Feeding Your Endlers for Color & Health

posted in: Caring for Endlers | 8

Undemanding Endlers

Feeding your Endlers is not a hard process as they are quite easy to care for.   Over the past few years we have been experimenting with several kinds of food for our Endlers and their fry.

What we feed our Endlers changes from time to time depending on what is available.  In a small town our choices are limited locally so we get most of our food for our Endlers online.

High Quality Flake Food

The main food our Endlers get is a high quality flake food.  We switch brands from time to time but try to buy the best foods available.  Endlers seem to prefer a general tropical fish flake food or a food that is specifically made for guppies.

Most flake food is much too big for our Endlers and their fry.  For this reason we like to crush the food to a size that the Endlers like.

Flake food crushed to this small powdery size works well for the adult Endlers as well as the fry.

Crushed flake food that it is much more concentrated.  Use much less food than you would normally feed your fish to avoid overfeeding.

Feeding your fish small amounts of food several times a day is ideal.  Try not to feed your Endlers more they can eat in a couple of minutes.

Brine Shrimp

We have tried feeding our Endler fry baby brine shrimp in the past.  Raising brine shrimp is more of a hassle than we would like and we gave it up.

Adult Endlers will eat Frozen adult brine shrimp however not as readily as crushed flake food.  We also have some concerns about the nutritional value of frozen brine shrimp.

If you have the ability and patients to raise brine shrimp you will find that baby brine shrimp are eagerly taken by Endlers.


Feeding your Endlers Can o CyclopsCyclops, commonly called water fleas, available canned are ready to feed adult Endlers.  We found Zoo Med® Can O’ Cyclops to be quite palatable to our adult Endlers and it is very affordable.

The biggest problem we found when using O’ Cyclops is that each can contains more food than the typical hobbyist can use before the contents spoil.

Leftovers may be frozen in flattened bags or small cubes for later use.

Golden Pearls

One of the latest foods we have been testing is Golden Pearls in the 200-300 microns size.   Our Adult Endlers and larger fry seem to love these.

Marketed as a baby brine shrimp alternative, these small granules pack a lot of nutrition in a small space.

Our fish seem to be healthier and grow faster when we mix Golden Pearls into our crushed flake food.

Pellet Foods

Endlers will eat pellet food if the food is small enough for them to eat.  We occasionally use New Life Spectrum® small fish formula however we find that Endlers prefer the crushed flake food.

Spirulina Powder

Try feeding your Endlers Spirulina powder mixed in crushed flake food as we do.  It is a natural probiotic and provides high nutrition.  Use only small amounts mixed in their food to prevent contamination of the water.


We don’t clean the nice green algae that develops on the back or sides of the tank very often.  Endlers should be fed small amounts several times a day.  Providing fresh algae for Endlers is a great way to provide food for them when you can’t be there.

Algae can even help provide a food source while you are away for a short period of time such as a weekend or a short vacation.

Feeding Your Endlers Live Food

We avoid feeding our fish most live food due to the risk of parasites and disease.

Raising brine shrimp is more trouble than we care to deal with.

Vinegar Eels may be a good food for adult Endlers due to the small size.  We haven’t tried them yet.

Frozen or Dried Food

Frozen or dried Bloodworms and Tubiflex worms are too big for most of the Endlers to eat quickly and efficiently.

Feeding Endler Fry

We have found New Life Spectrum® Small Fry Starter to be an excellent choice for feeding newborn Endler fry.

Finely crushed flake food is also eagerly take by young fry.

When our Endler fry get a little larger we feed them a combination of crushed flake food and Golden Pearls.

Feeding Your Endlers While Away From Home

Endlers can go a couple of weeks living only on the microscopic organisms and algae.  These microscopic foods grow naturally in your aquarium.  Microscopic organisms can provide enough food for a few days as long as the tank is not overpopulated.

Overfeeding your fish prior to leaving them for a while is likely to do more harm than good.

Automatic feeders could be a great alternative if it is reliable and can dispense the food properly.

