Endlers Livebearer Care

Caring for Endlers Livebearers is Easy

Caring for Endlers is easy and can be quite rewarding.  Endlers (Poecilia wingei) are undemanding fish and are ideal for beginner and expert aquarium hobbyists alike.

Endler Livebearer Care
Caring for Endlers is quite easy with few special requirements.

Endlers Livebearer Care

  • Scientific Name : Poecilia wingei
  • Other Common Names : Endlers Livebearer, ELB, Endler, Endler Guppy, Cumana Guppy, Campoma Guppy
  • Care Level : Easy
  • Size : .75-2 inches (2-5cm) Females are larger than males.
  • Preferred Water Conditions: 5.5-8.0 pH and Moderately Hard to Very Hard (May be acclimated to most water conditions including brackish water.)
  • Temperature : 64–84°F (18–29°C), ideal between 75-81°F (24–27°C)
  • Origin : Campoma & Cumana Regions, Venezuela
  • Lifespan : 2-3 years (Higher temperatures may shorten lifespan)
  • Temperament : Peaceful; Will get along with most peaceful community fish.
  • Breeding: Easy; The larger and older the female gets the more offspring she will produce.  Endlers will produce fertile offspring when crossed with Guppies.
  • Tank Size : Will survive in as small as a 1 gallon but does best in a 10 gallon tank or larger.

Endlers Livebearer Scientific Name

DNA and genetic research have shown that Endlers have been reproductively separated from guppies for 500,000 to 5 million years depending on the gene tested and has been given the scientific name Poecilia wingei.  Although they are classified with their own scientific name there still those who believe that Endlers are simply another form of Guppy (Poecilia reticula).

The reason for the dispute is because Endlers Livebearers can easily breed with guppies and produce fertile offspring.

Our experience has shown that Endlers have a personality all their own and we much prefer them over fancy guppies.

Endlers are very active and occupy all levels of the aquarium.  The endless activities are a pleasure to watch.

One of our customer shared their feelings about their Endlers in one of our reviews:

“The Orchid Endlers are the cutest thing ever! They arrived packed to perfection. None seemed to be in any distress whatsoever when they arrived.

I was concerned about doing everything right to get them ready to go in the big tank with my Platies. They adjusted PERFECTLY… unbelievably easy!

There were easy to follow instructions on how to get them ready to move to the tank. Very simple steps.

They are super curious and active. My Platies aren’t sure what to think of them exactly because they do have A LOT of energy. They’ve brought a ton of life to our community tank. We just watch and giggle.

They seem curious about every single thing – even about US. They swim right to the glass and stare at you if you are watching them closely. Then they take off back to exploring.

They swim at all levels of the tank as well. They don’t seem to have a certain depth they prefer. I love that. They will group up at times and swim together, but they also explore solo a lot. I absolutely adore them!

The males are already showing beautiful colors and some are already following the female Endlers around.

Thanks so much for the extras and for such great care in breeding and shipping.

I have to highly recommend this site if you are looking for REAL, healthy Endlers. You most likely will not find this quality in any fish store – even the small “Mom and Pop’s” shops and forget about the big chains! They are absolutely beautiful, very healthy, very active and SO easy to make the adjustment to a new big tank.

For reference: I have a 50 gallon tank. I only have 4 red wag Platies in it. My tank was fully cycled without fish.

I’ve had the Platies for about 2 months. I wanted to learn about one species at a time and learn their behaviors before adding other types of fish.

The Endlers adjusted very well to the tank with lots of plants and a few small structures to swim in and out of. They seem to like the plants best as do the Platies.”

Endlers Livebearer Common Names

Endlers are often referred to as Endlers Guppies, Endlers Livebearers, ELB or Endlers.  Care should be taken when purchasing Endlers because Endlers can easily cross breed with guppies.

If pure Endlers are desired it helps to understand the Endler Classification System or ECS.  The ECS was developed in part by AdrianHD therefore only Endler strains developed by AdrianHD are recognized by the ECS at this time.

N Class Endlers
Any Endler’s Livebearer (and progeny) that can be shown to have originated from their native waters in Venezuela will be considered a ‘Class N’ Endler.

