Male Orchid Endler’s Livebearer
Endler Livebearers a New Species Available to the Tropical Fish Hobbyist
Endler’s Livebearers are a relatively new species available to the tropical fish hobbyist.
Although it was first discovered by Franklyn F Bind in 1937 in Laguna de Patos in Venezuela, it was not introduced into the aquarium trade until after it was rediscovered by Dr. John Endler in 1975.
Dr. Endler gave some of his fish to Dr. Donn Eric Rosen, Curator of Ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History and to Dr. Klaus Kallman, of the New York Aquarium.
Dr. Kallman later introduced the new fish to the German aquarium community. Unbeknown to Dr. Endler, Dr. Kallman gave the little fish the name “Endler’s Livebearer”. It wasn’t until several years later that Dr. Endler found out about the “Endler’s Livebearer” name when a colleague asked him about them.
The prodigy of the original stock that was brought back by Dr. Endler in 1975 eventually lost much of its wonderful coloration due to inbreeding and hybridization.
Is the Endler’s Livebearer Really a Guppy?
Often called Endler’s guppies, Endler’s Livebearers closely resemble guppies (Poecilia reticulata), in fact for several years there was quite a bit of controversy over the species. Many believed that the Ender’s Livebearer had been in fact just another variety of a guppy.
Studies concerning whether Endler’s were guppies or a distinct and separate species continued many years.
In 2009 Manfred. K. Meyer and Manfred. Schartl published their findings based on molecular data showing that although this species closely resemble guppies they are a distinct species of their own and they have been classified as Poecilia wingei. They are not Poecilia reticulata or Poecilia Obscura.
Endangered or Extinct
Recent explorations attempting to collect Endler’s Livebearers from Venezuela have shown an alarming situation.
Pollution and predatory fish species have significantly reduced the Endler population in the wild. Attempts to find many of the color strains that were once prolific have been unsuccessful.
It is believed that many of the wild color variations are now endangered or possibly even extinct. It may even be possible that the entire species is now extinct in the wild.
Classifications of Ender Live-bearers
Because the Endler’s Livebearer so readily breeds with guppies and mollies it was important to create a system to help ensure the preservation of the pure form of the species. A system was developed by Guy Smith and was accepted by the Endler community.
Class N: Any Endler’s Livebearer (and progeny) that can be shown to have originated from their native waters in Venezuela.
In order for an Endler’s Livebearer to be classified as Class N careful records must be kept to show the direct link to the wild Endler’s Collected in Venezuela.
Class K: The progeny of any Endler’s Live-bearer crossed with any other live-bearer or any hybrid strain.
There have been many beautiful hybrid strains developed by tropical fish hobbyists. Some of the most popular hybrids are Tiger Endler’s, Yellow Jacket Endler’s and Paradise Endler’s.
Class P: Any fish of unknown origin but appearing to be an Endler’s Livebearer based on the characteristics of size, shape and color.
Because it is so difficult to document the origination of the Endler’s to those that came directly from Venezuela the majority of the “pure” stock kept by hobbyists today are considered Class P.
Often fish offered for sale as Class N Endler’s are really Class P Endler’s due to the lack of documentation of the Endler’s origin.
Images of many of the Endler’s shown in AuqaBid or eBay show that many Endler’s advertised as Class N are actually hybrids and should be classified as Class K.
AdrianHD and Color Variation
Native Populations of Endler’s Livebearers have a tremendous amount of variation in coloration.
AdrianHD (Adrian Hernandez) has spent over a decade preserving native types of Endler’s Livebearers and has separated and organized them. These native types were then line bred to help preserve the many wild color variations and introduce them into the hobby.
AdrianHD has also developed many hybrid strains and several non-wild color variations however his main goal is to preserve the true wild forms and strains for future generations.
Some of the stains developed by AdrianHD from wild collected specimens are:
Black Bar Endler
One of the first strains introduced to hobbyists, this variety of Endler’s Livebearer is one of most popular. It contains a Black bar on both sides of the body, a blue patch under the dorsal fin and a sward and a half in the caudal fin. The body is short and stocky.
Black Bar Endler’s were collected from Laguna de los Patos North Lake and Laguna de los Patos South lake in 1997, 1998 and 2004 by Armando Pau. This was the type of Ender that was collected by John Endler in 1975.
View Larger Map
Laguna de los Patos in Venezuela. Home of several strains of Endler’s Livebearers.
Original Peacock Endler
Also known as the 1997 Common / Regular Peacock Endler, this variety has an orange stripe on the side and a dot on the tail resembling that of a peacock. The orange stripe on the side can be solid or broken. The body of this type of Endler is long and slim.
This native type of Endler was collected from Laguna de los Patos North Lake and Laguna la Malaguena in 1997, 1998 and 2004 by Armando Pau.
Original Red Chest Endler
This strain is also known as 1997 Red Chest and 1997 Orange Endler. It has a round monocle on top of the pectoral fins. Sometimes the monocle is very large and will bleed into the pectoral fins making them black paddle fins. Only a few of the males have black pectoral fins. The body of the Red Chest Endler is short and stocky.
This native type of Endler’s Livebearer was collected from Laguna la Malaguena and the hyacinth stream leaving Laguna de los Patos in 1997, 1998 and 2004 by Armando Pou.
Original Double Red Stripe Endler
The Original Double Red Stripe Endler is also known as the 1997 Double Red Stripe Endler. This strain is similar to the Original Red Chest Endler but having two stripes. The length of the stripes may vary as well as the space between the stripes.
This native type was collected from the same location as the Original Red Chest Endler.
