In recent years, the popularity of livebearers has surged immensely. Livebearers are called so as females belonging to this subspecies give birth to live young as opposed to most other fish that lay eggs. The fry produced are larger than eggs, can feed on different foods, and are better at escaping predators.
Livebearers come from Central, Northern South, and Southern North America and have become quite popular among aquarists around the world as these fish are beautiful to look at as well as easy to care for and maintain. Livebearers are active fishes that keep the aquarium feeling alive.
If you have been thinking about getting yourself a livebearer, here are 15 livebearers for your home aquarium from our Livebearer Fish List.
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15 Livebearers for Your Home Aquarium: Livebearer Fish List
Guppies (Poecilia Reticulata) have a taste for mosquito larvae and thus, were introduced into waters around the world to fight the mayhem caused by mosquitoes. Their continuous breeding has made them one of the most easily available fishes.
The guppy has gained immense popularity among aquarists, primarily because it comes in a wide variety of patterns, colors, and tail and fin styles. Guppies are small, with females ranging between 1.5 to 2.25 inches and males ranging between 1 to 1.5 inches.
They live well in slightly warm (23 – 25 degrees Celsius) and slightly alkaline water. Guppies eat vegetarian and can easily survive in tanks as small as 5 gallons.
Though mollies are related to guppies, they couldn’t be more dissimilar to them in appearance — while guppies are small, mollies are significantly larger, with both males and females capable of reaching up to 4 inches.
Further, all kinds of mollies are salt-loving and come from the warmer areas located along the Caribbean coast of North and South America. Poecilia sphenops, also known as Common Molly, have been bred for generations now and is, therefore, the easiest to keep and breed.
The common Mollies are available in black, white & black, and black, gold, and spotted colors. Mollies are easy to care for and though they are salt-loving, they do not suffer greatly from lack of salt and eat just about anything.
Among all different mollies, the Sailfin Molly is the second most popular and commonly found species of Molly. Sailfin Molly comes from the coastal areas located along North Carolina to Southern Mexico and can grow up to 4-5 inches.
Though these fish can survive in freshwater, they need salt water to grow well and stay healthy. Male sailfin mollies are known for their beautiful and colorful dorsal fins, which they use to attract females. All sailfin mollies also react well to vegetarian food.
Yucatan mollies are often confused with Sailfin mollies. Though both of these fish are quite similar in size, they can be distinguished based on their dorsal fin rays.
While Sailfin mollies have 15 or less dorsal fin rays, Yucatan mollies have close to 20 rays. However, Yucatan mollies are probably the biggest of all mollies ( with males reaching up to 6 inches and females reaching up to 8 inches) and require at least 60 gallons of space.
They also need warm waters and saltwater to thrive well.
Southern Platy or Xiphophorus maculatus is the most common type of platy. It is also the platy most commonly found in aquariums. This livebearer comes in a variety of colors, including black, gold, red, and blue, and forms, including sword-tailed and hi-fin.
Continual breeding has made this fish tolerant of most conditions, including warm temperatures and slightly acidic water. However, this fish thrives most well in warm temperatures, slightly salty water, and a tank that provides at least 10 gallons of space.
Variable platies are slightly smaller than Sothern platies and usually grow max up to around 2 inches. However, compared to southern platies, variable platies suffer from a lack of diversity in terms of color and form.
They are usually available in gold, red, and black colors. However, much like Southern platies, Variable platies are also quite easy to keep and hardy, though they do well in moderate temperatures and alkaline water. They also eat just about anything.
These brightly colored livebearers have become a popular choice for nano fish tanks. Endler’s livebearers or Poecilia wingei are small fish, measuring anything between a half or quarter of an inch. These livebearers are quite close to guppies in terms of breeding and care and thus, are also often called Endler’s guppies.
Swordtail livebearers are native to Mexico and Central America and come in a variety of colors, including red, blue, gold, and black. Males are easy to distinguish from females as only males have the showy extension of the tail fin. Further, swordtails grow to between 3 to 4 inches and are quite easy to keep as they are non-fussy eaters as well as tolerant.