K Class Endlers
The progeny of any Endler’s Livebearer crossed with any other livebearer or any Hybrid strain will be considered a ‘Class K’ Endler.

P Class Endlers
Any fish of unknown origin but appearing to be an Endler’s Livebearer based on the characteristics of size, shape and color will be considered a ‘Class P’ Endler.

Most Endlers found in local fish stores will seldom carry N Class Endlers.  This is because it is difficult for them to provide documentation showing a their linage to the original Endlers imported from Venezuela.  It may also be difficult for a pet shop or fish store to keep Endlers separated from guppies.

Because it’s so important to document your N Class Endlers we provide a Breeder/Keeper registry which helps to show your N Class status.

Feeding Your Endlers Livebearer

Can O' Cyclops
Can O’ Cyclops is small enough for adult Endlers but too large for young fry.

Endlers 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.  Although low cost fish foods will be happily eaten by your Endlers it is best to feed them high quality fish food to help maintain good health and color.

Endlers Livebearers are quite active and seem to be constantly hungry. Avoid the urge to over feed them and give them small amounts of food often.

Overfeeding your fish can lead to food being wasted on the bottom of the tank causing large amounts of bacteria to grow and producing harmful amounts of toxins in the water.

We use several different foods to keep our Endlers healthy and colorful.  You can learn more about what we feed our Endlers by following this link:  Feeding Your Endlers for Color and Health

We make it a habit not to clean the sides and back of our tanks very often. Endlers love spending the day tearing at the green algae that may build up on the side of the tank making caring for Endlers even easier.

Although the algae on the walls of the tank may be somewhat unsightly the algae also helps to remove harmful Nitrates from the water.  Note: Too much algae may be a sign of poor water conditions.

Sometimes the Endlers exhibit a behavior similar to “flashing”. In most fish flashing is usually an indication that a fish has some type of skin irritation usually associated with an illness or parasite such as Ich.  In the case of the Endlers Livebearer this behavior is often observed when the fish are attempting to tear chunks of algae from the surface of a rock or other object.


In many of our tanks we use a combination of a large sponge filter as well as a back filter.  These filters in combination seem to create just the right amount of water movement for our fish as well as providing mechanical, biological and chemical filtration for the tank.

We have also used a small bubble wand in some of our tanks and the Endlers seem to enjoy it.

Although Endlers enjoy some water movement care should be taken not to choose filtration system that causes too much water movement.

The filtration system used should also be designed in a manner that it will not suck up young Endler fry.  We put a filter sponge over the intake of our back filters to prevent Endler fry from being sucked up into the filter.


New advances in LED lighting gives the opportunity to have great lighting without producing too much heat.

We use plants that require little lighting.  Our lights are turned on for four hours in the morning then shut off for four hours and then turned on again for four hours.  In the summer we extend the four hour lighting periods to 5 hours.

Using good lighting helps to make the metallic coloration as well as the other colors of Endlers really stand out beautifully.

Endler Size

The average size of male Endlers are 3/4″ to 1″.  Pure Endlers seldom reach as size greater than 1″ however occasionally full grown male Endlers may be smaller than 3/4″.

Adult female Endlers Livebearers usually grow to between 1 1/2″ to 2″.  On rare occasions females may grow larger.

We had one female Endler years ago that was kept in a 55 gallon tank that grew considerably larger than 2″ before she passed away.

Endlers Are Adaptable to Most Water Types

Although Endlers seem to prefer moderately hard to hard water with a PH of 5.5-8.0 they can adapt to most water conditions.

Endlers were originally captured in Venezuela in water which was green with algae.  It is believed that Endlers developed their bright coloration to help males be seen in the algae rich waters.

Endlers are so undemanding and easy to care for that we don’t even monitor the water conditions in our tanks except for ammonia and nitrites.

Endlers will do very well with frequent water changes. We recommend that you do a 20% – 35% water change every two weeks.

Our Endlers have also done well in a well planted low tech tank with little to no water changes.

