Endler’s Livebearers by Clint Norwood

Endler’s were collected by Professor John Endler in North East Venezuela in 1975. This collection ended up in Germany, became popular with the aquarists there and were given the name “Endlers Livebearer”. Though clearly related to the Guppies they are thought to be a distinct species. Endlers will interbreed with Guppies though, similar to the interbreeding of Swordtails and Platys, and the resulting fry are capable of reproducing. Anyone keeping Endlers should therefore keep them isolated from Guppies to keep them pure.

Keep in a well planted tank Endlers were found in warm 81F (27C) and alkaline water but easily adapt to local conditions. They are not a threat to their own fry and somewhat prolific if kept in a well planted tank and given a good mixture of foods including some vegtable matter.

I recently obtained 3 pairs of these little jewels and set them up in a well planted 5 gallon tank with some Ghost Shrimp and planted with Najas. The males are about 3/4 of an inch (2cm) long and the females are slightly larger at about an inch (2.5cm). I have been feeding them microworms, baby brine shrimp, daphnia and a flake/freeze dried mix . I tend to spoil my fish but I really think they would get by fine on flakes, they love it and they eat like teenage boys (that means excessively). Feeding is no problem.
So far the original fish have produced about 12 fry from a couple of drops. The females are young and I am expecting the broods to get larger as they mature. I hope to set up some of them in a small garden pool for the Summer.
The color and pattern of my strain is called “Peacocks”. As beautiful as this male is the picture doesn’t do justice to the true color. The orange absolutely glows. Maybe they should be called the Halloween Fish?

This is a very gravid female. The diamond pattern on her sides is not always apparent.
This is a younger male, notice his color is not as fully developed as the top one.

These fast little fish are very difficult to photograph. Endler’s are a fantastic little fish.

Note: I have observed something that is almost unreal with these fish. Being livebearers the males are very persistant spawners. They constantly harrass the females so much that the female hide in the overgrowth of Najas I have in the tank. So far no surprise. But lately I have just sat quietly in the fishroom, just sitting observing. After a while they forget you are there, and the usual food expectation wears off and they go on about their natural behavior. But the thing that is almost unbelievable is this: Sitting there I watched a small group of about 5 male Endlers suddenly act as if they had been fed, a sort of feeding frenzy. I had put no food in the tank, there was nothing there for them to be eating. But from the looks of it they had just been fed the most tastey food in the world. I was puzzled and certainly interested now. But what happened next explained it all.
The mock eating frenzy drew the females out of hiding. They couldn’t resist it. And once out in the open the males were able to begin mating with them again. The first time I saw this I thought maybe they were really eating something, or maybe my immagination has gone wild. But I have since observed this ploy at least 4 or 5 times on separate occasions. I am surprised that the Endlers were able to come up with something so tricky, but I am also surprised that the females keep falling for it, every single time. 

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