Friday, 6 October 2017

Amateur Aquatics - Keeping Fish - Breeding Livebearers - Endlers Part 1

 Breeding livebearers is a fun, quick and easy way to stock your fish tank and maybe gain a small bit of profit. I decided to start breeding these fun little creatures as part of my plan to create a self-sustainable hobby.

Picking the right one is important as you need to pick a fish you actually like. Common live bearers include Platys, Guppies, Molly's, Swordtail's and my personal favourite, Endlers. Even with this short list you are spoilt for choice. Each fish has so many different variants sporting all colours imaginable.

Male (rear) and female (front) platys from my tank

I personally have gone for Endlers, Chilli Scarlet Endlers to be precise. The male variety of these little creatures have beautiful bright colouration of green, orange, blue and black. Unlike the other species as listed above, the females don't really have much colour to them but they are a lovely silvery colour.

I have chosen Endlers for a few reasons. The first being that these fish are pretty much non-existent in their natural habitat as they are being out competed for food by newly introduced larger fish and eaten by predictors. I feel like breeding them is my way of keeping the species going! Also, they have a lot of character and are not timid or aggressive making them ideal for a community tank.

Chilli Scarlet Endler (also from my tank)

Generally, livebearers are really easy to breed and are prolific in nature, they generally don't really need any special treatment. The main things you need to make sure of is getting the correct male to female ratio and make sure you research the fish you choose to be safe. Ideally you should have 2 females to a male otherwise the males will wear the females out and you could end up losing them to exhaustion. Sexing most of the more common livebearers is easy as males are usually much brighter in colour. But some livebearers are not, so just in case here is a comparison with my Endlers as an example: 

(above) The female anal fin is large and triangular

(below) The male anal fin, or gonopodium is long and pointed

 Once the fish are in the tank and comfortable, you will likely see breeding behaviour quickly. Sometimes breeding behaviour is mistaken for something being wrong with the fish so look it up! For example, Endler males will slightly curl and flare up at each other as well as twitch erratically at the females to display. They will also twitch their gonopodium at the underside of the female. The male gonopodium is essentially their version of an anal fin and is used to fertilise a female.

I hope you enjoyed this post, next week I will be writing about how to tell if a livebearer is pregnant. I will also be going through methods to keep your fry (babies) safe, food quality and quantity, what products I use and general information about fry.



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