Whether you choose to do frequent partial water changes or keep your Endlers in a low tech tank, Endlers enjoy a well planted tank with lots of live plants for the small fry (babies) to hide in and to help control fluctuations in water conditions.

The addition of small amounts of salt seems to be beneficial as it is with some other livebearers.  Lots of plants also seem to help the Endlers feel more comfortable and helps them to have their best coloration.

Ideal Water Temperature for Endlers Livebearers

Ideally Endlers should be kept at a temperature between 75-81°F (24–27°C) but will do well at temperatures between  64–84°F (18–29°C).  Endlers will die at temperatures near 60°F (16°C).

The temperature of the water is thought to have some bearing on the sex of new fry.  Higher temperatures seem to result in more males and lower water temperatures results in more females.

The origin of Endlers Livebearers

Blue Star Endler
Blue Star Endler

Although Endlers were first discovered by Franklyn F Bind in 1937 in Laguna de Patos in Venezuela, they were not introduced into the aquarium trade until after they were rediscovered by Dr. John Endler in 1975.

Many of the first Endlers that were introduced into the hobby came from Endlers collected by Armando Pou from Laguna de Patos in the Cumana region in the late 1900s and the early 2000s.  These Endlers were line bred into unique strains and offered to hobbyists by Adrian Hernandez (AdrianHD).

In later years other Endlers were discovered in the Campoma region as well as the Cumana region of Venezuela by Phillip Voisin & Co. as well as others.

One of the most popular Endlers strains developed by Phillip Voisin & Co. is the Blue Star Endler.

There is some dispute as to whether the Endlers captured in the Campoma region are pure Endlers or not because many of these Endlers were captured in waters that also contained wild guppies.

Whether they are pure or not there are some amazingly beautiful strains developed from Endlers discovered in the Campoma region.

Endlers Livebearer Lifespan

We have never actually documented the lifespan of any single Endler however it appears that they live about 2-3 years.  Some say they can live as long as 5 years.

Water temperature seems to have a strong influence on the lifespan of Endlers.  Higher temperatures seem to lower the lifespan of Endlers.

A Non-Aggressive Species

Endlers are not aggressive and can be kept with most other small non-aggressive species. They are perfect tank mates for small non-aggressive tetras.

Large pregnant females can become quite nippy however when they are near their “due date”.

In general Endlers are a great community tank species however pure Endlers should not be kept with guppies if as they will readily cross breed.

Endlers are a pleasure to watch and they will occupy all levels of the aquarium.  Endlers will eagerly congregate to one part of the tank when it’s feeding time.

Breeding Endlers Livebearers

New born Endler fry
New born Endler fry

There’s not much to caring for Endlers when it comes to breeding as they are very prolific breeders. They will give birth to small fry every 23-24 days however this may vary depending on the temperature of the water.

The number of fry a female will give birth to depends on the size and age of the female. It could be as low as one or as high as thirty!  A mature female will usually give birth to 10-20 fry.

If you wish to keep N Class Endlers Livebearers be sure to keep any other type of livebearer out of the tank because the males will attempt to breed with other livebearers.

The offspring produced from Endlers/Guppy crosses will produce a hybrid that is able to reproduce.  Because of the ease of which Endlers will breed with Guppies it is important to keep them separated if you do not wish the resulting offspring to be hybrid.

Breeding N Class pure strain Endlers with other livebearers will result in K Class Endlers (The progeny of any Endlers Livebearer crossed with any other livebearer or any Hybrid strain will be considered a ‘Class K’ Endler.)

Endlers will produce non-fertile offspring when crossed with mollies or picta.


Breeding Endlers
Male Orchid Endler biting a female near the cloaca (genital pore).

Courting of the Endlers Livebearer is similar to the guppy. However they spend much more courting and less time chasing females than do guppies.

Males will attempt to display their colors and fins to the female often by swimming to the side of the female and then skillfully swimming backwards in an attempt to get the females attention. At times males will also display to other males.

Males will often bit the female near the cloaca (genital pore) while courting.

Young Endlers will leave the fry alone and will seldom eat their fry however large female Endlers may develop a taste for the young fry. Your young fry will want to have plenty of hiding places.

