Live Bearer Fish

Guppies and mollies


Guppy

The guppy (Poecilia reticulata), also known as millionfish and rainbow fish, is one of the world's most widely distributed tropical fish, and one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish species. It is a member of the Poeciliidae family and, like almost all American members of the family, is live-bearing. Guppies, whose natural range is in northeast South America, were introduced to many habitats and are now found all over the world. They are highly adaptable and thrive in many different environmental and ecological conditions. Male guppies, which are smaller than females, have ornamental caudal and dorsal fins, while females are duller in colour. Wild guppies generally feed on a variety of food sources, including benthic algae and aquatic insect larvae. Guppies are used as a model organism in the field of ecology, evolution, and behavioural studies.

Guppies exhibit sexual dimorphism. While wild-type females are grey in body color, males have splashes, spots, or stripes that can be any of a wide variety of colors. The size of guppies vary, but males are typically 1.5–3.5 cm (0.6–1.4 in) long, while females are 3–6 cm (1.2–2.4 in) long.

A variety of guppy strains are produced by breeders through selective breeding, characterized by different colours, patterns, shapes, and sizes of fins, such as snakeskin and grass varieties. Many domestic strains have morphological traits that are very distinct from the wild-type antecedents. Males and females of many domestic strains usually have larger body size and are much more lavishly ornamented than their wild-type antecedents.

Guppies have 23 pairs of chromosomes, including one pair of sex chromosomes, the same number as humans. The genes responsible for male guppies' ornamentations are Y-chromosome linked and are heritable.



Guppy
Guppy

Endler's livebearer

Poecilia wingei, known to aquarists as the Black-Bar Endler or Endler's livebearer, in the genus Poecilia, is a small fish native to the Paria Peninsula in Venezuela. They are proficient breeders and often hybridize with guppies. These very colorful hybrids are the easiest to find being offered in pet-shops, typically under the name Endler's Guppy. 

Endler's livebearer
Endler's livebearer

Black molly

Poecilia sphenops is a species of fish, of the genus Poecilia, known under the common name molly; to distinguish it from its congeners, it is sometimes called short-finned molly or common molly. They inhabit fresh water streams and coastal brackish and marine waters of Mexico. The wild-type fish are a dull silvery color, often sprinkled black all over. The common molly can produce fertile hybrids with many Poecilia species, most importantly the sailfin molly. The male black mollies generally tend to be mildly aggressive.

Mollies rank as one of the most popular feeder fish due to high growth rate, birth size, reproduction, and brood number.

Varieties:
Selective breeding over centuries has produced several color variations and different body shapes.
 
Short-Finned Molly or Common Molly: They inhabit fresh water streams and coastal brackish and marine waters of Mexico. The wild-type fish are a dull silvery color, often sprinkled black all over. The common molly can produce fertile hybrids with many Poecilia species, most importantly the sailfin molly. The wild form is in fact quite rarely kept, as it has a rather plain silvery coloration suffused with brown and green hues.
 
Black Molly or Midnight Molly: This variety actually originated from hybrids between Poecilia sphenops and the sailfin molly. Due to genomic recombination, F1 hybrids often display novel and bizarre fin shapes. It is a melanistic breed which are black all over. It is one of the most well-known aquarium fishes and nearly as easy to keep and prolific as guppies.
White Molly: A white colored molly.

Golden Molly: Nicknamed the "24 karat".

Balloon Molly: This fish has a deformed spine due to a genetic defect that gives it its appearance. Through Selective breeding it is now widely available. Balloon mollies can still reproduce and live a normal life comparable to that of other mollies, but it has garnered controversy due to the belief that its defect gives it a shortened lifespan and a susceptibility to health problems.

Lyretail: A breed with an altered caudal fin structure.

Dalmatian Molly: A silver colored breed with black speckles (in extensively marked specimens, they may appear black with silvery speckles).

Black molly
Black molly

Sailfin molly

The sailfin molly, Poecilia latipinna, is a species of fish of the genus Poecilia. They inhabit fresh, brackish, and coastal waters from North Carolina to Texas and the Yucat√°n Peninsula of Mexico.