Redtail splitfin or Xenotoca eiseni extends to anything between 2 to 3 inches and can easily survive in even a small 5-gallon tank. These livebearers require moderate temperatures, ranging between 15 degrees to 30 degrees and a pH level between 6 to 8.
They are not picky eaters and will eat anything you give them. Thus, if you are an enthusiast, the redtail splitfin is a good livebearer to start with.
Skiffia multipunctata is a small fish that grows up to 2 inches and can easily survive in a 10-gallon tank. However, this is an endangered specie and thus, one must be very careful around them. Though they are not picky eaters, males nip on each other while vying for female attention.
Four-eyed fish are brackish water fish. If you are planning on getting this livebearer, create brackish conditions in the aquarium by mixing fresh and synthetic seawater in a 1:1 ratio.
Though the four-eye fish can reach almost a foot in length, it is easy to find smaller fish as well. However, aquarists must have a 3 to 4 foot-long tank if they plan on keeping this fish.
These viviparous fish are primarily carnivores and grow well on a diet of live insects, small fish, and other invertebrates.
Least Killifish or Midget Livebearer
Least Killifish or Midget livebearer is the world’s smallest fish in the world — males grow up to 2.5 centimeters and females grow slightly over 2.5 centimeters. The Midget livebearer is extremely hardy and owing to its small size, it is an ideal choice for nano tanks or summer ponds.
There are a few things you will have to take care of with this fish. It needs gently filtered water and temperatures ranging from 20 to 26-degree celsius. Though this livebearer is omnivorous, it is a non-fussy eater and will accept everything.
These livebearers get their name from the wonderful display of colors they put on their body. Male rainbow characodons display shades of blue, brown, green, red, and yellow. The males are also quite aggressive and thus if you are planning to get more than a single male, do so slowly, giving them time to acclimate.
They make an excellent aquarium fish as they are only about 5 centimeters in size and a 10-gallon tank provides ample space for them. However, rainbow characodons are omnivorous and picky eaters.
The Wrestling halfbeak is a 7.5-centimeter-long domesticated fish that comes from Southeast Asia. This fish is called so as it often runs into the tank glass, causing half of its beak to break and fall apart.
However, you can induce calmness into this fish by planting some floating hornwort or plastic plants into the tank. Though the Wrestling halfbeak is omnivorous, it is not particularly choosy and will eat a variety of floating foods.
Pike Topinnow or Top Minnow
Though this livebearer fish isn’t easy to breed, it is quite adaptable — it can survive in any kind of water. It, however, thrives best in slightly alkaline water with a pH of 7.5 to 8, with moderate temperature ranging around 25 degrees Celsius.
The topminnow is tricky to feed and eats only live or frozen fish. They are also very aggressive predators and feed on small fish. They should, therefore, be kept in a 90-centimeter to 120-centimeter tank with large fish.
Mosquitofish are of two types: Western Mosquitofish and Eastern Mosquitofish. While the former is easily available for keeping in aquariums, the latter is a rarety.
The male mosquitofish grows to about 1.5 inches whereas the female mosquitofish reaches close to 3 inches. Males develop a red tail upon sexual maturity. These livebearers are picky eaters and prefer small insects and larvae.
They do well in slightly alkaline water with pH ranging between 6.0 to 8.0 and temperatures ranging between 10 to 29-degree celsius.
Wrapping up: Livebearer fish list
Livebearers make excellent aquarium pets — they keep the aquarium lively and their resistance and hardiness makes them great survivors. Most of these fish display a range of colors and forms, thereby giving any aquarium a certain kind of liveliness and brightness.
We hope this livebearer fish list will make it easy for you to choose the right livebearer for you.
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I have been working in the tropical fish industry for over 30 years now and I’m still learning. Everyday is a school day in this hobby. In my spare time I play golf very badly!