This is especially true in small overcrowded tanks. Even the larger females tend to leave the fry alone in larger uncrowded aquariums.

Well planted tanks with lots of live plants not only helps protect the young fry but also seems to keep Endlers happier and healthier.

Ideal Tank Size for Endlers

While Endlers will survive in a small desktop or Betta tank they do best in a 10 gallon tank or larger.  Up to 30 to 40 Endlers may be housed in a 10 gallon tank if that has been properly cycled and has a good filtration system.

We have found that Endlers can be somewhat sensitive to rapid changes in their environment.  Endlers seem to do better in large tanks such as 40 gallon breeder or 55 gallon tanks.  This is likely because larger tanks take longer for them to have fluctuations in temperature and water quality.

Along with the larger tank size we also find that having lots of plants seem to help Endlers feel more secure and helps them to have better health and color.

Dark colored substrate and background seem to help intensify Endler coloration.

Endler Illnesses

Sick Endler
An Endler showing the signs of an internal bacterial infection.

Although Endlers are quite hardy they do seem to be somewhat susceptible to rapid changes in water quality.  Whether caused by overpopulation, water changes or poor filtration these rapid changes can leave Endlers weakened and prone to internal bacterial infections.

These bacterial infections can cause Endlers to loose weight rapidly and will eventually cause death.  Older female Endlers seem to be most susceptible to the illness.

Fortunately internal bacterial infections can be easily treated with medication.

Another common disease that can affect Endlers is Ich.

Endlers like temperatures that are higher than most tropical fish and seem to like the addition of salt to their tank making the treatment of Ich much easier than it can be with other tropical fish.

14 Responses

  1. Dr. Russel E. Bachert, Jr.

    I would like to consider setting up a tank with the fish you sell. Just today I found a used 90 gallon tank for sale, originally designed for salt water use. However I wondered if you would think it a good idea as a begging tank for fish purchased from you. How many would you suggest I purchase to get started? I live in Pennsylvania and wondered about the best time for you to ship to me. Do you sell the food you recommended? I look forward to your reply.


    Dr. Bachert

    • Marty Andersen

      That’s a great question. First of all, the larger the tank, the easier it is to keep the fish healthy. If the tank includes filter systems and heaters most of these are excellent for freshwater systems and will work great for Endlers as well as long as they do not produce too much water movement or swallow up any desired fry.

      Although many of the Endlers that were originally captured in the wild where found in bodies of water with very little water movement, I have found that the Endlers really enjoy a little water flow as long as it’s not too strong.

      Larger tanks help keep the environment more stable chemically as well as physically. We actually started raising our first Orchid Endlers in a 55 gallon aquarium. We provided a large hang on back filter and a large power filter along with a bubble wand that was about two feet long.

      We also added light weight lava rocks and live plants. Because our Endlers are raised in relatively low light we find that Java Fern (Microsorum pteropus) and Red Cryptocoryne (Cryptocoryne wendtii) do quite well and are easy to care for.

      We were fortunate to be able to get the lava rock locally as we had several extinct volcanoes in the area where we first started. The lava rocks we collected where very light weight and porous. Any lichens that may have been on the rock could potentially poison the fish so we baked the rock in the oven at 400 degrees for an hour and then took them to the car wash to pressure wash anything that was on the rocks.

      The holes in the rocks provided great places for us to attach java moss for the Endler fry to hide in. Endlers really enjoy the little hiding places the rocks and plants provide. The Endlers also seemed to enjoy the mild water movement that the filters and bubble wand created.

      Starting with only a few fish, we soon found our selves with several hundred.

      That’s how we got started. We still add a few new pairs every year or so to help keep the genetics fresh. We enjoyed our Endlers so much that we decided to try other strains but that’s a whole other story leading to where we are today!

      You are going to want to cycle the tank. The first thing you will want to do is set up the tank with any plants and decorations you wish to provide. Of course make sure all decorations are aquarium safe and be careful where you get your plants so you don’t accidentally introduce any unwanted pest or parasites.