Original Flame Tail Endler
The original Flame Tail Endler has orange coloring on the tail resembling a flame along with a yellow top sword. There are two main body colors with one more orange coloration and one with more mint green coloration. The body of the Flame Tail Endler is short and stocky.
This native Endler was collected from Laguna de los Patos South Lake and Laguna la Malaguena in 1997, 1998 and 2004 by Armando Pou.
Original Center Peacock Endler
The Original Center Peacock Endler has a dot on the center base of the tail. There is a black stripe that usually connects to the peacock dot. The Original Center Peacock is usually orange and black. This is a small fish and can be short or slender.
The native type was collected from Laguna la Malaguena and the Black Endler Pond in 1997, 1998 and 2004 by Armando Pou.
Original Snake Chest Endler
This interesting looking strain has a snake pattern on the chest and a round monocle on top of the pectoral fin. This type is short and stocky.
The Original Snake Chest Endler type was collected from Laguna La Malaguena, hyacinth stream leaving Laguna de los Patos North Lake and Laguna de los Patos in 1997, 1998 and 2004 by Armando Pau.
Lime Green Endler’s
The metallic green coloration found in wild Endler’s is what first caught John Endler’s attention when he saw this species. It is likely that John Endler would have not collected the Endler if it were not for the flashy green coloration.
The Lime Green Endler was line bred by AdrianHD to show off this amazing green coloration. As a result, the Lime Green Endler is fast becoming a favorite among Endler keepers.
This population of Endler has a metallic green stripe of various lengths on the side of the body. They may also have a black bar monocle wit two red swords with the top sword usually being very short. The Lime Green Endler has a white dorsal fine.
The wild stock from which this type was developed was collected in 2006 from a secret location in the Cumana Area.
Orchid Endler’s Livebearers
Orchid Endler’s Livebearers have many different black markings, tail patterns and sword lengths. The colors differ in appearance from one fish to another with assorted metallic body colors. The sword length may vary from only coloration that resembles a small sword in appearance to a very long sword extending well past the caudal fin.
The Orchid Endler has lots of black that helps to show off the other colors of this beautiful live-bearer.
The Orchid Endler strain was line bred and developed by AdrianHD ad was collected from the wild in 2006 from an undisclosed location in the Cumana Region.
View Larger Map
My Orchid Endler’s
I was fortunate to obtain several pairs of class N Orchid Endler’s directly from AdrianHD.
I chose to raise Orchid Endler’s due to the wonderful color and pattern variations as well as the great looking sword that is common in the strain.
The reason for purchasing several pairs was to help give my population of Endler’s good genetics and help reduce the amount of inbreeding.
I was a little surprised by the size of the Endler Livebearer. The males were much smaller than I imagined even though I had read by several hobbyists that they were quite small.
The males are about the size of a White Cloud Tetra or a Neon Tetra. The females can however get quite large exceeding 2″ in length.
They are very active fish and seem to be exhibiting a loose schooling behavior when kept in smaller groups. This active behavior makes the fish enjoyable to watch for long periods of time. They almost seem to have a “wild” behavior and yet they do not frighten easily.
These are some of the most active fish I’ve kept. Because of their activity level and unique coloration they are usually quite difficult to photograph.
The colors on Orchid Endler’s are quite striking. There is quite a bit of dark black on the body of the fish. This dark black color really helps to show off the orange and green colors.
The orange is very intense and is almost a “hunter” orange in color. The green is a metallic green that is quite showy. There is also a small amount of baby blue on the caudal fin or body of many of the fish. In most cases the blue coloration is on the end of the sword however some of them have it near the black spot on the caudal fin.
Dr. Endler said that the fish developed the intense metallic green due to the dark green algae ponds which they live in. These bright flashy colors help the males attract a mate in the dark green water.
The Endler’s seem to always be hungry pecking at the rocks and plants in my tank. From time to time one of the fish will make a quick dash to the top of the tank and dart back down.
When the male Endler’s aren’t looking for something to eat they spend their time courting the female Endler’s. The males are very good at swimming backwards as they court the females.
Soon after I received my Endler’s Livebearers I saw my first fry (babies) show up in the tank. The very small fry love to hide in the Dwarf Hairgrass and other live plants. Unlike guppies, the Endler’s Livebearers seem to have little interest in eating their young however large females seem to develop a taste for the young fry.
When the fry reached approximately one and a half weeks old the males started showing interest in some of the fry. Some of the other fry started exhibiting male courtship behavior. They are also starting to loosely school with the other Endler’s in the aquarium.
Care of Endler’s Livebearer
The Endler’s Livebearer is very easy to care for. They don’t need a large tank and can even be kept in a small desktop or Betta tank. For best results you should keep them in a 10 gallon tank or larger. A ten gallon tank can easily hold 30 or 40 Endler’s if it is properly cycled.
They are a hardy species that will adapt to most types of water.
They prefer hard water with temperatures between 75-81o F.
Your Endler’s will do very well with frequent water changes. I recommend that you do a 20% water change every two weeks.
They love to have live plants in their tank for them to nibble on algae and for the small fry (babies) to hide in.
Endler’s are not demanding when it comes to food and will eat just about any type of fish food you offer them that is small enough for their little mouths. They love live or frozen foods and should be fed small amounts often.
Endler’s are not aggressive and can be kept with other small non-aggressive species.
If you wish to breed your Endler’s you should be careful that the tank mates don’t eat the little fry and that you don’t keep them with any live-bearers that they could cross breed with.
Breeding is easy as Endler’s are very prolific breeders. They will give birth to small fry every 23-24 days. The number of fry a female will give birth to depend on the size and age of the female. It could be as low as one or as high as thirty!