Livebearers have evolved a unique form of reproduction among fish: they give live birth instead of laying eggs. Fertilized internally, the embryos will take a month to develop before they can be safely released in the water by the mother. Miniature replicas of their parents, it will take up to two to three months for the newly hatched babies to reach adulthood. During this time they are extremely vulnerable to adult livebearers, including their own relatives who will not hesitate to add them to their daily menus – a good reason for moving them to a separate tank!
Adding a heater to maintain the temperature is extremely important. The ideal temperature range is 73°-77°F (23°-25°C); sudden changes in temperature will stress them and can lead to infertility and death. A tank of at least 20 gallons, densely planted with plenty of strong plants such as Java fern, Sagittaria, Vallisneria and Anubias is recommended. Many breeders will introduce algae Nitella, a plant with no roots and very sensitive to water chemistry, can protect the fry and often times will work as an indicator of right water conditions.
Livebearers are omnivorous and require both meaty foods as well as algae. Provide these fish with an algae-based flake food, as well as freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp.
Aquarium setup: pH 6.5-7.2; dH 10-15
Size: ranging from 1 1/2 in (4 cm) to 4 1/4 in (11 cm)
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