      There are several ways to cycle the tank but perhaps the easiest way to do it is to start with a very small number of fish or a single fish depending on the size of the tank. The purpose of the first fish is to provide the beneficial bacteria that will help change ammonia to nitrites. Ammonia and nitrites are toxic to fish. Over time other bacteria will develop in the tank that will break down nitrites into nitrates which are considerably easier for the fish to tolerate.

      One of the important things that must be done every couple of weeks is a partial water change. This helps prevent the buildup of nitrates as well as chemicals and salts that may be present in your water in small quantities. Just like the Great Salt Lake or other bodies of water that have inlets but no outlets if there were no partial water changes these nitrates and chemicals would build up to a point that eventually the fish would not do well in the water and would eventually die.

      Start with a very small number of fish. If it where a 10 gallon tank I would start with one pair or trio. If you wanted to start a tank with absolute control then I would only start it with males. This would give the tank to adjust naturally without having any additional load added by drops of fry.

      If you start with a very small number of pairs or trios, in the case of a ten gallon tank I would start with one, the fry produced should not overwhelm the tank because they are so small and the growth happens fairly slowly. Adding too many fish at one time will overload the nitrogen cycle and cause the tank to develop toxic levels of ammonia and nitrites.

      In the case of a 90 gallon tank you could probably start with a dozen Endlers, maybe a few more if they were all male. If you start with only males you should be able to add a few more fish each month until you reach the number of fish you desire which could be hundreds if the tank is properly cycled.

      If you start with a very small number of pairs or trios, I would start with more than three pairs but not much more than a dozen fish and then let nature do it’s thing until you find yourself in a situation where you will need to start giving away or selling fish or getting more tanks.

      We had that problem until we learned to separate the males from the females at a very young age. This is a considerable amount of work. This would not be a problem if you obtained only males however you would need to get quite a few males over a period of time or a tank that large would look quite empty.

      It will probably take several months for the nitrogen cycle to be fully developed in the tank. During that time if you have any pairs or trios they will have several drops of fry. Because the fry are so small they will not produce much of a load on the tank until they get larger. This should give your tank an opportunity to adjust naturally and it should be able to handle the growing number of fish.

      You may wish to read this post if you want to learn more about the nitrogen cycle.

      For the sake of the plants I would also get a CO2 system. One that shuts itself off at night. Plants can’t use the CO2 without light so if the system is left on at night CO2 levels can build up to the point that it kills the fish. A CO2 system not only helps the plants but it will also help control some of the most common forms of algae.

      As far as food goes we don’t sell any food at this time as there are several great brands of food available for the Endlers. We started with very specific brands and types of food however we now vary the food regularly and often give them food with garlic in it as a preventative measure against parasites. We find that the Endlers Enjoy small live foods or small frozen foods.

      The main food we give them is flake food however we find that the Endlers don’t really like it unless we crush it to a size that is a little smaller than a pin head. The Endlers go crazy for the crushed flake food. We usually get the kind that helps enhance their color and we change brands each time we buy food.

      We often add a little spirulina powder to the crushed flake food. We sometimes sprinkle a pinch of spirulina powder in the fry tanks as well as New life Spectrum Grow Fry Starter along with the crushed flake food which we crush even smaller between our fingers as we feed them. Of course we feed the fry very small amounts of food several times a day.

      By the way, we have tried some of the expensive high algae foods and the Endlers wouldn’t eat it.

      Anyway the short answer to your question is that a larger tank is considerably easier to maintain than smaller tanks however no mater what size tank you get there is still some maintenance that will need to be done.

      Hopefully this helps and I hope you will have the opportunity to Enjoy Endlers as they are a real pleasure to watch.

  2. Dr. Russel E. Bachert, Jr.

    Thanks so much for the detailed and informative response. Now, I would like to ask how many of one species of Endlers should initially be purchased based upon sex to begin to populate a 90 gallon tank? And, do you suggest one class, strain and/or over another to establish a new tank and why? So is it best to buy a colony, or a few of the N strain of each sex and if so how many of each? Also, is it best to introduce a few and later add more, after the tank becomes better established, or start with a set number of each sex initially? How can I best ready the tank for introduction of the fish? I look forward to more help prior to establishment of the tank.