Sailfin molly
Sailfin molly

Dalmatian molly


Dalmatian molly
Dalmatian molly

Lyretail Molly


Lyretail Molly
Lyretail Molly



Platies and swordtails


Southern platy

The southern platyfish, common platy, or moonfish (Xiphophorus maculatus) is a species of freshwater fish in family Poecilidae of order Cyprinodontiformes. A live-bearer, it is closely related to the green swordtail (X. helleri) and can interbreed with it. It is native to an area of North and Central America stretching from Veracruz, Mexico, to northern Belize.

The southern platyfish grows to a maximum overall length of 6.0 centimetres (2.4 in). Sexual dimorphism is slight, the male’s caudal fin being more pointed. The anal fin of the male fish has evolved into a gonopodium, a stick-shaped organ used for reproduction. The female southern platyfish's anal fin is fan shaped. Wild varieties are drab in coloration, lacking the distinctive dark lateral line common to many Xiphophorus species.

X. maculatus prefers slow-moving waters of canals, ditches, and warm springs. Omnivorous, its diet includes both plants and small crustaceans, insects, and annelid worms.

Breeders have developed a multitude of color varieties (e.g. orange, red, yellow, red/black, and black/white) which are common aquarium fish for hobbyists.

The southern platyfish is commonly known simply as the platy (pl. platys or platies), from the fish’s original generic name, Platypoecilus.

Southern platy
Southern platy

Variable platy

The variatus platy (Xiphophorus variatus), also known as variable platyfish or variegated platy, is a species of freshwater fish in family Poecilidae of order Cyprinodontiformes. A live-bearer, it is native to southern Tamaulipas and northern Veracruz states in northeastern Mexico. It is a popular fish in the aquarium trade due to its prolific breeding, as are hybrids with other members of its genus, most notably the southern platyfish.

The variatus platy grows to a maximum overall length of 7.0 cm (2.8 in). In the wild, they are olive in colour with black marbling or spots on the side of the caudal peduncle. Large males show blackish blotches on the dorsal fin. Unlike some other members of the genus, X. variatus has no claw at the tip of the fifth anal fin ray. The fourth pectoral ray shows well-developed serrae (saw-like notches). They typically have 20 to 24 lateral scales, 10 to 12 dorsal rays and two rows of jaw teeth. Males exhibit a more pointed or "needle-like" anal fin whereas the female have a more triangular anal fin.

Variable platy
Variable platy

Green swordtail

The green swordtail (Xiphophorus hellerii) is a species of freshwater/brackish fish in family Poeciliidae of order Cyprinodontiformes. A live-bearer, it is closely related to the southern platyfish or ‘platy’ (X. maculatus) and can crossbreed with it. It is native to an area of North and Central America stretching from Veracruz, Mexico, to northwestern Honduras.

The male green swordtail grows to a maximum overall length of 14 centimetres (5.5 in) and the female to 16 centimetres (6.3 in). The name ‘swordtail’ is derived from the elongated lower lobe of the male’s caudal fin (tailfin). Sexual dimorphism is moderate, with the female being larger than the male, but lacking the ‘sword’. The wild form is olive green in color, with a red or brown lateral stripe and speckles on the dorsal and, sometimes, caudal fins. The male’s ‘sword’ is yellow, edged in black below. Captive breeding has produced many color varieties, including black, red, and many patterns thereof, for the aquarium hobby.

The green swordtail prefers swift-flowing, heavily-vegetated rivers and streams, but is also found in warm springs and canals. Omnivorous, its diet includes both plants and small crustaceans, insects, and annelid worms.

X. hellerii has become a nuisance pest as an introduced species in a number of countries. It has caused ecological damage because of its ability to rapidly reproduce in high numbers. Feral populations have established themselves in southern Africa, including Natal, Hawaii, Madagascar and eastern Transvaal in South Africa and Otjikoto Lake in Namibia. Significant populations have also established themselves along the east coast of Australia.

One of the most popular tropical aquarium fish, the green swordtail has been bred into various hybrid forms for the aquarium hobby due to its hardiness and suitability for community tanks.

It is often designated X. helleri (with one ‘i’), but authorities consider this an orthographic error and the spelling with two ‘i’s to be the valid specific epithet. It is named after Karl Bartholomaeus Heller, who collected the type specimen. Due to interbreeding with the southern platyfish or ‘platy’, most swordtails in aquariums are hybrids to some degree.

The males’ elongated caudal fins have been found to significantly affect their chances at mating. The presence of a well-endowed male spurs the maturity of females, while it inhibits the maturity of juvenile males in the vicinity of the well-endowed male.

