Details of all species referred to in these Fish Care Sheets can be found in the FBAS Booklet No 6 - National Show Fish Sizes. Click HERE for information.
This group of fishes could be referred to as The 'Big Four' comprising as they do the popular genera of Guppies, Platies, Swordtails and Mollies.
The willingness to breed make them firm favourites - but also difficult if you are trying to maintain (or establish) a particular colour strain!
Genera: Poecilia, Xiphophorus.
Geographic Origin: Central America.
Common Names: Guppy, Swordtail, Platy, Molly.
Compatibility: With similar sized fish, they are not a problem.
They can be aggressive with smaller tankmates.
Minimum Aquarium Size: For these 'cultivated' livebearers, an aquarium of
600mm x 300mm x 300mm (24” x 12” x 12”) is the
minimum. They will benefit from having a larger
Temperature: Can be kept at quite low temperatures 18oC/65oF, but are best
at 24o/27oC 75o/80oF. Some can be kept in outdoor ponds
Habitat: Found in rivers, lakes and ponds. Best kept in a well planted
aquarium with water movement provided by either external or
Water Parameters: Prefer hard alkaline water. It should be well filtered with
a partial water change each week of around 25%.
Health: Not especially prone to diseases, but White Spot, Mouth Fungus and
Finrot (particularly if water conditions are poor) can be found in
these fishes. Treat sick fish in a separate container. Do not dispose of
dead fish down the toilet. Place in dustbin or incinerate.
Diet: Omnivorous. Benefit from the addition of green stuff to their diet e.g.
Peas, lettuce etc. Will eat all dried, frozen and live foods.
Plants: All tropical plants are suitable for the aquarium.
Breeding Notes : All cultivated livebearers are very promiscuous, mating
regardless of colour pattern or strain. Always isolate
colour strains when line-breeding to protect the quality of
the strain. Females can store sperm from previous matings so
make sure any breeding partners are correctly chosen.
Availability: Swordtails, Mollies, Guppies and Platies are all very readily
Show Classes: Male Guppy Oa, Swordtail (X.helleri) )
Female Guppy Ob Mollies (Poecilia sphenops) ) Class P
Platies (X.maculatus, X.variatus) )
© FBAS 2002. PWC/RDE. Fish Care Sheet 24 1/1