    • Marty Andersen

      It really depends on what you want to accomplish in the end. If you, like many hobbyists wish to keep their strain pure as there is a possibility that these strains do not exist anymore in the wild then I would be sure to have only one strain.

      If you don’t care and want to mix it up a little then you could put several strains together. The problem with putting several strains in together is that they will definitely mix so you will have something that is still a pure Endler (provided you don’t add guppies) however they will no longer be pure strains but a mix of strains.

      Most of the Endlers we carry were collected from different locations and in some cases different regions. These strains did not always mix in the wild however some did.

      Breeder AdrianHD developed most of the strains that can be found in the United States. He took the various Endlers that were brought back from Venezuela by Armando Pou and developed specific strains based on the Endlers that he received. While there is nothing wrong with mixing the Endlers and having something different and possibly unique, you would be undoing the work put fourth by AdrianHD to develop the specific strains in the first place.

      Whether to mix them or not is a matter of preference however pure strains are commercially more valuable in general.

      If you wish to mix them I would get whatever you wish and have fun with it. If you want to keep only one strain then I would pick the strain you enjoy the most and have my name added to the Breeder/Keeper Registry so that I can show that my Endlers are the progeny of the original Endlers that where brought back from Venezuela and that they have not been mixed with any other livebearers or undocumented Endlers.

      The other solution would be to only purchase males. This would make it so you could mix as many strains as you wish to your tank and not worry about them interbreeding.

      Another advantage to ordering only males is you would have direct control over how many Endlers you would have in your tank.

      This would be the most costly method of filling the tank however it would also be absolutely stunning visually as the males have all the color and the females have little to no coloration.

      If you were to go the all male route I would start with around a dozen males for the 90 gallon tank. If you want to breed them I would recommend starting with 3-4 trios. Trios are preferred when breeding Endlers because it gives the females some rest from the males.

      If you do go with all males I would also consider adding some other varieties of fish to the tank to give it some additional variety. If you choose to add other fish you should be very careful to get only species that are very gentle community fish of similar size that enjoy the same water conditions. Whether you go with all males or not I would still recommend adding some Corydoras pygmaeus (Pygmy Cory) to explore the bottom of the tank.

      I would recommend adding a few Endlers at a time. If you have a good filtration system and your tank is properly cycled you should eventually be able to keep 150-200 Endlers very comfortably in a tank of that size.

  3. Dr. Russel E. Bachert, Jr.

    You are so thorough in your response and I am impressed. I just purchased a beautiful tank and stand with equipment tonight as my beginning. It is a 65 gallon tank. I am also considering a 90 gallon tank as mentioned previously.

    After reading your careful and detailed response I would like to consider keeping on strain N strain and being listed on the breeder/keeper registry. I was not sure if it was my name and/or your name that appears on the registry. Please explain and the cost of being added to the registry.

    Also, I have decided on a mix of N strain of Snakeskin Orchid Endlers purchasing trios. How many trios should I start with for a 65 gallon tank and then how many should be added at a later date?

    I look forward to learning more from you and purchasing trios after I have established my tank. Again any tip on how best to prepare a new tank and how long to wait before introduction the trios is information that would be much appreciated.



    • Marty Andersen

      A 65 gallon tank is a great size to start with. As I mentioned before we started with a 55 gallon. The large tank size will make it much easier to keep the water quality more consistent. This is one of the reasons larger tanks are used for salt water tanks because salt water fish are so sensitive to temperature and water quality changes.

      There is no cost to be added to the registry you just have to purchase a minimum of 3 pairs or 3 trios so that you have enough fish to start a genetically stable colony. Once you receive your fish and the transaction is complete just let us know you want to be on the registry and we will add you to it.

      If you do choose to keep N Class Endlers and keep the strain pure you will want to only keep one strain of Endler per tank.

      As far as the name on the registry we usually add your name, city, state and the month and year you were added to the registry. My name is always the first name on the registry as we are the first to have the Endlers. I sometimes forget what year we started raising Endlers so it’s fun to go back and see the year and month we started raising each strain.