Green swordtail
Green swordtail



Other Livebearers, like Gambusia


Western mosquitofish

The western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) is a species of freshwater fish, also known commonly, if ambiguously, as simply mosquitofish or by its generic name, Gambusia, or by the common name gambezi. There is also an eastern mosquitofish (G. holbrooki).

Mosquitofish are small in comparison to many other freshwater fish, with females reaching an overall length of 7 cm (2.8 in) and males at a length of 4 cm (1.6 in). The female can be distinguished from the male by her larger size and a gravid spot at the posterior of her abdomen. The name "mosquitofish" was given because the diet of this fish sometimes consists of large numbers of mosquito larvae, relative to body size. Gambusia typically eat zooplankton, beetles, mayflies, caddisflies, mites, and other invertebrates; mosquito larvae make up only a small portion of their diet.

Mosquitofish were introduced directly into ecosystems in many parts of the world as a biocontrol to lower mosquito populations which in turn negatively affected many other species in each distinct bioregion. Mosquitofish in Australia are classified as a noxious pest and may have exacerbated the mosquito problem in many areas by outcompeting native invertebrate predators of mosquito larvae. Several counties in California distribute mosquitofish at no charge to residents with manmade fish ponds and pools as part of their mosquito abatement programs. The fish are made available to residents only and are intended to be used solely on their own property, not introduced into natural habitat. On 24 February 2014, Chennai Corporation in India introduced western mosquitofish in 660 ponds to control the mosquito population in freshwater bodies.

Fertilization is internal; the male secretes milt into the genital aperture of the female through his gonopodium. Within 16 to 28 days after mating, the female gives birth to about 60 young. The males reach sexual maturity within 43 to 62 days. The females, if born early in the reproductive season, reach sexual maturity within 21 to 28 days; females born later in the season reach sexual maturity in six to seven months.

Western mosquitofish
Western mosquitofish

Eastern mosquitofish

The eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki) is a species of freshwater fish, closely related to the western mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis. It is a member of the family Poeciliidae of order Cyprinodontiformes. The eastern mosquitofish is native to the eastern and southern United States from Florida to Delaware and inland to Alabama and Tennessee, while the western mosquitofish has a larger distribution throughout the United States.

The Eastern mosquitofish is a small, light-colored fish with semitransparent fins. The females usually have a black stripe near their eye area and light spots can be seen on the caudal and dorsal fins of both sexes. Due to its similar size, shape, and reproductive habits, it can easily be mistaken for a guppy. Generally, males reach 1.5 in (3.8 cm) and females 2.5 in (6.4 cm). These fish are a livebearer species, and as such, the females are larger and more rounded than the males. Pregnant females are also easily recognizable by their gravid spot; a darker area on their bellies where they hold the fry.

Mesquitofish may have a melanistic color pattern with black spots, resembling a dalmatian. This is sometimes miss identified as another species.

In its native range, Eastern mosquitofish may be confused with the Western Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) or the sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna).

In eastern Australia, the female and juvenile local Pacific blue-eye (Pseudomugil signifer) are similar in appearance but have a forked tail fin.

Eastern mosquitofish
Eastern mosquitofish

Celebes half beak


Celebes half beak
Celebes half beak

Cuban lima


Cuban lima
Cuban lima

Tangunyika pearl killifish


Tangunyika pearl killifish
Tangunyika pearl killifish

Knife livebearer


Knife livebearer
Knife livebearer

Least killifish

Heterandria formosa (known as the least killifish, mosqu or midget livebearer) is a species of livebearing fish within the family Poeciliidae. This is the same family that includes familiar aquarium fishes such as guppies and mollies. H. formosa is not as commonly kept in aquaria as these species. H. formosa is one of the smallest fish in the world (7th smallest as of 1991), and is the smallest fish found in North America. Despite the common name "least killifish", it belongs to the family Poeciliidae and not to one of the killifish

Heterandria formosa is one of the smallest fish and smallest vertebrates known to science. Males grow to about 2 centimeters (0.8 inches), while females grow a little larger, to about 3 centimeters (1.2 inches).

The fish is generally an olive color, with a dark horizontal stripe through the center of the body. There is also a dark spot on the dorsal fin and females also have a dark spot on their anal fin. Like most poeciliids, males' anal fins are modified into a gonopodium that is used for impregnating females during mating.

Least killifish
Least killifish