8 Responses

  1. Joanne Poleski

    I am going on vacation for 7days. I have 5 adult Endlers in a 5
    gallon tank moderately planted tank.
    Would it be appropriate to use a Tettra gel feeder while I’m gone?
    If so, should I put the whole feeder in or just part of it since my
    tank is small?
    Is this kind of food appropriate for Endlers?
    Thank you for any advice you can give me on feeding them while
    I am gone. A friend to feed them is not an option.

  2. Marty Andersen

    I would recommend feeding your fish small amounts as often as possible a few days prior to your trip. Don’t overfeed them, just feed them what they will eat in a couple of minutes.

    I have a special tank set up in the bedroom and I feed them in the morning and the evening as well as every time I walk in the room. They are very happy & healthy fish!

    I would recommend that you feed them one last time just before leaving on your vacation. Again only as much as they can eat in a couple of minutes. Avoid the temptation to overfeed them as you will likely come home to dead fish due to a bacteria bloom.

    I wouldn’t recommend the gel or the white feeding blocks. In such a small tank you are at risk of creating a water quality issue.

    If your fish are good and healthy and you have fed them well for a few days they should have no issues with not being fed for a few days.

    In fact fasting can be good for your fish. We let our fish fast every Saturday and Sunday so they are ready to ship on Monday. Shipping can take 2-3 days so they actually fast for 4-5 days when the post office does a good job shipping.

    We have had a few packages over the years that have been lost in the mail and took 1-2 weeks to reach their destination. We have never lost any fish due to the post office losing a package.

    Having a friend feed your fish while you are gone can lead to disaster. Years ago I went on a vacation for a week and asked a friend to feed my fish. I gave him instructions on how to feed them. He agreed and I went on vacation.

    My friend got lazy and poured the entire bottle of fish food into the tank the next day. All of my fish were dead and I had to deal with a tank that was brown and stinky.

    • Joanne Poleski

      Update on vacation feeding.
      I followed your instructions on how to feed my Endlers while on vacation.
      I was gone nearly eight days and upon return, they were alive and
      healthy. Thank you so much for this information.

  3. Kaela

    Thanks for the information! Very helpful. I’ve been feeding my Endlers 1x a day of high quality flake food (Omega One- super color) but I’m still having issues with some males looking “washed out”. Would feeding multiple times a day help this? I’m wondering if maybe I need to vary up their diet or if it’s possible I’ve hit inbreeding displaying itself (3-5 generations in one tank without new stock added).

    Thanks for you time!

    • Marty Andersen

      Great Question! I would definitely recommend feeding your Endlers more than once a day. I would say the minimum would be morning and evening. There are however other ways of feeding your Endlers without having to give them a pinch of flake food.

      We intentionally allow algae to grow on the rear and sides of our tanks because Endlers love to graze on the algae so much.

      We have used Omega One-Super Color and still do from time to time but I would recommend trying several different foods to try to vary their diet a little.

      Although food is a big factor I believe there may be some issues with your breeding methods.

      You want to be very careful to limit which males are used as your breeding stock. Leaving your fish to breed without intentionally trying to control which males are bred with can quickly lead to washed out colors.

      We work hard to control breeding and remove all males from the general population until we can see what they are going to look like. This is a lot of work requiring us to spend a few hours a week netting males.

      You want only your best males breeding with your females. Only a few generations of uncontrolled breeding can lead to washed out colors and markings.

      One word of warning, be sure to watch out for males that look almost like females. These males have very little color and usually grow a little bit larger than most of the other males.

      If left to breed with your females the offspring could quickly loose the beautiful coloration that they are known for.

      All is not bad news however. As quickly as the coloration can be lost from uncontrolled breeding the reverse can also happen just as quickly if you control breeding.

      The method we use to choose which males we want to use for breeding is asking ourselves “Is this what we would like all of our Endlers to look like?”

      The reason we ask this question is because it is very likely to be exactly what happens; your males will begin to look more and more like your breeding stock.

