wasn't the case, he relaxed one last time and died. <Yikes! Bummer.> Well, I have some other females and one has her fins so clamped together she almost looks numb, her top and bottom fins look like they are almost gone, and her tail fin is almost white transparent looking and it's totally clamped together and the white translucent color travels up to the middle of her stomach. <Does NOT sound good. My first guess here is toward "velvet"/Oodinium.... I've seen this in livebearers, guppies especially, many times.... is often fatal, but can be treated. Many folks recommend "Clout" for this.... I have used Metronidazole in food with some success.> This is what she looked like when I first got her.  <Beautiful.> I wish I still had a cam so you could see what she looks like now. HUGE DIFFERENCE NOW! <Again, bummer. So sorry to hear this.> I moved her alone, because she started floating to the top with her mouth at the surface of the water and the bottom of her body was moving all ways, but with a stiff look. Like if you moved side to side with no flexibility.  <My guess is still toward Oodinium.> Then my guppy had some fry and out of 8 of them, 3 of them are having almost the same exact symptoms, they were in the Endler's' tank in a breeding net, but I removed them into another 10 gallon tank of mine and its to is totally cycled "Been cycled for about 1 year" and I noticed on all of them it looks like their fins have been almost chomped on, but I haven't had any of the fry together with any other type fish. I've been watching them for about 4 days for about 1 hr at a time, then decided to put the camera on them for 24 hours and they are not nipping at one another. One of the fry back fin it's so gone it can't even swim and the other 3 have no top fins, its almost like their fins just flaked/chomped off. <I think I'd try Metronidazole on these guys.... ASAP.... or Clout (though that's a much stronger/harsher med).> They all eat really well and are growing really fast. And another thing that the guppies and the Endler's have been doing "Only the ones with clamped fins" they back up into one another. And like lets say one of the guppies with clammed fins back up into one without clamped fins, the one without clamped fins will clamp its tail fin up. I even went as far as taking the water to the gallery where I purchase all my fish and they put samples from all of my tanks under a telescope <Microscope?> and they didn't see any deadly or harmful parasites in the water. <Mm, the parasites will be on the fish, not in the water.... If one of these fish dies, bring the body in and see if they'll have a look.> The only thing that was in all the water samples was plant eating nematodes.  <Probably not a problem in the least.> I have never ever had this problem, I breed rainbow fish "some only mate once a year, very rare" and almost all of my discus have had fry. In the past my guppies have had babies just fine without any problems. This same exact guppy has had fry 3 times and ALL of them lived, except this last batch, they have been clamped all up. Any help will help me! <Just as above.... I would seriously consider medicating ASAP.> If there is more information that you need to know to determine what the problem is, please let me know. Thank you in advance! -Jasmine. <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>  

Endler's Game - II - 10/29/2005 <Hey hon, looks like someone may have already replied to ask you this, but could you please re-send this not in all caps? We really don't have the time or manpower to re-type these.... Thanks! -Sabrina> All re-typed now. <Ahh, delightful. Thank you kindly.> I just wanted to say, Thank You! I looked up the "velvet"/Oodinium and I took a look at a bunch of pictures and it seems to be just that! The only thing that I cannot find is some pictures of fry with the velvet parasite infecting them. I was wondering if you have any pictures with fry infected with this parasite?  <I do not, nor do I know of a site that does. As I recall, fry with this would tend to keep their fins very tightly clamped, look kind of universally grayish, and would not live long after exhibiting symptoms.> Now I search around the Internet and I can't find anything with "understanding" details about velvet, people just say "Oh you don't want this in your tank" and "They are goners once they have it." How does this parasite work? Is it that its free swimming at first then attaches itself to the fish, then that fish becomes a host for the velvet parasite and then the velvet parasite goes from one fish to another? <It can pass fish-to-fish, and I believe does have a "free swimming" (or maybe more accurately "floating" stage. In any case, it is easily communicable - though I have had occasions where only one or two guppies would contract it and it wouldn't spread.> Today my other Endler's just passed and she was pregnant - "I'm sad now." <So very sorry to hear this.> Also, once the fish dies do the parasites leave the host to look for another one?  <Umm, I'm not so sure its life cycle is long enough for 'em to care that much. I think they just continue with their life cycle.> And about my baby fry, I want to treat them all. Do you think I should flush the ones that I can tell that something is seriously wrong with, or should I try treating them all at once and see what the outcome is?  <Flush them? Certainly not. If you do choose to euthanize them, do a quick search on our site using our Google search tool on the home page, and look for "clove oil". I would consider treating all the fish.> The Clout medications that you told me about, would you happen to know where I could but it? <Might try a search on http://www.froogle.com  .> I took a look at PetCo and Petsmart.com and didn't see it there. And would you recommend treating the fry with it, like with smaller dosages? <Umm. Risky at best. I would try first to find a food with Metronidazole in it.... Jungle now makes such a product which can be found at PetSmart.> Also, my other female Endler's are pregnant, would you recommend me treating them with that medication or with any other medication? <I would be concerned that this might affect their young - but I would be more concerned for the adults' lives right now.> I just don't want the little ones to die too.  <I understand.> I looked on the Internet and found a medications for fish called CopperSafe, do you think that will work?  <Likely, but I would be very hesitant to use this on the fry. Be very cautious with it if you do use it, and do most certainly NOT overdose with it.> I just want to say, what you are doing to help others is just wonderful! I really appreciate all of your help and valuable time! <You are so kind.... thank you for these words!> I know how it is answering 1,000's of emails a day! <Oh, not thousands, fortunately! Though we have over 10,000 visitors to the site every day, only a few dozens write in. I can only hope that the others are finding their answers - I'm sure we don't have the ability to answer thousands a day!> Just wanted to say Thank you, thank you, and thank you again! <And thank you, deeply, for your kind words.> Have a wonderful weekend and thank you Sabrina! ~JASMINE. You as well, Jasmine! All the best, -Sabrina>

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