      Remember that when you raise N Class Endlers it is important to have documentation showing path back to the original Endlers from Venezuela. Documenting the lineage of your Endlers helps to protect the strain from Endlers that have, or my have, come in contact with other livebearers such as guppies. Of course it is somewhat of a system of honesty as it is important that each person that has N Class Endlers protect them and not offer them as N class if they ever become crossed with other fish.

      Our Breeder/Keeper registry makes it easy to trace their fish all the way back to the fish that came from Venezuela. This is especially important if you ever decide to offer your Endlers to others.

      If your 65 gallon tank has not yet been fully cycled I would start with 3 trios of Snakeskin Orchid Endlers. This will be enough fish to add you to the Breeder/Keeper Registry and be a small enough number of fish that you shouldn’t overwhelm your tank. This small number of fish should produce just enough waste to feed the beneficial bacteria.

      You should avoid the temptation to get more fish for a couple of months so your tank has time to adjust. If you choose to get more fish after a couple of months again only get a few of the same strain so your tank can adjust. Another 3 trios should be plenty. At that point you would have 18 fish. Wait another couple of months and then add more. At that point it will be likely that you will have also have added more naturally via births of fry.

      It is likely that you won’t need anymore fish as you will have a good genetic mix and the number of fish you have in your tank will increase exponentially. Remember that each female Endler can drop fry every 24 days or so depending on the temperature. These drops are typically very small when the females are young however as the Endlers get older the drops can become much larger. In three or four months the small fry will become old enough to start having fry themselves. If you do well and your tank remains healthy you are likely to have more fish than your tank can handle and it will be time to get another tank or start giving away or selling your excess.

      One word of caution. We have found the biggest cause of unhealthy Endlers is overcrowding resulting in poor water quality.

      As far as setting up your tank, with a good filtration system or systems. We prefer back filters and internal power filters in combination with sponge filters.

      Next you will want good quality heater. Make sure your heater is large enough for your tank. Both the filters and the heaters usually say how many gallons of water they should be used with.

      You will then need a good substrate. I would start with something like Eco Complete Planted Black Aquarium Substrate or CaribSea Instant Aquarium Tahitian Moon Gravel. We have used both with great success. We stay away from the old fashioned aquarium gravel as they are not porous for the beneficial bacteria and ordinary gravel really doesn’t benefit the plants. We usually try to have a between 1-1/2″ to 2″ of substrate in the tanks.

      You could now make your plant plant selections. This is a somewhat complex process as plants have different needs as far as PH, nutrition and especially lighting. I would do plenty of research before making any purchases.

      Here is a video that shows some beautiful tanks that may help to give you some inspiration: Most Beautiful Aquascapes (Underwater Landscapes)

      You probably can’t see it in the videos but most of these beautiful show tanks have CO2 systems to help the plants and reduce algae growth. This would be a great addition and will help keep your tank beautiful.

      After you have set up your tank three trios should be a good to start cycling your tank. Even better yet start with a small number of Otocinclus Catfish we use them in our tanks and have been very happy with them. They look somewhat like a Chinese Algae Eater but they are not aggressive and stay quite small. 3-5 of these should be a good start and then a month later add your 3 trios. Be sure that you get your Otocinclus Catfish from a reputable source as there are several fish species that look very similar that are not as desirable. Especially stay away from the Chinese Algae Eaters as they can become quite large and aggressive. They are even known to eat the protective slime off of other fish.

      It’s good to see that you are making a good effort to start out right. So many times people start with the fish and get the tank as an afterthought only to have the fish die because the tank wasn’t cycled properly.

  4. Iain McCormack

    Can i put adult endlers in a twenty gallon tank with two banjo catfish and a 6 month old rafael catfish?

    • Marty Andersen

      Banjo Catfish grow to about 6″ in length however they generally leave other fish alone. That being said, as Endlers are quite small, especially the males, there may be a chance they would get eaten.

      As far as the Rafael Catfish goes I’ve never owned them but they are supposed to get along with other tank mates fairly well from what I understand. I would guess that anything that would be small enough to fit in it’s mouth however might be at risk.

