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Related FAQs: Goodeid Fishes,

Related Articles: Freshwater Fishes Livebearing Fishes,

Goodeid Fishes, Some Nice/Not Livebearing Freshwater Fishes


Excerpted From:   So you think livebearers are boring? There's more to livebearers than guppies. Neale Monks looks at some of the interesting and unusual livebearers available to aquarists by Neale Monks

The Goodeidae 

Although the splitfins have been overshadowed by the poeciliids, they remain good aquarium fish and in recent years a fair number have become quite commonly traded. For the aquarist wanting to try their hand at one of 'rare livebearers', Goodeids are an excellent choice. Most are hardy, easy to keep, and do very well in the hard, alkaline water typical of much of England. If they have one failing it is that many are a pushy, even nippy, fish that don't always play nicely with their tankmates. But kept with their own kind, or robust species such as catfish, and these are colourful and fascinating animals. 

What sets the Goodeids apart from the poeciliids is that they are viviparous fish rather than ovoviviparous ones. In other words, they become pregnant in the same way mammals do, with the embryo being connected to the mother via a placenta-like structure called the trophotaenia. This allows these fish to produce larger, more fully developed offspring than the poeciliids.  Indeed, immediately after birth, the sharp-eyed aquarist will spot the remains of an umbilical cord trailing off the belly of the newborn fish. On the other hand, since the individual fry are quite big, typically around 2 cm long at birth, the broods are rather small, often in the high teens or low twenties. 

Two species of Goodeid are widely sold, Ameca splendens and Xenotoca eiseni. Both are hardy, reliable fish for anyone wanting to keep oddball livebearers. They aren't perfect community fish though, and this is perhaps the only thing that limits their popularity, as both are very pretty and lively little fish. Compared with the common poeciliids like guppies, both these species can be aggressive towards one another and any tankmates kept with them. Of the two, Ameca splendens is perhaps the most easily kept with tankmates. While it is aggressive and will bully things like tetras, rainbowfish, and Corydoras catfish, more robust tankmates, such as armoured catfish, sturdy barbs, and semi-aggressive (but non-predatory) cichlids generally work well. Xenotoca eiseni is similar in temperament but is also a fin-nipper, so tankmates that move slowly or have long fins should be avoided. 

All Goodeids need a lot of algae in their diet, and unless fed copious quantities of greenstuffs, they tend to lose their bright colours. This is one reason they tend not to look especially exciting when held in retailers' tanks, where they receive only standard-issue flake food. On the upside, being largely vegetarian, most Goodeids show little tendency towards eating their offspring, and in a well-planted aquarium, the fry can be raised with their parents.

Ameca splendens  cm.s. Denver Aquarium. An interesting fish. Practically extinct in the wild, limited to perhaps one relict population; typically around 2-2.5 inches long, primarily herbivorous (mine mostly live off Indian fern) but a noted fin-nipper. Recent lab work has demonstrated the males from lines maintained in captivity for decades are substantially more aggressive than the handful of wild specimens, but spend much less time foraging, making reintroduction of captive-bred specimens problematic.
> Cheers, Neale 

Zoogeneticus tequila Webb & Miller 1998, the Tequila Splitfin. North America: Mexico. . To an inch and a half or so overall length. http://fishbase.org/Summary/

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