      Another thing I would recommend is to learn more about preventing breeding issues. Here is what we do with some modifications:

      Having such control over what your Enlers look like is part of the fun and excitement of breeding Endlers.

      I hope this helps a little. Please give us an update in a few months.

  4. Kaela

    Thanks! Mine don’t breed very quickly (possibly since I’ve only been feeding them once a day) and line breeding looks like it’d be a lot of work for my 5 gallon set up. There’s no real place for my not-up-to-snuff males to go. Hopefully one day I’ll be in a bigger place and such a thing would be feasible!

  5. Karen J Gray

    I’m curious if you’ve ever tried feeding Microworms, especially to fry ? I raise a lot of live food, I think it does a lot for fish. But the worms particularly are so easy to raise in almost any amount you’d want and make superb fry food Most adult fish enjoy them too, providing the fish are small. Larger fish will eat them but the worms are so tiny, they’d have to eat an awful lot of them to satisfy their appetites.

    Nutritionally, microworm is very similar to live Baby brine and they have the fats, especially HUFAs, fry need to grow well. The worms live at least as long as brine shrimp do in fresh water and some seem to survive for more than a day. If you’re not around to do the multiple feedings fry should have in their first weeks of life, the worms can make it possible to feed fry less often and not shortchange them.

    Provided the containers the worms grow in have only pin prick size air holes, contamination has not been a problem, at least not for me. Fruit flies will get in if you make the holes any larger than the tip of a small sewing needle, and when they do, I feed the fly larvae to bottom feeding fish and then discard the culture. I always have several of them on the go. I’ve also slashed long cuts into some softer plastic lids, using a very narrow blade knife and these have worked well also, not allowing flies in, but allowing enough air to stop too much condensation.

    Starter cultures can be obtained from labs like Carolina Biologicals if you didn’t trust buying from a hobbyist. I find oatmeal cooked to a very dry slab about a half inch thick makes an ideal substrate for the worms and baker’s yeast is the primary food. I prefer the ‘instant’ type, it dissolves faster, but any kind works. You can supplement it by mixing in some powdered spirulina too. The more you feed the worms, the higher the reproduction rate will be.

    The cultures are easy to restart every couple of months, which is about as long as they last without the substrate becoming too wet, or too sour. I would never be without them and feed them to all my fish. I mostly keep very small species, such as Endler, Dario dario, Daisy’s Rice fish, Boraras sp., but even my one Betta fish likes the worms. The bottom feeders like Dwarf Chain loach and Pygmy corydora love them too, as do snails and shrimp. They’re great for filter feeders too, being a staple I offer to Bamboo and other filter feeding shrimp.

    I started keeping P class Endlers a few years back and have lately tried crossing a few with two types of Guppy. The first few broods of fry have resulted in some interesting and often very colourful males There is one I could wish would make more like himself, though I doubt it will happen.

    He has a gigantic dorsal fin, like a big flag. It’s mostly clear, though there are two colour blotches on it, one metallic pink, one white, both with lacy black lines in them that resembles fine netting. The dorsal is very narrow where it attaches, but flares to about a half inch wide and it’s longer than the main tail fin. Much of the tail is similarly clear, except one white spot in the centre where it joins the body, with the same white ‘netting’ pattern as the dorsal blotch. The tail also has a very long bottom sword, which is split at the end, coloured mostly red with narrow white edges. His body is mostly metallic blue, with some metallic pink blotches, a few black lines and spots.

    Even if he’s a one off, which seems fairly likely, he’s been fun to watch to grow into his colours. He’s closer to Guppy size than Endler, unlike most of the other hybrid fry, where the males have grown to be only slightly larger than my Endler boys. I doubt I’ll ever make any money at breeding fish but it’s a lot of fun.

  6. Marty Andersen

    Microworms are something that we have considered trying. After receiving your comment it’s definitely something we want to try.

    Thanks for sharing the info!

    Your Endlers sound beautiful. It’s amazing what beauties are produced from Endler/Guppy hybridization.

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