      We keep true Otocinclus with our Endlers and they seem to get along quite well. Don’t get them mixed up with other Algae Eaters as they can be quite aggressive.

  5. Sherry B.

    I have a 29 gallon tank I was going to stock a few guppies but I cannot keep the darn things alive. Probably because they come from a pet store. It is a bare bottom tank with some plastic plants and I do 30% water changes once a week with Prime. Water is 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, <5% nitrate, ph about 7.5. I have some juvenile platys and 6 peppered Corys in it. I am very seriously thinking about ordering Endlers from you. Do you think I will have any problems with Endlers in this setup? I don't seem to have problems with fish other than the guppies. Also if I do this I was curious what type of intake cover you use on your HOB filter to keep fry out. I have a 70 Aquaclear and it pulls a lot of water. I have a DIY plastic canvas mesh with little holes from the craft store over it now.

    • Marty Andersen

      Under normal conditions Endlers should do fine in that setup. My concern is what is killing the guppies. You did not describe what symptoms your guppies had prior to their deaths.

      I would recommend trying to figure out what happened to the guppies before adding anymore fish to the tank.

      As far as covering the intakes of the HOB filter many people like to cover it with nylon stocking material. I like to use the filters that come off of the smaller sized double sponge filters. These filters only work if the intake is fairly small in diameter. This is one of the reasons I like the Aqueon QuietFlow 10 filters for the smaller 10 gallon size tanks. I haven’t tried the larger sizes so I’m not sure if they would work with the sponge filters or not.

      You can get the replacement sponges on ebay if you don’t want to get the complete filter system: http://www.ebay.com/itm/4-PCS-Replacement-Sponge-for-Sponge-Filter-XY-2830-2831-/250939045367?

  6. Sherry B.

    I got the guppies from a pet store. I got 2 pair to begin with and they did fine. Then I went to the pet store 3 weekends in a row and they had sold out of females. The 4th weekend they had a few females left and they looked sickly but I got three anyway – they lasted 3-4 days. Just had the shimmies. Then one morning one of my original females was half dead (couldn’t swim) with no warning. The rest of the fish in that tank are fine. I think I’m just getting sickly/weak fish. My nitrates were up to 5 this evening- maybe that was it, so I did a 40% water change. There is a Wet Pets 35 miles away I may drive out there and see what they have. What I really want is a brightly colored fish with a shorter but colored tail. The fancy guppies look like their tail is so heavy they can hardly swim. I would love to have some of the snakeskin hybrids from SwampAquatics but the website seems to be down.

    • Marty Andersen

      I’ve found that the Endlers and Endler hybrids are much easier to care for than fancy guppies. We have a some Snakeskin Orchid Endlers available right now that might be just what you are looking for. They are pure N Class Endlers that are like no others available today.

      If you don’t like those we also have some Albino Snake Endlers that you might like.

      I think you’ll find that Endlers and Endler hybrids are much more active than most guppies and seem to be healthier also. Many people say it’s because guppies have become so inbred over the years.

  7. Sherry B.

    oh YES… the Snakeskin Orchids you have are beautiful, and will fit the bill nicely. I’m thinking probably 2 trios….. I’m going to give my tank a week or two first, I still have fish in it and I want to make absolutely sure there is nothing weird going on with it before I put expensive fish in there. Have to rehome everything but the Corys anyway. I did put in 2 plastic plants that were not made for aquariums the other day. I’ve done that many times and never had a problem but you never know… too bad – big floating grass ball hollow in the middle perfect for fry – cheap from Hobby Lobby LOL

    I do believe that the guppies are weak. They die if you look at them funny.

    • Marty Andersen

      I think you will really enjoy the Snakeskin Orchids. They look pretty much like regular Orchid Endlers when they are young and then the as they age the snakeskin pattern gets more pronounced. The patterns and colors intensify as the males get older.

      Be careful with the plastic plants that are not specifically designed for aquarium use. Some of them have metal in them and many metals can be harmful to aquarium fish. Same goes for other decorations that are not made for aquariums. It’s important to make sure the decorations don’t contain anything that could harm your fish over time.

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